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Boiling Fatty Meat and Bones

Boiling an animal-based stew with tidbits of fat, bones, marrow, diced up lean flesh

Boiling Fatty Meat and Bones

Recent History

June 10, 1790

Recollections on Hunting in Kentucky, 1790-1791 by Hugh Bell


A Kentucky hunter tells stories about the carnivore diet he survived on while hunting buffalo, just a few years after the foundation of the United States. "They always relied upon the forest for a supply of food - buffalo, bear, dear, elk & turkey. Stewed bear's liver, or roasted bear's kidney, made a good substitute for bread."

Mrs. H F Bell and the Indian cows were up -- the gate creaking, an Indian lay behind a log some 15 feet off, peeped up his head, which Mrs. B saw -- dashed to & fastened the gate, & escaped. The Indian knowing the alarm wd. be instantly give,  jumped up & ran off.

Wm. & Nick S. Baker & some few others from the settlement, living on McAdoe Creek, a few miles above Clarkesville, in the present county of Montgomery - went down Cumberland below Palmyra,  down the north shore hunting buffalo -  Wm Baker had wounded a old buffalo bull, & was following it close behind through the cane, it turned upon him; Baker turned & ran but was soon over taken by the enraged animal, run one of his horns through his leather pants & badly goring his thigh, threw him back entirely over his head -- the buffalo went on.  Baker was barely able to clear the other way & left the buffalo to go unmolested. This was in 1790. 

This same year Hugh F. Bell, his older brother John & Isaac Peterson went out hunting on Little River in Trigg Co - Ky-. John Bell was pursuing a gang of elk,  Hugh F Bell & Peterson got after a gang of buffalo, & each shot buffalo bulls. Bell went and sat down upon Peterson’s buffalo, & then proposed to go & skin his first - went; and on their return Peterson’s had gone! By the time John Bell returned, not having killed any of the elk, & aided the others in hunting up the lost buffalo. The grass in the river bottom there was thick & as tall as a man’s head - the two Bells clamped several feet up a fallen lodged tree & discovered the bull lying down some 15 paces off. Called  to Peterson to shoot it - he said he wd go & stick it - crept up behind a small blackjack pine nine inches through, close to which the buffalo lay - & as Peterson was within point of giving the fatal stab in the buffalo’s side, the animal suddenly bounded to his feet, & Peterson up the tree - clear of limbs for fifteen or 20 feet - would get some eight feet, & then from fear & exhaustion, wd. fail & gradually slip down until nearly in reach of the buffalo’s horns, - who all the while kept a warfare upon the tree, completely barking it with his horns -  Again Peterson wd make an effort & ascend about the old height, & again give way & slide down - begging the while for the Bells to shoot the buffalo; who, so full of laughter, could not - Seeing after his third ascension, that he could not stand it much longer, & had already rubbed the skin from his breast & face, - shot the buffalo, & rescued Peterson.

The next year, 1791, Hugh F. & Wm Bell over Little River on the Barrens - they went so far, became less dangerous than nearer the settlements - hunting; came across two buffalos,  Hugh F. Bell shot one of them - & William took buffalo & Elk after the other -  the buffalo took after Bell, who mounted dashed away around a large sink hole of some ten acres, & the buffalo in hot pursuit, went around twice, & the buffalo gained & had got within 20 steps when Hugh F. Bell came up & shot him down. They both thought the buffalo had no evil design, but in its fright mistook  Bell’s horse for its mate & thus followed. At a subsequent hunt, Hugh F. & John Bell & John Newell were again out together, in the old range on Little River, came upon a gang of 3 or 4 elk - the dogs took after & overtook him, some seizing him by the nose, others by the ears, while one of the dogs bounded upon his back & took post between the large antlers that lay up behind, & the dog clung to his place all the while gnawing into the flesh of the neck of the elk - & the elk ran several rods with the dog upon his back; took post in a spring, & there took his stand, & remained until H.F.B. came up & shot him. The hunters wd take with them some pack horses, to convey home the meat. When they had it, they wd take with some salt & pepper & sage - a camp kettle; these with their knives & rifles, tomahawks sufficed. They always relied upon the forest for a supply of food - buffalo, bear, dear, elk & turkey. 

A buffalo hide per adventure wd be stretched across poles overhead for a covering from the damps & rains - other skins, with the hair side up, wd be placed upon the ground before the fire to be used as a kind of rug & for the bed at night - & sometimes with another hide for a covering. When upon the hunt by day they wore a kind of moccasin made of buffalo hide, the hair side turned in - these would not easily saturate; at night these were taken off & thrown one side & away from the fire that they might freeze if the weather shd be sufficiently cold to congeal water - for the buffalo moccasins were all the better for being frozen. While in camp, the hunters wore the light tanned deer skin moccasins. 

 Now for the mode of living.  The stew was a common and favorite mode - the choicest bits of buffalo, deer, elk, bear & turkey, part or all of these as the case might be - put into the kettle, with the proper seasoning would furnish a nice dish, leaving each of the company to choose as to kind. Stewed bear's liver, or roasted bear's kidney, made a good substitute for bread. When hunters had a roast turkey, they had a way of cutting numerous small incisions in the body, & putting in them bits of fat bear meat & proper seasoning - this was excellent. But when a luxurious meal was to be provided it consisted of one or all of these articles, roasted beaver tail, buffalo tongue, or marrow bone. 

Take a large beaver tail, some 8 inches long, and 4 broad, well seasoned, & wrapped up in a coat of wetted oak leaves & put into a bed of embers & covered up over night, wd be elegantly cooked by morning. 

To cook properly after hunter's style a fine buffalo tongue - first scorch it a little & peel off the outside coating, then stick it upon a spit made of spice bush, with the lower end inserted in the earth & left to roast before the fire all night - the spicebush wd give it a very agreeable flavor. 

Cooking a buffalo marrow bone was the work of a few minutes - simply lay one end upon the live coals, & in a few minutes the other - then cut the bone in two with the hatchet, then split or hew off one side to the marrow - what rich delicious eating! Neither this nor bear's oil in any quantity even produces the least injurious effect - tip up the kettle after cooking bear's meat, & sometimes tip off a pint!

January 2, 1801

The Savage Country - Rum, Women, and Rations


The fur traders of the Nor West Company often faced starvation and hunger and would have to boil animal skins for nourishment. However, when even this was unavailable, they could eat herbs or a rock lichen called tripe de roche. When eaten in excess, it weakened the body and led to violent vomiting and acute spasms of the bowels.

More difficult than finding a wife in the pays d'en haut to cook one's rations was the problem of obtaining an adequate and dependable supply of food itself. It was one of Henry's problems at Pembina; it was one that extended right up to Headquarters. The vast organization of trading posts, supply systems, and communications known as the North West Company existed, of course, for only one thing: beaver. But you couldn't eat beaver - or, at least, their pelts, or the hats into which they were finally made. And how to feed a thousand-odd men and their families in more than a hundred posts, and on their long wilderness journeys, was one of the Concern's biggest worries.

With the fur trader himself, it wasn't so much a question of how well he ate as of whether he ate at all. He was often on short rations, and the dread of famine hung over every post. Scattered through every trader's journal are such routine phrases as, "We were reduced to eating the parchment bille of our windows." or "We dined on a pair of leather breches." or "We were obliged to take the hair from the bear skins and roast the hide, which tastes like pork."

The eating of one's leather garments , sometimes broiled, sometimes boiled up into a glutinous broth - was so common in times of dire need, in fact, that it received no more than casual mention in the Nor'westers' journals. Thus, W. F Wentzel, writing at his post on the Mackenzie River, said what he and twelve others lived for two months on nothing but dried beaver skins: "We destroyed in order to keep alive upward of three hundred beaver skins besides a few lynx and otter skins . . . We have a meal now and then; at intervals we are still two or three days without anything. All my men are dead of starvation, viz: Louis Le mai dit Poudrier and one of his children, François Pilon and William Henry, my hunter."

Other last resorts in the way of food were the old bones of animals or fish, which were cracked open and boiled; the spawn of fish, beaten up in warm water; and various herbs, low in food value, but capable of sustaining life, such as the often mentioned choux-gras of the prairie. Daniel Harmon tells of subsisting on rosebuds, "a kind of food neither very palatable nor nourishing . . . They are better than nothing, since they would just support life."

But the standard emergency ration of nature, mentioned by the very earliest missionaries and explorers, was a rock lichen called tripe de roche. It was necessary to close one's eyes while eating it, an early father remarks, but it filled the stomach, if nothing else. The elder Henry describes its preparation, "which is done by boiling it down into a mucilage, as thick as the white of an egg."

The distressing results of eating tripe de roche are vividly pictured by the free trader John Long: "Tripe de roche is a weed that grows to rocks, of a spongy nature and very unwholesome, causing violent pains in the bowels, and frequently occasions a flux. I am informed that traders in the Northwest have often experienced this disorder, and some of them in very severe weather have been compelled to eat it for fourteen days successively, which weakened them considerably. When the disorder does not terminate in a flux, it occasions violent vomiting, and sometimes spitting of blood, with acute spasms of the bowels."

Hardly the sort of dish one would care to serve often - yet it was not the last extremity of desperate men. For, as the elder Henry darkly hints, cannibalism was not unknown in the fur country. John Long, anything but a squeamish reporter, again tells of a starving voyageur who killed and ate not only a harmless Indian who had brought him food, but one of his two companions as well. Tricked into a confession of his guilt, he was summarily shot through the head by his bourgeois.

January 5, 1802

The Savage Country


The full importance of pemmican is understood as a vital survival food that could last "through a winter's scarcity of game and fish. It was his staff of life in a way that bread never was in more civilized parts of the world." Two pounds of pemmican was worth eight pounds of buffalo meat.


The Nor' wester on the march was faced with an entirely different problem of food supply. There was remarkably little game along the Northwest Road, and not much else that could be bought from the Indians en route. Once the plains were gained, hunters were sent out to shoot buffalo; but the brigades that continued on to the northern posts could not live off the land; they had to carry their rations with them in already overloaded canoes. 

The answer to this problem was lyed corn, wild rice and pemmican. The corn, grown by the Ottawa and Saulteur around Sault Ste. Marie, was processed at Detroit by boiling it in lye water, which removed the outer husk. It was then washed and dried, and was ready for use. One quart of lyed corn called hominy by the Americans was boiled for two hours over a moderate fire in a gallon of water. Soon after it came to a boil, two ounces of melted suet were added. This caused the corn to split open and form "a pretty thick pudding." Alexander Mackenzie maintained that, with a little salt, it was a wholesome, palatable, easily digestible dish. A quart of it, he said, would keep a canoeman going for twenty four hours. 

Mackenzie also observed that lyed corn was about the cheapest food the Concern could give its men, a voyageur's daily allowance costing only tenpence. And the elder Henry wryly commented that, since it was fare that nobody but a French-Canadian would put up with, the monopoly of the fur trade was probably in the North West Company's hands forever! 

Indian corn and grease possibly supplemented by a few fish, game birds, eggs, and Indian dogs along the way took the brigades as far as Rainy Lake. Here wild rice replaced the corn as far as Lac Winipic. After that, pemmican sustained the western brigades until they reached the buffalo plains and fresh meat; but the northern canoes had to depend on pemmican all the way to their wintering stations. The provisioning of Alexander Henry's canoes, from Lake Superior to the Saskatchewan, would be typical: 

At 4 P.M. I arrived at Fort Vermilion, having been two months on my voyage from Fort William, with a brigade of I1 canoes, loaded with 28 pieces each, and manned by five men and one woman. Our expenditure of provisions for each canoe during the voyage was: two bags of corn, 1½ bushels each, and 15 pounds of grease, to Lac la Pluie; two bags of wild rice, 1½ bushels each, and 10 pounds of grease to Bas de la Rivière Winipic; four bags of pemmican of go pounds each to serve until we came among the buffalo generally near the Monte, or at farthest the Elbow of the Saskatchewan. 

This, in a few words, was the formula that made possible the long voyages of the fur brigades, which must often be accomplished with hairbreadth precision between the spring thaw and the fall freeze-up. The North West Company's network of hundreds of canoe routes and more than a hundred forts, scattered over half the continent, could never have functioned without corn, rice and pemmican. And of the three, pemmican was perhaps the most important. 

The Nor westers got the idea, as they did so many, from the Indians. Or perhaps it should be said that Peter Pond dit since he, before anyone else, realized the logistical importance of pemmican and made a systematic use of it. Where the elder Henry and the Frobishers had failed in early attempts to reach the rich Athabasca country, Pond succeeded; and the key to his success is found in his own words: "Provisions, not only for the winter season but for the course of the next summer, must be provided, which is dry'd meat, pounded to a powder and mixed with buffaloes greese, which preserves it in warm seasons." In other words, pemmican. 

Almost every trader, from Peter Pond down, described pemmican, and how it was manufactured; but none so well as David Thompson. It was made, he explained, of the lean and fleshy parts of the buffalo, dried, smoked, and pounded fine. In that state, it was called beat meat. To it was added the fat of the buffalo. There were two kinds: that from the inside of the animal, called "hard fat" or grease; and that which lay along the backbone in large flakes and, when melted, resembled butter in softness and sweetness. 

The best pemmican, Thompson tells us, was made from twenty pounds each of soft and hard fat, slowly melted together and well mixed with fifty pounds of beat meat. It was stored in bags made of buffalo hide, with the hair on the outside, called taurenut. When they could be obtained, dried berries, and sometimes maple sugar, were mixed with the pemmican. "On the great Plains," Thompson wrote, "there is a shrub bearing a very sweet berry of dark blue color, much sought after. Great quantities are dried by the Natives; in this state the berries are as sweet as the best currants, and as much as possible mixed to make Pemmican.

Properly made and stored, the ninety-pound bags of pemmican would keep for years. Post masters took great pride in the quality of the product they turned out. But sometimes, through nobody's fault, it went sour, and great quantities had to be thrown to the post dogs. Often, as in the case of dried meat, mold formed; but that, the traders cheerfully agreed, only improved the flavor. 

Pemmican could be hacked off the piece and eaten in its natural state; or it could be boiled up with corn or rice to make a highly nourishing and not unpalatable kind of stew. Whereas a daily allowance of eight pounds of fresh meat was required to sustain a man, two pounds, or even a pound and a half of pemmican would do. A better emergency ration for men in a cold climate has never been developed. So vital was pemmican indeed to the North West Company's system of communications that a highly specialized organization was set up to make and distribute it. On the prairies were built the famous "pemmican posts" Fort Alexandria, Fort George, Fort Vermilion, Fort de la Montée whose principal business was not pelts but provisions, chiefly pemmican, for the canoe brigades and the hungry posts in the forest belt. Archibald Norman McLeod gives us a glimpse of the activities at Alexandria: "I got the last Pounded meat we have made into Pimican, viz. 30 bags of 90 lb., so that we now have 62 bags of that Species of provisions of the above weight. I likewise got nine kegs filled with grease, or Tallow rather, each keg nett 70 lb." 

Looking into his storehouse in January, Duncan McGillivray noted that he had 8000 pounds of pounded meat, with enough fat to make it up into pemmican sufficient, he added, to "answer the expectations of the Gentn. of the Northern Posts, who depend on us for this necessary article* in April, he made his pounded meat and grease into two hundred bags of pemmican. 

For one year, 1807-1808, Alexander Henry listed the returns from his four Lower Red River posts as only 60 packs of furs, but 334 bags of pemmican and 48 kegs of grease; a striking statistical sidelight on the importance of beat meat and grease in the economy of the North West Company.

 Getting the huge production of pemmican from the prairie posts to where it was needed was a major problem in logistics: and the Nor' westers solved it with their usual flair for organization. Besides the posts that specialized in making pemmican, certain others principally Cumberland House and Fort Bas de la Rivière were established at strategic spots to distribute it. To Cumberland House, at the juncture of the Saskatchewan and the waterways leading to Athabasca, the pemmican posts sent hundreds of taureaux in skin canoes and roughly built boats. And there the vast store of shaggy buffalo-hide bags was rationed out to the Great Northern brigades for the posts in the forest Fort Chipewyan, Fort de I'Isle, Fort Resolution, Fort Providence where the supply of pemmican made of deer and bear meat was both scanty and uncertain. The pemmican from the Red River and Assiniboine posts was distributed from Bas de la Rivière. And later on, Fort Esperance on the Qu'Appelle became the North West Company's chief depot for rushing emergency supplies to posts in distress. 

Wherever he was stationed, and however long the march he must make to his wintering grounds, the Nor wester could usually depend on his supply of pemmican to see him to journey's end and, if necessary, through a winter's scarcity of game and fish. It was his staff of life in a way that bread never was in more civilized parts of the world. It was often his last defense against the forces of famine that hung, like wolves on the trail of a wounded caribou, about every trading post. And he never spoke of it with anything but respect.

October 29, 1830

Trappers and Mountain Men - American Heritage Junior Library


"In addition to his other talents, the mountain man had to be a master of buffalo hunting, for meat comprised almost one hundred per cent of his normal diet. Buffalo meat has been called the greatest meat man has ever fed on. He cracked the marrow bones to make "trapper's butter."

The mountain man was a rugged individualist of whom Washington Irving wrote, "You cannot pay a free trapper a greater compliment than to persuade him that you have mistaken him for an Indian." In fact, he virtually had to become an Indian in order to survive. "A turned leaf," wrote George Frederick Ruxton in Adventures in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains, blade of grass pressed down, the uneasiness of wild animals, the flight of birds, are all paragraphs to him written in Nature's legible hand." 

In addition to his other talents, the mountain man had to be a master of buffalo hunting, for meat comprised almost one hundred per cent of his normal diet--at least when in the buffalo country. As in everything else, he had to develop new techniques for "making meat." When hunting horseback, according to the traveler Rudolph Kurz, the hunters (those operating from fixed forts, at any rate) did not use long-barreled rifles because "they think the care required in loading them takes too much time unnecessarily when shooting at close range and, furthermore, they find rifle balls too small. The hunter chases buffaloes at full gallop, discharges his gun [a short- harreled shotgunk and reloads it with out slackening speed.

Buffalo meat has been called the greatest meat man has ever fed on. The mountain man usually boiled the outs from the hump, and roasted other pieces. He cracked the marrow bones to make "trapper's butter", or he used the marrow to make a fine thick soup.

January 1, 1885

RACHITIS. BY A. JACOBI, M.D. - A System of Practical Medicine By American Authors, Vol. II - General Diseases (Continued) and Diseases of the Digestive System


A full description of the disease known as rickets is discussed, as well as the best nutritive treatments. "Meat-soups, mainly of beef, and of mutton in complications with diarrhoea, ought to be given at once when the diagnosis of rachitis becomes clear or probable."

When it seems so, it is complicated with the main cause of rachitis; that is, bad, insufficient, improper food, with its immediate result—viz. intestinal catarrh. Cow's milk, particularly when acid, starchy food administered too early or in too large quantity or too exclusively, early weaning followed by improper artificial food, insufficient mother's milk or such as is either too thin or too caseinous, lactation protracted beyond the normal limit,—may all alike be causes of intestinal disturbances and rachitis.

The alimentary tract is the seat of many changes recognizable during life. The tonsils are often large. The tongue is seldom coated to an unusual degree. On it are found little islands, red, marginated, deprived of epithelium. They will increase in size and number and extend backward. They will heal and reappear. They are by no means syphilitic, as Parrot would have it, and correspond exactly with the erosions near the solitary glands and those of Lieberkühn in the intestinal part, which mean nothing else but a nutritive disorder of the epithelia, and give rise to nothing worse than incompetency of absorption in that locality and abnormal secretion. The stomach is in a condition of chronic catarrh, sometimes dilated. Acid dyspepsia is frequent. Anorexia and bulimia will alternate. Feces contain an abnormally large amount of lime. Diarrhoea and constipation will follow each other in short intervals. The former owes its origin to faulty ingesta or chronic catarrh; the latter, sometimes to improper food, but more generally to muscular insufficiency. [p. 154]This condition has not been estimated at its proper value. Besides myself,17 nobody but Bohn has paid the attention to it which it deserves. Here, again, I have to insist that rachitis is a disease of the whole system, and not exclusively of the bones. Indeed, the muscular system is amongst the first to suffer. In the same way in which the voluntary muscles are not competent to raise and support the head or to allow a baby to sit up without a functional kyphosis, the involuntary muscles of the intestine are too feeble for normal peristalsis. The infant of a month or two months of age may have had normal and sufficiently numerous evacuations; gradually, however, constipation sets in; the feces become dry, but are perhaps not much changed otherwise. If no other cause be apparent, the suspicion of rachitical constipation is justified. Seldom, however, after it has lasted some time—and only after some time has elapsed relief will be sought—it will remain alone. Other symptoms of rachitis will turn up and the case be easily recognized. This constipation is an early symptom, as early as thoracic grooving or craniotabes. Very often it precedes both—is, in fact, the very first symptom—and ought therefore be known and recognized in time.

The skin participates in the general nutritive disorder. It is soft and flabby. In those infants who become rachitical gradually while proving their malnutrition by the accumulation of large quantities of fat, it exhibits a certain degree of consistency. When rachitis develops in the second half of the first year or later, with the general emaciation the skin appears very thin, flabby, unelastic. The veins are generally large. Complications with eczema and impetigo are very frequent; where they are found the glandular swellings of the neck and below are still more marked than in uncomplicated cases. Circumscribed alopecia is sometimes found (not to speak of the extensive baldness of the occiput). It is not attended with or depending on the microsporon Audouini, but the result of a tropho-neurosis. In the hair Rindfleisch found fat-globules between its inferior and central third. Then it would break, the axial evolution would cease, and the end become bulbous by the new formation of cells.

TREATMENT.—To meet the cause of a disease by preventive measures is the main object and duty of the physician. He thus either obviates a malady or relieves and shortens it. Now, if the original disposition to rachitis, as has been suggested, is to be looked for in early intra-uterine life, when the blood-vessels begin to form and to develop, we know of no treatment directed to the pregnant woman or uterus which promises any favorable result. But the more we recognize an anatomical cause of the chronic disorder, the more we can appreciate the influence upon the child of previous rachitis in the mother, and are justified in emphasizing the necessity on the part of the woman to be healthy when she gets married, and to remain so while she is pregnant. After the child is born the most frequent cause of rachitis is found within the diet or the digestion of the patient. To attend to the former is in almost every instance equal to preventing disorders of the latter; for most of the digestive disturbances during infancy and childhood are the direct consequences of errors in diet. It is, however, impossible to write an essay on infant diet in connection with our subject. I have elaborated the subject in my [p. 159]Infant Diet (2d ed. 1876), in the first volume of Buck's Hygiene, and of C. Gerhardt's Handbuch d. Kinderk. (2d ed. 1882). Still, the importance of the subject requires that some points should be given, be they ever so aphoristic.

The best food for an infant, under ordinary circumstances, is the milk of its mother. The best substitute for the mother is a wet-nurse. Woman's milk ought not to be dispensed with when there is the slightest opportunity to obtain it, particularly when the family history is not good and nutritive disorders are known to exist, or to have existed, in any of its members. When it cannot be had, artificial food must take its place, and it is in the selection of it where most mistakes are constantly made. This much is certain, that without animal's milk no infant can or ought to be brought up; as ass's milk can be had only exceptionally, and dog's milk, which has been said to cure rachitis, is still less available, the milk of either goat or cow must be utilized. The former ought not to be selected if the latter is within reach, mainly for the reason that it contains, besides other objectionable features which it possesses in common with cow's milk, an enormous percentage of fat. Cow's milk differs in this from woman's milk, that it contains more fat, more casein, more potassium, and less sugar than the latter, and that its very casein is not only different in quantity, but also in chemical properties. Even the reaction of the two milks is not the same, woman's milk being always alkaline, cow's milk often either neutral or amphoteric, and liable to acidulate within a short time. Thus, the dilution of cow's milk with water alone yields no equivalent at all of woman's milk, though the dilution be large enough to reduce the amount of casein in the mixture to the requisite percentage of one, and one only, in a hundred. The addition of sugar (loaf-sugar) and of table-salt, and sometimes alkali (bicarbonate of sodium or lime-water, according to special circumstances), is the least that can be insisted upon. Besides, the cow's milk must be boiled to prevent its turning sour too rapidly, and this process may be repeated to advantage several times in the course of the day. Instead of water, some glutinous substance must be used for the purpose of diluting cow's milk. As its casein coagulates in hard, bulky curds, while woman's milk coagulates in small and soft flakes, some substance ought to be selected which keeps its casein in suspension and prevents it from curdling in firm and large masses. Such substances are gum-arabic, gelatin, and the farinacea. Of the latter, all such must be avoided which contain a large percentage of amylum. The younger the baby, the less is it in a fit condition to digest starch; thus arrowroot, rice, and potatoes ought to be shunned. The very best of all farinacea to be used in diluting cow's milk are barley and oatmeal. A thin decoction of either contains a great deal of both nutritious and glutinous elements, the former to be employed under ordinary circumstances, the latter to take its place where there is, on the part of the baby, an unusual tendency to constipation. The decoction may be made of from one to three teaspoonfuls of either in a pint of water; boil with a little salt, and stir, from twelve to twenty minutes, and strain through a coarse cloth. It ought to be thin and transparent. Then mix with cow's milk in different proportions according to the age of the baby. Four parts of the decoction, quite thin, and one of milk (always with loaf-sugar), for a newly-born, equal parts for an infant of six months, [p. 160]and gradual changes between these two periods, will be found satisfactory. Whenever there is a prevalence of curd in the passage the percentage in the food of cow's milk must be reduced, and now and then such medicinal correctives resorted to as will improve a disturbed digestion. Care ought to be taken lest for the newly-born or quite young the preparations of barley offered for sale contain too much starch. The whiter they are, the more unfit for the use of the very young, for the centre of the grain contains the white and soft amylum in preference to the nitrogenous substances which are found near the husk. Thus, it is safest to grind, on one's own coffee-grinder, the whole barley, but little deprived of its husk, and thus secure the most nutritious part of the grain, which is thrown out by the manufacturer of the ornamental and tidy packages offered for sale. But very few cases will ever occur in which the mixtures I recommend will not be tolerated. In a few of them, in very young infants, the composition recommended by Meigs19 has proved successful. It consists of three parts of a solution of milk-sugar (drachm xvij¾ in pint j of water), two parts of cream, two of lime-water, and one part of milk. For each feeding he recommends three tablespoonfuls of the sugar solution, two of lime-water, two of cream, and one of milk: mix and warm. The baby may take all of it, or one-half, or three-fourths.

Under the head of roborants we subsume such substances, either dietetic or remedial, which are known or believed to add to the ingredients of the organism in a form not requiring a great deal of change. Rachitical infants require them at an early period. Meat-soups, mainly of beef, and of mutton in complications with diarrhoea, ought to be given at once when the diagnosis of rachitis becomes clear or probable. Any mode of preparation will prove beneficial; the best way, however, is to utilize the method used by Liebig in making what he called beef-tea. A quarter of a pound of beef or more, tender and lean, cut up finely, is mixed with a cup or a tumbler of water and from five to seven drops of dilute muriatic acid. Allow it to stand two hours and macerate, while stirring up now and then. This beef-tea can be much improved upon by boiling it a few minutes. It may be given by itself or mixed with sweetened and salted barley-water or the usual mess of barley-water and milk which the infant has been taking before. Older infants, particularly those suffering from diarrhoea, take a teaspoonful of raw beef, cut very fine, several times a day. It ought not to be forgotten, however, [p. 162]that the danger of developing tænia medio-canellata from eating raw beef is rather great. Peptonized beef preparations are valuable in urgent cases.

Cod-liver oil, one-half to one teaspoonful or more, three times a day, is a trusted roborant in rachitis, and will remain so. Animal oils are so much more homogeneous to the animal mucous membrane than vegetable oil that they have but little of the purgative effect observed when the latter are given. The former are readily absorbed, and thus permit the nitrogenous ingesta to remain in store for the formation of new tissue, but still affect the intestinal canal sufficiently to counteract constipation. As the latter is an early symptom in a peculiarly dangerous form of rachitis, cod-liver oil ought to be given in time (in craniotabes). Diarrhoea is but seldom produced by it; if so, the addition of a grain or two of bismuth or a few doses of phosphate of lime (one to four grains each) daily, may suffice to render the movements more normal. There are but few cases which will not tolerate cod-liver oil at all. The pure cod-liver oil—no mixtures, no emulsions—ought to be given...

Ancient History


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