I am indebted to Dr. Franklin, of St. Louis, for this little chapter. Appreciating his experience in the uses of prepared foods for invalids, I asked his advice about certain ones, when he kindly sent me a written opinion, which I insert verbatim. Dr. Franklin says:
"In the dietetic treatment of the sick, notwithstanding that well-meaning and unwise friends often injure their patients by solicitations to take more food, it is often one of the great difficulties to induce the invalid to partake sufficiently of what is suitable, remembering that the body is nourished by the assimilation of the food, and that the assimilating power is weak, and can not be overtaxed. But the desire of food, and, indeed, the assimilation, depend in a considerable degree on the manner in which it is presented. It should not only please the eye and gratify the palate, but should be varied in kind and method of preparation.
"Liebig's Extract of Meat is an economical and valuable preparation. It is valuable in nearly all cases of physical debility and extreme emaciation, especially after profuse losses of blood in collapse from wounds; for patients suffering from severe and prolonged fevers in the last stage of consumption; in bad cases of indigestion, when the stomach rejects all solid food; and as an article of diet for nursing-mothers, etc.
"In cases of extreme exhaustion, the extract may be mixed with wine. As it is stimulating, it may take the place of tea and coffee, and will be less liable than they to produce derangement of the digestive organs. An advantage with this extract is that it can be readily prepared.
"Valentine's Extract of Meat. - This is one of the best articles of the kind for the sick - chamber, and is not only simple of preparation, but is the most nutritive of all the beef essences. As a medicinal agent, it will be found of great value to the sick, and for persons (children as well) with weak constitutions.*
"These beverages, in common with any nutritive soups, offer to the patient whose general bodily functions are more or less suspended a fluid and assimilable form of food. It is to this adaptation of nourishment to the condition of the body that we must, in part at least, ascribe their ben-eficial results. They have a remarkable power of restoring the vigorous action of the heart, and dissipating the sense of exhaustion following severe, prolonged exertion, and may be recommended in preference to the glass of wine which some take after watching, preaching, prolonged mental effort, etc.
"Gillon's Essence of Chicken. - A similar preparation may be more readily made by using this essence of chicken, which may be procured from any homeopathic chemist. This simply requires diluting with hot water in the proportion stated upon each tin case.
"Oatmeal Porridge. - When properly made, this is both wholesome and nutritious, and especially suitable when a patient does not suffer from water-brash, acidity, or from any form of bowel irritation. It has long been the staple food of the Scotch, and produces good muscular fibre and strong bone. It is a very nourishing diet for growing children. The common oatmeal is not equal to the Scotch oatmeal; however, it is not always easy to obtain the latter.
"Pearl Barley forms an excellent meal. It should be boiled for four hours, so tied in a cloth that room is left for the grain to swell. Only so much water should be added from time to time as to feed the barley and supply the waste of evaporation, lest the strength of the barley should be boiled out. It may be served with milk, or (if the patient can digest them) with preserves, jelly, or butter.
"Macaroni-pudding. - Three ounces of macaroni should be soaked for forty minutes in cold water, then added to a pint of boiling milk. This should be stirred occasionally, while it simmers for half an hour; two eggs are then added, beaten with a dessert-spoonful of sugar; also, if desired, a flavoring of lemon. This may then be baked in a pie-dish for twenty minutes.
"Vermicelli may be used instead of macaroni, but requires only twenty minutes' soaking.
"Part of a loaf of stale bread, boiled, and served with butter and salt, or with preserves, affords a change of wholesome food. Bread - pudding made with eggs and milk, either boiled or baked, may be used, made according to the receipt used at Westminster Hospital, viz.: Bread, one-quarter of a pound; milk, one-quarter of a pint; sugar, one-quarter of an ounce; flour, one-quarter of an ounce; one egg for every two pounds. A pudding may be made in the same way of stale sponge-cake or rusks, to diversify the diet.
* Dr. Franklin admits that Valentine's extract is more nutritive than that of Liebig. I have heard other physicians say that they considered the Valentine much preferable to the Liebig extract, abandoning the use of the latter for the former. - Ed.
"Neave's Food. - Many years' experience in the use of Neave's Farinaceous Food justifies the recommendation of it as an excellent article of diet for infants, invalids, and persons of feeble digestion. Competent chemical analysts have found the preparation to contain every constituent necessary for the nourishment of the body, and this has been abundantly confirmed by what we have frequently observed as the result of its use. For infants it should be prepared according to the direction supplied with the food, taking care not to make it too thick; it also makes a very agreeable and highly nutritious gruel.
"One precaution is necessary: Neave's food should be obtained fresh and in good condition; if exposed too long, it deteriorates. Under favorable circumstances it keeps good for from six to twelve months. It may generally be procured in good condition from the leading homeopathic druggists.
"Ridge's, Hard's, and other farinaceous foods have their advantages, and are preferred by some patients.
"Those foods that are pure starch, as 'corn flour,' so called, and all those which thicken in like manner, contain but a small proportion of nutriment, being less sustaining and also more difficult of digestion than ordinary stale bread. They are very unsuitable for young infants and children suffering from diarrhea, indigestion, constipation, flatulence, atrophy, or aphthae.
"In all cases, food which contains traces of bran, and also gluten, gum, sugar, cellulose, and saline matter, especially the phosphates, in proportion to the starch, are to be preferred. I prefer the Ridge's food for nursing infants, but either may be used according to adaptability.
"Sugar of Milk. - A preparation of cow's milk and sugar of milk forms a still lighter food, and one which, in the case of very young infants, should be used to the exclusion of farinaceous food. Cow's milk may be assimilated to human milk by dilution with water and the addition of sugar of milk. Cow's milk contains more oil (cream) and caseine, or cheese matter, but less sugar, than woman's. When necessary to bring up a child by hand from birth, sugar of milk is more suitable to begin with.
"Formula: One ounce of sugar of milk should be dissolved in three-quarters of a pint of boiling water, and mixed as required with an equal quantity of fresh cow's milk. The infant should be fed with this from the feeding-bottle in the usual way. Care must be taken to keep the bottle, etc., perfectly clean.
"Alkershrepta (Chocolate). - One of the most delicate and nutritious beverages is made from this preparation of the cocoa. It is prepared from the best cocoa-bean, the highly nutritious natural oil of which is not extracted, as in the ordinary soluble chocolates, but so neutralized as not to derange the stomach of the most delicate. Its nutritious and mildly stimulating qualities, its purity, and the facility with which it is prepared for use - not requiring to be boiled - recommend it as an excellent substitute for tea and coffee. Directions for its preparation accompany each package.
"Delacre's Extract of Meat Chocolate. - This agreeable article combines in one preparation, and under a most agreeable form, a large proportion of tonic and nutritive principles. It contains both the properties of chocolate and beef. It is a useful tonic and nutritive agent for invalids and convalescents, and for persons of delicate constitutions. It contains three per cent. of La Plata Extract of Meat, and every square represents the nutritive constituents of one and a quarter ounces of beef. It is employed as ordinary chocolate. Full directions accompany each box.
"Welluc's Biscotine. - A most excellent, healthy, and invigorating food for infants and invalids. It is prepared from sweetened bread and other nutritious substances, reduced to a fine powder, so as to render them easily soluble in water or milk. As an article of common diet for infants, particularly those suffering from delicate constitutions or with looseness of the bowels, it will be found to give health and strength with more certainty than the crude substances now in use, and not, like them, liable to sour on the stomach."