Whole Wheat Bread - The Staff Of Life
( Originally Published 1922 )
Most important of all the foods which go on your table is your bread. Three times every day it forms a part of your menu. Each and every member of your family consumes more of it than of any other single article of food. And from no other single article of food could they derive more nourishment, more of the blood-making, tissue-building elements, provided that this bread were made from whole wheat flower. Honest flour made from the whole grain with nothing added and nothing taken away. And such bread cannot be bought in the bakers' shops.
The problem of making your own bread is not a pleasant one to consider, and yet since we now know that it means health to our children, let us face the problem directly. To keep them sturdy they must have whole wheat. Since we cannot buy it what are we to do If it came to a choice between nursing the children through an illness or managing the bread problem we would not hesitate. Yet that is precisely what it amounts to.
The occasional whole wheat muffins or gems will not do. It is the everyday bread which counts; the steady continuous building, the building which spells resistance to disease.
Mothers: If the children have plenty of whole wheat bread and milk and nothing else you need not worry.
And the reason is this:—Wheat contains every element which the body needs IN THE RIGHT PRO-PORTIONS. Undoubtedly these elements are de signed and proportioned by an All Wise Providence.
The amazing fact is that nature picks with such a nicety that if any of the mineral elements are re-moved she rejects the others in like proportion.
For example:—If only one-half the required amount of phosphorus is left in the flour she can use only one-half the iron, manganese, etc. If only one-tenth of any one mineral is left she can use only one-tenth of all the others.
This same law governs plants as well as animals. No matter how rich a soil may be in iron or calcium, etc., if it is poor in phosphorus or potassium the plant selects and uses the former in proportion with the available quantities of the latter and thrives well or ill, accordingly.
None of us possesses such knowledge of the mysterious workings of nature as to be able with all our intelligence to select and proportion our foods as nature herself proportions them. (Who knows where to get the exact mineral balance to make up the deficiency in white flour?)
Wheat is nature's own formula—a perfect food. Bread made from all wheat is verily "The Staff of Life."
Shall we give our children a hollow porous staff or a solid sturdy one? Shall we let them grow frail and susceptible, or shall we steadily and continuously build up their resistance?
A MOTHER WHO WON
Apropos of this steady, continuous building let me tell you the story of one little woman who made the fight and won.
Mrs. F. C. Wheeler came to New York City about seven years ago. She was then the mother of three little girls (aged 7, 4 and 2). The fact that she was educated to the finishing point did not deter her from doing most of her own work and reveling in the joy of it. The happiness of an all-abiding love and her three precious kiddies made the monotonous grind a song. Some day, of course, Mr. F. C. was going to have a million dollars—but meanwhile here was Today with all its unpurchasable joy and busy-ness.
Believing in the value of the home product Mrs. Wheeler had just succeeded in making white bread of the finest and most perfect quality when Mr. McCann arrived on the scene.
What a lucky lady she was to have known him as a lifelong friend and thus to have derived the benefit not only of his fund of knowledge but of his very personal interest.
But she didn't want to listen to his gospel. Her household was running smoothly, as a result of her intelligence. Why should she upset it all change the whole system just to follow a fad`? She wouldn't, that was all and she turned a deaf ear.
But he forced her to. Her children were very frail in spite of her care. The frequency of colds and sore throats and sudden temperatures was a source of worry.
During one of these illnesses Mr. McCann made a special trip to her home. He appealed to her intelligence and presented his arguments. He preached the gospel of whole wheat and from the numerous incidents of his experience gave to her proof after proof that on this one perfect article of food alone her children could be made strong. He asked her to try it for one year. No longer if she were not then convinced. She promised.
Her intelligence and her mother's heart decided that her children were entitled to sturdy bodies and that if any extra effort on her part could give them that boon, then sturdy bodies they would have. She would make whole wheat bread.
Her promise was given not only to Mr. McCann but to herself. And having been given it was kept not half way, nor once in a while but completely and faithfully as all promises should be kept. The reward is hers.
One hundred per cent whole wheat flour is obtainable in New York so Mrs. Wheeler did not have that stumbling block to overcome. With 100 per cent flour she made whole wheat bread.
But not so easily as that sentence sounds. Oh, no! Her first batches were total failures. Five of them. The sixth they managed to consume—but it was not, good. She tried mixing some white flour with the whole wheat (as almost everyone does) and in this way managed to make a very good bread. But it was not what she had set out to do.
She had promised whole wheat.
Accordingly she experimented and gradually worked out a recipe which is perfect: For six years she has made bread from this recipe. She never varies it and it never fails. But Mrs. Wheeler was not satisfied with bread alone. She made a clean sweep. White flour was practically banished from her household. Her muffins, waffles, cookies, even pie crust are made of whole wheat. The recipes for all are given here after having been tested by the writer and found to work equally well in strange hands as in Mrs. Wheeler's.
Since this innovation of whole wheat four more little girls have come to the Wheeler household (there being a five-year-old pair of twins for good measure), and if you doubt at all the value of whole . wheat as a safeguard against frailty I wish you could see those kiddies—seven in all ranging in age from fourteen to three. Not fat--oh no—just sturdy and colorful and pictures of riotous health. They al-most never see a doctor and dentist's bills are unknown, though previous to their whole wheat diet they all had crumbly teeth.
Seven little girls and no cascara bottle in the house! Seven little girls and never a case of tonsilitis nor any other illness—save a slight cold—in seven years! And don't forget that the first three were frail and susceptible six years ago.
Mrs. Wheeler told me of the very great difference in her own physical condition at the time these last babies came, of the splendid condition of her own teeth and many other proofs which make her bless the day she learned the value of whole wheat.
But we will all admit that much of the credit is due to Mrs. Wheeler's own courage. She persisted until she won,—and she made her change complete.
As she won—so can you.
From all sides we hear that excellent bread cannot be made from 10o per cent wheat flour. Good bread which tastes good. Mrs. Wheeler's bread proves that this is not true. It is the best bread I have ever eaten.
Try it—and work out the plan for your own household. If you have a maid can't you bribe her? Surely the promise of a definite sum in extra pay will sweeten the request for the extra work. If you are your own maid—let something else go and give the kiddies a chance at the genuine Staff of Life. Build up their resistance. Bread alone will do it.
Perhaps you might find some capable woman who at a fair price would bake the bread for, your neighborhood or your friends. By doing this you would be spreading the good work.