CANADA is by no means poor in its meat supply—equalling almost any country in the world in per capita meat production and consumption. Nevertheless, the average Canadian to-day faces the problem of finding acceptable foods as meat substitutes. This is because we have unbalanced our diet with a ration containing too much protein.
One of the commonest ills that we are subjected to is protein poisoning. This manifests itself in a score of different ways. According to the great food experts we should not consume more than two ounces of protein a day, as that is all our system can properly utilize. However, the heavy meat eating people, such as the Canadians, consume three or four times this quantity of protein every twenty-four hours. Protein when burned in the furnace of our body is reduced to an acid forming end product, leaving in our systems a heavy surplus of acid. This works havoc throughout the system producing acidosis, rheumatism and a score of other ills.
Another reason for limiting our consumption of meat is that flesh is by no means the cheapest kind of food.
Canada is very fortunate in having a remarkable supply of fish, both fresh and salt water, frozen and fresh, pickled and canned.
Because of Canada’s wonderful fish resources a special article on the value of fish as food and on the romance of the remarkable Canadian fisheries will appear shortly in MACLEAN’S.
Fish, of course, is one of the greatest substitutes for meat.
Another is cheese and still another is found in our various vegetables.
There is one food, however, that is a direct substitute for meat, and when properly made is a complete and natural food containing not only a balanced ration of protein, carbohydrates and mineral salts, but also of fat when properly prepared. This food is macaroni, a manufactured cereal product.
Briefly, macaroni is a dry dough made from wheat flour. It is made from several different grades of flour and upon the flour depends the value of the food. A whole wheat macaroni would contain all the required nutritive elements whereas a white flour macaroni would be very similar to bread. Macaroni is favored as a substitute for meat not only because it is well supplied with the “body building” and “fuel furnishing” qualities as well as the mineral salts, but also because it so readily lends itself to savory combination with other foods.
ATACARONI may be served creamed to add a sufficient amount of fat to balance a ration; it may be served with tomatoes to furnish mineral salts and vitamines; it may be served with cheese to add protein.
When macaroni is mentioned we mean macaroni and its cousins: spaghetti, vermicelli, etc., all of which are made of the same materials and differ in form only. Noodles also belong to this classification, though they may contain egg and milk as well as the wheat flour and water and sugar of the mac-
The flour from which macaroni is made is usually ground from hard winter wheat—durum wheat. It is also known as macaroni wheat.
Macaroni is low only in its fat content, and is therefore often blended
with other foods rich in fat-such as
creamed macaroni, buttered macaroni, macaroni with bacon or ham, etc.
The actual analysis of the food content of macaroni is as follows: Nitrogen 2.43 per cent, protein 13.4 per cent, fats 0.9 per cent, carbohydrates (starches and sugars) 74 per cent. It has a fuel value of approximately i,250 calories per pound. By the addition of fats, of cream or by being fried in fats macaroni could easily double its caloric or fuel value. So the lack of a high fat content does not materially lessen the value of macaroni as a food, as fat is the easiest food element to add—one that generally adds itself in the combination and cooking of foods.
In all other food values it is exceptionally high, being free from waste of any kind.
Macaroni does not limit itself to substituting for meat alone however, as it can be used in place of potatoes, rice and other foods high in carbohydrate content. As a matter of fact some families are largely supplanting potatoes and rice with macaroni because of the ease with which it blends with other vegetables.
Macaroni offers an interesting story, both in its history and development under modern science. The story of what our neighbors in the States did toward making macaroni a product of the Western hemisphere is interesting to us as our own food manufacturers have followed their lead and are making this cereal food a Canadian product.
Until a few years ago Italy was the one great macaroni manufacturing country, the Italians the one great macaroni eating people. Yet it was known to the ancients, both China and
Japan claiming to have made it before the time of the pyramids.
Finding a Market Here.
FOR THE last two hundred years, Italy has been recognized as the home of this elongated food. Her people depended largely upon it for their food, yet manufactured enough to export millions of dollars’ worth a year. In 1914, for example, they sent to the United States alone five and a half million dollars’ worth, or more than a hundred and twenty million pounds, and to Canada in proportion to population.
The thousands of Italians in Canada and the U.S. insisted upon having their macaroni and spaghetti, and merchants imported it solely for their consumption. But soon Canadians sampled it, found it good and created a Canadian market for this food.
Then started one of the most remarkable growths experienced in any food industry. Doubling, and even trebling, its yearly macaroni consumption Canada and the United States soon became so great a market for this food that manufacturers were tempted into the field of macaroni making.
But they did not develop this new industry without encountering difficulties. For one thing, they experienced great trouble in curing their productreceiving faint encouragement from the Italians, who had no intention of surrendering their monopoly and refused to part with the secrets of curing the strings of dough that were to become macaroni sticks. The manufacturers, however, persisted with their experiments. How many thousands of dollars worth of “green” macaroni dough molded and mildewed no one cares to venture, but suffice to say the losses were heavy until the laboratory expert was called in. His job was to create an atmosphere in which the “green” macaroni would dry or cure without molding.
By scientific calculations and experiments air driers and “curers” were finally perfected which permitted manufacturers on this continent not only to equal the natural drying conditions under which the Italian macaroni was made, but to make their results far more certain than were those of the Europeans.
As soon as this great obstacle was overcome the industry of making macaroni in Canada and the U. S. flourished overnight. Not only were drying methods improved and capacities greatly enlarged, but automatic machines were invented to care for every process of macaroni making.
And here an interesting fact may be noted. Canada’s per capita consumption of macaroni is equal to that of the States and we are not only importing large quantities of this food from the United States but are also making it ourselves. It is but natural that we should-as the durum wheat of Can-
ada is second to none in the world.
The rapid growth of the macaroni industry in the Dominion is due to two things: we are rapidly learning the true value of this versatile food and the scientific, sanitary, automatic methods of manufacture have assured us of a clean, wholesome, standardized food.
So much for the product—now as to its utilization.
How to Use it Best.
A/fACARONI, like rice, is usually util•*•*■*• ized as the body of a combination of two or more foods, its own delicate flavor blending perfectly with that of the food with which it is combined. Hence macaroni with tomatoes, macaroni with cheese, macaroni with hot sauce, macaroni with salmon, macaroni fish croquettes, macaroni with bacon, macaroni with butter or cream, spieed macaroni, macaroni with salad dressing, macaroni with soup stocks, meats and meat extracts and curried maca-
Macaroni may be prepared in a half hundred different ways, developing as many different flavors and always retaining its own high food value.
An analysis shows macaroni to be
exceptionally rich in carbohydrates, or “body fuel.” In order to obtain the full value from macaroni we must remember that practically all cereals are high in this same nutritive element and therefore should not serve macaroni with bread, wheat in any form, corn in any form, rice or any cereal food. Potatoes are also rich in this same element, as are likewise peas, turnips, beets, beans and other vegetables of like character.
* Macaroni—Egg Bake
Cut one cup of cooked, drained macaroni or spaghetti into fine pieces. Make sauce of two tablespoons butter, melted, with which mix tablespoon flour and one cup of milk. Cook until thick and take from fire. Add yolks of three eggs beaten light.
Pour mixture into dish with macaroni or spaghetti and season. Mix thoroughly. Fold in the whites^ of three eggs, beaten stiff. Bake in buttered baking dish for twenty-five minutes. Serve hot.
Two cups of boiled, drained macaroni cut to two-inch lengths; put in chafing dish. Add cup of grated cheese, two tablespoonfuls butter, half tablespoonful salt, half tablespoonful mustard, dash of red pepper. When boiling add three well beaten eggs and half cupful cream or milk. Serve hot.
Macaroni in Tomato Jelly.
Crush and strain one can of tomatoes into saucepan. Add one teaspoon of salt, one dash of cayenne, one slice of onion and a few celery leaves. Bring to boiling point and add half box gelatine soaked in half cup cold water. Mix and add half lemon. Strain into mold and add cooked and strained macaroni. Mix well and let set. Serve cold.
Cut boiled, drained spaghetti very fine. Season. Prepare batter of melted butter and two eggs beaten enough to blend yolks and whites._ Moisten cracker or bread crumbs in 'batter. Form spaghetti into balls and dip into batter and then roll in crumbs.
Drop into deep fry fat for two min-
Cooked and strained macaroni, spaghetti, vermicelli or noodles may be fried in bacon or ham fat to produce a rich flavoring and add a high percentage of fat or fuel food value. Drippings from roasts, soup stock, meat extracts, etc., may also be blended in such frying with the addition of a little lard or vegetable fat or oil.
Macaroni and Minced Ham.
Put half cup cooked ham cut into small dice in pan with half cup of water, one tablespoon butter, quarter cup chopped celery with leaves. Bring to boil. Add one cup drained, cooked macaroni, cut into two-inch lengths. Mix well.
Spread with cracker or bread crumbs soaked in melted butter. Put into oven and brown. Serve hot.
Watch the Boiling.
'THE first process in the preparing
of macaroni is the boiling. No matter what the final dish is to be, this food is always boiled first. It should never be put in cold water, but always dropped into boiling, salted water and allowed to cook twenty minutes, being stirred frequently to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
After it is cooked, drain and blanch in cold water for five or ten minutes. Drain again and it is ready for flavoring, or ready to be combined with other foods. In a following issue we will furnish a chart of all foods, showing their nutritive content, together with their caloric value. With this available it will be a simple matter for the readers of MACLEAN’S to balance their rations by studying the composition of the various foods. The chart will show just what foods are similar in quality to macaroni and serve as a barometer in the preparing of meals in which this food is used.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.