Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/395

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



The inferences drawn by M. Edwards from the whole of his experiments are the following: "1. That gelatine alone is insufficient for alimentation. 2. That, although insufficient, it is not unwholesome. 3. That gelatine contributes to alimentation, and is sufficient to sustain it when it is mixed with a due proportion of other products which would themselves prove insufficient if given alone. 4. That gelatine extracted from bones, being identical with that extracted from other parts—and bones being richer in gelatine than other tissues, and able to afford two thirds of their weight of it—there is an incontestable advantage in making them serve for nutrition in the form of soup, jellies, paste, etc., always, however, taking care to provide a proper admixture of the other principles in which the gelatine-soup is defective. 5. That to render gelatine-soup equal in nutritive and digestible qualities to that prepared from meat alone, it is sufficient to mix one fourth of meat-soup with three fourths of gelatine-soup; and that, in fact, no difference is perceptible between soup thus prepared and that made solely from meat. 6. That in preparing soup in this way, the great advantage remains that, while the soup itself is equally nourishing with meat-soup, three fourths of the meat which would be requisite for the latter by the common process of making soup are saved and made useful in another way—as by roasting, etc. 7. That jellies ought always to be associated with some other principles to render them both nutritive and digestible."[1]

The reader may make a very simple experiment on himself by preparing first a pure gelatine-soup from isinglass, or the prepared gelatine commonly sold, and trying to make a meal of this with bread alone. Its insipidity will be evident with the first spoonful. If he perseveres, it will become not merely insipid, but positively repulsive; and, should he struggle through one meal and then another, without any other food between, he will find it, in the course of time (varying with constitution and previous alimentation), positively nauseous.

Let him now add to it some of Liebig's "Extract of Meat," and he will at once perceive the difference. Here the natural appetite foreshadows the result of continuing the experiment, and points the way to correcting the errors of the Academicians and Baron Liebig. The jellies that we take at evening parties, or the jujubes used as sweetmeats, are flavored with something positive. I have tasted "Blue Ribbon" jellies that were wretchedly insipid. This was not merely owing to the absence of alcohol, of which very little can remain in such preparations, but rather to the absence of the flavoring ingredients of the sherry. The Rahat Lakoum, or "lumps of delight," sold in the streets of Constantinople, is gelatine flavored with the unfermented juices of fruit. A privileged visit which I once made to the monster kitchen of the Old Seraglio of his Majesty the Sultan (at Stamboul) lives perpetually in my memory, so sweetly, so vividly, and so grate-

  1. London, "Nouveaux Élémens d'Hygiène," second edition, vol. ii, p. 73.