22 MAY 1941, Page 14


Snt,—In Macaulay's essay on the Athenian Orators he writes: "Rum- ford, it is said, proposed to the Elector of Bavaria a scheme for feed- ing his soldiers at a much clieaper rate than formerly. His plan was simply to compel them to masticate their food thoroughly. A small quantity, thus eaten, would, according to that famous projector, afford more sustenance than a large meal hastily devoured." This principle, known in more recent times in America, from ..he name of its redis- coverer, as " Fletcherising," is in reality older than Count Rumford, for Luigi Cornaro, a Venetian nobleman, decided, after a serious illness at the age of forty, to restrict his diet, first to twelve ounces of solid ftaxi daily and later to an egg a day. That this practice, which he recommended in several famous treatises, had no deleterious effects upon his health may be gathered from the fact that when he died in 1566 he had reached the ripe age of ninety-eight years. It is to be hoped that severely reduced rations may not be necessitated by war- conditions, yet would it pelhaps be part of wisdom, in countries whose food-supply is reduced or threatened, to publicise anew the possibilities latent in this usually overlooked method? If unsuspected energy may eventually be released by smashing the atom, how about the results of a comminntion of the average mouthful?—Yours