Food Porn, Part Five

Thank you to reader Jess who turned me on to this addicting page on the historical feeding of Hounds. Lots of great excerpts to read from various sources and I will include a few.

From Stonehenge on the Dog (published 1887):

If Indian meal [corn meal] is employed, it must be mixed with water or broth while cold, and then boiled for at least an hour, stirring it occasionally to prevent burning. If it is intended to mix oatmeal with the Indian meal, the former may be first mixed with cold water to a paste, and then stirred in after boiling the latter for three quarters of an hour; then boil another quarter, reckoning from the time that the contents of the copper came to the boiling- point a second time.
Wheat-flour should be boiled from fifteen to twenty minutes, and may be mixed with the oatmeal in the same way as the Indian meal.
[…]
The flesh with the bones should be boiled for hours, until the meat is thoroughly done; then take it out and let it hang till cold, cut or strip it from the bones and mix with the puddings or stirabout according to the quantity required. The broth should always be used, as there are important elements of nutrition dissolved in it which are absent in the boiled flesh. It is, therefore, necessary to make the puddings or stirabout with it or to soak in it the biscuit, when this is the food selected. The bones should be given for the dogs to gnaw, together with any others from the house which can be obtained, but taking care to remove all fragments small enough for them to swallow whole.
[…]
Proportions given are two third puddings or biscuit to one third cooked meat, but the amount of meat should be reduced for growing dogs which have not much exercise. “Most people prefer a much smaller proportion of meat, especially for hounds, pointers, setters, and spaniels, which depend on their nose, this organ being supposed to be rendered less delicate by high feeding.” It is also suggested that dogs which are fed two thirds pudding to one third meat require a great deal of green vegetables, which should be given once or twice a week during the summer to prevent their becoming overheated and getting skin eruptions. “Green cabbage, turnip-tops, turnips, nettle-tops, or carrots, as well as potatoes, may all be given with advantage boiled and mixed with the meal and broth, in which way they are much relished.”

From the Kennel Gazette, November 1927, an exchange of letters regarding new-on-the-market “dog biscuits” (what we would call kibble now) vs. meat.

From the meat purveyor, seeing a business opportunity to sell meat to dog owners:

Dog biscuits doubtless have their merits, but meat is, without a doubt, a vital foodstuff in the diet of any animal whose digestive organs are of carnivorous design.
[…]
[I]f dog owners are being educated to the fact that dog biscuits constitute the best food for dogs, it stands to reason that the feelings of dog owners towards meat will shortly become more distant than ever.

From the dog breeder, in response to the meat purveyor’s letter:

[T]he carnivorous appetite can be appeased by means other than the giving of fresh meat.
“For many years now, dog biscuits in one form or another have come to be considered the staple diet of a dog. There is good reason for the acceptance of this theory – or shall I say ‘this truth’. Firstly, whether meat is a necessity or not, the most ardent advocate of meat will not deny that meat alone, no matter how much a dog likes it, would sooner or later become nauseating to the dog himself. A cereal food must accompany meat so as to provide the dog with a balanced ration, i.e. a ration complete with its complement of carbohydrates and protein, without which life itself cannot function on normal lines.
[…]
[A] dog biscuit is to a dog what bread and meat are to man – only more so! The cereal part of a biscuit includes most, if not all, of the wheat berry and other nourishing cereals. Added to these is an adequate quantity of sterilized meat. To feed a dog on biscuit, therefore, is to give a concentrated ‘cereal-meat’ diet, in easily digestible form. It does more. The hardness of a biscuit compels mastication and so ensures the dog using his teeth and jaws, and incidentally,the act of mastication releases saliva and other vital digestive juices, so facilitating thereby the process of digestion and assimilation. Meat is just meat – beef, mutton, or ‘what not’ are all more or less the same to a dog. Variety is lacking, and once again, this is where a biscuit holds the advantage.
“There are numerous varieties of biscuit foods. Some are for puppies and young dogs only; others are specially made for the adult dog. Some contain meat, others are plain. There are the square or round biscuits, and there are the broken kinds, commonly known as hound or terrier meal. From among the assortment available, there is no difficulty whatsoever in catering for any and every breed of dog and puppy.
“If meat must be fed, then see to it that a goodly percentage of the daily feed includes biscuit. I hold no brief for this or that biscuit, and the only reason I have for writing at length on a dog’s food is to warn dog owners against the use of too much meat. There is meat in dog biscuits, and it is sufficient.

Previously in this series:
Food Porn (Part One)
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

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