Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/604

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586
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

were due to the entrance of germs into the wound, and that this dangerous complication could be prevented. By excluding the parasites from the wound, the surgeon spares his patient the unnecessary and risky struggle, giving the wound the chance to heal in the most perfect manner. Only he who has compared the uncertainty of the surgery prior to the antiseptic period, and the misery it was incompetent to prevent, with the ideal results of the modern surgeon, can appreciate what the world owes to Mr. Lister. The amount of suffering avoided and the number of lives annually saved by antiseptic surgery constitute the first practical gain derived from the application of the germ-theory in medicine.

 
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THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.
By W. MATTIEU WILLIAMS.
X.

AS stated in my last, the subject of roasting occupied a large amount of Count Rumford's attention, especially while he was in England residing in Brompton Road, and founding the Royal Institution. His efforts were directed not merely to cooking the meat effectively, but to doing so economically. Like all others who have contemplated thoughtfully the habits of Englishmen, he was shocked at the barbaric waste of fuel that everywhere prevailed in this country, even to a greater extent then than now.

The first fact that necessarily presented itself to his mind was the great amount of heat that is wasted, when an ordinary joint of meat is suspended in front of an ordinary coal-fire to intercept and utilize only a small fraction of its total radiation.

As far as I am aware, there is no other country in Europe where such a process is indigenous. I say "indigenous" because there certainly are hotels where this or any other English extravagance is perpetrated to please Englishmen who choose to pay for it. What is usually called roast meat in countries not inhabited by English-speaking people is what we should call "baked meat," the very name of which sets all the gastronomic bristles of an orthodox Englishman in a position of perpendicularity.

I have a theory of my own respecting the origin of this prejudice. Within the recollection of many still living, the great middle class of Englishmen lived in town; their sitting-rooms were back parlors behind their shops, or factories, or warehouses, their drawing-rooms were on the first-floor, and kitchens in the basement.

They kept one general servant of the "Marchioness" type. The corresponding class now live in suburban villas, keep cook, house--