Years ago I used to get an excellent powdered milk from a New York outfitter. It dissolved readily, was quite creamy rich, and had none of the scalded taste that one notices in most brands of evaporated milk. Then it went out of the market, and I have looked for it in vain. It was made of whole milk, retaining the butter fat. That was why it was rich, and that is why it was not a commercial success, for it would not keep well in storage — the fatty part would turn rancid, or at least grow stale.
I do not know of any but skim milk powder? now on sale, excepting certain high-priced ones sold as food for infants or invalids, and none of these has the fresh milk flavor of the kind I got from the outfitter. However, skim milk powder is useful in cooking, and I would carry it where evaporated milk would be too heavy.
This is another " soft " thing that pays its freight. Look up its nutritive value in the table already given.
There is a western firm that puts up very good butter hermetically sealed in 2-lb. cans. It will keep indefinitely.
For ordinary trips it suffices to pack butter firmly into pry-up tin cans which have been sterilized by thorough scalding and then cooled in a perfectly clean place. Keep it in a spring or in cold running water (hung in a net, or weighted with a rock) whenever you can. When traveling, wrap the cold can in a towel or other insulating material.
If I had to cut out either lard or butter, I would keep the butter. It serves all the purposes of lard in cooking, is wholesomer, and, beyond that, it is the most concentrated source of energy that one can use with impunity.
Cheese has nearly twice the fuel value of a porterhouse steak of equal weight, and it contains a fourth more protein. It is popularly supposed to be hard to digest, but in reality is not so, if used in moderation. The best kind for campers is potted cheese, or cream or " snappy " cheese put up in tin foil. If not so protected from air it soon dries out and grows stale. A tin of imported Camembert will be a pleasant surprise on some occasion.
It is well to carry enough yeast bread for two or three days, until the game country is reached and camp routine is established. To kee; it fresh, each loaf must be sealed up in waxed papu or parchment paper (the latter is best, because it is tough, waterproof, grease-proof). Bread freezes easily; for cold-weather luncheons carry toasted bread.
Hardtack (pilot bread, ship biscuit) can be recommended only for such trips or cruises as do not permit baking. It is a cracker prepared of plair; flour and water, not even salted, and kiln-dried to a chip, so as to keep indefinitely, its only enemies being weevils. Get the coarsest grade. To make hardtack palatable, toast it until crisp, or soak in hot coffee and butter it, or at least salt it.
Swedish hardtack, made of whole rye flour, is good for a change.
Plasmon biscuit, imported from England, is the most nutritious breadstuff I have ever used. It is a round cracker, firm but not hard, of good flavor, containing a large percentage of the protein of milk, six of the small biscuits holding as much proteid as a quarter of a pound of beef. Plasmon will be discussed in Volume II, under Emergency Rations.
Graham and entire-wheat flours contain more protein than patent flour, but this is offset by the fact that it is not so digestible as the protein of standard flour. Practically there is little or no difference between them in the amount of protein assimilated. The same seems to be true of their mineral ingredients.
Many campers depend a good deal on self-raising flour because it saves a little trouble in mixing. But such flour is easily spoiled by dampness, it does not make as good biscuit or flapjacks as one can turn out in camp by doing his own mixing, and it will not do for thickening, dredging, etc.
Flour and meal should be sifted before starting on an expedition: there will be no sieve in camp.
Get the best, made with pure cream of tartar. It costs more than the alum powders, and does not go so far, bulk for bulk; but it is much kinder to the stomach. Baking soda will not be needed on short trips, but is required for longer ones, in making sour-dough, as a steady diet of baking-powder bread or biscuit will ruin the stomach, if persisted in for a considerable time. Soda also is useful medicinally.
Some like yellow, some prefer white. The flavor of freshly ground meal is best, but the ordinary- granulated meal of commerce keeps better, because it has been kiln-dried. Corn meal should not be used as the leading breadstuff, for reasons already given, but johnny-cake, corn pancakes, and mush, are a welcome change from hot wheat bread or biscuit, and the average novice at cooking may succeed better with them. The meal is useful to roll fish in, before frying.
These according to taste, and for variety sake. Plain cereals, particularly oat meal, require long cooking, either in a double boiler or with constant stirring, to make them digestible; and then there is a messy pot to clean up. They do more harm than good to campers who hurry their cooking. So it is best to buy the partially cooked cereals that take only a few minutes to prepare. Otherwise the " patent breakfast foods" have no more nutritive quality than plain grain; some of them not so much. The notion that bran has remarkable food value is a delusion: it actually makes the protein of the grain less digestible. As for mineral matter, to " build up bone and teeth and brawn," there is enough of it in almost any mixed diet, without swallowing a lot of crude fiber.
Rice, although not very appetising by itself, combines so well in stews or the like, and goes so well in pudding, that it deserves a place in the commissariat.