I have mentioned before that I collect vegetarian cookbooks from different times and places and in different languages. A number of these are from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, mostly in English with a few in French. As well as physical books, this subset is augmented by books scanned into Google Books (though their subject categorization is as sloppy as the rest of their meta-data).
The rise, at the end of the 19th century, of food faddism in general, and vegetarianism in particular, involved an interest in the scientific planning and production of food. It also coincided with modern production and brand marketing. This relationship is particularly clear in the early history of cold breakfast cereal.
One result of this is that a number of these cookbooks include recipes calling for, and advertisements offering, processed vegetarian foods, particularly protein sources. Some of these are recognizable as brands in the modern sense, with patented processes and/or trademarked names. Others are just new names for a public domain process. For instance, Mrs. Kellogg's Healthful Cookery lists all the Battle Creek Sanitarium products that are called for in the recipes earlier in the book. The British Manual of Vegetarian Cookery has ads with similar lists.
The natural question is, what exactly are these products?
G. K. Chesterton, for whom Orthodoxy was quite literally the basis of his creed, was always ready to apply his wit against middle-class non-conformists. His poem about “Higgins the Heathen” wonders why those without faith would display conventional morality. The coincidence of vegetarianism and teetotaling led him to wonder why a “Logical Vegetarian” would not drink these pure vegetable drinks. To be fair, Chesterton, an Anglican who converted to Roman Catholicism and Distributist, maintained a lifetime friendship with George Bernard Shaw, vegetarian, teetotaler, atheist turned follower of some mystical version of Bergson's Creative Evolution and Fabian Socialist. They engaged in a series of public debates with a civility rarely found today. Chesterton wrote a biography of Shaw, whose Introduction consists of this:
Most people either say that they agree with Bernard Shaw or that they do not understand him. I am the only person who understands him, and I do not agree with him.
Shaw himself reviewed the book in the Nation (reprinted in the Sep. 12, 1909 NYT), calling it, “the best work of literary art I have yet provoked,” but substantially disputing its accuracy.
But this blog is not about religion or politics, so I will stick to the vegetarian angle. In the Dec. 4, 1909 Illustrated London News, Chesterton wrote an essay titled “Honesty in Vegetarianism” arguing generally against the idea, joking “I am a vegetarian between meals,” and specifically against vegetarian dishes modeled after meat ones:
I will eat nuts with any man—or with any monkey. But they must be nuts—not nutton, or nutter, or nusco, or nutrogen, or nuttolene, or nuttose, or nutarian Cashew. (Collected Works, Vol. XXVIII, p. 437)
Obviously, these are all foods made from nuts. The vegetarian meal that Bloom recalled, “Why do they call that thing they gave me nutsteak? Nutarians. Fruitarians.” (8.539 — on vegetarians in turn-of-the-century Dublin, see here) is more generic; nut-steak warrants an OED subentry. But these nut- terms are specific, even brand names.
To a Health-Food Girl
Hail to thee, Granola Maid!
Kumyss cheek and silken braid,
Flower blooming in the shade
Of the Protose tree;
Pious bearing, modest mien,
Hail, my Vegetarian Queen,
Hail, my healthy Nuttolene,
Zwieback fairy, thee!
Set my Glutose spirit free,
Lift they Meltose eyes to me,
Say thou'lt be my Bean Puree,—
All my cares beguile;
Sway me with they grace imperial,
Say thou'lt be my Flaky Cereal,
Beam on me, while charms ethereal
Sterilize thy smile!
See, thy Granut tear-drop start!
Swear that we will never part,—
Give to me thy Whole Wheat heart,
Let the skeptics scoff;
'Round thy waist my strong arm clinches,—
This is where my spirit flinches,
For thy waist is forty inches—
Let us call it off! (p. 489)
Some of these health-foods were imports, rather than new inventions. Kumyss (that is, kumis) is fermented milk, traditionally mare's milk among the Turkic peoples of the steppes. In Mongolian, it is ᠠᠢᠷᠠᠭ airaγ, apparently from Arabic عرق ʿaraq 'sweat', that is, arak. Tolstoy relied on the “koumiss cure” at various times; for instance, he writes in his Confession:
бросил всё и поехал в степь к башкирам - дышать воздухом, пить кумыс и жить животною жизнью. (here)
I threw in everything and left for the steppes of the Bashkirs to breathe fresh air, drink koumiss and live a primitive life. (tr. Kentish)
Kellogg briefly offered the Sanitarium's own version of kumis, known as kumyzoon. Zwieback can usually be found in the cracker aisle of the supermarket. But what of the rest, with newly made-up names?
To make some sense of all of these, I have put together a small glossary of these vegetarian products and the best determination I have been able to make for what they were made of, how and by whom. A blog post is not the best medium for this, but it is a decent way to get started. I fear that just dumping it as a work in progress into Wikipedia would only invite a mess or deletion.
albene: [< albus 'white'?] A vegetable fat. Edinburgh Medical Journal. Coconut butter? A Comprehensive Guide-book to Natural, Hygienic & Humane Diet.
artox: Whole wheat flour. “so treated that the sharp, irritating particles of the bran, so prevalent in the ordinary meal, are rendered harmless and capable of digestion by the weakest stomach.” Cf. Graham flour, where different parts of wheat are ground separately. Reform Cookery Book.
bromose: Nut meat with malted nuts. Produced by Kellogg's Sanitas Nut Food Company. Compendium of Food-microscopy. “A combination of predigested nuts and cereals.” Reform Cookery Book. Sanitas ad. See nutmeat.
carnos: Beef extract substitute. Malt extract of barley. A Comprehensive Guide-book to Natural, Hygienic & Humane Diet. Reform Cookery Book.
glutose: Some kind of syrup?
granose: Graham flour flakes. Kellogg's Corn Flakes before corn.
nucoline: [< nux 'nut'] Coconut butter. Jamaica Dept. of Agriculture. Before hydrogenated vegetable oils, one of the few vegetable oils solid like butter at room temperature. According to The Oil Conquest of the World's chapter on margarine, when coconut oil was first sold as cocoanut-butter, there was the possibility of confusion with cocoa-butter, that is, cacao-butter, a by-product of chocolate manufacture, so Francis H. Loder, son of Francis W. Loder, of Noder and Nucoline, began insisting that it be spelled coco-nut and never cocoa-nut. (Of course, this, the modern spelling, was always an alternative, but somewhat less prevalent at that time.)
nusco: Some kind of nut product?
nutarian: [By analogy with vegetarian and fruitarian] So nutarian lard or nutarian cake. R. Winter's Nut Butters: Nutarian Almond Margarine, Nutarian Walnut Margarine, Nutarian Cashew Margarine, Nutarian Table Margarine, Nutarian Cocoanut Margarine. Reform Cookery Book.
nuttolene: Nut meat pâté. Produced by Kellogg's Sanitas Nut Food Company. Peanuts and seasoning. Commerce Dept. ruling. Kellogg profile. Substitutes for Flesh Foods. Modern versions are just peanut loaf. See nutmeat.
odin: Beef extract substitute. Malt extract of barley. A Comprehensive Guide-book to Natural, Hygienic & Humane Diet.
vigar: Some kind of concentrated vegetable stock? Vigar Brawn, tomato and clear, served cold; Vigar Gravy Essence. Produced by Pitman Health Food Company. Reform Cookery Book. A Manual of Vegetarian Cookery.