Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/675

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657
SCIENTIFIC COOKING.

our part to procure it. We have only not to interfere with what Nature has given by inclosing it in rooms, or by allowing it to be contaminated with noxious gases or other impurities. The second greatest necessity of life is food, which includes water. Food is the raw material of the body from which it constructs its tissues and repairs them as they wear. It furnishes the elements from which are evolved the forces of the body, such as heat, muscular and nervous energy and other powers; of these, heat is the most important, it being ever required that the constant temperature which the body must always possess to be in a state of health may be maintained. Food also furnishes material for a supply which is stored away in the body for use in emergencies when from accident or other cause nutriment is cut off.

Food is to the body what fuel is to the fire. It and the oxygen of the air are the agents which maintain the life of the system. What can be more worthy our attention than so important a subject?

We all know that some kinds of food are more easily digested than others, and we also know that the same kind of food treated in cooking by different methods varies in digestibility, according to those methods. To illustrate, an egg cooked in such a way that its albumen is coagulated, but tender and jelly-like, not hardened, is a very easily digested food substance; while an egg cooked at a temperature so high that its albumen is rendered tough and tenacious is very difficult of digestion, and it is known that well persons have been made temporarily ill by eating eggs so cooked.

What is true of the egg simply illustrates what is true of nearly all food substances—that is, that the temperature at which they are cooked and the manner in which they treated, as to the time of exposure to heat and their combination with other things, makes all the difference in their digestibility and flavor. This constitutes our second argument for the study of cooking.

If only because we have at best but glimmerings of the complex, intricate, and mysterious processes of the life of the physical human body, should we strive to maintain it in most perfect condition, and endeavor in the clearest lights of modern science to make it indeed a temple for the indwelling of the mind.

It is thought by some students of the subject that crime is a disease; that had the men, who are to-day criminals, been reared under better conditions, of both nourishment for the body and influence for the mind, they might have been worthy, even noble citizens.

Missionaries, both at home and abroad, are beginning to realize that it is of little use to pray with a man until they have fed him. In fact, the first work of the missionary of to-day is to provide