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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/915

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GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON VEGETABLES

but they are not as well flavoured as the fresh vegetable. Granulated potato, sold in packets, is a preparation that is useful in the same way. It only requires to have boiling water poured on it, and in ten minutes is ready to serve as mashed potato, or to be made into fritters, etc. Potatoes, like other vegetables, however, are now sliced, and "evaporated" or dried.

Pulses afford the most nourishing food that we know. Lentils, beans, and peas in point of nourishment stand in the order in which we have placed them, though very near together, lentils heading the list with 14 per cent. of water and 24 per cent. of casein. The well-known Ravelenta Arabica contains lentil flour, generally mixed with barley or other meal, and salt. But it is sold at many times the price of any of its ingredients. The celebrated sausage served out to the German troops during the war of 1870-71, was made of peas, bacon and onions. Each one weighed a pound, and could be made into soup or eaten in sausage form. They were easily carried and kept, and contained the requisite proportions of the various kinds of food, but we are told that the men tired of it in a few days. It appears to be the fact that the pulses cannot be used as the only flesh-forming food, and taken even in moderation they disagree with some persons. Generally, however, they are relished if so prepared that the tough skin is removed, and for this reason there is no way of cooking them more suitable than as purée soups, where they require for nourishment's sake no addition of meat, owing to the amount of albuminoid, which is far greater than in meat itself. They do require added fat. Green peas are more digestible, but less nourishing, than dried or full-grown peas, which require prolonged boiling to make them digestable. Bi-carbonate of soda, usually added to green vegetables to preserve the colour, at the same time softens the cellulose. Consequently it is a useful addition to old green peas, or to any of the dried pulses.

Many varieties of dried beans are sold, and all, considered as food, have much the same value. French beans are eaten in an unripe state, pod and young seeds together, in which state they more nearly approach to other green vegetables than to the dried pulses.

Lentils are of two kinds, the orange-coloured Egyptian and the browner German lentil. The former is cheaper, the latter better flavoured.

Pea and lentil flour is often adulterated with other flour, which diminishes it's food value.

Salads generally contain no flesh-forming or heat-giving material, but they are valuable because they introduce into the system large quantities of saline matter, which is generally removed from vegetables in the process of cooking. Their value in this way to the poorer inhabitants of our towns is scarcely to be over-rated. Sufficient care is not, however, always bestowed upon cleansing them, and there is