THIS is a very sensible book written by a sensible man who knows something about food and feeding. He is an excellent writer and journalist and it will give amusement and instruction to many readers and we can thoroughly recommend it. It is only fair to give a sample so that intending buyers will know what they are getting. I therefore quote the following:.
“When through the winter fresh food was scarce and salted fish and meat, and possibly dried peas and beans, were probably the only supplement to wholemeal bread of wheat, rye or barley, the results were inevitable. Scurvy and even leprosy were widespread in medieval England.
Stone or calculus in Stuart and Georgian times was a common ailment, for meat and bread[ It has now been established that grain-foods are not the best staple for promoting sound teeth, owing to their small calcium content as compared with potatoes and other vegetables. (Witness the perfect teeth of the inhabitants of isolated Tristan da Cunha, who are compelled by circumstances to subsist almost solely on potatoes, milk and fish.) with insufficient vegetable-food only too readily induce this ailment.
“It must be remembered that human food-habits until modern times have always been conditioned by locality. The Esquimaux subsist on seal-flesh and blubber because they cannot get anything else. The finer types of Polynesian, until demoralized by Europeans, livid on wild fruits (including the banana), coconut and its milk, vegetables of the tuberous type and fresh fish from the surrounding ocean.
The peoples who through many successive phases of history have lived around the Mediterranean from Spain in the West to Palestine in the East have, as far back as can be traced, lived chiefly on grains, flesh, milk, cheese, wine, olives, honey, grapes (and other fruits), and vegetables the onion, cabbage and carrot having their genetic roots in a remote part. For some 4,000 years the Chinese people have cultivated a rich variety of vegetables, a number of fruits, rice (not the feckless polished stuff sold in this country), pigs, fowls, and the soya bean, but not cattle, and therefore have had no milk, butter or cheese.
“Before the dawn of civilization and of herding, men must have eaten whatever they could gather or catch that did not produce immediate discomfort. There may have been tropical or sub- tropical regions where wild fruits and nuts provided some primeval peoples with all their food; but this cherished belief of present-day adherents of the golden age fantasy is supported by no tangible evidence.
“Even the anthropoid gorilla can no longer be brought in as an argument for the fruit-and-nut theory, for this terrifying animal has been closely observed in its native forests by an intrepid Belgian investigator. It wanders far and wide in search of the succulent green shoots of a particular shrub and only when it cannot get these does it eat other things, such as grubs, insects, fruits and even nuts.
“In short, the science of human nutrition cannot be built on attractive theories and wish fulfilment fantasies; it must have its roots in observed facts, it must aim at finding out what sort and quality of food promotes the best kinds of men and women, both in mind and body. The food that makes the uncivilized Zulu or Masai a fearless but blood-thirsty fighter is not likely to be such as will make the Englishman cool-headed and intelligent. The food that helps to make a pot-bellied city-man a revolting parody of humanity is unlikely to build a virile and beautiful race.
“In Britain we do not live under tropical skies fortunately. Monkeys do not throw down nuts upon our heads when we stroll in the city park or walk through our unrivalled woods of beech and oak and ash. It is our own regenerated soil that should feed us, it is the foods native to our climate and soil that we must cultivate and enjoy. We must once more thrust our human roots down into our national heritage. Only so can we turn our sub- health into fullness of life”.