Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/273

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THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.

of State and municipal legislation throughout the country and the enactment of uniform laws that, while securing the adequate protection of the public, would no longer embarrass by needless and unreasonable requirements the manufacture and sale of articles in universal demand.

 

THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.
By W. MATTIEU WILLIAMS.

LI.—MALTOSE AS A COOKING AGENT.

A FEW years ago the "farmer's friends" were very sanguine on the subject of using malt as a cattle-food, and at agricultural meetings throughout the country the iniquitous malt-tax was eloquently denounced because it stood in the way of the great fodder-reform. The malt-tax was repealed, and the subject fell out of sight and hearing immediately thereafter. Why was this?

The idea of malt-feeding was theoretically sound. By the malting of barley or other grain its diastase is made to act upon its insoluble starch, and to convert it more or less completely into soluble dextrine, a change which is absolutely necessary as a part of the business of digestion. Therefore, if you feed cattle on malted grain instead of raw grain, you supply them with a food so prepared that a part of the business of digestion is already done for them, and their nutrition is thereby advanced.

From what I am able to learn, the reason why this hopeful theory has not been carried out is simply that it does not "pay." The advantage to the cattle is not sufficient to remunerate the farmer for the extra cost of the malted food.

This may be the case with oxen, but it does not follow that it should be so with human beings. Cattle feed on grass, mangel-wurzels, etc., in their raw state, but we can not; and, as I have already shown, we are not even graminivorous as they are—we can not digest raw wheat, barley, oats, or maize.

We can not do this because we are not supplied with such natural grinding apparatus as they have in their mouths, and we have a much smaller supply of saliva, besides a shorter alimentary canal.

We can easily supply our natural deficiencies in the matter of grinding, and do so in our flour-mills; but at first thought the idea of finding an artificial substitute for saliva does not recommend itself. When, however, it is understood that the chief active principle of the saliva so closely resembles the diastase of grain that it has received the name of animal diastase, and is probably the same compound, the aspect of the problem changes.

Not only is this the case with the secretion from the glands sur-