Eggs form another permissible food, but ought not to be allowed too freely. They may be given as a drink, cither alone or in combination with milk, or may be used to fortify other nourishment. As fluid food is preferable for pyrexia! patients, eggs are best administered raw. The lightest form of egg drink is an egg beaten up, added to 3 ounces of very hot water, strained and flavoured with vanilla essence or cinnamon, and slightly sweetened. Another form of egg drink, more stimulating and nourishing, is described on page 47, where milk and sherry are added to the egg. Egg flip, rich or plain (p. 48), is the white of egg added, when well beaten up, to milk or cream, and flavoured. A switched egg also may be added to a cup of tea or coffee. A whole egg, beaten up with three times as much water, strained, and added to light broth or clear soup, is also very nourishing. Caution. - Do not add the egg to boiling soup, or it will curdle. Albumin water (p. 47), added to a clear soup or to a cup of Bovril is nourishing and very pleasant.
The patent preparation of Brand's termed "Fever food" is most nutritive; it consists of essence of beef, eggs, and cream. In appearance it resembles custard, and has a very agreeable flavour which is quite distinct from the meaty flavours of the beef juices and extracts.
This group of foods is largely administered, and their usefulness is universally admitted. The actual nutritive value of most of the beef-teas and clear soup is low, but a French authority has pointed out that the most suitable diet for febrile maladies one that contains only a small quantity of albuminous matter; and it is the possession of the saline principles (chloride and sulphate of potassium, etc.), dissolved in a large amount of water, which constitute the chief recommendation of broths and beef-teas. In the selection of a beef-tea or beef essence, it is far better to use a carefully prepared home-made beef-tea than any of the expensive patented beef-teas and meat juices, which are purchased at great cost in the belief that they are strengthening. In a previous chapter, p. 75, full directions are given for the preparation of "teas " (beef, mutton, and veal and chicken). There are two methods described; method 1 is preferable for fever patients, as the flavour is less concentrated. When the "tea" has been made in the closed jars, as described under method 2, it is rather strong for most fever patients.
Special attention should be given to the means of thickening the teas (p. 76) with tapioca, breadcrumbs, baked flour, arrowroot, oatmeal, and yolk of an egg; the last mentioned being specially pleasant to a patient who is improving. The nutritive value of the food may be greatly increased by the addition of one or more of these substances.
Vegetable flavouring can also be added by cooking vegetables with the meat and straining carefully, without in any way injuring the digestibility of the food. Proprietary beef extracts, essences, and juices (p. 161) may also be given, but are not so satisfactory for fever patients as well-diluted foods.
Gelatine is another important item in the diet of these cases. By itself it has not the same nutritive value as the albuminates, and in any case it is necessary to prescribe it in considerable quantities to attain the same end. Gelatine is not a tissue-builder, but it is a means of saving the albuminous waste from the tissues. From this point of view gelatine cannot be too strongly recommended. Gelatine may be administered in the form of a clear soup - "consomme" - or may be given as a meat jelly, calf's-foot jelly, or as a sweet jelly.
I quart of first stock. (See Stockmaking, p. 74. This should be in the form of a good jelly.) 6 ounces lean, juicy beef. 1 lump of sugar. 1 white and shell of egg.
Carefully remove all fat from the top of the stock, and put it into a clean-lined saucepan. Wipe the beef with a damp cloth, and shred it down finely as you would for beef-tea, removing all fat and skin. Add this to the stock, with the white of the egg and the shell well washed and crushed. Whisk these over the fire with a wire whisk until the soup just comes to boiling-point. Then remove the whisk, and let it boil well up. Draw the pan to the side of the fire, where the soup will keep warm but not simmer, and cover it with a plate. Let it stand there from ten to fifteen minutes. Tie a clean cloth on to the four legs of a chair turned upside down, letting it fall slightly in the middle so as to form a bag. Pour some boiling water through the cloth into a basin to thoroughly heat the cloth. Place a clean, dry basin underneath, and pour the soup gently through the cloth. The soup will not be clear the first time, so change the basin and pour the soup through again, repeating this process until the soup runs through quite clear. In repeating, add a lump of sugar, which makes the soup sparkle.
This soup can be varied by the addition of different garnishes, e.g.: -
1 quart of consomme.
Put the clear soup into a saucepan, and bring it to the boil. Peat up the egg in a small cup or basin with a fork, and pour it slowly into the boiling soup, stirring all the time with a spoon. The egg will curdle in the soup, and look like threads of yellow.
1 pint clear soup. I yolk of egg.
1/2 gill of clear soup. Pepper and salt.
Take yolk of egg and a small portion of the white, heat up with 1/4 gill of the clear soup, and season with pepper and salt, and strain into a greased egg-cup. Cover with greased paper, and steam very slowly for ten minutes, or until the custard feels firm to the touch; let it cool, and turn it out. Cut it into small dice. Put these in tureen, and pour boiling hot consomme over them.
Meat, veal, or chicken jelly can be obtained from preparing the meat and chicken, as in beef-tea No. 2 (p. 76), and serving it cold. Also the beef essence (p. 77) served cold makes a very nice jelly, but can only be taken in very small quantities, as it is very concentrated.