Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/509

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THE INSUFFICIENT USE OF MILK.

is insufficient digestive agency to dispose of it. And, the better the quality of the milk, the more severe the discomfort will be under these conditions,[1]

Milk is insufficiently used in making simple puddings of such farinaceous foods as rice, tapioca, and sago. Distaste for these is engendered very often, I believe, because the milk is stinted in making them, or poor, skimmed milk is used. Abundance of new milk should be employed, and more milk, or cream, should be added when they are taken. In Scottish households this matter is well understood, and a distinct pudding-plate, like a small soup-plate, is used for this course. The dry messes commonly served as milky puddings in England are exactly fitted to create disgust for what should be a most excellent and delicious part of a wholesome dinner for both children and adults.

I am of opinion that much mischief results from the use of condensed milk, called Swiss milk, for children. I think it has a poor nutritive value compared with fresh good milk, and it is simply foolish for people to employ it when they can procure the real article. At sea, or when such milk as can be had is of doubtful quality, there may be just cause for resorting to it, but it is as unwise to employ it when fresh milk is procurable as it is to use extract of beef when freshly made beef-tea can be had. I am aware that some infants will only take condensed milk, and appear to thrive upon it, but I think it is not to be trusted to for the highest nutritional purposes, and it should be discarded as soon as possible. The value of milk for the aged is not appreciated as it should be. If old age is a second childhood, the food for such persons should be that adapted to feeble digestive powers and the edentulous condition.

Many invalids and feeble persons can be induced to take milk with rum in it. This is at times a valuable prescription, but I find that people resort to it without medical advice, and some make it practically a mere excuse for a pernicious form of dram-drinking.

Milk and eggs in the form of custard is of high value. Some invalids, it should be known, can take custard-pudding cold when they can not take it hot, and with salt in it instead of sugar.

To illustrate what should be considered a proper milk-supply for a family and household consisting of ten persons, adults and children, I may state that five quarts per diem is the least quantity that should be consumed for all purposes. Children of any age may very well take a quart a day. If this, or anything approaching this, were the rule, instead of the exception, rickets, in its manifold phases, would be completely banished from this country, and a much higher standard of health and robustness would unquestionably prevail.

  1. The addition of a little carbonate of soda or of lime-water will often enable milk to be better digested. It is sometimes well to eat a dry biscuit and sip the milk between the mouthfuls. For weakly children with whom milk disagrees, good cream, diluted with two or three parts of water, may be often substituted with advantage.