Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/379

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THE Englishman is very conservative in his ideas and averse to change in his mode of life, at all events so far as his diet is concerned, and it would not be going too far to say that he is averse to change even where the change is for his good in this respect. The manners and customs of generations gone by with regard to eating and drinking, are the manners and customs of the present age, with this exception that, of course, the refinements of cookery have brought into requisition many delicacies in the way of dishes unknown to our forefathers. The maid of honor in these days does not drink, or have allowed her, a gallon of ale, as did those of the time of "Good Queen Bess," for her breakfast (it is to be hoped she did not consume it), for she now drinks tea or coffee, then unknown. But though her appetite may be the same as in those days, and doubtless even in maids of honor is, custom has altered its constituents. The exigencies of season compel the individual to dress differently winter and summer, so as to equalize the warmth of the body; and to a certain extent most people do this, but it is very apparent that it is the discomfort of feeling the cold that induces them to put on in winter a different kind of dress to that worn in summer. A man would look very absurd if during the summer and the hot months he was seen out wrapped in furs and thick clothing; but though, as I have pointed out in one or two former papers on diet, the heat of the body is better and more perfectly equalized by the food that is taken than by its external covering in the way of clothes, few people adapt their diet to any particular season of the year or its temperature. The ordinary individual eats the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner in spring, summer, autumn, and winter—the same routine of bread, meat, puddings—and the majority of the more wealthy classes consume almost identically the same food, only, perhaps, more delicately manipulated in our time by culinary art. It does not seem to enter into the calculations of the middle-class cook, or the aristocratic chef, that there is such a thing as the physiology of dietetics. His aim seems to be to furnish a substantial or delicate meal, pleasant to the palate, utterly regardless of the dietetic value of its constituents, and whether they are more particularly adapted to hot or cold weather. Eating is considered by many, whose intellectual attainments ought to teach them better, almost a religious duty, an irksome one, it is true, as some would say, but one that necessity compels them to perform. My own opinion is that the physiology of food should be taught the rising generation as an