Beef tea and meat broths are by no means so useful as foods for the sick as is generally supposed. The late Dr. Austin Flint used to say of these foods, that “the valuation by most persons outside of the medical profession, and by many within it, of beef tea or its analogues, the various solutions, most of the extracts, and the expressed juice of meat, is a delusion and a snare which has led to the loss of many lives by starvation.
“The quantity of nutritive material in these preparations is insignificant or nil, and it is vastly important that they should be reckoned as of little or no value, except as indirectly conducive to nutrition by acting as stimulants for the secretion of the digestive fluids, or as vehicles for the introduction of the nutritive substances. Furthermore, it is to be considered that water and pressure not only fail to extract the alimentary principles of meat, but that the excrementitious principles, or the products of destructive assimilation, are thereby extracted.”
Vegetable broths prepared from grains and legumes possess a much higher nutritive value, while they lack the objectionable features of meat broths.
BEEF EXTRACT.—Take a pound of lean beef, cut it up into small dice, and put into a glass fruit jar. Screw on the cover tightly, put the jar into a vessel filled with cold water to a depth sufficient to come to the top of contents of the jar, and set over a slow fire. As soon as the water boils, set where it will keep just boiling, but no more; and cook for an hour or an hour and a quarter. Then strain, season, and serve. If preferred, a double boiler may be used for the preparation of the extract.
BEEF JUICE.—Cut a thick slice of round steak, trim off every particle of fat, and broil it over a clear fire just long enough to heat it throughout. Next gash it in many places with a sharp knife, and with the aid of a beef-juice press or lemon squeezer, press out all the juice into a bowl set in hot water, salt but very slightly, remove all globules of fat, and serve. This may also be frozen and given the patient in small lumps, if so ordered.
BEEF TEA.—Take a pound of fresh, lean, juicy beef of good flavor,—the top of the round and the back and middle of the rump are the best portions for the purpose,—from which all fat, bones, and sinews have been carefully removed; cut into pieces a quarter of an inch square, or grind in a sausage-cutter. Add a quart of cold water, and put into a clean double boiler. Place over the fire, and heat very slowly, carefully removing all scum as it rises. Allow it to cook gently for two or three hours, or until the water has been reduced one half. Strain, and put away to cool. Before using, remove all fat from the surface, and season. In reheating, a good way is to place a quantity in a cup, and set the cup into hot water until the tea is sufficiently hot. This prevents waste, and if the patient is not ready for the tea, it can be easily kept hot.