Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/136

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

ous styles of the present. The old colonial houses are considered as in all "the best examples built upon classic lines, with a classic base for all their details and classic feeling in all their outlines," but the author concludes that "in the planning, designing, and building of the moderate-cost suburban villa of to-day the American architect has no equal. His work (that is, his best work) is well above and beyond any period of the school anywhere." A chapter by Donald G. Mitchell on Country Houses follows—a theme which was congenial to the author's taste, and is treated by him as if it were, and is not in disaccord with Mr. Price's Suburban Houses; for while Mr. Mitchell insists the more emphatically that bis country house shall be a real home, Mr. Price evidently regards his suburban house in the same light; but Mr. Mitchell's houses are all, or nearly all, old-fashioned and also old. The best treatment of Small Country Places is described by Samuel Parsons, Jr., and the Advantages and Operations of Building and Loan Associations are explained by W. A. Linn.

A Handbook of Invalid Cooking. By Mary A. Boland, Instructor in Cooking in the Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses. New York: The Century Company. Pp. 323.

This volume has an attractive aspect, more than a soupçon of science, and a flavor of good sense. It is intended to fill a need in the training of nurses for more exact direction in cookery, for some knowledge of the chemistry involved, and for a better comprehension of the precautions necessary to secure healthful food. The first part is devoted to preliminary lessons. These deal with chemical and physical changes, the composition of the body, the general constituents of food, and the important topics air, water, milk, digestion, and nutrition.

In the dissertation on milk, directions are given for testing its acidity, finding its specific gravity, per cent of fat, and methods of sterilization are carefully explained.

In the article on nutrition it is stated that the noblest thoughts and most original ideas do not come from an underfed or dyspeptic individual. This certainly ought to be the case, but the shades of Carlyle, Heine, and a host of their ilk would confront us if we affirmed this to be a matter of fact. If, as the author claims, material substances produced as exact results in the chemical physiology of the body as they do in the laboratory, we should understand many metabolic processes that are now inexplicable. Starch and albumin sometimes remain starch and albumin in spite of all digestive juices to the contrary. When the nerves cry "Halt!" the solvents and acids obey. We recognize this inhibitory action if we follow the suggestion to "serve chocolate in dull red." By pleasing the nerves of sight, we strive to put the body in good nervous condition. It is, however, acknowledged that "it can not be said that any particular kind of food will ultimately produce a poem!"

The second part of the book offers a collection of recipes and menus suited to invalids, with special consideration of serving, feeding of children, and district nursing. The recipes are well chosen and, for the most part, clearly given. In the introduction the author complains that the majority of cook-books do not furnish intelligible aid, and it is sad to see that she does not improve upon their example. Three recipes for cake are given, and two of these direct the use of an ingredient whose quantity is not mentioned in the formula. In addition to this, it is doubtful whether unfledged cooks will handle successfully unmixed soda and cream of tartar; a good baking powder is much safer and simpler.

There are many hints for gratifying æsthetic tastes in the article on serving. In the feeding of children the naïve question is asked why a child should thrive best upon mother's milk, and it is answered that it is, no doubt, because micro-organisms are found in cow's milk. Sterilized milk may reduce the chances of disease a hundredfold, yet it can not be adapted to a human child as well as the fluid provided by the cunning chemistry of Nature. As well introduce artificial sap into a flower and query why the tints are not true. This leads us to what we deem an important omission in the book—there is no chapter on the nourishment of mothers. If mothers were adequately and properly fed, the preparation of artificial food for infants would need little attention.