Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/671

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SCIENTIFIC COOKING.

SCIENTIFIC COOKING.

A PLEA FOR EDUCATION IN HOUSEHOLD AFFAIRS.

By Miss M. A. BOLAND,

INSTRUCTOR IN COOKING IN THE JOHNS HOPKINS TRAINING SCHOOL FOR NURSES.

THE general interpretation of the colloquial use of the word scientific as applied to cooking is that manner of making dishes which is carried out according to some exact method, which has been proved by experiment to be correct or satisfactory. This is well as far as it goes; but scientific cooking, in order to justly merit the name, should also include: 1. A knowledge of the chemical composition of food materials and food, that a woman may know when she is supplying her family with a diet composed of all those principles, in correct proportion, which are necessary to perfectly nourish the body, and also that she may appreciate that she is not always obliged to buy expensive materials in order to obtain that which is needful and wholesome. 2. A knowledge of the methods of preparing and preserving food, both cooked and uncooked, under such conditions of cleanliness that it shall be free from poisonous or noxious principles. 3. A knowledge of the laws of health, that it may be possible in some measure to determine what constituents and what eatables afford proper material for the maintenance of the body, and under what circumstances of occupation, exercise, and living in general they are most completely utilized.

Upon the subject of the composition of foods there is abundance of valuable literature in English from which much can be learned. Since the days of Baron von Liebig and Count Rumford, who may be said to be the promoters of the "cooking movement," a great deal of scientific investigation as to the chemical composition, nutritive value, and methods of cooking food has been done, and out of this study, in connection with medical research, has sprung the modern school of hygiene, as yet, however, in its infancy. In the works of Parkes, Pavy, Atwater, Foster, Smith, Blythe, and Hassal most valuable information on this subject may be found.

A well-grounded knowledge of the chemistry and physiology of foods is the foundation upon which all good work in cooking must be laid. Through it only can be known and appreciated the reasons which underlie the various processes of preparing food, which, once well understood, form the sure foundation upon which all conscientious and worthy effort should rest. Such knowledge embodies the principles of the subject, and without principles no work can possess lasting educational value.