A man is in one sense a machine. He has his levers,valves, pumps, and pipes. He requires fuel to run him. He is a locomotive engine on wheels, as Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes has shown. True, his wheels are only segmentary, and each of the two segments has but one spoke; so an entire revolution of either is impossible; but each has a reverse motion, and is lifted and plaeed back to its proper position, relative to the entire machine, while the opposite one is propelling, so that the necessity of an entire rim and more spokes, connecting it with the hub (hip joint), is obviated. This hub is also a a wonderful contrivance; it has many axes of revolution. Instead of revolving on a single axle, it is a ball and socket joint, and may admit of motion on its vertical as well as its horizontal axis, thus enabling the locomotive to get around curves without increased friction, a desideratum long sought for the iron locomotives which mans hands have wrought. The spokes (legs) also have a movable joint in the middle,and another where they join the rim (foot), which latter is as full of joints as it can well be made, having thirty,or thereabouts, exclusive of the lateral articulations of its pieces. A pretty complicated wheel this, but it is nothing to the complication of some other parts of this wondrous machine. It has arms and hands of still more complex structure with which it performs useful work. It has a force pump and bellows, working constantly, night and day, and a fire box, in which the fuel is placed to keep the whole apparatus in working trim, for if the fire ever goes out and the water gets cold in the boiler, that machine is done with forever; it is worth even less than the old iron of a railroad locomotive. Conse quently the prime object of all men(exc9pt those unfortunates who desire death, is to supply fuel to keep up steam. The work of the machine-then is, or ought to be, worth moie than the fuel it consumes. Fortunately, this is the case. For the most part, the work of iOtt& f these machines will buy not only fuel for itself, but for a number of smaller ones, and a round house (or square,one) in which they all may be stowed away comfortably, beside something to spare for those poor broken machines which can do no useful work but yet claim their share of fuel and cover from the storm. Its bell and whistle are combined by a curious arrangement and placed in a singular place, i. e., just inside the furnace door. The clapper of the bell is a wonderful piece of mechanism. Look at it closely and you will see that it must have been designed to do a great deal more than to warn folks off the track when the engine is coming. Scattered over its upper surface, most thickly on the posterior portions, are little protuberances, called by the learned papillae, whose office is to determine the quality of the fuel put into the door, and if this is found to be inferior or inj urious to the machine, it, to-getherwith the folding stove doors, is so arranged as to reject the fuel. At the same time the clapper most generally rings out a most discordant and angry peal. Now, if men were machines only, the uses of this apparatus might well end with the selection of proper fuel, and tne-re-jection of the bad or inferior; but we find that, on the summit of the machine, there is a curious apartment—the engineers domicile, fitted up most elaborately, with two most beautiful windows in front, an apparatus for transmitting sounds upon either side,and anothermost remarkable arrangement j ust below the front windows, by which a most subtle and critical examination of fuel as well as other external objects may be made. By means of these beautiful contrivances, the engineer is able to communicate with other engineers, without leaving his apartment, which he nuver does until he finally abandons his machine as worthless. If we look still still more closely, we shall discover little cords running from each of the papillae to the engineers room, and also from each af the other pieces of mechanism which we have described. The engineer receives over these cords (each of them in itself 1 wonder), sensations of pain or pleasure. When bad fuel is put in the fire box, the sensation is generally painful, and nee versa. But there may be enjoyment in taking in fuel tvhich has very little economical value, and hence such fuel finds market, and is useful because it keeps the engineer in ood temper, and, not unfrequently, prevents disaster from; he too free use of fuel which has too high a heating power io be safely used by itself. In fact, the sole end and use of he machine is to give pleasure and happiness to the engi-leer; for though he may, and should, often use it to give ithers pleasure, he only does this because he feels high pleas-ire himself in so doing, or corresponding pain if he leaves the luty unperformed. To give pleasure to the fine sensibilities of the mind and ody is the object of those arts which have been called the iner arts, and there is no doubt that the art of cooking may be 314 legitimately placed in this category. But there is a certain class of philosophers, of whom the celebrated Baron Von Lie-big stands at the head,who seem to look upon man,as regards his eating, solely as a machine, out of which the most work is to be got at the least possible cost. Now this appears to us a very unreasonable and narrow view of the matter. If man were merely a machine, it would be sufficient that pain should be felt when noxious substances are presented as food, and thus cause its rejection. The capacity for pleasure would be superfluous. But these reasons tell us the capacity for pain and pleasure are one and the same thing; that a nerve, to be able to transmit a pleasurable sensation, must also be capable of transmitting a painf ul one; that pain and pleasure are only relative terms; for what is agreeable to one may be disagreeable to another, and one mans meat is another mans poison. Granted; but what has this to do with the subject? Those who resolutely regard eating as not a fine art, and will compute you the number of ounces of peas for a days supply to keep a human body warm and provide fuel for useful work; and who,in the application of such rules and computations to the adjustment of a dietetic regimen for the unfortunates who are laid up in hospitals, almshouses, workhouses, and prisons, persist in looking at only the economic bearings of the subject, regardless of the natural and reasonable desires and capacities of human existence, would do well to confine themselves to their own rules for a few years, and see how they like it. We believe that every human being who has not by crime forfeited the common privileges of humanity, and who, by sickness or other unavoidable cause, is incapable of selfcare, is entitled not only to mere existence at the hands of his fellowmen, but to the average comforts of life so far as his physical incapacities, which have made him dependent upon others, will admit. Those who are not thus dependent are right in eating for pleasure as well as for sustenance,always provided they do not run into excess- and so far from calculating whether a certain kind of food is two per cent more nutritious than another, are right in consulting their tastes in the selection of diet; of course, with due reference to the effect the food in question will have upon their general health. In such matters, native Instinct is as much to be relied upon as reason, and we are sure it will always be found that he who eats in moderation of the food he likes best, will, all other things being equal, be the healthiest man. It almost gives one the dyspepsia to read the analyses of pork, and beans, and mutton, and sausages, which form the basis of most of the learned dissertations on food now so popular; and for ourselves we shall not be sorry when some other topic shall become a prominent theme to the exclusion of this much hackneyed subject.
This article was originally published with the title "Eating Considered as Not a Fine Art"