Sunday, August 31, 2008

Useful snippets from "Household Arithmetic" (1920)

Here is a book every home should have:

Household Arithmetic, Katherine F. Ball, M.A., Vocational Adviser (sic) for Women, University of Minnesota; Miriam E. West, M.A. Girls Vocational High School, Minneapolis. J.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia & London (1920).

I ran across the book specifically looking for the calorie content of various foods. It is useful to know these things if you are trying to figure out how long you can survive if the grocery store closes for some reason.

Some factoids I noted:

Calories burned per pound of body weight per hour (p. 131):

Sleeping 0.4
Sitting quietly 0.6
Light muscular exercise 1.0
Active muscular exercise 2.0
Severe muscular exercise 3.0

The book gives a handy little example (p. 132):

Problem.-Estimate the probable energy requirement of a stenographer, 28 years old, weighing 125 pounds, whose time is divided each day about as follows: Sleeping, 8 hours; sitting quietly at meals, reading, taking dictation, etc., 8 hours; at light muscular exercise, dressing, standing, walking, typing, etc., 6 hours; at active muscular exercise, playing tennis, etc., 2 hours. Use Table I.

8 X 0.4 Calories =3.2 Resting
8 X 0.6 Calories =4.8 sitting quitely
6 X 1.0 Calories =6.0 light activity
2 X 2.0 Calories =4.0 active

Total Calories per pound per day =18.

125 X 18=2250=total Calories per day.

Pages 135 and following give the energy value of various foods. I've saved the entire book simply for this information. Page 146 gives a thumbnail sketch:

Food Calories per lb.
1. Smoked ham 1635
2. Corned beef 1245
3. Oysters 225
4. Butter 3410
5. Entire wheat flour 1650
6. Rice 1620
7. Cheddar cheese 2075
8. Milk, whole 310
9. Buttermilk 160
10. Peanuts 1775

So our normal stenographer, who needs 2250 calories per day, could get by in a pinch with a quarter pound of pork and a bit over a pound of rice a day. Sure, it's spartan fare, but not too hard to store.

I'd suggest the book as a wonderful, free, resource.


I've been fairly occupied for the last four months. School is done, but Summer had many projects.

I'm coming back here from time to put record my random thoughts and observations. I put obscure notes into a little marble note pad, and it fills too quickly.

When I was around 13, my Dad gave me a large book called "The Everyman's University." Published in the 30s, it contained a whole range of important information. Things like the schematic for wiring a two-way switch, the proper sequence for slaughtering hogs, how to get a tractor unstuck from a bog, how to make soap, and the proper technique for using dynamite.

Such compendia are uncommon in our internet era. Specialized knowledge encourages provincial scope. And being innundated by specialists from all points only exacerbates the matter. The phrase "too much information," while useful for embarrasing information, is even more apt for our time. A numb sort of paralysis follows.

But I've always been a generalist. Somehow, I'd like to get it all down somewhere. So the series begins and the blog resumes.