Animal food is one of the
greatest means by which the pure sentiment
of the race is depressed.—Alcott.
An English medical author says, “It is no doubt true that the constant use of animal food disqualifies the mind for literary application. We can scarcely imagine a philosopher living on horse flesh like a Tartar, or on buffalo meat like an Indian; and it is a fact that these tribes appear incapable of civilization until they acquire the habit of using a less stimulating diet, and begin to cultivate the fruits of the earth for their own use. The difference, in the success of Christian missions, between such people and those whose chief sustenance is farinaceous food, is very striking and worthy of especial notice. In the East, and in Polynesia, literature and Christian doctrines are seized upon with avidity. But in vain were the most earnest labors of the best men to introduce reading and writing among the American Indians until they had first been taught to grow corn and to eat bread.”
An American gentleman traveling in the East met a Brahmin priest, who refused to shake hands with him for fear of pollution. The reason he assigned was that Americans eat hogs. Said the priest, “Why, I have heard that in America they put hogs’ flesh in barrels and eat it after it has been dead six months! Horrible!”
Pork is by no means a favorite food in Scotland. King James is said to have abhorred pork almost as much as he did tobacco. He said, “If I were to give a banquet to the devil, I would provide a loin of pork and a poll of ling, with a pipe of tobacco for digestion!” —Scott.
The Hindu would as soon think of becoming a cannibal as of eating swine’s flesh. It is stated that the Indian mutiny so frightful in its results originated in a fear among the Sepoys that they would be forced to eat pork. A lady in India had an amusing experience which illustrates the Hindu sentiment on the subject of pig. Arriving late at a grand dinner, she and her husband saw the first course being carried in as they went down the hall. A row of khitmutgars was drawn up, waiting to follow the dish into the dining-room, and serve their respective employers; as a dish of ham was carried by, each man gravely and deliberately spat upon it! Needless to say, Mrs. B. and her lord waited for the second course.
Both the ancient Syrians and Egyptians abstained from flesh-eating out of dread and abhorrence, and when the latter would represent any thing as odious or disagreeable by hieroglyphics, they painted a fish.
Yes, Agassiz does recommend authors to eat fish because the phosphorus in it makes brains. So far you are correct. But I cannot help you to a decision about the amount you need to eat—at least with certainty. If the specimen composition you send is about your fair usual average, I should judge that perhaps a couple of whales would be all you want for the present; not the largest kind, but simply good, middling-sized whales!—Mark Twain’s Letter to a Young Author.
FOOD FOR THE SICK