Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/527

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
511
THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.

being probably the material from which the muscle is built up or renewed. The following is their composition, according to Liebig's analyses:

Kreatine. Kreatinine.
Carbon 36·64 42·48
Hydrogen 6·87 6·19
Nitrogen 32·06 37·17
Oxygen 24·43 14·16
———— ————
100·00 100·00

The juices of lean flesh also contain a little lactic acid—the acid of milk—but this does not appear to be an absolutely essential constituent. Besides these there are mineral salts of considerable nutritive importance, though small in quantity. These, with the kreatine and kreatinine, are the chief constituents of beef-tea, properly so called, and will be further treated when I come to that preparation. At present it is sufficient to keep in view the fact that these juices are essential to complete the nutritive value of animal food.

I may now venture to state my own view of a somewhat obscure subject, viz., the difference between the roasting or grilling and the stewing of meat. It appears to me that, with the exception of the superficial "browning," it consists simply in the difference between the cooking media; that a grilled steak or chop or a roasted joint is meat that has been stewed in its own juices instead of stewed in water; that in both cases the changes taking place in the solid parts of the meat are the same in kind, provided always that the roasting or grilling is properly performed. The albumen is coagulated in all cases, and the gelatinous and fibrous tissues are softened by being heated in a liquid solvent. I shall presently apply this definition in distinguishing between good and bad cookery.

In the roasted or grilled meat the juices are retained in the meat (with the exception of that which escapes as gravy on the dish), while in stewing the juices go more or less completely into the water, and the loosening of the fibers and solution of the gelatine and fibrin may be carried further, inasmuch as a larger quantity of solvent is used.

Roasting and grilling may be regarded as our national methods of flesh cookery, and stewing in water that of our Continental neighbors. The difference between the flavor of English roast beef and French bouilli or Italian manzo is due to the retention or the removal of the saline and highly flavored soluble materials. (Concentrated kreatine and kreatinine are pungently sapid.) The Frenchman takes them out of his bouilli, or boiled meat, and transfers them to his bouillon, or soup, which with him is an essential element of a meal. If he ate his meat without soup, he would be like the dogs fed on gelatine by the bone-soup commissioners. To the Englishman, with his roast or grilled