Cornell University. Agricultural Experiment Statio.

Annual report of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, Ithaca, N.Y online

. (page 33 of 42)
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but more than this is often found, and a baking powder containing a
large per cent of starch is expensive, even if sold at a low price, since
so much is required to do the work. A simple test is the boiling in water
for a minute of a teaspoonful of a suspected brand, and the comparison
of the thickness of the resulting liquid with that of an equal amount of
a reliable brand mixed with an equal amount of water and boiled for a

Often the lack of solubility in a substance tells the story of its adul-
teration. Sugar is seldom adulterated now, but if a sample is suspected,
as powdered sugar often is, its solubility in water will determine its
purity, at least so far as the traditional adulterants of starch, clay, etc.,
are concerned.

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664 Reading-Course for Farmers* Wives.

7. Not only the purity but the quality of the food must be consid-
ered. Sometimes we unwisely pay simply for appearance. The ideal
bread flour is yellowish with a slightly granular texture and a tendency
to cling together so that it shows the impress of the hand when pressed
in it, but some of the darker colored flours may be as nutritious though
not as attractive, and the very white flour, though excellent in appearance,
may have less food value and make poorer bread. Prunes furnish a
good example of money paid for appearance. One may often see them
in the same store varying from five to eighteen cents a pound. The dif-
ference in price is largely though not wholly one of size. A cheap rice
again usually has not so large grains as the best, and sometimes these are
broken, but for many purposes the cheaper is as good.

At other times the money invested in a first-class article is good
economy. A flour that yields poor bread is not economical at any price.
A cheap canned fruit that must be recooked with the addition of sugar
may prove more expensive than the higher priced article. Experience
alone can be the guide in such cases.

The selection of food, then, is by no means a simple matter. It
demands the best intelligence of the housekeeper. While from one point
of view — that of catering to taste alone — it may easily become too im-
portant, from another — that of increasing the health and efficiency of
the family — its importance can scarcely be overestimated.


Gertrude Sober Church.

Mrs. Richards begins her book on " Food Materials and their Adul-
terations " with this sentence : " The prosperity of a nation depends upon
the health and morals of its citizens ; and the health and the morals of a
people depend mainly upon the food they eat and the homes they live
in." Then although, at present, at least, women cannot cast the ballot,
they are the moulders of the nation; on them rests the responsibility of
furnishing this good food and true homes for its people.

For several years Professor Mumford and his associates at the Illi-
nois Agricultural Experiment Station have been conducting a series of
experiments to ascertain the best ration for feeding cattle during the
period they are beihg fattened for market. They are studying the ration
from an economic standpoint. They can weigh the steer at the beginning
of the term, and at the end, figure what was paid for his feed, how much
he brought in market, and then compare the cost of this steer with others
fed on different rations for the same period. Similar experiments are

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The Farm Table. 665

being carried on to determine the best ration for a dairy cow. Professor
Dietrick, also of the IlHnois Agricultural Experiment Station, has re-
cently finished a most valuable series of experiments with swine. The
accompanying illustration (Fig. 172) shows the results of part of his
work. The two pigs are from the same litter and were exactly alike
when put on the experiment at three months of age. The picture is taken
after three and one-half months' feeding. The pig on the left shows the
result of being fed on a balanced ration ; the other pig was fed an unbal-
anced ration, though he had all he wanted of corn meal.

If, then, it is so important to study the feeding of animals, (and men
have long appreciated this) ought we not to study the feeding of the
human animal? To ascertain the ration best adapted to the needs of
the human being is no easy task, since his demands are so varied. The
putting on of flesh is not the point. We must eat the food that will pre-

FiG. 1 72. — The result of good feeding and poor feeding with pigs,

pare us for the most efficient work in whatever lines that work may be,
be it physical or mental energy expended. Poorly nourished men and
women will suffer in clearheadedness, bodily strength, and in the case of
children, in bodily development. Professor W. O. Atwater and his asso-
ciates of the Middletown Experiment Station have devised a method for
studying the income and outgo of man, even measuring the energy ex-
pended as heat.

In considering the choice of food we must take note of the economic
selection, dietetic selection, and if you will permit me, the hygienic selec-
tion, though the dietetic and hygienic are almost inseparable. One can
but hint at the points to be considered, and first of all we must have some
understanding of the food requirements of the human being. This was
discussed in Bulletin 13 of series III, Farmers' Wives' Reading-Course.
Those who have not this Bulletin at hand should send for it.

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Reading-Course for Farmers' Wives.


Cereals occupy first rank as human food, though they lack fat. We
have learned this and combine butter with bread, cream on breakfast
cereals, etc.

The following table gives the percentage composition of some of our
important cereal foods :





Pine white flour








Entire wheat flour


Graham flour


Wheat bread


Oat meal


Com meal




In comparing the composition of these three most important cereal
grains in the forms they are most commonly used there are points of
comparison that are at first misleading, for example, the graham, entire
wheat (so-called) and fine wheat flour or patent flour. We must not alone
consider the chemical analysis, but the digestibility of bread made from
these three flours. Both the Maine and Minnesota Agricultural Experi-
ment Stations- have been working on this problem. The results have been
in favor of the patent flour. Though the other two show a higher pro-
tein content, the protein is not so completely digested, owing to the
coarser particles. To choose intelligently we must understand something
of the nature of the flours. So far as nutritive value alone is considered
we should say that the fine ground flours stand first. The coarser flours
have a tendency to increase peristaltic action, and are on this account
especially valuable for some persons.

Graham Flour,

Graham flour is the whole grain, ground after cleaning, loo pounds
of wheat yielding nearly lOO pounds of flour. Our graham is often made
from inferior wheat and so is really lower in food value than the so-called
patent flour. The grinding is carelessly done, and sometimes the quality
of graham would lead one to suspect it is a mixture of poor grade flour
and bran.

Whole Wheat, or Entire Wheat Flour.

Whole wheat flour is theoretically the kernel, ground after the husk
has been removed. Some firms assert that this husk is removed before
the grain is reduced to flour. Microscopic study of the bran and flour
shows this is not so; bran is found in the flour — even the outer layer
with the beard. Again, the bean contains portions of the layers said to be

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The Farm Table. 667

retained in the flour. From 100 pounds of wheat about 85 pounds of
whole wheat is obtained and 15 pounds of bran.

Patent Flour.

This grade of flour is made from the endosperm or inner part of
the wheat kernel. This contains the starch and true gluten, valuable for
bread making and as nutrients. In the modern process of milling, the
wheat passes through successive sets of rollers, or rolls set nearer and
nearer together as milling proceeds. The flour from each set of rolls is
removed by sifting, and the unreduced portions are passed on to another
set. The bran passes on through successive rolls and bolting machines
until all the adhering floiir is removed, or until the cost of further reduc-
ing it equals the value of the flour. From 100 pounds of wheat about
75 pounds of patent flour is obtained.

I lb. Flour Baked Gluten in i lb. Flour Gluten in i lb. Flour Gluten stretched

Fig. 1 73. — RcsiUt of experiment with flour.

Economically compared, as well as dietetically, for ordinary con-
sumption the patent flour stands first. Although more entire wheat flour
is obtained from a pound of wheat than patent flour, the cost of one-
quarter barrel is one dollar eighty for the former and one dollar and
thirty-three cents for the latter. And in most cases, at least, we are safe
in saying the cost of manufacture is in favor of the whole wheat.

We often hear it said that the protein (gluten) is all removed from
the patent flour, that it contains only a starch. There is nothing more
convincing than facts.

Gluten in Flour.

Secure one pound of patent spring wheat and mix it with water to a
Stiff dough; let it stand an hour, then try to stir it. You will note

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668 Reading-Course for Farmers' Wives.

how elastic it has become. Put the dough in a fine sieve (soup strainer),
take a large basin of water, put the dough down into the water and wash
it by working with the fingers while the dough is in the water. The
water becomes milky and a fine powder settles down to the bottom of
the basin. The fine powder is the starch or carbohydrates of the grain.
Provide fresh water and continue washing the dough until the water is
practically clear. The remaining ball is the gluten. By taking different
grades of flour and comparing the gluten a great difference in color and
elasticity is perceptible. The best gluten for bread making should be
creamy white and elastic. The stretched piece in the picture was about
the size of the ends of the two thumbs taken together. If you have a
reading circle a most profitable afternoon might be spent by taking up
the study of flours. Let each woman bring a sample of gluten from
some flour and try to have all grades represented. Have also someone
bake some gluten to show the difference in color and expansive power.
When a smaller quantity of flour is used, one-half a measuring cup will
do. Each one should take the same quantity to compare results.


Use only good flour; but good yeast should be used to insure good
bread. The most satisfactory yeast is the compressed yeast, providing,
always, it is fresh. If we remember that yeast is a plant, and our flour
is the soil in which it is planted, breadmaking would become much sim-
pler because we would have less so-called " bad luck." We all know that
compressed yeast that has become soft is no longer fit for use. For
those who live some distance from market, when going to town a pound
brick can be purchased and kept in cold water in a pint can. If no ice
is available it can be lowered in a deep well or kept in a cold cellar. You
may say your grocer does not keep fresh compressed yeast. If the
women in a neighborhood demand it, he will keep it. The trouble with
dry yeast is, we have to set our bread over night or else have the bread
around in the afternoon, and as we cannot govern the elements, our little
delicate plants may- become chilled or too warm. The yeast is in a dor-
mant state in the dry yeast, so has to be given more time to grow, like
plants from the seed ; while in the compressed yeast the plants are merely

Breakfast Foods

There are so many different forms into which our grains are worked
and under so many different names, we hardly know what we are eating.
Some claim to be vegetable iron, the only scientific preparation, the only
food for brain and muscle, a predigested food, etc., etc. The Maine Sta-

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The Farm Table. 669

tion has issued a bulletin on Cereal Breakfast Foods that every house-
keeper ought to read. The conclusion they make after studying fifty or
more foods at different years is, you pay dearly for the predigested, pre-
prepared, fancy article, though they contain no more nutrients than the
simple grain. But some say it saves cooking. Women no longer have
to weave the cloth, knit the stockings, nay even make the men's clothes
or their own, then are we not willing to put our cereal over in a double
boiler and let the fire do the rest? Of course there may be cases where
an invalid needs predigested foods, but it is better for the normal man
that his stomach should have something to do. The difference in cost is
astonishing. The new article " Puffed Rice '' costs a little mare than
twenty cents a pound, while rice is from five to eight cents. The differ-
ence is even greater in some other prepared breakfast foods.

I, bottle containing i qt. milk. a, water in qt. milk. 3, i qt. milk after senaratinj? fat, whey
and curd. 4. proteid in i qt. milk (as casein). 5. fat in i qt. milk. 6, carbohydrate (as milK
sugar). 7, fat in i qt. milk.

Fig. 1 74. — Showing the amount of different foods required to furnish an equal amount

of nutrient.

Milk. •

As was suggested in a previous bulletin — No. 14, Series III, Feb-
ruary, 1905, — milk is an important article of diet. In many countries,
especially Norway and Sweden, Switzerland and the Tyrol, the peasants
live for a large part on milk, drinking from four to seven pints a day.
Skim milk contains a larger percentage of proteid than whole milk. We
all know how good skim milk is for pigs and calves — how it makes them
grow. Sweet skim milk can be purchased at the creameries for one cent
a quart, and it is indeed a valuable addition to our diet.

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670 . Reading-Course for Farmers' Wives.


It must be remembered that though meat is still considered a valu-
able source for our proteid, it is not deemed so essential to the working-
man as formerly — at least not in so large quantities. Professor Atwater
has proven by actual experiment with man, in his series of experiments,
that a workingman consumes more fat and carbohydrates than his less
active companion, while the proteid consumed is about the same. And
we must also realize that the needed proteid can be and is obtained from
other sources — bread, milk, beans, cheese, eggs — and it must be remem-
bered that there are objections in the waste products of flesh food which
we do not find in vegetable food.

In general it is safe to say the nutrients of the different cuts of the
same animal are about the same, so that we obtain as much food from
the cheap cuts as from the more expensive, and if they are properly

Eggs I qt. Milk Bread

Beans Meat Cheese

Fig. 175. — Amounts containing equal total nutrients.

prepared, they are quite as palatable. In one case the difference between
the cost of the meat of lamb chops and round steak was twenty-two
cents. Of course when w^omeh take all these points into account and
would then rather please the palate to the extent in question than save
that money for the general betterment of her family, she is to be the
judge. The only point we want to make is that it is woman's duty to
knozv whether money is spent to the best purpose for all concerned.
Every woman ought to know the comparative values of different cuts,
by their " ear marks." One butcher, whom I know, used to sell a certain
cut of round for a chuck steak, and he said his women customers did not
know the difference. Few distinguish betw^een loin and rib chops, or
know which is more economical.

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The Farm Table.


Preservatives in Food,

In the day of so much canned goods — both meats, fruits and vege-
tables — and when fresh meats, fruits and vegetables and eggs are kept
so long, the housekeeper must not fail to understand the value of know-
ing what she is using if that is possible. Nearly every state has*its pure
food laws, and its pure food commissioner, whose duty it is to investi-
gate the class of goods offered for the puWic. Wisconsin is making its
laws felt by examining meats, canned goods, extracts, baking powders,
and in many cases prosecuting the offenders. In many cases the con-
sumer is to blame, for she demands a catsup redder than even tomatoes,
so they use analine dyes ; bologna sausage must be red, so the same device
is resorted to. She demands that things be cheaper than reason can
demand, so cheap cans are used and preservatives added to cover up poor
quality of work. There are cases when actual harm has resulted from
inferior goods.

To sum up, let me put before you some articles of food containing
the same total nutrients and the cost of each.

Milk is taken as a standard, and the quart contains 4.47 oz. of total
nutrients, or a little over one-fourth of a pound. The weight of cheese
required to furnish an equal amount of nutrient is 6.4 oz. ; of baked beans
10.43 oz. ; of meat 14 oz. ; of eggs 18 oz. or about 9 eggs ; of bread 7 oz.

The following table will show how the per cent of total nutrient is
figured :


Protcid. hydrates.




















Baked beans








Glancing at the table we can see that bread is cheap, and we know
it is wholesome. Eggs at 28 cents a dozen and meat at 16 cents a pound
are the most expensive, while milk and cheese at 16 cents a pound are
about the same. Cheese might be used very profitably in place of meat
to a greater extent than we do. Our friends across the water know its
value much more than we do ; they also know how to eat it and prepare
it with food. But this is not within the province of this paper.

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6/2 Reading-Course for Farmers' Wives.


Those of our readers who are interested in Farmers' Wives' Read-
ing-Clubs should send for Bulletin No. i6, which gives suggestions for
programs for two meetings for each of the five winter months.

Study clubs are by no means to be confined to the cities and towns.
The farmer's wife has the same need of study to keep abreast of the
times, to keep up with her children, and to preserve a joyous spirit, as
does the woman living in the midst of libraries, picture galleries, and
lecture bureaus. Her early education, like that of her city sister, needs
constant polishing to keep it bright, and her sympathies need to expand
rather than to grow narrow and insignificant. The very practical nature
of the farmer's wife's occupation makes it desirable to base that occupa-
tion on scientific principles as well as to relieve it with a thought of
poetry, history or fiction.

Let some woman take the leadership, see the other women of the
community and arrange to meet on a certain date, either in a home, at
the school building, or in the grange hall. The meeting may be held
when the men have their club meeting, or alone, as seems most practi-
cable. Make the organization as formal or informal as you please. Allow
no discussion of topics during the program hour except those selected for
the evening. The President should hold all members to a stringent ob-
servance of the rules in order to make the meetings a success.

It is well to have the men present at these meetings and to ask them
to take part in the program, but it is suggested that they may retire to
another room and discuss agricultural subjects while the women are on
the domestic problems, or that time be given to them for a discussion of
their own subjects to which the women will doubtless be interested
listeners. The men can doubtless throw much light on the domestic
problems of the home.

Elect a chairman. Draw up a few rules by which meetings shall be
governed. These may be added to as the occasion demands. Each club
will need to be governed by its own local conditions.

Register as a club at once by addressing Farmers' Wives' Reading-
Course, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.

Have the Secretary keep the club in close touch with the University.

Possibly the Supervisor of the Course may be able to visit the club
at a regular meeting.

A traveling library will be quite indispensable to the carrying out of
this schedule, unless you prefer to buy the books. Apply soon for the
library. It is not connected with this Extension Department, but with the

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The Farm Table. 673

Department of Education, Albany, N. Y., Libraries Division, where ap-
plication should be made and fee sent. The library may be kept six
months, and a fee of $1 for ten books pays transportation both ways.

Traveling Library for Farmers' Wives* Reading-Clubs, 1905-1906:

Whittier's Poems.

Grandfather's Chair, Hawthorne.

Literary Leaders of America, Richard Burton.

Abraham Lincoln, Schurz.

Principles of Home Decoration, Candace Wheeler.

The Great World's Farm, Selina Gaye.

How to Keep Bees, Anna B. Comstock.

Among Green Trees, Julia Ellen Rogers.

Story of Bacteria, Prudden.

Power Through Repose, Anna Payson Call.

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IReabing-Coutse for Jatmers' XKIlivee


Mattbr undkb Act or Conorbss of July 16, 18M. L. H. BaiiiBY, Dirsctob.
Mabtha Yak Rbnssklasb, Supervisor.




To be returned to Farmers* Wives' Reading-Course, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.

This Discussion-paper accompanying the Bulletin on The Selection
of Food may be returned with answers to the questions and with any
suggestions and questions of your own. While the answering of these
questions is not absolutely necessary, a much greater benefit will be de-
rived if you give to others the benefit of your own experience. As a
member of the Reading-Course you will be credited by us with the work
done. It will also help us to understand your point of view.

As this is the fourth year of the Reading-Course for Farmers*
Wives, it is time for very sincere work on the Bulletins. Anything short
of the anszvering of the questions of the Discussion-paper and more or
less research ziork will not be satisfactory, I am sure, to the reader.
Read carefully the Bulletin on Farmers^ Wives' Clubs (No. j6), and
see if you cannot associate with you some one or more persons who will
study the same Bulletins. Be sure to let us hear from you. You may
desire to ask questions regarding your own experience in home work,
or the application of principles set forth in the Bulletins.

With best wishes for a pleasant and profitable year, I am,
Very cordially yours,

Supervisor Farmers^ Wives' Reading-Course.


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676 Reading-Course for Farmers' Wives.

I. Give a plan for one week's meals.

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The Farm Table. 677

2. What do you consider the value of a written plan for meals?

3. For how many meals can you plan ahead?



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IReablng^-Coutse for jfarmers' XKHtves


Matter under Act of Congress of July 16, 1894. L. H. Bailey, Direotob.
Martha Van Rensselaer, Supervisor.




Maria §u Parloa.
Although every housewife on the farm knows how to can and pre-
serve fruits, she may not know the reasons for the various processes and
there may be many points of practice on which she is greatly in doubt.

Fig. 176. — Ready for canning.

In order to answer the enquiries and to suggest better methods, this

Online LibraryCornell University. Agricultural Experiment StatioAnnual report of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, Ithaca, N.Y → online text (page 33 of 42)