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The Compound Foods

( Originally Published 1917 )

We have considered the four types of simple foods--albumens, fats, starches and sugars, and mineral matter—separately. We have now to consider them mingled together in varying proportions in the compound foods in which they occur.


1. The several sorts of butcher's meats.

2. Poultry- and game.

3. Fish.

4. Milk, with its products—butter and cheese.

5. Eggs.

Meat.—Meat is made up of the muscles composed of fibres interlaced with one another and running in a direction easily noticeable in the cut of meat. The tendons, or masses of white, elastic fibres, are also to be seen. Each muscle is surrounded by a whitish membrane which completely envelops it and allows free passage of one muscle over another. In the portions of the meat which are less desirable for food these membranes are thicker, tougher, and more numerous. In the case of domestic animals which have been " stallfed " or artificially fattened, we find deposits of fat over the body. These are not to be seen in the case of game and of animals that have lived free and unrestrained. To show that this absence of fat is the result of muscular activity, we need only cite the case of the pig, which is noted for its fat, and its indolent life.

The flesh of freshly killed animals is hard and tough and becomes even more so under the actiou of heat. After twenty-four hours it is found that the muscular rigidity has disappeared. During this time the small quantity of starchy matter which the flesh contains becomes changed into lactic acid, which permeates the meat and sets up a disintegrating action which renders the meat much more tender. A similar artificial action is carried on in the kitchen, when a piece. of tough meat is macerated for a time in such an acid as vinegar or wine to make it tender.

The chief constituents of meat are: water, albumen, and fat. There is very little starch or sugar; and the salts do not amount to one part in a hundred. The following table illustrates the quantities contained in 100 ounces of meat.


Water Albumen Fat

Beef, very fat 53 17 29

moderately fat 73 21 5

lean 76 21 2

Veal, fat 72 19 7

lean 78 20 1

Mutton, very fat53 16 29

moderately fat 76 17 6

Pork, fat 47 14 37

lean 72 20 7

The most abundant element of meat is water.

Moderately fat or lean meat is nearly three-quarters water,- and one-fifth albumen. The quantity of fat, of course, varies. The three principal foods of animal origin are meat, eggs, and milk. The first two contain only the albumen and fats. Milk alone contains starch or sugar. Thus it can be seen that a diet of meat or eggs will not supply the starch or sugar, and, that to get it, it is necessary to add bread.

With reference to veal, the Germans have a saying: " Kalbfleischist Halbfleisch," that veal is only half a meat. This is prompted by the well-known experience that, as an article of food and nourishment, veal is less satisfying and less lasting than are other meats. The place that albumen takes in other meats is taken by a sort . of gelatine in veal; and gelatine is far inferior to albumen as an article of nutriment.

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