Woman's Institute Library of Cookery Volume 1: Essentials of Cookery; Cereals; Bread; Hot Breads
THE PROBLEM OF FOOD
1. Without doubt, the greatest problem confronting the human race is that of food. In order to exist, every person must eat; but eating simply to keep life in the body is not enough. Aside from this, the body must be supplied with an ample amount of energy to carry on each day's work, as well as with the material needed for its growth, repair, and working power. To meet these requirements of the human body, there is nothing to take the place of food, not merely any kind, however, but the right kind. Indeed, so important is the right kind of food in the scheme of life that the child deprived of it neither grows nor increases in weight, and the adult who is unable to secure enough of it for adequate nourishment is deficient in nerve force and working power. If a person is to get the best out of life, the food taken into the body must possess real sustaining power and supply the tissues with the necessary building material; and this truth points out that there are facts and principles that must be known in order that the proper selection of food may be made, that it may be so prepared as to increase its value, and that economy in its selection, preparation, use, and care may be exercised.
2. Probably the most important of these principles is the cooking of food. While this refers especially to the preparation of food by subjecting edible materials to the action of heat, it involves much more. The cooking of food is a science as well as an art, and it depends for its success on known and established principles. In its full sense, cookery means not only the ability to follow a recipe, thereby producing a successfully cooked dish, but also the ability to select materials, a knowledge of the ways in which to prepare them, an understanding of their value for the persons for whom they are prepared, and ingenuity in serving foods attractively and in making the best use of food that may be left over from the previous meals, so that there will be practically no waste. Thus, while cookery in all its phases is a broad subject, it is one that truly belongs to woman, not only because of the pleasure she derives in preparing food for the members of her family, but because she is particularly qualified to carry on the work.
3. The providing of food in the home is a matter that usually falls to the lot of the housewife; in fact, on her depends the wise use of the family income. This means, then, that whether a woman is earning her own livelihood and has only herself to provide for, or whether she is spending a part of some other person's income, as, for instance, her father's or her husband's, she should understand how to proportion her money so as to provide the essential needs, namely, food, clothing, and shelter. In considering the question of providing food, the housewife should set about to determine what three meals a day will cost, and in this matter she should be guided by the thought that the meals must be the best that can possibly be purchased for the amount of money allowed for food from the family income and that their cost must not exceed the allotment....