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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1515

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1349
INVALID COOKERY

their restorative powers are very quickly felt, hence their value in the diet of the sick and convalescent. Savoury jellies are more nourishing when made from veal or calves' feet, for they then contain not only gelatine, but also other extractives of considerable dietetic value. When variety, and not the amount of nourishment afforded, is the chief consideration, jelly may be more easily prepared from isinglass or gelatine, the purest forms of which should alone be used for the purpose.

Milk is undoubtedly a more valuable food for the sick than any kind of beef tea, juice or essence, for it supplies all that is necessary to sustain life during long periods of illness or inactivity. For young children it is also a perfect food, but for adults in health it is necessary to add other foods supplying more solid bulk.

The milk, as soon as possible after it is drawn from the cow, should be boiled and afterwards kept covered until required. For unfortunately, it is extremely susceptible to contamination, and readily absorbs any impure gases or matter.

Eggs are a very valuable food, containing all that is necessary for life in a most concentrated form. The white of an egg is equally nourishing and less rich than the yolk, and consequently may be given to a patient when the yolk would disagree. In a fluid form they are easily digested, also when very lightly cooked; but overcooked insoluble eggs generally tax a healthy digestion, and should therefore be rigidly excluded from the diet of the sick. This applies not only to eggs simply served, but also to eggs forming a part of puddings, souffl├ęs, etc.

Fish, being light and easily digested, plays an important part in invalid diet. Whiting, sole, flounder or plaice should be selected, as these varieties contain a very small percentage of oily matter. Until the first stages of convalescence are passed, the fish should be either steamed or boiled, but afterwards, when butter is allowed, broiled or fried fish generally proves more palatable.

Seasonings and Flavourings should always be added sparingly, for in sickness the organs of taste are often in an abnormally sensitive condition.