Sometimes the system from overtaxation, either mental or physical, needs a period of complete rest or comparative inaction; or, as in the commencement of many forms of sickness, the diet should be food which merely satisfies the hunger and which soothes and reduces inflammation and quenches thirst, but does not nourish nor stimulate. Foods proper at such times come under the head of starchy gruels, gelatinous soups and jellies, oranges, grapes, etc., and mucilaginous, acid, and aromatic drinks.
2 teaspoonfuls flour, wet in cold water.
Cornstarch and rice-flour gruels are made in a similar manner. Use a little more of wheat flour than of the others.
Mix the flour and salt, and make into a smooth thin paste with cold water, then stir it into the boiling water. Cook five minutes or until the desired consistency is obtained. Strain; then add sugar, if preferred, and thin with a little milk. If intended for a fever patient, a little lemon juice improves the flavor; if for a patient with summer complaint, boil with the gruel half an inch stick of cinnamon or a little nutmeg, - the spice will help to reduce the laxative condition. Sick people soon tire of sweets, and gruels should be sweetened only slightly, if at all. Flour and starchy gruels should not be given in typhoid fever, or when the disease is located in the intestines. Nor should they ever be used in excess, as, being rapidly swallowed, they are unaffected by the alkaline action of the saliva, and pass through the stomach unchanged and severely tax the intestines. They should be kept in the mouth and mingled with the saliva before swallowing.
2 dozen raisins, quartered. 2 cups milk.
1 tablespoonful flour. Salt to taste.
Boil the raisins in a little water twenty minutes. Let the water boil away, and add the milk. When boiling, add the flour rubbed to a thin paste with a little cold milk. Boil eight or ten minutes. Season with salt and strain. Or omit the raisins, and add sugar to taste; or add the beaten white of one egg after it comes from the stove.
Boil one ounce of pearl barley a few minutes, to cleanse it. Pour off the water, add one quart of cold water and half a teaspoonful of salt, and simmer one hour, or until reduced one half. Strain it; sweeten to taste, and add a little lemon or nutmeg, if desired. Barley contains mucilage, and is soothing and refreshing in fevers and gastric inflammation.
1 tablespoonful flour.
2 tablespoonfuls corn meal.
1 teaspoonful salt. 1 quart boiling water-
Mix the flour, meal, and salt. Make into a thin paste With a little cold water, and stir into the boiling water. Boil thirty minutes, stirring often; thin with milk or cream. Milk may be used instead of water by making the gruel in a double boiler. Indian meal gruel requires longer time for cooking than any purely starchy gruels.
No. 2. - Wet one heaping teaspoonful of meal and one saltspoonful of salt in a little cold water, and stir into one cup of boiling water. Boil slowly thirty minutes.
Indian corn meal is heating in its nature, and should never be given where there is any inflammatory condition of the system. If given during convalescence after scarlet fever, it sometimes produces glandular swellings. When there is a deficiency of natural warmth, and no inflammation, it may be given without harm.