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clams on a bank washed daily by the diluted sewage of a city; yet such is the practice. It is only another case of indifference on the part of the public to what is going on under its eyes. The only safe oyster or clam is one known by the purchaser to have been raised and prepared for market in water free from sewage. If one fears preservatives in barreled oysters, they may be washed and the liquid thrown away.
The best remedy for the condition of the meat market, as well as of the other markets, is to include in all public school education lessons in marketing and the appearance of fresh, untainted, untreated goods, to inculcate an independence which means a selfprotection.
The constant cry for legal protection is a confession of weakness, of indolence, and of lack of fiber to win a way for one's self, which argues ill for the future of the republic. Food is an important element in effective life which should be studied, and to whose safe purchase and wholesome preparation time should be given unstintingly.
Clean markets mean a higher price for products, but the public will support the endeavor just as soon as it is convinced of the necessity and increased value of the materials. Glass cases are now commonly used in the department stores, and thus an effort is made to eliminate some sources of danger present in the markets.
CHAPTER IX PERISHABLE FOODS — VEGETABLES AND FRUITS VEGETABLES are usually understood to include
certain roots and tubers, as the potato, sweet potato, turnip, onion, carrot, parsnip, and beet, with some fruits, as the tomato, squash, and cucumber. These are used in the fresh condition, and are not subject to adulteration. They are largely composed of water, 75 to 95 per cent. The small nutritive value which they possess is due to the starch and sugar, and not to the nitrogenous material, which is present in small quantity only. The percentage of “ash” is higher than in cereals, and contains more potassium salts.
When much salted meat is eaten, fruit and vegetables are very essential correctives of diet on account of the acid and possibly on account of the potassium salts, which are supposed to replace the excess of sodium salts taken with the meat.
The common vegetables, onions, carrots, parsnips, etc, need not be discussed save to emphasize the necessity of cleaning them, and the value of the special substance contained in the diet. They form a large part of the ready diets of the various countries.
Greens, spinach, asparagus, lettuce, celery, and the like, are to be watched for contamination from soil fertilizers and unclean handling. Peas and beans, if purchased shelled, should be washed for the same reasons.
An illustration of possible dangers in the use of uncooked vegetables is found in the prevalence of hook worm disease in Panama, where, owing to the fertilizing with night soil of the ground in which lettuce is grown, the lettuce, after being washed in cold water, must be plunged into hot water and then cooled on ice. In Manila special cleaning of vegetables is needed on account of the dysentery amoeba. Many mysterious cases of disease doubtless arise from eating imperfectly cleaned green foods.
All vegetables which grow in or in contact with the ground, especially today, when spraying with poison is so widely resorted to, should be thoroughly cleaned before cooking. For the same reason currants, gooseberries, and grapes should be washed before eating raw. In short, here, as everywhere, cleanliness is the watchword.
There is little danger in the use of vegetables and fruits as food if they are fresh, not wilted, and are fully grown or ripened. They add a certain bulk to the meal which seems to favor digestion.
The seeds of the Leguminosa, peas, beans, and lentils, may be called meat substitutes, since they contain about 25 per cent of nitrogenous substance, 12 per cent of water, and 50 per cent of starch. As dried seeds they should stand next in importance to the cereals; but since beans and peas especially are eaten green, as vegetables, even more than in the dried state, they cannot be omitted in this list.
This form of food is not sufficiently appreciated, especially by working people. It should be eaten with starch or fat foods. Hence the New England dish of baked beans with pork was a perfectly suitable and well-proportioned food for people whose life was spent largely in the open air in arduous pioneer work. The nutritious seeds are less easily digested than the cereals. The “ash" contains more lime and less phosphates.
The vegetarian and some subtropical peoples obtain their proteid food largely from these foods. The frijoles of the Mexican, the soy bean of the Chinese and Japanese, the lentil of Egypt, and the various European varieties furnish a large portion of mankind with an inexpensive substitute for meat.
The soy, or soja, bean (Glycine hispida or Soja hispida) has several varieties, all native of the East. It is being introduced quite extensively into the United States. It contains a high per cent of proteid, and the carbohydrate seems to be different from the other beans. It furnishes the best source of diabetic food, since starch is entirely absent.
FRUITS Fruits, so called — apple, pear, grape, peach, orange, etc. — contain sugar, instead of the starch of the vegetable, and also an acid which gives a pleasant relish and is a stimulant to the appetite. The general composition of fruits may be stated at 85 per cent water, 8 per cent sugar, and i per cent acid.
The ripening of fruits is a chemical change of the more solid, gummy, or starchy substances to the soluble sugars dissolved in the water juices, for fruits are even higher in water content than milk. The delicate skin of many fruits is readily punctured and access is made easy for micro-organisms always lying in wait, and as soon as the skin becomes cracked decay sets in.
The exposure on the street of fruits, especially those with rough skins or crushable berries, as raspberries, blackberries, etc. — a collecting ground for dust — renders them unfit for food without more thorough washing than they often receive or it is possible to give them. Children who buy and eat them from the stand run great risks, perhaps not from deadly poisons, but of digestive disturbances which may lead to fatal illness. The great increase of fruit on the market is not an unmixed blessing, since a greater amount of damaged fruit finds its way to the tenement house children and is as responsible for illness among those from five to ten years of age as bad milk is for sickness among infants. More careful inspection of fruit is needed.
These facts should lead to a more careful scrutinizing of the fresh fruits, before they are put upon the table, for the micro-organisms which are present upon them.
Apples are the American fruit par excellence. In 1905, 2,000,000,000 bushels of this fruit were marketed. The apple is a smooth-skinned, solid fruit, not easily marred, and therefore readily transported without excessive loss from decay. It may be cleaned so easily that there is no excuse if it causes trouble. It has an agreeable flavor and serves as a condiment to other foods. The old-fashioned process of drying it in thick sections permitted the browning by an enzyme oxadase which