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Counsels on Diet and Foods

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    Chapter 14—Healthful Cookery

    Poor Cooking a Sin

    368. It is a sin to place poorly prepared food on the table, because the matter of eating concerns the well-being of the entire system. The Lord desires His people to appreciate the necessity of having food prepared in such a way that it will not make sour stomachs, and in consequence, sour tempers. Let us remember that there is practical religion in a loaf of good bread.CD 251.1

    A Knowledge of Cookery Worth Ten Talents

    Let not the work of cooking be looked upon as a sort of slavery. What would become of those in our world if all who are engaged in cooking should give up their work with the flimsy excuse that it is not sufficiently dignified? Cooking may be regarded as less desirable than some other lines of work, but in reality it is a science in value above all other sciences. Thus God regards the preparation of healthful food. He places a high estimate on those who do faithful service in preparing wholesome, palatable food. The one who understands the art of properly preparing food, and who uses this knowledge, is worthy of higher commendation than those engaged in any other line of work. This talent should be regarded as equal in value to ten talents; for its right use has much to do with keeping the human organism in health. Because so inseparably connected with life and health, it is the most valuable of all gifts.—Manuscript 95, 1901CD 251.2

    Respect Due the Cook

    369. I prize my seamstress, I value my copyist; but my cook, who knows well how to prepare the food to sustain life and nourish brain, bone, and muscle, fills the most important place among the helpers in my family.—Testimonies for the Church 2:370, 1870CD 251.3

    370. Some who learn to be seamstresses, typesetters, proofreaders, bookkeepers, or school teachers, consider themselves too aristocratic to associate with the cook.CD 252.1

    These ideas have pervaded nearly all classes of society. The cook is made to feel that her occupation is one which places her low in the scale of social life, and that she must not expect to associate with the family on equal terms. Can you be surprised, then, that intelligent girls seek some other employment? Do you marvel that there are so few educated cooks? The only marvel is that there are so many who will submit to such treatment.CD 252.2

    The cook fills an important place in the household. She is preparing food to be taken into the stomach, to form brain, bone, and muscle. The health of all members of the family depends largely upon her skill and intelligence. Household duties will never receive the attention they demand until those who faithfully perform them are held in proper respect.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 74, 1890CD 252.3

    371. There are very many girls who have married and have families, who have but little practical knowledge of the duties devolving upon a wife and mother. They can read, and play upon an instrument of music; but they cannot cook. They cannot make good bread, which is very essential to the health of the family.... To cook well, to present healthful food upon the table in an inviting manner, requires intelligence and experience. The one who prepares the food that is to be placed in our stomachs, to be converted into blood to nourish the system, occupies a most important and elevated position. The position of copyist, dressmaker, or music teacher cannot equal in importance that of the cook.—Testimonies for the Church 3:156-158, 1873CD 252.4

    Every Woman's Duty to Become a Skillful Cook

    372. Our sisters often do not know how to cook. To such I would say, I would go to the very best cook that could be found in the country, and remain there, if necessary, for weeks, until I had become mistress of the art,—an intelligent, skillful cook. I would pursue this course if I were forty years old. It is your duty to know how to cook, and it is your duty to teach your daughters to cook. When you are teaching them the art of cookery, you are building around them a barrier that will preserve them from the folly and vice which they may otherwise be tempted to engage in.—Testimonies for the Church 2:370, 1870CD 252.5

    373. In order to learn how to cook, women should study, and then patiently reduce what they learn to practice. People are suffering because they will not take the trouble to do this. I say to such, It is time for you to rouse your dormant energies, and inform yourselves. Do not think the time wasted which is devoted to obtaining a thorough knowledge and experience in the preparation of healthful, palatable food. No matter how long an experience you have had in cooking, if you still have the responsibilities of a family, it is your duty to learn how to care for them properly.—[Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 49] Counsels on Health, 117, 1890CD 253.1

    Let Men and Women Learn to Cook

    374. Many who adopt the health reform complain that it does not agree with them; but after sitting at their tables I come to the conclusion that it is not the health reform that is at fault, but the poorly prepared food. I appeal to men and women to whom God has given intelligence: Learn how to cook. I make no mistake when I say “men,” for they, as well as women, need to understand the simple, healthful preparation of food. Their business often takes them where they cannot obtain wholesome food. They may be called to remain days and even weeks in families that are entirely ignorant in this respect. Then, if they have the knowledge, they can use it to good purpose.—[Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 56, 57] Counsels on Health, 155, 1890CD 253.2

    Study Health Journals

    375. Those who do not know how to cook hygienically should learn to combine wholesome, nourishing articles of food in such a way as to make appetizing dishes. Let those who desire to gain knowledge in this line subscribe for our health journals. They will find information on this point in them....CD 253.3

    Without continually exercising ingenuity, no one can excel in healthful cookery, but those whose hearts are open to impressions and suggestions from the Great Teacher will learn many things, and will be able also to teach others; for He will give them skill and understanding.—Letter 135, 1902CD 254.1

    Encourage Development of Individual Talent

    376. It is the Lord's design that in every place men and women shall be encouraged to develop their talents by preparing healthful foods from the natural products of their own section of the country. If they look to God, exercising their skill and ingenuity under the guidance of His Spirit, they will learn how to prepare natural products into healthful foods. Thus they will be able to teach the poor how to provide themselves with foods that will take the place of flesh meat. Those thus helped can in turn instruct others. Such a work will yet be done with consecrated zeal and energy. If it had been done before, there would today be many more people in the truth, and many more who could give instruction. Let us learn what our duty is, and then do it. We are not to be dependent and helpless, waiting for others to do the work that God has committed to us.—Testimonies for the Church 7:133, 1902CD 254.2

    A Call for Cooking Schools

    377. Connected with our sanitariums and schools there should be cooking schools, where instruction is given on the proper preparation of food. In all our schools there should be those who are fitted to educate the students, both young men and women, in the art of cooking. Women especially should learn how to cook.—Manuscript 95, 1901CD 254.3

    378. Good service can be done by teaching the people how to prepare healthful food. This line of work is as essential as any that can be taken up. More cooking schools should be established, and some should labor from house to house, giving instruction in the art of cooking wholesome foods.—The Review and Herald, June 6, 1912CD 254.4

    [See “Cooking Schools” in Section XXV]

    Health Reform and Good Cooking

    379. One reason why many have become discouraged in practicing health reform is that they have not learned how to cook so that proper food, simply prepared, would supply the place of the diet to which they have been accustomed. They become disgusted with the poorly prepared dishes, and next we hear them say that they have tried the health reform, and cannot live in that way. Many attempt to follow out meager instructions in health reform, and make such sad work that it results in injury to digestion, and in discouragement to all concerned in the attempt. You profess to be health reformers, and for this very reason you should become good cooks. Those who can avail themselves of the advantages of properly conducted hygienic cooking schools, will find it a great benefit, both in their own practice and in teaching others.—[Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 119] Counsels on Health, 450, 451, 1890CD 255.1

    Changing From a Meat Diet

    380. We advise you to change your habits of living; but while you do this we caution you to move understandingly. I am acquainted with families who have changed from a meat diet to one that is impoverished. Their food is so poorly prepared that the stomach loathes it, and such have told me that the health reform did not agree with them; that they were decreasing in physical strength. Here is one reason why some have not been successful in their efforts to simplify their food. They have a poverty-stricken diet. Food is prepared without painstaking and there is a continual sameness. There should not be many kinds at any one meal, but all meals should not be composed of the same kinds of food without variation. Food should be prepared with simplicity, yet with a nicety which will invite the appetite. You should keep grease out of your food. It defiles any preparation of food you may make. Eat largely of fruits and vegetables.—Testimonies for the Church 2:63, 1868CD 255.2

    381. The proper cooking of food is a most important accomplishment. Especially where meat is not made a principal article of food is good cooking an essential requirement. Something must be prepared to take the place of meat, and these substitutes for meat must be well prepared, so that meat will not be desired.—Letter 60a, 1896CD 256.1

    382. It is the positive duty of physicians to educate, educate, educate, by pen and voice, all who have the responsibility of preparing food for the table.—Letter 73a, 1896CD 256.2

    383. We need persons who will educate themselves to cook healthfully. Many know how to cook meats and vegetables in different forms, who yet do not understand how to prepare simple and appetizing dishes.—The Youth's Instructor, May 31, 1894CD 256.3

    [Tasteless Dishes—324, 327]

    [Camp Meeting Demonstrations—763]

    [The Need for Meat Substitute Pointed out in 1884—720]

    [Skillful Arrangement of Bounties, An Aid in Health Reform—710]

    [Tact and Discernment Required in Work of Giving Instruction in Meatless Cookery—816]

    Poor Cooking a Cause of Disease

    384. For want of knowledge and skill in regard to cooking, many a wife and mother daily sets before her family ill-prepared food, which is steadily and surely impairing the digestive organs, and making a poor quality of blood; the result is, frequent attacks of inflammatory disease, and sometimes death....CD 256.4

    We can have a variety of good, wholesome food, cooked in a healthful manner, so that it will be palatable to all. It is of vital importance to know how to cook. Poor cooking produces disease and bad tempers; the system becomes deranged, and heavenly things cannot be discerned. There is more religion in good cooking than you have any idea of. When I have been away from home sometimes, I have known that the bread upon the table, as well as most of the other food, would hurt me; but I would be obliged to eat a little in order to sustain life. It is a sin in the sight of Heaven to have such food.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 156-158, 1890CD 256.5

    Appropriate Epitaphs

    385. Scanty, ill-cooked food depraves the blood by weakening the blood-making organs. It deranges the system, and brings on disease, with its accompaniment of irritable nerves and bad tempers. The victims of poor cookery are numbered by thousands and tens of thousands. Over many graves might be written: “Died because of poor cooking;” “Died of an abused stomach.”—The Ministry of Healing, 302, 303, 1905CD 257.1

    Souls Lost Because of Poor Cooking

    It is sacred duty for those who cook to learn how to prepare healthful food. Many souls are lost as the result of poor cookery. It takes thought and care to make good bread; but there is more religion in a loaf of good bread than many think. There are few really good cooks. Young women think that it is menial to cook and do other kinds of housework; and for this reason, many girls who marry and have the care of families have little idea of the duties devolving upon a wife and mother.CD 257.2

    No Mean Science

    Cooking is no mean science and it is one of the most essential in practical life. It is a science that all women should learn, and it should be taught in a way to benefit the poorer classes. To make food appetizing and at the same time simple and nourishing, requires skill; but it can be done. Cooks should know how to prepare simple food in a simple and healthful manner, and so that it will be found more palatable, as well as more wholesome, because of its simplicity.CD 257.3

    Every woman who is at the head of a family and yet does not understand the art of healthful cookery should determine to learn that which is so essential to the well-being of her household. In many places hygienic cooking schools afford opportunity for instruction in this line. She who has not the help of such facilities should put herself under the instruction of some good cook, and persevere in her efforts for improvement until she is mistress of the culinary art.CD 257.4

    [Cooking A Most Valuable Art Because So Closely Connected with Life—817]

    Study Economy

    386. In every line of cooking the question that should be considered is, “How shall the food be prepared in the most natural and inexpensive manner?” And there should be careful study that the fragments of food left over from the table be not wasted. Study how, that in some way these fragments of food shall not be lost. This skill, economy, and tact is a fortune. In the warmer parts of the season, prepare less food. Use more dry substance. There are many poor families, who, although they have scarcely enough to eat, can often be enlightened as to why they are poor; there are so many jots and tittles wasted.—Manuscript 3, 1897CD 258.1

    Lives Sacrificed to Fashionable Eating

    387. With many, the all-absorbing object of life—that which justifies any expenditure of labor—is to appear in the latest style. Education, health, and comfort are sacrificed at the shrine of fashion. Even in the table arrangements, fashion and show exert their baleful influence. The healthful preparation of food becomes a secondary matter. The serving of a great variety of dishes absorbs time, money, and taxing labor, without accomplishing any good. It may be fashionable to have half a dozen courses at a meal, but the custom is ruinous to health. It is a fashion that sensible men and women should condemn, by both precept and example. Do have a little regard for the life of your cook. “Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”CD 258.2

    In these days, domestic duties claim almost the whole time of the housekeeper. How much better it would be for the health of the household, if the table preparations were more simple. Thousands of lives are sacrificed every year at this altar,—lives which might have been prolonged had it not been for this endless round of manufactured duties. Many a mother goes down to the grave, who, had her habits been simple, might have lived to be a blessing in the home, the church, and the world.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 73, 1890CD 258.3

    [Evils of the Course System—218]

    The Choice and Preparation of Foods Important

    388. The large amount of cooking done is not at all necessary. Neither should there be any poverty-stricken diet either in quality or quantity.—Letter 72, 1896CD 259.1

    389. It is important that the food should be prepared with care, that the appetite, when not perverted, can relish it. Because we from principle discard the use of meat, butter, mince pies, spices, lard, and that which irritates the stomach and destroys health, the idea should never be given that it is of but little consequence what we eat.—Testimonies for the Church 2:367, 1870CD 259.2

    390. It is wrong to eat merely to gratify the appetite, but no indifference should be manifested regarding the quality of the food, or the manner of its preparation. If the food eaten is not relished, the body will not be so well nourished. The food should be carefully chosen and prepared with intelligence and skill.—The Ministry of Healing, 300, 1905CD 259.3

    The Stereotyped Breakfast

    391. I would pay a higher price for a cook than for any other part of my work.... If that person is not apt and has no skill in cooking, you will see, as we have in our experience, the stereotyped breakfast,—porridge, as it is called,—we call it mush, baker's bread, and some kind of sauce, and that is all with the exception of a little milk. Now those after eating in this kind of way for months, knowing what will appear before them at every meal, come to dread the hour which should be interesting to them, as the dreaded period of the day. I suppose you will not understand all this until you have experienced it. But I am really perplexed over this matter. Were I to act over the preparation in coming to this place, I would say, Give me an experienced cook, who has some inventive powers, to prepare simple dishes healthfully, and that will not disgust the appetite.—Letter 19c, 1892CD 259.4

    Study and Practice

    392. Many do not feel that this [Cooking] is a matter of duty, hence they do not try to prepare food properly. This can be done in a simple, healthful, and easy manner, without the use of lard, butter, or flesh meats. Skill must be united with simplicity. To do this, women must read, and then patiently reduce what they read to practice. Many are suffering because they will not take the trouble to do this. I say to such, It is time for you to rouse your dormant energies and read up. Learn how to cook with simplicity, and yet in a manner to secure the most palatable and healthful food.CD 260.1

    Because it is wrong to cook merely to please the taste, or to suit the appetite, no one should entertain the idea that an impoverished diet is right. Many are debilitated with disease, and need a nourishing, plentiful, well-cooked diet....—Testimonies for the Church 1:681-685, 1868CD 260.2

    An Important Branch of Education

    It is a religious duty for those who cook to learn how to prepare healthful food in different ways, so that it may be eaten with enjoyment. Mothers should teach their children how to cook. What branch of the education of a young lady can be so important as this? The eating has to do with the life. Scanty, impoverished, ill-cooked food is constantly depraving the blood, by weakening the blood-making organs. It is highly essential that the art of cookery be considered one of the most important branches of education. There are but few good cooks. Young ladies consider that it is stooping to a menial office to become a cook. This is not the case. They do not view the subject from a right standpoint. Knowledge of how to prepare food healthfully, especially bread, is no mean science....CD 260.3

    Mothers neglect this branch in the education of their daughters. They take the burden of care and labor, and are fast wearing out, while the daughter is excused, to visit, to crochet, or study her own pleasure. This is mistaken love, mistaken kindness. The mother is doing an injury to her child, which frequently lasts her lifetime. At the age when she should be capable of bearing some of life's burdens, she is unqualified to do so. Such will not take care and burdens. They go light-loaded, excusing themselves from responsibilities, while the mother is pressed down under her burden of care, as a cart beneath sheaves. The daughter does not mean to be unkind, but she is careless and heedless, or she would notice the tired look, and mark the expression of pain upon the countenance of the mother, and would seek to do her part, to bear the heavier part of the burden, and relieve the mother, who must have freedom from care, or be brought upon a bed of suffering, and it may be, of death.CD 261.1

    Why will mothers be so blind and negligent in the education of their daughters? I have been distressed, as I have visited different families, to see the mother bearing the heavy burdens, while the daughter, who manifested buoyancy of spirit, and had a good degree of health and vigor, felt no care, no burden. When there are large gatherings, and families are burdened with company, I have seen the mother bearing the burden, with care of everything upon her, while the daughters are sitting down chatting with young friends, having a social visit. These things seem so wrong to me that I can hardly forbear speaking to the thoughtless youth, and telling them to go to work. Release your tired mother. Lead her to a seat in the parlor, and urge her to rest and enjoy the society of her friends.CD 261.2

    But the daughters are not the ones to be blamed wholly in this matter. The mother is at fault. She has not patiently taught her daughters how to cook. She knows that they lack knowledge in the cooking department, and therefore feels no release from the labor. She must attend to everything that requires care, thought, and attention. Young ladies should be thoroughly instructed in cooking. Whatever may be their circumstances in life, here is knowledge which may be put to a practical use. It is a branch of education which has the most direct influence upon human life, especially the lives of those held most dear.CD 261.3

    Many a wife and mother who has not had the right education, and lacks skill in the cooking department, is daily presenting her family with ill-prepared food, which is steadily and surely destroying the digestive organs, making a poor quality of blood, and frequently bringing on acute attacks of inflammatory disease, and causing premature death....CD 262.1

    Encourage the Learners

    It is a religious duty for every Christian girl and woman to learn at once to make good, sweet, light bread from unbolted wheat flour. Mothers should take their daughters into the kitchen with them when very young, and teach them the art of cooking. The mother cannot expect her daughters to understand the mysteries of housekeeping without education. She should instruct them patiently, lovingly, and make the work as agreeable as she can by her cheerful countenance and encouraging words of approval. If they fail once, twice, or thrice, censure not. Already discouragement is doing its work, and tempting them to say, “It is of no use; I can't do it.” This is not the time for censure. The will is becoming weakened. It needs the spur of encouraging, cheerful, hopeful words, as, “Never mind the mistakes you have made. You are but a learner, and must expect to make blunders. Try again. Put your mind on what you are doing. Be very careful, and you will certainly succeed.”CD 262.2

    Many mothers do not realize the importance of this branch of knowledge, and rather than have the trouble and care of instructing their children and bearing with their failings and errors while learning, they prefer to do all themselves. And when their daughters make a failure in their efforts, they send them away with, “It is no use, you can't do this or that. You perplex and trouble me more than you help me.”CD 262.3

    Thus the first efforts of the learners are repulsed, and the first failure so cools their interest and ardor to learn that they dread another trial, and will propose to sew, knit, clean house, anything but cook. Here the mother was greatly at fault. She should have patiently instructed them, that they might, by practice, obtain an experience which would remove the awkwardness and remedy the unskillful movements of the inexperienced worker.CD 262.4

    Cooking Lessons More Essential Than Music

    393. Some are called to what are looked upon as humble duties—it may be, to cook. But the science of cooking is not a small matter. The skillful preparation of food is one of the most essential arts, standing above music teaching or dressmaking. By this I do not mean to discount music teaching or dressmaking, for they are essential. But more important still is the art of preparing food so that it is both healthful and appetizing. This art should be regarded as the most valuable of all the arts, because it is so closely connected with life. It should receive more attention; for in order to make good blood, the system requires good food. The foundation of that which keeps people in health is the medical missionary work of good cooking.CD 263.1

    Often health reform is made health deform by the unpalatable preparation of food. The lack of knowledge regarding healthful cookery must be remedied before health reform is a success.CD 263.2

    Good cooks are few. Many, many mothers need to take lessons in cooking, that they may set before the family well-prepared, neatly served food.CD 263.3

    Before children take lessons on the organ or the piano they should be given lessons in cooking. The work of learning to cook need not exclude music, but to learn music is of less importance than to learn how to prepare food that is wholesome and appetizing.—Manuscript 95, 1901CD 263.4

    394. Your daughters may love music, and this may be all right; it may add to the happiness of the family; but the knowledge of music without the knowledge of cookery, is not worth much. When your daughters have families of their own, an understanding of music and fancywork will not provide for the table a well-cooked dinner, prepared with nicety, so that they will not blush to place it before their most esteemed friends. Mothers, yours is a sacred work. May God help you to take it up with His glory in view, and work earnestly, patiently, and lovingly, for the present and future good of your children, having an eye single to the glory of God.—Testimonies for the Church 2:538, 539, 1870CD 263.5

    [Irregular Eating and “Picked up” Meals When the Family Are Alone—284]

    Teach the Mysteries of Cooking

    395. Do not neglect to teach your children how to cook. In so doing, you impart to them principles which they must have in their religious education. In giving your children lessons in physiology, and teaching them how to cook with simplicity and yet with skill, you are laying the foundation for the most useful branches of education. Skill is required to make good light bread. There is religion in good cooking, and I question the religion of that class who are too ignorant and too careless to learn to cook....CD 264.1

    Poor cookery is slowly wearing away the life energies of thousands. It is dangerous to health and life to eat at some tables the heavy, sour bread, and the other food prepared in keeping with it. Mothers, instead of seeking to give your daughters a musical education, instruct them in these useful branches which have the closest connection with life and health. Teach them all the mysteries of cooking. Show them that this is a part of their education, and essential for them in order to become Christians. Unless the food is prepared in a wholesome, palatable manner, it cannot be converted into good blood, to build up the wasting tissues.—Testimonies for the Church 2:537, 538, 1870CD 264.2

    [An Attempt to Make Sugar Supply the Place of Good Cooking—527]

    [Influence of the Table on Temperance Principle—351, 354]

    [If Digestion Is Taxed, an Investigation Is Needed—445]

    [Less Cooking, More Natural Foods—466, 546]

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