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ciple. The noxious quality of cucumber is proverbial, and we have generally found it rather deteriorated than improved, by the dressing that is usually employed.
Cauliflower and brocoli are the preferable vegetables of those which require to be boiled. The cabbage tribe are said to be principally serviceable in lessening the stimulant qualities of animal food : many of them are not of very easy assimilation, and some contain an acrimonious essence which occasions the disagreeable odour of cabbage water. Asparagus, when young, is mild, mucilaginous, and nutritive.
Of fruits, the cherry and the plumb are the most objectionable. The apple and the pear are neither of them of very ready digestibility. The small-seeded fruits are by far the most whole! some. Of these, the ripe strawberry and raspberry deserve
the first rank. The grape is also cooling and antiseptio; but • the husks and seeds should be rejected. The gooseberry is, • less wholesome on account of the indigestibility of the skin." So says Dr. Paris, but, for ourselves, we have no very high opinion either of the grape or the gooseberry, even without their husks, and skins, and seeds. Some of the stone fruits are noxious to the stomach, on account of their containing the prussic acid. •Raisins, figs, and prunes,' says Mr. Thackrah very properly, are less used than they ought to be ;'-they are by far the most advisable of dessert fruits, inasmuch as they are possessed of an aperient power.
A few words will be looked for from us on the subject of cookery, ' by which process, alimentary substances undergo a "twofold change ; their principles are chemically modified, and
their textures mechanically changed.' Boiling renders some substances easier of digestion than they are in their natural state, by softening down their soluble principles; 'but meat, by ? this process, is deprived of some of its nutritive properties ; • the albumen and gelatin are also acted upon; the former being • solidified, and the latter, converted into a gelatinous substance. : Dr. Prout has very justly remarked, that the boiling tempe! rature is too high for a great many of the processes of cook
ing, and that a lower temperature and a greater time, or a . species of infusion, are better adapted for most of them.' Beef and mutton tea, it has been properly stated, are much more calculated for invalids, than the broths of these meats. . By the process of roasting, there is less loss sustained in respect of the nutritious portions of meat, so that a given quantity, cooked in this way, contains, cateris paribus, more of sustenance, than the same quantity of boiled meat.
Frying is a highly objectionable process. In this, the heat ' is applied through the medium of boiling oil or lat, which is
• rendered empyreumatic, and, therefore, extremely liable to dis. agree with the stomach.'
Broiling: By this operation, the sudden browning or hatdening of the surface prevents the evaporation of the juices of
the meat, which imparts a peculiar tenderness to it. It is the ! form selected as the most eligible by those who seek to invigorate themselves by the art of training."
• Baking. The peculiarity of this process depends upon the substance being heated in a confined space, which does not permit the escape of the fumes arising from it; the meat is, therefore, from the retention of its juices, rendered more sapid and tender. But haked meats are not so easily digested, on account of a greater retention of their oils, which are, moreover, in an empyreumatic state.'
When speaking on the subject of condiments, Dr. Paris eulogizes highly the employmeut of salt with meat ; and in his favourable opinion of this very useful addition to our daily diet, we are disposed fully to coincide. We imagine, indeed, that the virtues and corrective properties of salt taken with food are not, for the most part, sufficiently appreciated. In answer to the objection which might be started against its use, from the acknowledged indigestibility of salted meats, our Author very properly remarks, that the salt thus combined with the animal fibre, ought no longer to be considered as the condiment upon
which' so much has been said; a chemical combination has : taken place, and, although it is difficult to explain the nature • of the affinities which have been brought into action, or that ! of the compound to which they have given origin, it is suffi!ciently evident that the texture of the fibre is so changed as ! to be less nutritive, as well as less digestible,' To the moderate employment of vegetable acid, as of vinegar or lemon juice, Dr. Paris is also partial. The use of heating and aromatic condiments would argue, either that the food to which they are appended is indigestible, or that the stomach into which they are taken, is in a condition of morbid insusceptibility, But, mischievous as the use of aromatic condiments ' may be, it is innocent in comparison of swallowing a quantity of brandy to prevent the upbraiding of our stomachs, or an increased libation of wine to counteract the distress which sur pervenes a too copious meal,- as if drunkenness were an an• lidote to gluttony.'
On the propriety or impropriety of a mixture of food, there are differences of opinion. It is universally allowed, that one species of food is of more easy digestion than another; and a priori, one would imagine, that if the meal were composed of two or more articles, whose digestibility, abstractedly; were different, the process of digestion would not be so likely Vol. XXVII.
to proceed with regularity as in the case of only one article of diet being made use of. Such is the opinion of Dr. Paris, who remarks, that when the stomach is charged with contents that do not harmonize with each other, we shall have the several parts of the mixed mass at the same time in different stages of digestion; one part will therefore be retained beyond the period destined for its expulsion, while another will be hurried forward before its change has been sufficiently completed. It * is then,' he adds, highly expedient, particularly for those * with weak stomachs, to eat but one species of food, so that . it may all be digested and expelled at nearly the same period
of time; that when the duodenal digestion has been fully “established, the operations of the stomach shall have • ceased.'
In reply, however, to this objection against the plurality of articles in meals, it may be urged, that the combination of materials in the stomach may present to its energies a mass very different with respect to solubility in the gastric juice, than could be estimated by the relations of each one separately to the digestive power. In consistency with this assumption, we are told by another of the authors before us, that variety in the articles of food is sometimes desirable. The fact, he says, is established, that the stomach will digest a compound mass with more ease than a like bulk of one substance. When, therefore, the power of this organ is greatly reduced, the meals should consist of several ingredients, or of compound dishes.
It should seem that our continental neighbours act, in reference to their dietetic habits, under this impression ; for, while they banter our national capacity of stomach, and express surprise at the quantity of solid fibrous substance that an Englishman will receive and digest, they themselves, in respect to actual quantity, beat us out and out, and partake of dish after dish in rapid succession, to an extent, and with an impunity that are really astonishing.
It will be now in order, to make a remark or two on the periods of eating; and here let the observation be adverted to, which we formerly adduced from Dr. Monro, respecting the effects of food in exciting the biliary secretion. A due appreciation of this fact would serve at any rate to qualify the commonly received maxim, ihat it is proper for weakly persons to eat little and often.' It is so, rather than that, after long intervals of fasting, they should make a hurried and an enormous meal; but, besides that the habit of frequent eating is increased by what it is fed on, and besides the inconvenience to the individual of indulging in a habit which makes him dependent upon constant refreshment, it may be fairly questioned, whether unduly repeated calls upon the chylopoietic and assistant chylopoietic viscera, may not become destructive of their
own purpose, and tend eventually to exhaust them in a premature way. We have already said enough to convince our readers, that we are far from being apostles of that creed which considers abstinence to be every thing, and which runs in di-; rect opposition to the dictates of nature for the sake of following the fancies of system; but, on the other hand, we fully accord with the opinion, that the habit of frequent refreshment is oftentimes merely habit, and that, for preserving or restoring the due tone of the stomach, it ought, as much as is at all consistent with the comforts of the individual, to be resisted.. • The sensation of faintness,' says Dr. Paris, 'is often an • artificial want, created by habit, and must be cured by re* storing the patient to regular meals, which is to be effected
by gradually lengthening the intervals of eating.' * practice of frequently taking scraps of food,' says another of the authors now on our table, .keeps the gastric glands'. ( he might have added the biliary, the pancreatic, and other secretories) in constant excitement, and thus weakens their
secretion; it breaks in upon the round of digestion ; and • habituates the stomach to propel its contents scarcely af• fected by the gastric juice. So far, therefore, from aug* menting, it considerably impairs the nourishment of the body. • Some states of the stomach,' he adds, may indeed require frequent ingestion; peculiar situations may oblige men to eat often, and the organs after a time may accommodate them*selves to the practice.' That habit may in this, as in other particulars, induce a sort of second nature, is well shewn by the following anecdote related to Stark by Franklin. :X 'gentleman, having been taken by the Barbary Corsairs, was employed to work in the quarries. The only food allowed him was barley, a certain quantity of which was put into his * pockets every morning. Water he found at the place of la• bour. His practice was, to eat a little now and then, whilst. ' at work; and having remained many years in slavery, he had 'acquired so far the habit of eating frequently, and little at a ' time, that when he returned home, his only food was ginger"bread nuts, which he carried in his pockets, and of which he ate from time to time.'
The intervals, however, between meals ought, in the general way, especially if the individual be not robust, to be scarcely more than from four to six hours. Very late dining is objectionable upon a twofold principle; for, in the first place, it either implies fasting too long, or imposes the additional meal, of luncheon ; and, in the second place, the evening is the time at which the system has a natural 'tendency to febrile irritation, and when, consequently, the stomach is not in a condition to set about the fatiguing operation of digesting a large and full-meal.
Three meals a-day are for the most part sufficient : by the feeble, who inay not be able to take sufficient nourishment in these meals, either on account of deficient appetite or defective digestion, a fourth may be added ; and the best division of the time for these repasts would be, about eight, and two, and seven. But to persons who live in society, and who are thus under the frequent necessity of adapting themselves to the habits of others, some objection may lie against extreme punctuality in home routine, as it may come to make them morbidly susceptible to the effects of out of door irregularity; and, after all, perhaps, frugality in quantity is of more consequence than regularity in period. One thing is certain, that the more solid the meal, the longer may be the interval ; and upon this principle, if we wish to avoid the objectionable repast of luncheon,' or the sinking sensations for lack of it, the breakfast should be constituted of more substantial materials than the habits of the present times sanction. Liquids, however, are said to be called for in our first meal, on account of the loss which the fluids of the body have sustained by perspiration, as well as by the quality of newly elaborated matter introduced into the circulation during sleep: Tea, to many persons, (says Dr. Paris,) is a beverage which, though otherwise agreeable and useful, contains too little nutriment; and I have, therefore, (he adds,) found barley water or thin gruel a very useful substitute. A gentleman, (this Author goes on to say,) some time since, applied to me in consequence of an acidity which constantly tormented him during the interval between breakfast and dinner, but at no other period of the day; he had tried the effect of milk, tea, coffee, and cocoa, but uniformly witbout success. I advised him to eat toasted bread with a slice of the lean part of cold mutton, and to drink a large cup of barley water, for the purpose of dilution, Since the adoption of this plan, he has entirely lost his complaint, and continues to enjoy his morning diversions without molestation.
To say of what the dinner ought to consist, would be repetition, after what we have stated on the subject of solid aliment; and the advantages of taking tea, not immediately upon, but a few hours after the main meal, have been adverted to in the extract from Dr. Paris on the head of liquid ingesta*.
* While the practice of taking tea two or three hours after, rather than immediately upon a ful meal, is proper, coffee may be taken with advantage directly after it; and we are happy to find the custom of taking coffee, comparatively soon at least, after the dinner is over, is beginning to obtain. If it were only that thereby the desire and relish for large libations of wine are considerably lessened, the fashion may be hailed as a good one. We partly owe its adoption to our