The selection of fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits in the city markets has most importance for city people. Farmers who supply these foods need to know at what points and characteristics the city housewife looks, that they may so prepare these foods as to please her eye. Only general statements can be written out. The woman who regularly visits the markets learns by practice the art of selecting these foods. The teacher of cookery can teach her pupils far more by practical illustrations than by written or spoken statements without the objects for illustration. Farmers get choice fresh foods for the bare expense of producing them, with no charges from transportation company, commission man, or merchant. The farmers' selection of choice foods for their own tables is accomplished mainly by extra care in raising, preparing and preserving them. Great progress has been made in facilities and methods of preserving foods, both in the farmers' home and in factories; also in raising foods of all kinds.
Farmers may have the choicest foods at very low cost. The spread of knowledge of how to raise vegetables, fruits, and meats for home consumption on the farm is one of the most important works being accomplished by agricultural colleges. A garden of vegetables and small fruits planted in rows, so as to be cultivated largely by horse power, a few pigs, a flock of good hens, some cows, and a few sheep supply the farmer's table with the most delicious and nutritious foods, at a cost far below that realized by any other class of people in the world. We are proud of our country, our farms, our farmers, and of the great men and women our farms are constantly produring. The improved feeding of our farm boys and girls which the teaching of agricultural schools promises to bring about will have much to do with making the future generations of our nation powerful in physique, strong in mind, and pure in heart. A few of the leading thoughts used in teaching city people how to select foods in the markets are given below.
The wise farmer, in storing food for the needs of his stock during the winter, plans to have no waste by furnishing food in wrong quantities or proportions. The animals must thrive, and the food must give the requisite amount of heat-giving, muscle-forming, and energy-producing nourishment. The housewife, in solving the food question, in relation to her family, must consider the same things, and some others in addition to these. She may know that nearly one-half of the body is made up of muscle, which is one-fifth proteid, and that this, whether working proteid or idle proteid, can be built up only by furnishing proteid substance. She may understand that a certain amount of carbohydrates is necessary to furnish the energy needed by the body, and a sufficiency of carbohydrates and fats to keep up the heat of the body, yet if she does not know how "to make the mouth water," her family will not relish plain food. Among the many things which cannot be classified merely as working constituents of the food, but which are nevertheless necessary, are green vegetables, flavoring materials, and fresh ripe fruits. Everything used in the well-regulated home as relish, from the sprig of parsley to the fresh ripe strawberry, has a place to fill, and the consumer never questions whether the cellulose of the parsley aids perceptibly in giving bulk to his food, nor whether the volatile oil to which the strawberry owes a part of its pleasant flavor aids any in the carbohydrate effect of the food eaten. No amount of skill can bring back to an overripe fruit the fine flavor which it possessed when nature pronounced it finished. Excessive use of spices and condiments may in some measure conceal the defects of an unsavory soup, but they cannot remove them. The most palatable soup can only be made by using meats and vegetables possessing a good flavor. A knowledge of marketing will enable one to have the best that the locality affords, not only as to the amount and proportions of food constituents, but as to palatability also. Fresh fruit and crisp green vegetables will aid in giving a finished aspect to a plain dinner, and pleasant sensations to a hungry person.