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Woman's Institute Library of Cookery Volume 5: Fruit and Fruit Desserts; Canning and Drying; Jelly Making, Preserving and Pickling; Confections; Beverages; the Planning of Meals online

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various purposes.

6. NECESSITY FOR PURE WATER. - The extensive use made of water in the
diet makes it imperative that every effort be exerted to have the water
supply as pure as possible. The ordinary city filter and the smaller
household filter can be depended on to remove sand, particles of leaves,
weeds, and such foreign material as is likely to drop into the water
from time to time, but they will not remove disease germs from an
unclean supply. Therefore, if there is any doubt about water being pure
enough to use for drinking purposes, it should be boiled before it is
used. Boiling kills any disease germs that the water may contain, but at
the same time it gives the water a very flat taste because of the loss
of air in boiling. However, as is mentioned in _Essentials of Cookery_,
Part 1, the natural taste may be restored by beating the boiled water
with an egg beater or by partly filling a jar, placing the lid on, and
shaking it vigorously.


7. About one-third of all the water required each day is taken in the
form of beverages with the meals. It was formerly thought that liquids
dilute the gastric juice and so should be avoided with meals. However,
it has been learned that beverages, either warm or cold, with the
exception of an occasional case, may be taken with meals without
injury. The chief point to remember is that it is unwise to drink
beverages either too hot or too cold. For the best results, their
temperature should be rather moderate.

8. Foods that may be dissolved in water can be incorporated in a
beverage to make it nutritious. With many persons, as in the case of
small children and invalids, this is often the only means there is of
giving them nourishment. In serving beverages to healthy persons, the
food value of the meal should be taken into consideration. The beverage
accompanying a heavy meal should be one having very little food value;
whereas, in the case of a light meal, the beverage can be such as will
give additional nutrition. For instance, hot chocolate, which is very
nutritious, would not be a good beverage to serve with a meal consisting
of soup, meat, vegetables, salad, and dessert, but it would be an
excellent drink to serve with a lunch that is made up of light
sandwiches, salad, and fruit.


9. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES are made by allowing yeast to ferment the starch
or the sugar in a certain kind of food, thus producing acid and alcohol.
Grains and fruits are used oftenest for this purpose. In some cases, the
fermentation is allowed to continue long enough to use up all the starch
or sugar in the material selected, and in this event the resulting
beverages are sour and contain a great deal of alcohol. In others, the
fermentation is stopped before all the sugar or starch is utilized, and
then the beverage is sweet and contains less alcohol. The higher the
percentage of alcohol a beverage contains, the more intoxicating it is
and the more quickly will a state of intoxication be reached by
drinking it.

10. HARMFUL EFFECTS OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. - In years past, alcoholic
beverages were considered to be a necessity for medicinal purposes in
hospitals and in homes, but this use of them has been very greatly
decreased. In fact, it is believed by most authorities that often more
harm than good is done by using alcoholic beverages as a medical
stimulant or as a carrier for some drug. As these drinks are harmful in
this respect, so are they detrimental to health when they are taken
merely as beverages. It is definitely known that alcohol acts as a food
when it enters the body, for it is burned just as a carbohydrate would
be and thus produces heat. That this action takes place very rapidly can
be detected by the warmth that is produced almost immediately when the
drink is taken. Some of it is lost through the breath and the kidneys
without producing heat, and it also acts upon the blood vessels near the
skin in such a way as to lose very quickly the heat that is produced. It
is never conserved and used gradually as the heat from food is used. The
taking of alcohol requires much work on the part of the kidneys, and
this eventually injures them. It also hardens the liver and produces a
disease known as hob-nailed, or gin, liver. In addition, if used
continuously, this improper means of nourishing the body produces an
excessive amount of fat. Because of these harmful effects on the various
organs, its too rapid loss from the body, and the fact that it does not
build tissue, alcohol is at best a very poor food and should be avoided
on all occasions.

11. KINDS OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. - In spite of the truth that beverages
containing alcohol are found to be harmful, many of them are in common
use. Following are the names of these, together with a short account of
their preparation:

BEER is an alcoholic beverage made from certain grains, usually barley,
by malting the grain, boiling the product with hops, and finally
fermenting it with yeast. The malting of grains, it will be remembered,
is explained in _Cereals_. The hops are used to give the beer a
desirable flavor. This beverage is characterized by a low percentage of
alcohol, containing only 2 to 5 per cent., and consequently is not very

WINE is a beverage that is usually made from grapes, although berries
and other small fruits are occasionally used. It contains from 7 to 16
per cent. of alcohol and is therefore more intoxicating than beer. The
wines in which all of the sugar is fermented are known as _sour_, or
_dry, wines_, while those in which not all of the sugar has been
fermented are called _sweet wines_. Many classes of wines are made and
put on the market, but those most commonly used are claret, sherry,
hock, port, and Madeira.

BRANDY is an alcoholic liquor distilled from wine. It is very
intoxicating, for it consists of little besides alcohol and water, the
percentage of alcohol varying from 40 to 50 per cent. Upon being
distilled, brandy is colorless, but it is then stored in charred wooden
casks, from which it takes its characteristic color.

GIN is a practically colorless liquor distilled from various grains and
flavored with oil of juniper or some other flavoring substance, such as
anise, orange peel, or fennel. It contains from 30 to 40 per cent. of
alcohol. It is usually stored in glass bottles, which do not impart a
color to it.

RUM is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting cane sugar, molasses,
cane juice, or the scum and waste from sugar refineries and then
distilling the product. It contains from 45 to 50 per cent. of alcohol,
and has a disagreeable odor when it is distilled. This odor, however, is
removed by storing the rum in wooden receptacles for a long period
of time.

CORDIALS are beverages made by steeping fruits or herbs in brandy.
_Absinthe_, which is barred from the United States because it contains
wormwood, a very injurious substance, is a well-known cordial. Besides
being extremely intoxicating, it overstimulates the heart and the
stomach if taken in even comparatively small quantities.

WHISKY is an alcoholic beverage obtained by distilling fermented grain
several times until it has a strength of 40 to 50 per cent. of alcohol.
Then it is flavored and stored in charred casks to ripen and become
mellow, after which it has a characteristic color. As can readily be
understood, distilled liquors contain the highest percentage of alcohol.

* * * * *



12. STIMULATING BEVERAGES are those which contain a drug that stimulates
the nervous and the circulatory system; that is, one that acts on the
nerves and the circulation in such a way as to make them active and
alert. Common examples of these beverages are coffee, tea, and cocoa or
chocolate. If the nerves are in need of rest, it is dangerous to
stimulate them with such beverages, for, as the nervous system
indirectly affects all the organs of the body, the effects of this
stimulation are far-reaching. The immediate effect of the stimulant in
these beverages is to keep the drinker awake, thus causing
sleeplessness, or temporary insomnia. If tea and coffee are used
habitually and excessively, headaches, dull brains, and many nervous
troubles are liable to result.

13. The stimulant that is found in the leaves of tea is known as
_theine_; that found in coffee beans, _caffeine_; and that found in
cacao beans, from which cocoa and chocolate are made, _theobromine_.
Each of these stimulants is extracted by the hot liquid that is always
used to make the beverage. It is taken up by the liquid so quickly that
the method used to prepare the beverage makes little difference as to
the amount obtained. In other words, tea made by pouring water through
the leaves will contain nearly as much of the stimulant as tea made by
boiling the leaves.

14. In addition to the stimulant, tea and coffee contain _tannin_, or
_tannic acid_, an acid that is also obtained from the bark of certain
trees and used in the tanning of animal hides in the preparation of
leather. Tannin is not taken so quickly from tea and coffee by the hot
liquid used in preparing the beverage as is the stimulant, so that the
longer tea leaves and coffee grounds remain in the liquid, the more
tannic acid will be drawn out. This fact can be detected by the bitter
flavor and the puckery feeling in the mouth after drinking tea that has
been allowed to remain on the leaves or coffee that has stood for some
time on the grounds. Tannic acid has a decidedly bad effect on the
digestion in the stomach, so that if improperly prepared tea or coffee
is indulged in habitually, it may cause stomach disorders.



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Quantity of Quantity of
Beverage Stimulant Stimulant Tannic Acid
Grains Grains
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Coffee Caffeine 2 to 3 1 to 2
Tea Theine 1 to 2 1 to 4
Cocoa or chocolate Theobromine 1 to 1-1/2 1/2 to 1
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

15. The quantity of stimulant and tannic acid contained in an ordinary
cup of tea, coffee, and cocoa or chocolate is given in Table I. As this
table shows, the quantity, which is given in grains, does not vary
considerably in the different beverages and is not present in such
quantity as to be harmful, unless these beverages are indulged in
to excess.

To reduce the quantity of caffeine contained in coffee has been the aim
of many coffee producers. As a result, there are on the market a number
of brands of coffee that have been put through a process that removes
practically all the caffeine. The beverage made from coffee so treated
is less harmful than that made from ordinary coffee, and so far as the
flavor is concerned this loss of caffeine does not change it.

16. Neither tea nor coffee possesses any food value. Unless sugar or
cream is added, these beverages contain nothing except water, flavor,
stimulant, and tannic acid. Chocolate and cocoa, however, are rich in
fat, and as they are usually made with milk and sugar they have the
advantage of conveying food to the system. Because of their nature, tea
and coffee should never be given to children. Cocoa and chocolate
provide enough food value to warrant their use in the diet of young
persons, but they should not be taken in too great quantity because of
the large amount of fat they contain. Any of these beverages used in
excessive amounts produces the same effect as a mild drug habit.
Consequently, when a person feels that it is impossible to get along
without tea or coffee, it is time to stop the use of that beverage.

* * * * *



17. COFFEE is the seed of the coffee tree, which in its wild state grows
to a height of 20 feet, but in cultivation is kept down to about 10 or
12 feet for convenience in gathering the fruit. Coffee originated in
Abyssinia, where it has been used as a beverage from time immemorial. At
the beginning of the 15th century, it found its way into Arabia, where
it was used by the religious leaders for preventing drowsiness, so that
they could perform religious ceremonies at night. About 100 years later
it came into favor in Turkey, but it was not until the middle of the
17th century that it was introduced into England. Its use gradually
increased among common people after much controversy as to whether it
was right to drink it or not. It is now extensively grown in India,
Ceylon, Java, the West Indies, Central America, Mexico, and Brazil. The
last-named country, Brazil, furnishes about 75 per cent. of the coffee
used in the United States and about 60 per cent. of the world's supply.

18. Coffee is a universal drink, but it finds more favor in some
countries than others. The hospitality of a Turkish home is never
thought to be complete without the serving of coffee to its guests;
however, the coffee made by the Turks is not pleasant except to those
who are accustomed to drinking it. As prepared in Turkey and the East, a
small amount of boiling water is poured over the coffee, which is
powdered and mixed with sugar, and the resulting beverage, which is very
thick, is served in a small cup without cream. The French make a
concoction known as _cafe an lait_, which, as explained in _Essentials
of Cookery_, Part 2, is a combination of coffee and milk. These two
ingredients are heated separately in equal proportions and then mixed
before serving. This is a very satisfactory way in which to serve coffee
if cream cannot be obtained.

19. OBTAINING THE COFFEE SEEDS. - The seeds of the coffee tree are
enclosed in pairs, with their flat surfaces toward each other, in dark,
cherry-like berries. The pulp of the berry is softened by fermentation
and then removed, leaving the seeds enclosed in a husk. They are then
separated from the husks by being either sun-dried and rolled or reduced
to a soft mass in water with the aid of a pulping machine. With the
husks removed, the seeds are packed into coarse cloth bags and

20. ROASTING THE COFFEE BEANS. - The next step in the preparation of
coffee for use is the roasting of the coffee beans. After being
separated from the husks, the beans have a greenish-yellow color, but
during the roasting process, when they are subjected to high temperature
and must be turned constantly to prevent uneven roasting, they turn to a
dark brown. As the roasting also develops the flavor, it must be done
carefully. Some persons prefer to buy unroasted coffee and roast it at
home in an oven, but it is more economical to purchase coffee already
roasted. In addition, the improved methods of roasting produce coffee of
a better flavor, for they accomplish this by machinery especially
devised for the purpose.

21. GRINDING THE COFFEE BEANS. - During the roasting process there is
developed an aromatic volatile oil, called _caffeol_, to which the
flavor of the coffee is due. This oil is very strong, but upon being
exposed to the air it passes off and thus causes a loss of flavor in the
coffee. For this reason, roasted coffee should be kept in air-tight
cans, boxes, or jars. Before it is used, however, it must be ground.
The grinding of the coffee beans exposes more surface and hence the
flavor is more quickly lost from ground than unground coffee. Because of
this fact and because ground coffee can be adulterated very easily, it
is not wise to buy coffee already ground. If only a small quantity is
bought at a time and it can be used up at once, the grinding may be done
by the grocer, but even in such a case the better plan is to grind it
immediately before using it.

22. The method by which the coffee is to be prepared for drinking will
determine to a large extent the way in which the coffee beans must be
ground. When coffee is to be made by a method in which the grounds are
not left in the water for any length of time, the beans must be ground
very fine, in fact, pulverized, for the flavor must be extracted
quickly. For other purposes, such as when it is to be made in a
percolator, the beans need not be ground quite so fine, and when it is
to be made in an ordinary coffee pot they may be ground very coarse.

23. For use in the home, simple coffee mills that will grind coffee as
coarse or as fine as may be desired are to be had. Fig. 1 shows two of
the common types of home coffee mills.

[Illustration: FIG. 1]

The one shown in (_a_) is fastened to a board so that it can be attached
to the wall. The coffee to be ground is put in the chamber _a_, from
which it is fed to the grinding rolls, and the ground coffee drops into
the chamber _b_. The grinding rolls are adjusted to the desired fineness
by the notched arrangement on the end of the shaft.

The coffee mill shown in (_b_) may be placed on a table top or some
other flat surface, but it operates on the same principle as the other.
The coffee beans are placed in the chamber at the top, and the ground
coffee drops into the drawer _a_ at the bottom. The adjustment of the
grinding rolls is regulated by the notched head at the end of the
vertical shaft.

24. ADULTERATION OF COFFEE. - As in the case of numerous other foods,
attempts are often made to adulterate coffee. Since the Pure Food Laws
have been enforced, there is not so much danger of adulteration in a
product of this kind; still, every housewife should be familiar with the
ways in which this beverage may be reduced in strength or quality, so
that she may be able to tell whether she is getting a good or an
inferior product for her money.

Coffee may be adulterated in a number of ways. Ground coffee is
especially easy to adulterate with bread crumbs, bran, and similar
materials that have been thoroughly browned. Many of the cheaper coffees
are adulterated with chicory, a root that has a flavor similar to that
of coffee and gives the beverages with which it is used a reddish-brown
color. Chicory is not harmful; in fact, its flavor is sought by some
people, particularly the French. The objection to it, as well as to
other adulterants, is that it is much cheaper than coffee and the use of
it therefore increases the profits of the dealer. The presence of
chicory in coffee can be detected by putting a small amount of the
ground coffee in a glass of water. If chicory is present, the water will
become tinged with red and the chicory will settle to the bottom more
quickly than the coffee.


25. SELECTION OF COFFEE. - Many varieties of coffee are to be had, but
Mocha, Java, and Rio are the ones most used. A single variety, however,
is seldom sold alone, because a much better flavor can be obtained from
_blend coffee_, by which is meant two or more kinds of coffee
mixed together.

It is usually advisable to buy as good a quality of coffee as can be
afforded. The more expensive coffees have better flavor and greater
strength than the cheaper grades and consequently need not be used in
such great quantity. It is far better to serve this beverage seldom and
to have what is served the very best than to serve it so often that a
cheap grade must be purchased. For instance, some persons think that
they must have coffee for at least two out of three daily meals, but it
is usually sufficient if coffee is served once a day, and then for the
morning or midday meal rather than for the evening meal.

After deciding on the variety of coffee that is desired, it is well to
buy unground beans that are packed in air-tight packages. Upon
receiving the coffee in the home, it should be poured into a jar or a
can and kept tightly covered.

26. NECESSARY UTENSILS. - Very few utensils are required for coffee
making, but they should be of the best material that can be afforded in
order that good results may be had. A coffee pot, a coffee percolator,
and a drip pot, or coffee biggin, are the utensils most frequently used
for the preparation of this beverage.

[Illustration: FIG. 2]

27. If a COFFEE POT is preferred, it should be one made of material that
will withstand the heat of a direct flame. The cheapest coffee pots are
made of tin, but they are the least desirable and should be avoided, for
the tin, upon coming in contact with the tannic acid contained in
coffee, sometimes changes the flavor. Coffee pots made of enamelware are
the next highest in price. Then come nickel-plated ones, and, finally,
the highest-priced ones, which are made of aluminum. The usual form of
plain coffee pot is shown in Fig. 2.

[Illustration: FIG. 3]

28. PERCOLATORS are very desirable for the making of coffee, for they
produce excellent results and at the same time make the preparation of
coffee easy. Those having an electric attachment are especially
convenient. One form of percolator is shown in Fig. 3. In this
percolator, the ground coffee is put in the filter cup _a_ and the water
in the lower part of the pot _b_. The water immediately passes into the
chamber _c_, as shown by the arrows. In this chamber, which is small, it
heats rapidly and then rises through the vertical tube _d_. At the top
_e_, it comes out in the form of a spray, strikes the glass top, and
falls back on a perforated metal plate _f_, called the spreader. It then
passes through this plate into the filter cup containing the grounds,
through which it percolates and drops into the main chamber. The
circulation of the water continues as long as sufficient heat is
applied, and the rate of circulation depends on the degree of heat.

29. The DRIP POT, or _coffee biggin_, as it is sometimes called, one
type of which is shown in Fig. 4, is sometimes preferred for the making
of coffee. This utensil is made of metal or earthenware and operates on
the same principle as a percolator. The ground coffee is suspended above
the liquid in a cloth bag or a perforated receptacle and the water
percolates through it.

[Illustration: FIG. 4]

30. In case a more complicated utensil than any of those mentioned is
used for the making of coffee, the directions that accompany it will
have to be followed. But no matter what kind of utensil is selected for
the preparation of coffee, it should be thoroughly cleaned each time it
is used. To clean it, first empty any coffee it contains and then wash
every part carefully and scald and dry it. If the utensil is not clean,
the flavor of the coffee made in it will be spoiled.

31. METHODS OF MAKING COFFEE. - Several methods are followed in the
making of coffee, the one to select depending on the result desired and
the kind of utensil to be used. The most common of these methods are:
_boiling_, which produces a decoction; _infusion_, or _filtration_,
which consists in pouring boiling water over very finely ground coffee
in order to extract its properties; and _percolating_, in which boiling
water percolates, or passes through, finely ground coffee and extracts
its flavor. For any of these methods, soft water is better than water
that contains a great deal of lime. Many times persons cannot understand
why coffee that is excellent in one locality is poor in another. In the
majority of cases, this variation is due to the difference in the water
and not to the coffee. From 1 to 2 tablespoonfuls of coffee to 1 cupful
of water is the usual proportion followed in making coffee.

32. BOILED COFFEE. - Without doubt, coffee is more often boiled in its
preparation than treated in any other way. Usually, an ordinary coffee
pot is all that is required in this method of preparation. The amount of
ground coffee used may be varied to obtain the desired strength.

(Sufficient to Serve Six)

1 c. cold water
1/2 c. ground coffee
3 c. boiling water

After scalding the coffee pot, put 1/2 cupful of the cold water and the
ground coffee into it. Stir well and then add the boiling water. Allow
it to come to the boiling point and boil for 3 minutes. Pour a little of
the coffee into a cup to clear the spout of grounds, add the remaining
cupful of cold water, and put back on the stove to reheat, but not to
boil. When hot, serve at once. Never allow the liquid to stand on the
grounds for any length of time, for the longer it stands the more tannic
acid will be drawn out.

33. As coffee made by boiling is usually somewhat cloudy, it may be
cleared in one way or another. The last cold water is added for this

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Online LibraryWoman's Institute of Domestic Arts and SciencesWoman's Institute Library of Cookery Volume 5: Fruit and Fruit Desserts; Canning and Drying; Jelly Making, Preserving and Pickling; Confections; Beverages; the Planning of Meals → online text (page 19 of 27)