The best bread for cold weather is that containing most oil. Corn bread ranks first, oatmeal next, rye third, and wheat last. Of course comparatively few are exposed to the rigors of winter in civilized life, and brief exposure to cold is off-set by an increase of clothing, and ordinary diet furnishes a plentiful supply of carbon. For woodmen, soldiers, sailors, pilots, travelers, railroad men, and others exposed to long cold storms, especially when they can not exercise freely, should eat liberally of fat beef, yolks of eggs, and butter. Butter is the least objectionable of fats. Fat from salt pork and smoked bacon is less injurious than that from fresh pork. Beef fat is also much more wholesome than lard. Above all, let the cook remember that oils are physic, and next to poison, if not blended with substances which contain large quantities of starch, such as rice, mealy potatoes, and bread made of fine wheat Hour. An ounce of lard and a pound of flour thoroughly blended in a loaf of bread is digestible, but the same amount added to corn meal (already rich in oil) would be fit food only for a Greenlander. The proper proportion of oil in food in ordinary circumstances is illustrated in milk, which contains three and one-half parts oil in one hundred.
The next important element which supplies carbon is sugar, which is contained in greater or less quantity in all vegetable substances, and largely (five to six and one-half per cent) in milk. Sugar contains forty per cent carbon, the rest water. It seems to be first converted into fat, and then used in respiration. In moderate quantities it has no injurious effects. A part of sugar as ordinarily eaten passes into lactic acid, and aids digestion, but if too much is produced digestion is retarded.
There are two kinds of sugars in commerce, - cane and grape. The former is made from cane, maple sap, beets, corn-stalks, etc.; the other from plants which have an acid juice. Cane sugar contains twelve parts carbon to eleven of water; grape sugar twelve of carbon to fourteen of water. Sugars are changed by fermentation into carbonic acid and alcohol, but grape sugar is most liable to such fermentation, - cane sugar first becoming grape sugar by chemical combination with water. Pure cane sugar remains perfectly dry and unchanged in the air, while grape sugar attracts moisture, and becomes mealy and damp. Cane sugar dissolves more readily in water than grape, and hence tastes sweeter. Two pounds of cane sugar sweeten as much as five of grape. These facts give a hint to housekeepers of great value. Grape sugar, which is worth only two-fifths as much as cane, is used largely to adulterate the latter. The fine, floury "powdered" sugar is largely grape sugar, and is not only of much less value, but deteriorates more rapidly than pure cane sugar. Brown sugar, after standing for some time, absorbs water from the air, and becomes grape sugar. It is, therefore, the best economy to buy the best white granulated sugar.
There is another element of food which does not feed muscle, vegetable jelly, called pectine. This and pectine acid particularly abounds in fruits and berries. By the processes of ripening the vegetable acids which are enclosed in little cells, burst out, are diffused, through the mass of fruit, and manufacture pectine or jelly. Heat produces the same effect as ripening, and cooking is, in fact, only a rapid process of ripening. This jelly, when combined with sugar, goes to make up a variety of delicate articles, such as jellies and marmalades. They are nourishing, principally, on account of the sugar they contain, but are easily digested, cooling, and delicious. It should be mentioned that nearly all fruits are rich in sugar, - a ripe peach containing as much as an equal quantity of cane juice.
There are some other substances which appear in less quantity in foods which seem none the less essential to health and life. One of these is phosphorus, which is an element of brain and nerves, and is wasted by mental activity and nervous excitement. The brain-worker demands a diet rich in phosphorus, and in such a form as to be easily assimilated. The food that best sustains a laborer in the open air is not the best for those who live among the excitements and exhausting demands on the brain, that are the rule in city life. For the latter, eggs, most kinds of fish, oysters, lobsters, crabs, game, cheese, and, among vegetables the potato; and these foods are just what are craved by city people.
Another element is sulphur, which is required in the growth of bone and cartilage, the hair and nails. Of this there is so much in the yolk of an egg that silver is blackened by contact with it. Curd of milk and cheese are also rich in sulphur.
Iron is always present in healthy blood, and its absence - paleness - is an indication of illness. Most articles of food contain iron; in the juice of flesh, in eggs, and in milk it is abundant. Lime and salt are also ingredients in all food, the former making bone, and the latter playing an important part in the creation of the digestive juices. Lime is found in all grains, particularly in wheat and in milk, in form of subphosphates. Bread and milk are for this reason an excellent diet for growing children, as they supply not only heat and muscle, but lime that goes to supply the growth of bone. Salt also exists in many articles of food.
Men and races grow in proportion to their skill in combining heat and muscle-producing foods. The hardy Scotch use oatmeal largely, which is rich in nitrogen. The Irish, who endure a large amount of hard labor on cheap fare, eat potatoes, oatmeal, cabbage, and milk, while the lime and phosphates are said to be derived from the " hard" water impregnated with lime. The English add bacon (heat-producing) to beans, rich in nitrogen, and to rice, which abounds in starch (carbon), add milk and eggs, which feed muscle. The Italian eats macaroni, which is principally starch, with cheese, rich in nitrogen. The use of chemistry in cooking is to teach how to supple-ment one kind of food by another which contains the essential elements which the first lacks. For instance, venison contains fifteen per cent nitrogen to fifty-two carbon, or as one to three and a half, while the ratio should be one to four or five. To make it perfect and satisfying food, we have only to supplement it with something rich in carbon, as wheat bread, oatmeal, potatoes, or rice. A farmer's dinner of salt pork and boiled cabbage is nearly perfect for an out-of-door laborer in cold weather. The cabbage is rich in nitrogen and the pork in carbon. It is a proper dinner dish, because it requires four and a half hours to digest, while a supper may be made on venison, which is digested in an hour. Beef has fifteen per cent of nitrogen, but is not so easily digested as venison, and is fit only for a breakfast or dinner dish. Wheat bread does not contain nitrogen enough for a working-man's diet, and butter eateh with it does not supply the lack. Some kind of lean meat is needed to make perfect food. The more active the life out of doors the nearer can health be sustained on a diet of lean meat only. Beans contain, next to meats, the most nitrogen, and are excellent food for laborers. The cabbage ranks next, and afterward come oats, wheat, and barley. The potato contains seventy-five per cent, water. An analysis of the dry matter shows one-tenth of it to be nitrogen, so that its nutritive value is nearly equal to wheat, while its great productiveness recommends it particularly to densely populated countries. A dozen large potatoes are equal to a pound of flour. The onion is very rich in nitrogen, - one onion being equal to three potatoes of equal size in nutritive value.