Dishes for invalids should be served in the daintiest and most attractive way; never send more than a supply for one meal; the same dish too frequently set before an invalid often causes a distaste, when perhaps a change would tempt the appetite.
When preparing dishes where milk is used, the condition of the patient should be considered. Long cooking hardens the albumen and makes the milk very constipating; then, if the patient should be already constipated, care should be taken not to heat the milk above the boiling point.
The seasoning of food for the sick should be varied according to the condition of the patient; one recovering from illness can partake of a little piece of roast mutton, chicken, rabbit, game, fish, simply dressed, and simple puddings are all light food and easily digested. A mutton chop, nicely cut, trimmed and broiled, is a dish that is often inviting to an invalid. As a rule, an invalid will be more likely to enjoy any preparation sent to him if it is served in small delicate pieces. As there are so many small, dainty dishes that can be made for this purpose, it seems useless to try to give more than a small variety of them. Pudding can be made of prepared barley, or tapioca, well soaked before boiling, with an egg added, and a change can be made of light puddings by mixing up some stewed fruit with the puddings before baking; a bread pudding from stale bread crumbs, and a tiny cup-custard, boiled in a small basin or cup; also various drinks, such as milk punch, wine, whey, apple-toddy, and various other nourishing drinks.
Select the tenderest cuts and broil over a clear, hot fire. Let the steak be rare, the chops well done. Salt and pepper, lay between two hot plates three minutes and serve to your patient. If he is very weak do not let him swallow anything except the juice, when he has chewed the meat well. The essence of rare beef, roasted or broiled, thus expressed, is considered by some physicians to be more strengthening than beef tea prepared in the usual manner.
One pound of lean beef, cut into small pieces. Put into a glass canning jar, without a drop of water, cover tightly and set in a pot of cold water. Heat gradually to a boil and continue this steadily for three or four hours, until the meat is like white rags and the juice all drawn out. Season with salt to taste and, when cold, skim.
Take a scrag-end of mutton (two pounds), put it in a saucepan with two quarts of cold water and an ounce of pearl barley or rice. When it is coming to a boil, skim it well, then add half a teaspoonful of salt; let it boil until half reduced, then strain it and take off all the fat and it is ready for use. This is excellent for an invalid. If vegetables are liked in this broth, take one turnip, one carrot and one onion, cut them in shreds and boil them in the broth half an hour. In that case, the barley may be served with the vegetables in broth.