CHAPTER. V. Of the great importance of making soldiers eat together in regular messes. The influence of such economical arrangements extends even to the moral character of those who are the objects of them. Of the expence of feeding soldiers in messes. Of the surprising smallness of the expence of feeding the poor at Munich. Specific proposals respecting the feeding of the poor in Great Britain, with calculations of the expense, at the present prices of provisions.
CHAPTER. VI. Of INDIAN CORN. It affords the cheapest and most nourishing food known. Proofs that it is more nourishing than rice. Different ways of preparing or cooking it. Computation of the expense of feeding a person with it, founded on experiment. Approved Receipt for making an INDIAN PUDDING.
CHAPTER. VII. Receipts for preparing various Kinds of cheap Food. Of MACCARONI. Of POTATOES. Approved receipts for boiling potatoes. Of potatoe puddings. Of potatoe dumplings. Of boiled potatoes with a sauce. Of potatoe salad. Of BARLEY Is much more nutritious than wheat. Barley meal, a good substitute for pearl barley, for making soups. General directions for preparing cheap soups. Receipt for the cheapest soup that can be made. Of SAMP Method of preparing it Is an excellent Substitute for Bread. Of brown Soup. Of RYE BREAD.
It is a common saying, that necessity is the mother of invention; and nothing is more strictly or more generally true. It may even be shown, that most of the successive improvements in the affairs of men in a state of civil society, of which we have any authentic records, have been made under the pressure of necessity; and it is no small consolation, in times of general alarm, to reflect upon the probability that, upon such occasions, useful discoveries will result from the united exertions of those who, either from motives of fear, or sentiments of benevolence, labour to avert the impending evil.
The alarm in this country at the present period, on account of the high price of corn, and the danger of a scarcity, has turned the attention of the Public to a very important subject, THE INVESTIGATION OF THE SCIENCE OF NUTRITION;—a subject so curious in itself, and so highly interesting to mankind, that it seems truly astonishing it should have been so long neglected:— but in the manner in which it is now taken up, both by the House of Commons, and the Board of Agriculture, there is great reason to hope that it will receive a thorough scientific examination; and if this should be the case, I will venture to predict, that the important discoveries, and improvements, which must result from these enquiries, will render the alarms which gave rise to them for ever famous in the annals of civil society.
Great importance of the subject under consideration. Probability that water acts a much more important part in nutrition than has hitherto been generally imagined. Surprisingly small quantity of solid food necessary, when properly prepared, for all the purposes of nutrition. Great importance of the art of cookery. Barley remarkably nutritive when properly prepared. The importance of culinary processes for preparing food shown from the known utility of a practice common in some parts of Germany of cooking for cattle. Difficulty of introducing a charge of cookery into common use. Means that may be employed for that purpose.
There is, perhaps, no operation of Nature, which falls under the cognizance of our senses, more surprising, or more curious, than the nourishment and growth of plants, and animals; and there is certainly no subject of investigation more interesting to mankind.—As providing subsistence is, and ever must be, an object of the first concern in all countries, any discovery or improvement by which the procuring of good and wholesome food can be facilitated, must contribute very powerfully to increase the comforts, and promote the happiness of society.
That our knowledge in regard to the science of nutrition is still very imperfect, is certain; but, I think there is reason to believe, that we are upon the eve of some very important discoveries relative to that mysterious operation.
Since it has been known that Water is not a simple element, but a COMPOUND, and capable of being decomposed, much light has been thrown upon many operations of nature which formerly were wrapped up in obscurity. In vegetation, for instance, it has been rendered extremely probable, that water acts a much more important part than was formerly assigned to it by philosophers. —That it serves not merely as the VEHICLE of nourishment, but constitutes at least one part, and probably an essential part, of the FOOD of plants.—That it is decomposed by them, and contributes MATERIALLY to their growth;—and that manures serve rather to prepare the water for decomposition, than to form of themselves—substantially, and directly—the nourishment of the vegetables.
Now, a very clear analogy may be traced, between the vegetation and growth of plants, and the digestion and nourishment of animals; and as water is indispensably necessary in both processes, and as in one of them, (vegetation,) it appears evidently to serve as FOOD;—why should we not suppose it may serve as food in the other?—There is, in my opinion, abundant reason to suspect that this is really the case; and I shall now briefly state the grounds upon which this opinion is founded.— Having been engaged for a considerable length of time in providing Food for the Poor at Munich, I was naturally led, as well by curiosity as motives of economy, to make a great variety of experiments upon that subject; and I had not proceeded far in my operations, before I began to perceive that they were very important;—even much more so than I had imagined.
The difference in the apparent goodness, of the palatableness, and apparent nutritiousness of the same kinds of Food, when prepared of cooked in different ways, struck me very forcibly; and I constantly found that the richness or QUALITY of a soup depended more upon a proper choice of the ingredients, and a proper management of the fire in the combination of those ingredients, than upon the quantity of solid nutritious matter employed;—much more upon the art and skill of the cook, than upon the amount of the sums laid out in the market.
I found likewise, that the nutritious of a soup, or its power of satisfying hunger, and affording nourishment, appeared always to be in proportion to its apparent richness or palatableness.
But what surprised me not a little, was the discovery of the very small quantity of SOLID FOOD, which, when properly prepared, will suffice to satisfy hunger, and support life and health; and the very trifling expence at which the stoutest, and most laborious man may, in any country, be fed.
After an experiment of more than five years in feeding the Poor at Munich during which time every experiment was made that could be devised, not only with regard to the choice of the articles used as Food, but also in respect to their different combinations and proportions; and to the various ways in which they could be prepared or cooked; it was found that the CHEAPEST, most SAVOURY, and most NOURISHING Food that could be provided, was a soup composed of PEARL BARLEY, PEASE, POTATOES, CUTTINGS OF FINE WHEATEN BREAD, vinegar—salt and water in certain proportions.
The method of preparing this soup is as follows; The water and the pearl barley are first put together into the boiler and made to boil; the pease are then added, and the boiling is continued over a gentle fire about two hours;—the potatoes are then added, (having been previously peeled with a knife, or having been boiled, in order to their being more easily deprived of their skins,) and the boiling is continued for about one hour more, during which time the contents of the boiler are frequently stirred about with a large wooden spoon, or ladle, in order to destroy the texture of the potatoes, and to reduce the soup to one uniform mass.—When this is done, the vinegar and the salt are added; and last of all, at the moment it is to be served up, the cuttings of bread.
The soup should never be suffered to boil, or even to stand long before it is served up after the cuttings of bread are put into it. It will, indeed, for reasons which will hereafter be explained, be best never to put the cuttings of bread into the boiler at all, but, (as is always done at Munich,) to put them into the tubs in which the soup is carried from the kitchen into the dining-hall; pouring the soup hot from the boiler upon them; and stirring the whole well together with the iron ladles used for measuring out the soup to the Poor in the hall.
It is of more importance than can well be imagined, that this bread which is mixed with the soup should not be boiled. It is likewise of use that it should be cut as fine or thin as possible; and if it be dry and hard, it will be so much the better.
The bread we use at Munich is what is called semel bread, being small loaves, weighing from two to three ounces; and as we receive this bread in donations from the bakers, it is commonly dry and hard, being that which, not being sold in time, remains on hand, and becomes stale and unsaleable; and we have found by experience, that this hard and stale bread answers for our purpose much better than any other, for it renders mastication necessary; and mastication seems very powerfully to assist in promoting digestion: it likewise PROLONGS THE DURATION OF THE ENJOYMENT OF EATING, a matter of very great importance indeed, and which has not hitherto been sufficiently attended to.
The quantity of this soup furnished to each person, at each meal, or one portion of it, (the cuttings of bread included,) is just ONE BAVARIAN POUND in weight; and as the Bavarian pound is to the pound Avoirdupois as 1,123842 to 1, —it is equal to about nineteen ounces and nine-tenths Avoirdupois. Now, to those who know that a full pint of soup weighs no more than about sixteen ounces Avoirdupois, it will not, perhaps, at the first view, appear very extraordinary that a portion weighing near twenty ounces, and consequently making near ONE PINT AND A QUARTER of this rich, strong, savoury soup, should be found sufficient to satisfy the hunger of a grown person; but when the matter is examined narrowly, and properly analyzed, and it is found that the whole quantity of SOLID FOOD which enters into the composition of one of these portions of soup, does not amount to quite SIX OUNCES, it will then appear to be almost impossible that this allowance should be sufficient.
That it is quite sufficient, however, to make a good meal for a strong healthy person, has been abundantly proved by long experience. I have even found that a soup composed of nearly the same ingredients, except the potatoes, but in different proportions, was sufficiently nutritive, and very palatable, in which only about FOUR OUNCES AND THREE QUARTERS of solid Food entered into the composition of a portion weighing twenty ounces.
But this will not appear incredible to those who know, that one single spoonful of salope, weighing less than one quarter of an ounce, put into a pint of boiling water, forms the thickest and most nourishing soup that can be taken; and that the quantity of solid matter which enters into the composition of another very nutritive Food, hartshorn jelly, is not much more considerable.
The barley in my soup, seems to act much the same part as the salope in this famous restorative; and no substitute that I could ever find for it, among all the variety of corn and pulse of the growth of Europe, ever produced half the effect; that is to say, half the nourishment at the same expence. Barley may therefore be considered as the rice of Great Britain.
It requires, it is true, a great deal of boiling; but when it is properly managed, it thickens a vast quantity of water; and, as I suppose, PREPARES IT FOR DECOMPOSITION. It also gives the soup into which it enters as an ingredient, a degree of richness which nothing else can give. It has little or no taste in itself, but when mixed with other ingredients which are savoury, it renders them peculiarly grateful to the palate.
It is a maxim, as ancient, I believe, as the time of Hippocrates, that "whatever pleases the palate nourishes;" and I have often had reason to think it perfectly just. Could it be clearly ascertained and demonstrated, it would tend to place COOKERY in a much more respectable situation among the arts than it now holds.
That the manner in which Food is prepared is a matter of real importance; and that the water used in that process acts a much more important part than has hitherto been generally imagined, is, I think, quite evident; for, it seems to me to be impossible, upon any other suppositions, to account for the appearances. If the very small quantity of solid Food which enters into the composition of a portion of some very nutritive soup were to be prepared differently, and taken under some other form, that of bread, for instance; so far from being sufficient to satisfy hunger, and afford a comfortable and nutritive meal, a person would absolutely starve upon such a slender allowance; and no great relief would be derived from drinking CRUDE water to fill up the void in the stomach.
But it is not merely from an observation of the apparent effects of cookery upon those articles which are used as Food for man, that we are led to discover the importance of these culinary processes. Their utility is proved in a manner equally conclusive and satisfactory, by the efforts which have been produced by employing the same process in preparing Food for brute animals.
It is well known, that boiling the potatoes with which hogs are fed, renders them much more nutritive; and since the introduction of the new system of feeding horned cattle, that of keeping them confined in the stables all the year round, (a method which is now coming fast into common use in many parts of Germany,) great improvements have been made in the art of providing nourishment for those animals; and particularly by preparing their Food, by operations similar to those of cookery; and to these improvements it is most probably owing, that stall feeding has, in that country, been so universally successful.
It has long been a practice in Germany for those who fatten bullocks for the butcher, or feed milch-cows, to give them frequently what is called a drank or drink; which is a kind of pottage, prepared differently in different parts of the country, and in the different seasons, according to the greater facility with which one or other of the articles occasionally employed in the composition of it may be procured; and according to the particular fancies of individuals. Many feeders make a great secret of the composition of their drinks, and some have, to my knowledge, carried their refinement so far as actually to mix brandy in them, in small quantities; and pretend to have found their advantage in adding this costly ingredient.
The articles most commonly used are, bran, oatmeal, brewers grains, mashed potatoes, mashed turnips, rye meal, and barley meal, with a large proportion of water; sometimes two or three or more of these articles are united in forming a drink; and of whatever ingredients the drink is composed, a large proportion of salt is always added to it.
There is, perhaps, nothing new in this method of feeding cattle with liquid mixtures, but the manner in which these drinks are now prepared in Germany is, I believe, quite new; and shows what I wish to prove, that COOKING RENDERS FOOD REALLY MORE NUTRITIVE.
These drinks were formerly given cold, but it was afterwards discovered that they were more nourishing when given warm; and of late their preparation is, in many places, become a very regular culinary process. Kitchens have been built, and large boilers provided and fitted up, merely for cooking for the cattle in the stables; and I have been assured by many very intelligent farmers, who have adopted this new mode of feeding, (and have also found by my own experience,) that it is very advantageous indeed; that the drinks are evidently rendered much more nourishing and wholesome by being boiled; and that the expence of fuel, and the trouble attending this process, are amply compensated by the advantages derived from the improvement of the Food. We even find it advantageous to continue the boiling a considerable time, two or three hours, for instance; as the Food goes on to be still farther improved, the longer the boiling is continued.
These facts seem evidently to show, that there is some very important secret with regard to nutrition, which has not been yet properly investigated; and it seems to me to be more probable, that the numbers of inhabitants who may be supported in any country, upon its internal produce, depends almost as much upon the state of THE ART OF COOKERY, as upon that of agriculture. —The Chinese, perhaps, understand both these arts better than any other nation.—Savages understand neither of them.
But, if cookery be of so much importance, it certainly deserves to be studied with the greatest care; and it ought particularly to be attended to in times of general alarm on account of a scarcity of provisions; for the relief which may in such cases be derived from it, is immediate and effectual, while all other resources are distant and uncertain.
I am aware of the difficulties which always attend the introduction of measures calculated to produce and remarkable change in the customs and habits of mankind; and there is perhaps no change more difficult to effect, than that which would be necessary in order to make any considerable saving in the consumption of those articles commonly used as Food; but still, I am of opinion, that such a change might, with proper management, be brought about.
There was a time, no doubt, when an aversion to potatoes was as general, and as strong, in Great Britain, and even in Ireland, as it is now in some parts of Bavaria; but this prejudice has been got over; and I am persuaded, that any national prejudice, however deeply rooted, may be overcome, provided proper means be used for that purpose, and time allowed for their operation.
But notwithstanding the difficulty of introducing a general use of soups throughout the country, or of any other kind of Food, however palatable, cheap, and nourishing, to which people have not been accustomed, yet these improvements might certainly be made, with great facility, in all public hospitals and work-houses, where the Poor are fed at the public expense; and the saving of provisions, (not to mention the diminution of expence,) which might be derived from this improvement, would be very important at all times, and more especially in times of general scarcity.
Another measure, still more important, and which might, I am persuaded, be easily carried into execution, is the establishment of public kitchens in all towns, and large villages, throughout the kingdom, whence, not only the Poor might be fed gratis, but also all the industrious inhabitants of the neighbourhood might be furnished with Food at so cheap a rate, as to be a very great relief to them at all times; and in times of general scarcity, this arrangement would alone be sufficient to prevent those public and private calamities, which never fail to accompany that most dreadful of all visitations, a famine.
The saving of Food that would result from feeding a large proportion of the inhabitants of any country from public kitchens, would be immense, and that saving would tend, immediately, and most powerfully, to render provisions more plentiful and cheap,—diminish the general alarm on account of the danger of a scarcity, and prevent the hoarding up of provisions by individuals, which is often alone sufficient, without any thing else, to bring on a famine, even where there is no real scarcity: for it is not merely the FEARS of individuals which operate in these cases, and induce them to lay in a larger store of provisions than they otherwise would do; and which naturally increases the scarcity of provisions in the market, and raises their prices; but there are persons who are so lost to all the feelings of humanity, as often to speculate upon the distress of the Public, and all THEIR operations effectually tend to increase the scarcity in the markets, and augment the general alarm.
But without enlarging farther in this place upon these public kitchens, and the numerous and important advantages which may in all countries be derived from them, I shall return to the interesting subjects which I have undertaken to investigate;— the science of nutrition, and the art of providing wholesome and palatable Food at a small expence.
Of the Pleasure of Eating, and of the Means that may be employed for increasing it.
What has already been said upon this subject will, I flatter myself, be thought sufficient to show that, FOR ALL THE PURPOSES OF NOURISHMENT, a much smaller quantity of solid Food will suffice than has hitherto been thought necessary; but there is another circumstance to be taken into the account, and that is, the PLEASURE OF EATING;—an enjoyment of which no person will consent to be deprived.
The pleasure enjoyed in eating depends first upon the agreeableness of the taste of the Food; and secondly, upon its power to affect the palate. Now there are many substances extremely cheap, by which very agreeable tastes may be given to Food; particularly when the basis or nutritive substance of the Food is tasteless; and the effect of any kind of palatable solid Food, (of meat, for instance,) upon the organs of taste, may be increased, almost indefinitely, by reducing the size of the particles of such Food, and causing it to act upon the palate by a larger surface. And if means be used to prevent its being swallowed too soon, which may be easily done by mixing with it some hard and tasteless substance, such as crumbs of bread rendered hard by toasting, or any thing else of that kind, by which a long mastrication is rendered necessary, the enjoyment of eating may be greatly increased and prolonged.
The idea of occupying a person a great while, and affording him much pleasure at the same time, in eating a small quantity of Food, may, perhaps, appear ridiculous to some; but those who consider the matter attentively, will perceive that it is very important. It is, perhaps, as much so as any thing that can employ the attention of the philosopher.
The enjoyments which fall to the lot of the bulk of mankind are not so numerous as to render an attempt to increase them superfluous. And even in regard to those who have it in their power to gratify their appetites to the utmost extent of their wishes, it is surely rendering them a very importance service to show them how they may increase their pleasures without destroying their health.
If a glutton can be made to gormandize two hours upon two ounces of meat, it is certainly much better for him, than to give himself an indigestion by eating two pounds in the same time.
I was led to meditate upon this subject by mere accident. I had long been at a loss to understand how the Bavarian soldiers, who are uncommonly stout, strong, and healthy men, and who, in common with all other Germans, are remarkably fond of eating, could contrive to live upon the very small sums they expended for Food; but a more careful examination of the economy of their tables cleared up the point, and let me into a secret which awakened all my curiosity. These soldiers, instead of being starved upon their scanty allowance, as might have been suspected, I found actually living in a most comfortable and even luxurious manner. I found that they had contrived not only to render their Food savoury and nourishing, but, what appeared to me still more extraordinary, had found the means of increasing its action upon the organs of taste so as actually to augment, and even prolong to a most surprising degree, the enjoyment of eating.
This accidental discovery made a deep impression upon my mind, and gave a new turn to all my ideas on the subject of Food.— It opened to me a new and very interesting field for investigation and experimenting inquiry, of which I had never before had a distinct view; and thenceforward my diligence in making experiments, and in collecting information relative to the manner in which Food is prepared in different countries, was redoubled.
In the following Chapter may be seen the general results of all my experiments and inquiries relative to this subject.—A desire to render this account as concise and short as possible has induced me to omit much interesting speculation which the subject naturally suggested; but the ingenuity of the reader will supply this defect, and enable him to discover the objects particularly aimed at in the experiments, even where they are not mentioned, and to compare the results of practice with the assumed theory.
Of the different kinds of food furnished to the poor in the house of industry at Munich, with an account of the cost of them. Of the Expense of providing the same kinds of food in Great Britain, as well at the present high prices of provisions, as at the ordinary prices of them. Of the various improvements of which these different kinds of cheap food are capable.
Before the introduction of potatoes as Food in the House of Industry at Munich, (which was not done till last August,) the Poor were fed with a soup composed in the following manner:
SOUP No I. Weight Cost in Ingredients Avoirdupois sterling money. lb. oz. L. s. d. 4 viertls of pearl barley, equal to about 20 1/3 gallons ... ... ... 141 2 0 11 7 1/2 4 viertls of peas ... ... ... ... 131 4 0 7 3 1/4 Cuttings of fine wheaten bread ... 69 10 0 10 2 1/4 Salt ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 19 13 0 1 2 1/2 24 maass, very weak beer—vinegar, or rather small beer turned sour, about 24 quarts ... ... ... ... ... ... 46 13 0 1 5 1/2 Water, about 560 quarts ... ... ... 1077 0 ———— ——————- 1485 10 1 11 8 13/22
Brought over 1 11 8 13/22 Fuel, 88lb. of dry pine wood, the Bavarian clafter, (weighing 3961 lb. avoirdupois,) at 8s. 2 1/4d. sterling ... ... ... ... ... 0 0 2 1/4 Wages of three cook-maids, at twenty florins (37s. 7 1/2d.) a year, makes daily ... ... ... 0 0 3 2/3 Daily expence for feeding the three cook-maids, at ten creutzers (3 2/3 pence sterling) each, according to an agreement made with them ... ... 0 0 11 Daily wages of two men servants, employed in going to market—collecting donations of bread, etc. helping in the kitchen, and assisting in serving out the soup to the Poor ... ... ... 0 1 7 1/4 Repairs of the kitchen, and of the kitchen furniture, about 90 florins (8L. 3s. 7d. sterling) a year, makes daily ... ... ... ... ... ... 0 0 5 1/2 ——————- Total daily expense, when dinner is provided for 1200 persons ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1 15 2 1/4
This sum (1L. 15s. 2 1/4d.) divided by 1200, the number of portions of soup furnished, gives for each portion a mere trifle more than ONE THIRD OF A PENNY, or exactly 422/1200 of a penny; the weight of each portion being about 20 ounces.
But, moderate as these expenses are, which have attended the feeding of the Poor of Munich, they have lately been reduced still farther by introducing the use of potatoes.—These most valuable vegetables were hardly known in Bavaria till very lately; and so strong was the aversion of the public, and particularly of the Poor, against them, at the time when we began to make use of them in the public kitchen of the House of Industry in Munich, that we were absolutely obliged, at first, to introduce them by stealth.—A private room in a retired corner was fitted up as a kitchen for cooking them; and it was necessary to disguise them, by boiling them down entirely, and destroying their form and texture, to prevent their being detected:—but the Poor soon found that their soup was improved in its qualities; and they testified their approbation of the change that had been made in it so generally and loudly, that it was at last thought to be no longer necessary to conceal from them the secret of its composition, and they are now grown so fond of potatoes that they would not easily be satisfied without them.
The employing of potatoes as an ingredient in the soup has enabled us to make a considerable saving in the other more costly materials, as may be seen by comparing the following receipt with that already given.
SOUP, No II.
Ingredients. Weight Cost in Avoirdupois. sterling money. lb. oz. L. s. d. 2 viertls of pearl barley ... ... 70 9 0 5 9 13/22 2 viertls of peas ... ... ... 65 10 0 3 7 5/8 8 viertls of potatoes ... ... 230 4 0 1 9 9/11 Cuttings of bread ... ... ... 69 10 0 10 2 4/11 Salt ... ... ... ... ... ... 19 13 0 1 2 1/2 Vinegar ... ... ... ... ... 46 13 0 1 5 1/2 Water ... ... ... ... ... ... 982 15 ————- Total weight 1485 10 Expenses for fuel, servants, repairs, etc. as before ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 0 3 5 5/12 ——————— Total daily expence, when dinner is provided for 1200 persons ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1 7 6 2/3
This sum (1L. 7s. 6 2/3.) divided by 1200, the number of portions of soup, gives for each portion ONE FARTHING very nearly; or accurately, 1 1/40 farthing.
The quantity of each of the ingredients contained in one portion of soup is as follows:
In avoirdupois weight. Ingredients. Soup, No I. Soup, No II.
Of pearl barley 1 1058/1200 0 1129/1200 Of peas ... ... 1 960/1200 0 1050/1200 Of potatoes ... ——— 3 84/1200 Of bread ... ... 0 1114/1200 0 1114/1200 —————- ——————— Total solids 4 772/1200 5 977/1200 Of salt ... ... 0 316/1200 0 316/1200 Of weak vinegar 0 748/1200 0 748/1200 Of water ... ... 14 432/1200 13 127/1200 —————- ——————— Total 19 968/1200 19 968/1200
The expence of preparing these soups will vary with the prices of the articles of which they are composed; but as the quantities of the ingredients, determined by weight, are here given, it will be easy to ascertain exactly what they will cost in any case whatever.
Suppose, for instance, it were required to determine how much 1200 portions of the Soup, No. I. would cost in London at this present moment, (the 12th of November 1795,) when all kinds of provisions are uncommonly dear. I see by a printed report of the Board of Agriculture, of the day before yesterday (November 10), that the prices of the articles necessary for preparing these soups were as follows:
Barley, per bushel weighing 46lb. at 5s. 6d. which gives for each pound about 1 1/2d; but prepared as pearl barley, it will cost at least two pence per pound.
Boiling peas per bushel, weighing 61 1/4lb. (at 10s.) which gives for each pound nearly 1 1/2d.
Potatoes, per bushel, weighing 58 1/2lb. at 2s. 6d. which gives nearly one halfpenny for each pound.
And I find that a quartern loaf of wheaten bread, weighing 4lb. 5oz. costs now in London 1s. 0 1/4d.;—this bread must therefore be reckoned at 11 25/69 farthings per pound.
Salt costs 1 1/2. per pound; and vinegar (which is probably six times as strong as that stuff called vinegar which is used in the kitchen of the House of Industry at Munich) costs 1s. 8d. per gallon.
This being premised, the computations may be made as follows:
Expence of preparing in London, in the month of November 1795, 1200 portions of the Soup, No I.
lb oz s d L. s. d. 141 2 pearl barley, at 0 2 per lb. 1 12 6 131 4 peas, at 0 1 1/2 ——— 0 16 4 69 10 wheaten bread, at 0 11 25/99 ——— 0 16 6 19 13 salt, at 0 1 1/2 ——— 0 2 5 1/2 Vinegar, one gallon, at 1 8 ——— 0 1 8 Expences for fuel, servants, kitchen furniture, etc. reckoning three times as much as those articles of expence amount to daily at Munich ... ... ... ... ... 0 10 4 1/4 ——————- Total 3 9 9 1/4
Which sum (3L. 9s. 9 1/4d.) divided by 1200, the number of portions of soup, gives 2 951/1200 farthings, or nearly 2 3/4 farthings for each portion.
For the Soup, No II. it will be, lb. oz. s. d. L. s. d. 70 9 pearl barley, at 0 2 ——— 0 11 9 65 10 peas, at 0 1 1/2 ——— 0 8 2 230 4 potatoes, at 0 0 1/2 ——— 0 13 9 69 10 bread, at 0 11 25/65 ——— 0 16 6 19 13 salt, at 0 1 1/2 ——— 0 2 5 1/2 Vinegar, one gallon ——— 0 1 8 Expenses for fuel, servants, etc. ——— 0 10 4 1/4 ——————- Total 3 4 7 3/4
This sum (3L. 4s. 7 3/4d.) divided by 1200, the number of portions, gives for each 2 1/2 farthings very nearly.
This soup comes much higher here in London, than it would do in most other parts of Great Britain, on account of the very high price of potatoes in this city; but in most parts of the kingdom, and certainly in every part of Ireland, it may be furnished, even at this present moment, notwithstanding the uncommonly high prices of provisions, at less than ONE HALFPENNY the portion of 20 ounces.
Though the object most attended to in composing these soups was to render them wholesome and nourishing, yet they are very far from being unpalatable.—The basis of the soups, which is water prepared and thickened by barley, is well calculated to receive, and to convey to the palate in an agreeable manner, every thing that is savoury in the other ingredients; and the dry bread rendering mastication necessary, prolongs the action of the Food upon the organs of taste, and by that means increases and PROLONGS the enjoyment of eating.
But though these soups are very good and nourishing, yet they certainly are capable of a variety of improvements.—The most obvious means of improving them is to mix with them a small quantity of salted meat, boiled, and cut into very small pieces, (the smaller the better,) and to fry the bread that is put into them in butter, or in the fat of salted pork or bacon.
The bread, by being fried, is not only rendered much harder, but being impregnated with a fat or oily substance it remains hard after it is put into the soup, the water not being able to penetrate it and soften it.
All good cooks put fried bread, cut into small square pieces, in peas-soup; but I much doubt whether they are aware of the very great importance of that practice, or that they have any just idea of the MANNER in which the bread improves the soup.
The best kind of meat for mixing with these soups is salted pork, or bacon, or smoked beef.
Whatever meat is used, it ought to be boiled either in clear water or in the soup; and after it is boiled, it ought to be cut into very small pieces, as small perhaps, as barley-corns.—The bread may be cut in pieces of the size of large peas, or in thin slices; and after it is fried, it may be mixed with the meat and put into the soup-dishes, and the soup poured on them when it is served out.
Another method of improving this soup is to mix it with small dumplins, or meat-balls, made of bread, flour, and smoked beef, ham, or any other kind of salted meat, or of liver cut into small pieces, or rather MINCED, as it is called.—These dumplins may be boiled either in the soup or in clear water, and put into the soup when it is served out.
As the meat in these compositions is designed rather to please the palate than for any thing else, the soup being sufficiently nourishing without it, it is or much importance that it be reduced to very small pieces, in order that it be brought into contract with the organs of taste by a large surface; and that it be mixed with some hard substance, (fried bread, for instance, crumbs, or hard dumplins,) which will necessarily prolong the time employed in mastication.
When this is done, and where the meat employed has much flavour, a very small quantity of it will be found sufficient to answer the purpose required.
ONE OUNCE of bacon, or of smoked beef, and ONE OUNCE of fried bread, added to EIGHTEEN OUNCES of the Soup No. I. would afford an excellent meal, in which the taste of animal food would decidedly predominate.
Dried salt fish, or smoked fish, boiled and then minced, and made into dumplins with mashed potatoes, bread, and flour, and boiled again, would be very good, eaten with either of the Soup No. I. or No. II.
These soups may likewise be improved, by mixing with them various kinds of cheap roots and green vegetables, as turnips, carrots, parsnips, celery, cabbages, sour-crout, etc. as also by seasoning them with fine herbs and black pepper.—Onions and leeks may likewise be used with great advantage, as they not only serve to render the Food in which they enter as ingredients peculiarly savoury, but are really very wholesome.
With regard to the barley made use of in preparing these soups, though I always have used pearl barley, or rolled barley(as it is called in Germany), yet I have no doubt but common barley-meal would answer nearly as well; particularly if care were taken to boil it gently for a sufficient length of time over a slow fire before the peas are added.
Till the last year, we used to cook the barley-soup and the peas-soup separate, and not to mix them till the moment when they were poured into the tubs upon the cut bread, in order to be carried into the dining-hall; but I do not know that any advantages were derived from that practice; the soup being, to all appearances, quite as good since the barley and the peas have been cooked together as before.
As soon as the soup is done, and the boilers are emptied, they are immediately refilled with water, and the barley for the soup for the next day is put into it, and left to steep over night; and at six o'clock the next morning the fires are lighted under the boilers.
The peas, however, are never suffered to remain in the water over-night, as we have found, by repeated trials, that they never boil soft if the water in which they are boiled is not boiling hot when they are put into it.—Whether this is peculiar to the peas which grow in Bavaria, I know not.
When I began to feed the Poor of Munich, there was also a quantity of meat boiled in their soup; but as the quantity was small, and the quality of it but very indifferent, I never thought it contributed much to rendering the victuals more nourishing: but as soon as means were found for rendering the soup palatable without meat, the quantity of it used was gradually diminished, and it was at length entirely omitted. I never heard that the Poor complained of the want of it; and much doubt whether they took notice of it.
The management of the fire in cooking is, in all cases, a matter of great importance; but in no case is it so necessary to be attended to as in preparing the cheap and nutritive soups here recommended.—Not only the palatableness, but even the strength or richness of the soup, seems to depend very much upon the management of the heat employed in cooking it.
From the beginning of the process to the end of it, the boiling should be as gentle as possible;—and if it were possible to keep the soup always JUST BOILING HOT, without actually boiling, it would be so much the better.
Causing any thing to boil violently in any culinary process is very ill judged; for it not only does not expedite, even in the smallest degree, the process of cooking, but it occasions a most enormous waste of fuel; and by driving away with the steam many of the more volatile and more savoury particles of the ingredients, renders the victuals less good and less palatable. —To those who are acquainted with the experimental philosophy of heat, and who know that water once brought to be BOILING HOT, however gently it may boil in fact, CANNOT BE MADE ANY HOTTER, however large and intense the fire under it may be made, and who know that it is by the HEAT—that is to say, THE DEGREE or intensify of it, and the TIME of its being continued, and not by the bubbling up or BOILING, (as it is called) of the water that culinary operations are performed—this will be evident, and those who know that more than FIVE TIMES as much heat is required to SEND OFF IN STEAM any given quantity of water ALREADY BOILING HOT as would be necessary to heat the same quantity of ICE-COLD water TO THE BOILING POINT —will see the enormous waste of heat, and consequently of fuel, which, in all cases must result from violent boiling in culinary processes.
To prevent the soup from burning to the boiler, the bottom of the boiler should be made DOUBLE; the false bottom, (which may be very thin) being fixed on the inside of the boiler, the two sheets of copper being every where in contact with each other; but they ought not to be attached to each other with solder, except only at the edge of the false bottom where it is joined to the sides of the boiler.—The false bottom should have a rim about an inch and a half wide, projecting upwards, by which it should be riveted to the sides of the boiler; but only few rivets, or nails, should be used for fixing the two bottoms together below, and those used should be very small; otherwise where large nails are employed at the bottom of the boiler, where the fire is most intense, the soup will be apt to BURN TO; at least on the heads of those large nails.
The two sheets of metal may be made to touch each other every where, by hammering them together after the false bottom is fixed in its place; and they may be tacked together by a few small rivets placed here and there, at considerable distances from each other; and after this is done, the boiler may be tinned.
In tinning the boiler, if proper care be taken, the edge of the false bottom may be soldered by the tin to the sides of the boiler, and this will prevent the water, or other liquids put into the boiler, from getting between the two bottoms.
In this manner double bottoms may be made to sauce-pans and kettles of all kinds used in cooking; and this contrivance will, in all cases, most effectually prevent what is called by the cooks burning to.
The heat is so much obstructed in its passage through the thin sheet of air, which, notwithstanding all the care that is taken to bring the two bottoms into actual contact, will still remain between them, the second has time to give its heat as fast as it receives it, to the fluid in the boiler; and consequently never acquires a degree of heat sufficient for burning any thing that may be upon it.
Perhaps it would be best to double copper sauce-pans and small kettles throughout; and as this may and ought to be done with a very thin sheet of metal, it could not cost much, even if this lining were to be made of silver.
But I must not enlarge here upon a subject I shall have occasion to treat more fully in another place.—To return, therefore, to the subject more immediately under consideration, Food.
Of the small expense at which the Bavarian soldiers are fed. Details of their housekeeping, founded on actual experiment. An account of the fuel expended by them in cooking.
It has often been matter of surprise to many, and even to those who are most conversant in military affairs, that soldiers can find means to live upon the very small allowances granted them for their subsistence; and I have often wondered that nobody has undertaken to investigate that matter, and to explain a mystery at the same time curious and interesting, in a high degree.
The pay of a private soldier is in all countries very small, much less than the wages of a day-labourer; and in some countries it is so mere a pittance, that it is quite astonishing how it can be made to support life.
The pay of a private foot-soldier in the service of His Most Serene Highness the Elector Palatine, (and it is the same for a private grenadier in the regiment of guards,) is FIVE CREUTZERS a-day, and no more.—Formerly the pay of a private foot-soldier was only four creutzers and a half a-day, but lately, upon the introduction of the new military arrangements in the country, his pay has been raised to five creutzers;—and with this he receives one pound thirteen ounces and a half, Avoirdupois weight, of rye-bread, which, at the medium price of grain in Bavaria and the Palatinate, costs something less than three creutzers, or just about ONE PENNY sterling.
The pay which the soldier receives in money,— (five creutzers a-day,) equal to one penny three farthings sterling, added to his daily allowance of bread, valued at one penny, make TWO PENCE THREE FARTHINGS a-day, for the sum total of his allowance.
That it is possible, in any country, to procure Food sufficient to support life with so small a sum, will doubtless appear extraordinary to an English reader;—but what would be his surprise upon seeing a whole army, composed of the finest, stoutest, and strongest men in the world, who are fed upon that allowance, and whose countenances show the most evident marks of ruddy health, and perfect contentment?
I have already observed, how much I was struck with the domestic economy of the Bavarian soldiers. I think the subject much too interesting, not to be laid before the Public, even in all its details; and as I think it will be more satisfactory to hear from their own mouths an account of the manner in which these soldiers live, I shall transcribe the reports of two sensible non-commissioned officers, whom I employed to give me the information I wanted.
These non-commissioned officers, who belong to two different regiments of grenadiers in garrison at Munich, were recommended to me by their colonels as being very steady, careful men, are each at the head of a mess consisting of twelve soldiers, themselves reckoned in the number. The following accounts, which they gave me of their housekeeping, and of the expenses of their tables, were all the genuine results of actual experiments made at my particular desire, and at my cost.
I do not believe that useful information was ever purchased cheaper than upon this occasion; and I fancy my reader will be of the same opinion when he has perused the following reports, which are literally translated from the original German.
"In obedience to the orders of Lieut. General Count Rumford, the following experiments were made by Serjeant Wickenhof's mess, in the first company of the first (or Elector's own) regiment of grenadiers, at Munich, on the 10th and 11th of June 1795.
June 10th, 1795. BILL OF FARE Boiled beef, with soup and bread dumplins. Details of the expence, etc. For the boiled beef and the soup.
lb. loths. Creutzers. 2 0 beef ... ... ... 16 0 1 sweet herbs ... ... ... 1 0 0 1/2 pepper ... ... ... ... 0 1/2 0 6 salt ... ... ... ... 0 1/2 1 14 1/2 ammunition bread, cut fine 2 7/8 9 20 water ... ... ... ... 0 ———- ——— Total 13 10 Cost 20 7/8
All these articles were put together into an earthen pot, and boiled two hours and a quarter. The meat was then taken out of the soup and weighed, and found to weigh 1 lb. 30 loths; which, divided into twelve equal portions, gave FIVE LOTHS for the weight of each.
The soup, with the bread, etc. weighed 9 lb. 30 1/2 loths; which, divided into twelve equal portions, gave for each 26 7/12 loths.
The cost of the meat and soup together, 20 7/8 creutzers, divided by twelve, gives 1 3/4 creutzers, very nearly, for the cost of each portion.
For the bread dumplins.
lb. loths. Creutzers. 1 13 of fine semel bread 10 1 0 of fine flour ... 4 1/2 0 6 salt ... ... ... 0 1/2 3 0 of water ... ... 0 ———— ——— Total 5 19 Cost 15
This mass was made into dumplins, and these dumplins were boiled half an hour in clear water. Upon taking them out of the water, they were found to weigh 5 lb. 24 loths; and dividing them into twelve equal portions, each portion weighed 15 1/3 loths; and the cost of the whole (15 creutzers), divided by twelve, gives 1 1/4 creutzers for the cost of each portion.
The meat, soup, and dumplins were served all at once in the same dish, and were all eaten together; and with this meal, (which was their dinner, and was eat at twelve o'clock,) each person belonging to the mess was furnished with a piece of rye-bread, weighing ten loths, and which cost 5/16 of a creutzer. —Each person was likewise furnished with a piece of this bread, weighing ten loths, for his breakfast;—another piece, of equal weight, in the afternoon at four o'clock; and another in the evening.
Analysis of this Day's Fare.
Each person received in the Amount of cost in course of the day Bavarian money.
In solids. In fluids. lb. loths. lb. loths. Creutzers. Boiled beef 0 5 ... ... ... ....... 1 1/6 In the soup. Rye-bread 0 3 7/8 ] Sweet herbs 0 0 1/12 ] Salt ... ... 0 0 1/24 ].... 0 7/16 Pepper ... ... 0 0 1/24 ] Water ... ... 0 23 1/2 ] ————— ————- ] Total 0 4 2/24 0 23 1/2 ]
In dumplins. Wheaten-bread 0 3 3/4 ] Ditto flour 0 2 2/3 ] Salt ... ... 0 0 1/24 ].... 1 1/4 Water ... ... 0 7 1/12 ] ————— ————- ] Total 0 6 11/24 0 7 7/12 ]
Dry bread. For breakfast 0 10 ] At dinner 0 10 ] In the afternoon 0 10 ].... 2 1/2 At supper 0 10 ] ——— ] Total 1 8 ] ——— ————— General total 2 24 13/24 0 31 1/2 which cost 5 17/48
The ammunition bread is reckoned in this estimate at two creutzers the Bavarian pound, which is about what it costs at a medium; and as the daily allowance of the soldiers is 1 1/2 Bavarian pounds of the bread, this reckoned in money amounts to three creutzers a-day; and this added to his pay at five creutzers a-day, makes eight creutzers a-day, which is the whole of his allowance from the sovereign for his subsistence.
But it appears from the foregoing account, that he expends for Food no more than 5 17/48 creutzers a-day, there is therefore a surplus amounting to 2 31/48 creutzers a-day, or very near ONE-THIRD OF HIS WHOLE ALLOWANCE, which remains; and which he can dispose of just as he thinks proper.
This surplus is commonly employed in purchasing beer, brandy, tobacco, etc. Beer in Bavaria costs two creutzers a pint, brandy, or rather malt-spirits, from fifteen to eighteen creutzers; and tobacco is very cheap.
To enable the English reader to form, without the trouble of computation, a complete and satisfactory idea of the manner in which these Bavarian soldiers are fed, I have added the following Analysis of their fare; in which the quantity of each article is expressed in Avoirdupois weight, and its cost in English money.
Each person belonging to the mess received in the course of the day, Cost in English June 11th, 1795. money.
lb. oz. s. d. Dry ammunition bread 1 8 76/100 0 0 10/11 Ammunition bread cooked in the soup ... ... ... 0 2 4/10 0 0 23/264 Fine wheaten (semel) bread in the dumplins ... 0 2 3/10 0 0 10/33 ————— Total bread 1 13 46/100
Fine flour in the dumplins 0 1 65/100 0 0 18/33 Boiled beef ... ... ... 0 3 1/10 0 0 72/198 In seasoning; fine herbs, salt and pepper ... ... 0 0 13/100 0 0 2/33 —————- Total solids 2 2 34/100
Water prepared by cooking. In the soup ... ... ... 0 14 52/209 In the dumplins ... ... 0 4 32/100 —————- Total prepared water 1 2 84/100 —————- Total solids and fluids 3 5 18/100
Total expense for each person 5 17/48 creutzers, equal to TWO PENCE sterling, very nearly.
But as the Bavarian soldiers have not the same fare every day, the expences of their tables cannot be ascertained from one single experiment. I shall therefore return to Serjeant Wickenhof's report.
11th of June 1795. Bill of Fare. Bread, dumplins, and soup. Details of expenses, etc.
For the dumplins. lb. loths. Creutzers. 2 13 wheaten bread ... ... 14 0 16 butter ... ... ... 9 1 0 fine flour ... ... 4 1/2 0 11 eggs ... ... ... ... 3 0 6 salt ... ... ... ... 0 1/2 0 0 1/2 pepper ... ... ... 0 1/2 3 16 water ... ... ... ... ———- ———- 7 30 1/2 Cost 31 1/2 creutzers.
This made into dumplins;—the dumplins, after being boiled, were found to weigh eight pounds eight loths, which, divided among twelve persons, gave for each twenty-two loths.—And the cost of the whole (31 1/2 creutzers), divided by 12, gives 2 15/24 creutzers for each portion.
For the soup. lb. loths. Creutzers. 1 14 1/2 ammunition bread ... 2 7/8 0 6 salt ... ... ... ... 0 1/2 0 1 sweet herbs ... ... 1 12 0 water ... ... ... ... ———- ———- 13 21 1/2 Cost 4 3/8 creutzers.
This soup, when cooked, weighed 11 lb, 26 loths; which, divided among the twelve persons belonging to the mess, gave for each 31 1/2 loths; and the cost (4 3/8 creutzers), divided by twelve, gives nearly THREE-NINTHS of a creutzer for each portion.
Four pieces of ammunition bread, weighing each ten loths, for each person,—namely, one piece for breakfast—one at dinner—one in the afternoon,—and one at supper; in all, 40 loths, or one pound and a quarter, costs two creutzers and a half.
Details of expenses, etc. for each person.
lb. loths. Creutzers For 1 8 dry bread ... ... 2 1/2 For 0 22 bread dumplins ... 2 15/24 For 0 31 1/2 bread soup ... ... 0 3/8 ————- ——- 2 30 1/2 of Food Cost 5 1/2 creutzers.
The same details expressed in Avoirdupois weight, and English money:
For each person lb. oz. Pence 1 8 76/100 dry ammunition bread 0 10/11 0 13 6/10 bread dumplins ... 0 693/792 1 3 1/2 bread soup ... ... 0 36/264 —————— ————- 3 9 86/100 of Food Cost 2 pence.
June 20th, 1795. Serjeant Kein's mess, second regiment of grenadiers.
Bill of Fare.
Boiled beef—bread soup—and liver dumplins. Details of expenses, etc. For the boiled beef and soup.
lb. loths. Creutzers. 2 0 beef ... ... ... 15 0 6 1/2 salt ... ... ... 0 1/2 0 0 1/2 pepper ... ... 0 1/2 0 2 sweet herbs ... 0 1/2 2 24 ammunition bread 3 1/4 17 0 water... ... ... ————— ———- 22 1 Cost 19 1/2 creutzers.
These ingredients were all boiled together two hours and five minutes; after which the beef was taken out of the soup and weighed, and was found to weigh 1 lb. 22 loths; the soup weighed 15 lb.; and these divided equally among the twelve persons belonging to the mess, gave for each portion, 4 1/2 loths of beef, and 1 lb. 8 loths of soup; and the cost of the whole (19 3/4 creutzers), divided by 18, gives 1 31/48 creutzers for the cost of each portion.
Details of expenses, etc. for the liver dumplins.
lb. loths. Creutzers. 2 28 of fine semel bread 15 1 0 of beef liver ... ... ... 5 0 18 of fine flour ... ... ... 2 1/2 0 6 of salt ... ... ... ... 0 1/2 2 24 of water ... ... ... ... —- ———— ———— Total 7 12 Cost 23 creutzers.
These ingredients being made into dumplins, the dumplins after being properly boiled were found to weigh 8 lb.—This gave for each portion 21 1/3 loths; and the amount of the cost (23 creutzers), divided by 12, the number of the portions, gives for each 1 11/12 creutzers.
The quantity of dry ammunition bread furnished to each person was 1 lb. 8 loths; and this, at two creutzers a pound, amounts to 2 1/2 creutzers.
For each person lb. loths. Creutzers. 0 4 1/2 of boiled beef, and ] ... 1 31/48 1 8 of bread soup ] 0 21 1/4 of liver dumplins ... ... 1 11/12 1 8 of dry bread ... ... ... 2 1/2 ————— ————- 3 9 5/6 of Food Cost 6 3/48 creutzers.
In Avoirdupois weight, and English money, it is,—for each person:
lb. oz. 0 2.78 of boiled beef, and ] ... 0 948/1584 1 8.91 of bread soup ] 0 13.19 of liver dumplins ... ... 0 276/306 1 8.76 of dry bread ... ... ... 0 10/11 ———- —————- 4 1.54 of Food Cost 2 1/5 pence.
June 21st, 1795. Bill of Fare. Boiled beef, and bread soup, with bread dumplins. Details of expenses, etc. for the boiled beef and bread soup. The same as yesterday, For the dumplins.
lb. loths. Creutzers. 2 30 semel bread ... ... ... 15 1/2 0 18 fine flour ... ... ... 3 0 6 salt ... ... ... ... 0 1/2 3 0 water ... ... ... ... ———- ———- 6 22 Cost 19 creutzers.
These dumplins being boiled, were found to weigh 7 lb. which gave for each person 18 2/3 loths; and each portion cost 1 7/12 creutzers.
Dry ammunition bread furnished to each person 1 lb. 8 loths, which cost 2 1/2 creutzers.
Each person belonging to the mess received this day:
lb. loths. Creutzers. 0 4 1/2 of boiled beef, and ] ... 1 31/48 1 8 of bread soup ] 0 18 2/3 of bread dumplins ... ... 1 7/12 1 8 of dry bread ... ... ... 2 1/2 ————- ———- 3 7 1/6 of Food Cost 5 35/42 creutzers
In Avoirdupois weight, and English money, it is,
lb. oz. 0 2.78 of boiled beef, and ] ... 0 948/1584 1 8.76 of bread soup ] 0 11.54 of bread dumplins ... ... 0 228/396 1 8.76 of dry bread ... ... ... 0 10/11 ———- ————— 4 0 of Food Cost 2 1/12 pence.
June 22d, 1795. Bill of Fare. Bread soup and meat dumplins. Details of expenses, etc.
lb. loths. 2 0 of beef ... ... ... 15 2 30 of semel bread ... 15 1/2 0 18 of fine flour ... ... 3 0 1 of pepper ... ... 1 0 12 of salt ... ... ... 1 0 2 of sweet herbs ... 0 1/2 2 24 of ammunition bread 3 1/4 2 16 of water to the dumplins ——— Cost 39 1/4 creutzers.
The meat being cut fine, or minced, was mixed with the semel or wheaten bread; and these with the flour, and a due proportion of salt, were made into dumplins, and boiled in the soup.—These dumplins when boiled, weighed 10 lb. which, divided into 12 equal portions, gave 20 2/3 loths for each.
The soup weighed 15 lb. which gave 1 lb. 8 loths for each portion. —Of dry ammunition bread, each person received 1 lb. 8 loths, which cost 2 1/2 creutzers.
Each person received this day
lb. loths. Creutzers 0 20 2/3 of meat dumplins, and ] ... 3 13/48 1 8 of bread soup ] 1 8 of ammunition bread 2 1/2 ————- ———- 3 4 2/3 of Food Cost 5 37/48 creutzers.
In Avoirdupois weight, and English money, it is,
lb. oz. Pence. 0 12.77 of meat dumplins, and ] ... 1 300/1584 1 8.76 of bread soup ] 1 8.76 of ammunition bread ... ... 0 10/11 ———— ————— 3 14.29 of Food Cost 2 1/10 pence.
The results of all these experiments, (and of many more which I could add,) show that the Bavarian soldier can live,—and the fact is that he actually does live,—upon a little more than TWO THIRDS of his allowance.—Of the five creutzers a-day which he receives in money, he seldom puts more than two creutzers and a half, and never more than three creutzers into the mess; so that at least TWO-FIFTHS of his pay remains, after he has defrayed all the expenses of his subsistence; and as he is furnished with every article of his clothing by the sovereign, and no stoppage is ever permitted to be made of any part of his pay, on any pretence whatever, THERE IS NO SOLDIER IN EUROPE WHOSE SITUATION IS MORE COMFORTABLE.
Though the ammunition bread with which he is furnished is rather coarse and brown, being made of rye-meal, with only a small quantity of the coarser part of the bran separated from it, yet it is not only wholesome, but very nourishing; and for making soup it is even more palatable than wheaten bread. Most of the soldiers, however, in the Elector's service, and particularly those belonging to the Bavarian regiments, make a practice of selling a great part of their allowance of ammunition bread, and with the money they get for it, buy the best wheaten bread that is to be had; and many of them never taste brown bread but in their soup.
The ammunition bread is delivered to the soldiers every fourth day, in loaves, each loaf being equal to two rations; and it is a rule generally established in the messes, for each soldier to furnish one loaf for the use of the mess every twelfth day, so that he has five-sixths of his allowance of bread, which remains at his disposal.
The foregoing account of the manner in which the Bavarian soldiers are fed, will, I think, show most clearly the great importance of making soldiers live together in messes.—It may likewise furnish some useful hints to those who may be engaged in feeding the Poor, or in providing Food for ships's companies, or other bodies of men who are fed in common.
With regard to the expense of fuel in these experiments, as the victuals were cooked in earthen pots, over an open fire, the consumption of fire-wood was very great.
On the 10th of June, when 9 lb. 30 1/2 loths of soup, 1 lb. 28 loths of meat, and 5 lb. 24 loths of bread dumplins, in all 17 lb. 18 1/2 of Food were prepared, and the process of cooking, from the time the fire was lighted till the victuals were done, lasted two hours and forty-five minutes, and twenty-nine pounds, Bavarian weight, of fire-wood were consumed.
On the 11th of June, when 11 lb. 26 loths of bread soup, and 8 lb. 8 loths of bread dumplins, in all 20 lb. 2 loths of Food were prepared, the process of cooking lasted one hour and thirty minutes;—and seventeen pounds of wood were consumed.
On the 20th of June, in Serjeant Kein's mess, 15 lb. of soup; 1 lb. 22 loths of meat, and 8 lb. of liver dumplins, in all 24 lb. 22 loths of Food were prepared, and through the process of cooking lasted two hours and forty-five minutes, only 27 1/2 lb. of fire-wood were consumed.
On the 21st of June, the same quantity of soup and meat, and 7 lb. of bread dumplins, in all 23 lb. 22 loths of Food were prepared in two hours and thirty minutes, with the consumption of 18 1/2 lb. of wood.
On the 22nd of June, 15 lb. of soup, and 10 lb. of meat dumplins, in all 25 lb. of Food, were cooked in two hours and forty-five minutes, and the wood consumed was 18 lb. 10 loths.
The following table will show, in a striking and satisfactory manner, the expense of fuel in these experiments:
Date of the Time employed Quantity Quantity Quantity Experiments. in cooking. of Food of Wood of Wood to prepared. consumed. 1 lb. of Food.
June 1795. Hours. min. lb. loths. lb. 10th 2 45 17 18 1/2 29 11th 1 30 20 2 17 20th 2 45 24 22 17 1/2 21st 2 30 23 22 18 1/2 22d 2 45 25 0 18 1/4 ———— —————- ———- Sums 5 12 15 111 0 1/2 100 1/4 ———— —————- ———- Means 2 23 22 0 1/5 20 1/20 10/11 lb.
The mean quantity of Food prepared daily in five days being 22 lb. very nearly, and the mean quantity of fire-wood consumed being 20 1/20 lb.; this gives 10/11 lb. of wood for each pound of Food.
But it has been found by actual experiment, made with the utmost care, in the new kitchen of the House of Industry at Munich, and often repeated, that 600 lb. of Food, (of the Soup No. I. given to the Poor,) may be cooked with the consumption of only 44 lb. of pine-wood. And hence it appears how very great the waste of fuel must be in all culinary processes, as they are commonly performed; for though the time taken up in cooking the soup for the Poor is, at a medium, more than FOUR HOURS AND A HALF, while that employed by the soldiers in their cooking is less than TWO HOURS AND A HALF; yet the quantity of fuel consumed by the latter is near THIRTEEN TIMES greater than that employed in the public kitchen of the House of Industry.
But I must not here anticipate here a matter which is to be the subject of a separate Essay; and which, from its great importance, certainly deserves to be carefully and thoroughly investigated.
Of the great importance of making soldiers eat together in regular messes. The influence of such economical arrangements extends even to the moral character of those who are the objects of them. Of the expence of feeding soldiers in messes. Of the surprising smallness of the expence of feeding the poor at Munich. Specific proposals respecting the feeding of the poor in Great Britain, with calculations of the expense, at the present prices of provisions.
All those who have been conversant in military affairs must have had frequent opportunities of observing the striking difference there is, even in the appearance of the men, between regiments in which messes are established, and Food is regularly provided under the care and inspection of the Officers; and others, in which the soldiers are left individually to shift for themselves. And the difference which may be observed between soldiers who live in messes, and are regularly fed, and others who are not, is not confined merely to their external appearance: the influence of these causes extends much farther, and even the MORAL CHARACTER of the man is affected by them.
Peace of mind, which is as essential to contentment and happiness as it is to virtue, depends much upon order and regularity in the common affairs of life; and in no case are order and method more necessary to happiness, (and consequently to virtue,) than in that, where the preservation of health is connected with the satisfying of hunger; an appetite whose cravings are sometimes as inordinate as they are insatiable.
Peace of mind depends likewise much upon economy, or the means used for preventing pecuniary embarrassments; and the savings to soldiers in providing Food, which arise from housekeeping in messes of ten or twelve persons who live together, is very great indeed.
But great as these savings now are, I think they might be made still more considerable; and I shall give my reasons for this opinion.
Though the Bavarian soldiers live at a very small expense, little more than TWO-PENCE sterling a-day, yet when I compare this sum, small as it is, with the expense of feeding the Poor in the House of Industry at Munich, which does not amount to more than TWO FARTHINGS a-day, even including the cost of the piece of dry rye-bread, weighing seven ounces Avoirdupois, which is given them in their hands, at dinner, but which they seldom eat at dinner, but commonly carry home in their pockets for their suppers;—when I compare, I say, this small sum, with the daily expence of the soldiers for their subsistence, I find reason to conclude, either that the soldiers might be fed cheaper, or that the Poor must be absolutely starved upon their allowance. That the latter is not the case, the healthy countenances of the Poor, and the air of placid contentment which always accompanies them, as well in the dining-hall as in their working-rooms, affords at the same time the most interesting and most satisfactory proof possible.
Were they to go home in the course of the day, it might be suspected that they got something at home to eat, in addition to what they receive from the public kitchen of the Establishment;— but this they seldom or ever do; and they come to the house so early in the morning, and leave it so late at night, that it does not seem probable that they could find time to cook any thing at their own lodgings.
Some of them, I known, make a constant practice of giving themselves a treat of a pint of beer at night, after they have finished their work; but I do not believe they have any thing else for their suppers, except it be the bread which they carry home from the House of Industry.
I must confess, however, very fairly, that it always appeared to me quite surprising, and that it is still a mystery which I do not clearly understand, how it is possible for these poor people to be so comfortably fed upon the small allowances which they receive.—The facts, however, are not only certain, but they are notorious. Many persons of the most respectable characters in this country, (Great Britain,) as well as upon the Continent, who have visited the House of Industry at Munich, can bear witness to their authenticity; and they are surely not the less interesting for being extraordinary.
It must however be remembered, that what formerly cost TWO FARTHINGS in Bavaria, at the mean price of provisions in that country, costs THREE farthings at this present moment; and would probably cost SIX in London, and in most other parts of Great Britain: but still, it will doubtless appear almost incredible, that a comfortable and nourishing meal, sufficient for satisfying the hunger of a strong man, may be furnished in London, and at this very moment, when provisions of all kinds are so remarkably dear, at LESS THAN THREE FARTHINGS. The fact, however, is most certain, and may easily be demonstrated by making the experiment.
Supposing that it should be necessary, in feeding the Poor in this country, to furnish them with three meals a-day, even that might be done at a very small expence, were the system of feeding them adopted which is here proposed. The amount of that expence would be as follows:
Pence. Farths. For breakfast, 20 ounces of the Soup No, II. composed of pearl barley, peas, potatoes, and fine wheaten bread (See page 210.) 0 2 1/2 For dinner, 20 ounces of the same Soup, and 7 ounces of rye-bread ... ... ... ... 1 2 For supper, 20 ounces of the same Soup ... 0 2 1/2 —————— In all 4 lb. 3 oz. of Food, which would cost 2 3
Should it be thought necessary to give a little meat at dinner, this may best be done by mixing it, cut fine, or minced, in bread dumplins; or when bacon, or any kind of salted or smoked meat is given, to cut it fine and mix it with the bread which is eaten in the soup. If the bread be fried, the Food will be much improved; but this will be attended with some additional expence. —Rye-bread is as good, if not better, for frying, than bread made of wheat flour; and it is commonly not half so dear.— Perhaps rye-bread fried might be furnished almost as cheap as wheaten bread not fried; and if this could be done, it would certainly be a very great improvement.
There is another way by which these cheap soups may be made exceedingly palatable and savoury;—which is by mixing with them a very small quantity of red herrings, minced very fine or pounded in a mortar.—There is no kind of cheap Food, I believe, that has so much taste as red herrings, or that communicates its flavour with so much liberality to other eatables; and to most palates it is remarkably agreeable.
Cheese may likewise be made use of for giving an agreeable relish to these soups; and a very small quantity of it will be sufficient for that purpose, provided it has a strong taste, and is properly applied.—It should be grated to a powder with a grater, and a small quantity of this powder thrown over the soup, AFTER IT IS DISHED OUT.—This is frequently done at the sumptuous tables of the rich, and is thought a great delicacy; while the Poor, who have so few enjoyments, have not been taught to avail themselves of this, which is so much within their reach.
Those whole avocations call them to visit distant countries, and those whose fortune enables them to travel for their amusement or improvement, have many opportunities of acquiring useful information; and in consequence of this intercourse with strangers, many improvements, and more REFINEMENTS, have been introduced into this country; but the most important advantages that MIGHT be derived from an intimate knowledge of the manners and customs of differing nations,—the introduction of improvements tending to facilitate the means of subsistence, and to increase the comforts and conveniences of the most necessitous and most numerous classes of society,—have been, alas! little attended to. Our extensive commerce enables us to procure, and we do actually import most of the valuable commodities which are the produce either of the foil of the ocean, or of the industry of man in all the various regions of the habitable globe;—but the result of the EXPERIENCE OF AGES respecting the use that can be made of those commodities has seldom been thought worth importing! I never see maccaroni in England, or polenta in Germany, upon the tables of the rich, without lamenting that cheap and wholesome luxuries should be monopolized by those who stand least in need of them; while the Poor, who, one would think, ought to be considered as having almost an EXCLUSIVE right to them, (as they were both invented by the Poor of a neighbouring nation,) are kept in perfect ignorance of them.
But these two kinds of Food are so palatable, wholesome, and nourishing, and may be provided so easily, and at so very cheap a rate in all countries, and particularly in Great Britain, that I think I cannot do better than to devote a few pages to the examination of them;—and I shall begin with Polenta, or Indian corn, as it is called in this country.
Of INDIAN CORN. It affords the cheapest and most nourishing food known. Proofs that it is more nourishing than rice. Different ways of preparing or cooking it. Computation of the expense of feeding a person with it, founded on experiment. Approved Receipt for making an INDIAN PUDDING.
I cannot help increasing the length of this Essay much beyond the bounds I originally assigned to it, in order to have an opportunity of recommending a kind of Food which I believe to be beyond comparison the most nourishing, cheapest, and most wholesome that can be procured for feeding the Poor.—This is Indian Corn, a most valuable production; and which grows in almost all climates; and though it does not succeed remarkably well in Great Britain, and in some parts of Germany, yet it may easily be had in great abundance, from other countries; and commonly at a very low rate.
The common people in the northern parts of Italy live almost entirely upon it; and throughout the whole Continent of America it makes a principal article of Food.—In Italy it is called Polenta, where it is prepared or cooked in a variety of ways, and forms the basis of a number of very nourishing dishes.— The most common way however of using it in that country is to grind it into meal, and with water to make it into a thick kind of pudding, like what in this country is called a hasty-pudding, which is eaten with various kinds of sauce, and sometimes without any sauce.
In the northern parts of North America, the common household bread throughout the country is composed of one part of Indian meal and one part of rye meal; and I much doubt whether a more wholesome, or more nourishing kind of bread can be made.
Rice is universally allowed to be very nourishing,—much more so even than wheat; but there is a circumstance well known to all those who are acquainted with the details of feeding the negro slaves in the southern states of North America, and in the West Indies, that would seem to prove, in a very decisive and satisfactory manner, that INDIAN CORN IS EVEN MORE NOURISHING THAN RICE.—In those countries, where rice and Indian Corn are both produced in the greatest abundance, the negroes have frequently had their option between these two kinds of Food; and have invariably preferred the latter.—The reasons they give for this preference they express in strong, though not in very delicate terms.—They say that "Rice turns to water in their bellies, and runs off;"—but "Indian Corn stays with them, and makes strong to work."
This account of the preference which negroes give to Indian Corn for Food, and of their reasons for this preference, was communicated to me by two gentlemen of most respectable character, well known in England, and now resident in London, who were formerly planters; one in Georgia, and the other in Jamaica.
The nutritive quantity which Indian Corn possessed, in a most eminent degree, when employed for fattening hogs and poultry, and for giving strength to working oxen, has long been universally known and acknowledged in every part of North America; and nobody in that country thinks of employing any other grain for those purposes.
All these facts prove to a demonstration that India Corn possesses very extraordinary nutritive powers; and it is well known that there is no species of grain that can be had so cheap, or in so great abundance;—it is therefore well worthy the attention of those who are engaged in providing cheap and wholesome Food for the Poor,—or in taking measures for warding off the evils which commonly attend a general scarcity of provisions, to consider in time, how this useful article of Food may be procured in large quantities, and how the introduction of it into common use can be most easily be effected.
In regard to the manner of using Indian Corn, there are a vast variety of different ways in which it may be prepared, or cooked, in order to its being used as Food.—One simple and obvious way of using it, is to mix it with wheat, rye, or barley meal, in making bread; but when it is used for making bread, and particularly when it is mixed with wheat flour, it will greatly improve the quality of the bread if the Indian meal, (the coarser part of the bran being first separated from it by sifting,) be previously mixed with water, and boiled for a considerable length of time,—two or three hours for instance, over a slow fire, before the other meal or flour is added to it.—This boiling, which, if the proper quantity of water is employed, will bring the mass to the consistency of a thin pudding, will effectually remove a certain disagreeable RAW TASTE in the Indian Corn, which simple baking will not entirely take away; and the wheat flour being mixed with this pudding after it has been taken from the fire and cooked, and the whole well kneaded together, may be made to rise, and be formed into loaves, and baked into bread, with the same facility that bread is made of wheat flour alone, or of any mixtures of different kinds of meal.
When the Indian meal is previously prepared by boiling, in the manner here described, a most excellent, and very palatable kind of bread, not inferior to wheaten bread, may be made of equal parts of this meal and of common wheat flour.
But the most simple, and I believe the best, and most economical way of employing Indian Corn as Food, is to make it into puddings.—There is, as I have already observed, a certain rawness in the taste of it, which nothing but long boiling can remove; but when that disagreeable taste is removed, it becomes extremely palatable; and that it is remarkably wholesome, has been proved by so much experience that no doubts can possibly be entertained of that fact.
The culture of it required more labour than most other kinds of grain; but, on the other hand, the produce is very abundant, and it is always much cheaper than either wheat or rye.— The price of it in the Carolinas, and in Georgia, has often been as low as eighteen pence, and sometimes as one shilling sterling per bushel;—but the Indian Corn which is grown in those southern states is much inferior, both in weight and in its qualities, to that which is the produce of colder climates.—Indian Corn of the growth of Canada, and the New England states, which is generally thought to be worth twenty per cent. more per bushel than that which is grown in the southern states, may commonly be bought for two and sixpence, or three shillings a bushel.
It is now three shillings and sixpence a bushel at Boston; but the prices of provisions of all kinds have been much raised of late in all parts of America, owing to the uncommonly high prices which are paid for them in the European markets since the commencement of the present war.
Indian Corn and rye are very nearly of the same weight, but the former gives rather more flour, when ground and sifted, than the latter.—I find by a report of the Board of Agriculture, of the 10th of November 1795, that three bushels of Indian Corn weighed 1 cwt. 1 qr. 18 lb. (or 53 lb. each bushel), and gave 1 cwt. 20 lb. of flour and 26 lb. of bran; while three bushels of rye, weighing 1 cwt. 1 qr. 22 lb. (or 54 lb. the bushel), gave only 1 cwt. 17 lb. of flour and 28 lb. of bran.— But I much suspect that the Indian Corn used in these experiments was not of the best quality.
I saw some of it, and it appeared to me to be of that kind which is commonly grown in the southern states of North America.— Indian Corn of the growth of colder climates is, probably, at least as heavy as wheat, which weights at a medium about 58 lb. per bushel, and I imagine it will give nearly as much flour.
In regard to the most advantageous method of using Indian Corn as Food, I would strongly recommend, particularly when it is employed for feeding the Poor, a dish made of it that is in the highest estimation throughout America, and which is really very good, and very nourishing. This is called hasty-pudding; and it is made in the following manner: A quantity of water, proportioned to the quantity of hasty-pudding intended to be made, is put over the fire in an open iron pot, or kettle, and a proper quantity of salt for seasoning the pudding being previously dissolved in the water, Indian meal is stirred into it, by little and little, with a wooded spoon with a long handle, while the water goes on to be heated and made to boil;— great care being taken to put in the meal by very small quantities, and by sifting it slowly through the fingers of the left hand, and stirring the water about very briskly at the same time with the wooden spoon, with the right hand, to mix the meal with the water in such a manner as to prevent lumps being formed.— The meal should be added so slowly, that, when the water is brought to boil, the mass should not be thicker than water-gruel, and half an hour more, at least, should be employed to add the additional quantity of meal necessary for bringing the pudding to be of the proper consistency; during which time it should be stirred about continually, and kept constantly boiling.— The method of determining when the pudding has acquired the proper consistency is this;—the wooden spoon used for stirring it being placed upright in the middle of the kettle, if it falls down, more meal must be added; but if the pudding is sufficiently thick and adhesive to support it in a vertical position, it is declared to be PROOF; and no more meal is added.—If the boiling, instead of being continued only half an hour, be prolonged to three quarters of an hour, or an hour, the pudding will be considerably improved by this prolongation.
This hasty-pudding, when done, may be eaten in various ways.— It may be put, while hot, by spoonfuls into a bowl of milk, and eaten with the milk with a spoon, in lieu of bread; and used in this way it is remarkably palatable.—It may likewise be eaten, while hot, with a sauce composed of butter and brown sugar, or butter and molasses, with or without a few drops of vinegar; and however people who have not been accustomed to this American cookery may be prejudiced against it, they will find upon trial that it makes a most excellent dish, and one which never fails to be much liked by those who are accustomed to it. —The universal fondness of Americans for it proves that it must have some merit;—for in a country which produces all the delicacies of the table in the greatest abundance, it is not to be supposed that a whole nation should have a taste so depraved as to give a decided preference to any particular species of Food which has not something to recommend it.
The manner in which hasty-pudding is eaten with butter and sugar, or butter and molasses, in America, is as follows: The hasty-pudding being spread out equally upon a plate, while hot, an excavation is made in the middle of it, with a spoon, into which excavation a piece of butter, as large as a nutmeg, is put; and upon it, a spoonful of brown sugar, or more commonly of molasses.— The butter being soon melted by the heat of the pudding, mixes with the sugar, or molasses, and forms a sauce, which, being confined in the excavation made for it, occupies the middle of the plate.—The pudding is then eaten with a spoon, each spoonful of it being dipt into the sauce before it is carried to the mouth; care being had in taking it up, to begin on the outside, or near the brim of the plate, and to approach the center by regular advances, in order not to demolish too soon the excavation which forms the reservoir for the sauce.
If I am prolix in these descriptions, my reader must excuse me; for persuaded as I am that the action of Food upon the palate, and consequently the pleasure of eating, depends very much indeed upon the MANNER in which the Food is applied to the organs of taste, I have thought it necessary to mention, and even to illustrate in the clearest manner, every circumstance which appeared to me to have influence in producing those important effects.
In the case in question, as it is the sauce alone which gives taste and palatableness to the Food, and consequently is the cause of the pleasure enjoyed in eating it, the importance of applying, or using it, in such a manner as to produce the greatest and most durable effect possible on the organs of taste, is quite evident; and in the manner of eating this Food which has here been described and recommended, the small quantity of sauce used, (and the quantity must be small, as it is the expensive article,) is certainly applied to the palate more immediately;— by a greater surface;—and in a state of greater condensation;— and consequently acts upon it more powerfully;—and continues to act upon it for a greater length of time, than it could well be made to do when used in any other way.—Were it more intimately mixed with the pudding, for instance, instead of being merely applied to its external surface, its action would certainly be much less powerful; and were it poured over the pudding, or was proper care not taken to keep it confined in the little excavation or reservoir made in the midst of the pudding to contain it, much of it would attach itself and adhere to the surface of the plate, and be lost.
Hasty-pudding has this in particular to recommend it;—and which renders it singularly useful as Food for poor families,—that when more of it is made at once than is immediately wanted, what remains may be preserved good for several days, and a number of very palatable dishes may be made of it.—It may be cut in thin slice, and toasted before the fire, or on a gridiron, and eaten instead of bread, either in milk, or in any kind of soup or pottage; or with any other kind of Food with which bread is commonly eaten; or it may be eaten cold, without any preparation, with a warm sauce made of butter, molasses, or sugar, and a little vinegar.—In this last-mentioned way of eating it, it is quite as palatable, and I believe more wholesome, than when eaten warm; that is to say, when it is first made.—It may likewise be put cold, without any preparation, into hot milk; and this mixture is by no means unpalatable, particularly if it be suffered to remain in the milk till it is warmed throughout, or if it be boiled in the milk for a few moments.
A favourite dish in America, and a very good one, is made of cold boiled cabbage chopped fine, with a small quantity of cold boiled beef, and slices of cold hasty-pudding, all fried together in butter or hog's lard.
Though hasty-puddings are commonly made of Indian meal, yet it is by no means uncommon to make them of equal parts of Indian, and of rye meal;—and they are sometimes made of rye meal alone; or of rye meal and wheat flour mixed.
To give a satisfactory idea of the expence of preparing hasty-puddings in this country, (England,) and of feeding the Poor with them, I made the following experiment:—About 2 pints of water, which weighed just 2 lb. Avoirdupois, were put over the fire in a saucepan of a proper size, and 58 grains in weight or 1/120 of a pound of salt being added, the water was made to boil.—During the time that is was heating, small quantities of Indian meal were stirred into it, and care was taken, by moving the water briskly about, with a wooden spoon, to prevent the meal from being formed into lumps; and as often as any lumps were observed, they were carefully broken with the spoon;—the boiling was then continued half an hour, and during this time the pudding was continually stirred about with the wooden spoon, and so much more meal was added as was found necessary to bring the pudding to be of the proper consistency.
This being done, it was taken from the fire and weighed, and was found to weigh just 1 lb. 11 1/2 oz.—Upon weighing the meal which remained, (the quantity first provided having been exactly determined by weight in the beginning of the experiment,) it was found that just HALF A POUND of meal had been used.
From the result of this experiment it appears, that for each pound of Indian meal employed in making hasty-pudding, we may reckon 3 lb. 9 oz. of the pudding.—And expence of providing this kind of Food, or the cost of it by the pound, at the present high price of grain in this country, may be seen by the following computation:
L. s. d. Half a pound of Indian meal, (the quantity) ] used in the foregoing experiment,) at 2d ] a pound or 7s. 6d. a bushel for the corn, ]... 0 0 1 (the price stated in the report of the ] Board of Agriculture of the 10th of ] November 1795, so often referred to,) costs]
58 grains or 1/120 of a pound of salt, at ] 2d. per pound ]... 0 0 0 1/60 —————— Total, 0 0 1 1/60
Now, as the quantity of pudding prepared with these ingredients was 1 lb. 11 1/2 oz. and the cost of the ingredients amounted to ONE PENNY AND ONE SIXTIETH OF A PENNY, this gives for the cost of one pound of hasty-pudding 71/120 of a penny, or 2 1/3 farthings, very nearly.—It must however be remembered that the Indian Corn is here reckoned at a very exorbitant price indeed.
But before it can be determined what the expence will be of feeding the Poor with this kind of Food, it will be necessary to ascertain how much of it will be required to give a comfortable meal to one person; and how much the expence will be of providing the sauce for that quantity of pudding.—To determine these two points with some degree of precision, I made the following experiment:— Having taken my breakfast, consisting of two dishes of coffee, with cream, and a dry toast, at my usual hour of breakfasting, (nine o'clock in the morning,) and having fasted from that time till five o'clock in the afternoon, I then dined upon my hasty-pudding, with the American sauce already described, and I found, after my appetite for Food was perfectly satisfied, and I felt that I had made a comfortable dinner, that I had eaten just 1 lb. 1 1/2 oz. of the pudding; and the ingredients, of which the sauce which was eaten with it was composed, were half an ounce of butter; three quarters of an ounce of molasses; and 21 grains or 1/342 of a pint of vinegar.
The cost of this dinner may be seen by the following computation:
For the Pudding Farthings. 1 lb. 1 1/2 oz. of hasty-pudding, at 2 1/3 farthings a pound ... ... ... ... 2 1/2 ——— For the Sauce
Half an ounce of butter, at 10d. per pound 1 1/4 Three quarters of an ounce of molasses, at 6d. per pound ... ... ... ... 1 1/352 of a pint of vinegar, at 2s 8d. the gallon ... ... ... ... ... ... 0 1/16 ——— Total for the Sauce, 2 5/16 farthings.
Sum total of expences for this dinner, for the pudding and its sauce... ... ... 4 13/16 farthings. Or something less than one penny farthing.
I believe it would not be easy to provide a dinner in London, at this time, when provisions of all kinds are so dear, equally grateful to the palate and satisfying to the cravings of hunger, at a smaller expence.—And that this meal was sufficient for all the purposes of nourishment appears from hence, that though I took my usual exercise, and did not sup after it, I neither felt any particular faintness, nor any unusual degree of appetite for my breakfast next morning.
I have been the more particular in my account of this experiment, to show in what manner experiments of this kind ought, in my opinion, to be conducted;—and also to induce others to engage in these most useful investigations.
It will not escape the observation of the reader, that small as the expence was of providing this dinner, yet very near one-half of that sum was laid out in purchasing the ingredients for the sauce.—But it is probable that a considerable part of that expence might be saved.—In Italy, polenta, which is nothing more than hasty-pudding made with Indian meal and water, is very frequently, and I believe commonly eaten without any sauce, and when on holidays or other extraordinary occasions they indulge themselves by adding a sauce to it, this sauce is far from expensive.—It is commonly nothing more than a very small quantity of butter spread over the flat surface of the hot polenta which is spread out thin in a large platter; with a little Parmezan or other strong cheese, reduced to a coarse powder by grating it with a grater, strewed over it.
Perhaps this Italian sauce might be more agreeable to an English palate than that commonly used in America. It would certainly be less expensive, as much less butter would be required, and as cheese in this country is plenty and cheap. But whatever may be the sauce used with Food prepared of Indian Corn, I cannot too strongly recommend the use of that grain.
While I was employed in making my experiment upon hasty-pudding, I learnt from my servant, (a Bavarian,) who assisted me, a fact which gave me great pleasure, as it served to confirm me in the opinion I have long entertained of the great merit of Indian Corn.—He assured me that polenta is much esteemed by the peasantry in Bavaria, and that it makes a very considerable article of their Food; that it comes from Italy through the Tyrol; and that it is commonly sold in Bavaria AT THE SAME PRICE AS WHEAT FLOUR! Can there be stronger proofs of its merit?
The negroes in America prefer it to rice; and the Bavarian peasants to wheat.—Why then should not the inhabitants of this island like it? It will not, I hope, be pretended, that it is in this favoured soil alone that prejudices take such deep root that they are never to be eradicated, or that there is any thing peculiar in the construction of the palate of an Englishman.
The objection that may be made to Indian Corn,—that it does not thrive well in this country,—is of no weight. The same objection might, with equal reason, be made to rice, and twenty other articles of Food now in common use.
It has ever been considered, by those versed in the science of political economy, as an object of the first importance to keep down the prices of provisions, particularly in manufacturing and commercial countries;—and if there be a country on earth where this ought to be done, it is surely Great Britain:—and there is certainly no country which has the means of doing it so much in its power.
But the progress of national improvements must be very slow, however favorable other circumstances may be, where those citizens, who, by their rank and situation in society, are destined to direct the public opinion, AFFECT to consider the national prejudices as unconquerable.—But to return to the subject immediately under consideration.
Though hasty-pudding is, I believe, the cheapest Food that can be prepared with Indian Corn, yet several other very cheap dishes may be made of it, which in general are considered as being more palatable, and which, most probably, would be preferred in this country; and among these, what in America is called a plain Indian pudding certainly holds the first place, and can hardly fail to be much liked by those, who will be persuaded to try it.—It is not only cheap and wholesome, but a great delicacy; and it is principally on account of these puddings that the Americans, who reside in this country, import annually for their own consumption Indian Corn from the Continent of America.