So much has been said and written about the dietetic evils of pastries that the very name has become almost synonymous with indigestion and dyspepsia. That they are prolific causes of this dire malady cannot be denied, and it is doubtless due to two reasons: first, because they are generally compounded of ingredients which are in themselves unwholesome and rendered doubly so by their combination; and second, because tastes have become so perverted that an excess of these articles is consumed in preference to more simple and nutritious food. Foods containing an excess of fat, as do most pastries and many varieties of cake, are exceedingly difficult of digestion, the fat undergoing in the stomach no changes corresponding to those which occur in the digestion of other elements of food, and its presence interfering with the action of the gastric juice upon the other elements. In consequence, digestion proceeds very slowly, if at all, and the delay often occasions fermentative and putrefactive changes in the entire contents of the stomach. It is the indigesti-bility of fat, and this property of delaying the digestion of other foods, chiefly, that render pastry and cakes so deleterious to health.

The writer does not wish to be understood as in sympathy with that class of people who maintain that dyspepsia is a disciplinary means of grace, when, after the previous statement, the following recipes are presented for preparing the very articles condemned. Pie and cake are not necessarily utterly unwholesome; and if prepared in a simple manner, may be partaken of in moderation by persons with good digestion, though they lack the healthfulness of more simple foods. Would women supply their tables with perfectly light, sweet, nutritious bread and plenty of fruit, the continual demand for cakes and pies would no doubt largely cease. However, if pies and cakes must needs be, let them be made as simple as possible.

General Suggestions For Making Pies

Always prepare the filling for pies before making the crust, if the filling is to be cooked in the crust. Have all the material for the crust on the table, measured and in readiness, before beginning to put together. Follow some of the simple recipes given in these pages. Have all the material cold, handle the least possible to make it into a mass, and do not knead at all.

In preparing material for custard or pumpkin pies, if the milk used be hot, the pies will be improved, and the time of baking be considerably shortened.

Tin or granite-ware plates are preferable to earthen ones for pies, as they bake better on the bottom. The perforated pans are superior in some respects. No greasing is needed; simply rubbing them well with flour is sufficient. The time required for baking pies varies from one half to three fourths of an hour. The dampers should be so adjusted as to bake the bottom crust first.

After baking, remove at once to heated earthen plates, or set the tins upon small supports, so that the air can circulate underneath them.

If a meringue is to be used, let the pie first cool a little after baking before spreading. Use one scant tablespoonful of sugar to the stiffly beaten white of each egg. When spread, return to the oven, the heat of which should be nearly off, for fifteen or twenty minutes. The white of the egg being nearly pure albumen, it requires slow cooking, - so slow as to resemble a drying rather than a baking. If put into a hot oven, the result is apt to be a tough, leathery compound instead of the tender, foamlike covering which it should be.