Part 4 out of 7
to all appearances, quite as good since the barley and the peas
have been cooked together as before.
As soon as the soup is done, and the boilers are emptied, they
are immediately refilled with water, and the barley for the soup
for the next day is put into it, and left to steep over night;
and at six o'clock the next morning the fires are lighted under
The peas, however, are never suffered to remain in the water
over-night, as we have found, by repeated trials, that they never
boil soft if the water in which they are boiled is not boiling
hot when they are put into it.--Whether this is peculiar to the
peas which grow in Bavaria, I know not.
When I began to feed the Poor of Munich, there was also a
quantity of meat boiled in their soup; but as the quantity was
small, and the quality of it but very indifferent, I never
thought it contributed much to rendering the victuals more
nourishing: but as soon as means were found for rendering the
soup palatable without meat, the quantity of it used was
gradually diminished, and it was at length entirely omitted.
I never heard that the Poor complained of the want of it;
and much doubt whether they took notice of it.
The management of the fire in cooking is, in all cases, a matter
of great importance; but in no case is it so necessary to be
attended to as in preparing the cheap and nutritive soups here
recommended.--Not only the palatableness, but even the strength
or richness of the soup, seems to depend very much upon the
management of the heat employed in cooking it.
From the beginning of the process to the end of it, the boiling
should be as gentle as possible;--and if it were possible to
keep the soup always JUST BOILING HOT, without actually boiling,
it would be so much the better.
Causing any thing to boil violently in any culinary process is
very ill judged; for it not only does not expedite, even in the
smallest degree, the process of cooking, but it occasions a most
enormous waste of fuel; and by driving away with the steam many
of the more volatile and more savoury particles of the ingredients,
renders the victuals less good and less palatable. --To those who
are acquainted with the experimental philosophy of heat, and who
know that water once brought to be BOILING HOT, however gently it
may boil in fact, CANNOT BE MADE ANY HOTTER, however large and
intense the fire under it may be made, and who know that it is by
the HEAT--that is to say, THE DEGREE or intensify of it, and the
TIME of its being continued, and not by the bubbling up or
BOILING, (as it is called) of the water that culinary operations
are performed--this will be evident, and those who know that more
than FIVE TIMES as much heat is required to SEND OFF IN STEAM any
given quantity of water ALREADY BOILING HOT as would be necessary
to heat the same quantity of ICE-COLD water TO THE BOILING POINT
--will see the enormous waste of heat, and consequently of fuel,
which, in all cases must result from violent boiling in culinary
To prevent the soup from burning to the boiler, the bottom of the
boiler should be made DOUBLE; the false bottom, (which may be
very thin) being fixed on the inside of the boiler, the two
sheets of copper being every where in contact with each other;
but they ought not to be attached to each other with solder,
except only at the edge of the false bottom where it is joined to
the sides of the boiler.--The false bottom should have a rim
about an inch and a half wide, projecting upwards, by which it
should be riveted to the sides of the boiler; but only few
rivets, or nails, should be used for fixing the two bottoms
together below, and those used should be very small; otherwise
where large nails are employed at the bottom of the boiler, where
the fire is most intense, the soup will be apt to BURN TO; at
least on the heads of those large nails.
The two sheets of metal may be made to touch each other every
where, by hammering them together after the false bottom is fixed
in its place; and they may be tacked together by a few small
rivets placed here and there, at considerable distances from
each other; and after this is done, the boiler may be tinned.
In tinning the boiler, if proper care be taken, the edge of the
false bottom may be soldered by the tin to the sides of the
boiler, and this will prevent the water, or other liquids put
into the boiler, from getting between the two bottoms.
In this manner double bottoms may be made to sauce-pans and
kettles of all kinds used in cooking; and this contrivance will,
in all cases, most effectually prevent what is called by the
cooks burning to.
The heat is so much obstructed in its passage through the thin
sheet of air, which, notwithstanding all the care that is taken
to bring the two bottoms into actual contact, will still remain
between them, the second has time to give its heat as fast as it
receives it, to the fluid in the boiler; and consequently never
acquires a degree of heat sufficient for burning any thing that
may be upon it.
Perhaps it would be best to double copper sauce-pans and small
kettles throughout; and as this may and ought to be done with a
very thin sheet of metal, it could not cost much, even if this
lining were to be made of silver.
But I must not enlarge here upon a subject I shall have occasion
to treat more fully in another place.--To return, therefore,
to the subject more immediately under consideration, Food.
Of the small expense at which the Bavarian soldiers are fed.
Details of their housekeeping, founded on actual experiment.
An account of the fuel expended by them in cooking.
It has often been matter of surprise to many, and even to those
who are most conversant in military affairs, that soldiers can
find means to live upon the very small allowances granted them
for their subsistence; and I have often wondered that nobody has
undertaken to investigate that matter, and to explain a mystery
at the same time curious and interesting, in a high degree.
The pay of a private soldier is in all countries very small,
much less than the wages of a day-labourer; and in some countries
it is so mere a pittance, that it is quite astonishing how it can
be made to support life.
The pay of a private foot-soldier in the service of His Most
Serene Highness the Elector Palatine, (and it is the same for a
private grenadier in the regiment of guards,) is FIVE CREUTZERS
a-day, and no more.--Formerly the pay of a private foot-soldier
was only four creutzers and a half a-day, but lately, upon the
introduction of the new military arrangements in the country, his
pay has been raised to five creutzers;--and with this he receives
one pound thirteen ounces and a half, Avoirdupois weight, of
rye-bread, which, at the medium price of grain in Bavaria and the
Palatinate, costs something less than three creutzers, or just
about ONE PENNY sterling.
The pay which the soldier receives in money,-- (five creutzers
a-day,) equal to one penny three farthings sterling, added to his
daily allowance of bread, valued at one penny, make TWO PENCE
THREE FARTHINGS a-day, for the sum total of his allowance.
That it is possible, in any country, to procure Food sufficient
to support life with so small a sum, will doubtless appear
extraordinary to an English reader;--but what would be his
surprise upon seeing a whole army, composed of the finest,
stoutest, and strongest men in the world, who are fed upon that
allowance, and whose countenances show the most evident marks of
ruddy health, and perfect contentment?
I have already observed, how much I was struck with the domestic
economy of the Bavarian soldiers. I think the subject much too
interesting, not to be laid before the Public, even in all its
details; and as I think it will be more satisfactory to hear from
their own mouths an account of the manner in which these soldiers
live, I shall transcribe the reports of two sensible
non-commissioned officers, whom I employed to give me the
information I wanted.
These non-commissioned officers, who belong to two different
regiments of grenadiers in garrison at Munich, were recommended
to me by their colonels as being very steady, careful men,
are each at the head of a mess consisting of twelve soldiers,
themselves reckoned in the number. The following accounts,
which they gave me of their housekeeping, and of the expenses of
their tables, were all the genuine results of actual experiments
made at my particular desire, and at my cost.
I do not believe that useful information was ever purchased
cheaper than upon this occasion; and I fancy my reader will be
of the same opinion when he has perused the following reports,
which are literally translated from the original German.
"In obedience to the orders of Lieut. General Count Rumford, the
following experiments were made by Serjeant Wickenhof's mess, in
the first company of the first (or Elector's own) regiment of
grenadiers, at Munich, on the 10th and 11th of June 1795.
June 10th, 1795.
BILL OF FARE
Boiled beef, with soup and bread dumplins.
Details of the expence, etc.
For the boiled beef and the soup.
lb. loths. Creutzers.
2 0 beef ... ... ... 16
0 1 sweet herbs ... ... ... 1
0 0 1/2 pepper ... ... ... ... 0 1/2
0 6 salt ... ... ... ... 0 1/2
1 14 1/2 ammunition bread, cut fine 2 7/8
9 20 water ... ... ... ... 0
Total 13 10 Cost 20 7/8
All these articles were put together into an earthen pot, and
boiled two hours and a quarter. The meat was then taken out of
the soup and weighed, and found to weigh 1 lb. 30 loths; which,
divided into twelve equal portions, gave FIVE LOTHS for the
weight of each.
The soup, with the bread, etc. weighed 9 lb. 30 1/2 loths; which,
divided into twelve equal portions, gave for each 26 7/12 loths.
The cost of the meat and soup together, 20 7/8 creutzers, divided
by twelve, gives 1 3/4 creutzers, very nearly, for the cost of
For the bread dumplins.
lb. loths. Creutzers.
1 13 of fine semel bread 10
1 0 of fine flour ... 4 1/2
0 6 salt ... ... ... 0 1/2
3 0 of water ... ... 0
Total 5 19 Cost 15
This mass was made into dumplins, and these dumplins were boiled
half an hour in clear water. Upon taking them out of the water,
they were found to weigh 5 lb. 24 loths; and dividing them into
twelve equal portions, each portion weighed 15 1/3 loths; and the
cost of the whole (15 creutzers), divided by twelve, gives 1 1/4
creutzers for the cost of each portion.
The meat, soup, and dumplins were served all at once in the same
dish, and were all eaten together; and with this meal, (which was
their dinner, and was eat at twelve o'clock,) each person
belonging to the mess was furnished with a piece of rye-bread,
weighing ten loths, and which cost 5/16 of a creutzer.
--Each person was likewise furnished with a piece of this bread,
weighing ten loths, for his breakfast;--another piece, of equal
weight, in the afternoon at four o'clock; and another in the
Analysis of this Day's Fare.
Each person received in the Amount of cost in
course of the day Bavarian money.
In solids. In fluids.
lb. loths. lb. loths. Creutzers.
Boiled beef 0 5 ... ... ... ....... 1 1/6
In the soup.
Rye-bread 0 3 7/8 ]
Sweet herbs 0 0 1/12 ]
Salt ... ... 0 0 1/24 ].... 0 7/16
Pepper ... ... 0 0 1/24 ]
Water ... ... 0 23 1/2 ]
---------- --------- ]
Total 0 4 2/24 0 23 1/2 ]
Wheaten-bread 0 3 3/4 ]
Ditto flour 0 2 2/3 ]
Salt ... ... 0 0 1/24 ].... 1 1/4
Water ... ... 0 7 1/12 ]
---------- --------- ]
Total 0 6 11/24 0 7 7/12 ]
For breakfast 0 10 ]
At dinner 0 10 ]
In the afternoon 0 10 ].... 2 1/2
At supper 0 10 ]
Total 1 8 ]
General total 2 24 13/24 0 31 1/2 which cost 5 17/48
The ammunition bread is reckoned in this estimate at two
creutzers the Bavarian pound, which is about what it costs at a
medium; and as the daily allowance of the soldiers is 1 1/2
Bavarian pounds of the bread, this reckoned in money amounts to
three creutzers a-day; and this added to his pay at five
creutzers a-day, makes eight creutzers a-day, which is the whole
of his allowance from the sovereign for his subsistence.
But it appears from the foregoing account, that he expends for
Food no more than 5 17/48 creutzers a-day, there is therefore a
surplus amounting to 2 31/48 creutzers a-day, or very near
ONE-THIRD OF HIS WHOLE ALLOWANCE, which remains; and which he can
dispose of just as he thinks proper.
This surplus is commonly employed in purchasing beer, brandy,
tobacco, etc. Beer in Bavaria costs two creutzers a pint,
brandy, or rather malt-spirits, from fifteen to eighteen
creutzers; and tobacco is very cheap.
To enable the English reader to form, without the trouble of
computation, a complete and satisfactory idea of the manner in
which these Bavarian soldiers are fed, I have added the following
Analysis of their fare; in which the quantity of each article is
expressed in Avoirdupois weight, and its cost in English money.
Each person belonging to the mess
received in the course of the day, Cost in English
June 11th, 1795. money.
lb. oz. s. d.
Dry ammunition bread 1 8 76/100 0 0 10/11
Ammunition bread cooked
in the soup ... ... ... 0 2 4/10 0 0 23/264
Fine wheaten (semel)
bread in the dumplins ... 0 2 3/10 0 0 10/33
Total bread 1 13 46/100
Fine flour in the dumplins 0 1 65/100 0 0 18/33
Boiled beef ... ... ... 0 3 1/10 0 0 72/198
In seasoning; fine herbs,
salt and pepper ... ... 0 0 13/100 0 0 2/33
Total solids 2 2 34/100
Water prepared by cooking.
In the soup ... ... ... 0 14 52/209
In the dumplins ... ... 0 4 32/100
Total prepared water 1 2 84/100
Total solids and fluids 3 5 18/100
Total expense for each person 5 17/48 creutzers, equal to TWO PENCE
sterling, very nearly.
But as the Bavarian soldiers have not the same fare every day,
the expences of their tables cannot be ascertained from one
single experiment. I shall therefore return to Serjeant
11th of June 1795.
Bill of Fare.
Bread, dumplins, and soup.
Details of expenses, etc.
For the dumplins.
lb. loths. Creutzers.
2 13 wheaten bread ... ... 14
0 16 butter ... ... ... 9
1 0 fine flour ... ... 4 1/2
0 11 eggs ... ... ... ... 3
0 6 salt ... ... ... ... 0 1/2
0 0 1/2 pepper ... ... ... 0 1/2
3 16 water ... ... ... ...
7 30 1/2 Cost 31 1/2 creutzers.
This made into dumplins;--the dumplins, after being boiled, were
found to weigh eight pounds eight loths, which, divided among
twelve persons, gave for each twenty-two loths.--And the cost of
the whole (31 1/2 creutzers), divided by 12, gives 2 15/24
creutzers for each portion.
For the soup.
lb. loths. Creutzers.
1 14 1/2 ammunition bread ... 2 7/8
0 6 salt ... ... ... ... 0 1/2
0 1 sweet herbs ... ... 1
12 0 water ... ... ... ...
13 21 1/2 Cost 4 3/8 creutzers.
This soup, when cooked, weighed 11 lb, 26 loths; which, divided
among the twelve persons belonging to the mess, gave for each 31
1/2 loths; and the cost (4 3/8 creutzers), divided by twelve,
gives nearly THREE-NINTHS of a creutzer for each portion.
Four pieces of ammunition bread, weighing each ten loths, for
each person,--namely, one piece for breakfast--one at dinner--one
in the afternoon,--and one at supper; in all, 40 loths, or one
pound and a quarter, costs two creutzers and a half.
Details of expenses, etc. for each person.
lb. loths. Creutzers
For 1 8 dry bread ... ... 2 1/2
For 0 22 bread dumplins ... 2 15/24
For 0 31 1/2 bread soup ... ... 0 3/8
2 30 1/2 of Food Cost 5 1/2 creutzers.
The same details expressed in Avoirdupois weight, and English
For each person
lb. oz. Pence
1 8 76/100 dry ammunition bread 0 10/11
0 13 6/10 bread dumplins ... 0 693/792
1 3 1/2 bread soup ... ... 0 36/264
3 9 86/100 of Food Cost 2 pence.
June 20th, 1795.
Serjeant Kein's mess, second regiment of grenadiers.
Bill of Fare.
Boiled beef--bread soup--and liver dumplins.
Details of expenses, etc.
For the boiled beef and soup.
lb. loths. Creutzers.
2 0 beef ... ... ... 15
0 6 1/2 salt ... ... ... 0 1/2
0 0 1/2 pepper ... ... 0 1/2
0 2 sweet herbs ... 0 1/2
2 24 ammunition bread 3 1/4
17 0 water... ... ...
22 1 Cost 19 1/2 creutzers.
These ingredients were all boiled together two hours and five
minutes; after which the beef was taken out of the soup and
weighed, and was found to weigh 1 lb. 22 loths; the soup weighed
15 lb.; and these divided equally among the twelve persons
belonging to the mess, gave for each portion, 4 1/2 loths of
beef, and 1 lb. 8 loths of soup; and the cost of the whole (19
3/4 creutzers), divided by 18, gives 1 31/48 creutzers for the
cost of each portion.
Details of expenses, etc. for the liver dumplins.
lb. loths. Creutzers.
2 28 of fine semel bread 15
1 0 of beef liver ... ... ... 5
0 18 of fine flour ... ... ... 2 1/2
0 6 of salt ... ... ... ... 0 1/2
2 24 of water ... ... ... ... ---
Total 7 12 Cost 23 creutzers.
These ingredients being made into dumplins, the dumplins after
being properly boiled were found to weigh 8 lb.--This gave for
each portion 21 1/3 loths; and the amount of the cost
(23 creutzers), divided by 12, the number of the portions,
gives for each 1 11/12 creutzers.
The quantity of dry ammunition bread furnished to each person
was 1 lb. 8 loths; and this, at two creutzers a pound, amounts to
2 1/2 creutzers.
For each person
lb. loths. Creutzers.
0 4 1/2 of boiled beef, and ] ... 1 31/48
1 8 of bread soup ]
0 21 1/4 of liver dumplins ... ... 1 11/12
1 8 of dry bread ... ... ... 2 1/2
3 9 5/6 of Food Cost 6 3/48 creutzers.
In Avoirdupois weight, and English money, it
is,--for each person:
0 2.78 of boiled beef, and ] ... 0 948/1584
1 8.91 of bread soup ]
0 13.19 of liver dumplins ... ... 0 276/306
1 8.76 of dry bread ... ... ... 0 10/11
4 1.54 of Food Cost 2 1/5 pence.
June 21st, 1795.
Bill of Fare.
Boiled beef, and bread soup, with bread dumplins.
Details of expenses, etc. for the boiled beef and bread soup.
The same as yesterday,
For the dumplins.
lb. loths. Creutzers.
2 30 semel bread ... ... ... 15 1/2
0 18 fine flour ... ... ... 3
0 6 salt ... ... ... ... 0 1/2
3 0 water ... ... ... ...
6 22 Cost 19 creutzers.
These dumplins being boiled, were found to weigh 7 lb. which gave
for each person 18 2/3 loths; and each portion cost 1 7/12
Dry ammunition bread furnished to each person 1 lb. 8 loths,
which cost 2 1/2 creutzers.
Each person belonging to the mess received this day:
lb. loths. Creutzers.
0 4 1/2 of boiled beef, and ] ... 1 31/48
1 8 of bread soup ]
0 18 2/3 of bread dumplins ... ... 1 7/12
1 8 of dry bread ... ... ... 2 1/2
3 7 1/6 of Food Cost 5 35/42 creutzers
In Avoirdupois weight, and English money, it is,
0 2.78 of boiled beef, and ] ... 0 948/1584
1 8.76 of bread soup ]
0 11.54 of bread dumplins ... ... 0 228/396
1 8.76 of dry bread ... ... ... 0 10/11
4 0 of Food Cost 2 1/12 pence.
June 22d, 1795.
Bill of Fare.
Bread soup and meat dumplins.
Details of expenses, etc.
2 0 of beef ... ... ... 15
2 30 of semel bread ... 15 1/2
0 18 of fine flour ... ... 3
0 1 of pepper ... ... 1
0 12 of salt ... ... ... 1
0 2 of sweet herbs ... 0 1/2
2 24 of ammunition bread 3 1/4
2 16 of water to the dumplins
Cost 39 1/4 creutzers.
The meat being cut fine, or minced, was mixed with the semel or
wheaten bread; and these with the flour, and a due proportion of
salt, were made into dumplins, and boiled in the soup.--These
dumplins when boiled, weighed 10 lb. which, divided into 12 equal
portions, gave 20 2/3 loths for each.
The soup weighed 15 lb. which gave 1 lb. 8 loths for each portion.
--Of dry ammunition bread, each person received 1 lb. 8 loths,
which cost 2 1/2 creutzers.
Each person received this day
lb. loths. Creutzers
0 20 2/3 of meat dumplins, and ] ... 3 13/48
1 8 of bread soup ]
1 8 of ammunition bread 2 1/2
3 4 2/3 of Food Cost 5 37/48 creutzers.
In Avoirdupois weight, and English money, it is,
lb. oz. Pence.
0 12.77 of meat dumplins, and ] ... 1 300/1584
1 8.76 of bread soup ]
1 8.76 of ammunition bread ... ... 0 10/11
3 14.29 of Food Cost 2 1/10 pence.
The results of all these experiments, (and of many more which I
could add,) show that the Bavarian soldier can live,--and the
fact is that he actually does live,--upon a little more than
TWO THIRDS of his allowance.--Of the five creutzers a-day which
he receives in money, he seldom puts more than two creutzers and
a half, and never more than three creutzers into the mess;
so that at least TWO-FIFTHS of his pay remains, after he has
defrayed all the expenses of his subsistence; and as he is
furnished with every article of his clothing by the sovereign,
and no stoppage is ever permitted to be made of any part of his
pay, on any pretence whatever, THERE IS NO SOLDIER IN EUROPE
WHOSE SITUATION IS MORE COMFORTABLE.
Though the ammunition bread with which he is furnished is rather
coarse and brown, being made of rye-meal, with only a small
quantity of the coarser part of the bran separated from it, yet
it is not only wholesome, but very nourishing; and for making
soup it is even more palatable than wheaten bread. Most of the
soldiers, however, in the Elector's service, and particularly
those belonging to the Bavarian regiments, make a practice of
selling a great part of their allowance of ammunition bread, and
with the money they get for it, buy the best wheaten bread that
is to be had; and many of them never taste brown bread but in
The ammunition bread is delivered to the soldiers every fourth
day, in loaves, each loaf being equal to two rations; and it is
a rule generally established in the messes, for each soldier to
furnish one loaf for the use of the mess every twelfth day,
so that he has five-sixths of his allowance of bread, which remains
at his disposal.
The foregoing account of the manner in which the Bavarian
soldiers are fed, will, I think, show most clearly the great
importance of making soldiers live together in messes.--It may
likewise furnish some useful hints to those who may be engaged
in feeding the Poor, or in providing Food for ships's companies,
or other bodies of men who are fed in common.
With regard to the expense of fuel in these experiments,
as the victuals were cooked in earthen pots, over an open fire,
the consumption of fire-wood was very great.
On the 10th of June, when 9 lb. 30 1/2 loths of soup, 1 lb. 28
loths of meat, and 5 lb. 24 loths of bread dumplins, in all 17 lb.
18 1/2 of Food were prepared, and the process of cooking,
from the time the fire was lighted till the victuals were done,
lasted two hours and forty-five minutes, and twenty-nine pounds,
Bavarian weight, of fire-wood were consumed.
On the 11th of June, when 11 lb. 26 loths of bread soup, and 8 lb.
8 loths of bread dumplins, in all 20 lb. 2 loths of Food were
prepared, the process of cooking lasted one hour and thirty
minutes;--and seventeen pounds of wood were consumed.
On the 20th of June, in Serjeant Kein's mess, 15 lb. of soup;
1 lb. 22 loths of meat, and 8 lb. of liver dumplins, in all 24 lb.
22 loths of Food were prepared, and through the process of
cooking lasted two hours and forty-five minutes, only 27 1/2 lb.
of fire-wood were consumed.
On the 21st of June, the same quantity of soup and meat, and 7 lb.
of bread dumplins, in all 23 lb. 22 loths of Food were prepared
in two hours and thirty minutes, with the consumption of 18 1/2 lb.
On the 22nd of June, 15 lb. of soup, and 10 lb. of meat dumplins,
in all 25 lb. of Food, were cooked in two hours and forty-five
minutes, and the wood consumed was 18 lb. 10 loths.
The following table will show, in a striking and satisfactory
manner, the expense of fuel in these experiments:
Date of the Time employed Quantity Quantity Quantity
Experiments. in cooking. of Food of Wood of Wood to
prepared. consumed. 1 lb. of Food.
June 1795. Hours. min. lb. loths. lb.
10th 2 45 17 18 1/2 29
11th 1 30 20 2 17
20th 2 45 24 22 17 1/2
21st 2 30 23 22 18 1/2
22d 2 45 25 0 18 1/4
-------- ----------- -------
Sums 5 12 15 111 0 1/2 100 1/4
-------- ----------- -------
Means 2 23 22 0 1/5 20 1/20 10/11 lb.
The mean quantity of Food prepared daily in five days being 22 lb.
very nearly, and the mean quantity of fire-wood consumed being 20
1/20 lb.; this gives 10/11 lb. of wood for each pound of Food.
But it has been found by actual experiment, made with the utmost
care, in the new kitchen of the House of Industry at Munich, and
often repeated, that 600 lb. of Food, (of the Soup No. I. given
to the Poor,) may be cooked with the consumption of only 44 lb.
of pine-wood. And hence it appears how very great the waste of
fuel must be in all culinary processes, as they are commonly
performed; for though the time taken up in cooking the soup for
the Poor is, at a medium, more than FOUR HOURS AND A HALF,
while that employed by the soldiers in their cooking is less than
TWO HOURS AND A HALF; yet the quantity of fuel consumed by the
latter is near THIRTEEN TIMES greater than that employed in the
public kitchen of the House of Industry.
But I must not here anticipate here a matter which is to be the
subject of a separate Essay; and which, from its great importance,
certainly deserves to be carefully and thoroughly investigated.
Of the great importance of making soldiers eat together in
The influence of such economical arrangements extends even to
the moral character of those who are the objects of them.
Of the expence of feeding soldiers in messes.
Of the surprising smallness of the expence of feeding the poor
Specific proposals respecting the feeding of the poor in Great
Britain, with calculations of the expense, at the present
prices of provisions.
All those who have been conversant in military affairs must have
had frequent opportunities of observing the striking difference
there is, even in the appearance of the men, between regiments in
which messes are established, and Food is regularly provided
under the care and inspection of the Officers; and others, in
which the soldiers are left individually to shift for themselves.
And the difference which may be observed between soldiers who
live in messes, and are regularly fed, and others who are not,
is not confined merely to their external appearance:
the influence of these causes extends much farther, and even the
MORAL CHARACTER of the man is affected by them.
Peace of mind, which is as essential to contentment and happiness
as it is to virtue, depends much upon order and regularity in
the common affairs of life; and in no case are order and method
more necessary to happiness, (and consequently to virtue,) than
in that, where the preservation of health is connected with the
satisfying of hunger; an appetite whose cravings are sometimes as
inordinate as they are insatiable.
Peace of mind depends likewise much upon economy, or the means
used for preventing pecuniary embarrassments; and the savings to
soldiers in providing Food, which arise from housekeeping in
messes of ten or twelve persons who live together, is very great
But great as these savings now are, I think they might be made
still more considerable; and I shall give my reasons for this
Though the Bavarian soldiers live at a very small expense, little
more than TWO-PENCE sterling a-day, yet when I compare this sum,
small as it is, with the expense of feeding the Poor in the
House of Industry at Munich, which does not amount to more than
TWO FARTHINGS a-day, even including the cost of the piece of dry
rye-bread, weighing seven ounces Avoirdupois, which is given
them in their hands, at dinner, but which they seldom eat at dinner,
but commonly carry home in their pockets for their suppers;--when
I compare, I say, this small sum, with the daily expence of the
soldiers for their subsistence, I find reason to conclude, either
that the soldiers might be fed cheaper, or that the Poor must be
absolutely starved upon their allowance. That the latter is not
the case, the healthy countenances of the Poor, and the air of
placid contentment which always accompanies them, as well in the
dining-hall as in their working-rooms, affords at the same time
the most interesting and most satisfactory proof possible.
Were they to go home in the course of the day, it might be
suspected that they got something at home to eat, in addition to
what they receive from the public kitchen of the Establishment;--
but this they seldom or ever do; and they come to the house so
early in the morning, and leave it so late at night, that it does
not seem probable that they could find time to cook any thing at
their own lodgings.
Some of them, I known, make a constant practice of giving
themselves a treat of a pint of beer at night, after they have
finished their work; but I do not believe they have any thing
else for their suppers, except it be the bread which they carry
home from the House of Industry.
I must confess, however, very fairly, that it always appeared to
me quite surprising, and that it is still a mystery which I do
not clearly understand, how it is possible for these poor people
to be so comfortably fed upon the small allowances which they
receive.--The facts, however, are not only certain, but they are
notorious. Many persons of the most respectable characters in
this country, (Great Britain,) as well as upon the Continent, who
have visited the House of Industry at Munich, can bear witness to
their authenticity; and they are surely not the less interesting
for being extraordinary.
It must however be remembered, that what formerly cost TWO FARTHINGS
in Bavaria, at the mean price of provisions in that country,
costs THREE farthings at this present moment; and would probably
cost SIX in London, and in most other parts of Great Britain: but
still, it will doubtless appear almost incredible, that a
comfortable and nourishing meal, sufficient for satisfying the
hunger of a strong man, may be furnished in London, and at this
very moment, when provisions of all kinds are so remarkably dear,
at LESS THAN THREE FARTHINGS. The fact, however, is most certain,
and may easily be demonstrated by making the experiment.
Supposing that it should be necessary, in feeding the Poor in
this country, to furnish them with three meals a-day, even that
might be done at a very small expence, were the system of feeding
them adopted which is here proposed. The amount of that expence
would be as follows:
For breakfast, 20 ounces of the Soup No, II.
composed of pearl barley, peas, potatoes,
and fine wheaten bread (See page 210.) 0 2 1/2
For dinner, 20 ounces of the same Soup, and
7 ounces of rye-bread ... ... ... ... 1 2
For supper, 20 ounces of the same Soup ... 0 2 1/2
In all 4 lb. 3 oz. of Food, which would cost 2 3
Should it be thought necessary to give a little meat at dinner,
this may best be done by mixing it, cut fine, or minced, in bread
dumplins; or when bacon, or any kind of salted or smoked meat is
given, to cut it fine and mix it with the bread which is eaten in
the soup. If the bread be fried, the Food will be much improved;
but this will be attended with some additional expence.
--Rye-bread is as good, if not better, for frying, than bread
made of wheat flour; and it is commonly not half so dear.--
Perhaps rye-bread fried might be furnished almost as cheap as
wheaten bread not fried; and if this could be done, it would
certainly be a very great improvement.
There is another way by which these cheap soups may be made
exceedingly palatable and savoury;--which is by mixing with them
a very small quantity of red herrings, minced very fine or
pounded in a mortar.--There is no kind of cheap Food, I believe,
that has so much taste as red herrings, or that communicates its
flavour with so much liberality to other eatables; and to most
palates it is remarkably agreeable.
Cheese may likewise be made use of for giving an agreeable relish
to these soups; and a very small quantity of it will be
sufficient for that purpose, provided it has a strong taste,
and is properly applied.--It should be grated to a powder with a
grater, and a small quantity of this powder thrown over the soup,
AFTER IT IS DISHED OUT.--This is frequently done at the sumptuous
tables of the rich, and is thought a great delicacy; while the
Poor, who have so few enjoyments, have not been taught to avail
themselves of this, which is so much within their reach.
Those whole avocations call them to visit distant countries,
and those whose fortune enables them to travel for their
amusement or improvement, have many opportunities of acquiring
useful information; and in consequence of this intercourse with
strangers, many improvements, and more REFINEMENTS, have been
introduced into this country; but the most important advantages
that MIGHT be derived from an intimate knowledge of the manners
and customs of differing nations,--the introduction of
improvements tending to facilitate the means of subsistence, and
to increase the comforts and conveniences of the most necessitous
and most numerous classes of society,--have been, alas! little
attended to. Our extensive commerce enables us to procure, and
we do actually import most of the valuable commodities which are
the produce either of the foil of the ocean, or of the industry
of man in all the various regions of the habitable globe;--but
the result of the EXPERIENCE OF AGES respecting the use that can
be made of those commodities has seldom been thought worth
importing! I never see maccaroni in England, or polenta in
Germany, upon the tables of the rich, without lamenting that
cheap and wholesome luxuries should be monopolized by those who
stand least in need of them; while the Poor, who, one would
think, ought to be considered as having almost an EXCLUSIVE right
to them, (as they were both invented by the Poor of a
neighbouring nation,) are kept in perfect ignorance of them.
But these two kinds of Food are so palatable, wholesome,
and nourishing, and may be provided so easily, and at so very
cheap a rate in all countries, and particularly in Great Britain,
that I think I cannot do better than to devote a few pages to the
examination of them;--and I shall begin with Polenta, or Indian
corn, as it is called in this country.
Of INDIAN CORN.
It affords the cheapest and most nourishing food known.
Proofs that it is more nourishing than rice.
Different ways of preparing or cooking it.
Computation of the expense of feeding a person with it,
founded on experiment.
Approved Receipt for making an INDIAN PUDDING.
I cannot help increasing the length of this Essay much beyond the
bounds I originally assigned to it, in order to have an
opportunity of recommending a kind of Food which I believe to be
beyond comparison the most nourishing, cheapest, and most
wholesome that can be procured for feeding the Poor.--This is
Indian Corn, a most valuable production; and which grows in
almost all climates; and though it does not succeed remarkably
well in Great Britain, and in some parts of Germany, yet it may
easily be had in great abundance, from other countries;
and commonly at a very low rate.
The common people in the northern parts of Italy live almost
entirely upon it; and throughout the whole Continent of America
it makes a principal article of Food.--In Italy it is called
Polenta, where it is prepared or cooked in a variety of ways,
and forms the basis of a number of very nourishing dishes.--
The most common way however of using it in that country is to
grind it into meal, and with water to make it into a thick kind
of pudding, like what in this country is called a hasty-pudding,
which is eaten with various kinds of sauce, and sometimes without
In the northern parts of North America, the common household
bread throughout the country is composed of one part of Indian
meal and one part of rye meal; and I much doubt whether a more
wholesome, or more nourishing kind of bread can be made.
Rice is universally allowed to be very nourishing,--much more so
even than wheat; but there is a circumstance well known to all
those who are acquainted with the details of feeding the negro
slaves in the southern states of North America, and in the West
Indies, that would seem to prove, in a very decisive and
satisfactory manner, that INDIAN CORN IS EVEN MORE NOURISHING
THAN RICE.--In those countries, where rice and Indian Corn are
both produced in the greatest abundance, the negroes have
frequently had their option between these two kinds of Food; and
have invariably preferred the latter.--The reasons they give for
this preference they express in strong, though not in very
delicate terms.--They say that "Rice turns to water in their
bellies, and runs off;"--but "Indian Corn stays with them, and
makes strong to work."
This account of the preference which negroes give to Indian Corn
for Food, and of their reasons for this preference, was
communicated to me by two gentlemen of most respectable
character, well known in England, and now resident in London, who
were formerly planters; one in Georgia, and the other in Jamaica.
The nutritive quantity which Indian Corn possessed, in a most
eminent degree, when employed for fattening hogs and poultry,
and for giving strength to working oxen, has long been universally
known and acknowledged in every part of North America; and nobody
in that country thinks of employing any other grain for those
All these facts prove to a demonstration that India Corn
possesses very extraordinary nutritive powers; and it is well
known that there is no species of grain that can be had so cheap,
or in so great abundance;--it is therefore well worthy the
attention of those who are engaged in providing cheap and
wholesome Food for the Poor,--or in taking measures for warding
off the evils which commonly attend a general scarcity of
provisions, to consider in time, how this useful article of Food
may be procured in large quantities, and how the introduction of
it into common use can be most easily be effected.
In regard to the manner of using Indian Corn, there are a vast
variety of different ways in which it may be prepared, or cooked,
in order to its being used as Food.--One simple and obvious way
of using it, is to mix it with wheat, rye, or barley meal, in
making bread; but when it is used for making bread, and
particularly when it is mixed with wheat flour, it will greatly
improve the quality of the bread if the Indian meal, (the coarser
part of the bran being first separated from it by sifting,) be
previously mixed with water, and boiled for a considerable length
of time,--two or three hours for instance, over a slow fire,
before the other meal or flour is added to it.--This boiling,
which, if the proper quantity of water is employed, will bring
the mass to the consistency of a thin pudding, will effectually
remove a certain disagreeable RAW TASTE in the Indian Corn, which
simple baking will not entirely take away; and the wheat flour
being mixed with this pudding after it has been taken from the
fire and cooked, and the whole well kneaded together, may be made
to rise, and be formed into loaves, and baked into bread, with
the same facility that bread is made of wheat flour alone, or of
any mixtures of different kinds of meal.
When the Indian meal is previously prepared by boiling, in the
manner here described, a most excellent, and very palatable kind
of bread, not inferior to wheaten bread, may be made of equal
parts of this meal and of common wheat flour.
But the most simple, and I believe the best, and most economical
way of employing Indian Corn as Food, is to make it into
puddings.--There is, as I have already observed, a certain
rawness in the taste of it, which nothing but long boiling can
remove; but when that disagreeable taste is removed, it becomes
extremely palatable; and that it is remarkably wholesome, has
been proved by so much experience that no doubts can possibly be
entertained of that fact.
The culture of it required more labour than most other kinds of
grain; but, on the other hand, the produce is very abundant,
and it is always much cheaper than either wheat or rye.--
The price of it in the Carolinas, and in Georgia, has often been
as low as eighteen pence, and sometimes as one shilling sterling
per bushel;--but the Indian Corn which is grown in those southern
states is much inferior, both in weight and in its qualities, to
that which is the produce of colder climates.--Indian Corn of the
growth of Canada, and the New England states, which is generally
thought to be worth twenty per cent. more per bushel than that
which is grown in the southern states, may commonly be bought for
two and sixpence, or three shillings a bushel.
It is now three shillings and sixpence a bushel at Boston; but
the prices of provisions of all kinds have been much raised of
late in all parts of America, owing to the uncommonly high prices
which are paid for them in the European markets since the
commencement of the present war.
Indian Corn and rye are very nearly of the same weight, but the
former gives rather more flour, when ground and sifted, than the
latter.--I find by a report of the Board of Agriculture, of the
10th of November 1795, that three bushels of Indian Corn weighed
1 cwt. 1 qr. 18 lb. (or 53 lb. each bushel), and gave 1 cwt. 20 lb.
of flour and 26 lb. of bran; while three bushels of rye, weighing
1 cwt. 1 qr. 22 lb. (or 54 lb. the bushel), gave only 1 cwt. 17 lb.
of flour and 28 lb. of bran.-- But I much suspect that the Indian
Corn used in these experiments was not of the best quality.
I saw some of it, and it appeared to me to be of that kind which
is commonly grown in the southern states of North America.--
Indian Corn of the growth of colder climates is, probably, at
least as heavy as wheat, which weights at a medium about 58 lb.
per bushel, and I imagine it will give nearly as much flour.
In regard to the most advantageous method of using Indian Corn as
Food, I would strongly recommend, particularly when it is
employed for feeding the Poor, a dish made of it that is in the
highest estimation throughout America, and which is really very
good, and very nourishing. This is called hasty-pudding; and it
is made in the following manner: A quantity of water,
proportioned to the quantity of hasty-pudding intended to be
made, is put over the fire in an open iron pot, or kettle,
and a proper quantity of salt for seasoning the pudding being
previously dissolved in the water, Indian meal is stirred into
it, by little and little, with a wooded spoon with a long handle,
while the water goes on to be heated and made to boil;-- great
care being taken to put in the meal by very small quantities,
and by sifting it slowly through the fingers of the left hand,
and stirring the water about very briskly at the same time with
the wooden spoon, with the right hand, to mix the meal with the
water in such a manner as to prevent lumps being formed.--
The meal should be added so slowly, that, when the water is
brought to boil, the mass should not be thicker than water-gruel,
and half an hour more, at least, should be employed to add the
additional quantity of meal necessary for bringing the pudding to
be of the proper consistency; during which time it should be
stirred about continually, and kept constantly boiling.--
The method of determining when the pudding has acquired the
proper consistency is this;--the wooden spoon used for stirring
it being placed upright in the middle of the kettle, if it falls
down, more meal must be added; but if the pudding is sufficiently
thick and adhesive to support it in a vertical position, it is
declared to be PROOF; and no more meal is added.--If the boiling,
instead of being continued only half an hour, be prolonged to
three quarters of an hour, or an hour, the pudding will be
considerably improved by this prolongation.
This hasty-pudding, when done, may be eaten in various ways.--
It may be put, while hot, by spoonfuls into a bowl of milk,
and eaten with the milk with a spoon, in lieu of bread; and used
in this way it is remarkably palatable.--It may likewise be
eaten, while hot, with a sauce composed of butter and brown
sugar, or butter and molasses, with or without a few drops of
vinegar; and however people who have not been accustomed to this
American cookery may be prejudiced against it, they will find
upon trial that it makes a most excellent dish, and one which
never fails to be much liked by those who are accustomed to it.
--The universal fondness of Americans for it proves that it must
have some merit;--for in a country which produces all the
delicacies of the table in the greatest abundance, it is not to
be supposed that a whole nation should have a taste so depraved
as to give a decided preference to any particular species of Food
which has not something to recommend it.
The manner in which hasty-pudding is eaten with butter and sugar,
or butter and molasses, in America, is as follows: The hasty-pudding
being spread out equally upon a plate, while hot, an excavation
is made in the middle of it, with a spoon, into which excavation
a piece of butter, as large as a nutmeg, is put; and upon it,
a spoonful of brown sugar, or more commonly of molasses.--
The butter being soon melted by the heat of the pudding, mixes
with the sugar, or molasses, and forms a sauce, which, being
confined in the excavation made for it, occupies the middle of
the plate.--The pudding is then eaten with a spoon, each spoonful
of it being dipt into the sauce before it is carried to the mouth;
care being had in taking it up, to begin on the outside, or near
the brim of the plate, and to approach the center by regular
advances, in order not to demolish too soon the excavation which
forms the reservoir for the sauce.
If I am prolix in these descriptions, my reader must excuse me;
for persuaded as I am that the action of Food upon the palate,
and consequently the pleasure of eating, depends very much indeed
upon the MANNER in which the Food is applied to the organs of
taste, I have thought it necessary to mention, and even to
illustrate in the clearest manner, every circumstance which
appeared to me to have influence in producing those important
In the case in question, as it is the sauce alone which gives
taste and palatableness to the Food, and consequently is the
cause of the pleasure enjoyed in eating it, the importance of
applying, or using it, in such a manner as to produce the
greatest and most durable effect possible on the organs of taste,
is quite evident; and in the manner of eating this Food which has
here been described and recommended, the small quantity of sauce
used, (and the quantity must be small, as it is the expensive
article,) is certainly applied to the palate more immediately;--
by a greater surface;--and in a state of greater condensation;--
and consequently acts upon it more powerfully;--and continues to
act upon it for a greater length of time, than it could well be
made to do when used in any other way.--Were it more intimately
mixed with the pudding, for instance, instead of being merely
applied to its external surface, its action would certainly be
much less powerful; and were it poured over the pudding, or was
proper care not taken to keep it confined in the little
excavation or reservoir made in the midst of the pudding to
contain it, much of it would attach itself and adhere to the
surface of the plate, and be lost.
Hasty-pudding has this in particular to recommend it;--and which
renders it singularly useful as Food for poor families,--that
when more of it is made at once than is immediately wanted,
what remains may be preserved good for several days, and a number
of very palatable dishes may be made of it.--It may be cut in
thin slice, and toasted before the fire, or on a gridiron, and
eaten instead of bread, either in milk, or in any kind of soup or
pottage; or with any other kind of Food with which bread is
commonly eaten; or it may be eaten cold, without any preparation,
with a warm sauce made of butter, molasses, or sugar, and a
little vinegar.--In this last-mentioned way of eating it,
it is quite as palatable, and I believe more wholesome, than when
eaten warm; that is to say, when it is first made.--It may
likewise be put cold, without any preparation, into hot milk;
and this mixture is by no means unpalatable, particularly if it
be suffered to remain in the milk till it is warmed throughout,
or if it be boiled in the milk for a few moments.
A favourite dish in America, and a very good one, is made of cold
boiled cabbage chopped fine, with a small quantity of cold boiled
beef, and slices of cold hasty-pudding, all fried together in
butter or hog's lard.
Though hasty-puddings are commonly made of Indian meal, yet it is
by no means uncommon to make them of equal parts of Indian,
and of rye meal;--and they are sometimes made of rye meal alone;
or of rye meal and wheat flour mixed.
To give a satisfactory idea of the expence of preparing
hasty-puddings in this country, (England,) and of feeding the
Poor with them, I made the following experiment:--About 2 pints
of water, which weighed just 2 lb. Avoirdupois, were put over
the fire in a saucepan of a proper size, and 58 grains in weight
or 1/120 of a pound of salt being added, the water was made to
boil.--During the time that is was heating, small quantities of
Indian meal were stirred into it, and care was taken, by moving
the water briskly about, with a wooden spoon, to prevent the meal
from being formed into lumps; and as often as any lumps were
observed, they were carefully broken with the spoon;--the boiling
was then continued half an hour, and during this time the pudding
was continually stirred about with the wooden spoon, and so much
more meal was added as was found necessary to bring the pudding
to be of the proper consistency.
This being done, it was taken from the fire and weighed, and was
found to weigh just 1 lb. 11 1/2 oz.--Upon weighing the meal
which remained, (the quantity first provided having been exactly
determined by weight in the beginning of the experiment,) it was
found that just HALF A POUND of meal had been used.
From the result of this experiment it appears, that for each
pound of Indian meal employed in making hasty-pudding, we may
reckon 3 lb. 9 oz. of the pudding.--And expence of providing this
kind of Food, or the cost of it by the pound, at the present high
price of grain in this country, may be seen by the following
L. s. d.
Half a pound of Indian meal, (the quantity) ]
used in the foregoing experiment,) at 2d ]
a pound or 7s. 6d. a bushel for the corn, ]... 0 0 1
(the price stated in the report of the ]
Board of Agriculture of the 10th of ]
November 1795, so often referred to,) costs]
58 grains or 1/120 of a pound of salt, at ]
2d. per pound ]... 0 0 0 1/60
Total, 0 0 1 1/60
Now, as the quantity of pudding prepared with these ingredients
was 1 lb. 11 1/2 oz. and the cost of the ingredients amounted to
ONE PENNY AND ONE SIXTIETH OF A PENNY, this gives for the cost of
one pound of hasty-pudding 71/120 of a penny, or 2 1/3 farthings,
very nearly.--It must however be remembered that the Indian Corn
is here reckoned at a very exorbitant price indeed.
But before it can be determined what the expence will be of
feeding the Poor with this kind of Food, it will be necessary to
ascertain how much of it will be required to give a comfortable
meal to one person; and how much the expence will be of providing
the sauce for that quantity of pudding.--To determine these two
points with some degree of precision, I made the following
experiment:-- Having taken my breakfast, consisting of two dishes
of coffee, with cream, and a dry toast, at my usual hour of
breakfasting, (nine o'clock in the morning,) and having fasted
from that time till five o'clock in the afternoon, I then dined
upon my hasty-pudding, with the American sauce already described,
and I found, after my appetite for Food was perfectly satisfied,
and I felt that I had made a comfortable dinner, that I had eaten
just 1 lb. 1 1/2 oz. of the pudding; and the ingredients,
of which the sauce which was eaten with it was composed, were half
an ounce of butter; three quarters of an ounce of molasses;
and 21 grains or 1/342 of a pint of vinegar.
The cost of this dinner may be seen by the following
For the Pudding
1 lb. 1 1/2 oz. of hasty-pudding, at
2 1/3 farthings a pound ... ... ... ... 2 1/2
For the Sauce
Half an ounce of butter, at 10d. per pound 1 1/4
Three quarters of an ounce of molasses,
at 6d. per pound ... ... ... ... 1
1/352 of a pint of vinegar, at 2s 8d.
the gallon ... ... ... ... ... ... 0 1/16
Total for the Sauce, 2 5/16 farthings.
Sum total of expences for this dinner,
for the pudding and its sauce... ... ... 4 13/16 farthings.
Or something less than one penny farthing.
I believe it would not be easy to provide a dinner in London, at
this time, when provisions of all kinds are so dear, equally
grateful to the palate and satisfying to the cravings of hunger,
at a smaller expence.--And that this meal was sufficient for all
the purposes of nourishment appears from hence, that though I
took my usual exercise, and did not sup after it, I neither felt
any particular faintness, nor any unusual degree of appetite for
my breakfast next morning.
I have been the more particular in my account of this experiment,
to show in what manner experiments of this kind ought, in my
opinion, to be conducted;--and also to induce others to engage in
these most useful investigations.
It will not escape the observation of the reader, that small as
the expence was of providing this dinner, yet very near one-half
of that sum was laid out in purchasing the ingredients for the
sauce.--But it is probable that a considerable part of that
expence might be saved.--In Italy, polenta, which is nothing more
than hasty-pudding made with Indian meal and water, is very
frequently, and I believe commonly eaten without any sauce, and
when on holidays or other extraordinary occasions they indulge
themselves by adding a sauce to it, this sauce is far from
expensive.--It is commonly nothing more than a very small
quantity of butter spread over the flat surface of the hot
polenta which is spread out thin in a large platter; with a
little Parmezan or other strong cheese, reduced to a coarse
powder by grating it with a grater, strewed over it.
Perhaps this Italian sauce might be more agreeable to an English
palate than that commonly used in America. It would certainly be
less expensive, as much less butter would be required, and as
cheese in this country is plenty and cheap. But whatever may be
the sauce used with Food prepared of Indian Corn, I cannot too
strongly recommend the use of that grain.
While I was employed in making my experiment upon hasty-pudding,
I learnt from my servant, (a Bavarian,) who assisted me, a fact
which gave me great pleasure, as it served to confirm me in the
opinion I have long entertained of the great merit of Indian
Corn.--He assured me that polenta is much esteemed by the
peasantry in Bavaria, and that it makes a very considerable
article of their Food; that it comes from Italy through the
Tyrol; and that it is commonly sold in Bavaria AT THE SAME PRICE
AS WHEAT FLOUR! Can there be stronger proofs of its merit?
The negroes in America prefer it to rice; and the Bavarian
peasants to wheat.--Why then should not the inhabitants of this
island like it? It will not, I hope, be pretended, that it is in
this favoured soil alone that prejudices take such deep root that
they are never to be eradicated, or that there is any thing
peculiar in the construction of the palate of an Englishman.
The objection that may be made to Indian Corn,--that it does not
thrive well in this country,--is of no weight. The same
objection might, with equal reason, be made to rice, and twenty
other articles of Food now in common use.
It has ever been considered, by those versed in the science of
political economy, as an object of the first importance to keep
down the prices of provisions, particularly in manufacturing and
commercial countries;--and if there be a country on earth where
this ought to be done, it is surely Great Britain:--and there is
certainly no country which has the means of doing it so much in
But the progress of national improvements must be very slow,
however favorable other circumstances may be, where those
citizens, who, by their rank and situation in society, are
destined to direct the public opinion, AFFECT to consider the
national prejudices as unconquerable.--But to return to the
subject immediately under consideration.
Though hasty-pudding is, I believe, the cheapest Food that can be
prepared with Indian Corn, yet several other very cheap dishes
may be made of it, which in general are considered as being more
palatable, and which, most probably, would be preferred in this
country; and among these, what in America is called a plain
Indian pudding certainly holds the first place, and can hardly
fail to be much liked by those, who will be persuaded to try
it.--It is not only cheap and wholesome, but a great delicacy;
and it is principally on account of these puddings that the
Americans, who reside in this country, import annually for their
own consumption Indian Corn from the Continent of America.
In order to be able to give the most particular and satisfactory
information respecting the manner of preparing these Indian
puddings, I caused one of them to be made here, (in London,)
under my immediate direction, by a person born and brought up in
North America, and who understands perfectly the American art of
cookery in all its branches. This pudding, which was allowed
by competent judges who tasted it to be as good as they had ever
eaten, was composed and prepared in the following manner:
Approved Receipt for making a plain Indian Pudding.
Three pounds of Indian meal (from which the bran had been
separated by sifting it in a common hair sieve) were put into a
large bowl, and five pints of boiling water were put to it,
and the whole well stirred together; three quarters of a pound of
molasses and one ounce of salt were then added to it, and these
being well mixed, by stirring them with the other ingredients,
the pudding was poured into a fit bag; and the bag being tied up,
(an empty space being left in the bag tying it, equal to about
one-sixth of its contents, for giving room for the pudding to
swell,) this pudding was put into a kettle of boiling water,
and was boiled six hours without intermission; the loss of the
water in the kettle by evaporation during this time being
frequently replaced with boiling water from another kettle.
The pudding upon being taken out of the bag weighed ten pounds
and one ounce; and it was found to be perfectly done, not having
the smallest remains of that raw taste so disagreeable to all
palates, and particularly to those who are not used to it, which
always predominates in dishes prepared of Indian meal when they
are not sufficiently cooked.
As this raw taste is the only well-founded objection that can be
made to this most useful grain, and is, I am persuaded, the only
cause which makes it disliked by those who are not accustomed to it,
I would advise those who may attempt to introduce it into common
use, where it is not known, to begin with Indian (bag) puddings,
such as I have here been describing; and that this is a very
cheap kind of Food will be evident from the following
Expense of preparing the Indian Pudding above mentioned.
3 lb. of Indian meal at ... ... 1 1/2 ... 4 1/2
3/4 lb. of molasses at ... ... 6 ... 4 1/2
1 oz. of salt at 2d. per lb. ... ... ... 0 1/8
Total for the ingredients, 9 1/8
As this pudding weighed 10 1/16 lbs. and the ingredients cost
nine pence and half a farthing, this gives three farthings and a
half for each pound of pudding.
It will be observed, that in this computation I have reckoned the
Indian meal at no more than 1 1/2d per pound, whereas in the
calculation which was given to determine the expense of preparing
hasty-pudding it was taken at two pence a pound. I have here
reckoned it at 1 1/2d. a pound, because I am persuaded it might
be had here in London for that price, and even for less.--That
which has lately been imported from Boston has not cost so much;
and were it not for the present universal scarcity of provisions
in Europe, which has naturally raised the price of grain in North
America, I have no doubt but Indian meal might be had in this
country for less than one penny farthing per pound.
In composing the Indian pudding above mentioned, the molasses is
charged at 6d. the pound, but that price is very exorbitant.
A gallon of molasses weighing about 10 lb. commonly costs in the
West Indies from 7d. to 9d. sterling; and allowing sufficiently
for the expenses of freight, insurance, and a fair profit for the
merchant, it certainly ought not to cost in London more than 1s. 8d.
the gallon; and this would bring it to 2d. per pound.
If we take the prices of Indian meal and molasses as they are
here ascertained, and compute the expense of the ingredients for
the pudding before mentioned, it will be as follows:--
3 lb. of Indian meal at ... ... 1 1/4 ... 3 3/4
3/4 lb. of molasses at ... ... 2 ... 1 1/2
1 oz. of salt at 2d. per lb. ... ... ... 0 1/8
Total for the ingredients, 5 3/8
Now as the pudding weighed 10 1/16 lbs. this gives two farthings,
very nearly, for each pound of pudding; which is certainly very
cheap indeed, particularly when the excellent qualities of the
Food are considered.
This pudding, which ought to come out of the bag sufficiently
hard to retain its form, and even to be cut into slices, is so
rich and palatable, that it may very well be eaten without any
sauce; but those who can afford it commonly eat it with butter.
A slice of the pudding, about half an inch, or three quarters of
an inch in thickness, being laid hot upon a plate, an excavation
is made in the middle of it, with the point of the knife, into
which a small piece of butter, as large perhaps as a nutmeg,
is put, and where it soon melts. To expedite the melting of
the butter, the small piece of pudding which is cut out of the
middle of the slice to form the excavation for receiving the
butter, is frequently laid over the butter for a few moments,
and is taken away (and eaten) as soon as the butter is melted.
If the butter is not salt enough, a little salt is put into it
after it is melted. The pudding is to be eaten with a knife and
fork, beginning at the circumference of the slice, and
approaching regularly towards the center, each piece of pudding
being taken up with the fork, and dipped into the butter, or
dipped into it IN PART ONLY, as is commonly the case, before it
is carried to the mouth.
To those who are accustomed to view objects upon a great scale,
and who are too much employed in directing what ought to be done,
to descend to those humble investigations which are necessary to
show HOW it is to be effected, these details will doubtless
appear trifling and ridiculous; but as my mind is strongly
impressed with the importance of giving the most minute and
circumstantial information respecting the MANNER OF PERFORMING
any operation, however simple it may be, to which people have not
been accustomed, I must beg the indulgence of those who may not
feel themselves particularly interested in these descriptions.
In regard to the amount of the expence for sauce for a plain
Indian (bag) pudding, I have found that when butter is used for
that purpose, (and no other sauce ought ever to be used with it,)
half an ounce of butter will suffice for one pound of the pudding.
--It is very possible to contrive matters so as to use much
more;--perhaps twice, or three times as much;--but if the
directions relative to the MANNER of eating this Food, which have
already been given, are strictly followed, the allowance of
butter here determined will be quite sufficient for the purpose
for which it is designed; that is to say, for giving an agreeable
relish to the pudding.--Those who are particularly fond of butter
may use three quarters of an ounce of it with a pound of the
pudding; but I am certain, that to use an ounce would be to waste
it to no purpose whatever.
If now we reckon Irish, or other firkin butter, (which, as it is
salted, is the best that can be used,) at eight pence the pound,
the sauce for one pound of pudding, namely, half an ounce of
butter, will cost just one farthing; and this, added to the cost
of the pudding, two farthings the pound, gives three farthing for
the cost by the pound of this kind of food, with its sauce; and,
as this food is not only very rich and nutritive, but satisfying
at the same time in a very remarkable degree, it appears how well
calculated it is for feeding the Poor.
It should be remembered, that the molasses used as an ingredient
in these Indian puddings, does not serve merely to give taste to
them;--it acts a still more important part;--it gives what, in
the language of the kitchen, is called lightness.--It is a
substitute for eggs, and nothing but eggs can serve as a
substitute for it, except it be treacle; which, in fact, is a
kind of molasses; or perhaps coarse brown sugar, which has nearly
the same properties.-- It prevents the pudding from being heavy,
and clammy; and without communicating to it any disagreeable
sweet taste, or any thing of that flavour peculiar to molasses,
gives it a richness uncommonly pleasing to the palate. And to
this we may add, that it is nutritive in a very extraordinary
degree.--This is a fact well known in all countries where sugar
How far the laws and regulations of trade existing in this
country might render it difficult to procure molasses from those
places where it may be had at the cheapest rate, I know
not;--nor can I tell how far the free importation of it might be
detrimental to our public finances;--I cannot, however, help
thinking, that it is so great an object to this country to keep
down the prices of provisions, or rather to check the alarming
celerity with which they are rising, that means ought to be found
to facilitate the importation, and introduction into common use,
of an article of Food of such extensive utility. It might serve
to correct in some measure, the baleful influence of another
article of foreign produce, (tea,) which is doing infinite harm
in this island.
A point of great importance in preparing an Indian pudding, is to
boil it PROPERLY and SUFFICIENTLY. The water must be actually
boiling when the pudding is put into it; and it never must be
suffered to cease boiling for a moment, till it is done; and if
the pudding is not boiled full six hours, it will not be
sufficiently cooked.--Its hardness, when done, will depend on the
space left in the bag its expansion. The consistency of the
pudding ought to be such, that it can be taken out of the bag
without falling to pieces;--but it is always better, on many
accounts, to make it too hard than too soft. The form of the
pudding may be that of a cylinder; of rather of a truncated cone,
the largest end being towards the mouth of the bag, in order
that it may be got out of the bag with greater facility; or it
may be made of a globular form, by tying it up in a napkin.--But
whatever is the form of the pudding, the bag, or napkin in which
it is to be boiled, must be wet in boiling water before the
pudding, (which is quite liquid before it is boiled,) is poured
into it; otherwise it will be apt to run through the cloth.
Though this pudding is so good, perfectly plain, when made
according to the directions here given, that I do not thing it
capable of any real improvement; yet there are various additions
that may be made to it, and that frequently are made to it, which
may perhaps be thought by some to render it more palatable, or
otherwise to improve it. Suet may, for instance, be added, and
there is no suet pudding whatever superior to it; and as no sauce
is necessary with a suet pudding, the expence for the suet will
be nearly balanced by the saving of butter. To a pudding of the
size of that just described, in the composition of which three
pounds of Indian meal were used, one pound of suet will be
sufficient; and this, in general, will not cost more than from
five pence to six pence, even in London;--and the butter for
sauce to a plain pudding of the same size would cost nearly as
much. The suet pudding will indeed be rather the cheapest of the
two, for the pound of suet will add a pound in weight to the
pudding;--whereas the butter will only add five ounces.
As the pudding, made plain, weighing 10 1/16 lb. cost 5 3/8 pence,
the same pudding, with the addition of one pound of suet, would
weigh 11 1/16 lb. and would cost 11 1/8 pence,--reckoning the
suet at six pence the pound.--Hence it appears that Indian suet
pudding may be made in London for about one penny a pound.
Wheaten bread, which is by no means so palatable, and certainly
not half so nutritive, now costs something more than three pence
the pound: and to this may be added, that dry bread can hardly be
eaten alone; but of suet pudding a very comfortable meal may be
made without any thing else.
A pudding in great repute in all parts of North America, is what
is called an apple pudding. This is an Indian pudding, sometimes
with, and sometimes without suet, with dried cuttings of sweet
apples mixed with it; and when eaten with butter, it is most
delicious Food. These apples, which are pared as soon as they
are gathered from the tree, and being cut into small pieces, are
freed from their cores, and thoroughly dried in the sun, may be
kept good for several years. The proportions of the ingredients
used in making these apple puddings are various; but, in general,
about one pound of dried apples is mixed with three pounds of
meal,--three quarters of a pound of molasses,--half an ounce of
salt, and five pints of boiling water.
In America, various kinds of berries, found wild in the woods,
such as huckle-berries, belberries, whortle-berries, etc. are
gathered and dried, and afterwards used as ingredients in Indian
puddings: and dried cherries and plums may be made use of in the
All these Indian puddings have this advantage in common, that
they are very good WARMED UP.--They will all keep good several
days; and when cut into thin slices and toasted, are an excellent
substitute for bread.
It will doubtless be remarked, that in computing the expence of
providing these different kinds of puddings, I have taken no
notice of the expence which will be necessary for fuel to cook
them.--This is an article which ought undoubtedly to be taken
into the account. The reason of my not doing it here is this:--
Having, in the course of my Experiments on Heat, found means to
perform all the common operations of cookery with a surprisingly
small expence of fuel, I find that the expence in question, when
the proper arrangements are made for saving fuel, will be very
trifling. And farther, as I mean soon to publish my Treatise on
the Management of Heat, in which I shall give the most ample
directions relative to the mechanical arrangements of kitchen
fire-places, and the best forms for all kinds of kitchen utensils,
I was desirous not to anticipate a subject which will more
naturally find its place in another Essay.--In the mean time I
would observe, for the satisfaction of those who may have doubts
respecting the smallness of the expence necessary for fuel in
cooking for the Poor, that the result of many experiments,
of which I shall hereafter publish a particular account, has proved
in the most satisfactory manner, that when Food is prepared in
large quantities, and cooked in kitchens properly arranged, the
expense for fuel ought never to amount to more than two per cent.
of the cost of the Food, even where victuals of the cheapest kind
are provided, such as is commonly used in feeding the Poor.
In the Public Kitchen of the House of Industry at Munich the
expence for fuel is less than one per cent. of the cost of the
Food, as may be seen in the computation, page 206, Chapter III.
of this Essay: and it ought not to be greater in many parts of
With regard to the price at which Indian Corn can be imported
into this country from North America in time of peace, the
following information, which I procured through the medium of a
friend, from Captain Scott, a most worthy man, who has been
constantly employed above thirty years as master of a ship in the
trade between London and Boston in the State of Massachusetts,
will doubtless be considered as authentic.
The following are the questions which were put to him,--with his
answers to them:
Q. What is the freight, per ton, of merchandise from Boston in
North America to London in time of peace?----A. Forty shillings
Q. What is the freight, per barrel, of Indian Corn?----A. Five
Q. How much per cent. is paid for insurance from Boston to
London in time of peace?---- A. Two per cent.
Q. What is the medium price of Indian Corn, per bushel,
in New England?----A. Two shillings and sixpence.
Q. What is the price of it at this time?----A. Three shillings
Q. How many bushels of Indian Corn are reckoned to a barrel?
From this account it appears that Indian Corn might, in time of
peace, be imported into this country and sold here for less than
four shillings the bushel;--and that it ought not to cost at this
moment much more than five shillings a bushel.
If it be imported in casks, (which is certainly the best way of
packing it,) as the freight of a barrel containing four bushels
is five shillings, this gives 1s. 3d. a bushel for freight; and
if we add one penny a bushel for insurance, this will make the
amount of freight and insurance 1s. 4d. which, added to the prime
cost of the Corn in America, (2s. 6d. per bushel in the time of
peace, and 3s. 6d. at this time,) will bring it to 3s. 10d. per
bushel in time of peace, and 4s. 10d at this present moment.
A bushel of Indian Corn of the growth of New England was found to
weigh 61 lb.; but we will suppose it to weigh at a medium only 60
lb. per bushel; and we will also suppose that to each bushel of
Corn when ground there is 9 lb. of bran, which is surely a very
large allowance, and 1 lb. of waste in grinding and sifting;--
this will leave 50 lb. of flour for each bushel of the Corn;
and as it will cost, in time of peace, only 3s. 10d. or 46 pence,
this gives for each pound of flour 46/50 of a penny, or 3 3/4
farthings very nearly.
If the price of the Indian Corn per bushel be taken at 4s. 10d.
what it ought to cost at this time in London, without any bounty
on importation being brought into the account,--the price of the
flour will be 4s. 10d equal to 58 pence for 50 lb. in weight,
or 1 1/6 penny the pound, which is less than one third of the
present price of wheat flour. Rice, which is certainly not more
nourishing than Indian Corn, costs 4 1/2 pence the pound.
If 1/13 of the value of Indian Corn be added to defray the
expence of grinding it, the price of the flour will not even then
be greater in London than one penny the pound in time of peace,
and about one penny farthing at the present high price of that
grain in North America. Hence it appears, that in stating the
mean price in London of the flour of Indian Corn at one penny
farthing, I have rather rated it too high than too low.
With regard to the expense of importing it, there may be,
and doubtless there are frequently other expences besides those
of freight and insurance; but, on the other hand, a very
considerable part of the expences attending the importation of it
may be reimbursed by the profits arising from the sale of the
barrels in which it is imported, as I have been informed by a
person who imports it every year, and always avails himself of
One circumstance much in favour of the introduction of Indian
Corn into common use in this country is the facility with which
it may be had in any quantity. It grows in all quarters of the
globe, and almost in every climate; and in hot countries two or
three crops of it may be raised from the same ground in the
course of a year.--It succeeds equally well in the cold regions
of Canada;--in the temperate climes of the United States of
America;--and in the burning heats of the tropics; and it might
be had from Africa and Asia as well as from America. And were it
even true,--what I never can be persuaded to believe,--that it
would be impossible to introduce it as an article of Food in this
country, it might at least be used as fodder for cattle, whose
aversion to it, I will venture to say, would not be found to be
Oats now cost near two pence the pound in this country.
Indian Corn, which would cost but a little more than half as much,
would certainly be much more nourishing, even for horses, as well
as for horned cattle;--and as for hogs and poultry, they ought
never to be fed with any other grain. Those who have tasted the
pork and the poultry fatted on Indian Corn will readily give
their assent to this opinion.
Receipts for preparing various Kinds of cheap Food.
Approved receipts for boiling potatoes.
Of potatoe puddings.
Of potatoe dumplings.
Of boiled potatoes with a sauce.
Of potatoe salad.
Is much more nutritious than wheat.
Barley meal, a good substitute for pearl barley, for making
General directions for preparing cheap soups.
Receipt for the cheapest soup that can be made.
Method of preparing it
Is an excellent Substitute for Bread.
Of brown Soup.
Of RYE BREAD.
When I began writing the foregoing Chapter of this Essay, I had
hopes of being able to procure satisfactory information
respecting the manner in which the maccaroni eaten by the Poor in
Italy, and particularly in the kingdom of Naples, is prepared;--
but though I have taken much pains in making these inquiries, my
success in them has not been such as I could have wished:--
The process, I have often been told, is very simple; and from
the very low price at which maccaroni is sold, ready cooked, to
the Lazzaroni in the streets of Naples, it cannot be expensive.
--There is a better kind of maccaroni which is prepared and sold
by the nuns in some of the convents in Italy, which is much dearer;
but this sort would in any country be too expensive to be used as
Food for the Poor.--It is however not dearer than many kinds of
Food used by the Poor in this country; and as it is very
palatable and wholesome, and may be used in a variety of ways,
a receipt for preparing it may perhaps not be unacceptable to
many of my readers.
A Receipt for making that Kind of Maccaroni called in Italy
Take any number of fresh-laid eggs and break them into a bowl or
tray, beat them up with a spoon, but not to a froth,--add of the
finest wheat flour as much as is necessary to form a dough of the
consistence of paste.--Work this paste well with a rolling-pin;--
roll it out into very thin leaves;--lay ten or twelve of these
leaves one upon the other, and with a sharp knife cut them into
very fine threads.--These threads (which, if the mass is of a
proper consistency, will not adhere to each other) are to be laid
on a clean board, or on paper, and dried in the air.
This maccaroni, (or cut paste as it is called in Germany, where
it is in great repute,) may be eaten in various ways; but the
most common way of using it is to eat it with milk instead of
bread, and with chicken broth, and other broths and soups,
with which it is boiled. With proper care it may be kept good
for many months. It is sometimes fried in butter, and in this way
of cooking it, it forms a most excellent dish indeed; inferior,
I believe, to no dish of flour that can be made. It is not,
however, a very cheap dish, as eggs and butter are both expensive
articles in most countries.
An inferiour kind of cut paste is sometimes prepared by the Poor
in Germany, which is made simply of water and wheat flour,
and this has more resemblance to common maccaroni than that just
described; and might, in many cases, be used instead of it. I do
not think, however, that it can be kept long without spoiling;
whereas maccaroni, as is well known, may be kept good for a great
length of time.--Though I have not been able to get any
satisfactory information relative to the process of making
maccaroni, yet I have made some experiments to ascertain the
expense of cooking it, and of the cost of the cheese necessary
for giving it a relish.
Half a pound of maccaroni, which was purchased at an Italian shop
in London, and which cost ten pence, was boiled till it was
sufficiently done, namely, about one hour and an half, when,
being taken out of the boiling water and weighed, it was found to
weigh thirty-one ounces and an half, or one pound fifteen ounces
and an half. The quantity of cheese employed to give a relish to
this dish of boiled maccaroni, (and which was grated over it
after it was put into the dish,) was one ounce, and cost two
Maccaroni is considered as very cheap Food in those countries
where it is prepared in the greatest perfection, and where it is
in common use among the lower classes of society; and as wheat,
of which grain it is always made, is a staple commodity in this
country, it would certainly be worth while to take some trouble
to introduce the manufacture of it, particularly as it is already
become an article of luxury upon the tables of the rich, and as
great quantities of it are annually imported and sold here at a
most exorbitant price:--But maccaroni is by no means the
cheapest Food that can be provided for feeding the Poor, in this
island;--nor do I believe it is so in any country.--Polenta,
or Indian Corn, of which so much has already been said,--
and Potatoes, of which too much cannot be said,--are both much
better adapted, in all respects, for that purpose.--Maccaroni
would however, I am persuaded, could it be prepared in this
country, be much less expensive than many kinds of Food now
commonly used by our Poor; and consequently might be of
considerable use to them.
With regard to Potatoes they are now so generally known and
their usefulness is so universally acknowledged, that it would be
a waste of time to attempt to recommend them.--I shall therefore
content myself with merely giving receipts for a few cheap dishes
in which they are employed as a principal ingredient.
Though there is no article used as Food of which a greater
variety of well-tasted and wholesome dishes may be prepared than
of potatoes, yet it seems to be the unanimous opinion of those
who are most acquainted with these useful vegetables, that the
best way of cooking them is to boil them simply, and with their
skins on, in water.--But the manner of boiling them is by no
means a matter of indifference.--This process is better
understood in Ireland, where by much the greater part of the
inhabitants live almost entirely on this Food, than any where else.
This is what might have been expected;--but those who have never
considered with attention the extreme slowness of the progress of
national improvements, WHERE NOBODY TAKES PAINS TO ACCELERATE
THEM, will doubtless be surprised when they are told that in most
parts of England, though the use of potatoes all over the country
has for so many years been general, yet, to this hour, few,
comparatively, who eat them, know how to dress them properly.--
The inhabitants of those countries which lie on the sea-coast
opposite to Ireland have adopted the Irish method of boiling
potatoes; but it is more than probable that a century at least
would have been required for those improvements to have made
their way through the island, had not the present alarms on
account of a scarcity of grain roused the public, and fixed their
attention upon a subject too long neglected in this enlightened
The introduction of improvements tending to increase the comforts
and innocent enjoyments of that numerous and useful class of
mankind who earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, is an
object not more interesting to a benevolent mind than it is
important in the eyes of an enlightened statesman.
There are, without doubt, GREAT MEN who will smile at seeing
these observations connected with a subject so humble and obscure
as the boiling of potatoes, but GOOD MEN will feel that the
subject is not unworthy of their attention.
The following directions for boiling potatoes, which I have
copied from a late Report of the Board of Agriculture, I can
recommend from my own experience:
On the boiling of Potatoes so as to be eat as Bread.
There is nothing that would tend more to promote the consumption
of potatoes than to have the proper mode of preparing them as
Food generally known.--In London, this is little attended to;
whereas in Lancashire and Ireland the boiling of potatoes is
brought to very great perfection indeed. When prepared in the
following manner, if the quality of the root is good, they may be
eat as bread, a practice not unusual in Ireland.--The potatoes
should be, as much as possible, of the same size, and the large
and small ones boiled separately.--They must be washed clean,
and, without paring or scraping, put in a pot with cold water,
not sufficient to cover them, as they will produce themselves,
before they boil, a considerable quantity of fluid.--They do not
admit being put into a vessel of boiling water like greens.--
If the potatoes are tolerably large, it will be necessary,
as soon as they begin to boil, to throw in some cold water,
and occasionally to repeat it, till the potatoes are boiled to
the heart, (which will take from half an hour to an hour and a
quarter, according to their size,) they will otherwise crack,
and burst to pieces on the outside, whilst the inside will be
nearly in a crude state, and consequently very unpalatable and
unwholesome.--During the boiling, throwing in a little salt
occasionally is found a great improvement, and it is certain that
the slower they are cooked the better.--When boiled, pour off the
water, and evaporate the moisture, by replacing the vessel in
which the potatoes were boiled once more over the fire.
--This makes them remarkably dry and mealy.--They should be
brought to the table with the skins on, and eat with a little
salt, as bread.--Nothing but experience can satisfy any one how
superior the potatoe is, thus prepared, if the sort is good and
meally.-- Some prefer roasting potatoes; but the mode above
detailed, extracted partly from the interesting paper of Samuel
Hayes, Esquire, of Avondale, in Ireland, (Report on the Culture
of Potatoes, P. 103.), and partly from the Lancashire reprinted
Report (p.63.), and other communications to the Board, is at
least equal, if not superior.--Some have tried boiling potatoes
in steam, thinking by that process that they must imbibe less
water.--But immersion in water causes the discharge of a certain
substance, which the steam alone is incapable of doing, and by
retaining which, the flavour of the root is injured, and they
afterwards become dry by being put over the fire a second time
without water.--With a little butter, or milk, of fish, they make
an excellent mess.
These directions are so clear, that it is hardly possible to
mistake them; and those who follow them exactly will find their
potatoes surprisingly improved, and will be convinced that the
manner of boiling them is a matter of much greater importance
than has hitherto been imagined.
Were this method of boiling potatoes generally known in countries
where these vegetables are only beginning to make their way into
common use,-- as in Bavaria, for instance,--I have no doubt but
it would contribute more than any thing else to their speedy
The following account of an experiment, lately made in one of the
parishes of this metropolis (London), was communicated to me by a
friend, who has permitted me to publish it.--It will serve to
show,--what I am most anxious to make appear,-- that the
prejudices of the Poor in regard to their Food ARE NOT
February 25th, 1796.
The parish officers of Saint Olaves, Southwark, desirous of
contributing their aid towards lessening the consumption of
wheat, resolved on the following succedaneum for their customary
suet puddings, which they give to their Poor for dinner one day
in the week; which was ordered as follows:
L. s. d.
200 lb. potatoes boiled, and
skinned and mashed ... ... 0 8 0
2 gallons of milk ... ... ... 0 2 4
12 lb. of suet, at 4 1/2 ... 0 4 6
1 peck of flour ... ... ... 0 4 0
Baking ... ... ... ... ... 0 1 8
Expense 1 0 6
Their ordinary suet pudding had been made thus:
2 bushels of flour ... ... ... 1 12 0
12 lb. suet ... ... ... ... 0 4 6
Baking ... ... ... ... ... 0 1 8
Expense 1 18 2
Cost of the ingredients for the
potatoes suet pudding ... ... 1 0 6
Difference 0 17 8
This was the dinner provided for 200 persons, who gave a decided
perference to the cheapest of these preparations, and with it to
The following baked potatoe-puddings were prepared in the hotel
where I lodge, and were tasted by a number of persons, who found
them in general very palatable.
12 ounces of potatoes, boiled, skinned, and mashed;
1 ounce of suet;
1 ounce (or 1/16 of a pint) of milk, and
1 ounce of Gloucester cheese.
Total 15 ounces,--mixed with as much boiling water as was necessary
to bring it to a due consistence, and then baked in an earthen pan.
12 ounces of mashed potatoes as before;
1 ounces of milk, and
1 ounce of suet, with a sufficient quantity of salt.--Mixed up
with boiling water, and baked in a pan.
12 ounces of mashed potatoes;
1 ounce of suet;
1 ounce of red herrings pounded fine in a mortar.--Mixed--baked,
etc. as before.
12 ounces of mashed potatoes;
1 ounce of suet, and
1 ounce of hung beef grated fine with a grater.--Mixed and baked
These puddings when baked weighed from 11 to 12 ounces each.--
They were all liked by those who tasted them, but No I and No 3
seemed to meet with the most general approbation.
Receipt for a very cheap Potatoe-dumplin.
Take any quantity of potatoes, half boiled;--skin or pare them,
and grate them to a coarse powder with a grater;--mix them up
with a very small quantity of flour, 1/16, for instance, of the
weight of the potatoes, or even less;--add a seasoning of salt,
pepper, and sweet herbs;--mix up the whole with boiling water to
a proper consistency, and form the mass into dumplins of the size
of a large apple.-- Roll the dumplins, when formed, in flour, to
prevent the water from penetrating them, and put them into
boiling water, and boil them till they rise to the surface of the
water, and swim, when they will be found to be sufficiently done.
These dumplins may be made very savoury by mixing with them a
small quantity of grated hung beef, or of pounded red herring.
Fried bread may likewise be mixed with them, and this without any
other addition, except a seasoning of salt, forms an excellent
Upon the same principles upon which these dumplins are prepared
large boiled bag-puddings may be made; and for feeding the Poor
in a public establishment, where great numbers are to be fed,
puddings, as these is less trouble in preparing them, are always
to be preferred to dumplins.
It would swell this Essay, (which has already exceeded the limits
assigned to it,) to the size of a large volume, were I to give
receipts for all the good dishes that may be prepared with
potatoes.--There is however one method of preparing potatoes
much in use in many parts of Germany, which appears to me to
deserve being particularly mentioned and recommended;--it is as
A Receipt for preparing boiled Potatoes with a Sauce.
The potatoes being properly boiled, and skinned, are cut into
slices, and put into a dish, and a sauce, similar to that
commonly used with a fricaseed chicken, is poured over them.