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Nelson's Home Comforts - Little dinners - Cookery For Invalids - Every Day Meals - Hints on Cookery Good Plain Cookery - Handbook For The Breakfast Table - Weekly Telegraph Cookery Book - Our Dog Prin - Ways and Tricks of Animals

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...preface from Cookery For Invalids. Victorian Recipes


   The great importance of well-chosen and well-cooked food, as a means of not only preserving, but restoring heath, is now fully recognised, and "Dr Diet and Kitchen Physic" are acknowledged as the best friends of the medical profession. Yet there is no more anxious time for a doctor, when he hands over his patient to the good offices of the cook, for, as a celebrated culinary writer has said, "he knows how often the skill of the painstaking physician is counteracted by the want of corresponding attention to the preparation of food, and the poor patient, instead of deriving nourishment, is distressed by indigestion."

Thus it is that gruel, which in former times was said to "gratify nature" and to be the king of spoon meats and the queen of soups, and which played so important part in the sick dietary, has fallen into disrepute. the fact is that in these days few persons know gruel except as manufactured from the starchy preparation the chef merits of which appear to be that they "can be made in ten minutes;" and it is, therefore, no wonder so much dislike is expressed for it.

   The delicious, creamy, nourishing, one may almost say elegant, gruel, made by the hands of our grandmothers for their invalids, is now hardly known among us, It was either made from groats, crushed in the household mortar, or bought specifically prepared, and known as "Embden groats," and was in either case admirably suited for the purpose. After many hours' boiling the gruel was carefully strained, and was then ready to be served plain, or flavoured, as the case might require. We can hardly wonder in these days that gruel is so unpopular, being what it is - a "patent" hasty compound manufactured to suit the slovenly and impatient culinary habits of the period - or that doctors have almost ceased to order it as an especially useful and restorative diet.

   The present writer well remembers her mother, whilst relating to her the sorrow and distress of the nation of the premature death of the Princess Charlotte of Wales, added it was reported that the Princess shivered when a basin of gruel was presented to her, as though such antipathy was a measure of the hopelessness of her case. But it is no bad symptom now when ladies shiver at the sight of gruel, but rather an indication of a true case which revolts against impure and badly prepared articles of diet. Gruel made as it ought to be, is rarely disliked, and more nourishing, and in many cases to be preferred, to arrowroot - an expensive thing, and one most difficult to procure genuine.

Sick-room cookery proper is usually held to consist only of which nurses are fond of calling "slops," without at all considering how fitly they describe the beef-tea, broth and gruel they administer to their helpless patients. It is because it is found so impossible to get theses things, and especially beef-tea, properly made, that recourse is largely had in many households to the concentrated essences and preparations of commerce. That these do not supply the place of home made delicacies it is hardly necessary to insist, and a good nurse will device means to supply the diet, on which, it may be, the life of her patient depends.

   The invalid's cook will always pay great attention to the cleanliness of her batterie de cusine, and more especially to the state of the stewpan. Copper stewpans well tinned and scrupulously clean are for all reasons, the best, but those of iron lined with enamel answer well. In every house, one or two stewpans should be reserved for gruel and other delicate preparations, and on no account should they be brought into general use.

   There is, no doubt, some difficulty in catering for invalids, especially those in the convalescent stage, when the appetite is generally capricious, and the digestion weak. The diet for such patients must be both light and nutritious, as varied as possible, and served with the utmost skill and taste. It is in the interest of the convalescent and of the confirmed invalid that the chapters on "Fish" and "Little Dishes" have been carefully prepared. in some cases the dainties required for invalids are beyond the reach of their friends, and for these some inexpensive recipes are given.

   In these days when dyspepsia is so prevalent a malady, bringing in its train others of even a more serious character, it is of the first importance to study dietetical laws and the method of making food of all kinds easy of the digestion. For variety of diet is a pressing need both of the healthy, that they may avoid the evils of dyspepsia, and of those already dyspeptic, as a means of relief and probable cure.. It should be borne in mind, that careful cooking will render almost any edible substance fit for feeble digestions, and the way to do this is pointed out in the following recipes.

   The quantities given for dishes for invalids are in all cases small, generally not more than will be consumed at one meal, as it is seldom desirable to present the same dish twice consecutively to people who are in delicate health.

Puddings and other diet for children, have received careful consideration, and it is hoped, by following the given directions, the objection which many children have to puddings made of farinaceous substances may be obviated.

   In cases where the invalids food cannot be properly supplied from the kitchen, a lady by the aid of a small gas stove can readily prepare it. and every lady should study, not only theoretically, but practically, the art of cookery for invalids, for none know how soon skill in it may be called into requisition and go far to save or prolong some dear and valuable life. "Kitchen Physic" will never be so efficacious as when the invalid knows it has been prepared by loving hands, The mother, wife or daughter who trusts these duties to no lower love than her own, will sure receive the dearest reward in the knowledge that the pleasure with which food is eaten enhances the values in every sense.

   Every recipe in this book has been carefully prepared and tested by the writer, who having had long experience in the sickroom, and in the wants of invalids, has been able fully to prove their use and value.


Mary Hooper November 15, 1875




Rediscovering the Gelatine Factory



The Gelatine Factory

A comprehensive account 1899

from Round About Warwick


George Nelson



Nelson's Emscote Mills 2009



T B Dale


Charles Nelson


The Nelson Brothers


William Nelson


George H Nelson


Sir E Montague Nelson

Charles Nelson's

Cement Works at Stockton


A Visit to

Messrs. G. Nelson, Dale & Co. 1880



Nelson Works

Tomoana New Zealand


Guy Montague Nelson

Nelson Village

Charles St, Warwick


The Lawn at Emscote


Nelson's Lozenges

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Nelson's Club

Isinglass Wars

Swinborne v Nelson


Nelson's 1950's

Warwick Advertiser account 1953



Descendants of George Nelson


George Wyatt A city trade jubilee



Nelson's Heritage Walk


Gelatine and its uses


Davis Gelatine


Home Comforts


Mary Hooper



Mary Hooper Letters

 Mary Hooper Book Collection


Nelson's Home Comforts

Mary Hooper


Wives and Housewives

Mary Hooper


Little Dinners

Mary Hooper


Cookery for Invalids

Mary Hooper


Every Day Meals

Mary Hooper


Hints on Cookery

Mary Hooper

Good Plain Cookery

Mary Hooper


Handbook for the

Breakfast Table

Mary Hooper


Weekly Telegraph

Cookery Book

Mary Hooper

Our Dog Prin

Mary Hooper

Ways & Tricks of Animals

Mary Hooper


Lily's Letters from the Farm

Mary Hooper

Charles Wentworth Wass

Round About Warwick

Walter Nelson

Fleur De Lys

The Pie Factory at Emscote

Sir E Montague Nelson's Cuttings, Letters and Keepsakes Circa 1882 Randolph Turpin


Cookery & Home Comforts

Mrs Wigley


Byron Accused






Mary Hooper Books Wanted


Rock's Royal Cabinet

Leamington & Warwick 1880





Anthony Leahy



Anthony Leahy


Art & Photography

Anthony Leahy


A Major Arcana

Kathleen Forrest


The Drumroom

Anthony Leahy


Compiled for the benefit of Warwickians and Others by Anthony James Leahy




 A Walk in Warwick






Book Wanted Handbook For The Breakfast Table

Book Wanted Wives and Housewives A Story For The Times


3 The Butts