Once upon a not-too distant time, a huge part of a nurse’s job was day to day involvement with the preparation of food for their patients. I knew this, of course, when I picked up a copy of A war cookery book for the sick and wounded : compiled from the cookery books by Mrs. Edwards, Miss May Little, etc., etc.(1914) by Jessie M. Laurie, but the following list really brought it home to me:-
POINTS FOR NURSES
- See that the tray, cloth and the napkin are spotlessly clean and that the food is nicely arranged on the plate.
- Only the freshest and best material should be used and served.
- In cases of serious illness the doctor's orders must be kept to the letter.
- Use very little seasoning without instructions.
- Liquid food must be varied as much as possible.
- All food should be given in small quantities and served at once when cooked.
- Where possible, no dish should be served a second time.
- All food must be covered when carried from kitchen to sickroom.
- Never consult a patient about a meal.
- Put all medicines out of sight at meal-times and let the meals themselves be punctual.
- The food must be absolutely hot or cold, as the case may be nothing lukewarm.
- Vegetables and fruit should not be given without the doctor's consent.
- Steaming is the best method of cooking - fried foods are rich, and should be avoided in serious cases.
- All cooking utensils must be scrupulously clean.
- Oysters are excellent, as they contain a self-digesting ferment. Tripe is a good and cheap substitute, as it is digested in an hour.
What do you think about the instruction to “never consult a patient about a meal”?
The following recipe from the book would hit the spot, methinks, whether the eater be sick or well - in spite of the rather confused instructions:
Make a nice mashed potato adding the yolk and white of an egg, and about 1 oz. of butter. Mix in the butter, the yolk of an egg, and a little salt and pepper. Whip in the white, mix into the soufflé. Butter some little soufflé cases and fill them with this. Bake in a quick oven for 20 minutes. If liked, this can be served in a soufflé dish.
"Never consult a patient about a meal" -- Colonel: "What is this repulsive pap? Bring me a steak and a bottle of Burgundy!" Major: "I can't eat this. What else do you have?" Captain: "Nurse, I'm really hungry. Can't you bring me something that isn't Jello?" Lieutenant: "You know, this would be a lot better if -- here, I'll just write down some instructions for the cook." Sergeant-Major: crash! smash! [as he throws his tray against the wall.]
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