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Our Wartime Kitchen Garden

Our Wartime Kitchen Garden

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Our Wartime Kitchen Garden

Lunghezza:
184 pagine
2 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jan 8, 2021
ISBN:
9781528761826
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

“Our Wartime Kitchen Garden” is a 1917 guide to kitchen gardening and cooking on a budget. Written during World War II, it is aims to provide simple instructions and fantastic money-saving tips for surviving during food shortages and rationing. Cover-to-cover with ingenious ideas, this vintage cookbook will appeal to modern readers with an interest in saving money or being more self-sufficient when it comes to food preparation. Contents include: “Vegetables and Animal Diet”, “Asparagus”, “Culinary Preparation”, “Beans”, “ Culinary Preparation”, “Brassica”, “Culinary Preparation”, “Beetroot”, “Culinary Preparation”, “Carrot”, “Culinary Preparation”, “Celery”, “Culinary Preparation”, “Watercress”, “Culinary Preparation”, etc. Many vintage books such as this are increasingly scarce and expensive. It is with this in mind that we are republishing this volume now in an affordable, modern, high-quality edition complete with a specially-commissioned new introduction on growing vegetables at home.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jan 8, 2021
ISBN:
9781528761826
Formato:
Libro

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Our Wartime Kitchen Garden - Tom Jerrold

APPENDIX

OUR KITCHEN GARDEN.

VEGETABLE AND ANIMAL DIET.

BY many persons the roast beef of Old England has for so many years been looked upon as one of the bulwarks of our superiority over Continental nations, that any suggestion that we might be as valiant, as self-reliant, as pugnacious—in fact, as bull-dogged—a nation, without as with it, is scouted by all who are staunch believers that British beef and British beer are the true foundations of British pluck. If their theory be the correct one, the often talked-about degeneration of the nation is easily accounted for.

Since the days when apprentices trusted to their strong right arms and heavy cudgels to enforce their right, beef has been gradually but surely rising in price; therefore the masses of the people have been forced to live upon very reduced quantities: and should meat rise in price in the future in the same ratio as it has done during the past few years, not only the poorer classes but the large middle class will have to forego their beef, and we may find the great deer parks of our aristocracy turned into grazing grounds for oxen, and a baron of beef looked upon as a more recherché dish than a haunch of venison. But while our butchers’ shops are still garnished with immense legs and mighty sirloins; while the poor may still buy now and again a scrag of mutton or some scraps of beef bone and fat, and flatter themselves they are having a meat dinner; it behoves us to consider whether we should not be as great, as good, and as strong with a less quantity of animal food, and whether—by individual good management in the economy of cooking—we could not contrive to reduce the price of that flesh meat which must be considered as a necessary part of our daily food.

It is an incontrovertible fact that one half the nation consumes as large an excess of animal food as would go a long way towards maintaining in health and strength that other half, which scarcely ever tastes it; therefore, it only requires that those who consume unnecessarily large quantities of animal food should keep their consumption within reasonable bounds, to at once cause a sensible reduction in price. While farmers, graziers, and butchers know that there are thousands of families who will insist upon having a certain amount of beef and mutton each week, no matter at what cost, they are not likely to reduce their prices. But there is no doubt that if these, the great meat-consuming members of the community, would by a judicious introduction of other aliments into their daily bill of fare reduce their consumption of animal food to one-half the present quantity, they would gain in health as well as those who might, under such circumstances, be able to purchase a little bit of those prime parts of meat which are now only seen on the tables of the well-to-do.

The increase of animals is limited by the inexorable laws of nature, within certain bounds; but there is practically no limit to the production of vegetation: each year sees us advance farther and farther in the cultivation of garden esculents, yet it is very questionable whether vegetables now form as large a portion of our daily diet as they did of that of our forefathers.

The cheapening of flour, by the repeal of the Corn Laws, gave an impetus to the wholesale consumption of wheaten bread, which has, in certain respects, been injurious; for when meat is too dear to be within reach of the poor, they fall back almost entirely upon bread, constituting it the main source of their daily alimentation; and this, not because they prefer it to other cheaper and more varied food, but because it is, as they term it, more handy,—that is to say, it saves the house-mother a considerable amount of trouble; indeed, we are inclined to believe that the dread of the trouble involved in the proper preparation of vegetables, has been the great bar to these, the most wholesome and natural part of man’s food, forming their proper proportion of his daily sustenance.

Anyone acquainted with the domestic concerns of the middle classes of English society will acknowledge that the same objections are urged against the more extended and more frequent use of a vegetable diet with them, as with the poor; the latter have some fair show of excuse, for females as well as males have generally to aid in earning money. Among the middle classes it is idleness on the part of the servants, and supineness on the part of the mistresses, which causes an almost total disregard of the value of our cheap and health-sustaining vegetables.

A piece of meat, let it weigh four pounds or forty, requires but little more or less trouble in the roasting or boiling; it is merely a question of fire and time, the expenditure of a greater or less amount of either not much disturbing cook’s equanimity; but only let there be a proposition to prepare a small amount of fresh meat every day, with a fair accompaniment of soup and diverse vegetables for each dinner, and cook will bristle up and vow she cannot remain where them nasty foreign messes are eaten, and all her time taken up cleaning vegetables. The preparation of more than one—the universal potato—or at most two, varieties of vegetable food for one meal is looked upon as an innovation not to be borne; so, for the sake of peace and quiet, the household goes on in the same old way, and the butcher’s bill increases accordingly. Variety in food is as necessary to health as a sufficient quantity; but there are few housekeepers in Britain who exercise their minds in devising new foods, or, rather, new forms and combinations of foods. As a rule, vegetables are greatly ignored—that is to say, few persons think of preparing them as separate dishes to be eaten without meat.

Abroad, cooking is looked upon as an art to be studied and advanced with as much enthusiasm as painting or poetry; in Britain it is looked upon as a matter of household routine, of which the laws and regulations are as immutable and as rigid as those of the Medes and Persians.

Modern research has proved that, as food for man, the animal and vegetable substances so universally employed for that purpose, contain the same elements of nutrition, and that life might be sustained by either. The great difference in their value appears to be, that animal food requires less cooking, provides a greater amount of nutriment in a smaller bulk, and is easier of digestion than vegetable. Dr. Edward Smith considers also that the latter does not excite the vital processes so highly, nor so quickly, as does the former.

Each class of food (animal and vegetable) may be again divided into two great classes, the nitrogenous and non-nitrogenous, the flesh-formers and heat-givers. In the vast variety of vegetables used as food throughout the world, there is necessarily a vast difference in nutritive value, but this is also the case with animal foods, some of which are much more nutritive than others; vegetables, however, possess medicinal as well as nutritive properties: and there can be little doubt that a due proportion of animal and vegetable food in our daily diet is, on the whole, the best as well as the pleasantest fare.

In dividing animal from vegetable food, as two great classes, we of course include in the latter, wheat, and all other cereals consumed as human food, but our subject matter does not include so wide a range. The valuable properties of bread are fully appreciated; the point to which we would draw attention is this, that the cheap, common, succulent vegetables, to be obtained in every town, village, or hamlet, in England, may be converted into food as economical, as wholesome, and almost as nutritious as fresh meat. Fresh vegetables, however, vary greatly in value, but for all practical purposes we may divide them into four large classes: Cereals, such as wheat, rice, &c.; Légumes, when ripe, as peas, lentils, haricots, &c.; Tubers and Boots, such as potatoes, carrots, beets, &c.; and Leaves, Flowers, and Fruit, such as cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, marrows, &c. The Cereals rank first in value as food, the Légumes second, but it is the two last classes, in which are comprised the greater number of our staple vegetables, that we have under consideration. Among these, the potato, although not so rich in nitrogen as some other vegetables, is the most universally eaten, and the most highly esteemed. Its value consists, not in the amount of nourishment it supplies, but in the amount of valuable juices it contains. The comparative analysis of potatoes, turnips, and carrots, given by Dr. Edward Smith, is as follows:—

In one pound of good potatoes there are 760 grains of carbon, and 24 grains of nitrogen. In one pound of Swede turnips there are 304 grains of carbon, and 15.3 grains of nitrogen. In white turnips each pound contains 173 grains of carbon, and 11.2 grains of nitrogen. Carrots contain in each pound, 384 grains of carbon, and 14 grains of nitrogen; and one pound of cabbage contains 420 grains of carbon, and 14 grains of nitrogen, In each pound of beetroot are contained 350 grains of carbon, and 17 1/2 grains of nitrogen. This root, as is well known, is exceedingly rich in sugar, containing a quantity much exceeding that found in carrots or parsnips.

The following comparative analyses of a number of our common vegetables are taken from the works of Dr. Edward Smith and other eminent authorities on the composition of different descriptions of food.

For the following latest analysis we are indebted to the courtesy of Dr. H. C. Bartlett, who has most kindly permitted it to be extracted from his forthcoming work, The Dictionary of Foods.

ASPARAGUS.

OF all the vegetable luxuries grown in our kitchen gardens, there is not one which ranks higher than Asparagus—more esteemed than green peas, because less easily obtained and at greater cost. Asparagus has for a long time, in England, been considered an epicurean dish, only to be obtained by the rich. This has, doubtless, arisen from the common practice of forcing this vegetable for the market, that the bulk of the crop might be sold off before green peas come in, for there is no record, that we are aware of, of this vegetable having been introduced into Britain; indeed, almost all authorities consider it an indigenous plant, and certainly the great quantities growing wild on the sea-coast and in stony places along the south and south-western coasts go far to prove the truth of such a conclusion. Although wild asparagus is plentiful in certain districts, we have no reason for believing that it is made use of by those living in the neigbourhood where it is found; wild asparagus, like many easily obtained delicacies, is doubtless for this reason despised, although Miller, in his dictionary, speaks of some raised by a friend of his from seed, as being exceedingly sweet, and coming into use ten days or a week earlier.

Evelyn, in his Acetaria, mentions asparagus being used as a salad, eaten raw, with oil and vinegar. We can scarcely imagine its being very palatable in this way, and do not think the modern method of cooking the grass could be much improved upon, unless steaming, instead of throwing the young shoots into boiling water, were resorted to; at any rate, our present mode of cooking is made respectable by the antiquity of the course followed—for the Romans, two hundred years before the Christian era, chose the finest heads as we do now, and, as we do, threw them into hot water and allowed them to boil for a few minutes. Nor do we appear to have outrivalled the ancients in the weight of our asparagus; for Pliny speaks of three heads of this vegetable weighing a pound, while Evelyn is greatly astonished at a present made to his wife of some asparagus, the bundle of which contained sixty heads, weighing fifteen pounds.

In Europe the good estimation in which this vegetable is held appears to be universal; the extensive asparagus gardens at Argenteuil, near Paris, have long been famous, and it is said that a similar enterprise started in the vicinity of Brussels, in 1869, bids fair to rival the elder undertaking. In these places asparagus is brought to the very highest state of cultivation possible, size and quality being the great desiderata. In France, asparagus is sometimes grown between the vines. In Russia, where gardening has not yet reached

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