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Beef Tea
Primarily for invalids

Time: 1/4 to 3/4 hour

Allow 1 lb. of meat for a pint of good beef tea

Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. of lean gravy-beef
  2. 1 quart of water
  3. 1 saltspoonful of salt

Directions
  1. Have the meat cut without fat and bone, and choose a nice fleshy piece
  2. Cut it into small pieces about the size of dice, and put it into a clean saucepan
  3. Add the water cold to it
  4. Put it on the fire, and bring it to the boiling-point; then skim well
  5. Put in the salt when the water boils, and simmer the beef tea gently from 1/2 to 3/4 hour, removing any more scum should it appear on the surface
  6. Strain the tea through a hair sieve, and set it by in a cool place
  7. When wanted for use, remove every particle of fat from the top; warm up as much as may be required, adding, if necessary, a little more salt

This preparation is simple beef tea, and is to be administered to those invalids to whom flavourings and seasonings are not allowed. When the patient is very low, use double the quantity of meat to the same proportion of water. Should the invalid be able to take the tea prepared in a more palatable manner, it is easy to make it so by following the directions for making savoury beef tea. Beef tea is always better when made the day before it is wanted, and then warmed up. It is a good plan to put the tea into a small cup or basin, and to place this basin in a saucepan of boiling water. When the tea is warm, it is ready to serve.

Miss Nightingale says, one of the most common errors among nurses, with respect to sick diet, is the belief that beef tea is the most nutritive of all article. She says, "Just try and boil down a lb. of beef into beef tea; evaporate your beef tea, and see what is left of your beef: you will find that there is barely a teaspoonful of solid nourishment to 1/4 pint of water in beef tea. Nevertheless, there is a certain reparative quality in it,--we do not know what,--as there is in tea; but it maybe safely given in almost any inflammatory disease, and is as little to be depended upon with the healthy or convalescent, where much nourishment is required."

Source: The Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton (1859)


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