This section is from the book "Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery", by Mary E. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery; A Textbook Of Domestic Science For Use In Schools.
Pure food means honest food. It would not be honest to can spoiled fruit, to mix cracker crumbs or sawdust with spice, to substitute a cheaper oil such as cottonseed for olive-oil, or to color or bleach food with poisonous chemicals. Such practices are examples of food adulteration. Misbranding food is putting labels on it which are intended to deceive the purchaser. "Pure food laws" prohibit adulteration and misbranding. Each state should have strict laws of this kind, as the Federal laws do not apply to foods prepared and sold in the same state.
One should know what is a reasonable price for each kind of goods and be suspicious of anything much cheaper. One may rightly buy the cheaper of two similar foods if it is wholesome and sold for what it really is. But food of poor quality will not do the work of good food in the body. True thrift is to buy reliable food and to waste none of it by careless handling or poor cooking.
In buying supplies, see that you get the quantity you pay for. Some tradesmen are dishonest. Others may be careless. Some, particularly pedlers and small dealers who undersell others, use false weights and measures : scales that weigh less than they appear to, "quart measures" holding less than a quart, cans and baskets with false bottoms. Buy everything by a standard measure, such as a pound, a quart, or a bushel. The terms "pailful," "hand-ful," or "ten cents' worth," mean nothing in law. But the dealer who sells less than a pound for a pound, or less than a bushel for a bushel may be arrested and punished.
See that the dealer does not touch the scales or the food while it is being weighed. Do not let him weigh a wooden dish with lard or butter, or a heavy paper or bag with anything you buy unless he allows for its weight. It pays to have accurate scales and a set of accurate dry and liquid measures in the kitchen with which to re-weigh your purchases.
For further development of topics treated in this section see: -
Parloa : Home economics.
Housekeeping Experiment Station: Bulletins. Particularly 5 and 12. Barrows : Principles of cookery.
Mayor's Bureau of Weights and Measures, N. Y. City: What the purchasing public should know. U. S. Dept. of Agriculture : Bureau of Chemistry. Publications relating to the inspection and analysis of food. Sherman : Food products. For information about adulteration, pure food laws, etc. Farmer: Boston cooking school cook-book. For time-tables, methods of working, and cooking-utensils.