Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Please explain, Mrs Beeton

Mrs Beeton (or one of the writers from whom she allegedly plagiarised) suggests that the daily ration of food for a man, doing moderate work, should be:-

1. Water - 22 Oz. Avoirdupois (sold by weight)
2. Albuminoids - 3 oz
3. Fats, starch, sugar, etc. - 14 oz
4. Salts - 1 oz

Totalling 40 oz.
For a woman, the same proportions, but 6 oz less.

Now here comes the confusing part.
Water is not only fluids consumed, but also the amounts contained in other foods, lettuce, onions, lean meat, wheat, etc.
Albuminoids are eggs, lean meat, fish, poultry, game, milk curd or cheese, gluten in flour, fibrine in oats, in beans peas and lentils.
Fat, starch and sugar refer to fats like butter, dripping, starches being mostly things high in carbs, bread, potatoes, rice, barley, cornflour, sage, tapioca. And sugars, obviously being sugar, treacle, etc. Which Mrs Beeton says "children can and do eat large quantities without convenience."
Salts are not only table salt, but other salt like potash salt in fruit and vegetables. Lime and iron are also sought after, as well as vitamins.

Now, the only thing I really understood from that section is the last line. "Moral - eat plenty of fresh vegetables."

Where's the food pyramid when you need it? No wonder it required a cook, kitchen maid and housewife to run a household, when they had to calculate all of that jargon to determine whether their husbands or masters were getting adequate nutriments.

After reading all that, I have a headache. I think I need a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down.

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