Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/674

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that cleanliness which excludes as much as possible all kinds of extraneous ferments from food and its surroundings. We know that micro-organisms are the agents of fermentation; we know the factors necessary to their life, namely, food, warmth, and moisture; deprived of any one of these, their growth is stopped and they become inert, or die. To illustrate, a piece of meat deprived of moisture—that is, dried—is proof against the growth of organisms upon it so long as it remains dry, and it "keeps," as we say—that is, it does not decay; or, it may be hung in an ice-box or frozen as in winter—that is, deprived of warmth—with the same result. It, then, is a possibility to control the multiplication of these forms of life when we understand their modes of existence.

Scientific cooking should include not only the proper construction, so to speak, of eatables, but a knowledge of their constituents both inherent and extraneous, and some understanding of the physical life of human beings. Heretofore, cooking has been done for the most part upon what might be called "haphazard" lines, without any special degree of exactness and with but little actual information as to the nutritive value of the substances dealt with, or of the processes which would render them most palatable and digestible. This manner of conducting the cooking of a home gives mainly two results: (1) a great deal of wretched food, which directly or indirectly affects the health of the family, and (2) an enormous amount of unnecessary waste. The primary consideration is, of course, the one of health. When we recollect that hygienists and medical men hold the opinion that disease does not find lodgment in a sound body, that to be perfectly healthy means no sickness, except from accidents and natural causes, is it not enough to inspire all women to study and master the means which conduce to health and the laws which govern healthy conditions? This point may be illustrated by the fact that pneumonia does not attack healthy persons. Children, the old or enfeebled, and those who are debilitated, are its victims. Pneumonia is a bacterial disease, the germ of which is present in the mouths of about one fifth of all well persons. Exposure to cold, the prolonged use of poor food, or excessive fatigue, any of these may lower the tone of the system to such an extent that its cells and fluids, being out of their normal condition, can no longer resist or overpower the germ of the disease, which, finding lodgment in the tissues of the lungs, produces the malady known as pneumonia. It is on this point, that the cells and fluids of a perfectly healthy body have the power to protect the inner organs from the invasion of bacteria and bacterial products, that we base our strongest argument for more healthful ways of living.

The greatest necessity of life is air, which is supplied to us pure (outside of large cities), without the necessity of effort on