WHAT AN INVALID MAY EAT Sick-room diets are classified as liquid, light, and convalescent. The first consists wholly of liquid food, and is given in cases of typhoid fever and other severe illnesses. In typhoid, nothing is allowed for some time ex cept milk, but during the run of other diseases gruels, beef tea, and broths are prescribed to keep up the strength. In fevers, a large number of cooling drinks, characterized as acid, starchy, or albuminous, are fre quently ordered. Cocoa, hot milk, and various malt preparations are given at night to produce sleep, while occasionally doctors prescribe drinks containing rum, sherry, or brandy, when the patient is in need of such stimulation.
A " light diet" is the term used for the food that is given when a patient who has been very sick is beginning to improve. It includes almost every thing that is found in the liquid diet, and, in addition, soft-boiled eggs, soups, broths, raw oysters, toast, delicate cream soups, chicken broth, soft custard, fruit, gelatines, light puddings, and a small amount of poultry, game, or tender meat.
Convalescent diet includes all the dishes which have been already spoken of, only as the patient grows stronger the amount grows a little larger day by day, and includes more nourishing foods, with a larger va riety. Baked potatoes begin to ap pear on the tray, beefsteak, broiled mutton chops, sweetbreads, broiled chicken, sponge cake, boiled rice, small pieces of broiled fresh fish, a slice of tender rare roast beef, and ice cream.
The utmost daintiness is a neces sity when a tray for the sick room is being set. Food that is tempting in appearance will often create an ap petite where none existed. You must remember that an invalid's recovery depends as much upon the diet as upon medicine. Therefore, every thing that is taken to the sick room must be of the best quality—eggs that are really fresh laid, the best of butter, the tenderest chicken and meats, and milk that is perfectly sweet. If the physician orders food served every three hours, carry the tray into the room on the stroke of the hour. He knows when the stom
ach requires nutrition, and unless you have been sick you can never un derstand what a terrible sinking sen sation the patient experiences when the lunch hour is forgotten for even fifteen minutes. By making each menu just a little different from the one before, you can keep your invalid guessing. Anticipation creates appe tite. If the tiny meal is delicately cooked and daintily served, it will probably be eaten with a relish. Never offer a sick person as much as is required by a healthy appetite.
For the most nourishing kind of beef tea, choose a piece of meat from the lower part of the round. There is more juice in a piece of the animal which has been toughened by steady exercise than in a very tender cut. If we wish to keep in the juices, the meat should be seared on the outside by exposing it to a strong heat, as in roasting, broiling, or boiling, but in this case the fiber should be re j ected.
Free from fat, put through the finest knife of the meat chopper, and cover with a pint of cold water. Heat slowly in a double boiler. In two hours the juices vvill be drawn out and the fiber left bleached white. A square of wet cheese cloth may be doubled and spread over a strainer, and through this the chopped meat be wrung perfectly dry. The juice ought to be red. If it cooks long it will turn brown; then the albumen, which we wish to preserve in liquid form, would coagulate, taking from the beef tea most of its nutrition. If the patient objects to the un cooked look of beef tea, serve in a red tumbler which is well heated, be cause the liquid cannot be brought to the boiling point.
Occasionally, a patient is found who has such an aversion to milk that he will not take it as a liquid. Then try to include it in the menu in every possible form, that is, if the doctor prescribes it. It can be pre pared as junket and clabbered milk; in custards, oyster and cream soups, eggnog, gruels, milk toast, cocoa, and blancmange; in the shape of cream served with cereals and soft pud dings, and if chilled foods are al lowed, give ice cream.