134: THE MONTESSORI METHOD
they may enjoy good health and have excellent digestion. It is true that there prevails among the people (and it is one of the forms of maternal ignorance most fatal to children) the prejudice that children in order to grow well must be eating almost continuously, without regularity, nibbling almost habitually a crust of bread. On the contrary, the child, in view of the special delicacy of his digestive system, has more need of regular meals than the adult has. It seems to me that the " Children's Houses" with very prolonged programmes are, for this reason, suitable places for child culture, as they can direct the child's diet. Outside of their regular meal hours, children should not eat.
In a " Children's House " with a long programme there ought to be two meals, a hearty one about noon, and a light one about four in the afternoon.
At the hearty meal, there should be soup, a meat dish, and bread, and, in the case of rich children, also fruits or custard, and butter on the bread.
At the four o'clock meal there should be prepared a light lunch, which from a simple piece of bread can range to buttered bread, and to bread accompanied by a fruit marmalade, chocolate, honey, custard, etc. Crisp crackers, biscuits, and cooked fruits, etc., might also be usefully employed. Very suitably the lunch might consist of bread soaked in milk or an egg a la coque with bread sticks, or else of a simple cup of milk in which is dissolved a spoonful of Mellin's Food. I recommend Mellin's Food very highly, not only in infancy, but also much later on account of its properties of digestibility and nutrition, and on account of its flavour, which is so pleasing to children.
Mellin's Eood is a powder prepared from barley and wheat, and containing in a concentrated and pure state the