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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/175

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131
SOUPS

coat of the intestines. These vessels, or absorbents, discharge the fluid into a common duct, or road, along which it is conveyed to the blood, thus supplying it with materials whereby the various tissues are nourished. The blood having circulated through all parts, and having had its waste repaired by the digested food, is now received into the heart, and by the action of that organ it is urged through the lungs, there to receive its purification from the air which the animal inhales. Again returning to the heart, it is forced through the arteries, and thence distributed by the innumerable ramifications of the minute blood-vessels, called capillaries, to every part of the animal, imparting life and nutriment. The other principle—the innutritive portion—passes from the intestines out of the system. It will now be clearly seen how flesh is injuriously affected if an animal is slaughtered when the circulation of its blood has been increased by over-driving, ill-usage or any other cause of excitement, to such a degree that the capillaries cannot perform their functions properly, thus causing the blood to be congealed in its minuter vessels. Where this has been the case, the meat will be dark-coloured and become rapidly putrid, so that self-interest and humanity alike dictate kind and gentle treatment of all animals destined to serve as food for man.

THE CHEMISTRY AND ECONOMY OF SOUP MAKING.

The Basis of all Meat Soups.—Stock forms the basis of all meat soups and of the principal sauces; but except the rich clear stock used for consommé (or clear soup), it is not necessarily made from fresh meat. In making brown stock from the shin of beef, white stock from the knuckle of veal, or ordinary stock from the bones and the trimmings of meat, poultry, etc., the methods employed for completely extracting from the materials all their nutriment and flavour are the same: the result depends upon the quality and kind of material employed, and the length of time the simmering is continued. Five or six hours will extract from the materials all that is necessary and desirable for stock intended for clear soup; but many more hours of gentle simmering will be necessary to draw from the bones all the goodness they contain.

In France, and indeed throughout the Continent generally, a stock-pot will be found in every peasant's kitchen. By its means, the basis of many a delicious meal can be provided from materials that would be wasted in the average middle class household in Britain.

The component parts of meat are: albumin, myosin (contained in all muscle fibres), fibrin, gelatin, fat, alkaline salts and certain extractives known as osmasome, which give to flesh its characteristic agreeable flavour.