Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/693

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673
FRUIT AS A FOOD AND MEDICINE.

FRUIT AS A FOOD AND MEDICINE.[1]
By HARRY BENJAFIELD, M. B.

And Eve saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes.—Genesis.

Stay me with raisins, comfort me with apples.—Solomon.

SUCH was the opinion of people who lived six thousand years ago, and all down through the succeeding ages poets have sung the praises of the luscious grape and peach, and painters have sought to outvie each other in depicting the attractions of the apple and plum, and away deep down below all this we see throughout the whole animal creation a developed instinct which teaches all to long after these beautiful fruits. Is this instinct wrong? Is Nature a fool thus to make her creatures voice their needs? When you see the whole insect family swarming over and voraciously devouring our choicest fruits, shall we say that they do not know what is good for them? When we see pigs, horses, cows, and sheep breaking down our fences, need we ask how they learned to love fruit? Ay, more, note the baby in arms who screams for the rosy apple, and bites away at it even with toothless gums, and as the baby grows into the boy how he will defy canes, and even police, so that he can get what he loves and longs for. The Creator is so anxious that this very necessary food shall be eaten by his creatures that he makes it beautiful to look upon, sweet and attractive in smell, and gives to it such varieties of flavors that the most fastidious can be satisfied. And yet in spite of all this the great mass of the people look upon fruit as a luxury upon which they can only spend odd pennies for the amusement of their children. Many parents will more readily spend money on injurious or even poisonous sweets than they will on good healthy fruit, and fashionable society will spend pounds on cakes, wines, and brandies, while they spend as many shillings on the very thing they need to keep them healthy—fruit. And as for the amount of drugs swallowed which should be replaced in great measure by fruit it is beyond my powers to calculate. Millions upon millions of pounds are spent annually upon mercurial and other purgatives, most of which would be quite unnecessary if the people would but look upon fruit as a necessary article of diet. The fruit grower of the future must try to so educate the public mind that this state of things will be


  1. From advance sheets of a lecture delivered before the Australasian Federated Fruit-growers' Association at the Tasmanian Exhibition Building, Queen's Domain, Hobart, April 26, 1895.