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Catechism of Familiar Things; Their History, and the Events Which Led to Their Discovery, A

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<SPAN name="CHAPTER_II" id="CHAPTER_II"></SPAN>CHAPTER II.</h2> <h3><span class="smcap">Corn, Barley, Pearl Barley, Oats, Rye, Potatoes, Tea, Coffee, and Chocolate.</span></h3> <p><b>What is Corn?</b></p> <p>Corn signifies a race of plants which produce grain in an ear or head, fit for bread, the food of man; or the grain or seed of the plant, separated from the ear.</p> <p><b>What is generally meant by Corn?</b></p> <p>In this country, maize, or Indian corn, is generally meant; but, in a more comprehensive sense, the term is applied to several other kinds of grain, such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, &amp;c.</p> <p><b>Where was Corn first used?</b></p> <p>It is uncertain. The Athenians pretend that it was amongst them it was first used; the Cretans, Sicilians, and Egyptians also lay claim to the same. From the accounts in the Bible, we find that its culture engaged a large share of the attention of the ancient Hebrews.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Culture</i>, growth, cultivation. <i>Hebrews</i>, the children of Israel, the Jews</p></div> <p><b>Who were the Athenians?</b></p> <p>Inhabitants of Athens, the capital city of Greece.</p> <p><b>Who were the Cretans?</b></p> <p>The inhabitants of Crete, an island of the Archipelago.</p> <p><b>Who were the Sicilians?</b></p> <p>Inhabitants of Sicily, the largest island of the Mediterranean Sea, now a part of Italy, and separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina.</p> <p><b>Where do the Egyptians dwell?</b></p> <p>In Egypt, a country of Africa. It is extremely fertile, producing great quantities of corn. In ancient times it was called the dry nurse of Rome and Italy, from its furnishing with corn a considerable part of the Roman Empire; and we are informed, <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_24" id="Page_24"></SPAN>[24]</span>both from sacred and profane history, that it was anciently the most fertile in corn of all countries of the world. The corn of Syria has always been very superior, and by many classed above that of Egypt.</p> <p><b>For what is Barley generally used?</b></p> <p>It is very extensively used for making malt, from which are prepared beer, ale, porter, &amp;c.; in Scotland it is a common ingredient in broths, for which reason its consumption is very considerable, barley broth being a dish very frequent there.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Ingredient</i>, a separate part of a body consisting of different materials.</p></div> <p><b>What is Pearl Barley?</b></p> <p>Barley freed from the husk by a mill.</p> <p><b>What are Oats?</b></p> <p>A valuable grain, serving as food for horses. Oats are also eaten by the inhabitants of many countries, after being ground into meal and made into oat cakes. Oatmeal also forms a wholesome drink for invalids, by steeping it in boiling water.</p> <p><b>What are the uses of Rye?</b></p> <p>In this and some other countries it is much used for bread, either alone or mixed with wheat; in England principally as food for cattle, especially for sheep and lambs, when other food is scarce in winter. Rye yields a strong spirit when distilled.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Distilled</i>, subjected to distillation&mdash;the operation of extracting spirit from a substance by evaporation and condensation.</p></div> <p><b>Of what country is the Potato a native?</b></p> <p>Potatoes grew wild in Peru, a country of South America; whence they were transplanted to other parts of the American continent, and afterwards to Europe. The honor of introducing this useful vegetable into England is divided between Sir Francis Drake, in 1580, and Sir Walter Raleigh, in 1586, some ascribing it to the former, and others to the latter. It is certain they were obtained from Virginia in the time of Raleigh; they were cultivated only in the gardens of the nobility, and were reckoned a great delicacy. They now constitute a principal article of food <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_25" id="Page_25"></SPAN>[25]</span>in most of the countries of Europe and America; in Ireland, they have long furnished nearly four-fifths of the entire food of the people.</p> <p><b>What part of the plant is eaten?</b></p> <p>The root, which, when roasted or boiled, affords a wholesome and agreeable meal.</p> <p><b>What is Tea?</b></p> <p>The leaves of an evergreen shrub, a native of China and Japan, in which countries alone it is extensively cultivated for use. The tea-plant was at one time introduced into South Carolina, where its culture appears to have been attended with but little success. It may yet become a staple production of some portions of the United States.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Evergreen</i>, retaining its leaves fresh and green through all seasons.</p></div> <p><b>How is it prepared for use?</b></p> <p>By carefully gathering the leaves, one by one, while they are yet small, young, and juicy. They are then spread on large flat iron pans, and placed over small furnaces, when they are constantly shifted by the hand till they become too hot to be borne.</p> <p><b>What is next done?</b></p> <p>They are then removed with a kind of shovel resembling a fan, and poured on mats, whence they are taken in small quantities, and rolled in the palm of the hand always in one direction, until they cool and retain the curl.</p> <p><b>How often is this operation repeated?</b></p> <p>Two or three times, the furnace each time being made less hot. The tea is then placed in the store-houses, or packed in chests, and sent to most of the countries in Europe and America.</p> <p><b>Describe the appearance of the Tea-tree.</b></p> <p>The Tea-tree when arrived at its full growth, which it does in about seven years, is about a man's height; the green leaves are narrow, and jagged all round; the flower resembles that of <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_26" id="Page_26"></SPAN>[26]</span>the wild rose, but is smaller. The shrub loves to grow in valleys, at the foot of mountains, and on the banks of rivers where it enjoys a southern exposure to the sun; though it endures considerable variation of heat and cold, as it flourishes in the northern clime of Pekin, where the winter is often severe; and also about Canton, where the heat is sometimes very great. The best tea, however, grows in a temperate climate, the country about Nankin producing better tea than either Pekin or Canton, between which two places it is situated.</p> <p><b>What produces the difference between Green and Bohea, or Black?</b></p> <p>There are varieties of the plant, and the difference of the tea arises from the mode of preparation.</p> <p><b>What nation first introduced it into Europe?</b></p> <p>The Dutch in 1610; it was introduced into England in 1650</p> <p><b>What is Coffee?</b></p> <p>The berry of the coffee-tree, a native of Arabia. The coffee-tree is an evergreen, and makes a beautiful appearance at all times of the year, but especially when in flower, and when the berries are red, which is usually during the winter. It is also cultivated in Persia, the East Indies, Liberia on the coast of Africa, the West Indies, Brazil and other parts of South America, as well as in most tropical climates.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Tropical</i>, being within the tropics, that is, in the Torrid Zone.</p></div> <p><b>Who was the original discoverer of Coffee, for the drink of man?</b></p> <p>It is not exactly known: the earliest written accounts of the use of Coffee are by Arabian writers in the 15th century; it appears that in the city of Aden it became, in the latter half of that century, a very popular drink, first with lawyers, studious persons, and those whose occupation required wakefulness at night, and soon after, with all classes. Its use gradually extended to other cities, and to those on <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_27" id="Page_27"></SPAN>[27]</span>the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, it was carried to Batavia where it was soon extensively planted, and at last young trees were sent to the botanical garden at Amsterdam.</p> <p><b>Who introduced it into France and England?</b></p> <p>Thevenot, the traveller, brought it into France, and a Greek servant named Pasqua (taken to England by Mr. Daniel Edwards, a Turkey merchant, in 1652, to make his coffee,) first set up the profession of coffee-man, and introduced the drink among the English.</p> <p><b>How is it prepared?</b></p> <p>The berries are roasted in a revolving metallic cylinder, till they are of a deep brown color, and then ground to powder, and boiled.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Metallic</i>, consisting of metal.</p></div> <p><b>What is Chocolate?</b></p> <p>A kind of cake or paste, made of the kernel of the cacao-nut.</p> <p><b>Describe the Cacao-nut Tree.</b></p> <p>It resembles the cherry tree, and grows to the height of fifteen or sixteen feet. The cacao-nut tree bears leaves, flowers, and fruit, all the year through.</p> <p><b>Where does it grow?</b></p> <p>In tropical regions, where it is largely cultivated.</p> <p><b>Of what form is the fruit?</b></p> <p>It is somewhat like a cucumber, about three inches round, and of a yellowish red color. It contains from ten to forty seeds, each covered with a little rind, of a violet color; when this is stripped off, the kernel, of which they make the chocolate, is visible.</p> <p><b>How do they make it into a drink?</b></p> <p>By boiling it with water or milk. There are various newly-invented ways of preparing chocolate, so that it may be made in a few minutes, by only pouring boiling water upon it.</p><p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_28" id="Page_28"></SPAN>[28]</span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>
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