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.
In Moxon's Life of Edmund Kean, the famous actor, we are told that Mossop, another stage celebrity, chose his dish to suit the character he was about to assume: "Broth," said he, "for tone; roast pork for tyrants; steaks with ' Measure for Measure'; boiled mutton for lovers; pudding for Tancred, etc." James Howell, contemporary with Sir Kenelm Digby (1603), commended to Lady Wallis a Spanish cook "who hath intellectuals, and senses; mutton, beef, and bacon are to her as the will, understanding, and memory are to the soul. Cabbage, Turnip, Artichoke, Potatoes, and Dates are her five senses, and Pepper the common sense. She must have marrow to keep life in her, and some birds to make her light".
As to. the question of how to maintain the body properly nourished under adverse conditions, "Like all divine truths,' 'said Dr. K. Chambers, "to love your neighbour as yourself is found to be taught by material nature as well as by revelation. Respecting the effect of practical benevolence, and philanthropy, upon our race, the fact is highly convincing that directly a man begins to care for others in preference to himself alone, his cares cease to wear and exhaust him. There rather seems to be herein a sustaining force. This is the reason why in sieges, and famine, medical men have often remained sleek, and plump, while their neighbours pined; and perhaps also why military officers bear short rations better than the men." As to regulating the food in quantity, or precise chemical constitution, according to tables of percentages, and the like, which are dry calculations (in a double sense) rather than of any sure practical use for individual consumers, we may take a lesson from the Captain Gulliver of Swift's tale; "for whom a coat, waistcoat, and breeches were constructed on abstract principles by the pragmatic tailor at Laputa, these garments turning out therefore the worst suit of clothes ever had in the Captain's life." It will certainly prove a similar failure to overlook the numberless contingencies in the daily life, and the numberless personal peculiarities of those who seek advice about their diet, and daily regimen.
Dr. Talmage, of New York City, preached the doctrine that a man's food, when he has opportunities of selecting it, suggests his moral nature: "Many a Christian tries to do by prayer that which cannot be wrought except by correcting his meat and drink".
To sum up the whole question of a man's diet, "surely the teaching of pathology amounts to this, that the fortifying of the general resistance of the individual against illness, and disease, is the most important indication of all to be fulfilled. Real true advances in the prevention, and cure, of diseases always tend to simplification; and the truest fundamental therapeutic remedies are fresh air, sunshine, excellent plain food in ample quantities, and regulated exercises mainly out of doors. This, certainly, is the innermost purpose of what is now called the Sanatorium treatment." Also, "the food of a nation," writes Dr. Andrew Wilson, "is largely determined by its geographical boundaries; dyspepsia seems to be often a matter of geography.
The Northman can eat, enjoy, and assimilate what would certainly kill the Southerner; and conversely the food of the latter would fail to nourish the former. When one is in Rome, or South Africa, or Finland, it is best as far as possible to adapt one's feeding arrangements to the environments, unless of a very temporary nature. This plan will be found to work out better than adherence to the customary home-diet rules. It is quite possible therefore to imagine persons who must perforce pursue a strictly careful dietary regimen at home, getting along famously well on biltong and coffee when settling down in South Africa".
Art of Cookery (1708).
A well-known physician of Bradford says (Medical Aphorisms): "The meaning which doctors intend when enjoining care about diet should be interpreted thus: If you are excessively careful you will eat only once a day, say about eight ounces of mixed diet; if you are very careful you will eat twice daily, eight ounces at one meal, and four ounces at the other, of ordinary mixed diet; if you are moderately careful you will eat thrice a day, eight ounces at one meal, and from four to six ounces at each of the other two; say at 8 a.m., at 1 p.m., and at 7 or 8 p.m.; if you are careless you will eat four times a day, from two to three pounds in all of ordinary food; if you are reckless you will eat five times daily, to the amount of four or five pounds of ordinary mixed diet. I know not what epithet to bestow on those who eat oftener than five times a day, and yet I have met with persons who ate eight times daily, and one person who ate ten times".