Again, an emergency ration should contain some component that digests rather slowly, or it soon will leave a feeling of emptiness in the stomach—it will not "stick to the ribs" like one that takes several hours to become assimilated. Moreover, the stomach craves bulk as well as nutriment—there should be something to swell up and distend it. This is important, for, if condensation be carried too far, it defeats its own purpose. If we could concentrate a thousand calories of food energy into a single tablet, a man would not feel that he had eaten anything after taking it.

Bread Substitutes

The main difficulty in compounding a good emergency ration is in getting a concentrated substitute for bread. The Germans have experimented with flour or grits made from peanuts. It is claimed that a pound of peanut flour contains as much nutritive material as three pounds of beef or two of peas. It can be made into porridge or into biscuits. Its flavor is pleasant in either a cooked or a raw state. Whether its nutrients are easily and completely utilized by the system has not, so far as I know, been proven.

As for meal made from beans or peas, it is not easily digested, and it tends to putrify in the alimentary canal. (A method of desiccating baked beans is given in Vol. I, p. 368).

Hardtack may be considered a proper component of an emergency ration, because it is a concentrated bread that does not spoil. The best way to use it, when facilities permit, is to break it up and add it to hot soup or coffee, or pour hot water over it, pepper and salt, and eat with bacon grease.

Plasmon biscuit (see Vol. I., p. 192) are morf palatable than hardtack and more nutritious, but expensive. In appearance they resemble round Educator crackers. Half a dozen of them, with a small cake of chocolate, make a satisfying lunch. Plasmon itself is the proteid of milk in powdered form, containing 80% of pure protein. It may be used either dry or dissolved in water. When sprinkled dry over any kind of food, or cooked in with cereals, bread, soups, etc., it adds very much to the nutritive value without altering the flavor of the food.

Various kinds of meat biscuits have been tried out most thoroughly by troops and travelers, but without satisfaction. Kipling said, "compressed vegetables and meat biscuits may be nourishing, but what Tommy Atkins needs is bulk in his inside." In this he was doing the vegetables injustice, for, when cooked, they do swell up and fill one's inside.

Condensed Soups

Nearly all go-light outfits include a supply of compressed soups. Some of these are of good flavor, others are of what Stewart Edward White calls the "dishwater brand." He recommends Knorr's pea, bean, lentil, rice, onion (none of the others), and particularly Maggi's green pea and lentil. Of bouillon capsules he says that "they serve to flavor hot water, and that is about?' all." I agree with him throughout. Maggi's soups are packed in tin-foil before putting on the paper wrapper. This excludes moisture, but I have found that it will not keep out the industrious weevil. Condensed soups have their uses, chiefly as pick-me-ups; but they do not by any means contain enough nourishment to furnish a hungry man's meal. I mention them here only as a warning against putting confidence in them for any such purpose.

Bouillon cubes, etc., are much worse, in this respect. Properly they are nothing but condiments or appetizers for healthy people and mild stimulants for the sick. Their actual food value has been determined by the Bureau of Chemistry of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, which was led to investigate the matter because "these articles are erroneously believed to be convenient forms of concentrated meat". {fen different brands of commercial bouillon cubes v.-ere analyzed, with the result that the best showed 627o salt, 5.25% water and fat, 28% meat extract, 4.7570 plant extract, and from this they ranged on down to the poorest, with 72% salt, 8.5% water and ;fat, 8.17% meat extract, 11.33% plant extract. The plant extract " is useful because of its flavoring properties, but has slight, if any, -nutritive value." As for the semi-solid meat extracts sold in jars, the chemist reported that they "are not concentrated beef. They are stimulants and flavoring adjuncts, and have only a slight food value, owing to the small amount of protein (muscle-building food) which they contain".

On the other hand, one can make for himself a real meat extract, in which much of the nourishment of beef or veal or venison is concentrated in the form of little cubes of a gluey consistency from wdiich a strengthening soup can quickly be prepared.

Take a leg of young beef, veal, or venison (old meat will not jelly easily). Pare off every bit of fat and place the lean meat in a large pot. Boil it steadily and gently for seven or eight hours, until the meat is reduced to rags, skimming off, from time !to time, the grease that arises. Then pour this strong broth into a large, wide stew-pan, place it over a moderate fire, and let it simmer gently until it comes to a thick jelly. When it gets so thick that there may be danger of scorching it, place the vessel over boiling water, and stir it very frequently until, when cold, it will have the consistency of glue. Cut this substance into small cubes and lay them singly where they can become thoroughly dry. Or, if you prefer, run the jelly into sausage skins and tie up the ends. A cube or thick slice of this glaze, dissolved in hot water, makes an excellent soup. A small piece allowed to melt in one's mouth is strengthening on the march.

This is a very old recipe, being mentioned in Byrd's History of the Dividing Line, and recommended along with rockahominy. The above can be made in camp, when opportunity offers, thus laying in enough concentrated soup stock to last a month, which is quite convenient, as it takes at least half a day to make good soup from the raw materials, and these are not always at hand when most wanted.