Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sex and Science in the kitchen.

Today, December 15 …

On this day in 1926, Dr John Harvey Kellogg, the man who gave us cornflakes, gave a speech to the Chicago Medical Society on the danger of excessive weight loss “to meet the demand of the fashion for slimness”. Few of us would argue with that theory, nor his promotion of regular exercise. Vegetarianism is OK too, for those who don't mind murdering plants, although his was a strict, condiment-free version.

Actually, he wasn’t keen on anything even remotely spicy. All “sexual excess” was sinful, and he had so broad idea an of “excess” that he spent his honeymoon in 1892 writing “Plain Facts for Old and Young: Embracing the Natural History and Hygiene of Organic Life”. He also managed to distract himself from dangerous excesses by the practice and promotion of what we would now call “klismaphilia” (look it up!).

John and Ella never had children, so perhaps his dedication to writing pre-occupied him beyond their honeymoon. She occupied herself with writing too, and in 1893 published “Science in the Kitchen. A Scientific Treatise on Food Substances and their Dietetic Properties, Together with a Practical Explanation of the Principles of Healthful Cookery, and a Large Number of Original, Palatable, and Wholesome Recipes”.

Wholesome, perhaps. Palatable? I leave it to you to decide.

A sample daily menu:

Fresh Fruits
Graham Grits and Cream
Prune Toast
Graham Puffs
Cream Crisps
Caramel Coffee or Hot Milk

Vegetable Broth with Toasted Rolls
Baked Potato with Pease Gravy
Stewed Asparagus
Cracked Wheat and Cream
Whole-Wheat Bread
Canned Berries
Manioca with Fruit
Caramel Coffee or Hot Milk

Real coffee being forbidden (too stimulating), you must substitute:

Caramel Coffee. Take three quarts best bran, one quart corn meal, three tablespoonfuls of molasses; mix and brown in the oven like ordinary coffee. For every cup of coffee required, use one heaping tablespoonful of the caramel. Pour boiling water over it, and steep, not boil, for fifteen or twenty minutes.
Instead of bacon:

Prune Toast. Cook prunes,allowing them to simmer very slowly for a long time. When done, rub through a colander, and if quite thin, they should be stewed again for a time, until they are about the consistency of marmalade. Moisten slices of zwieback with hot cream, and serve with a spoonful or two of the prune dressing on each. One third dried apple may be used with the prune, if preferred.

Tomorrow: The goodly litter of the cupboard.

No comments: