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.
Enormous quantities of frozen meat are now brought over to this country from America, New Zealand, and Australia. A chamber on board ship is specially kept cool throughout the voyage by means of Ice. The carcases of mutton, and beef are put into the said chamber, when newly killed, and are kept shut up therein until the vessel discharges its cargo in this country. Owing to the slow continuous action of the sarcolactic acid, meat which has been frozen is often exceptionally tender. On the other hand, through the loosening of the inter-muscular tissue, bacteria can more readily penetrate into the interior of the thawed flesh, and thus bring about more rapid decomposition. Considerable care is required in the thawing, since if this be done too suddenly, the meat when cooked will be wanting in flavour. Putrefactive bacteria at low temperatures do not decompose the proteids of flesh. Nevertheless, stored meat frequently acquires a mouldy flavour because of certain bacteria which are found to swarm on the walls of the cement-lined storage chambers when moist. Frozen meat may be known from fresh meat because of having less juice, and being of diminished redness.
The liquid, moreover, when a piece of frozen meat is put into water in a test tube, becomes coloured much more rapidly and intensely than when fresh meat is used. Again, the blood corpuscles in meat frozen to ten degrees below zero, are found under the microscope to have become ruptured.
There are various machines by which artificial ice can be produced, even at the rate of six tons daily from each (American) machine. Most of the Ice used in commerce now-a-days comes to us from Norway. As to its purity for taking internally, we may derive comfort from knowing that bacilli, as of typhoid disease, become destroyed to the extent of 90 per cent by a temperature rather above the freezing point of water; and in Ice itself some 90 per cent of any such bacilli as may be included die out during the first twenty-four hours. This amounts to a purification of 99.9 per cent, a most successful filtration; and we may therefore conclude that natural Ice cut out so as to avoid the uppermost layer is comparatively harmless as regards risk of typhoid-poisoning, or the like. Small pieces of such ice, when slowly sucked, will serve to arrest bleeding from the stomach, or lungs, whilst at the same time pounded ice is kept externally applied in a bladder, or a waterproof bag.
Confectionery Ices are said to have been introduced by Catherine de Medici in the sixteenth century. They are made as water ices, and cream ices, (though these latter frequently consist of corn flour and milk, being entirely innocent of cream); flavouring essences, or fruits are added. Such ices should not be eaten with other food, because they tend to retard digestion, neither immediately after a person has taken violent exercise, or when very hot. Such, for instance, as:
"Glacies, Lac miro quodum sapore imbutum, Nix ceresina, dentes tentatura".
Much of the dyspepsia to which many American citizens are subject is mainly attributable to their custom of taking iced water with hot bread, or biscuit, likewise iced cakes in abundance. The first sweet Ices in Paris were placed before the subjects of Louis XIV by a coffee-house keeper in the Rue de l'Ancienne Comedie.
The remedial uses of ice medicinally need scarcely be recapitulated, as they are so well known; whether to help arrest internal bleeding by sucking small pieces of the Ice, or to relieve persistent vomiting, or to allay feverishness, and quench thirst rather than by copious drinking. Also the external applications of Ice for subduing local congestions, for cooling inflamed parts, and for neutralizing pain by a judicious employment thereof, are familiar to all whose office it is to care for sick persons. Likewise snow has been long made available for cooling drinks, even from the days of Hippocrates, and Seneca. Custard ices are valuable as being easy to digest, and containing light nourishment, whilst cooling the tongue, stomach, and body in general. The Germans call white of egg when frothed "Snow." In winter time, when actual pure snow covers the ground, some of this may be advantageously employed for making pancakes instead of using eggs for the purpose. Take four dessertspoonfuls of flour, and two of snow, mix well together, then add cold water enough to make it into a very stiff batter.
Recently a Swiss physician has been treating certain nervous disorders successfully by administering in a systematic way tea made with melted Snow. Near Munich, at Worishofen, there is now an establishment where patients of inactive blood-circulaton, and of languid functions, are managed with considerable success by the "Snow cure." At regular times they are set to walk about, barefooted, in the snow, and to rub themselves vigorously all over with it, while ice-cold water is administered judiciously as a medicine with each meal. They wear cotton garments as coarse as sacks next the skin, and have to eat foods which abound with nitrogenous proteids, such as meat, cheese, milk, fish, peas, beans, and lentils.
"Time was when reigned a certain King, whose fame For playful wisdom has outlived his name; A King, who, ruling seldom with the rod, Guided his people gladsomely to God.
Close upon Candlemas, one happy Spring, When Court and subjects gathered round the King, He proclamation made, by royal command, Which stirred an impulse throughout all the land:
' Know by these presents ' - spake the sovereign will - ' Whoso, by Christmas-tide shall best fulfil,
Our goodly purpose, he shall guerdon bear,
Of golden treasure, and our favour share.
' Whoso with most success shall kindly rear What brightest is, and best within the year, What we may judge the purest, whitest thing, He shall be named the victor by the King'.
Such was the edict: and ambition then Began to occupy the minds of men, Each striving, in his rank, by healthful ways, To cherish what might win him highest praise.
So the realm prospered, - homestead, field, and fold - As months passed on, through hope of promised gold For him who finally the prize should bring Of truest spotlessness to please the King.
Then Christmas came, whilst yet the land was green, And lingering tints of verdure still were seen, A bracing spell of sun, and sparkling rime, Ere bleakest winter had its hardest time.
And now, at noon, on the great Noel day, The choicest claimants from the large array Of all who thronged to seek the King's award Stood proudly eager in the Palace yard:
A simple workman, who, with loving pains, Had lavished on a flower his little gains Week after week, now laid a lily sweet, With pearly petals, at his monarch's feet:
A gentle youth, whose soul was set above Mere earthly scholarship, had fed a dove, Which, stainless and unsullied from the nest, He reverent placed within the monarch's breast.
A sturdy yeoman, big with fond desire To serve his lord, had fostered in the byre A milk-white heifer, which, superbly grown, He led with triumph to the monarch's throne:
A stately squire, with his well-favoured dame, To bring their modest, meek-eyed daughter came; Than whom no maid of summers seventeen More fair, and faultless waited on the Queen.
Of heifer, dove, sweet flower, and maiden fair, In pure white contrast to the trim parterre Of the quadrangle, as the sunbeams fell. Which seemed most spotless it were hard to tell;
Therefore, the King, who held a wise intent, His gaze on each in turn uncertain bent, Then bade them all another week to bide, Till New Year's Day the contest should decide.
But, as the week pursued its onward course,
Keen winds brought snow, in fast and constant force,
So that the kingdom with a mantle white,
And dazzling, was on New Year's morning dight.
And when again the candidates were ranged Around the King, each bore an aspect changed From former excellence: the lily's hue Was to its pristine splendour scarcely true;
The dove's soft plumage, which so chaste had shown, Betrayed a look as if less lustrous grown; Whilst from the snow the fierce reflected gleam Made the white heifer saffron-tainted seem:
Even the clear translucency of face Which lately lent the maiden classic grace, Disclosed some subtle blemishes to sight When tried by such severity of light.
Then did the monarch hasten to avow His sage decision, hidden until now, Which, by his heralds, with a trumpet's blast, He thus delivered to the concourse vast.
' The lily bearer - this is our decree - Shall by the State henceforth supported be: And for the gentle scholar, with his dove, A yearly pension we hereby approve;
' The trusty yeoman, with his heart so warm, Shall be our Bailiff on the Palace-farm; And the sweet maiden, by her parents' will, A post of honour to the Queen shall fill.
' But we bid each take notice, - with the rest Of all our faithful subjects, - that the best, And brightest things our kingdom could supply Failed when God's snow came down with them to vie:
' So let our land the golden lesson learn That for our purest pleasures we must turn To heavenly sources: where, we humbly know Our ' sins of scarlet are made white as snow.' "