Hall's Journal of Health has a few very sensible words on the use of cheese and nuts, which appear to tally, at least as regards the former, with some statements we made in our columns, pp. 61 and 62, No. 4, Vol. XVI. The editor says that if the nuts are ripe, and the cheese old (ripe), they both promote digestion. They should be eaten at the close of dinner. " The digesting agent in both is a peculiar oil which has the property of acting chemically on what has been eaten, and thus preparing it for being the more easily appropriated to the purposes of nutrition. Many think that the more solid portions of the nut should not be swallowed. This is an error; those particles of solid matter are not digested, it is true, but they are passed through the system unchanged, and act as a mechanical stimulant to the action of the internal organs, as white mustard seeds, swallowed whole, are known to do, thus preventing that constipated condition of the system which is so invariably productive of numerous bodily discomforts and dangerous and even fatal forms of disease." It is well known that cheese is much more largely used in continental Europe, and in England, Wales, and Scotland than here. There it takes the place, in a measure, of the flesh food, so easily obtained here and so costly there. Here it is used mainly as a condiment or an appendage to the dessert of a meal; there it is the piece du resistance often of the laborer or hunter's meal. Judging from the use of it in our hotels and restaurants, one would suppose that it was a very costly production ; it never being served unless specially ordered, and then appearing in the form and size of dice, a cube of half an inch square being served with a piece of pie or a plate of pudding, and always green or unripe cheese, with a texture like wax and a taste like fried shingles or toasted tallow. But cheese, as shown by its constituents and their proportions, is calculated to nourish and strengthen, not merely to tickle the palate. New cheese is, however, no more fit for eating than new bread. Both must be ripened, like natural fruit, before they are of any worth. As to nuts, even the richest and most oily are valuable additions to our food. The chestnut (uncooked), the cocoa, the Brazil or Castile nut, and possibly others, do not digest readily but when roasted (not boiled) the chestnut, either domestic or i Italian, is farinaceous, mealy, and nutritious. The cocoanut needs to be grated finely and united with some farinaceous substance as flour or meal. The Castile, or Brazilian nut, the walnut, hickory, or " shagbark," and English walnut are quite oily and unfit for an empty stomach, but as a means of ; digesting the food previously taken should not be despised. In this connection it might not be amiss to speak of the improvement made in nuts by cultivation. In the valley of the Connecticut river, about the town of Glastenbury, Conn., there are orchards of walnut or hickory trees, as assiduously cultivated as any apple or peach orchard; the result is a very superior nut, large in size—often more than three inches in circumference—with very thin shell, and meat of unusual sweetness. In the Hartford market these nuts are known as " Glas-tenburys," and bring a high price. Chestnuts, our own indigenous product, are also improved bycultivation, until they equal in size the coarse Italian nut while preserving the sweet flavor of the wild or ordinary product. Water-Glass, or Soluble Silicates Water-glass, or soluble silicate of soda, has come into use for a great variety of purposes. It is a most useful substance, and its nature should be better understood. We have recommended its use in the Journal for coating in the inside of water cisterns, to prevent the cement from acting upon the water. This is an excellent application. It may be made of great service in many ways, which our readers will understand from the nature of the article. There are four kinds of soluble silicates, namely, potash, soda, double, and clear. The first is composed of 15 parts pulverized quartz (a pure sand), 10 Of purified potash, and 1 of powdered charcoal. These substances are .first well mixed and exposed to a strong heat in a glass melting-pot for five hours, until the whole fuses uniformly; the heat required being about the same as that which melts glass. It is now lifted out, and when cool, it is broken in pieces and dissolved in about five times its bulk of boiling water. It is kept boiling for about three hours before it is all dissolved, and water is added as evaporation proceeds, so as to keep up the original quantity. It now becomes slimy, and in that state, or more diluted, is fit for use in many operations. It should be placed in well-stoppered bottles for use. The second silicate is composed of 45 lbs. of pure quartz, 20 of anhydrous carbonate of soda, and 3 of powdered charcoal. This is fused in the same manner as the other. .By substituting anhydrous sulphate of soda for the carbonate of soda, and using about eight times more charcoal, a cheaper silicate is formed, and both are soluble by boiling in water. Rectified alcohol precipitates the potash silicate from its water, and converts it into a solid silicate, which is dissolvable in water. The potash and the soda silicates mix freely with one another. The double-soluble silicate is composed of 100 parts quartz, 28 purified potash, 22 neutral anhydrous carbonate of soda, and 6 of powdered charcoal. This mixture fuses much easier than the other two, but three measures of the potash silicate and two of the soda silicate described, when mixed together, will answer for all practical applications. The fourth silicate, which is applied to fixing the colors of pictures, is made by fusing 3 parts pure anhydrous carbonate of soda with 2 parts of powdered quartz, which is boiled as described for the other silicates. This is kept in a concentrated solution, and_ one measure added to four parts of concentrated potash silicate completely saturated with quartz. By this means, silica and an excess of alkali are obtained, which, al- 123 though more soluble, is clear, and not rapidly decomposed. This soluble silicate should only be employed in stereochromy painting. The first two soluble silicates, when mixed together, form an excellent cement with sand, and convert it into a stone-like mass. It is also excellent for filling up cracks in walls, as it acts very much like mineral glue. When marble dusf or chalk is made into a paste with water, then dried, and afterward saturated with the silicate, it forms a compact mass, and acquires a hardness little inferior to solid marble, and it is capable of taking a fine polish, and water will not soften it. A mixture of marble dust and the silicate of soda forms a cement which adheres either to wood or stone. The oxide of zinc and soluble glass combine with great energy, and form a paste capable of being rolled out and made into sheets to cover substances, such as wood, with a coat resembling polished slate. A patent has been taken out for writing-slates made of this composition. One of the most important applications of water-glass is to painting. It enables the colors to adhere,renders them almost indestructible, and is therefore calculated to supersede fresco-painting. Some splendid mural paintings in the museum at Berlin have been treated with the soluble silicate ; they are stated to be splendid works of art, and far in advance of fresco painting for durability. Artificial sulphate of baryta, applied to glass by means of silicate of potash, imparts to it a milk-white color of great beauty; in a few days the silica is found intimately combined with it, and the color resists washing with warm water. By the action of strong heat, this silicious varnish is transformed into a white enamel. Blue ultramarine, oxide of chromium, and pulverized colored enamels may be applied. Silicious painting upon glass is destined to find advantageous employment in the construction of chuich windows; while silicious painting upon stone will serve for mural decoration. The oxides and metallic salts which enter into the composition of silicious colors, or of cements, have the property, not only of combining with the silica of the silicates, but also of fixing, in an insoluble state, variable quantities of potash. The colors which act most energetically in this respect are the ochres ; oxide of manganese, oxide of zinc, oxide of lead, and artificial sulphate of baryta.—Boston Journal of GMmislTy
This article was originally published with the title "Cheese and Nuts"