The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Notes and Queries.

Volume 2, 1891/92, pg. 319

In reading an article in the February number of the Parents' Review, entitled "Pauvre Bebe," one cannot help being struck by the thought that the author, in her praiseworthy denunciation of gourmandising, has lost sight of one important fact, which is, that the Creator has endowed each of His human creatures with five senses (some say six, but that sixth, "common" sense, is so rare, it is, perhaps, hardly fair to count it!). One of these senses is the sense of taste, by means of the gustatory nerves. It has been pointed ou that there are over one hundred different kinds of apples, and that if the gustatory nerves (or in plainer language our palates) were kept in better order, and less spoiled and dulled by the use of condiments--pepper, mustard, and the like--we should be able to detect and enjoy the different flavour of each of these species.

May I ask why the Creator gave us all these varied flavours to the one fruit, if He did not mean His creatures to have the simple enjoyment of the variety, instead of being palled by one uniform monotonous taste? The same question may be asked with regard to the nerves of hearing, sight, touch, and smell.* Has he not endowed us with these five senses that we may "richly enjoy" all the good things of His creation which He hath given us? Else why the immense variety in sounds and harmonies in Nature? the exquisite changes in scenery by land and sea? the variegated colours of vegetation, and the marvellous shades of perfume in the flowers?

Would it not rather be well to train the sense of taste just as we would train the powers of observation, the sense of smell, &c. "He shall be quick of scent" is prophesied of our Lord (Isaiah xi. 3). Surely to train a child in nicety of tastes is better than to cultivate a spirit of callous indifference. Accustom a little child to sit down to a meal with clean hands, a clean pinafore, a spotless tablecloth, pretty china, brightly-polished silver, a tray or table adorned with a few flowers, a temptingly served dish, a dish delicately flavoured, instead of looking and tasting coarse from the careless way of dishing up (which servants consider "good enough for the nursery"), and the unappetising, overdone, raw, or greasy food, accustom a child from infancy to all this--without discussing with him either the quality or the quantity of the food, but ensuring that it is all of the best--and you will not find that child grow up a gourmand; his refined habits will prove utmost value to him in the future, and preserve him from many an evil resulting from uncleanly, slovenly ways, and indigestion from ill-cooked food. It is the children from the poorest homes, where dirt and wastefulness reign, who grow up with the most extravagant ways, the most gluttonous tastes, and the continual thought of eating and drinking. --ANOTHER ANNA.

*With reference to the sense or nerves of touch, it may be mentioned in passing that a skilful masseuse employs no less than fifteen different manipulations in the art of massage, which are executed by the touch of a delicately trained hand and fingers.

Typed by Blossom Barden, Mar 2013