1/4 lb. cold fish or dried haddock. 1/4 lb. boiled rice.
Cayenne pepper and salt.
Wash and boil the rice; boil the egg very hard; break the fish into pieces and carefully remove all the bones; take the egg, break off the shell, and cut the whites into small square pieces. When the boiled rice is dry melt the butter in a stewpan, add the rice, then the fish, chopped white of egg, cayenne pepper and salt. Mix them well together and serve on a hot dish, and sprinkle the yolk of egg over it.
Skin and fillet the fish; wash and dry the fillets, and put in a jam-pot which is placed in a saucepan half-full of boiling water. Cover tightly, and let it boil for ten minutes. Mix I ounce of butter with 1 ounce of flour in saucepan over the fire. Add I gill of milk and liquor from the fish, and cook for ten minutes, stirring well. Pour this sauce over the fillets, and garnish with slice of lemon.
Chicken and tongue are useful in the dietary of the aged. The receipts in the Convalescent section (pp. 305 et seq.) may be supplemented by the following: -
Remove all the skin and bones from a part of roast chicken. Chop the meat and pound it in a mortar, and rub through a sieve. Take the bones of the chicken, boil for several hours with onion, carrot, two leaves of celery, and enough water to cover them. Strain through a sieve, and remove all the fat. Add the pounded meat, and simmer until it is sufficiently thick. Add 1/2 gill of cream, a few drops of lemon juice, and a small lump of sugar.
Melt 1/2 ounce of butter and 1/2 ounce of flour in a saucepan, and add 1/2 gill of white stock. Take the flesh of half a chicken, chop, pound it, and rub it through a sieve. When the sauce is cool, add one egg, 1/2 pint of cream, and mix well together. Put into buttered mould; steam for quarter of an hour.
In choosing a tongue, find out how long it has been pickled or smoked. Select one with smooth skin, which denotes it being young and tender. If a dried one and rather hard, soak it at least for twelve hours previous to cooking it; if, however, the tongue is fresh from the pickle, two or three hours will be sufficient for it to remain to soak. Wash the tongue well, and trim it neatly at the root. Put the tongue into a stew-pan with plenty of cold water and a bunch of savoury herbs, and a few pieces of vegetable for flavouring; let it gradually come to the boil, skim well, and simmer very gently until tender. A large smoked tongue will take four to four and a half hours, a small unsmoked one would take about two to two and a half hours. When the tongue is tender, take it up, plunge it into cold water, and then skin it carefully. If to be eaten hot, cover the tongue with greased paper after skinning, and heat in the oven for a few minutes. Then glaze it or cover with browned breadcrumbs. Garnish with greens and tufts of cauliflower, and serve good brown sauce in a sauce-boat. If to be eaten cold, after stewing turn it into shape on a board by fastening it down at root and tip with fine skewers, and leave it until cold Glaze it or not as preferred. Put a frill round the root, garnish with paisley, and serve.
Old people are very apt to give up vegetables, owing to their flatulent properties. This practice is not a good one, for if persisted in, some minor symptoms of scurvy not infrequently develop. Everything depends on the form in which the vegetables are administered, and on the amount and nature of the other ingredients of the meal.
A small quantity of potato should be taken every day if ssible, and also a certain amount of well-cooked vegetables. Spinach, stewed lettuce, stewed or baked tomatoes, vegetable marrow, cucumber, boiled or stewed celery, seakale, asparagus, leeks, the flower of cauliflower, large Spanish onions, and French beans are all suitable. Uncooked vegetables as partaken of in salads are not very satisfactory, since they are apt to cause fermentation. The same holds good for cabbage, greens, brussels sprouts, turnips, parsnips, and old carrots. For methods of preparation of the vegetables, see p. 122.
Fruit taken in small quantity is also permissible. It is best to take it cooked, either stewed or baked, and eaten with cream. This gets over the difficulty of eating a crisp apple when the teeth are imperfect.
In stewing fruit, if cane sugar is added by the cook the resultant product is very apt to turn acid. It is therefore better to neutralise the acidity with an alkali rather than to attempt to mask the flavour with sugar. Thus, to each pound of fruit add as much bicarbonate of soda as will lie on a shilling. The bitterness of the fruit will be gone, and the natural flavour of the fruit will become apparent, which is usually quite sweet enough. If this simple method be adopted, many old people will find they can enjoy stewed fruit without the annoyance of acidity or heartburn afterwards.
If there is a desire for sweetness, saccharin can take the place of sugar. The usual rule, however, will be found that the desire for sweetness disappears, and that food with a relish has to be provided instead.
Very weak tea is generally best at breakfast, with a good proportion of milk and cream. This should be drunk at the conclusion of the meal. At lunch a cup of coffee and milk, or cocoa and milk may be taken, or a glass of water may be taken after the meal is finished.
The question of the advisability or not of giving stimulants to old people depends largely on the previous habits of each individual. In the case of these who have not been accustomed to liquor in any form, no advantage is to be gained by recommending it - they are better without it. For those who have been accustomed to indulge in a little wine or spirits, a small amount of alcohol may be advisable daily. This should be given with the chief meal of the day. A tablespoonful of whisky in a little water or table-water is probably the best form in which the stimulant may be administered. There is no reason why a glass of sound wine of any variety should not occasionally be taken in place of the whisky, but it is not advisable to take wine daily - this almost inevitably leads to manifestations of "rheumatism" or deranged digestion.