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countries. The seed, when stripped of its indigestible husk, which composes about 20 per cent of it, is rich in food material. It is often adulterated with cheaper flour. Of 107 samples examined by Winton in 1900, twenty-six contained wheat flour or middlings, nine maize flour, and nine contained them both. The prepared or self-raising buckwheats are usually mixtures of flours with baking powder.
STARCHES, ETC. The prepared starches are purified, so that they contain little else than pure starch, and thus are not capable of sustaining life by themselves. Starch may be derived from the cereal grains mentioned before, or from tubers or roots, as the potato, arrowroot, and manihot or yucca, which yields farina and tapioca, and from the stems of plants, as the sago palm.
Cornstarch is much used in the United States as an article of diet. Farina is another name for a preparation from the starch of maize or wheat, which now takes the place of the farina of manihot.
Genuine macaroni, spaghetti, and vermicelli are made from wheat rich in gluten, and hence are nutritious, but not more rich than some other wheat preparations. Imitations are made from a less rich flour colored with saffron or other yellow coloring matter.
Arrowroot is derived from plants of the genus Maranta, of the West India Islands and tropical America, the chief species being M. arundinacea. The earliest recorded notice of the plant, the knowledge of which was obtained from South American
Indians, refers to the supposed virtue possessed by its roots as an antidote to poisoned arrows; and it probably derives its name from this. Arrowroot was introduced into England about the beginning of the last century; but its use has been largely superseded by that of cornstarch.
These foods for infants and invalids need attention on account of misrepresentations and the fact that physicians ignorantly prescribe, or at least do not forbid the use of, those which are far from what they profess to be. Some of them are simply starchy mixtures, more or less cooked, but not converted.
The milk foods are dried milk, usually too low in fat, Nestlé's Food being the only exception.
Mellin's Food is the only food which does not contain starch, but this is too low in fat and should be given with cream.
McGill, Canadian Department of Inland Revenue, Bulletin 59.
Horlick's Malted Milk, Lactated Food, and Reid and Carnrick's Baby Food are mixtures of which the first has the least starch.
BREAD AND CRACKERS Bread and crackers are so largely purchased that attention should be given to clean manufacture. A poster recently displayed showing a boy and girl hugging in their arms several loaves of unwrapped bread, some of which must fall to the ground before many steps, illustrates the careless handling of cooked foods. There is far more danger to health in this direction than in the possible use of alum or ammonia by a few bakers.
The light weight loaf, “proofed” to an excessive size, furnishes less nutrition than the buyer supposes.
The cracker manufacturer needs to be watched as to quality of ingredients and care in handling, especially since his products are so largely used by children.
COMPOSITION OF THE PRINCIPAL CEREAL GRAINS TABULATED BY
VILLIER AND COLLIN 1
under the breakistances
SUGAR THE word sugar, probably of Sanskrit origin, is
now used to designate a class of substances possessing a sweet taste and capable of breaking up into alcohol and carbon dioxide under the influence of ferments, such as yeast.
Common sugar is called cane sugar, because it is obtained principally from the sugar cane, a tall grass, Saccharum officinarum, a native of Southern Asia. It is the sweetest of all the sugars, and is technically called sucrose. It has been known from the earliest historic times. Some early writers spoke of it as “honey made from reeds without bees.”
According to Albertus Agnensis, as stated by Muspratt, in the time of the Crusades sweet honeyed canes were found in great quantity in the meadows near Tripoli in Syria, which reeds were called zucra. The plant was cultivated, and when ripe it was bruised in mortars, the strained juice set by in vessels “till concreted in the form of snow, or white salt; this, when scraped, they mix with bread, or rub it in water and take it as pottage, and it is to them more wholesome and pleasing than the honey of bees.”
The sucrose of commerce is also obtained from the beet, the palm, and the maple tree, and from another grass, Sorghum saccharatum.