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Graeve, Oscar (ed.) / Delineator
Vol. 117, No. 2 (August, 1930)

Batchelder, Anne; Batchelder, Dr. Esther Lord
The care and feeding of husbands,   p. 33 PDF (824.7 KB)

Page 33

AUGUST, 1930
A. B. You know, it seems to me that children have
had all the best of it from the angle of scientific advice and
instruction to mothers on care and feeding, but I've been
wondering why you don't do a little advising on the care
and feeding of husbands. After all, the husband is pretty
important to the family, and so far as I have observed, he
doesn't rate too high when it comes to the matter of feed-
ing him with something of the same care expended on the
children. I'll wager that more than one big business deal
has fallen down and a lot of promotions gone by the
board just because some man wasn't feeling up to par.
This makes me think there's something in this feeding
business. What do you think of the idea?
E. L. B. I think it's good. It is true, as you say, that
many a child is already benefiting by what his mother his
learned about his nutritional needs. I believe a husband,
too, would profit if his wife studied and applied a righ-t
system of care and feeding for him.
A. B. But perhaps he wouldn't like it. Men hate to be
fussed about, don't you think?
E. L. B. She would need to be diplomatic, perhaps, but
she shouldn't and needn't do much talking about it.
A. B. You agree with me, don't you, on the point about
jobs and business deals and men feeling low because of
wrong food or food eaten under wrong conditions?
E. L. B. Yes, I do, and as you say, husbands are im-
portant, and in more than an economic way. Speaking of
economics, I don't believe people realize the economic
effect of illness on the business of life, nor that much loss
from illness comes because the lives of so many men don't
consistently provide for proper food and rest as well as
recreation and exercise.
A. B. Well, I think a wife can see to it that her husband
is fed right, at the same time making him want to eat the
food that's best for him-through paying plenty of at-
tention to the appetite appeal, setting the stage right,
you know, and making the food not only correct from the
standpoint of nutrition, but so colorful and enticing that
he won't rebel because he thinks he's getting only what's
good for him. However, he shouldn't know too much
about that. It would queer the whole thing.
E. L. B. Yes, the wife can see that her husband gets
sufficient food of the right kind, and enough relaxation
and peace in the home so that he will look forward to his
meals, no matter what food prejudices he may have.
A. B. This interests me more and more. But what I
want to know is how she will do it. I'm looking for a sort
of bill of particulars. It's well enough to say, "Right
food and enough of it," but what food, and why?
E. L. B. That isn't so hard to answer. If she serves well
planned meals, tempting to the eye and also good to eat,
she can adapt her menus to his special needs. For in-
stance, if he is too thin, he needs starches, fats and
sugars along with the vegetables, milk and fruits. Or, if
he is too fat, she can help him cut down on the non-
essential, fat-forming foods, at the same time seeing that
he gets plenty of vegetables, milk and fruits, which spell
minerals and vitamins, and which are necessary to a man
as well as to a child if he is to function perfectly-both
physically and mentally.
A. B. Men who eat away from home a good deal would
soon undo all this good work, wouldn't they-unless they
cooperated on the right diet scheme with their wives?
E. L. B. Yes, but this handicap could be overcome if
the husbands were interested enough to find out what
they ought to eat, and also if wives made an effort to
find out what kind of meals their husbands got else-
where. Then they could plan more intelligently, so that
home meals would make up for deficiencies without
taking away everything men like and want to eat.
A. B. This is fine, but you haven't given me a very
good brief yet.
E. L. B. You want to know what the husband should
eat, and I can tell you in a general way, even though the
physical characteristics of the individual have to be taken
into account. Sometime during the day he should have
a pint of milk. It may be taken on cereal, as a beverage,
or in milk soups or desserts. Most any food that in-
cludes milk could account for that pint. He should have
two servings of fruit a day, too, and one of these ought to
be orange juice or grapefruit or tomato juice, but this is
easy, for every one likes one of these for breakfast, any-
way. The other fruit serving may be had at any meal
and in any liked way.
A. B. He'll want fruit if his wife does right by it.
Fruit juices, cold and fresh, with their faint bouquet,
can be made lovely in crystal and clear glass. And there
are a thousand ways to make fruits so beautiful and so
good that I can't imagine any man turning them down.
E. L. B. Then you know how we are always talking
about vegetables. And really they are about as import-
ant as anything. If I were to give you a rule to go by,
I'd say two good servings of vegetables besides pota-
toes every day is first-rate advice. Under most circum-
stances it is better to have servings of two different
vegetables, but this is not necessary. However, you will
approve of this-a variety from day to day should be
provided. A green salad every day is, of course, de-
sirable, and green leaf vegetables like spinach have an
important place.
A. B. You are getting good now, and I think of
another question. Supposing that wives attend to all
this, how can one go about building up or shading down,
be her husband too thin or inclined to an attention-com-
pelling waistline?
E. L. B. If he weighs about what he should, a wife
knows that he is getting the amount of fat-forming foods
he ought to have, and that if she is providing the fruits
and vegetables and a pint of milk a day, she needn't
worry over the fat-forming foods such as bread, cereals,
fats and sweets. But if he is too thin, she must try to
increase the amounts of these foods, and try to get more
rest for him as well. Here she can serve breads and
desserts, cream and well-buttered vegetables, and have a
clear conscience. But if there is a tendency to over-
weight, what she has to look out for is exactly the op-
posite. She really doesn't have to serve bread at every
meal. She should see that vegetables aren't too liberally
buttered, and as for rich sauces, gravies and starchy
foods, they are distinctly out of it. He will need one
serving of protein food, such as eggs, meat or cheese every
day, but she can make sure it is lean instead of fat meat
or cottage cheese instead of the "full cream" varieties.
She can have fruits and leave out sweets for desserts and
serve plenty of celery, lettuce and crisp greens, which
are bulky but not fattening, and go a long way toward
helping out the meal in this case.
A. B. A good working plan, if you ask me-and you
know I think that all the things you've been talking about
can be made just as good and just as attractive as the
most highly evolved rich food. You know my favorite
theory, that this food and feeding game is largely a
matter of seasoning, flavoring, good cooking and beauti-
ful appearance, and with this in mind I think any
woman can feed her husband rightly without a protest
from him-particularly if he didn't know it was being done.
E. L. B. But there is more to the subject than just food.
The matter of rest and relaxation comes in here, and the
question of sleep and recreation. All these are involved
in the care-not to mention the feeding-of husbands!
A. B. Oh, well, I have written reams about the
leisurely meal, the diversion of conversation, the making
of the meal-time a pleasure-haunted memory, and if that
is what you mean, I'm for it.
E. L. B. Exactly what I mean. And for the man who
comes home tired, a chance to rest and relax even for a
few minutes before dinner will prepare him to enjoy the
pleasant meal-time you have outlined. This is not
usually difficult to accomplish at dinner. But sometimes
breakfast is a hard proposition. A leisurely breakfast
schedule is much to be desired, and any wife who can
manage to get both her family and her breakfast to the
table early enough to avoid the usual hurried meal and
dash to the train is a real help to her husband.
A. B. One thing you haven't spoken of, but I'm
going to. It always seemed to me that the last place to
bring up a little matter of bills, unpleasant news, bicker-
ing and fussing about this and that, was at the table.
So I'm for fun at meals, and no bills!
E. L. B. You are right about this. A pleasant at-
mosphere not only helps digestion but the disposition, too,
and does a great deal toward maintaining morale, both
physically and mentally. That is an accepted fact.
A. B. I suppose sleep-just to jog your memory about
what you said was an important consideration-is pretty
well dependent on the individual, isn't it?
E. L. B. Well, people do differ somewhat, but, in
general, eight hours sleep for husbands-and for wives,
too. Perhaps the husband may not think he needs it.
But it is a good rule, just the same. Eight hours of sleep,
and what a difference it makes! So, with the right food,
recreation, rest, pleasant leisure, exercise-if the husband
and father has these, he has a tremendous advantage.
A. B. He ought to. But before you and I continue this
discourse, let's see what's in the refrigerator. And let's
go out in the garden. I thought I heard a mocking-bird.

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