NEW COOK BOOK,
A GUIDE TO MARKETING AND COOKING.
BY MARIA PARLOA,
PRINCIPAL OF THE SCHOOL OF COOKING IN BOSTON
When the author wrote the Appledore Cook Book, nine years ago, she had seen so many failures and so much consequent mortification and dissatisfaction as to determine her to give those minute directions which were so often wanting in cook-books, and without which success in preparing dishes was for many a person unattainable. It seemed then unwise to leave much to the cook's judgment; and experience in lecturing and in teaching in her school since that time has satisfied the author that what was given in her first literary work was what was needed. In this book an endeavor has been made to again supply what is desired: to have the directions and descriptions clear, complete and concise. Especially has this been the case in the chapter on Marketing. Much more of interest might have been written, but the hope which led to brevity was that the few pages devoted to remarks on that important household duty, and which contain about all that the average cook or housekeeper cares and needs to know, will be carefully read. It is believed that there is much in them of considerable value to those whose knowledge of meats, fish and vegetables is not extensive; much that would help to an intelligent selection of the best provisions.
Of the hundreds of recipes in the volume only a few were not prepared especially for it, and nearly all of these were taken by the author from her other books. Many in the chapters on Preserving and Pickling were contributed by Mrs. E. C. Daniell of Dedham, Mass., whose understanding of the lines of cookery mentioned is thorough. While each subject has received the attention it seemed to deserve, Soups, Salads, Entrees and Dessert have been treated at unusual length, because with a good acquaintance with the first three, one can set a table more healthfully, economically and elegantly than with meats or fish served in the common ways; and the light desserts could well take the place of the pies and heavy puddings of which many people are so fond. Many ladies will not undertake the making of a dish that requires hours for cooking, and often for the poor reason only that they do not so read a recipe as to see that the work will not be hard. If they would but forget cake and pastry long enough to learn something of food that is more satisfying!
After much consideration it was decided to be right to call particular attention in different parts of the book to certain manufactured articles. Lest her motive should be misconstrued, or unfair criticisms be made, the author would state that there is not a word of praise which is not merited, and that every line of commendation appears utterly without the solicitation, suggestion or knowledge of anybody likely to receive pecuniary benefit therefrom.
The following is a table of measures and weights which will be found useful in connection with the recipes:
One quart of flour one pound. Two cupfuls of butter one pound. One generous pint of liquid one pound. Two cupfuls of granulated sugar one pound. Two heaping cupfuls of powdered sugar one pound. One pint of finely-chopped meat, packed solidly one pound.
The cup used is the common kitchen cup, holding half a pint.
Marketing Groceries Care of Food Kitchen Furnishing Soups Fish Meats Poultry and Game Entrees Salads Meat and Fish Sauces Force-Meat and Garnishes Vegetables Pies and Puddings Dessert Cake Preserving Pickles and Ketchup Potting Breakfast and Tea Economical Dishes Bread Drinks How to do Various Things Bills of Fare
THE PUBLISHERS' COMPLIMENTS TO THE READER.
In the preparation of this book the author and publishers have expended much time and money, with the hope that it may lessen your cares, by enabling you to provide your household with appetizing and healthful food, at a reasonable outlay of expense and skill. Should they not be disappointed in this hope, and you find yourself made happier by the fond approval of those who enjoy the food which you set before them as a result of your use of this book, we trust you will recommend its purchase by your friends, to the end that they may also be benefited by it, and that both author and publisher may be recompensed for its preparation.
MISS PARLOA'S NEW COOK BOOK.
Upon the amount of practical knowledge of marketing that the housekeeper has, the comfort and expense of the family are in a great measure dependent; therefore, every head of a household should acquire as much of this knowledge as is practicable, and the best way is to go into the market. Then such information as is gained by reading becomes of real value. Many think the market not a pleasant or proper place for ladies. The idea is erroneous. My experience has been that there are as many gentlemen among marketmen as are to be found engaged in any other business. One should have a regular place at which to trade, as time is saved and disappointment obviated. If not a judge of meat, it is advisable, when purchasing, to tell the dealer so, and rely upon him to do well by you. He will probably give you a nicer piece than you could have chosen. If a housekeeper makes a practice of going to the market herself, she is able to supply her table with a better variety than she is by ordering at the door or by note, for she sees many good and fresh articles that would not have been thought of at home. In a book like this it is possible to treat at length only of such things as meat, fish and vegetables, which always form a large item of expense.
Beef is one of the most nutritious, and, in the end, the most economical, kinds of meat, for there is not a scrap of it which a good housekeeper will not utilize for food.
As to Choosing It.
Good steer or heifer beef has a fine grain, a yellowish-white fat, and is firm. When first cut it will be of a dark red color, which changes to a bright red after a few minutes' exposure to the air. It will also have a juicy appearance; the suet will be dry, crumble easily and be nearly free from fibre. The flesh and fat of the ox and cow will be darker, and will appear dry and rather coarse. The quantity of meat should be large for the size of the bones. Quarters of beef should be kept as long as possible before cutting. The time depends upon climate and conveniences, but in the North should be two or three weeks. A side of beef is first divided into two parts called the fore and hind quarters. These are then cut into variously-shaped and sized pieces. Different localities have different names for some of these cuts. The diagrams represent the pieces as they are sold in the Boston market, and the tables give the New York and Philadelphia names for the same pieces. In these latter two cities, when the side of beef is divided into halves, they cut farther back on the hind quarter than they do in Boston, taking in all the ribs—thirteen and sometimes fourteen. This gives one more rib roast. They do not have what in Boston is called the tip of the sirloin.
The Hind Quarter.
In Philadelphia they cut meat more as is done in Boston than they do in New York. The following diagram shows a hind quarter as it appears in Boston. In the other two cities the parts 1 and 13f are included in the fore quarter. The dotted lines show wherein the New York cutting differs from the Boston:
EXPLANATION OF DIAGRAM NO. 1.
1. Tip end of sirloin. 2. Second cut of sirloin. 3. First cut of sirloin. 4. Back of rump. 5. Middle of rump. 6. Face of rump. 7. Aichbone. 8. Best of round steak. 9. Poorer round steak. 10. Best part of vein. 11. Poorer part of vein. 12. Shank of round. 13. Flank.
1. First cut of ribs. 2. Sirloin roast or steak. 3. Sirloin roast or steak. 4. Hip roast; also rump steak. 5. Middle of rump. 6. Face of rump. 7. Tail of rump. 8. Best of round steak. 9. Poorer round steak. 10. Best part of vein. 11. Poorer part of vein. 12. Leg. 13. (e) Flank.
1. First cut of ribs. 2. Porter-house steak or sirloin roast 3. Flat-boned sirloin steak or roast. 4,5,6. /(a) Large sirloin (a) steaks or roasts 7. Aichbone. 8. (and 4b and 5b) Rump steak. 9. (and 13e) Round steak. 10. Best part of vein 11. Poorer part of vein. 12. (d) Leg of beef. 13. (e) Flank.
The hind quarter consists of the loin, rump, round, tenderloin or fillet of beef, leg and flank. The loin is usually cut into roasts and steaks; the roasts are called sirloin roasts and the steaks sirloin or porter-house steaks. In the loin is found the tenderloin; and a small piece of it (about two and a half pounds in a large animal) runs back into the rump. In Boston this is often sold under the name of the short fillet, but the New York and Philadelphia marketmen do not cut it. Plate No. 2 shows the fillet.
Next the loin comes the rump, from which are cut steaks, roasts and pieces for stewing, braising, a la mode and soups. Next the rump comes the round, from which are cut steaks, pieces for a la mode, stewing, braising and soups. The flank is cut from the loin, and used for corning, stewing and as a roll of beef.
Plate No. 4 represents a loin as cut in Boston and Philadelphia, and it and No. 3 represent one as cut in New York, if the two parts be imagined joined at the point A. No. 4 also shows the inside of the loin, where the tenderloin lies.
The sirloin is cut in all sizes, from eight to twenty pounds, to suit the purchaser. The end next the ribs gives the smallest pieces, which are best for a small family. The tenderloin in this cut is not as large as in the first and second. In cutting sirloin steaks or roasts, dealers vary as to the amount of flank they leave on. There should be little, if any, as that is not a part for roasting or broiling. When it is all cut off the price of the sirloin is of course very much more than when a part is left on, but though the cost is increased eight or ten cents a pound, it is economy to pay this rather than take what you do not want.
Every part of the sirloin, and a part of the rump, is named porter- house steak in various localities. In New York the second cut of the sirloin is considered the choice one for these steaks. The rump steak, when cut with the tenderloin in it, is also called porter-house steak. The original porter-house steaks came from the small end of the loin.
Sirloin steaks are cut from all parts of the loin, beginning with the small end and finishing with the rump. In New York the rump steaks are also known as sirloin. In some places they do not cut tenderloin with sirloin. One slice of sirloin from a good-sized animal will weigh about two and a half pounds. If the flank, bone and fat were removed, there would remain about a pound of clear, tender, juicy meat There being, therefore, considerable waste to this steak, it will always be expensive as compared with one from a rump or round. But many persons care only for this kind, as it has a flavor peculiar to itself; and they will buy it regardless of economy. Plate No. 5 shows a second cut of the sirloin, with the shape of a sirloin or small porter-house steak. The only part that is really eatable as a steak is from the base to the point A, the remainder being flank.
What in Boston and Philadelphia is called rump steak is in New York named sirloin. There are three methods of cutting a rump steak; two of these give a very fine steak, the third almost the poorest kind. The first two are to cut across the grain of the meat, and thus obtain, when the beeve is a good one, really the best steaks in the animal.
Plates Nos. 6 and 7 represent these steaks. No. 6 is a long rump steak, very fine; and No. 7 a short rump, also excellent. In both of these there is a piece of tenderloin. In New York, No. 6 is sirloin without bone, and No. 7 sirloin. There is yet another slice of rump that is of a superior quality. It is cut from the back of the rump, and there is no tenderloin in it. Plate No. 8 shows a rump steak cut with the grain of the meat; that is, cut lengthwise. It comes much cheaper than the others, but is so poor that it should never be bought. It will curl up when broiled, and will be tough and dry.
Some marketmen will not cut rump steak by the first two methods, because it spoils the rump for cutting into roasts, and also leaves a great deal of bone and some tough meat on hand. The price per pound for a rump steak cut with the grain is ten cents less than for that cut across, and yet dealers do not find it profitable to sell steak cut the latter way. Plate No. 9 shows the back of the rump, which is used for steaks and to roast. The steaks are juicy and tender, but do not contain any tenderloin.
Plate No. 11 shows the round of beef with the aitch bone taken off; a, a, a, a, is the top of the round, b, b, b, b, the under part, where the aitchbone has been cut off, and c, c, c, c, the vein. Plate No. 10 is this aitchbone, which is first cut from the round, and then the steaks are taken off.
The best steak begins with the third slice. The top and under part of the round are often cut in one slice. The top is tender and the under part tough. When both are together the steak sells for fifteen or sixteen cents per pound; when separate, the top is twenty or more and the under part from ten to twelve. If it is all to be used as a steak, the better way is to buy the top alone; but if you wish to make a stew one day and have a steak another, it is cheaper to buy both parts together. Round steak is not, of course, as tender as tenderloin, sirloin or rump, but it has a far richer and higher flavor than any of the others. It should be cut thick, and be cooked rare over a quick fire. Steaks are cut from the vein in the round and from the shoulder in the fore quarter. They are of about the same quality as those from the round.
This is cut from the tenderloin, and costs from twenty-five cents to a dollar per pound. It is very soft and tender, but has hardly any flavor, and is not half as nutritious as one from a round or rump.
Quality and Cost.
We will now consider the various kinds of steak, as to their cost and nutritive qualities. The prices given are not those of all sections of the country, but they will be helpful to the purchaser, as showing the ratio which each bears to the other.
Top of the round, the most nutritious, 18 to 25 cents.
Rump cut across the grain, next in nutritive qualities, 28 to 30 cents
Rump cut with the grain, 22 to 25 cents
Sirloin, 25 to 30 cents
Porter-house, 30 cents
Tenderloin, 25 cts. to $1.00
The tenderloin, rump and round steaks are all clear meat; therefore, there is no waste, and of course one will not buy as many pounds of these pieces to provide for a given number of persons as if one were purchasing a sirloin or porter-house steak, because with the latter- named the weight of bone and of the flank, if this be left on, must always be taken into consideration.
After the aitchbone and steaks have been taken from the round there remain nice pieces for stewing and braising; and still lower the meat and bones are good for soups and jellies. The price decreases as you go down to the shank, until for the shank itself you pay only from three to four cents per pound.
It will be remembered that plate No. 4 represents a loin of beef, showing the end which joined the ribs, also the kidney suet. No. 12 represents the same loin, showing the end which joined the rump. There are about thirty pounds in a sirloin that has been cut from a large beeve. This makes about three roasting pieces for a moderately large family. The piece next the rump has the largest tenderloin and is, therefore, by many considered the choicest. Steaks cut from it are now served in the principal hotels as porter-house.
In plate No. 3 was shown that part of the ramp which joins the round. Plate No. 13 represents the end which joins the sirloin.
Plate No. 14 represents the first five ribs cut from the back half where it joins the tip of the sirloin, and shows the end that joined. This cut is considered the best of the rib-roasts. For family use it is generally divided into two roasts, the three ribs next the sirloin being the first cut of the ribs and the others the second cut.
Plate No. 15 represents the chuck ribs, the first chuck, or sixth rib, being seen at the end. There are ten ribs in the back half as cut in Boston, five prime and five chuck; We must remember that in New York and Philadelphia there are thirteen ribs, eight of which are prime. The first two chuck ribs make a very good roast or steak, being one of the most nutritious cuts in the animal, and the next three are good for stewing and braising. Many people roast them. The flavor is fine when they are cooked in this manner, but the meat is rather tough. A chuck rib contains part of the shoulder-blade, while the prime ribs do not. In New York and Philadelphia the ribs are cut much longer than in Boston; hence the price per pound is less there. But the cost to the purchaser is as great as in Boston, because he has to pay for a great deal of the rattle-ran or rack. It is always best to have the ribroasts cut short, and even pay a higher price for them, as there will then be no waste.
The fore quarter is first cut into two parts, the back half and the rattle-ran, and these are then cut into smaller pieces for the different modes of cooking. Diagram No. 16 represents a fore quarter. The back half only is numbered, for the rattle-ran is given in diagram No 17.
EXPLANATION OF DIAGRAM NO. 16.
1. First cut of ribs. 2. Second cut of ribs. 3. Third cut of ribs. 4 and 5. Best chuck ribs. 6 and 7. Poorer chuck ribs. 8. Neck piece.
1. First cut of ribs, with tip of sirloin. 2. Second cut of ribs. 3. Third cut of ribs. 4 and 5. Best chuck ribs. 6 and 7. Poorer chuck ribs. 8. Neck piece.
1. First cut of ribs, with tip of sirloin. 2. Second cut of ribs. 3. Third cut of ribs. 4 and 5. Best chuck ribs. 6 and 7. Poorer chuck ribs. 8. Neck chuck.
The whole of lower half of the fore quarter is often called the rattle-ran. Diagram No. 17 shows this, and the table following gives the name of the separate cuts:
EXPLANATION OF DIAGRAM NO. 17.
1. Rattle-ran. 2. Shoulder of mutton. 3. Sticking piece. 4. Shin, thick end of brisket, part of sticking piece. 5 and 6. Brisket piece. 7. Middle cut or rib plate. 8. Navel end of brisket.
1. Plate piece. 2 and 3. Shoulder of mutton. 4. Shin and thick end of brisket. 5 and 6. Brisket piece. 7 and 8. Navel end of brisket.
1. Plate piece. 2. Shoulder of mutton or boler piece. 3. Sticking piece. 4. Shin and thick end of brisket. 5 and 6. Brisket piece. 7 and 8. Navel end of brisket.
The rattle-ran or plate piece is generally corned, and is considered one of the best cuts for pressed beef. The shoulder of mutton is used for stews, beef a la mode, roasts and steaks, and is also corned. The sticking piece, commonly called the back of the shoulder, but which is really the front, is used for stews, soups, pie meat and for corning. The shin is used for soups, and the brisket and ribs for corning and for stews and soups. One of the best pieces for corning is the navel end of the brisket. The middle cut of the rattle-ran is also corned.
Mutton is very nutritious and easily digested. The best quality will have clear, hard, white fat, and a good deal of it; the lean part will be juicy, firm and of a rather dark red color. When there is but little fat, and that is soft and yellow and the meat is coarse and stringy, you may be sure that the quality is poor. Mutton is much improved by being hung in a cool place for a week or more. At the North a leg will keep quite well for two or three weeks in winter, if hung in a cold, dry shed or cellar. Mutton, like beef, is first split through the back, and then the sides are divided, giving two fore and two hind quarters. Diagram No. 18 is of a whole carcass of mutton, and half of it is numbered to show the pieces into which the animal is cut for use.
EXPLANATION OF DIAGRAM NO. 18.
1, 2, 4. Hind quarter.
3, 5, 5. Fore quarter
1. Leg. 2. Loin. 3. Shoulder. 4. Flank. 5,5. Breast.
Hind Quarter of Mutton.
This consists of the leg and loin, and is the choicest cut. It makes a fine roast for a large family, but for a moderate-sized or small one either the leg or loin alone is better. A hind quarter taken from a prime animal will weigh from twenty to thirty pounds.
Leg of Mutton.
This joint is nearly always used for roasting and boiling. It has but little bone, as compared with the other parts of the animal, and is, therefore, an economical piece to select, though the price per pound be greater than that of any other cut. It is not common to find a good leg weighing under ten or twelve pounds. A leg is shown in plate No. 19.
Loin of Mutton.
In a loin, as cut in Boston, there are seven ribs, which make a good roast for a small family. This cut is particularly nice in hot weather. It is not as large as a leg, and the meat is, besides, of a lighter quality and more delicate flavor. The cost when the flank is taken off will be about seven cents more a pound than if the loin be sold with it on; but, unless you wish to use the flank for a soup, stew or haricot, it is the better economy to buy a trimmed piece and pay the higher price. When the two loins are joined they are called a saddle. Plate No. 20 shows a saddle and two French chops.
Fore Quarter of Mutton.
In this is included the shoulder and breast. When the shoulder-blade is taken out the quarter makes a good roast for a large family. The shoulder is separated from the breast by running a sharp knife between the two, starting at the curved dotted lines near the neck (shown in diagram No. 18), and cutting round to the end of the line. The shoulder is nice for roasting or boiling. The breast can be used for a roast, for broths, braising, stewing or cotelettes. Rib chops are also cut from the breast, which is, by the way, the cheapest part of the mutton.
Chops and Cutlets.
Chops are cut from the loin. They are called long when the flank is cut on them and short if without it. When part of the bone of the short chop is scraped clean it is called a French chop. The rolled chops sold by provision dealers are the long chops with the bone removed. One often sees them selling at a low price. They are then the poor parts of the mutton, like the flank, and will be found very expensive no matter how little is asked.
The price of mutton varies with the seasons, but a table giving the average price may help the purchaser to an estimate of the comparative cost of each cut:
Hind Quarter, 15 cents. Leg, 17 cents. Loin, with flank, 13 cents. Loin, without flank, 20 cents. Fore Quarter, 8 cents. Trimmed Chops, 20 cents. Untrimmed Chops, 12 cents.
When one has a large family it brings all kinds of meat considerably cheaper to buy large pieces untrimmed, as the trimmings can be used for soups, stews, etc.; but for a small family, it is much better to purchase only the part you want for immediate use. Although mutton costs less per pound than beef, it is no cheaper in the end, because to be good it must be fat, and mutton fat, unlike beef fat, cannot be employed for cooking purposes, as it gives a strong flavor to any article with which it is used.
Lamb is cut and sold like mutton. Being much smaller, however, a hind or fore quarter is not too large for a good-sized family. Lamb will not keep as long as mutton, for, being juicy, it taints more readily. It is of a delicate flavor until nearly a year old, when it begins to taste like mutton and is not so tender. The bones of a young lamb will be red, and the fat hard and white. This meat is in season from May to September.
The calf being so much larger than the sheep, the fore and hind quarters are not cooked together, and for an ordinary family both are not purchased. The animal is, however, cut into the same parts as mutton. The loin, breast and shoulder are used for roasting. Chops are cut from the loin and neck, those from the neck being called rib chops or cotelettes. The neck itself is used for stews, pies, fricassees, etc. The leg is used for cutlets, fricandeaux, stews and roasts, and for braising. The fillet of veal is a solid piece cut from the leg— not like the tenderloin in beef, but used in much the same way. The lower part of the leg is called a knuckle, and is particularly nice for soups and sauces. Good veal will have white, firm fat, and the lean part a pinkish tinge. When extremely white it indicates that the calf has been bled before being killed, which is a great cruelty to the animal, besides greatly impoverishing the meat. When veal is too young it will be soft and of a bluish tinge. The calf should not be killed until at least six weeks old. Veal is in the market all the year, but the season is really from April to September, when the price is low. The leg costs more than any other joint, because it is almost wholly solid meat. The fillet costs from 20 to 25 cents; cutlets from the leg, 30 cents; chops from loin, 20 cents; loin for roast, 15 cents; breast, 10 to 12 cents. Veal is not nutritious nor easily digested. Many people cannot eat it in any form, but such a number of nice dishes can be made from it, and when in season the price is so low, that it will always be used for made dishes and soups.
Pork, although not so much used in the fresh state as beef, mutton, lamb, etc., is extensively employed in the preparation of food. It is cut somewhat like mutton, but into more parts. Fresh young pork should be firm; the fat white, the lean a pale reddish color and the skin white and clear. When the fat is yellow and soft the pork is not of the best quality. After pork has been salted, if it is corn-fed, the fat will be of a delicate pinkish shade. When hogs weighing three and four hundred pounds are killed, the fat will not be very firm, particularly if they are not fed on corn. The amount of salt pork purchased at a time depends upon the mode of cooking in each family. If bought in small quantities it should be kept in a small jar or tub, half filled with brine, and a plate, smaller round than the tub, should be placed on top of the meat to press it under the brine.
The parts into which the hog is cut are called leg, loin, rib piece, shoulder, neck, flank, brisket, head and feet. The legs and shoulders are usually salted and smoked. The loin of a large hog has about two or three inches of the fat cut with the rind. This is used for salting, and the loin fresh for roasting. When, however, the hog is small, the loin is simply scored and roasted. The ribs are treated the same as the loin, and when the rind and fat are cut off are called spare-ribs. This piece makes a sweet roast. Having much more bone and less meat than the loin, it is not really any cheaper, although sold for less. The loin and ribs are both used for chops and steaks. The flank and brisket are corned. The head is sold while fresh for head- cheese, or is divided into two or four parts and corned, and is a favorite dish with many people. The feet are sometimes sold while fresh, but are more frequently first pickled. The fat taken from the inside of the hog and also all the trimmings are cooked slowly until dissolved. This, when strained and cooled, is termed lard. Many housekeepers buy the leaf or clear fat and try it out themselves. This is the best way, as one is then sure of a pure article.
These should be made wholly of pork, but there is often a large portion of beef in them. They should be firm, and rather dry on the outside.
Calves' liver is the best in the market, and always brings the highest price. In some markets they will not cut it. A single liver costs about fifty cents, and when properly cooked, several delicious dishes can be made from it.
Beef liver is much larger and darker than the calves', has a stronger flavor and is not so tender. It is sold in small or large pieces at a low price.
Pigs' liver is not nearly as good as the calves' or beeves', and comes very much cheaper.
Both the calves' and beeves' hearts are used for roasting and braising. The calves' are rather small, but tenderer than the beeves'. The price of one is usually not more than fifteen cents. The heart is nutritious, but not easily digested.
The kidneys of beef, veal, mutton, lamb and pork are all used for stews, broils, sautes, curries and fricassees. Veal are the best.
These are very delicate. Beef tongue is the most used. It should be thick and firm, with a good deal of fat on the under side. When fresh, it it used for bouilli, mince pies and to serve cold or in jelly. Salted and smoked, it is boiled and served cold. Lambs' tongues are sold both fresh and pickled.
POULTRY AND GAME.
All fowl less than a year old come under this head. The lower end of the breast-bone in a chicken is soft, and can be bent easily. The breast should be full, the lean meat white, and the fat a pale straw color. Chickens are best in last of the summer and the fell and winter. The largest and juciest come from Philadelphia.
These are generally used for broiling. They vary in size, weighing from half a pound to two and a half pounds. The small, plump ones, weighing about one and a half or two pounds, are the best. There is little fat on spring chickens.
These may be anywhere from one to five or six years old. When over two years the meat is apt to be tough, dry and stringy. They should be fat, and the breast full and soft. The meat of fowl is richer than that of chickens, and is, therefore, better for boiling and to use for salads and made dishes. The weight of bone is not much greater than in a chicken, while there is a great deal more meat. Another point to be remembered is that the price per pound is also generally a few cents less.
The lower end of the breast-bone should be soft, and bend easily, the breast be plump and short, the meat firm and the fat white. When the bird is very large and fat the flavor is sometimes a little strong. Eight or ten pounds is a good size for a small family.
It is more difficult to judge of the age and quality of a goose than of any other bird. If the wind pipe is brittle and breaks easily under pressure of the finger and thumb, the bird is young, but if it rolls the bird is old. Geese live to a great age—thirty or more years. They are not good when more than three years old. Indeed, to be perfect, they should be not more than one year old. They are in season in the fall and winter.
The young geese are very well fed, and when from two to four months old are killed for sale. They bring a high price, and are delicious. They are sometimes in the market in winter, but the season is the summer and fall.
The same tests that are applied to chickens and geese to ascertain age and quality are made with ducks. Besides the tame bird, there are at least twenty different kinds that come under the head of game. The canvas-back is the finest in the list; the mallard and red-head come next. The domestic duck is in season nearly all the year, but the wild ones only through the fall and winter. The price varies with the season and supply. A pair of canvas-backs will at one time cost a dollar and a half and at another five dollars.
There are two kinds of pigeons found in the market, the tame and the wild, which are used for potting, stewing, &c. Except when "stall-fed" they are dry and tough, and require great care in preparation. The wild birds are the cheapest. They are shipped from the West, packed in barrels, through the latter part of the winter and the early spring. Stall-fed pigeons are the tame ones cooped for a few weeks and well fed. They are then quite fat and tender, and come into market about the first of October.
These are the young of the tame pigeon. Their flesh is very delicate, and they are used for roasting and broiling.
Grouse, or Prairie Chicken.
These birds comes from the West, and are much like the partridge of the Eastern States and Canada. The flesh is dark, but exceedingly tender. Grouse should be plump and heavy. The breast is all that is good to serve when roasted, and being so dry, it should always be larded. The season is from September to January, but it is often continued into April.
There should be a good deal of fat on this meat. The lean should be dark red and the fat white. Venison is in season all the year, but is most used in cold weather. In summer it should have been killed at least ten days before cooking; in winter three weeks is better. The cuts are the leg, saddle, loin, fore quarter and steaks. The supply regulates the price.
This bird is so like the grouse that the same rules apply to both. What is known as quail at the North is called partridge at the South.
These birds are found in the market all through the fall and winter. They are quite small (about the size of a squab), are nearly always tender and juicy, and not very expensive. They come from the West.
Woodcock is in season from July to November. It is a small bird, weighing about half a pound. It has a fine, delicate flavor, and is very high-priced.
There are numerous large and small birds which are used for food, but there is not space to treat of them all. In selecting game it must be remembered that the birds will have a gamey smell, which is wholly different from that of tainted meat.
To fully describe all the kinds of fish found in our markets would require too much space and is unnecessary, but a list of those of which there is usually a supply is given, that housekeepers may know what it is best to select in a certain season and have some idea of the prices.
To Select Fish.
When fresh, the skin and scales will be bright, the eyes full and clear, the fins stiff and the body firm. If there is a bad odor, or, if the fish is soft and darker than is usual for that kind, and has dim, sunken eyes, it is not fit to use.
This is good all the year, but best in the fall and winter. When cooked, it breaks into large white flakes. It is not as nutritious as the darker kinds of fish, but is more easily digested. The price remains about the same through all seasons.
This is a firmer and smaller-flaked fish than the cod, but varies little in flavor from it. The cod has a light stripe running down the sides; the haddock a dark one.
This also belongs to the cod family, and is a firm, white fish. It is best in winter.
This is used mostly for salting. It is much like the cod, only firmer grained and drier.
This fine fish is always good. It varies in weight from two pounds to three hundred. The flesh is a pearly white in a perfectly fresh fish. That cut from one weighing from fifty to seventy-five pounds is the best, the flesh of any larger being coarse and dry. The small fish are called chicken halibut.
These are thin, flat fish, often sold under the name of sole. Good at all times of the year.
This is a flat fish, weighing from two to twenty pounds. The flesh is soft, white and delicate. Turbot is not common in our market.
Salmon is in season from April to July, but is in its prime in June. It is often found in the market as early as January, when it brings a high price. Being very rich, a much smaller quantity should be provided for a given number of people than of the lighter kinds of fish.
This is in season in the Eastern and Middle States from March to April, and in the Southern States from November to February. The flesh is sweet, but full of small bones. Shad is much prized for the roe.
This is a rich, dark fish, weighing from two to eight pounds' and in season in June, July and August. It is particularly nice broiled and baked.
Black-fish, or Tautog.
Good all the year, but best in the spring. It is not a large fish, weighing only from one to five pounds.
White-fish, or Lake Shad.
This delicious fish is found in the great lakes, and in the locality where caught it is always in season. At the South and in the East the market is supplied only in winter, when the price is about eighteen cents a pound. The average weight is between two and three pounds.
This fish, weighing from half a pound to six or seven, pounds, is very fine, and is in season nearly all the year. It is best in March, April and May.
The weight of rock-bass generally ranges from half a pound to thirty or forty pounds, but sometimes reaches eighty or a hundred. The small fish are the best. The very small ones (under one pound) are fried; the larger broiled, baked and boiled. The bass are in season all the year, but best in the fall.
This is very large, with dark, firm flesh. It is nutritious, but not as delicate as other kinds of fish: It is cut and sold like halibut, and in season in July and August.
This fish, like the halibut and sword fish, is large. The flesh is of a light red color and the fat of a pale yellow. There is a rather strong flavor. A fish weighing under a hundred pounds will taste better than a larger one. The season is from April to September.
Weak-fish is found in the New York and Philadelphia markets from May to October. In the Eastern States it is not so well known. It is a delicate fish, and grows soft very quickly. It is good boiled or fried.
Small, or "Pan"-Fish.
The small fish that are usually fried, have the general name of "pan"- fish. There is a great variety, each kind found in the market being nearly always local, as it does not pay to pack and ship them. A greater part have the heads and skin taken off before being sold.
These are good at any time, but best in the winter, when they are both plenty and cheap.
There are several varieties of this fish, which is much prized in some sections of the country. It is a small fish, weighing from a quarter of a pound to two or three pounds. It often has a slightly muddy flavor, owing to living a large part of the time in the mud of the rivers.
This fish is nutritious and cheap. It is in the market through the spring and summer, and averages in weight between one and two pounds.
These are larger than the common mackerel, and have rows of yellow spots, instead of the dark lines on the sides. They are in season from June to October, and generally bring a high price.
These are sold skinned; are always in season, but best from April to November.
This shell-fish is in the market all the year, but is best in May and June. If the tail, when straightened, springs back into position, it indicates that the fish is fresh. The time of boiling live lobsters depends upon the size. If boiled too much they will be tough and dry. They are generally boiled by the fishermen. This is certainly the best plan, as these people know from practice, just how long to cook them. Besides, as the lobsters must be alive when put into the pot, they are ugly things to handle. The medium-sized are the tenderest and sweetest. A good one will be heavy for its size. In the parts of the country where fresh lobsters cannot be obtained, the canned will be found convenient for making salads, soups, stews, etc.
These are in the market all the year. They are sold alive and, also, like the lobster, boiled. Near the coast of the Southern and Middle States they are plenty and cheap, but in the interior and in the Eastern States they are quite expensive. They are not used as much as the lobster, because it is a great deal of trouble to take the meat from the shell.
As the crab grows, a new, soft shell forms, and the old, hard one is shed. Thus comes the soft-shelled crab. In about three days the shell begins to harden again. In Maryland there are ponds for raising these crabs, so that now the supply is surer than in former years. Crabs are a great luxury, and very expensive. In the Eastern States they are found only in warm weather. They must always be cooked while alive. Frying and broiling are the modes of preparing.
These are found on the Southern coasts; are much the shape of a lobster, but very small. They are used mostly for sauces to serve with fish. Their season is through the spring, summer and fall. There is a larger kind called big shrimp or prawns, sold boiled in the Southern markets. These are good for sauces or stews, and, in fact, can be used, in most cases, the same as lobster. But few shrimp are found in the Eastern or Western markets. The canned goods are, however, convenient and nice for sauces.
This shell-fish comes from the South, Baltimore being the great terrapin market. It belongs to the turtle family. It is always sold alive, and is a very expensive fish, the diamond backs costing from one to two dollars apiece. Three varieties are found in the market, the diamond backs, little bulls and red fenders. The first named are considered marketable when they measure six inches across the back. They are then about three years old. The little bulls, or male fish, hardly ever measure more than five inches across the back. They are cheaper than diamond backs, but not so well flavored. The red fenders grow larger than the others, and are much cheaper, but their meat is coarse and of an inferior flavor. Terrapin are in the market all the year, but the best time to buy them is from November to February.
No other shell-fish is as highly prized as this. The oyster usually takes the name of the place where it is grown, because the quality and flavor depend very much upon the feeding grounds. The Blue-point, a small, round oyster from Long Island, is considered the finest in the market, and it costs about twice as much as the common oyster. Next comes the Wareham, thought by many quite equal to the Blue-point. It is a salt water oyster, and is, therefore, particularly good for serving raw. The Providence River oyster is large and well flavored, yet costs only about half as much as the Blue-point. The very large ones, however, sell at the same price. Oysters are found all along; the coast from Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico. Those taken from the cool Northern waters are the best. The sooner this shell-fish is used after being opened, the better. In the months of May, June, July and August, the oyster becomes soft and milky. It is not then very healthful or well flavored. The common-sized oysters are good for all purposes of cooking except broiling and frying, when the large are preferable. The very large ones are not served as frequently on the half shell as in former years, the Blue-point, or the small Wareham, having supplanted them.
There are two kinds of this shell-fish, the common thin-shelled clam and the quahaug. The first is the most abundant. It is sold by the peck or bushel in the shell, or by the quart when shelled. Clams are in season all the year, but in summer a black substance is found in the body, which must be pressed from it before using. The shell of the quahaug is thick and round.
This shell-fish is used about the same as the clam, but is not so popular, owing to a peculiarly sweet flavor. It is in season from September to March, and is sold shelled, as only the muscular part of the fish is used.
Every good housekeeper will supply her table with a variety of vegetables all the year round. One can hardly think of a vegetable, either fresh or canned, that cannot be had in our markets at any season. The railroads and steamers connect the climes so closely that one hardly knows whether he is eating fruits and vegetables in or out of season. The provider, however, realizes that it takes a long purse to buy fresh produce at the North while the ground is yet frozen. Still, there are so many winter vegetables that keep well in the cellar through cold weather that if we did not have the new ones from the South, there would be, nevertheless, a variety from which to choose. It is late in the spring, when the old vegetables begin to shrink and grow rank, that we appreciate what comes from the South.
If one has a good, dry cellar, it is economy to procure in the fall vegetables enough for all winter, but if the cellar is too warm the vegetables will sprout and decay before half the cold months have passed. Those to be bought are onions, squashes, turnips, beets, carrots, parsnips, cabbages, potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes, all of which, except the first two, should be bedded in sand and in a cool place, yet where they will not freeze. Squashes and onions should be kept in a very dry room. The price of all depends upon the supply.
WHEN IN SEASON.
Bermuda sends new potatoes into Northern markets about the last of March or first of April. Florida soon follows, and one Southern State after another continues the supply until June, when the Northern and Eastern districts begin. It is only the rich, however, who can afford new potatoes before July; but the old are good up to that time, if they have been well kept and are properly cooked. Cabbage is in season all the year. Beets, carrots, turnips and onions are received from the South in April and May, so that we have them young and fresh for at least five months. After this period they are not particularly tender, and require much cooking. Squashes come from the South until about May, and we then have the summer squash till the last of August, when the winter squash is first used. This is not as delicate as the summer squash, but is generally liked better. Green peas are found in the market in February, though they are very expensive up to the time of the home supply, which is the middle of June, in an ordinary season, in the Eastern States. They last until the latter part of August, but begin to grow poor before that time. There is a great variety, some being quite large, others very small. The smaller are the more desirable, being much like French peas. When peas are not really in season it is more satisfactory to use French canned peas, costing forty cents a can. One can is enough for six persons. When buying peas, see that the pods are green, dry and cool. If they have turned light they have been picked either a long time or when old.
Spinach is always in season, but is valued most during the winter and spring, as it is one of the few green vegetables that we get then, and is not expensive. It should be green and crisp.
Asparagus, from hot houses and the South, begins to come into the market in March and April. It is then costly, but in May and June is abundant and quite cheap. About the last of June it grows poor, and no matter how low the price, it will be an expensive article to buy as it has then become very "woody." The heads should be full and green; if light and not full, the asparagus will not spend well.
The cultivated dandelion is found in the market in March, April and a part of May. It is larger, tenderer and less bitter than the wild plant, which begins to get into the market—in April. By the last of May the dandelion is too rank and tough to make a good dish.
This vegetable is generally quite expensive. It is found in the market a greater part of the year, being now grown in hot houses in winter. It is in perfection from the first of May to November or December. The leaves should be green and fresh and the heads a creamy white. When the leaves are wilted, or when there are dark spots on the head, the cauliflower is not good.
The fresh tomato comes to the market from the South in April and sometimes in March. On account of the high price it is then used only where the canned tomato will not answer. In July, August and September it is cheap. It comes next to the potato in the variety of forms in which it may be served. By most physicians it is considered a very healthful vegetable. The time to buy ripe tomatoes for canning is about the last of August, when they are abundant and cheap. About the middle or last of September green ones should be secured for pickling, etc. As the vines still bear a great many that cannot ripen before the frost comes, these are sold for this purpose.
There are two kinds of green beans in the market, the string or snap bean and the shell bean. String beans come from the South about the first of April. They are picked in Northern gardens about the first of June, and they last until about the middle of July. They should be green, the beans just beginning to form, and should snap crisply. If wilted or yellow they have been picked too long.
Shell beans come in May, but are not picked at the North before June. They are good until the last of September. There is a great variety of shell beans, but the Lima is considered the best When fresh, shell beans are dry and smooth; but if old, they look dull and sticky.
Celery is found in the market from August to April, but is in its prime and is cheapest from November to the first of March. Before the frost comes it is slightly bitter, and after the first of March it grows tough and stringy. Unless one has a good cellar in which to bury celery, it is best to purchase as one has need from time to time. Celery is a delicious salad. It is also considered one of the best vegetables that a nervous, rheumatic or neuralgic person can take. The heads should be close and white, and the stalks should break off crisply. Save the trimmings for soups.
Lettuce is found in the market all the year round, being now raised in hot houses in winter. It then costs two and three times as much as in summer; still, it is not an expensive salad. There are a number of varieties having much the same general appearance. That which comes in round heads, with leaves like a shell, is the most popular in this country, because it can be served so handsome. There is another kind, high in favor in Paris and in some localities in this country for its tenderness and delicate flavor, but not liked by marketmen, because it will not bear rough handling. The tune will come, however, when there will be such a demand for this species that all first-class provision dealers will keep it. The French call it Romaine, and in this country it is sometimes called Roman lettuce. It does not head. The leaves are long and not handsome whole; but one who uses the lettuce never wishes for any other. Lettuce should be crisp and green, and be kept until used in a very cold place—in an ice chest if possible.
Mushrooms are in the market at all seasons. In summer, when they are found in pastures, they are comparatively (fifty or seventy-five cents a pound), but in winter they are high priced. Being, however, very light, a pound goes a great way. The French canned mushrooms are safe, convenient and cheap. One can, costing forty cents, is enough for a sauce for at least ten people. There is nothing else among vegetables which gives such a peculiarly delicious flavor to meat sauces. Mushrooms are used also as a relish for breakfast and tea, or as an entree. In gathering from the fields one should exercise great care not to collect poisonous toadstools, which are in appearance much like mushrooms, and are often mistaken for these by people whose knowledge of vegetables has been gained solely by reading. The confusion of the two things has sometimes resulted fatally. There can hardly be danger if purchases are made of reliable provision dealers.
Green corn is sent from the South about the last of May or the first of June, and then costs much. It comes from the Middle States about the middle of July and from the Eastern in August, and it lasts into October in the North Eastern States. It should be tender and milky, and have well-filled ears. If too old it will be hard, and the grains straw colored, and no amount of boiling wilt make it tender. Corn is boiled simply in clear water, is made into chowders, fritters, puddings, succotash, etc.
There are two kinds of artichokes, the one best known in this country, the Jerusalem artichoke, being a tuber something like the potato. It is used as a salad, is boiled and served as a vegetable, and is also pickled. This artichoke comes into the market about July, and can be preserved in sand for winter use.
The Globe Artichoke.
A thick, fleshy-petaled flower grows on a plant that strongly resembles the thistle; this flower is the part that is eaten. It is boiled and served with a white sauce, and is also eaten as a salad. It is much used in France, but we have so many vegetables with so much more to recommend them, that this will probably never be common in this country.
Cucumbers are in the market all the year round. In winter they are raised in green houses and command a high price. They begin to come from the South about the first of April, and by the last of May the price is reasonable. They last through the summer, but are not very nice after August They are mostly used as a salad and for pickles, but are often cooked. They should be perfectly green and firm for a salad, and when to be pickled, they must be small. If for cooking, it does no harm to have them a little large and slightly turned yellow.
There are two forms of the radish commonly found in the market, the long radish and the small round one. They are in the market in all seasons, and in early spring and summer the price is low. Radishes are used mostly as a relish.
Chicory or Endive.
The roots and leaves of this plant are both used, but the leaves only are found in the market (the roots are used in coffee), and these come in heads like the lettuce. Chicory comes into the market later than lettuce, and is used in all respects like it. Sometimes it is cooked.
The housekeeper in large cities has no difficulty in finding all the herbs she may want, but this is not so in small towns and villages. The very fact, however, that one lives in a country place suggests a remedy. Why not have a little bed of herbs in your own garden, and before they go to seed, dry what you will need for the winter and spring? Thus, in summer you could always have the fresh herbs, and in whiter have your supply of dried.
It is essential to have green parsley throughout the winter, and this can be managed very easily by having two or three pots planted with healthy roots in the fall. Or, a still better way is to have large holes bored in the sides of a large tub or keg; then fill up to the first row of holes with rich soil; put the roots of the plants through the holes, having the leaves on the outside; fill up again with soil and continue this until the tub is nearly full; then plant the top with roots. Keep in a sunny window and you will have not only a useful herb, but a thing of beauty through the winter.
For soups, sauces, stews and braising, one wants sweet marjoram, summer savory, thyme, parsley, sage, tarragon and bay-leaf always on hand. You can get bunches of savory, sage, marjoram and thyme for five cents each at the vegetable market. Five cents' worth of bay-leaves from the drug shop win complete the list (save tarragon, which is hard to find), and you have for a quarter of a dollar herbs enough to last a large family a year. Keep them tied together in a large paper bag or a box, where they will be dry. Mint and parsley should be used green. There is but little difficulty in regard to mint, as it is used only in the spring and summer.
The manner in which a housekeeper buys her groceries must depend upon where she lives and how large her family is. In a country place, where the stores are few and not well supplied, it is best to buy in large quantities all articles that will not deteriorate by keeping. If one has a large family a great saving is made by purchasing the greater portion of one's groceries at wholesale.
There is now in use flour made by two different processes, by the old, or St. Louis, and the new, or Haxall. The Haxall flour is used mostly for bread and the old-process for pastry, cake, etc. By the new process more starch and less of the outer coats, which contain much of the phosphates, is retained; so that the flour makes a whiter and moister bread. This flour packs closer than that made in the old way, so that a pound of it will not measure as much as a pound of the old kind. In using an old rule, one-eighth of this flour should be left out. For instance, if in a recipe for bread you have four quarts (old- process) of flour given, of the new-process you would take only three and a half quarts. This flour does not make as good cake and pastry as the old-process. It is, therefore, well, to have a barrel of each, if you have space, for the pastry flour is the cheaper, and the longer all kinds of flour are kept in a dry place, the better they are. Buying in small quantities is extremely extravagant. When you have become accustomed to one brand, and it works to your satisfaction, do not change for a new one. The best flour is the cheapest. There are a great many brands that are equally good.
The best Graham is made by grinding good wheat and not sifting it. Much that is sold is a poor quality of flour mixed with bran. This will not, of course, make good, sweet bread. The "Arlington Whole Wheat Meal" is manufactured from pure wheat, and makes delicious bread. Graham, like flour, will keep in a cool, dry place for years.
In most families there is a large amount of this used, but the quantity purchased at a time depends upon the kind of meal selected. The common kind, which is made by grinding between two mill-stones, retains a great deal of moisture, and, in hot weather, will soon grow musty; but the granulated meal will keep for any length of time. The corn for this meal is first dried; and it takes about two years for this. Then the outer husks are removed, and the corn is ground by a process that produces grains like granulated sugar. After once using this meal one will not willingly go back to the old kind. Indian meal is made from two kinds of corn, Northern and Southern. The former gives the yellow meal, and is much richer than the Southern, of which white meal is made.
This meal, like the old-process Indian, will grow musty in a short time in hot weather, so that but a small quantity of it should be bought at a time. The meal is much better than the flour for all kinds of bread and muffins.
There are several kinds of oat meal—Scotch, Irish, Canadian and American. The first two are sold in small packages, the Canadian and American in any quantity. It seems as if the Canadian and American should be the best because the freshest; but the fact is the others are considered the choicest. Many people could not eat oat meal in former years, owing to the husks irritating the lining of the stomach. There is now what is called pearled meal. All the husks are removed, and the oats are then cut. The coarse kind will keep longer than the fine ground, but it is best to purchase often, and have the meal as fresh as possible.
This is the whole wheat just crushed or cut like the coarse oat meal, but unlike the meal. It will keep a long time. It is cooked the same as oat meal. That which is cut makes a handsomer dish than the crushed, but the latter cooks more quickly.
This is made from corn, and it comes in a number of sizes, beginning with samp and ending with a grade nearly as fine as coarse-granulated sugar. The finest grade is really the best, so many nice dishes can be made with it which you cannot make with the coarse. Hominy will keep a long time, and it can be bought in five-pound package or by the barrel.
The fine-granulated sugar is the best and cheapest for general family use. It is pure and dry; therefore, there is more in one pound of it than in a damp, brown sugar, besides its sweetening power being considerably greater. The price of sugar at wholesale is not much less than at retail, but time and trouble are saved by purchasing by the barrel.
It is well to keep on hand all kinds of spice, both whole and ground. They should not be in large quantities, as a good cook will use them very sparingly, and a good house-keeper will have too much regard for the health of her family and the delicacy of her food to have them used lavishly. For soups and sauces the whole spice is best, as it gives a delicate flavor, and does not color. A small wooden or tin box should be partly filled with whole mace, cloves, allspice and cinnamon, and a smaller paste-board box, full of pepper-corns, should be placed in it. By this plan you will have all your spices together when you season a soup or sauce.
These keep well, and if cleaned, washed and well dried, will improve in flavor by being kept.
In large families, if this fruit is much used, it is well to buy by the box. Time does not improve raisins.
Soda, Cream of Tartar, Baking Powder.
There should not be so much of these articles used as to require that they be purchased in large quantities. Cream of tartar is expensive, soda cheap. If one prefers to use baking powders there will be no need of cream of tartar, but the soda will still be required for gingerbread and brown bread, and to use with sour milk, etc. The advantage of baking powder is that it is prepared by chemists who know just the proportion of soda to use with the acid (which should be cream of tartar), and the result will be invariable if the cook is exact in measuring the other ingredients. When an inexperienced cook uses the soda and cream of tartar there is apt to be a little too much of one or the other. Just now, with the failure of the grape crops in France, from which a greater part of the crystals in use come, cream of tarter is extremely high, and substitutes, such as phosphates, are being used.
To be Always Kept on Hand.
Besides the things already mentioned, housekeepers should always have a supply of rice, pearl barley, dried beans, split peas, tapioca, macaroni, vermicilli, tea, coffee, chocolate, corn-starch, molasses, vinegar, mustard, pepper, salt, capers, canned tomato, and any other canned vegetables of which a quantity is used. Of the many kind of molasses, Porto Rico is the best for cooking purposes. It is well to have a few such condiments as curry powder (a small bottle will last for years), Halford sauce, essence of anchovies and mushroom ketchup. These give variety to the flavoring, and, if used carefully, will not be an expensive addition, so little is needed for a dish.
CARE OF FOOD.
A great saving is made by the proper care and use of cooked and uncooked food. The first and great consideration is perfect cleanliness. The ice chest and cellar should be thoroughly cleaned once a week; the jars in which bread is kept must be washed, scalded and dried thoroughly at least twice a week. When cooked food is placed in either the ice chest or cellar it should be perfectly cool; if not, it will absorb an unpleasant flavor from the close atmosphere of either place. Meat should not be put directly on the ice, as the water draws out the juices. Always place it in a pan, and this may be set on the ice. When you have a refrigerator where the meat can be hung, a pan is not needed. In winter, too, when one has a cold room, it is best to hang meats there. These remarks apply, of course, only to joints and fowl. The habit which many people have of putting steaks, chops, etc., in the wrapping paper on ice, is a very bad one. When purchasing meat always have the trimmings sent home, as they help to make soups and sauces. Every scrap of meat and bone left from roasts and broils should be saved for the soup-pot. Trimmings from ham, tongue, corned beef, etc., should all be saved for the many relishes they will make. Cold fish can be used in salads and warmed up in many palatable ways. In fact, nothing that comes on the table is enjoyed more than the little dishes which an artistic cook will make from the odds and ends left from a former meal. By artistic cook is meant not a professional, but a woman who believes in cleanliness and hot dishes, and that there is something in the appearance as well as in the taste of the food, and who does not believe that a quantity of butter, or of some kind of fat, is essential to the success of nearly every dish cooked. The amount of food spoiled by butter, good butter too, is surprising.
One should have a number of plates for cold food, that each kind may be kept by itself. The fat trimmings from beef, pork, veal, chickens and fowl should be tried out while fresh, and then strained. The fowl and chicken fat ought to be kept in a pot by itself for shortening and delicate frying. Have a stone pot for it, holding about a quart, and another, holding three or four quarts, for the other kinds. The fat that has been skimmed from soups, boiled beef and fowl, should be cooked rather slowly until the sediment falls to the bottom and there is not the shadow of a bubble. It can then be strained into the jar with the other fat; but if strained while bubbles remain, there is water in it, and it will spoil quickly. The fat from sausages can also be strained into the larger pot. Another pot, holding about three quarts, should be kept for the fat in which articles of food have been fried. When you have finished frying, set the kettle in a cool place for about half an hour; then pour the fat into the pot through a fine strainer, being careful to keep back the sediment, which scrape into the soap-grease. In this way you can fry in the same fat a dozen times, while if you are not careful to strain it each time, the crumbs left will burn and blacken all the fat. Occasionally, when you have finished frying, cut up two or three uncooked potatoes and put into the boiling fat. Set on the back of the stove for ten or fifteen minutes; then set in a cool place for fifteen minutes longer, and strain. The potatoes clarify the fat. Many people use ham fat for cooking purposes; and when there is no objection to the flavor, it is nice for frying eggs, potatoes, etc. But it should not be mixed with other kinds. The fat from mutton, lamb, geese, turkey or ducks will give an unpleasant flavor to anything with which it is used, and the best place for it is with the soap-grease. Every particle of soup and gravy should be saved, as a small quantity of either adds a great deal to many little dishes. The quicker food of all kinds cools the longer it keeps. This should be particularly remembered with soups and bread.
Bread and cake must be thoroughly cooled before being put into box or jar. If not, the steam will cause them to mold quickly. Crusts and pieces of stale bread should be dried in a slow oven, rolled into fine crumbs on a board, and put away for croquettes, cutlets or anything that is breaded. Pieces of stale bread can be used for toast, griddle- cakes and puddings and for dressing for poultry and other kinds of meat. Stale cake can be made into puddings; The best tub butter will keep perfectly well without a brine if kept in a cool, sweet room. It is more healthful and satisfactory to buy the choicest tub butter and use it for table and cooking purposes than to provide a fancy article for the table and use an inferior one in the preparation of the food. If, from any cause, butter becomes rancid, to each pint of it add one table-spoonful of salt and one teaspoonful of soda, and mix well; then add one pint of cold water, and set on the fire until it comes to the boiling point Now set away to cool, and when cool and hard, take off the butter in a cake. Wipe dry and put away for cooking purposes. It will be perfectly sweet.
Milk, cream and butter all quickly absorb strong odors; therefore, care must be taken to keep them in a cool, sweet room or in an ice chest. Cheese should be wrapped in a piece of clean linen and kept in a box. Berries must be kept in a cool place, and uncovered.
Stove, or Range?
The question often arises, even with old housekeepers, Which shall it be—a stove or a range? There are strong points in favor of each. For a small kitchen the range may be commended, because it occupies the least space, and does not heat a room as intensely as a stove, although it will heat water enough for kitchen and bath-room purposes for a large family. That the range is popular is evident from the fact that nearly every modern house is supplied with one; and thus the cost of, and cartage for, stoves is generally saved to tenants in these days.
There are these advantage of a stove over a set range: it requires less than half as much fuel and is more easily managed—that is, the fire can be more quickly started, and if it gets too low, more easily replenished and put in working order; and the ovens can be more quickly heated or cooled. But, although you can have a water-back and boiler with most modern stoves or, as they are now called, portable ranges, the supply of hot water will not be large. And you cannot roast before the fire as with a range.
So near-perfection have the makers of ranges and stoves come that it would be difficult to speak of possible improvements, especially in stoves. This can be said not of a few, but of a great many manufacturers, each having his special merit. And where the products are so generally good, it is hard to mention one make in preference to another. When purchasing, it is well to remember, that one of simple construction is the most easily managed and does not soon get out of order. No single piece of furniture contributes so much to the comfort of a family as the range or stove, which should, therefore, be the best of its kind.
Gas and Oil Stoves.
During the hot weather a gas or oil stove is a great comfort. The "Sun Dial," manufactured by the Goodwin Gas Stove Co., Philadelphia, is a "perfect gem," roasting, baking, broiling, etc., as well as a coal stove or range. Indeed, meats roasted or broiled by it are jucier than when cooked over or before coals. The peculiar advantage of oil and gas stoves is that they can be coveniently used for a short time, say for the preparation of a meal, at a trifling expense. The cost of running a gas stove throughout the day is, however, much greater than that of a coal stove, while an oil stove can be run cheaper than either.
There are a great many manufacturers of oil stoves, and as a natural consequence, where there is so much competition, the stoves are nearly all good. One would not think of doing the cooking for a large family with one or, indeed, two of them; but the amount of work that can be accomplished with a single stove is remarkable. They are a great comfort in hot weather, many small families doing their entire cooking with them.
The trouble with most refrigerators is that the food kept in them is apt to have a peculiar taste. This is owing in a great measure to the wood used in the construction of the interior and for the shelves. On the inside of the Eddy chest-shaped refrigerator there is not a particle of wood, and the food kept in it is always sweet. It is simply a chest, where the ice is placed on the bottom and slate shelves put on top. With this style of refrigerator the waste of ice is much greater than in those built with a separate compartment for ice, but the food is more healthful.
The following is a list of utensils with which a kitchen should be furnished. But the housekeeper will find that there is continually something new to be bought. If there be much fancy cooking, there must be an ice cream freezer, jelly and charlotte russe moulds and many little pans and cutters. The right way is, of course, to get the essential articles first, and then, from time to time, to add those used in fancy cooking:
Two cast-iron pots, size depending upon range or stove (they come with the stove).
One porcelain-lined preserving kettle.
One fish kettle.
Three porcelain-lined stew-pans, holding from one to six quarts.
One No. 4 deep Scotch frying kettle.
One waffle iron.
Three French polished frying-pans, Nos. 1, 3 and 6.
Four stamped tin or granite ware stewpans, holding from one pint to four quarts.
One double boiler, holding three quarts.
One Dover egg-beater.
One common wire beater.
One meat rack.
One dish pan.
Two bread pans, holding six and eight quarts respectively.
Two milk pans.
Two Russian-iron baking pans—two sizes.
Four tin shallow baking-pans.
Four deep pans for loaves.
Two quart measures.
One deep, round pan of granite-ware, with cover, for braising.
One deep Russian-iron French roll pan.
Two stamped tin muffin pans.
One coffee biggin.
One chocolate pot.
One squash strainer.
One strainer that will fit on to one of the cast-iron pots.
One melon mould.
Two brown bread tins.
One round pudding mould.
Two vegetable cutters.
One tea canister.
One coffee canister.
One cake box.
One spice box.
One dredger for flour.
One for powdered sugar.
One smaller dredger for salt.
One, still smaller, for pepper.
One boning knife.
One French cook's knife.
One large fork.
Two case-knives and forks.
Two vegetable knives.
Four large mixing spoons.
One larding needle.
One trussing needle.
One set of steel skewers.
One wire dish cloth.
One whip churn.
One biscuit cutter.
One hand basin.
One jagging iron.
Three double broilers—one each for toast, fish and meat.
One long-handled dipper.
One large grater.
One apple corer.
One flour scoop.
One sugar scoop.
One lemon squeezer.
Chopping tray and knife.
Small wooden bowl to use in chopping.
Moulding board of good hard wood.
Board for cutting-bread on.
One for cutting cold meats on.
Thick board, or block, on which to break bones, open lobsters, etc.
A rolling pin.
Wooden buckets for sugar, Graham, Indian and rye meal.
Wooden boxes for rice, tapioca, crackers, barley, soda, cream of tartar, etc.
Covers for flour barrels.
Wire flour sieve—not too large.
A pail for cleaning purposes.
One vegetable masher.
Stone pot for bread, holding ten quarts.
One for butter, holding six quarts.
One for pork, holding three quarts.
One dust pan and brush.
One scrubbing brush.
One blacking brush.
Four yellow earthen bowls, holding from six quarts down.
Four white, smooth-bottomed bowls, holding one quart each.
One bean pot.
One earthen pudding dish.
All the tin ware should be made from xx tin. It will then keep its shape, and wear three times as long as if made of thin stuff. Scouring with sand soon ruins tin, the coarse sand scratching it and causing it to rust. Sapolio, a soap which comes for cleaning tins, wood-work and paint, will be found of great value in the kitchen.
Granite ware, as now made, is perfectly safe to-use. It will not become discolored by any kind of cooking, and is so perfectly smooth that articles of food will not stick and bum in it as quickly as in the porcelain-lined pans. Nearly every utensil used in the kitchen is now made in granite ware. The mixing spoons are, however, not desirable, as the coating of granite peels off when the spoon is bent. Have no more heavy cast-iron articles than are really needed, for they are not easily handled, and are, therefore, less likely to be kept as clean, inside and out, as the lighter and smoother ware.
The Scotch Kettle is quite cheap, and will be found of great value for every kind of frying, as it is so deep that enough fat can put into it to immerse the article to be cooked.
The French polished frying-pans are particularly nice, because they can be used for any kind of frying and for cooking sauces and omelets. The small size, No. 1, is just right for an omelet made with two eggs.
When possible, a tin kitchen should be used, as meat cooked before a bright fire has a flavor much nicer than when baked in an oven.
The bird roaster will be found valuable.
An ice cream freezer is a great luxury in a family, and will soon do away with that unhealthy dish—pie. No matter how small the family, nothing less than a gallon freezer should be bought, because you can make a small quantity of the cream in this size, and when you have friends in, there is no occasion to send to the confectioner's for what can be prepared as well at home. With the freezer should be purchased a mallet and canvas bag for pounding the ice fine, as much time and ice can be saved.
A bain-marie is a great convenience for keeping the various dishes hot when serving large dinners. It is simply a large tin pan, which is partially filled with boiling water and placed where this will keep at a high temperature, but will not boil. The sauce-pans containing the cooked food are placed in the water until the time for serving.
The large knives for the kitchen, as well as those belonging in the dining-room, should be kept very sharp. If used about the fire they are soon spoiled.
The French cook's knife is particularly good for carving, cutting bread, etc. It. is rather expensive, but it pays to get one, if only proper care can be taken of it. The butcher's knife should be used for all heavy work. One should never try to break a bone with a knife. That this is often attempted in both kitchen and dining room, the nicked edges of the knives give proof, and show the greater hardness of the bones.
Where much boning is done a small boning knife, costing about seventy- five cents, will be necessary; It should be used only for this purpose.
The French vegetable scoop, costs about seventy-five cents, will cut potatoes and other vegetables in balls for frying or boiling. The largest size is the best.
The garnishing knife flutes vegetables, adding much to their appearance when they are used as a garnish.
The long French roll pan, made from Russian iron, is nice for baking long loaves or rolls where a great deal of crust is liked There are muffin pans of tin, Russian iron and granite ware. Those of iron should be chosen last, on account of their weight. It is a good thing to have pans of a number of different shapes, as a variety for the eye is a matter of importance. The muffin rings of former years have done their duty, and should be allowed to rest, the convenient cups, which comes in sheets, more than filling their place.
The frying basket should have fine meshes, as delicate articles, like croquettes, need more support than a coarsely-woven basket gives.
Where roasting is done in the oven there must be a rack to keep the meat from coming in contact with the water in the bottom of the pan.
One medium-sized larding needle will answer for all kinds of meat that are to be larded.
A potato slicer will be found useful for slicing potatoes, for frying, or cabbage, for slaw. It cuts vegetables in very thin pieces.
The steamers which fit into the cast-iron pot or the tea-kettle are quite convenient. Both kinds will not, of course, be required.
The quart measure for milk is the best for common measuring. Being divided into half pints, the one vessel answers for all quantities. A kitchen should be furnished with two measures, one for dry material and the other for liquids.
In the preparation of desserts the whip churn is essential. It is a tin cylinder, perforated on the bottom and sides, in which a dasher of tin, also perforated, can be easily moved tip and down. When this churn is placed in a bowl of cream and the dasher is worked, air is forced through the cream, causing it to froth.
The double boiler is invaluable in the kitchen. It is a good plan to have two of them where a great deal of cooking is done. The lower part of the boiler is half filled with boiling water, and the inside kettle is placed in this. By this means food is cooked without danger of burning, and more rapidly than if the kettle were placed directly on the stove, exposed to the cold air, because the boiling water in the outside kettle reaches not only the bottom, but also the sides of that in which the food is.
When broiling is done before the fire it is necessary to have a back for the double broiler, for the tin reflects the heat, and the food is cooked much sooner.
The colander is used for draining vegetables, straining soups, etc., and with the squash arid gravy strainers, it is all that is required in the way of strainers.
Under "Drinks" will be found a description of the French coffee biggin.
There should be two brown-bread tins, each holding three pints. They answer also for steaming puddings.
The melon and round padding moulds are nice for frozen or steamed puddings.
The stew-pans that are porcelain-lined are better than the tin-lined, because the tin is liable to melt when frying is done, as, for instance, when meat and vegetables are fried for a stew. Granite ware stew-pans are made in the same shapes as the porcelain-lined.
The tin sauce-pans are nice for sauces and gravies. The porcelain- lined come in the same shapes. Copper is a better conductor of heat than either tin or iron, but when it is not kept perfectly clean, oxide of copper, which is very poisonous, collects on it, and is dissolved by oils and fats. Then when fruit, pickles, or any food containing an acid is allowed to cool in the vessels, verdigris is produced; and this is a deadly poison.
The stamped tin-ware is made from a better quality of metal than the soldered; therefore, it comes higher, but it is in the end cheaper, and it is always safer. Bread, milk and dish pans should be made of stamped tin. The pans for roasting meat should be made of Russian iron.
The spoons for basting and mixing, and also the ladle, should be strong and well tinned.
The plain wooden lemon squeezer is the most easily kept clean, and is, therefore, the best. That made of iron, with a porcelain cup, is stronger, but it needs more care.
The Dover egg beater is the best in the market. It will do in five minutes the work that in former years required half an hour. There are three sizes. The smallest is too delicate for a large number of eggs. The second size, selling for $1.25, is the best for family use.
An apple parer saves a great deal of time and fruit, and is not very expensive.
Wooden buckets and boxes come in nests, or, they can be bought separately. A good supply of them goes a great way toward keeping a store-room or closet in order.
The Japanned ware is best for canisters for tea and coffee and for spice and cake boxes. Cake boxes are made square and round. The square boxes have shelves. The most convenient form is the upright. It is higher-priced than the other makes.
The spice box is a large box filled with smaller ones for each kind of ground spice. It is very convenient, and, besides, preserves the strength of the contents.
There are so many beautiful moulds for fancy dishes that there is no longer any excuse for turning out jellies, blanc-mange, etc., in the form of animals. There are two modes of making moulds. By one the tin is pressed or stamped into shape, and by the other it is cut in pieces and soldered together. Moulds made by the first method are quite cheap, but not particularly handsome. Those made in the second way come in a great variety of pretty forms, but as all are imported, they are expensive.
The crown moulds are especially good for Bavarian creams, with which is served whipped cream, heaped in the centre.
The French pie mould comes in a number of sizes, and can be opened to remove the pie. Deep tin squash-pie plates, answer for custard, cream, Washington and squash pies, and for corn cake.
Tin vegetable cutters, for cutting raw vegetables for soups, and the cooked ones for garnishing, are nice to have, as is also a confectioner's ornamenting tube for decorating cake, etc. Larger tubes come for lady fingers and eclairs. Little pans also come for lady- fingers, but they cost a great deal. The jagging iron will be found useful for pastry and hard gingerbread.
The little tin, granite ware and silver-plated escaloped shells are pretty and convenient for serving escaloped oysters, lobster, etc. The price for the tin style is two dollars per dozen, for the granite ware, four dollars, and for the silver-plated, from thirty to forty dollars.
Remarks on Soup Stock.
There is a number of methods of making soup stocks, and no two will give exactly the same results. One of the simplest and most satisfactory is that of clear stock or bouillon. By this the best flavor of the meat is obtained, for none passes off in steam, as when the meat is boiled rapidly. The second mode is in boiling the stock a great deal, to reduce it. This gives a very rich soup, with a marked difference in the flavor from that made with clear meat kept in water at the boiling point. The third way leaves a mixed stock, which will not be clear unless whites of eggs are used. In following the first methods we buy clear beef specially for the stock, and know from the beginning just how much stock there will be when the work is completed. By the second method we are not sure, because more or less than we estimate may boil away. The third stock, being made from bones and pieces of meat left from roasts, and from the trimmings of raw meats, will always be changeable in color, quantity and quality. This is, however, a very important stock, and it should always be kept on hand. No household, even where only a moderate amount of meat is used, should be without a stock-pot. It can be kept on the back of the range or stove while cooking is going on. Two or three times a week it should be put on with the trimmings and bones left from cooked and uncooked meats. This practice will give a supply of stock at all times, which will be of the greatest value in making sauces, side dishes and soups. Meat if only slightly tainted will spoil a stock; therefore great care must be taken that every particle is perfectly sweet.
Vegetables make a stock sour very quickly, so if you wish to keep a stock do not use them. Many rules advise putting vegetables into the stock-pot with the meat and water and cooking from the very beginning. When this is done they absorb the fine flavor of the meat and give the soup a rank taste. They should cook not more than an hour—the last hour—in the stock. A white stock is made with veal or poultry. The water in which a leg of mutton or fowl have been boiled makes a good stock for light soups and gravies. A soup stock must be cooled quickly or it will not keep well. In winter any kind of stock ought to keep good a week. That boiled down to a jelly will last the longest. In the warm months three days will be the average time stock will keep.
Stock for Clear Soups.
Five pounds of clear beef, cut from the lower part of the round; five quarts of cold water. Let come to a boil, slowly; skim carefully, and set where it will keep just at the boiling point for eight or ten hours. Strain, and set away to cool. In the morning skim off all the fat and turn the soup into the kettle, being careful not to let the sediment pass in. Into the soup put an onion, one stalk of celery, two leaves of sage, two sprigs of parsley, two of thyme, two of summer savory, two bay leaves, twelve pepper-corns and six whole cloves. Boil gently from ten to twenty minutes; salt and pepper to taste. Strain through an old napkin. This is now ready for serving as a simple clear soup or for the foundation of all kinds of clear soups.
Put the trimmings of your fresh meats and the bones and tough pieces left from roasts or broils into the soup pot with one quart of water to every two pounds of meat and bones. When it comes to a boil, skim and set back where it will simmer six hours; then add a bouquet of sweet herbs, one onion, six cloves and twelve pepper-corns to each gallon of stock. Cook two hours longer; strain and set in a cool place. In the morning skim off the fat. Keep in a very cool place. This can be used for common soups, sauces, and where stock is used in made dishes. It should always be kept on hand, as it really costs nothing but the labor (which is very little), and enters so often into the preparation of simple, yet toothsome, dishes.
Eight pounds of a shin of veal, eight pounds of the lower part of the round of beef, half a cupful of butter, twelve quarts of cold water, half a small carrot, two large onions, half a head of celery, thirty pepper-corns, six whole cloves, a small piece each of mace and cinnamon, four sprigs each of parsley, sweet marjoram, summer savory and thyme, four leaves of sage, four bay leaves, about one ounce of ham. Put half of the butter in the soup pot and then put in the meat, which has been cut into very small pieces. Stir over a hot fire until the meat begins to brown; then add one quart of the water, and cook until there is a thick glaze on the bottom of the kettle (this will be about an hour). Add the remainder of the water and let it come to a boil. Skim carefully, and set back where it will simmer for six hours. Fry the vegetables, which have been cut very small, in the remaining butter for half an hour, being careful not to burn them. When done, turn into the soup pot, and at the same time add the herbs and spice. Cook one hour longer; salt to taste and strain. Set in a very cold place until morning, when skim off all the fat. Turn the soup into the pot, being careful not to turn in the sediment, and set on the fire. Beat the whites and shells of two eggs with one cup of cold water. Stir into the soup, and when it comes to a boil, set back where it will simmer for twenty minutes. Strain through a napkin, and if not ready to use, put away in a cold place. This will keep a week in winter, but not more than three days in summer. It is a particularly nicely-flavored soup, and is the foundation for any clear soup, the soup taking the name of the solid used with it, as Consomme au Ris, Consomme with Macaroni, etc.
Bouillon, for Germans and other parties, is made the same as the clear stock, using a pint of water to the pound of meat, and seasoning with salt and pepper and with the spice, herbs and vegetables or not, as you please. It should be remembered that the amount of seasoning in the recipe referred to is for one gallon of stock.
Six pounds of a shin of veal, one fowl, three table-spoonfuls of butter, four stalks of celery, two onions, one blade of mace, one stick of cinnamon, eight quarts of cold water, salt, pepper. Wash and cut the veal and fowl into small pieces. Put the butter in the bottom of the soup pot and then put in the meat. Cover, and cook gently (stirring often) half an hour, then add the water. Let it come to a boil, then skim and set back where it will boil gently for six hours. Add the vegetables and spice and boil one hour longer. Strain and cool quickly. In the morning take off all the fat. Then turn the jelly gently into a deep dish, and with a knife scrape off the sediment which is on the bottom. Put the jelly into a stone pot and set in a cold place. This will keep a week in cold weather and three days in warm.
Consomme a la Royale.
Two eggs, two table-spoonfuls of milk, one-fourth of a tea-spoonful of salt. Beat eggs with a spoon, and add milk and salt Turn into a buttered cup, and place in a pan of warm water. Cook in a slow oven until firm in the centre. Set away to cool. Cut into small and prettily-shaped pieces; put into the tureen, and pour one quart of boiling consomme or clear stock on it.
One and a half cupfuls of flour, one pint of rich cream, four table- spoonfuls of butter, four of grated Parmesan cheese, a speck of cayenne, two eggs, three quarts of clear soup stock. Mix flour, cream, butter, cheese and pepper together. Place the basin in another of hot water and stir until the mixture becomes a smooth, firm paste. Break into it the two eggs, and mix quickly and thoroughly. Cook two minutes longer, and set away to cool. When cold, roll into little balls about the size of an American walnut When the balls are all formed drop them into boiling water and cook gently five minutes; then put them in the soup tureen and pour the boiling stock on them. Pass a plate of finely grated Parmesan cheese with the soup.