« PreviousContinue »
We would suggest that when we do use sugar, as in a pudding for instance, that we use less of it than we are accustomed to do, for in that case we could eat enough of a dish so flavored to make it furnish more of the real substance of a meal.
BEANS, PEAS, AND LENTILS.
Look again at the remarkable per cent of proteid Per cent of pro
given by this class of vegetables. Beans and peas, 23 per cent; lentils, 25 per cent, while beef gives on the average only from 17 to 21 per cent. By people who from choice or necessity live principally on vegetables, the legumes have always been largely used ; their consumption is extensive in India, China, and in all of Europe.
To be sure, the quality of the proteid is not the same as meat, - it is less stimulating and palatable, and perhaps in other ways inferior, - but the proteid needs of the body can be answered by it, and that is a very important item when the question is one of economy.
The impression that dried beans and peas Digestibility.
“ hearty” food, fitted for out-door workers rather than for less vigorous people or those of sedentary habits, seems justified by the fact that these vegetables contain an unusually Cellulose.
large per cent of cellulose of the tougher sort which
requires a long-continued application of heat to free it from the proteid and starch of the vegetable; indeed, unless it is broken fine or ground into flour, cooking, however long con. tinued, will be insufficient. We have seen that Professor Strümpell digested only 40 per cent of the proteid of beans cooked in the ordinary way, but when they were ground to flour and baked
digested 91.8 per cent. The fact is we could cook.
and eat our wheat whole much more easily than can our beans, and yet bean flour is not in the market, if except the “ prepared” sort in small, expensive packages. seems that the best we can do is to cook beans well and sieve them; in that way we free them from the skins at least.
The dried and split pea, though as valuable as Split peas.
bean and already freed from the skin, is not as much used among us; it should be more employed in soups and as vegetable.
we we It
Lentils a few years ago were to be found only in large cities, now they are more easily attainable.
Their food value, as we have seen, is still greater than that of beans and peas, but the taste is not as agreeable until one becomes accustomed to it. An economist cannot afford to neglect the legume family.
We in our country need not feel as bitter against the potato as do the scientists of Europe, for we are not obliged to use it to excess, and considering its cheapness and availablity it is for us a good vegetable and on these accounts, though it makes a poor enough showing as to food value, we must rank it next to the bean in importance. It has only 2 per cent of proteids, no fat, and only 20.7 per cent carbohydrates, and yet since it can be prepared in so many ways and we never tire of its mild flavor, it will doubtless continue to come upon our tables more frequently than any other vegetable. But every day or twice a day, in large amounts, is far too often ; indeed those who use it to this extent must be ignorant of its relatively low food value. The quality of the potato is of great importance and none but the best should be used. It should be a mealy variety and perfectly ripe.
Green vegetables, excepting the pea and bean, are not to be valued chiefly for what we can reckon up in them of proteids, fats, and carbohydrates, for the amount is very small. Except in the height of the season, they must be looked on as luxuries, but we will buy them as often as we can afford them. In quantities sufficient to flavor soups and stews they can always be afforded, and in this way should be freely used, carrots, celery, parsnips, and tomatoes for example.
Our markets offer us a great variety of fine fruits, and many of them are cheap in their season ; apples in the fall are within the reach of the very poorest.
Fresh fruits have a large per cent of water, as high as 89 per cent in the orange, and few fruits have less than 80 per cent. Their food value is mainly in the form of sugar, apples giving us on an average 7.7 per cent, grapes, 14.3 per cent; of proteids, the amount does not, with the single exception of the strawberry, reach i per cent; but fruits are very useful to us on account of their flavor, due to various aromatic bedies, fruit acids, and sugar. The apple is especially valuable on account of its cheapness and fine keeping qualities, and is used in a variety of ways by the cook to give a relish to plain materials. Although our largest use of them is in sweet dishes, they are perhaps quite as valuable used without sugar; they may be fried in slices and eaten with fat meat, as bacon or sausage, or they may be used to stuff a fowl.
Fruit is not for all people easy of digestion if eaten in considerable quantities, and this is partly on account of its relatively large per cent of woody fibre, and also, especially when not quite ripe, because of the acids and pectose contained in them. Huckleberries have 12 per cent woody fibre, apples only two per cent, including the seeds and skin.
The importance of dried fruits as food is not well enough understood. Fruit loses in drying a large portion of its water, leaving its nutritive parts in more condensed form for our use ; dried apples are very near to bread in the per cent of nutrients they offer, and the dried pear may be called the date of Germany, so general is its use. With us this fruit is too expensive, but in parts of Germany the writer has seen dried pears commonly exposed for sale by the barrel like beans; they are eaten in great quantities by the common people, who seem to digest them and dried apples without any trouble, accustomed as their stomachs are to a rye bread and vegetable diet. These dried fruits are made into a variety of dishes with meats, with pota. toes, and with beans, and also with noodles and macaroni.
COOKING OF GRAINS.
The grains may be cooked whole, coarsely ground, as grits, and finely ground, as flour.
All these grains can be cooked whole, but it is sel
dom done, because of the length of time required. Only rice and barley are generally so cooked.
In cooking rice the aim should be to have the Rice. To cook.
grains distinct from each other, soft, dry, and mealy. Steamed. This is the best way.
Add to the rice three times its bulk of water, salt well, put in a covered dish in a steamer and steam one half hour. Or, the rice may be soaked over night, and it will then steam soft in twenty minutes.
Put the rice into a large quantity of boiling water,
add one teaspoonful salt to each cupful of rice; boil fast, stirring occasionally. Drain, dry out a little, and keep warm by covering with a cloth, as is done with potatoes. Save the water poured off for soup.
Its best use is as a vegetable with meat. Being of
a bland and neutral character, it can, like bread, be made into an endless number of dishes to be eaten with meats, or into dessert dishes, with sugar, fruits, etc. For rice omelet see page 238; rice pudding, see “Simple Sweet Dishes." Grated cheese is a good addition to rice, supplying its lack of proteids and fat.
Soak all night and boil soft in salted water. It Pearl barley
may also be steamed. Use as a thickening for soups, or like rice, as a vegetable, or as a breakfast dish with sugar and milk.
It is excellent mixed with its bulk of stewed prunes; pour over it melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
Rice. To use.
GRAINS, COARSELY GROUND, OR GRITS. These are better adapted to simple cookery than are fine flours, since to make them eatable it is only necessary to cook them soft in water. The grains used in this way among us are cracked wheat, farina or wheat grits, oatmeal, hominy, and corn meal, and they are all cooked in nearly the same way.
Time, two to three hours. This time Wheat, oat, and
may corn mushes. ened by soaking the grits some hours in water. Oatmeal and corn cannot be overcooked.
Amount of water : They all, except corn, absorb from three to four times their bulk of water ; corn, a little over twice.
Salt: One teaspoonful to one cupful of grits.
Method of cooking: Steaming is best, as there is then no danger of burning or of making the mush pasty by stirring. Put the grits and four times their bulk of water into a double boiler or into a dish, and set the dish into a steamer, or use a tin pail with tight cover, and set in a kettle of water; any way to keep it at boiling heat without burning.
Porridge. Stir any cold cooked mush smooth with Uses for cold
half water and half milk to the consistency of porridge. Add a little salt, and boil up. Sugar and cinnamon or nutmeg may be added as flavor. Of course porridges can be made of the uncooked grits; they are simply very thin mushes.
Pancakes. One cupful of cold oatmeal, hominy two cupfuls flour, one half pint milk, one half teaspoonful salt, and one egg, two teaspoonfuls baking powder, or one of soda and two of cream of tartar. Or, sour milk may be used with one teaspoonful soda, omitting the cream of tartar. These mushes will differ a little in thickness, and therefore more or less flour may be needed. Bake on griddle.
Muffins. The same mixture as above, with the addition of a little more flour. Bake in muffin rings.
To fry. For this, only corn mush and hominy are commonly used. When cooking, add a handful of wheat flour to the mush to make it stiffer. Pack while warm into a square mold, and when cold cut in slices and fry slowly to a nice brown on a griddle with a little fat. Or, the slices may be dipped into beaten egg, then into bread crumbs, and fried in boiling fat.
There is one fine flour that can be treated in the same way as the coarsely ground, — that made from Indian corn. Perhaps on account of its larger per cent of fat, and because little of its albumen is in the form of gluten, it does not form into a sticky paste as does wheat flour, but can be mixed with water only, and then boiled or baked into digestible and good tasting food, and this is one thing that makes corn so valuable a grain to people like the negroes of the Southern States, whose cooking apparatus is of the most primitive sort. Corn meal has one peculiarity it quickly sours, and should be kept no longer than a week. The kiln-dried meal, however, keeps indefinitely, and is now largely