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Art. XII.

Essays, Political, Economical, and
Philosophical. By
Benjamin Count
Rumford. The first American,
from the third London Edition.

(Continued from page 232.)

THE subjects hitherto discussed
by this writer relate, generally,
to the best mode of supplying the ne-

cessities of the poor. They are to-
pics, therefore, in a considerable
degree, political. The field of in-
quiry in the third essay is interest-
ing, in different degrees, but in
a direct manner to every indivi-

It is known that the best book
on the art of cookery extant, is the
work of a philosopher. There is
novelty, as well as ludicrousness,
in the notion of serious and bene-
volent discussion, bestowed on this
subject; and yet, if the composi-
tion and preparation of food be ca-
pable of being rendered less ex-
pensive, less complicated, less te-
dious, and, at the same time, more
palatable and more nutritious, than
they are at present, few topics are
more worthy of serious discussion.

Improvements in this art have
much to contend with in the inve-
teracy of popular habits. In an
affair of so constant and frequent
recurrence as eating, custom is an
arbitrary despot; and yet, a scheme,
accompanied with great and incon-
testible advantages, may be expect-
ed to gain footing, however gradu-
ally, first in the opinions, and next
in the practice of mankind. A re-
view of the speculations of this au-
thor will shew their true value.

In cookery the principal medium
or vehicle is water. Some argu-
ments are used to shew that water
prepares food, not by taking away,
or merely taking away properties
before possessed, but by adding
properties of its own. Water be-
ing lately proved to be a compound
substance, essentially contributing
to the growth of plants, it is proba-
ble that animals are likewise sus-
tained in the same way.

Experiment has proved the nutri-
tiousness of food to depend, not
wholly on the nature or quantity of
the simple ingredients, but chiefly
on the mode of mixing and cook-
ing. Few problems are more cu-
rious than that which relates to the

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quantity of nutriment which wa-
ter, and the management of water,
may contribute. That compound
which possesses most advantages,
excludes the flesh of animals, and
comprises pearl-barley, pease, po-
tatoes, bread-cuttings, vinegar, salt,
and water, in certain proportions.
First let the barley be put into wa-
ter and boiled; then add the pease;
and, after two hours gentle boiling,
the potatoes, peeled. The boiling
having continued one hour more,
and the mass frequently stirred, add
vinegar and salt, and, just before
serving it up, the bread-cuttings.

Food pleases the palate more, and
is more easily digested, as the mas-
tication is longer and more com-
plete. Bread is useful to this end;
but more so in proportion to the
small degree in which it is softened
or dissolved by the fluid, or in pro-
portion to its hardness, which may
be increased by keeping it till stale,
by toasting; and, lastly, by frying
it in oil, lard, or butter. Of this
soup twenty ounces, or a pint and
one-fourth, suffices as a meal for a
strong man. In this are included
less than six ounces of solid vegeta-
food. Healthful substance re-
quires not more than two portions

These facts are copiously detailed
and illustrated. It seems sufficient
to observe, that experience demon-
strates their truth. The tendency
of cooking to enhance nourishment,
has been displayed in the treatment
of cattle; kitchens being built, in
many parts of Germany, for the
use of beasts as well as of men. The
benefit of this food, in order to be
realized, seems to require that great
numbers should be supplied by one
process, and from one kettle. As
the means of supplying one person,
or one family, it is liable to objec-
tions, from which, as the means of
supplying hundreds or thousands,
it is exempt. This circumstance is
chiefly of weight as it regards fuel

and labour. A family of ten per-
sons may be supplied by seven arti-
cles, including water; the solid ve-
getable food, consisting of four ar-
ticles, weighing seven pounds eight
ounces, and the whole amounting
to twelve quarts and a pint.

The scale on which this experi-
ment was tried by Count Rumford
was large. Food was, in this man-
ner, supplied to twleve hundred
persons. Potatoes were at first omit-
ted. The hands of three cook-maids
and two men-servants were suffici-
ent. The whole cost, including
the price of the ingredients, wages,
fuel, repairs of kitchen, and furni-
ture, amounted, daily, to £ 1 15s.
2 ¼d. sterling, or one third of a penny
to each person. The subsequent
addition of potatoes reduced the
cost to £ 1 7s. 6⅔d. or one farth-
ing to each person. The price of
articles is variable; but the propor-
tions being fixed, the computation
is, in all cases, easy. These pro-
portions, in a single mess, are almost
too small for calculation. In this
view, indeed, they are of little mo-
ment, since a single mess could not,
and need not, be prepared. The
proportions in soup prepared for ten
persons may be set down thus: a
fractional exactness is superfluous.

lb.  oz. 
Pearl barley  10 
Potatoes  15 
Bread  10 
Total solids  12 
Weak vinegar  7⅔ 
Total  12  8⅔ 

This writer computes the expense
of the same provision to twelve
hundred persons in London, No-
vember, 1795, a period of scarcity,
to be £ 3 9s. 9 3/4 d. or nearly thirteen
dollars and a third; which is less

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than a cent and an half to each per-
son. A public kitchen, established
on these principles, might supply a
man with dinners, at the annual
expense of four dollars and ten

This soup, though palatable as
well as nutritive, is susceptible of
various improvements. The addi-
tion of flesh is an obvious improve-
ment. Salted or smoked meat is
best adapted to this purpose. It
should be boiled in the soup, cut up,
and mixed with the bread. It may
likewise be used in the form of
dumplins, composed of meat, minced,
and flour or bread. So small a pro-
portion as one ounce of meat to
eighteen ounces of soup, will im-
part a considerable relish. Salted
or smoked fish is another valuable
ingredient. The common garden
vegetables may be added at plea-

In the preparation of this food
the management of fuel is matter
of particular importance. The boil-
ing should be as gentle as possible;
and it would be still better if the
water were kept no more than boil-
ing hot. The heat of water cannot
be raised beyond the boiling point:
To creat bubbles is merely to ge-
nerate steam and consume fuel.

The inconvenience of what is
termed by the cooks burning to, may
be avoided by the use of vessels
with double bottoms. The two
plates of metal should be brought,
by hammering, as nearly into
contact as possible; but no solder-
ing should be used, unless it be to
join the edges. Great advantages
would accrue from the use of dou-
ble bottoms in all kinds of cooking

The writer introduces a curious
account of military house-keeping
in Bavaria. It is a model not un-
worthy of the attention of the wise.
If imitation be practicable, what
should hinder us from practising it?
To simplify our servile toils, and

limit our expenses, is the dictate of
the highest wisdom.

According to the first representa-
tion, each soldier, in a mess of
twelve, consumed, during the day,
two pounds and three ounces of so-
lid food, consisting of bread (1lb.
13½oz.) beef (3 1/10 oz.) herbs, salt,
and pepper. A knowledge of pre-
vailing prices may show us the ex-
pense, accruing to ourselves, from
the adoption of this mode of living.
In Bavaria, two pence sterling was
the amount of a soldier's daily ex-
penses for food; so that his annual
expense did not exceed thirteen
dollars and an half.

Those whose utmost labour can
only procure them necessaries, had
need to economize their pittance,
and to live upon as little as poss-
ible. The rich, if they pay regard
to their duty to themselves, which
prescribes to them temperance, and
their duty to others, which exacts
from them the employment of their
funds to supply the needs of others,
when their own necessities are sup-
plied, will be equally sedulous in
searching out means for cheapening
and nutrifying food.

The poor, at Munich, consumed
but one meal a day, and lived at a
much less expense than the soldiery.
The annual amount was no more
than three dollars and forty cents.
They received their food gratis, the
institution being a charitable one.
Let us imagine to ourselves a similar
establishment, for the purpose of
gain. The food was delicious and
wholesome; and no doubt its supe-
rior cheapness would have attracted
no less a number of customers.
Suppose the director should levy on
his customers a profit of three or
four hundred per cent. the charge
to each man would be four cents for
his dinner, and the daily amount of
clear profit on twelve hundred cus-
tomers would be more than forty
dollars, which are 14,600 dollars
per annum. This profit may be

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considered as a tax upon the cus-
tomer. Let us suppose this institu-
tion to be general and national, in
a country like England for example.
According to this writer's computa-
tion a London dinner, in this style,
could be furnished for two farthings,
and, in other parts of the kingdom,
at a smaller rate. If the price were
fixed at three pence two farthings,
and one in ten of the inhabitants
were a customer, it would produce
an annual revenue of £ 190,000.

That schemes for supplying the
public funds should be blended
with those whose end is to annihi-
late poverty and all its miserable
and criminal progeny, may seem
absurd; yet, if national, like pri-
vate income, may flow from the
rise of stock; and if nations, like
individuals, may be contented with
less than the highest possible profit
on their commodities, the scheme
will no longer be deemed absurd.

Among all kinds of vegetable
food, Count Rumford assigns the
preference to Indian corn. The
extensive use of it in Italy, under
the name of Pollenta, and in North-
America, evinces its nutritiousness
and wholesomeness. In the coun-
tries cultivated by negro slaves, it is
generally preferred by them to rice,
which they account the more fugi-
tive and less substantial food. In
addition to this, it is known to be
producible in larger quantities than
other grain; hence the propriety of
encouraging the cultivation and ex-
tending the use of it.

This grain is unequal in weight
in different climates. The best kind
is at least as weighty as wheat, and
will, probably, furnish an equal
quantity of flour. On experiment,
a bushel of Indian corn was found
to weigh sixty-one pounds.

The modes of preparing it are
various. It will constitute whole-
some and palatable bread. Kneaded
into dough, and baked or toasted in

the form of cakes, it is eaten in
many parts of the United States;
but it is more generally acceptable
when mixed in equal parts with
wheaten flour, regularly fermented,
and baked into loaves. In this pro-
cess it is proper that the Indian meal
should undergo a boiling for some
hours, previous to its mixture with
the wheat.

But the best form in which it can
be used, is said, by this writer, to
be in that of hasty-pudding. This
is known to be produced merely by
gradually mixing the meal with boil-
ing water. Its excellence is greatly
enhanced by prolonging the boil-
ing. This may be eaten at any time
within twelve or twenty hours after
it is made. We may content our-
selves with the first preparation, or
when it is hardened by cold, we
may reduce it to slices, and toast it
or fry it either simply or with but-
ter, or lard, or meat. Its savours
may be thus increased; but these
additions are not required either by
the stomach or palate.

When newly made and hot, its
charms may be increased to some
palates by accompanying it with
milk, or cheese, or butter. Sugar
or molasses, in very small propor-
tions, may be advantageously ad-
ded. In this form it is susceptible
of mixture with rye or wheaten
flour. Rye or wheat may be pre-
pared alone in the same way.

The utility of this preparation
must depend, partly upon its whole-
someness, but indispensibly upon
its cheapness. To ascertain this,
half a pound of meal was convert-
ed, by addition of two pints of wa-
ter and 1/120 of a pound of salt, into
a pudding weighing 1 lb. 11½ oz.
It hence appears, that one pound of
meal will make 3 lb. 9 oz. of pud-
ding. The following computation
is built upon our own, and the
highest prices of Indian meal and


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Dolls.  cts.  mills. 
Half a pound of Indian meal, at 90 cents the bushel (a bushel containing 45 pounds of meal) is 
58 grains, or 1/120 of a pound of salt (a bushel weighs 56 lbs. & may cost 112 cts.) at 2 cts. per lb. is  0⅙ 
Total  0⅙ 

An half pound of meal has been
already proved to make 1 lb. 11½ oz.
of pudding; so that, according to
this estimate, one pound of hasty-
pudding will cost 4/7, or somewhat
more than an half-cent.

Count Rumford breakfasted at
nine o'clock A. M. on a little cof-
fee, cream, and toasted bread. At
five o'clock P. M. he dined on hasty-
pudding, and fasted till nine o'clock
next morning, without any decay of
his strength, or extraordinary excess
of appetite. He dined upon 1 lb.
1½ oz. of the pudding, so as to leave
10 oz. or nearly ⅔ of a pound re-
maining. We will suppose that this
remnant is consumed at a third meal.
The food of a day, therefore, ex-
clusive of breakfast, will be found
to cost 1 1/60 cent. If this remnant
be supposed (and it may with the
utmost propriety) to constitute the
breakfast, instead of coffee and bread,
such would be the cost of the in-
gredients of our daily and whole-
some food.

Let us, for a moment, picture to
ourselves the condition of a man
who should reduce these principles
to practice. He would purchase a
pipkin, constructed so as to con-
centre heat and economise fuel, a
plate, and a spoon. He would spend
one hour in preparing his daily food,
and the task would be neither toil-
some nor uncleanly; and his annual
expenses, on this head, would a-
mount to three dollars and two-thirds.

Perhaps the present state of human
knowledge does not furnish a more
healthful, and, to a correct palate,
a more delicious species of subsist-
ence. The smallness of the expense
may excite our wonder; but the
foregoing estimate appears to be an
infallible deduction from facts which
cannot be denied. Fuel, properly
chosen, and properly economised,
will not cost more than 1⅓ dollar
per year.

Let us suppose ten persons to
adopt this mode. One hour's labour
of one of these will suffice for the
supply of the whole number, and
fifty dollars per annum will be the
utmost expense of that branch of
their subsistence. This is an hint
equally profitable to the man of
wisdom and the avaricious man.

It is difficult, however, to correct
a depraved taste, or to confine our
selves within the genuine limits of
temperance. Some addition to this
simple food may be deemed neces-
sary by some exorbitant epicures.
For the gratification of such, Count
Rumford has described a sauce,
used by him, on one occasion, and
composed of the most luxurious ar-
ticles, namely, butter and molasses.
With the addition of these articles
(for vinegar perhaps had better be
omitted) the cost of this banquet
may be thus stated.

Dolls.  cts.  mills. 
1 lb. 11 1/2 oz. of hastypudding, at 4/7 of a cent per pound 
Half an oz. of butter, at 32 cents per pound 
Three quarters of an ounce of molasses, at 100 cents per gallon  5 40/54 
Total for sauce  5 40/54 
Total for dinner  2 40/54 

Hence it appears that the sauce is
more costly than the pudding, and

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must be acknowledged to be a su-

Hasty-pudding is the simplest
and cheapest preparation. There is
one other form of preparing Indian
meal, which is more in use among
the opulent. As, however, its ex-
pense bears a very slender propor-
tion to that of other delicacies, it
may be worth describing. This is
an Indian pudding, and is composed
of molasses, salt, and Indian meal,
in the following proportions:

Dolls.  cts.  mills. 
3 lb. of Indian meal, at 2 cents per pound 
¾ lb. molasses, at 10 cents per pound 
1 oz. salt, at 2 cents per pound  2¼ 
Total  13  6¼ 

These ingredients, added to five
pints of boiling water, inclosed in
a bag, and boiled six hours, consti-
tute an Indian pudding, that will
weigh 10 1/16 lbs.

It is needless to add to the descrip-
tion of the composition and prepa-
ration of this pudding, any further
details respecting the mode of carv-
ing it when placed upon the table,
or of carrying the portions to the
mouth. Those whose precipitation
shall endanger their lips and gums
must be taught caution by their suf-
ferings; and those who mingle their
mouthfuls with undue proportions
of butter or other adventitious sauce,
must bear the penalty of their stu-
pidity. Such details, though copi-
ously exhibited by this author, if
not trifling, are, at least, unimport-
ant; and though susceptible of some
apology when addressed to novices
in the art of pudding-eating, would
be out of place in an audience of
adepts. We in America are suffi-
ciently versed in these mysteries,
and want only to be incited by judi-
cious reasonings and remonstrances

to the use of these cheap and deli-
cious viands.

Molasses imparts to these pud-
dings a taste which, though grateful
to the palate, is not, so to speak, its
own; but its principal use is as a
substitute for eggs, to impart light-
The Count likewise insists
upon the attention to be paid to the
length of time during which it is
boiled, and upon the cubical capa-
city of the pudding-bag. He sagely
observes, that, of the two extremes,
too hard is better than too soft; it
being matter of great importance in-
that the pudding should be
disengaged from its tegument, with-
out falling to pieces. Great stress is
also laid upon the form, and the
preference is justly given to a trun-
cated cone, provided it be invert-

Suet is no unsavoury addition to
this compound. Apples are ano-
ther advantageous ingredient. Other
fruits, fresh or preserved, are ser-
viceable to the same end. Indeed,
an Indian pudding is a substratum
on which a thousand savoury struc-
tures may be erected. The instruc-
tions of this arch-caterer are of va-
lue; but perhaps it would be the
more dignified, as well as safest
course, to leave the manual dexte-
rities and chymical refinements of
the sause-pan and pudding-bag, to
the trade.

The remaining part of this essay
is of less importance than the fore-
going. We have already dwelt so
copiously on this essay, that little
will be said on that which still re-
mains to be noticed. We shall
overlook his commentaries upon
cut paste or maccaroni. The in-
gredients are not cheap, nor the
process easy; and it is not prepared
by professed cooks, in this coun-

Potatoes seem to be of chief va-
lue, but little new information is
communicated to American house-

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wives in this performance. The
point, chiefly dwelt upon, is the
boiling of potatoes, and bringing
them to table with the skins on:
when boiled, it is recommended to
evaporate the moisture by replac-
ing the vessel, in which they were
boiled, over the fire. Receipts are
likewise given for preparing pota-
toes in puddings and dumplins.

The preference is given to barley
over wheat, as to its nutritiousness;
but it is chiefly recommended as
the basis of soups. Barley-meal
may be used for this purpose with
as much benefit as pearl-barley.
One ounce and a quarter of bar-
ley-flour, to one pint and a quar-
ter of water, will produce twenty
ounces of soup; and this is a suffi-
cient portion for one man.

Samp, or the grain of Indian
corn, boiled and peeled, is cele-
brated as savoury and nutritive.
The preparation is, however, te-
dious and complex. Soaking, for
twelve hours, in a lixivium of wa-
ter and wood-ashes, and, subse-
quently, boiling it four times as
long, are necessary parts of this pro-
cess. If grinding were an house-
hold process, it might be doubted
whether samp would not be pre-
ferable, in simplicity and cheap-
ness, to hasty-pudding, but the in-
vention of mills has greatly simpli-
fied and expedited the pulveriza-
tion of this grain. Some person,
perhaps, may discover more com-
pendious and comprehensive modes
of making samp than are at present
in use.

Brown soup is a Bavarian dish.
It consists of butter and a little
meal, fried, and afterwards dis-
solved in boiling water: It has little
power of nourishment, but it is
infinitely to be preferred to tea,

which is the darling of almost all
classes. Tea is a pernicious por-
tion, corrigible only by a plentiful
addition of milk, and sugar, and
solid eatables.

Rye-bread seems to be in bad re-
pute in Great-Britain. This pre-
judice is thought by Count Rum-
ford to be chiefly owing to im-
perfect preparation. Among the
lower classes, in Europe, it is the
chief species of bread. This cir-
cumstance attests its wholesome-
ness, and the author refers us to
tables and receipts, yet to be pub-
lished, for information on its com-
parative advantages in cookery.

The great purpose of these essays
is to alleviate the miseries of the
lower classes of the people. It is
impossible to say how much this
publication may promote this end.
His exertions, as the minister of a
despotic prince, produced a consi-
derable effect; but it is likely that
the deluge of war has swept all tra-
ces of his institutions from the face
of the earth: By delineating these
establishments, and exemplifying
the truth of his deductions by their
success, he has done all that his si-
tuation permits.

Poverty is a disease that can be
cured only by investigating and
out-rooting the causes by which it
is generated. If these causes be the
defects of the political constitution,
every remedy is ineffectual that stops
short of these. Perhaps the philan-
thropist will derive more sorrow
from contemplating the transitori-
ness of the author's improvements
in Bavaria, than from surveying
their short-lived success, and despair
of conferring any benefit on nations
who know no liberty among them-
selves, and no equity in their con-
duct towards each other.

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