The wide publicity which the press in different sections of the country has given to my offer to show workingpeople earning a dollar and a half, or less, per day, how to get a good dinner for fifteen cents, has brought me a great many letters from those who earn more, and can consequently afford a more extended diet.
In response to their requirements I have written this book, which I hope will be found servicable in that middle department of cookery it is designed to occupy, where we begin to look for more than the absolute necessaries of life; it is a practical guide to the economical, healthful, and palatable preparation of food, and will serve to show that it is possible to live well upon a very moderate income.
It is necessary to repeat in this book some of the directions given in the work on "FIFTEEN CENT DINNERS;" but I hope their reappearance will be pardoned on the ground of their usefulness, and also because the first book will fail to reach many for whom this one is intended.
The cheapest kinds of food are sometimes the most wholesome and strengthening; but in order to obtain all their best qualities we must know how to choose them for their freshness, goodness, and suitability to our needs. That done, we must know how to cook them, so as to make savory and nutritious meals instead of tasteless or sodden messes, the eating whereof sends the man to the liquor shop for consolation.
Good food, properly cooked, gives us good blood, sound bones, healthy brains, strong nerves, and firm flesh, to say nothing of good tempers and kind hearts. These are surely worth a little trouble to secure.
The first food of nearly all living creatures is milk, the only entire natural food; that is, the only food upon which health and strength can be sustained for any length of time, without using any other nourishment. For this reason it is the best food you can give the children if you must restrict their diet at all; and it is also a valuable addition to the food of grown persons. While this fact about milk is settled, it is generally acknowledged by people who study the subject that we thrive best on a variety. We get warmth and strength from fat meat, wheat, rye, barley, rice, milk, sugar, fruit, peas, beans, lentils, macaroni, and the roots of vegetables; we gain flesh from lean meat, unbolted flour, oatmeal, eggs, cheese, and green vegetables; and, if we want to think clearly, we must use fish, poultry, the different grains, and a good variety of fruit and vegetables.
The food most generally in use among the masses is just that which meets their requirements. No hungry man will spend money for what he knows will not satisfy his appetite, and a natural appetite may always be trusted. For that reason the receipts given in this book treat of the articles in common use, with the exception of lentils and macaroni, which are foods that I earnestly beg all to try. In meals made up of bacon, potatoes and bread, of corned beef and cabbage, and of pork and beans, there exists an equal and sufficient amount of nourishment; but if other dishes are added to these, the variety will result in better general health and contentment. If we were to live day after day on rice, bread, potatoes, or any one other article of food, we would not long be strong enough for any kind of work. In matters of diet variety is not only the spice of life, it is the necessity....