Food for the Invalid, the Convalescent, THE Dyspeptic, and the Gouty. By J. Milner Fothergill, M.D., and Horatio C. Wood, M.D. New York: Macmillan & Co. 1830. Pp. 150. Price, $1.
The introduction to this volume is a very important and interesting essay on food in its sanitary relations by Dr. Fothergill, while Dr. Wood compiled the recipes, some three hundred in number. In speaking of our present eating arrangements and culinary combinations, Dr. Fothergill says that they have come about under the guidance of the palate first, and the digestion afterward. They were established before the daybreak of physiological knowledge, and the light of chemistry and physiology can not fail to disturb them. Our food combinations should now be modified by our advancing knowledge of the wants of the organism. By a suitable dietary many maladies may be avoided, and many troubles, as indigestion, biliousness, gout, and diabetes, alleviated or even cured. To the increasing wealth and mental worry of our times. Dr. Fothergill ascribes much of the prevalent biliousness, gout, and visceral disturbance; and also the growing incapacity to digest fat, which has led to the use of artificial digestive agents. Hence the necessity for a cook-book devoted to the food of those out of health, or with feeble powers of digestion.
Dr. Fothergill traces the biliousness and gout so common nowadays to the excessive use of albuminoids in our food. They are requisite for tissue growth and repair, and, when swallowed, are digested mainly in the stomach, passing into the blood, whence they reach the tissues. But the nitrogen, their essential feature, when in combination with hydrogen and carbon, does not readily oxidize, and it is the imperfect oxidation in the liver of this nitrogen of the surplus albuminoids that causes biliousness and the gouty condition. "In biliousness the blood is surcharged with bile-salts of albuminoid descent and nitrogenized lineage; just as much as the lithic acid now known as 'gout-poison,' . . . and it is obvious that in the
treatment of biliousness and gout alike it is essential to cut down the albuminoid elements of the food to the minimum of tissue-wants."
To the question why we systematically eat more albuminoid food than we require, Dr. Fothergill replies that there are two very potent reasons: one, because it is pleasant to eat it, and another, because it produces an agreeable mental condition. "The albuminoid waste in the blood gives us the sensation of energy, of being equal to work, which is pleasant to all. But this sensation is bought with a price; and its Nemesis is found in biliousness and gout." After proving the albuminoid descent of both bile and gout-poison, Dr. Fothergill remarks that the amount of albuminoids required for the repair of the tissues of the body is very small, and it is with the intent of avoiding excessive albuminoid waste that the dietaries arranged in the volume consist so little of "brown meats." The flesh of fish, however, is provided for in abundance. More than ninety of the recipes are devoted to the preparation of fish of various kinds in soups, pies, patties, and puddings, or boiled, stewed, fried, broiled, in paste, and on toast. Not that "fish" differs materially from "flesh" in chemical composition, but it contains more water, and is more easily digestible. "A meal of fish," it is said, "gives less albuminoid waste than a meal of brown meats."
Great prominence is given to fat in the dishes here recommended. It is regarded as a most important element of food, and much pains are taken to make it unobjectionable to the palate, inoffensive to the stomach, and easily assimilable by the system. Starch, also, so long decried and sneered at as having no food-value, is given a prominent place. "With fat and starch," Dr. Fothergill declares, "the bilious are comparatively well; for neither can produce bile-acids." They may, however, lead indirectly to the production of bile-acids when eaten in excess.
The first forty-three recipes of the book