This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
There is no doubt that preparations of the kind can be added in very large amount to ordinary foods, such as soups, and milk, and even to some solid foods with great benefit, and without the sick person being aware of such addition; and, seeing that these preparations certainly contain 80 or 90 per cent of pure proteid, it can be well understood that the amount of nutritive material which they are the means of supplying is considerable. I know of no special indications necessitating their Use, but there are many conditions of disease where one wants to enrich a fluid diet. If a patient is on pure milk, and you desire to increase the nutritive value of such milk, then it is that such preparations can be made very useful; and they can be added, whilst knowing that they will be easily digested, and almost completely absorbed, and that they can do the sick person no harm. Looking at the subject all round, these are among the most trustworthy of all the artificial foods, and have the further advantage that they are economical, because the casein is extracted from skim milk, which would otherwise be thrown away".
It must be remembered that Cheese by its preparation loses the basic alkaline salts, which should serve the purpose of neutralizing uric acid, as formed during its use by combustion in the system. About certain parts of Saxony, in the Altenburg district, where the peasantry consume much Cheese, bladder-stones of uric acid formation are found to be very frequent. But in Switzerland, where Cheese is likewise largely consumed, such bladder-stones are rare, simply because much fruit, rich in salts of potash, is also eaten there. As Cheese ripens it owes the elements of its savour to the decomposition of its casein, which substance in its original state is without flavour, or odour; the presence of fat prevents decomposition from going too far. Nevertheless, a butyric fermentation proceeds in the Cheese, giving it presently a strong odour, and advancing to putrescence, so that many varieties of the aliment will then produce in the eater toxic symptoms more or less pronounced. The principal poisonous agent in such Cheese is chemically tyrotoxicon, and old decayed Cheese sometimes causes through the presence thereof colic, diarrhoea, double vision, pain about the heart, and collapse. But the mould of Cheese is of vegetable nature, a fungus, and not bacterial, nor bacillary.
One pound of sound Cheese made from a gallon of new milk contains as much fat as three pounds of beef, and as much protein (animal substance) as two pounds of beef; the casein, and the butter-fat are very nutritious. Casein consists as to its elements, of hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulphur. If sugar and bread be eaten with Cheese, then all the constituents of a valuable meal are secured, but vigorous outdoor exercise should be taken so as to ensure its digestion.
Toasted Cheese is digestible if it is new, and lightly cooked, with perhaps cream, or butter added; but tough toasted Cheese is about as indigestible as leather. A Welsh Rabbit is made of Cheese melted with a little ale, and then poured over slices of hot toast; sometimes cream is added, also mustard, or Worcester sauce. If freely peppered with cayenne, it proves of help to hard drinkers when threatened with delirium tremens, and serves instead of more drink to satisfy their cravings. In Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark the baker, having no fixed name, was called by his companions "Toasted Cheese." The famous "Olde Cheshire Cheese"
Tavern, in Fleet Street, London, is historically associated with Johnson, and Goldsmith. Here you may yet see the Doctor's chair, and sit where he, and Goldy sat. In The Cheese Isaac Bickersteth made an epigram which contains the oft-quoted lines: -
"Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love: But why did you kick me downstairs? "
The fare of the "Cheshire Cheese," whilst of the good old English sort, is world famous; its steaks and its ham are traditions; but the celebrated pudding, made for two centuries from the same recipe, and served every Wednesday and Saturday to an appreciative and hungry gathering, is the crowning glory of the Old Tavern. This pudding ranges from fifty, to sixty, seventy, or eighty pounds in weight; and gossip has it that in the dim past the rare dish was constructed of a hundredweight proportion. It is composed of a fine light crust, in a huge basin, and there are entombed therein beefsteaks, kidneys, oysters, larks, mushrooms, with wondrous spices, and gravies the secret of which is known only to the compounder. The boiling process takes from sixteen to twenty hours, and the scent of it on a windy day has been known to reach as far as the Stock Exchange. The process of carving it is as solemn a ceremony as the cutting the mistletoe with the golden sickle of the Druids. Old William, for many years the head waiter, could only be seen in his real glory on pudding days.
He used to consider it his duty to go round the tables insisting that the guests should have second, and third, - aye, with wonder be it spoken! - and fourth helpings! "Any gentleman say 'Pudden?' " was his constant query; and this habit was not broken when a crusty customer growled, "No gentleman says 'Pudden.' " William, like most of his customers, has passed away, but a room remains consecrated to his memory and is still called by his name.
Cheddar Cheese, made chiefly at Pennard, contains from 23 to 29 per cent of casein (proteid), from 30 to 40 per cent of fat, and from 3 to 5 per cent of mineral salts; its savoury residuum is very small. Cheshire Cheese is very similar, but contains more sugar of milk. The common Dutch Cheese, as supplied by our grocers, is a small, hard, round Cheese made from skimmed milk, and coloured outside with madder. It contains from 19 to 24 per cent of casein, and only from 16 to 24 per cent of fat, with from 5 to 6 per cent of sugar of milk. But in Holland the Dutch, or "Cottage"Cheese, is a preparation of pressed curds, prepared with muriatic acid instead of rennet, and served with salt, or with sugar, and cream; this is "smeer-kaas," pot-cheese. In the Dutch and Factory Cheeses, curdled thus with acid instead of rennet, the highly important and essential earth-salt, phosphate of lime, is left behind dissolved in the whey, and thus the food value of these Cheeses is seriously lowered. Phosphates of the earth-salts are concerned in bone-making for the growing subject, also to some extent in building up the brain, and nervous substance in the body, though not so vitally in the latter respect as is commonly supposed. Bone contains about 11 per cent of phosphorus, but brain substance less than 1 per cent.