This brings us to the third ingredient in our group of stomach destroyers - the pastry. So perverted has the jaded sense of taste become in the course of a misdirected diet, that a dinner not accompanied and rounded out by some kind of dessert is regarded as an utter epicurean failure. The reputation of a restaurant is often sustained more by virtue of its success in pastry, than in meats, bread and vegetables. Yet it is through the latter that the system receives its supply of muscle, heat and energy - not through the pastry, which has no other purpose or power than to serve as a stimulant of the gustatory glands and taste-buds, and to coerce the fagging functions of salivation and digestion into a last supreme effort to respond to a new charge.
Sifted down to its primary elements, sugar, grease, egg, starch and butter, with the additional, complimentary flavors of arsenic - or anilin-dyed extracts - the pastry holds the distinction of having brought into a grand food-perverting climax every ingredient that may give rise to gastric and intestinal disaster.
For in this classic mixture - sugar, grease, butter, eggs and starch - the art, or rather black art, of cookery has achieved its most inglorious success as a wrecker of human digestion. The taste of this mixture would undoubtedly in itself be repulsive to the discriminating power of a natural sensation were it not for the tragic fact that the constant maltreatment of the taste-buds has dulled heir native sensitiveness to the value of natural flavors. The clean, wholesome, refreshing flavors of the grain, fruit and vegetable, have no longer any power to rouse the over stimulated and perverted taste glands. Through a long exposure to concentrated and un-natural flavors the function of taste has developed into a new and altogether pathologica sensation - a sensation unreliable as guide, irresponsive to nature, and fatal to life.
Whenever a mixture of sugar, grease and starch is exposed to heat in the form of frying or baking - necessary for the production of the brown, greasy crust which forms the outer covering or skeleton framework for the pies and puddings of professional cookery - a dangerous alkaloid is generated, which, in connection with the inevitable fatty acids, arising from the mixture, proceeds to form inpenetrable deposits in the mucous mucosa of the intestines and of the dialyzing membrane in the tissues of absorption, thus preventing the vascular drainage and nutritional exchanges be tween the blood-stream and the lymph-spaces - followed by the unavoidable consequence of membranous catarrh and of congestion in the various absorbent tissues.
Particularly inimical is this alkaloid substance to the epithelial covering of the glomerules of the kidneys, and constitutes one of the prominent causes leading up to Bright's Disease. The dead-lock to the proteid molecule, rendering it intractable to the gastric secretion by its incapsulation in the grease, throws a severe burden on the liver and pancreas - the two glands on which devolves the task of bursting open the fat-capsule. The whole constitution suffers from the worthless indulgence, by which is caused an expense of general vitality to the system, far out-balancing the revenues derived from the digestion of the foodstuffs themselves. In the great majority of fashionable food preparations the major process of nutrition is a positive failure. We starve from innutrition in the midst of plenty. In place of bringing health and strength to the eater, such indulgences inject into the very cell-life of his system the death-poison of decomposition. It is in spite of such food that we exist - not because of it.
It is incredible to what extent the average individual disregards his health in relation to the food he permits to be passed into his stomach. The same man who with the greatest care selects the food for a canine prize-winner, eats a bowl of restaurant soup, a fish-ball, a goulasch and a piece of pie or pudding, etc., without giving a moment's thought to the character or knowledge of the cook who prepared the mixture. The cook may be an ignorant, cigaret-smoking, beer-drinking, unclean individual, who has no more knowledge of the nature and needs of digestion and nutrition, of antagonisms of food-mixture and their chemical affinities to gastric secretions, etc., than a teamster has of the engineering of a transatlantic liner. Though in charge of such a tremendously important life-and-death involving office, as that of supplying our body with the nutritional elements on which we depend for our usefulness and social success, the cook knows of only two principles in relation to his food: stimulation of taste and temptation of appearance. To accomplish these two ends his boldness and unscrupulousness with regard to the laws of nature and the demands of health know of no bounds. The natural flavors of the grain, the fruit and the vegetable, so full of meaning and purpose, both to the moral and physical life of man, are ruthlessly masked to suit the overstimulated and perverted taste of the cook himself, and his conception of the taste of his patrons.
The work of seasoning the food for the purpose of stimulating the appetite of the eater, is not only wanton but dangerous. There is a definite relation between the needs of the human system, on the one hand, and the sense of taste and appetite on the other. The natural, gentle taste of the foodstuffs is stimulating to the appetite only to the extent these foodstuffs fill the actual needs of perfect physiological life and usefulness. To increase this stimulation by the artificial pungency of seasoning, creates a demand, in excess of actual need, and causes accumulation of waste matter in the system, with all the consequences of functional decomposition and degeneracy.
The penal codes in the domain of nature may not always find their execution in the immediate punishment of the transgressor. Often there may be a long interval between cause and effect; between the violation of a law and its eventual recoil. Hence we often hear people, addicted to gluttony, boast of their powers of digestion, defying with seeming impunity, every rule and principle of diet. These people, however, are shortsighted. They have subverted, not converted, nature to their dietetic outrages. Hence their escapes are only temporary. The race of life does not commence before the age of sixty. At this age man feels his great change of life - his climactory - when suspended in the balance of life, his vital records are thrown into the scales with him. It will then be seen whether in the financing of his vital business of health and strength, he has laid up sufficient funds to carry him through his critical period and lift him into the safety and triumph of graceful old age, and young feelings, or land him in the disgraceful delinquency of premature decline and dissolution.