By EDWARD ATKINSON, LL.D.
THE cost of materials which are used for food comes to one half or more of the average income of at least ninety per cent of the people of this country; yet our product of food material is more abundant in ratio to population than that of any other country which holds a prominent position in the civilized world. This food consists in greatest measure of grain, meat, dairy products, and roots or tubers; in small part of fish, green vegetables, and fruit. The greater part of this food must be converted into a digestible and appetizing form by the application of heat to it at the right temperature, the degree varying with different kinds of food; this heat must be applied for a suitable time, also varying with the kind of material which is to be converted into a nutritious form by its action. Yet there are no popular treatises or definite instructions on the scientific application of heat to food.
Good health depends in greater measure upon adequate nutrition and upon the conversion of food material into a digestible form than upon any other factor in life. A well-nourished man can bear adverse conditions of life in the dwelling-house, the factory, the mine, and the furnace, to which the ill-nourished man will succumb in a very short time. On the other hand, the capacity of the man to perform his work is as fully dependent upon the quality and adequacy of his food as the capacity of the horse, ox, or mule. The force of the man depends on his food as much as the force of the engine upon the fuel used under the
- This essay has been prepared for the American Public Health Association: delivered at their meeting in Brooklyn, October 23, 1889. With their consent it is published in this number of "The Popular Science Monthly."