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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 12 (March 2, 1936)

Simple Fare and “Pretty Men.”

Simple Fare and “Pretty Men.”

“Stalwart men,” the historian recounts elsewhere in his chronicle, “could make a hearty meal with a menu composed of nothing but mashed potatoes and milk—not because nothing else was procurable, but because they preferred plain diet. They despised anyone who was too particular about his food.”

I am reminded here of the letter that an early-days Taranaki resident wrote to England. He described meeting an English labourer who had found a land quite to his liking in fertile Taranaki. He was contented with his frugal fare, milk and Maori vegetable marrow called kamokamo, popularly pronounced “kumikumi.” “Gi'e I kumikum and milk,” he told his visitor, “and I wouldn't call the Queen me uncle—God bless her!”

Probably our “three-meal meat-fed men,” as Kipling described the Colonial, would consider themselves at starvation's door if they were restricted to such a diet for more than a day. Yet we would all be better for this simple fare. I recommend it to some of our tired city men who complain of indigestion after a hearty mid-day meal.

Some of the most stalwart of races are reared on the simplest fare. The Samoans, fine tall fellows and strong and handsome women, live chiefly on fruit and one or two vegetables. The Nova Scotian settlers were and are sixfooters and over. One of that ilk, discussing fit fare for building men, told me that he was reared on potatoes, porridge and buttermilk—the proper food for “pretty men”—good Highland phrase.