Friedrich J. Haberlandt of Vienna (1826-1878) - Part 2

by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi

A Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and
Soyfoods, 1100 B.C. to the 1980s

©Copyright 2004 Soyfoods Center, Lafayette, Californi


Haberlandt Part 1 | 2 | 3


Die Sojabohne. In 1878 Haberlandt published his most important work on soybeans and soyfoods, Die Sojabohne, subtitled "Results of Studies and Investigations on the Potentials for Cultivating this Newly Introduced Plant." The 119-page book is primarily about research in Central Europe from 1876-1877 regarding cultivation of soybeans and their adaptability to this geographical area. A lesser amount of space is devoted to the discussion and promotion of utilization of soybeans as a food for humans and livestock. Part 1 concerns previous cultivation research in Europe and soybean seed collections. Part 2 reports on cultivation research from many cooperators in Central Europe during 1875 and 1876. Part 3 summarizes 150 cultivation reports from cooperators in 1877. Part 4 is a summary of basic findings. There are two long sections about soyfoods: in Part 1 (pp. 10-14) and Part 4 (pp. 106-109). Some of the information on soyfoods comes from the publications of the French Society for Acclimatization (see Chapter 50).

In Part 1 Haberlandt states:

The value of soybeans results from their high content of the most important nutrients. The first analysis of the composition of these seeds that became known in Germany was carried out by (Mr.) Senff using seeds obtained directly from Japan by Mr. Berndt. The results of this analysis were first published in 1872 in a journal or yearbook called Chemischer Ackersmann ("Chemical Farmer," p. 123). [The tests showed soybeans to contain 38.29% protein and 18.71% oil.] There are few statements in the pertinent literature concerning soybean utilization. But there is no doubt that, in their native countries, they have heretofore been used exclusively as foods. In Synopsis der Pflanzenkunde ("Synopsis of Experience with Plant Culture;" 1877, Hannover, Vol. 2, p. 413), Dr. Johannes Leunis says that soybeans taste good and are also used to make a thick brown sauce, which is added to almost all foods in India, China, and Japan, and is also an article of commerce in Europe, used to improve sauces and gravies. However the sauce now available in Germany is said to be made of other ingredients rather than soybeans, namely mushrooms. From England, where this soy sauce is imported from India by the firm Grosse [sic, Crosse] and Blackwell in London, its use is spreading to the continent and is available in Vienna. Kaempfer, who describes the soybean plant so excellently in the classic work on his travels, also gives detailed information about its use as food in Japan, which has since appeared in numerous other writings, such as Oken's Allgemeine Naturgeschichte aller Stande ("General Natural History of All Places") of 1661.

Haberlandt then quotes in their entirety Kaempfer's descriptions of miso and soy sauce (about 200 words each). He also indicates a vague knowledge of tofu.

It is reported that in China a type of food is made from the oilcakes or perhaps from soybeans directly, that superficially resembles a soft cheese or Quark (a European white unfermented cheese); presumably the original mush is subjected to a fermentation process and then mixed with pepper and other spices. A large part of China's population is said to use this staple food.

He goes on to describe the chemical composition and uses of the oil presscake in China.

In part 4 (p. 106) Haberlandt continues as follows:

It is unnecessary to emphasize the importance of the soybean as a food for man and his animals. Not only is there high nutritional value in the beans and straw, they also have a flavor such that eating them takes no special effort.

A considerable number of taste experiments have been made and it can be stated that nobody's sense of taste has revolted against food uses of soybeans.

Dr. F. Leithner complains that they are not easily cooked softly enough. `I tasted them with oil and vinegar, sort of baked bean style, and as a soup. In oil and vinegar they seemed to have a slightly sweet aftertaste, like sweet peas. Also as soup they reminded me of regular bean soup with a slightly sweet flavor. One of my guests liked them very much.'

Mr. Alfred Erttel, captain of the royal-imperial army in Planta near Meran wrote: `Cooking experiments were highly satisfactory; the soybean is finer and has a better flavor than regular beans.'

Director A. Baumgartner in Grotenhof had them prepared as a salad and as a vegetable. He found them to be very much like regular beans.

Director D.E. Mach commented about the taste experiment he conducted: `In order to come to a valid opinion about the savoriness of the soybean and its value as a food, we tried to have them prepared in various ways. We must admit that they were very tasty cooked whole or as a puree, as well as with oil and vinegar, yes, even finer than peas or lentils. It must be mentioned however that soybeans take a long time to cook soft.'

By adding that no negative opinion about the soybean has come to my attention, I would also like to state: I believe that the seeds of the soybean by themselves are too concentrated a food and they would be best mixed with other foods, which are less concentrated and contain mostly carbohydrates. The Chinese and Japanese have instinctively been led toward that. They add their "miso" or their soy mush to most of their other dishes in a certain ratio without eating soy by itself. Kaempfer describes a way of the Chinese and Japanese of preparing miso that is very complicated; the cooking takes a lot of time and money. So it would seem simplest to use soybeans in the kitchen in a finely ground form. I had soy grits of that kind added to various potato dishes, for example mashed potatoes and rice. I mixed soy grits with wheat grits, cooked with milk or water, and I had soy grits added to mashed potatoes to make a dish resembling Polenta. This might be called Sojenta. My family also experimented with adding soy meal to wheat flour to make bread, with and without the addition of milk, and in all cases we were highly pleased with the results. This opinion about the taste of soy was shared by others, who shared in the tasting.

Part 2
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