Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/679

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
661
SCIENTIFIC COOKING.

mirable course in domestic science is offered to those intending to teach—all these in their different lines are excellent, and all tend toward the same thing, namely, better ways of living.

Mrs. Ellen H. Richards, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the inspirer of the New England Kitchen, and W. O. Atwater, of the National Agricultural Department at Washington, D. C, is the director of the Storrs experimental station. A series of articles written by him and published in the Century Magazine, 1887-'88, are among some of the most valuable contributions (in English) on the subject of food and dietaries that we possess.

Society may be roughly separated into three divisions. In the first are the wealthy and the well-to-do; the second comprises the great and powerful middle classes; and the third is made up of the poor. In the first, the household affairs, for the most part are managed by servants; in the second, by the wives and daughters of the family; and in the third we may say they are not managed at all. If no other than the latter class—the poor—were to be benefited, my plea for the cooking school would have more than ample excuse for being written. Among them, alas I who can least afford it, do we find the greatest amount of waste in cooking, much ignorance in the caring for and buying of food, the most unsanitary surroundings as to pure air and cleanliness, and the greatest amount of sickness resulting from bad living.

The following item alone gives one a glimpse of the misery among the poor: In the city of Baltimore, during the year 1891, in a single hospital thirty-three thousand patients were treated in its free dispensary, and in the same city for the same year 81,250,000 spent in public charity through the various charitable organizations and societies for the relief of the poor.

When we bear in mind that statistics of hygiene show that at least seven tenths of all forms of illness and disease originate directly or indirectly from bad food, bad air, and unsanitary surroundings, and unhygienic ways of living in general, can any one fail to see the infinite amount of good that it is possible to do by establishing schools in which the people may be taught the principles and practice hand in hand of household science?

It is to the public school, not simply a school of methods, but of principles as well, that we must look for the greatest and most lasting good in this direction. There the children of all classes may gain correct instruction in hygienic living; there the subject can be brought to their notice and presented in its true educational light; and there, and there only, can the great middle and lower classes be reached. Private schools may do locally much good, but their influence is not widespread unless they are great. It is only through the public school that this necessary and most