Cooking, of course, destroys many such germs, and that is one reason why cooked foods are better and more wholesome than uncooked. Cooking has other important purposes too; for it renders food more capable of mastication and consequently of digestion. It does this both by changing its actual structure and by making it more appetizing, thus stimulating the flow of the saliva and the gastric juices. The importance of good cooking cannot be overestimated.
And while, as we have seen, the careful cooking and serving of food are themselves the result of a developed esthetic sense, they are at the same time a means of further development. A good meal, well cooked, and daintily served, has a certain subtle moral effect not to be disregarded in this age of nervous haste and flaunting materialism. If we are "but what we eat," we are also in a very real sense the product of all the influences that play about us as we eat. The child, contented over his morning bowl of oatmeal, is not unmindful of the cleanliness and order of the table at which he sits, and the scent of the orange or the cocoa may be just as refining in its influence as the fragrance of the honey-suckle wafted through the open window. If beautiful surroundings have, as we now generally agree, their effect upon the sensitive, impressionable nature of the child, the meal to which he comes gladly three times a day must play a tremendous part in determining what his future character will be.
Nor is it only the child who is influenced. A poor meal, served in slovenly fashion, will upset many a healthy man's temper for the day. After all, one's philosophy is largely a matter of what one has had for breakfast.
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste, She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent - What choice to choose for delicacy best, What order so contrived as not to mix Tastes not well joined, inelegant; but bring Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change.
. - Milton: Paradise Lost.