Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/707

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ested in an attempt which is being made by Messrs. Nelson, of Warwick, to introduce as cheap articles of food the inventions of our late friend Mr. J. R. Johnson, which are really properly made bouillon, and purée, and other soups in the form of dry chips. From a package of one of these preparations, which may be easily carried in a corner of the waistcoat-pocket, an excellent mess of bouillon or potage may be got in a few minutes with the help of a little water and fire, and I can easily see that the invalid and the working-man will both of them be great gainers in the matter of proper food, as well as in pocket, when this discovery is taken advantage of.

M. I, too, have been greatly interested in the articles to which you refer. I have tried the specimens which have been sent to me, and I highly approve of them. I think, indeed, that their introduction to the public marks a new epoch in the proper feeding of our countrymen, and that they will be made still more suitable for food when they are enriched to some extent by some form of fatty matter. I know how difficult it is to convince the poor of this country that all food is little more than padding except steaks, and chops, and cuts out of joints; and it will be long, I fear, before they can be persuaded to avail themselves of these preparations, or to learn to make for themselves the pot-au-feu of our neighbors across the Channel.

C. What else have you to say in the way of criticism about my unfortunate breakfast?

M. Only a word or two about bread and other farinaceous articles of food, and about the reason which made me prefer my gelatinous galantine of veal to your cold sirloin of beef. I think that bread may still be very properly spoken of as "the staff of life," and that other farinaceous articles of food may very properly be admitted into the same category with bread. The composition of wheaten-flour—which is more or less that of all flour prepared from cereal grain (oats, rye, barley, maize, rice, and the rest), and of leguminose seeds or pulse (peas, beans, lentils), and also of potatoes and some other tubers and roots—according to Dr. Letheby, is:

Nitrogenous matter 10·8
Fatty matter 2·0
Carbo-hydrates (starch, sugar, and the rest) 70·5
Mineral matter 1·7
Water 15·0

The nitrogenous matter consists of vegetable fibrine, albumen, and gluteine in the rough form of gluten. The fatty matter is in no way peculiar. The non-nitrogenous carbo-hydrates are starch, dextrine, sugar, gum, cellulose, and lignine—starch chiefly. The mineral articles comprise phosphates of lime and magnesia, salts of potash, and soda, and silica. Leguminose seeds or pulse contain as much as from twenty-five to thirty per cent of nitrogenous matter, mainly in a form