« ForrigeFortsett »
tation days came machine-polished rice, and the center of the rice industry was transferred to Louisiana and Texas by the discovery of artesian wells in those states.
“The machine-polished rice that we buy in this country today is, as every one knows, a truly beautiful thing to look at, but as tasteless as the paste that a paper hanger brushes on his rolls of wall paper. The leather rollers of the machine not only rub off all the fine outer layer of nutritious matter, and with it the part that gives flavor to the kernels, but they often break the long, slender grains that characterize the famous Carolina golden rice. This breakage is so great that the Louisiana growers begged for assistance, and the new Office of Plant Introduction sent Dr. S. A. Knapp to Japan in search of a short-kerneled variety that would not break in the milling process. Today Dr. Knapp declares that one-half of all the rice grown in Louisiana and Texas is the Kiushu rice that had its origin in the introduction made in 1899.
“This new rice has reduced the breakage from forty to ten per cent, and has at the same time brought into culture a more productive rice. It has not done away with the pernicious practice of polishing, but an interest in the unpolished rice has lately been aroused that, it is hoped, will lead to the abandonment of a practice which robs the buyer of nearly all of the flavoring matter of the rice and leaves only the starchy portion. It is a disgrace that the most intelligent nation in the world should be so ignorant of the food value of the crop on which more people live than on any other, that they should insist on having their rice made as shiny as polished glass beads, although in so doing they are throwing away the best part of it. No rice-eating people treat their rice as we do, and it is to be hoped that the small markets that have been started for the unpolished rice will lead to a general propaganda in its favor.” 1
Oatmeal is prepared from two species, Avena sativa and Avena orientalis, which belong to the same natural order as wheat. This grain grows best in a cool, moist climate. Its native country is not known with certainty. There is evidence that the plant was known in Britain in 1296, and mention is made of the use of oatmeal porridge as an article of food in 1596. In 1698 the consumption of oatmeal was second only to barley, but wheat has gradually taken its place in Southern England. By kiln-drying and removing the husk, groats or grits are obtained, which, when ground, yield oatmeal. The husk is not as completely removed as in the case of rice, and the meal is not as white as wheat meal. Although it contains a large proportion of nitrogenous matter, it is not in the form of the tenacious gluten of wheat ; hence it will not make light or porous bread. Oatmeal is not as easily digested as wheat flour, and as a staple article of diet it is best suited to persons who are much in the open air ; but a portion of the morning meal may advantageously be of this very nutritious grain. Blyth says that in England it is sometimes adulterated with barley meal.
1 National Geographic Magazine, April, 1906.
Maize (Zea mays) is remarkable in the order of grasses for the large size of its grains, and for the heads into which they are collected. It grows wild in the neighborhood of Mexico and in tropical America, and has now been introduced into every quarter of the globe, though it cannot be relied upon as a field crop in Great Britain. It has been said that what wheat is in Europe and rice in Asia, maize is in America.
Maize, or Indian corn, as it is called in the United States, was not much consumed in England until the year of the potato famine, in 1846, when hominy was imported. Now millions of pounds are annually imported, chiefly from the Black and Mediterranean Sea borders. It is the leading cereal crop in the United States, four times as much as wheat being grown. It is an excellent food, easily digested and very nutritious.
It is much used for the preparation of starch and for “infants' foods." The starch is separated, and used in place of the more costly arrowroot. It is used in the manufacture of glucose, whisky, etc, and is fed to animals.
As a food rye possesses advantages which entitle it to a more careful cultivation and a wider use. It is less irritating to the digestive tract than wheat, and its flavor in combination with other grains would give a greater variety of breads.
Rye (Secale cerale) is nearly allied to wheat. The grains are smaller, and the flour not so white. It is
very rich in nitrogenous substances. It grows a little farther north than wheat flourishes, and it thrives on a sandy soil too poor for any other grain. The bread made from rye flour is not so white and light as that made from wheat flour, but it is extensively used in Europe. The chief objection to its use is, that it is liable to be injured by a fungus, which produces an appearance like a spur, and which is called ergot. If these swelled grains are ground with the others, the flour is rendered unwholesome and even dangerous.
Wheat flour is prepared from the seeds of Triticum sativum. The cultivation of wheat has superseded that of all other grains in climates where it will thrive (in the temperate zone as far as 60° north), but in the Middle Ages it was food for the wealthy classes only. Its use has been constantly on the increase, until it is now food for all classes.
The reason seems to be, that bread made from it has no unpleasant or pronounced taste, so that the most fastidious palate does not become weary of it, and has a light, spongy, or porous character, quite peculiar to the wheat loaf. This adapts it for ready digestion, and is due to the peculiar nature of gluten, which in good flour is very elastic, and when the moistened dough is compressed causes it to spring back again to its place.
The quality of the prepared flour is dependent upon the variety of wheat, the curing of the ripened grain, and the process of grinding.
There are two kinds of wheat, the hard and the soft, which are referred to in the description of the grinding.
The curing of wheat is of the utmost importance, for if the grain is allowed to become damp and moldy a disagreeable flavor will be communicated to the flour.
Among other quick methods of producing effects formerly gained only by time is that of aging flour by electricity
This bleaches the flours, and may permit of the admixture of a less white or lower grade flour. According to an advertisement in a recent issue of the Modern Miller, two-thirds of the flour manufactured in the United States is so aged. Such flour appears to give a test for nitrites by the method used for water.
For grinding two processes are used, which are known as high and low milling. In early times the kernels were brayed in a mortar, and later they were ground between stones. Low milling is a grinding between two large, round stones, one or both revolving at so small a distance from each other as to crush the kernels, which are caught, as it were, by radial grooves in the stones. The wheat is often moistened in grinding, as it is thought to be more readily crushed. The heat developed is considerable, so that the temperature of the flour as it comes from the stones is about 120° F. The heating, and the grinding of a portion of the husk so fine that it sifts with the body of the grain, are the chief objections to this method.
It is thought that the heat may change somewhat the character of the gluten, rendering it less tenacious, and so the flour less fit for the making of light bread. The action is purely a single crushing, and was used for the softer kinds of wheat. High milling, which is a succession of