This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Family Doctor" book
Birds have weaker, less nitrogenous meat than mammals, but generally more tender and delicate. Most digestible of domestic birds are the turkey, chicken, and guinea-fowl; less so the duck (though often very good), and least fit for doubtful stomachs, the goose. Pigeons are moderately digestible, but one soon tires of them. Our
wild partridges, prairie chickens, and grouse (some of which are called pheasants, but there are no true pheasants native to this country), and quails, are very good game-birds for the table. So are reed-birds (favorites for invalids and convalescents), woodcock, snipe, and canvas-back ducks. The turkey is perhaps our most valuable original contribution to the diet of mankind, unless we except the potato and maize.
Fish, of some kinds, are consumed in almost all parts of the world. Thousands of people depend upon fishing for a living. There is still less nitrogenous material in fish than in birds' meat; some, as the salmon, have a good deal of fat. A larger proportion of the phosphates (salts containing phosphorus) is present in their substance than in land animals. Some persons imagine that fish are therefore especially a brain-making diet. But there is enough of the phosphate in ordinary meat and bread for any one's brains, if he can appropriate and assimilate them well. Fresh fish, nicely cooked, are wholesome and nourishing.
Of articulates, lobsters, crabs, prawns, and shrimps have been already mentioned. Lobsters, at least, when fresh, are not unwholesome for most people. Remember, everything taken out of the water spoils soon after it dies. The place to enjoy lobsters, crabs, and shrimps safely is at the seashore.
Molluscs, as oysters and clams, are nowhere more appreciated than in America. Our oysters are probably the best in the world; although in tropical waters they grow a great deal larger. Clams are tougher, and much less digestible; their soup can be enjoyed, however, without risking the hard clam itself.
Convalescents can begin with good sound oysters before they dare venture upon more solid food. One of their virtues is that they can be cooked in so many ways. Raw, they are digestible by the hungry man almost always. Roasted in the shell, they are manageable by every stomach that has any gastric juice in it; no solid is more digestible. Panned, steamed, stewed, broiled they are digestible and wholesome. Fried oysters must be, with the dyspeptic, quite forbidden.