Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1866

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General Observations on Family and Wedding Breakfasts, Luncheons, Dinners, Teas, and Suppers

One of the chief considerations of life is, or ought to be, the food we eat, for our physical well-being depends mainly on diet. The perfect adjustment of diet can only be maintained by a combination of certain factors, of which suitable food and good cooking may be considered the most important.

One important consideration with regard to meals is their regularity, and speaking from the health point of view, it is most essential. A meal that we have waited for an hour too long is often one that we fail to appreciate; and while to the healthy irregularity is dangerous, to the delicate it is injurious. It is not difficult to determine what are the best and most convenient times to take our meals, and when once these hours are fixed, the next thing is to insist on punctuality, not only for those who serve them, but for those for whom they are prepared. Food cooked to a nicety cannot afford to wait good things are spoilt, and waste and discontent are the result, if people are not ready to partake of what is prepared at a given time.

The composition, properties and preparation of food have already been fully treated in preceding chapters, and the following pages will simply convey to the reader a few items of useful information regarding the meals themselves. These necessary particulars should soon become matters of common knowledge, as instruction in every branch of domestic science now forms part of the curriculum of almost every school in the kingdom.

When the laws which govern the application of heat are once grasped, the fundamental difficulties of roasting, boiling, grilling and frying are