A well-made beef broth contains more nutriment than the old-fashioned beef tea, and is therefore the best of the many nourishing formulas known to the sick-room.
In appearance, also, the broth is far superior to the tea, which is a very important factor in the diet for the sick.
The choicest piece of meat for broth is a neck piece. Chop bone and meat quite small, and see to it that there is about one third bone to two thirds meat. Put into a gallon crock or jar one pound of the meat, and add a quart of cold water ; cover the jar with a plate, and place it in a deep saucepan of water. Simmer for four hours, strain into a smaller saucepan, and boil until reduced nearly one half; remove every particle of fat or scum. Now comes the all-important question of seasoning, wherein we are necessarily obliged to consult the fastidious tastes of the invalid. Celery-salt or a stalk of celery allowed to simmer in the broth is acceptable, and the best mode of adding pepper (when it is allowed) is to let a red-pepper pod remain in the broth for a moment or two. Ground pepper is objectionable for various reasons. Dyspeptic patients are very apt to crave seasonings that cannot be taken with impunity. To serve beef broth, care must be exercised that it is not too hot ; half a cupful at a time is all that should be served.
Have the dealer cut a thin slice of rump steak, remove the fat, and singe the outside slightly, then scrape it into shreds with a knife. Warm the beef-press by pouring hot water over it, dry it, and with it press out the juice into glass or cup. Place the cup in warm water, and allow the juice to become quite warm, and add a little salt. A warmed lemon-squeezer may be used instead of the press.
Rump steak is recommended because it contains more flavor than other cuts.
As the old-fashioned beef tea is sometimes recommended, we give the following recipe for its preparation : Shred half a pound of lean steak, let it stand in a pint of cold water for three quarters of an hour, then put both into a quart champagne bottle. Cut a long slit in the cork before placing it in the bottle. Set the bottle in a saucepan of warm water, simmer one hour and a half, and strain through a napkin into a goblet. Now add a teaspoonful of finely shredded raw, lean beef, let stand a few moments, add a little salt and serve.
This and other extracts are often recommended by physicians.
A singular fact in connection with this extract is that the extract made in Texas by this firm is, in the opinion of some of our leading physicians, worthless as nutriment, while the extract made in South America, by the same company, is highly recommended.
The author, being somewhat surprised that there should be a difference, made inquiries and learned that to the flesh of every two vacd (fat cow) was added a third of the flesh of a segua, or mare, in making the extract. These animals feed on esportillo, which is a thin, reed-like grass, said to be very fattening. The extract made in the United States is prepared from beef only.
Is there more nutriment in the flesh of the horse than in that of the cow ?
Mutton Broth. -Although mutton possesses a lower degree of nutritive value than beef, it is nevertheless one of the most important of animal foods, being easily digested.
Like beef, the neck part of mutton is most appropriate for the making of broth. Trim off the surplus fat from the piece of meat, and to a pound of the lean (with bone added) add a quart of cold water ; simmer gently for two hours, strain, and let it become cold. When wanted remove every particle of fat. Put a small quantity of it in a saucepan, and allow it to become quite hot ; salt slightly, and allow a red-pepper pod to remain in it for a moment. Have ready a small quantity of boiled rice, add it to the broth, and let stand a few moments before serving. A very small piece of onion is sometimes added to the meat when first cooked to destroy the peculiar mutton flavor which is so objectionable to many patients.
Veal, although less nutritive than either beef or mutton, and less digestive, is sometimes recommended, owing to its having a laxative action. The broth is prepared in a similar wray to mutton broth.
"The domestic chicken," says Barthalow, " is a most important article of food for sick and convalescents. The taste is agreeable, the tissues soft and easy of mastication and digestion. Spring chickens are more tender and delicate than the fully developed fowls of four to six months old. Next to the chicken in point of digestibility is the domestic turkey, and after this the domestic goose and duck." Cut up half a chicken into neat pieces ; add a quart of cold water and a small piece of celery ; cover and boil slowly for two hours. Then remove all fat carefully, strain, add salt, and serve. If rice is used, boil it with the chicken, and add it half an hour before the chicken is cooked.
The peculiar flavor of scallops is quite atrractive to the convalescent, and a broth made from them is nourishing ; but care should be exercised in selecting the shell fish. To improve their appearance, shippers add quantities of salaeratus to the scallops, which has the effect of bleaching them and increasing their size ; this custom may please the dealers, but not consumers. Select medium-sized scallops of a natural creamy color, wash them, and cut them into small pieces. To a half a pint of these add half a pint of warm water and half a pint of milk, a " pea" of butter, and a pinch of salt ; simmer for twenty minutes ; strain and serve.
A pint of milk and no water may be used if the patient desires it.