"Health in the Household; or, Hygienic Cookery" by Susanna Way Dodds is an ancient book on cooking which you can find via google books here: http://books.google.com/books?id=cHkEAAAAYAAJ&dq=Susanna%20Way%20Dodds&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false
It's often fascinating and hilarious, especially when it moralizes. Here are some excerpts:On how even small amounts of stimulating food lead to murder:
"But the evil does not stop here; the habitual taking of stimulating substances, even in limited quantity, causes an increased growth of those organs that are located in the base of the brain; and this, with the greater activity that necessarily follows, leads to intense passionate emotions, and excesses of every description. So that murder, theft, and all manner of evil doings, are the legitimate results of the introduction into a community of stimulating foods and drinks."On the "slippery slope" of stimulating food:
"But this is not the whole of the matter; when King Alcohol comes to our firesides, and sits down at our tables, he is met by a multitude of his own "blood relations"; some near of kin, some more distant. And the peculiarity of this numerous household is, that if you entertain a single one of the them, that individual never stops till he brings all the others with him.
"Figures aside, however, the plain facts are these: if one is in the habit of using tobacco, tea and coffee can not be dispensed with; and if either of these beverages forms part of the morning repast, a "good rich beef-steak" is the next thing in order. Moreover, if steak and other meats come to the table, salt and pepper are expected to come also; and the other contents of the castor usually gain an easy admittance. Then are introduced the spicy pickles, pungent sauces, and other condiments that set the blood on fire, and inflame the passions."On how stimulating food induces the downfall of a society:
"Verily the wives and mothers of this country, are themselves responsible for much of the ruin wrought in their own households. Had their tables been plain and simple, these things had not been. Is it any wonder that crime and bloodshed stalk rampant through the land? That licentiousness lurks in the by-paths? That women take to morphine or the mad-house, and men blow their brains out? That homicides multiply with amazing rapidity, and theft and other crimes are frequent in high places? These outrages on common decency and the whole community, are not committed by the plain, temperate members of society, who sit down three times a day to un-stimulating food, go to their work regularly in the daytime, and retire to rest at nightfall. Could the private histories of the lawless ones be written, we should find the "little foxes" that spoil the tender vines."On pickles:
"In doing away with spices and condiments, we must also dispense with pickles; there is nothing in a pickle to redeem it from hopeless condemnation. The spices in it are bad, the vinegar is a seething mass of rottenness, full of animal-culae, and the poor little innocent cucumber, or other vegetable, if it had very little "character" in the beginning, must now fall into the ranks of the "totally depraved."On tea and coffee:
"Not believing in any drink at meals, it is hardly to be supposed that hygienists could recommend tea or coffee. If, as some think, a fluid "must be taken" with the food, the best is water or gruel, at about blood heat; a drink warmer or colder than this, habitually indulged in, leads to evil consequences, as already shown.
"Tea and coffee are injurious, not merely because they are taken at meal-time, but because they are stimulating, and in fact, poisonous. The water in which un-parched coffee is steeped is of a greenish color, and will kill flies; nor does the parching of the bean remove all its noxious qualities. To test this matter, try making coffee two or three times the usual strength; then drink a pint of it on an empty stomach, eating nothing after it, and note the results. You will do well to try the experiment on some one accustomed to its use, or you might have to order the undertaker."