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- Making Good On Private Duty - 6/15 -
GENERAL REMARKS ON FOODS AND FEEDING
Always have all food presented to an invalid as tempting as possible. Use pretty china and glass, if you are permitted to do so, yet not the very finest the house affords; that might make the patient nervous lest some evil befall it. Absolutely clean napkins and tray cloths, a few green leaves about the plate, a rose on the tray; the chop or piece of chicken, the bird or the piece of steak ornamented with sprigs of parsley, the cold things really cold, and the hot ones _hot_, these are necessities of invalid's feeding, that mark the nurse who has a proper appreciation of a sick person's delicate sensibilities. Have all plates, cups and saucers _hot_, when they are for the reception of hot toast, coffee, tea, etc. Hot water plates are very convenient, and easily procured at any large china shop; but if they cannot be found, put the hot plate containing the chop over a bowl of boiling water, and cover with a hot saucer, fold a napkin around the baked potato, and you can carry the tray containing the dinner through cold halls and up staircases and it will arrive at your patient's room _hot._ Be careful not to fill the bowl so full of hot water that it will spill. Never fill a cup so full that it will spill its contents over into the saucer, it makes a disgusting looking _mess._ Have all fruit _cold,_ oranges and grapes especially. Always look over a bunch of grapes and cut off the soft ones before you hand them to a patient. If you have foreign or California grapes, hold them for a moment under the cold water faucet and let the water run through the bunch, and all the cork dust will then be washed out.
If you peel and quarter an orange for your patient never let her see you do it, unless you are perfectly sure you will not get your hands covered with juice. Wash your hands before you bring it to be eaten.
Be careful not to have any suspicion of grease about the beef tea, broths, etc. A quick and easy way to remove all grease, is to fill a cup or bowl _brimming_ full, let it stand a few moments that the grease may rise to the top, tip the cup a very little to one side, and the grease, to the last atom, will flow over the side of the cup; pour your broth carefully into a clean hot cup, and serve. Beef juice is more palatable with a little very brown toast.
Remember, that an invalid hardly ever likes any food made sweet. No matter what the taste may be in health, in sickness, sweet things are nauseous; for this reason ice cream bought at confectioners' is often rejected. Salt also must be used with caution, if the mouth and lips are tender, as is often the case; use the salt sparingly in all broths, etc.
If your patient cannot take milk, when, as in typhoid fever, the doctor wishes the diet to be wholly or for the most part of milk, try at first to remove the thick, bad taste by giving a little pure water or carbonic acid water after it. If that will not do, mix the carbonic acid water with it, and have both nice and cold. If a glass of milk is too much (and it will be in nine cases out of ten, especially if it is cold), give half a glass; if that is still too much, give quarter of a glass, or put more water with it. Never repeat a dose (of food) if it nauseates the patient. Make some change in quantity or quality, and you will, if you watch carefully, find out the right proportions.
A person lying flat down in bed cannot, of course, drink from a glass or cup, and a feeding cup is apt, by pouring too freely, to cause choking. A bent glass tube is the best arrangement, the patient can drink easily through this, and can regulate by sucking, the rapidity with which the food is taken. The tube should be cleaned immediately after each using, and if any beef tea or other food cannot be dislodged by letting water run through it, pass a string with a knot tied in it, through. Make the knot big enough to touch all sides of the tube, have it thoroughly wet, and the cleansing will be easily and quickly accomplished. If a patient prefers drinking from a glass, and can be raised in bed, always lay a napkin under the chin before you give the drink, and on no account have the glass or cup more than half full, if you do, it will surely spill.
In giving medicine that tastes very bitter or unpleasant in any way, bring, at the _same time_ with the medicine, some water, milk, or whatever may be preferred, to take after it. Also a napkin to wipe the lips, especially if the patient be a man.
Always keep milk, beef tea, etc., _covered_ in the refrigerator, and, if you can, see that this is cleaned every day. But this might cause the cook to feel aggrieved, so I put it as a suggestion merely. But if the refrigerator has a _smell,_ and the cook seems touchy, the milk, etc., better be kept upstairs on some sheltered window-ledge, and carefully covered.
If you have your own little refrigerator upstairs, see to it that it is cleaned _every_ day. Never put away anything in tin pails; always use earthen or china bowls or pitchers.
Beef from the round, finely chopped and free from fat. Proportions, 1 lb. beef to 1 pint of water, cold. Let the beef soak in the water, stirring occasionally, for two hours; then put it on the stove and heat it until the red color disappears; never boil it. Skim off all grease, salt to taste.
Round steak cut an inch thick; slightly broil like beefsteak for the table, cut into squares of an inch, squeeze in a lemon squeezer, skim carefully and salt. Serve either very cold, or place the cup containing the juice in a bowl of boiling water, stir carefully, and as soon as the juice is warm serve. If left a moment too long it is spoiled, as it curdles. One pound of beef makes an after dinner coffee cup almost full of juice.
BEEF TEA IN A BOTTLE.
Put into a Mason's preserve jar, tightly corked, one pound of beef chopped as for ordinary beef tea. Put this into a kettle of cold water, with a saucer on the bottom, let it come slowly to a boil and boil for an hour. Take out of the bottle and squeeze the beef.
Take a piece of lean round steak, scrape with the edge of a spoon until the place scraped has no more meat on the surface, but only the white fibre, cut this off with a sharp knife, exposing once more a fresh surface. Season, and spread raw on bread and butter, or make into little cakes and broil slightly, according to the doctor's orders, or your patient's taste.
Mutton from the neck. Proportions, 1 lb. of mutton to 1 quart of water, put the mutton and the water (cold) on the back of the stove, let it come slowly to a boil, boil until the meat is ready to fall from the bones. After straining out all the meat etc. add one tablespoonful of rice or barley. Simmer half an hour after adding rice or barley.
CLAM BROTH. NO. 1.
Take 1 qt. clams. Strain off the juice and chop the clams fine, return clams to the juice and simmer one hour. Put on to scald as much milk as juice. Strain out the clams, thicken with a little corn starch, making about as thick as cream, pour juice into a bowl and add the milk.
CLAM BROTH. NO. 2.
Same as above, only cut off the hard part of the clams, chop the soft parts and leave them in the broth. For convalescents.
CLAM BROTH. NO. 3.
Take little neck clams unopened, wash them very clean with a brush. Place them on the top of the stove in a clean dry pan, and when the shells open take them off, remove the clams and pour the juice into a cup. To be served hot. If it is too strong, add a little boiling water. This is for very sick people; give only a teaspoonful at a time. It sometimes corrects nausea.
A fowl, not too young, cut in pieces, 1 qt. water to 1 lb. fowl. Put it on the stove in cold water, let it heat slowly, then boil gently until the meat is ready to fall from the bones, strain, skim and add rice, boil once more for 1/2 hour. Salt to taste. Serve with toast or hot crackers.
Equal quantities of juice and milk, put each in separate vessels on the stove; when the juice comes to the boil, skim and slightly thicken, pour in the milk boiling hot, add the oysters one by one, let them remain on the stove about five minutes, or until the beards begin to curl, and they are no longer slippery. Serve with crackers heated very hot.
Dry the oysters, large ones are best, in a towel, have a piece of toast slightly buttered on a hot plate, near, pour over this a little hot oyster juice, not enough to make the toast wet through. Arrange the oysters on a fine buttered broiler, cook over a brisk fire like steak, until the beards curl. Turn them often. It takes about five minutes. Arrange them on the toast, add a little salt and a very little butter, serve very hot.
The chicken must be young, split down the back. Lay on the gridiron and broil evenly, turning frequently. Serve on a piece of buttered toast, salt and slightly butter the chicken. A little parsley garnishes the dish prettily.
All birds to be broiled should be split down the back and broiled
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