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.
For making Stovies, or Stove Potatoes, called in Scotland Stove-tarties: "Peel a dozen Potatoes, and cut them up, not too small, but as near as may be into equal pieces; in a flat stewpan put two tablespoonfuls of good, clear beef dripping; add two large onions (sliced), then the Potatoes, pepper, and salt, and a spoonful or two of cold water; shut down tightly; shake occasionally; and if they become too dry add a little more water. The Potatoes should not be allowed to mash, but should have some formation left when dished up."This is a famous dish with the cottagers on Deeside, and when once done the pan is drawn to the side of the large wood fire, and is ready for all comers; slow cooking is essential. For "Golden Potatoes," take some cold, boiled, new Potatoes, dip them into egg, and bread-crumb, and fry a golden brown; sprinkle with chopped parsley. These go well with bacon at breakfast for supplying animal warmth, and fat, to a consumptive, or attenuated invalid. For a Potato pudding (Roly-poly): "Take a pint of hot mashed Potato, a pint of flour, a quarter of a pound of butter, a pinch of salt, and moisten with water, or milk, into a dough; roll the paste out, and spread it with any jam which has no stones; roll, and tie up, and steam for an hour and a quarter." A very nice sauce to eat with this dainty pudding may consist of "two ounces of butter, and two tablespoonfuls of sugar, beaten together, and added to one well-whipped egg; go on beating, whilst pouring in by degrees a little boiling water till the sauce looks like cream".
Potato Cream is a capital help for children towards preventing rickets, or scorbutic troubles; this may be made by passing thoroughly-steamed Potatoes through a fine sieve, and intimately mixing the floury material thus obtained, with milk until it has the consistence of cream. From a teaspoonful to a table-spoonful of such mixture may be added to the contents of an infant's feeding-bottle, increasing the quantity according to the age of the child. The bending of leg bones, and spine, which characterizes rickets in children, is usually ascribed to a deficiency of phosphate of lime, and potash, in the food, but this is not wholly the cause; there is, furthermore, an underlying constitutional defect for assimilating the mineral substances necessary to produce healthy growth of the bones. Children with rickets require during their second year such nourishment as scraped raw beef, marrow, cream, and whey (in which all the phosphates are retained). Potatoes never cause rheumatism by provoking acidity; on the contrary, their potash salts tend to prevent it.
For the sleeplessness of nervous indigestion, to take for supper a steamed good-sized Potato, masticating also (though without swallowing) its cooked coat, will often prove a successful soporific. In the most modern treatment of diabetes Potatoes are allowed, it being found that they cause less glucose (grape sugar) to occur as found in the urine than an equivalent quantity of wheaten bread. M. Mosse, at the French Academy of Medicine, goes so far as to recommend the use by diabetic patients of Potatoes, to the amount of two, or three, pounds daily. If thus substituted for bread they diminish the amount of eliminated sugar, also the quantity of urine passed, and the degree of thirst which is suffered, whilst the general health improves, and any surgical wounds heal kindly. In the cases of arthritic diabetes of elderly patients the Potato diet is something more than a properly assimilated form of food, since it exercises a decidedly curative effect. This effect M. Mosse attributes to the considerable quantity of alkaline salts, chiefly those of potash, contained in the tubers. But mashed Potatoes have the disadvantage of not being masticated sufficiently for the saliva to change the starches into dextrin.
The experimental allowing of potatoes among their foods may be safely commended for diabetic patients who have arrived at such a stage in their treatment that they may be permitted to take a certain amount of starch elements, and sugar, but cannot tolerate bread. Sir James Sawyer (Birmingham, 1904) says: "My own experience in practice during the last two years is confirmatory of Mosse's conclusions. I think it will be found that the permission of Potatoes in the food of diabetics is one of the greatest dietetic advances of our times. But the vegetable should be cooked in a particular way, that is, baked in their skins for choice, or by steaming with their ' skin' on; otherwise large proportions of the potash, and of the phosphoric acid will be lost." (We would suggest that very probably the narcotic properties of the skin, which are indisputable, exercise an important auxiliary effect.) Sir James goes on to propose the use of Potato flour (of properly-cooked tubers) instead of grain flour for making the bread, cakes, and biscuits of diabetic patients. Excellent, and delicious cakes can be contrived from paste made by rubbing down Potatoes cooked as enjoined, and blended with cream, or butter.
Likewise for Bran and Potato Bread: "Take half a pound of flour of steamed Potatoes, a quarter of a pound of bran, half an ounce of German yeast, half an ounce of butter, and one egg. Twenty-four hours before making the dough cook the Potatoes by steaming them in their jackets; then peel, and break them up into flour with the fingers; mix all the ingredients together, and let the paste stand near the fire for an hour to 'rise'; then bake in a greased tin for an hour and a half".
When reaching the intestines Potatoes are as a whole very well absorbed, since they contain chiefly starch, and very little cellulose. Boiling robs them of much of their mineral ingredients, also of some of the proteids which they so scantily contain. The fibro-vascular layer immediately beneath the skin is richer in mineral, and proteid matters than is the flesh of the Potato; so that in peeling this off with the rind the said valuable ingredients are lost. The richer a Potato is in proteids the more waxy it becomes when cooked, because the coagulated proteid solidifies the structure. The starch grains of the Potato are specially ready to undergo fermentation, therefore these tubers as food are to be specially avoided in some morbid conditions of the digestive organs, such, for example, as that of a dilated stomach. Part of the mineral bases are combined with citric acid. "It has been calculated that if a bushel of Potatoes were peeled, and soaked in water, before being boiled, the loss of nutrients would be nearly equivalent to the amount thereof contained in one pound of beef-steak"; so Dr. Hutchison teaches us.
With regard to the question of permitting diabetic patients to eat Potatoes, it should be remembered that these tubers contain only about one-third as much starch as bread does, so that they may be given more safely than bread. If Potatoes seem to cause drowsiness they should be first boiled for about five minutes, and then put into fresh boiling water, the first water being thrown away. Two medium-sized Potatoes, when steamed, or boiled in the usual manner, remain for two, or two and a half hours in the stomach; that is, a shorter time than a similar weight of bread. Dr. King Chambers advised "the Invalid's Mashed Potato": "Steam one pound of Potatoes, with their jackets on, until they are mealy; peel them, and rub them through a wire sieve; when cool, add a small teacupful of fresh cream, and a little salt, beating the mash lightly up as you go on until it is quite smooth, and then warming it gently for use." Scotch folk call this homely dish "Champit tatties".
Potatoes, though less nutritious than oatmeal, are more easily digested; and an excellent cheese porridge, or cheese pudding, may be made by adding cheese to baked Potatoes (baked being said advisedly rather than boiled, because then none of the original saline constituents are lost as they are in boiling),' as including all the valuable mineral additions of which the cheese stands in need. Apples are excellent for the brain, and intellectual writers should take them freely; but Potatoes, on the contrary, make one dull, peevish, and lazy, if eaten constantly, or in exiess. "Amongst foods proper for boys may be well included" writes Mr. Miles, "Potatoes, baked with sage, and onion. Take two large Potatoes, six onions of good size, two ounces of butter, two teaspoonfuls of powdered sage, and one ounce of bread-crumbs. Peel the Potatoes, and cut them lengthways into slices about half an inch thick; place six of these slices in a baking tin, or dish, which has been well greased with an ounce and a half of butter. In the meantime peel, and boil the onions for a quarter of an hour in a little salted water, and the sage (tied in a small muslin bag) together with them for the last five minutes.
Chop the onions, and sage, and mix with the bread-crumbs, and half an ounce of butter, and spread the mixture thickly over the slices of Potato; then bake for one hour".
A Potato scoop was formerly a hand-implement in the form of a grated shovel for taking up Potatoes which had been first unearthed by a Potato-digger; the soil slips through the grated bars, which detain the tubers. The Irish peasant, who lives chiefly on Potatoes, has to take so much in bulk for obtaining adequate nourishment, that he gets the so-called Potato-belly. Because of their decided alkaline properties, and action, Potatoes are to be commended in a simple form at breakfast for gouty persons. The excretion of urates occurs more actively during the morning hours than throughout the rest of the day, and therefore corrective alkaline food is especially desirable at the first meal. But the Potatoes must not be fried in fat, or otherwise made indigestible merely to please the appetite. Plain Kegeree, (prepared with boiled mealv Potato instead of rice,) Potato snow, Potato bread, and Potato puree, are suitable dishes for this purpose; likewise eggs, and Potatoes. "Boil seven, or eight floury Potatoes, and mash them while quite hot; add one ounce of butter, the yolk of an egg, pepper, and salt; also, if liked, a little pounded onion, and some boiled, minced parsley.
Roll the Potatoes into egg-like shape, brush them over with beaten egg, and cover with fine bread-crumbs well seasoned with salt, and white pepper; put them into the oven to brown (not frying them). The Potatoes should be boiled for half an hour, allowing one pound of these for three persons.