A Catechism of Familiar Things; eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about A Catechism of Familiar Things;.

     Remotest, most distant.

Of what countries is the Elephant an inhabitant?

Of many parts of Asia and Africa.  The elephant is the largest quadruped now in existence; it is extremely sagacious, docile and friendly:  in the countries where they live they are trained to useful labor, and by their great strength are enabled to perform tasks which a man or horse could not accomplish:  among the native princes they were, and even still are, used in war:  with them the inhabitants are able to hunt and destroy the lion, tiger, and other beasts of prey.  With their long trunk, or proboscis, they can perform almost everything which man can with his hands.

     Quadruped, an animal with four feet.

CHAPTER XV.

STARCH, ARROW-ROOT, TAPIOCA, ISINGLASS, CAVIARE, THE VINE, WINE, GIN, RUM, BRANDY, VINEGAR, INDIGO, GAMBOGE, LOGWOOD, TAR, PITCH, CAMPHOR, MUSK, MYRRH, FRANKINCENSE, AND TURPENTINE.

What is Starch?

A white, powdery sediment procured from the bottom of vessels in which flour or meal has been steeped in water.  Pure starch is of a fine white color, without taste or smell; it will not dissolve in cold water, but with warm forms a jelly, in which form it is generally used; it is made by crushing, soaking, and fermenting the grains of the cereals, and then washing in pure water; the water is then evaporated, leaving behind the starch.

     Sediment, matter subsided to the bottom of liquors.

For what is Starch used?

To stiffen linen after washing; to make hair powder; and for other purposes in the arts.

From what vegetables is Starch obtained?

All farinaceous vegetable substances afford it, as the potato, horse-chestnut, &c.  Starch being the nutritive part of the vegetable, forms an excellent food for invalids, and constitutes the principal part of arrow-root, tapioca, &c.; the different flavor of these substances being derived from the mixture of a small portion of foreign matter peculiar to the plants which yield them.  Starch is procured from potatoes by crushing them to powder, and then proceeding as in the manufacture of wheat starch.

What is Arrow-root?

The starch obtained from the root of an American plant by pulverization.  It is often adulterated with potato starch, and the latter is even sold instead of it, for the two kinds resemble each other so closely that they can hardly be distinguished.

     Pulverization, the act of reducing to powder.

     Adulterated, corrupted by foreign mixture.

What is Tapioca?

Tapioca is another kind of starch, obtained from the root of the manioc plant, which is cultivated in most hot climates, in Asia, Africa, and America.  A flour is also prepared from it, which is used for making bread.  It is particularly cultivated in the tropical parts of America, and in the West India islands, where it forms a very important article of food for the Negro population.

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A Catechism of Familiar Things; from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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