This section is from the book "Fletcherism. What It Is, Or How I Became Young At Sixty", by Horace Fletcher. Also available from Amazon: Fletcherism, What It Is, Or How I Became Young At Sixty.
Not Excessive Chewing: - Gladstone's Advice - Salival Action on Starch Foods
Notwithstanding the fact that Fletcherizing stands for tasting as the important thing to accomplish before food is swallowed, and that biting, chewing, or masticating is merely a means to secure the end of thorough tasting, nine-tenths of all who know anything about the claims for Fletcherizing insist on thinking that it merely means "excessive mastication."The National Food Reform Association of England, in a bulletin giving advice concerning the feeding of school children, intended to be posted in school-rooms and private dining rooms, speak of Fletcherizing in its ideal practice as "Excessive Mastication."
This is just what Fletcherizing is not. The very essence of the method of performing the personal responsibility is avoiding excess of anything, excessive or laboured chewing among the rest.
There is little if any harm in keeping food in the mouth as long as possible, and I believe that it is impossible to have too much saliva mixed with it when it is swallowed, because when it is properly tasted and insalivated it is almost impossible to hold it back from the food gate at the back of the mouth. There is always suction there ready to draw welcome nourishment in when it is ready, and readiness touches a button, electrically relieving the muscular springs that close the gate tightly during tasting, and, literally a "team of horses could not hold it."
What the mystics of the stomach-diseases profession called bradefagy, or, in plain English, excessive chewing, can only be performed with painful tedious-ness. It makes work - hard work - of the act, and that is just as much opposed to Fletcherizing as it is to common sense, horse sense, and all of the natural senses.
Now just for one moment please pay attention to one who is telling you something Mother Nature wants you to know more than anything else in the whole category of intelligence. Fletcherizing is Not Excessive Chewing or tedious chewing, or long chewing. The things that require to be chewed long are not good food, and by that sign you may find out their unprofitableness better than in any other way. Good taste from good food is not long lasting. When the mouth is "watering"for the food in sight, or even in thought of it, the coupons of taste they carry with them are short, but represent large figures of satisfaction and nourishment.
Now listen to some figures regarding the number of bites or chews that some foods require under varying circumstances. Mr. Gladstone's advice to his children which has become classic, viz.: "Chew your food thirty-two times at least, so as to give each of your thirty-two teeth a chance at it," was a general recommendation. Mr. Gladstone was observed once when he was a guest at "high table" at Trinity College, Cambridge, and the average number of his "bites" (masticatory movements) as far as they could be counted, was about seventy-five. That did not speak very well for Trinity fare, unless Mr. Gladstone happened to choose food that required that amount of chewing.
Even if Mr. Gladstone did devote seventy-five masticatory movements to each morsel, as an average, such thoroughness would not have involved an unusual length of time for a hearty meal. If you will try the experiment when you are "good and hungry," having a "work-ingman's appetite," and disposing of good bread and butter the while, which should have nearly, or quite, seventy bites to the ordinary mouthful, you will find that thirty mouthfuls will pretty nearly, or completely, satisfy your working-man's appetite. Mixed foods take much less time, usually about half, and still the seventy-five-rhythm act will consume only about twenty minutes to perform with physiologic thoroughness.