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Cooicecry

food, choice, inedible, cooking, eating, nature and cook

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COOICECRY, the art of preparing food for eating. The savage does little or no cooking; he lives on roots, fruits, insects and raw flesh, and when he cannot procure food, he twists his belt tighter and tighter; the barbarian makes a fire and hunts and fishes, but still eats much of his food raw, or with the slight dis integration of fibre given it by the motion of his body as he carries the food on his steed. Neither cares he for variety, nor has any pur pose in eating other than to satisfy hunger. With the development of agriculture came an increase in food supplies, in the use of fire in cooking and an advance in civilization; and with the developtnent in man's social nature, eating ceased to be a mere grabbing game, and food was shared with friends,—and strangers also, for there were no public inns,—as an evidence of good will. Later, feasting was a part of all hospitality, and banquets in honor of the gods, of victory, or some special event, came to be considered the highest form of social physical enjoyment. As the ancients id times of prosperity sought the rarest foods (500 nightmgales' tongues were often made into, one pie), and served them in the most costly manner (whole cities being ruined, it is said, where Xerxes was entertained for two meals), so history repeats itself, and some modern hosts spare no labor or expense in setting before their guests the most unique concoction their chef can prepare, as the highest expression of good will. But they often have no concern as to the nutritive effect of their offering. The thoughtful person feels that extravagant cook ing and riotous feasting are not necessary to true hospitality, nor to the genuine enjoyment of food. He has learned that the true reasons for cooking food are: First, to have the time and enera needed to digest and assimilate unprepared food, to use in getting a living while developing his men tal and moral nature.

Second, to facilitate mastication and diges tion, by softening hard and tough substances, changing starch into dextrin, sugar into cara mel and connective tissue into gelatin, develop ing improved flavors and odors, and having at least a part of the food warm.

Third, to destroy parasites and disease germs.

Fourth, to keep foods which are perishable that he may enjoy them when out of season.

The cooldng of food includes several im portant pnicesses, not always amsideredt some of which call for the highest degree of gence; but too often coo1cing is regarded merely as a form of =Mai labor. Taking these In their natural order we have: This was once a question of mere environment; food nearest at hand being the globson's choice* •of the sav age, as it now is of the very poor in many lands. Climate and non-intercourse with other nations limit choice, as invasion, travel and increased trading facilities extend it. From the limited, but not always scanty fare of the Pilgrims, to the cosmopolitan markets of the present day, is a wonderful advance, and the modern American often yields unwisely to their temptations. Appetite guides us safely in this choice of material, when it has not been impaired by too great indulgence in improper food. To select from this vast supply, food sound in texture, free from adulteration, sea sonable, not exorbitant in price, adopted to in dividual need, and suitable in quantity, needs no small amount of judgment in the buyer, who often must also be the cook.

Separation.— The removal of the inedible from the edible portions of food is important, for the thoroughness with which it is done has much to do with making food palatable. Perhaps in no other part of the work has there been greater improvement over the primitive methods, as man's idea of what is inedible takes him farther and farther away from the savage, some of whose methods are too repulsive to bear allusion. Our forbears were entertained before the feast by the slaughtering of animals in their presence, but now the refined taste is offended by the sight of a fowl dressed for the table in his discarded feathers; or a bit of hull it a supposed-to-be coreless apple, or food served in inedible scooped-out slans.

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