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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/508

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Any one, who knows what is meant by a cup of good tea, knows also that a certain quantity of good cream is an essential ingredient in it. There is, then, an incongruity between the inadequate supply of milk and cream and the free use of wine in such households, and the consequence is a serious nutritional loss to all the members of it.

The question of expense, however, does come to be a consideration in many families who are consistently economical, yet, even here, I maintain that a false economy prevails, if milk be in any degree stinted to their young and growing members.

The poorer classes are greatly starved of milk in the towns. Many among them so seldom get good milk that they acquire gradually a complete distaste for what goes by the name. The same, too, is the case with tea and coffee. The miserable decoctions which, among the poor, pass for these precious beverages, are so far from what they might and should be, that these people are naturally led to the unwholesome substitutions of bad beer and worse gin. A cup of good tea or coffee, with abundant milk in it, is a very unwonted treat and novel experience to the poor. I find much difficulty in enjoining the use of milk among hospital out-patients (and I order nothing so freely), partly, because they are incredulous as to its value; partly, because they can not get enough of it, and when obtained it is so inferior; and also, because they either dislike it, or allege that it disagrees with them. A sickly laborer, for instance, accustomed to sundry pints of beer and "drops" of gin, is aghast at the recommendation to substitute for these a pint or two of milk. Milk is as nauseous for him as his physic, possibly more so.

Now, in the matter of taking milk, there are reasons why this repugnance is felt. We most of us take, and enjoy, that which we have been accustomed to get, and those who have been brought up largely on milk naturally regard it with liking. Thus, the hardy Scotsman or Irishman, who has been well nourished on buttermilk, can well appreciate good milk when it is forthcoming. The southern Englishman is a poor creature in this respect.

Again, milk is a food that should not be taken in copious draughts like beer, or other fluids, which differ from it chemically. If we consider the use of milk in infancy, the physiological ingestion, that is, of it, we find that the sucking babe imbibes little by little the natural food provided for it. Each small mouthful is secured by effort, and slowly presented to the gastric mucous surface for the primal digestive stages. It is thus regularly and gradually reduced to curd, and the stomach is not oppressed with a lump of half-coagulated milk. The same principle should be regarded in the case of the adult. Milk should be slowly taken in mouthfuls, at short intervals, and thus it is rightly dealt with by the gastric juice. If milk be taken after other food, it is almost sure to burden the stomach, and to cause discomfort and prolonged indigestion, and this, for the obvious reason that there