One such tome is Keeping Hearth & Home in Old Texas, compiled and edited by Carol Padgett, PhD.
Padgett has lovingly compiled words of wisdom from a variety of nineteenth century sources (cookbooks, periodicals, domestic manuals) into an anthology of advice for the frontier homemaker. Living life in the wilds of Texas was certainly difficult enough on its own; fortunately guidebooks like the ones from which Padgett collected her work helped pave the way to domestic bliss in an uncertain environment.
As we read the entries now, we get a glimpse into the social history of the time, and everyday life in frontier Texas. Please enjoy this excerpt on children's diets from Padgett's delightful collection:
Rules for Their Diets
The quality of food intended for little children should be carefully studied, as the firmness of their flesh and the hardness of their bones is so dependent on it.
Let nutrition, variety, and time of year guide selections.
Every care must be taken to supply children with a variety and abundance of nutritious and digestible food, in which fruit, the cereals, vegetables, milk, mutton, beef, and poultry should be included together with simple sweets and plain puddings chiefly composed of milk, eggs, and flour or bread.
Feed their hunger.
When children get hungry more often than the occurrence of the regular family meals, they should be supplied with a light repast of digestible character. If a child is hungry, it cannot be well or happy.
Don't forget milk.
Wherever milk is used plentifully, there the children grow into robust men and women; wherever the place is usurped by tea, we have degeneracy, swift and certain.
Serve their meals thus:
- The breakfast should be early and plentiful.
- Mid-day dinners should be varied and always hot--indeed all food is most digestible when warm--and composed of some plain meat dish, at least two vegetables, and a simple pudding. Soup is invaluable for children, but it must be plain.
- The supper, given about two hours before retiring, should be light and nutritious and may include warm bread, any form of porridge and milk, custard, simple stewed fruits, and either cool water or cocoa.
Never give a child under two years of age these foods:
- Ham, bacon, or pork in any other form.
- Cabbage, pickles, or other succulent vegetables.
- Coffee, tea, beer, wine, cider, or any other alcoholic liquor of any kind.
- Bananas, berries, or other fruit except prune juice.
- Pastries or preserves.
Excerpt taken from pages 45-48 of Keeping Hearth & Home in Old Texas