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.
Pork the flesh of the hog, has already received some particular consideration here as Bacon, which is this flesh when cured for keeping. "Corned" Pork was an abbreviation of acorned Pork, the animal having been fed upon acorns, such as were the chief support of the large herds of swine on which our first British forefathers subsisted. Acorns, when roasted, and ground, can be employed as a fair substitute for coffee. By distillation they will yield an ardent spirit. The Acorn contains chemically starch, a fixed oil, citric acid, uncrystallizable sugar, and a special sugar known as quercit. It is worth serious notice medically, that ,in years remarkable for abundance of acorns, very disastrous losses have occurred among young cattle in oak forests, or if fed on the oak produce, through outbreaks of acorn poisoning, or the acorn disease; the symptoms were wasting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, discharge from nose, and eyes, and sores within the mouth. As regards cookery, the primitive ages were those of "innocence, and acorns." "Thef weren wont lyghtly to slaken hir hunger at euene with acornes of Okes " (Chaucer). In Jane Austen's capital domestic novel, Emma, the fidgety malade imaginaire, old Mr. Woodhouse, when a home-fed little porker had just been slaughtered for his household, instructed his daughter to the effect that certainly the pork was small, and delicate; but unless they could "make sure of the loin being made into steaks, nicely fried, without the smallest grease, and not roasted (for no stomach can bear roast Pork), we had better,"said he to his daughter, "send the leg away to our neighbour, Mrs. Bates; don't you think so, my dear?" Galen, of old, prescribed Pork as a good food for persons who worked hard; and not a few modern physicians maintain that it is the most easily digested of all meats. "Certainly it is more readily digested," says the Epicure (January, 1904), "than that respectable impostor, the boiled chicken, which so cruelly defies the feeble powers of an invalid".