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The Day's food in war and peace
([ca.1918])

Lesson IV: [Conservation of fat and sugar],   pp. 41-53 PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 44

stitutes have in some degree the value of butter fat. Others are prepared
en- 
tirely from vegetable oils. These and the nut margarines serve ojnly as energy-
producing foods and can not replace milk fats, egg fats, or the fats contained
within the liver or other internal organs of animals. Milk fats and egg fats
must be supplied especially in the diet of children. 
Except for the fat-soluble A, there is no difference in the food value of
dif- 
ferent kinds of fat. All yield equal amounts of energy and are digested with
practically the same ease and completeness. Scorched fats, such as are found
in foods which have been fried at too high a temperature, sometimes prove
troublesome and have given fried foods thb reputation of being indigestible,
but this is probably due to the poor cooking rather than to the fat itself.
If 
we follow the request of the Food Administration and avoid fried foods to
save 
fat we shall also escape whatever inconvenience of this sort there may be.
Although fats do not usually cause any digestive disturbances, they do re-
main in the stomach longer than the other nutrients, and this seems to have
a 
most interesting effect on the sensation of hunger. That sensation begins
to be 
felt after the stomach has been empty for a time. If there is little or no
fat 
in the meal the sensation begins more quickly, and this probably explains
why a 
diet poor in fat seems so unsatisfying and why one rich in fat seems "hearty."
One of the most common complaints against the present German civilian diet,
in which the fat is very low, is said to be that it does not " stay
by," even though 
its energy value is high enough. 
Because of the general shortage of fats among the Allies, it is necessary
for 
us to share our supply with them. If we do not, their health and their fighting
strength are bound to suffer. The Food Administration, therefore, asks us
to 
use our fats with care and thrift. It is estimated that in order to meet
the 
situation fully the average American consumption ought to be reduced nearly
one-half; that is, to not more than a pound per person per week. 
Probably not all of the 3J ounces, which the statisticians estimate to be
the 
average amount used, 'is actually eaten, and by using fats more carefully
we 
can actually eat as much though we buy less. For example, we can save all
the 
fat trimmings from meat, render them as our grandmothers did, and use them
in cooking. Chicken fat, which is often thrown away, is excellent in cooking,
especially in cake making. 
When there is a shortage of animal fats we can substitute those from vege-
table sources. Fortunately there are many wholesome and relatively inex-
pensive oils now on the market which might be used much more freely than
they 
now are. Moreover, the production of vegetable oils can be more easily and
quickly increased in an emergency than the production of the animal fats.
The fact that some fats are solid and some oily does not affect their coinpara-
tive wholesomeness, but it does make. a practical difference in the way we
use 
them. Sicilian peasants may enjoy eating olive oil with their bread, but
most 
Americans prefer a stiffer "spread." The butter substitutes made
principally 
of vegetable oil are treated in such a way as to give them the consistency
of 
butter, and usually have a little milk added for flavor. They are perfectly
wholesome, and, if they are sold for what they are, are entirely unobjctionable.
In substituting one fat for another in cookery, one has to make allowance
for 
differences in their composition and behavior. Butter, for example, Is about
one-eighth water and so it takes a little more butter than lard or oil to
shorten 
a mixture. The following table shows in what proportions the fats may be
substituted one for another in cooking: 


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