Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Poisons of the Kitchen


Some Things That Should Be Closely Watched by All Housewives.

In face of the frequent accounts of accidental poisoning the following facts may prove both interesting and useful. In the first place, all copper vessels should be retinned directly the surface shows signs of being worn. Neither acid, salt nor fatty bodies will attack well cleaned copper vessels. Vinegar may be even boiled in them with safety, but should it be allowed to cool in the vessels it will dissolve enough copper to become dangerous. The advantage in copper poisoning is that one of the first symptoms is vomiting — that is to say, the poison is rejected from the system.

Zinc, though it conceals itself so often under the name of "galvanized iron," is still more dangerous than copper. No acid foods or liquids should ever be allowed to remain in galvanized vessels. Lead, from a culinary point of view, is the least to be recommended of all the metals, as it poisons slowly without producing vomiting, while tin, iron, steel and nickel are practically harmless.

But it is not only these vessels used in preparing food which are dangerous. Many foods in themselves are legitimate objects of suspicion. For instance, the potato becomes unfit for food when it has commenced to germinate or when it is green from having been partially exposed to the air while growing. The green parts and the "eyes" contain an undoubted poison, which has a sharp taste and is capable of producing paralysis or even death. At the end of the winter many pigs are unhealthy through having been fed on these green potatoes or on potatoes from which the eyes containing the germs have not been carefully cut.

Mushrooms should always be carefully verified by a person thoroughly acquainted with their peculiarities. Some cooks put a silver coin with them when cooking. If the coin turns black, they reject the mushrooms. This is really no test at all, as many of the poisonous fungi will not blacken silver. All animal food in an advanced state of decomposition is more or less poisonous. For this reason tinned fish is never to be trusted, as the fish are often stale when tinned. Smokers especially should be careful, as their taste is often not so fine as that of a nonsmoker, and they are consequently less likely to detect a tin of doubtful fish. Mussels, again, are always poisonous, although the seat and nature of the poison have never been discovered. — Philadelphia Press.

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