ROLLED OATS.—This preparation of oats should be cooked the same as oatmeal, but requires only three parts water to one of rolled oats, when cooked in a double boiler.
OATMEAL WITH APPLE.—Cold oatmeal which has been left over may be made into an appetising dish by molding in alternate layers with nicely-steamed tart apple, sprinkled lightly with sugar. Serve with cream. Other cooked fruit, such as cherries, evaporated peaches, and apricots may be used in the same way. A very pleasing dish is made by using between the layers ripe yellow peaches and plums sliced together, and lightly sprinkled with sugar.
OATMEAL PORRIDGE.—Into a quart and a half of water, which should be boiling in the inner dish of a double boiler, sprinkle one cup of rather coarse oatmeal. Boil rapidly, stirring meanwhile until the grain is set; then place in the outer boiler, and cook continuously for three hours or longer. A half cup of cream added just before serving, is a desirable addition.
DESCRIPTION.—Barley is stated by historians to be the oldest of all cultivated grains. It seems to have been the principal bread plant among the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. The Jews especially held the grain in high esteem, and sacred history usually uses it interchangeably with wheat, when speaking of the fruits of the Earth.
Among the early Greeks and Romans, barley was almost the only food of the common people and the soldiers. The flour was made into gruel, after the following recipe: “Dry, near the fire or in the oven, twenty pounds of barley flour, then parch it. Add three pounds of linseed meal, half a pound of coriander seeds, two ounces of salt, and the water necessary.” If an especially delectable dish was desired, a little millet was also added to give the paste more “cohesion and delicacy.” Barley was also used whole as a food, in which case it was first parched, which is still the manner of preparing it in some parts of Palestine and many districts of India, also in the Canary Islands, where it is known as gofio. Of this custom a lady from Palestine writes: “The reapers, during barley harvest, take bunches of the half-ripe grain, and singe, or parch, it over a fire of thorns. The milk being still in the grain, it is very sweet, and is considered a delicacy.”
In the time of Charles I, barley meal took the place of wheat almost entirely as the food of the common people in England. In some parts of Europe, India, and other Eastern countries, it is still largely consumed as the ordinary farinaceous food of the peasantry and soldiers. The early settlers of New England also largely used it for bread making. At the present day only a very insignificant quantity of barley is used for food purposes in this country, and most of this in the unground state.
Barley is less nutritious than wheat, and to many people is less agreeable in flavor. It is likewise somewhat inferior in point of digestibility. Its starch cells being less soluble, they offer more resistance to the gastric juice.