Voedingstoestanden te Gent tijdens de eerste helft van de 19de eeuw.

Nutritional Situations In Ghent During The Former Half Of The 19th Century: In general it is rather difficult to make an approximative survey of the nutritional situations in the past. It is, indeed, exceptional that the available sources permit a closer look at these aspects. A systematic control of the octrois, however, may lead to better founded insights. Moreover, the evolution of the consumption-tax generally reflects the social-economic events as well. Specifically for industrial centres, such as Ghent, it is possible to trace a clear correlation between consumption-situations and economic evolution. Industrial and (or) agrarian crises are, in fact, always characterized by more or less thorough adaptations (both quantitative and qualitative) of the nutritional pattern. But next to these short-term fluctuations, especially the pauperization- process which occurred throughout the industrialization, deserves our attention. For a number of products, such as wheat, several sorts of meat, cheese, wine, beer and gin, it would certainly be possible to assume a relative decrease of the per capita consumption during the former half of the nineteenth century. Along and together with this phenomenon, however, a considerable increase in the potato-consumption, can be observed. However, an approximative description of the average nutritional pattern, such as it may be reconstructed for the city of Ghent, shows that, in general, the "minimum-needs" were met. For that matter, a daily intake of some 2,400 to 2,500 calories per person, seems acceptable. Yet, the characteristic feature remains the dominant importance of starchy products, which still represented about 3/4 of the calories, in spite of the fact that a considerable meat-consumption (about 80 pounds per person and per year) formed one of the essential elements of city-nutrition.