A 1904 Vegetarian Cookbook via Project Gutenberg, with bonus question: What the hell is Protose?

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Summary: Found 100+ year old vegetarian cookbook. Relaxingly straight forward in many ways, but has a number of references to something called Protose, which meant I had to look it up.

BLOT: (09 Oct 2013 - 09:29:50 PM)

A 1904 Vegetarian Cookbook via Project Gutenberg, with bonus question: What the hell is Protose?

Spotted this in the Project Gutenberg new book feed a few days back: The Vegetarian Cook Book: Substitutes for Flesh Foods (1904) by E. G. Fulton, partially to see what cool recipes it had and partially to see the old the-more-things-change in action. In this case, the book is kind of neat. At first glance, I really can't tell if it is a good book as a single, go-to volume. Maybe it is, maybe not. Not that there isn't a fair number of dishes, it is just that so many of the dishes are kind of samey that it is hard to imagine someone turning to Protose, walnuts, eggs, and rice so often, even if one recipe is called "Mock Veal" and the other is "Mock Chicken". Curious what that "P" word is that I just mentioned? I'll get to it. The good thing is that, like most cookbooks from a hundred years ago, there are a number of dishes that seem nearly otherworldly, like the fruit soups [various juices thickened with arrowroot, some marked as being "good for invalids"] or the "Pea and Onion Salad" [much like what you would think, with mayonnaise and poured over lettuce].

As a brief aside, here are some selected quotes from the introduction:

It must appeal to the judgment of every thinking man and woman that the human family are more in need of sound, wholesome advice as to what they should eat and drink than ever before. The number of physicians and dentists increases each year at an alarming rate, but the aches and ills of the suffering people do not lessen. Thousands of people find themselves in a deplorable condition, with stomachs almost worn out, having depended largely upon predigested foods [eh?]...
...It must be apparent to all students of the past century that the people of the present are not enjoying the same degree of health as our ancestors...
Disease among cattle, poultry, and fish has increased so alarmingly in the last few years that we should no longer depend on the animal kingdom for food. We should look to the grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits for a better dietary than can be prepared from the flesh of animals likely to be contaminated with tuberculosis, cancer, and other diseases.

American's diet has failed them, animals are diseased, and fake cures are substituting proper health styles that our ancestors once claimed... I'd say that Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead owed this man some money, if it wasn't for the fact that his book is in the public domain. As a general aside, so many of these recipes use milk [but not really cheese outside of cottage], eggs, and wheat gluten [via the soon to be discussed Protose] that many anti-gluten and/or vegan folk would find it distasteful. Just a heads up.

What is Protose? The short answer is that is a meat substitute made up of wheat gluten and peanuts. The longer answer is that it was designed by Dr. J.H. Kellogg and then later produced by Worthington, for years, before being discontinued in 2000. Why did they do away with it? I don't know. Worthington/Loma Linda is still around, a sister company to the better known at-least-around-here Morningstar [both owned, now, by Kellogg]. Some people have taken stabs at recreating Protose, but the variety is so varied to suggest to me that people who don't know it are leading the charge by guess work. See the first link in this paragraph for one recipe, or the ones at Vegan-Food.net or Ellen's Kitchen (which seems the best at a glance) or NewsOK.com. I'm going to dig for just a bit more before I try any of them out, but it does sound pretty good.



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