Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/229

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217
THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.

dies before the physical being; and some interesting intelligence may-be gathered by a study of this subject in its broadest basis as a national question, where it relates to the intellectual and social qualities of race in ill-fed and well-fed countries.—Health.


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THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.

By W. MATTIEU WILLIAMS.

XX.—COUNT RUMFORD’S SUBSTITUTE FOR TEA.

TAKE eight parts by weight (say ounces) of meal (Rumford says "wheat or rye-meal" and I add, or oatmeal), and one part of butter. Melt the butter in a clean iron frying-pan, and when thus melted sprinkle the meal into it; stir the whole briskly with a broad wooden spoon or spatula till the butter has disappeared and the meal is of a uniform brown color like roasted coffee, great care being taken to prevent burning on the bottom of the pan. About half an ounce of this roasted meal boiled in a pint of water, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and vinegar, forms "burned soup," much used by the wood-cutters of Bavaria, who work in the mountains far away from any habitations. Their provisions for a week (the time they commonly remain in the mountains) consist of a large loaf of rye-bread (which, as it does not so soon grow dry and stale as wheaten bread, is always preferred to it); a linen bag, containing a small quantity of roasted meal, prepared as above; another small bag of salt, and a small wooden box containing some pounded black pepper; and sometimes, but not often, a small bottle of vinegar; but black pepper is an ingredient never omitted. The rye-bread, which eaten alone or with cold water would be very hard fare, is rendered palatable and satisfactory. Rumford thinks also more wholesome and nutritious, by the help of a bowl of hot soup, so easily prepared from the roasted meal. He tells us that this is not only used by the wood-cutters, but that it is also the common breakfast of the Bavarian peasant, and adds that "it is infinitely preferable, in all respects, to that most pernicious wash, tea, with which the lower classes of the inhabitants of Great Britain drench their stomachs and ruin their constitutions." He adds that, "when tea is taken with a sufficient quantity of sugar and good cream, and with a large quantity of bread-and-butter, or with toast and boiled eggs, and, above all, when it is not drunk too hot, it is certainly less unwholesome; but a simple infusion of this drug, drunk boiling hot, as the poor usually take it, is certainly a poison, which, though it is sometimes slow in its operation, never fails to produce fatal effects, even in the strongest constitutions, where the free use of it is continued for a considerable length of time."