FACTORS THAT GOVERN CEREAL SELECTION
Besides knowing about the ways in which cereals are prepared for market, the housewife should be familiar with the factors that govern their selection for use as food. In the first place, cereals should be chosen to suit the needs and tastes of the members of the family, and then attention should be given to the forms in which they can be purchased. Some cereals are sold in sealed packages, while others can be bought in bulk.
Each, however, has its advantages. Those sold loose are often lower in price than those sold in package form, but there is a question as to whether, with the chances for incorrect weight, the bulk foods are really much cheaper. Cleanliness is, of course, of greater importance with cereals that do not require cooking than with those which are subjected to high temperatures in order to prepare them for the table. Therefore, from the standpoint of cleanliness, there is no advantage in purchasing rice and similar raw cereals in packages.
The next thing to consider in the purchase of cereals is their cost. They vary considerably in price, but it has been determined that in food value there is little difference, pound for pound, between the cheap and the expensive cereals, the variation in price being due to their abundance or scarcity and the method used in preparing them for market. The entirely uncooked ones are the cheapest, the partly cooked ones are medium in price, and the thoroughly cooked ones are the most expensive.
This difference, however, is practically made up by the expense of the fuel required to prepare them for the table, the cheapest cereal requiring the most fuel and the most expensive, the least. Besides varying in price, the different kinds of cereals offer the housewife an opportunity to select the one that is most convenient for her. Those which are ready to serve are the best for the meal to which the least possible amount of time can be given for preparation.
The other kinds require cooking, of course, but this need not be a hindrance, for they can be prepared on one day and reheated for breakfast the following day, or they can be cooked overnight by the fireless-cooker method. In the case of such cereals, long cooking is usually necessary for good flavor and easy digestion; consequently, the cooking method that will accomplish the desired result with the least expenditure of fuel is the most economical one and the one to select.
TABLE OF GRAIN PRODUCTS.
As a further aid in coming to an understanding of cereals, or grains, and their value, there are given in Table II the various uses to which grains are put and the forms in which they occur as food. In this table, as will be observed, the form of the grain product is mentioned first and then the grain from which it is made. A careful study of this table will be profitable to the housewife.