THE AMERICAN FRUGAL HOUSEWIFE.
Author of "Hobomok," "The Mother's Book," Editor of the "Juvenile Miscellany," &c.
THOSE WHO ARE NOT ASHAMED OF ECONOMY.
A fat kitchen maketh a lean will.—FRANKLIN.
"Economy is a poor man's revenue; extravagance a rich man's ruin."
INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER ODD SCRAPS FOR THE ECONOMICAL. SOAP. SIMPLE REMEDIES. GRUEL. EGG GRUEL. ARROW-ROOT JELLY. CALF'S FOOT JELLY. TAPIOCA JELLY. SAGO JELLY. BEEF TEA. WINE WHEY. APPLE WATER. MILK PORRIDGE. STEWED PRUNES. VEGETABLES. HERBS. CHEAP DYE-STUFFS. MEAT CORNED, OR SALTED, HAMS, &c. CHOICE OF MEAT. COMMON COOKING. VEAL. CALF'S HEAD. BEEF. ALAMODE BEEF. MUTTON AND LAMB. PORK. ROAST PIG. SAUSAGES. MINCE MEAT. BEANS AND PEAS. SOUSE. TRIPE. GRAVY. POULTRY. FRICASSEED CHICKEN, BROWN. FRICASSEED CHICKEN, WHITE. TO CURRY FOWL. CHICKEN BROTH. FISH. PUDDINGS. BAKED INDIAN PUDDING. BOILED INDIAN PUDDING. FLOUR OR BATTER PUDDING. BREAD PUDDING. RENNET PUDDING. CUSTARD PUDDINGS. RICE PUDDINGS. BIRD'S NEST PUDDING. APPLE PUDDING. CHERRY PUDDING. CRANBERRY PUDDING. WHORTLEBERRY PUDDING. PLUM PUDDING. HASTY PUDDING. CHEAP CUSTARDS. COMMON PIES. MINCE PIES. PUMPKIN AND SQUASH PIE. CARROT PIE. CHERRY PIE. WHORTLEBERRY PIE. APPLE PIE. CUSTARD PIE. CRANBERRY PIE. RHUBARB STALKS, OR PERSIAN APPLE. PIE CRUST. COMMON CAKES. GINGERBREAD. CUP CAKE. TEA CAKE. CIDER CAKE. ELECTION CAKE. SPONGE CAKE. WEDDING CAKE. LOAF CAKE. CARAWAY CAKES. DOUGH-NUTS. PANCAKES. FRITTERS. SHORT CAKE. INDIAN CAKE. BREAD, YEAST, &c. PRESERVES, &c. CURRANT JELLY. CURRANT WINE. RASPBERRY SHRUB. COFFEE. CHOCOLATE. TEA. PICKLES. BEER. GENERAL MAXIMS FOR HEALTH. HINTS TO PERSONS OF MODERATE FORTUNE [FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE MASSACHUSETTS JOURNAL.] FURNITURE. EDUCATION OF DAUGHTERS. TRAVELLING AND PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS. PHILOSOPHY AND CONSISTENCY. REASONS FOR HARD TIMES. HOW TO ENDURE POVERTY. APPENDIX TO THE AMERICAN FRUGAL HOUSEWIFE. CARVING. INDEX. APPENDIX.
It has become necessary to change the title of this work to the "American Frugal Housewife," because there is an English work of the same name, not adapted to the wants of this country.
The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost. I mean fragments of time, as well as materials. Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be; and whatever be the size of a family, every member should be employed either in earning or saving money.
'Time is money.' For this reason, cheap as stockings are, it is good economy to knit them. Cotton and woollen yarn are both cheap; hose that are knit wear twice as long as woven ones; and they can be done at odd minutes of time, which would not be otherwise employed. Where there are children, or aged people, it is sufficient to recommend knitting, that it is an employment.
In this point of view, patchwork is good economy. It is indeed a foolish waste of time to tear cloth into bits for the sake of arranging it anew in fantastic figures; but a large family may be kept out of idleness, and a few shillings saved, by thus using scraps of gowns, curtains, &c.
In the country, where grain is raised, it is a good plan to teach children to prepare and braid straw for their own bonnets, and their brothers' hats.
Where turkeys and geese are kept, handsome feather fans may as well be made by the younger members of a family, as to be bought. The sooner children are taught to turn their faculties to some account, the better for them and for their parents.
In this country, we are apt to let children romp away their existence, till they get to be thirteen or fourteen. This is not well. It is not well for the purses and patience of parents; and it has a still worse effect on the morals and habits of the children. Begin early is the great maxim for everything in education. A child of six years old can be made useful; and should be taught to consider every day lost in which some little thing has not been done to assist others.
Children can very early be taught to take all the care of their own clothes.
They can knit garters, suspenders, and stockings; they can make patchwork and braid straw; they can make mats for the table, and mats for the floor; they can weed the garden, and pick cranberries from the meadow, to be carried to market.
Provided brothers and sisters go together, and are not allowed to go with bad children, it is a great deal better for the boys and girls on a farm to be picking blackberries at six cents a quart, than to be wearing out their clothes in useless play. They enjoy themselves just as well; and they are earning something to buy clothes, at the same time they are tearing them.
It is wise to keep an exact account of all you expend—even of a paper of pins. This answers two purposes; it makes you more careful in spending money, and it enables your husband to judge precisely whether his family live within his income. No false pride, or foolish ambition to appear as well as others, should ever induce a person to live one cent beyond the income of which he is certain. If you have two dollars a day, let nothing but sickness induce you to spend more than nine shillings; if you have one dollar a day, do not spend but seventy-five cents; if you have half a dollar a day, be satisfied to spend forty cents.
To associate with influential and genteel people with an appearance of equality, unquestionably has its advantages; particularly where there is a family of sons and daughters just coming upon the theatre of life; but, like all other external advantages, these have their proper price, and may be bought too dearly. They who never reserve a cent of their income, with which to meet any unforeseen calamity, 'pay too dear for the whistle,' whatever temporary benefits they may derive from society. Self-denial, in proportion to the narrowness of your income, will eventually be the happiest and most respectable course for you and yours. If you are prosperous, perseverance and industry will not fail to place you in such a situation as your ambition covets; and if you are not prosperous, it will be well for your children that they have not been educated to higher hopes than they will ever realize.
If you are about to furnish a house, do not spend all your money, be it much or little. Do not let the beauty of this thing, and the cheapness of that, tempt you to buy unnecessary articles. Doctor Franklin's maxim was a wise one, 'Nothing is cheap that we do not want.' Buy merely enough to get along with at first. It is only by experience that you can tell what will be the wants of your family. If you spend all your money, you will find you have purchased many things you do not want, and have no means left to get many things which you do want. If you have enough, and more than enough, to get everything suitable to your situation, do not think you must spend it all, merely because you happen to have it. Begin humbly. As riches increase, it is easy and pleasant to increase in hospitality and splendour; but it is always painful and inconvenient to decrease. After all, these things are viewed in their proper light by the truly judicious and respectable. Neatness, tastefulness, and good sense, may be shown in the management of a small household, and the arrangement of a little furniture, as well as upon a larger scale; and these qualities are always praised, and always treated with respect and attention. The consideration which many purchase by living beyond their income, and of course living upon others, is not worth the trouble it costs. The glare there is about this false and wicked parade is deceptive; it does not in fact procure a man valuable friends, or extensive influence. More than that, it is wrong—morally wrong, so far as the individual is concerned; and injurious beyond calculation to the interests of our country. To what are the increasing beggary and discouraged exertions of the present period owing? A multitude of causes have no doubt tended to increase the evil; but the root of the whole matter is the extravagance of all classes of people. We never shall be prosperous till we make pride and vanity yield to the dictates of honesty and prudence! We never shall be free from embarrassment until we cease to be ashamed of industry and economy. Let women do their share towards reformation—Let their fathers and husbands see them happy without finery; and if their husbands and fathers have (as is often the case) a foolish pride in seeing them decorated, let them gently and gradually check this feeling, by showing that they have better and surer means of commanding respect—Let them prove, by the exertion of ingenuity and economy, that neatness, good taste, and gentility, are attainable without great expense.
The writer has no apology to offer for this cheap little book of economical hints, except her deep conviction that such a book is needed. In this case, renown is out of the question, and ridicule is a matter of indifference.
The information conveyed is of a common kind; but it is such as the majority of young housekeepers do not possess, and such as they cannot obtain from cookery books. Books of this kind have usually been written for the wealthy: I have written for the poor. I have said nothing about rich cooking; those who can afford to be epicures will find the best of information in the 'Seventy-five Receipts.' I have attempted to teach how money can be saved, not how it can be enjoyed. If any persons think some of the maxims too rigidly economical, let them inquire how the largest fortunes among us have been made. They will find thousands and millions have been accumulated by a scrupulous attention to sums 'infinitely more minute than sixty cents.'
In early childhood, you lay the foundation of poverty or riches, in the habits you give your children. Teach them to save everything,—not for their own use, for that would make them selfish—but for some use. Teach them to share everything with their playmates; but never allow them to destroy anything.
I once visited a family where the most exact economy was observed; yet nothing was mean or uncomfortable. It is the character of true economy to be as comfortable and genteel with a little, as others can be with much. In this family, when the father brought home a package, the older children would, of their own accord, put away the paper and twine neatly, instead of throwing them in the fire, or tearing them to pieces. If the little ones wanted a piece of twine to play scratch-cradle, or spin a top, there it was, in readiness; and when they threw it upon the floor, the older children had no need to be told to put it again in its place.
The other day, I heard a mechanic say, 'I have a wife and two little children; we live in a very small house; but, to save my life, I cannot spend less than twelve hundred a year.' Another replied, 'You are not economical; I spend but eight hundred.' I thought to myself,—'Neither of you pick up your twine and paper.' A third one, who was present, was silent; but after they were gone, he said, 'I keep house, and comfortably too, with a wife and children, for six hundred a year; but I suppose they would have thought me mean, if I had told them so.' I did not think him mean; it merely occurred to me that his wife and children were in the habit of picking up paper and twine.
Economy is generally despised as a low virtue, tending to make people ungenerous and selfish. This is true of avarice; but it is not so of economy. The man who is economical, is laying up for himself the permanent power of being useful and generous. He who thoughtlessly gives away ten dollars, when he owes a hundred more than he can pay, deserves no praise,—he obeys a sudden impulse, more like instinct than reason: it would be real charity to check this feeling; because the good he does maybe doubtful, while the injury he does his family and creditors is certain. True economy is a careful treasurer in the service of benevolence; and where they are united respectability, prosperity and peace will follow.
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ODD SCRAPS FOR THE ECONOMICAL.
If you would avoid waste in your family, attend to the following rules, and do not despise them because they appear so unimportant: 'many a little makes a mickle.'
Look frequently to the pails, to see that nothing is thrown to the pigs which should have been in the grease-pot.
Look to the grease-pot, and see that nothing is there which might have served to nourish your own family, or a poorer one.
See that the beef and pork are always under brine; and that the brine is sweet and clean.
Count towels, sheets, spoons, &c. occasionally; that those who use them may not become careless.
See that the vegetables are neither sprouting nor decaying: if they are so, remove them to a drier place, and spread them.
Examine preserves, to see that they are not contracting mould; and your pickles, to see that they are not growing soft and tasteless.
As far as it is possible, have bits of bread eaten up before they become hard. Spread those that are not eaten, and let them dry, to be pounded for puddings, or soaked for brewis. Brewis is made of crusts and dry pieces of bread, soaked a good while in hot milk, mashed up, and salted, and buttered like toast. Above all, do not let crusts accumulate in such quantities that they cannot be used. With proper care, there is no need of losing a particle of bread, even in the hottest weather.
Attend to all the mending in the house, once a week, if possible. Never put out sewing. If it be impossible to do it in your own family, hire some one into the house, and work with them.
Make your own bread and cake. Some people think it is just as cheap to buy of the baker and confectioner; but it is not half as cheap. True, it is more convenient; and therefore the rich are justifiable in employing them; but those who are under the necessity of being economical, should make convenience a secondary object. In the first place, confectioners make their cake richer than people of moderate income can afford to make it; in the next place, your domestic, or yourself, may just as well employ your own time, as to pay them for theirs.
When ivory-handled knives turn yellow, rub them with nice sand paper, or emery; it will take off the spots, and restore their whiteness.
When a carpet is faded, I have been told that it may be restored, in a great measure, (provided there be no grease in it,) by being dipped into strong salt and water. I never tried this; but I know that silk pocket handkerchiefs, and deep blue factory cotton will not fade, if dipped in salt and water while new.
An ox's gall will set any color,—silk, cotton, or woollen. I have seen the colors of calico, which faded at one washing, fixed by it. Where one lives near a slaughterhouse, it is worth while to buy cheap, fading goods, and set them in this way. The gall can be bought for a few cents. Get out all the liquid, and cork it up in a large phial. One large spoonful of this in a gallon of warm water is sufficient. This is likewise excellent for taking out spots from bombazine, bombazet, &c. After being washed in this, they look about as well as when new. It must be thoroughly stirred into the water, and not put upon the cloth. It is used without soap. After being washed in this, cloth which you want to clean should be washed in warm suds, without using soap.
Tortoise shell and horn combs last much longer for having oil rubbed into them once in a while.
Indian meal and rye meal are in danger of fermenting in summer; particularly Indian. They should be kept in a cool place, and stirred open to the air, once in a while. A large stone, put in the middle of a barrel of meal, is a good thing to keep it cool.
The covering of oil-flasks, sewed together with strong thread, and lined and bound neatly, makes useful tablemats.
A warming-pan full of coals, or a shovel of coals, held over varnished furniture, will take out white spots. Care should be taken not to hold the coals near enough to scorch; and the place should be rubbed with flannel while warm.
Spots in furniture may usually be cleansed by rubbing them quick and hard, with a flannel wet with the same thing which took out the color; if rum, wet the cloth with rum, &c. The very best restorative for defaced varnished furniture, is rotten-stone pulverized, and rubbed on with linseed oil.
Sal-volatile, or hartshorn, will restore colors taken out by acid. It may be dropped upon any garment without doing harm.
Spirits of turpentine is good to take grease-spots out of woollen clothes; to take spots of paint, &c., from mahogany furniture; and to cleanse white kid gloves. Cockroaches, and all vermin, have an aversion to spirits of turpentine.
An ounce of quicksilver, beat up with the white of two eggs, and put on with a feather, is the cleanest and surest bed-bug poison. What is left should be thrown away: it is dangerous to have it about the house. If the vermin are in your walls, fill up the cracks with verdigris-green paint.
[Footnote 1: There are two kinds of green paint; one is of no use in destroying insects.]
Lamps will have a less disagreeable smell if you dip your wick-yarn in strong hot vinegar, and dry it.
Those who make candles will find it a great improvement to steep the wicks in lime-water and saltpetre, and dry them. The flame is clearer, and the tallow will not 'run.'
Britannia Ware should be first rubbed gently with a woollen cloth and sweet oil; then washed in warm suds, and rubbed with soft leather and whiting. Thus treated, it will retain its beauty to the last.
Eggs will keep almost any length of time in lime-water properly prepared. One pint of coarse salt, and one pint of unslacked lime, to a pailful of water. If there be too much lime, it will eat the shells from the eggs; and if there be a single egg cracked, it will spoil the whole. They should be covered with lime-water, and kept in a cold place. The yolk becomes slightly red; but I have seen eggs, thus kept, perfectly sweet and fresh at the end of three years. The cheapest time to lay down eggs, is early in spring, and the middle and last of September. It is bad economy to buy eggs by the dozen, as you want them.
New iron should be very gradually heated at first. After it has become inured to the heat, it is not as likely to crack.
It is a good plan to put new earthen ware into cold water, and let it heat gradually, until it boils,—then cool again. Brown earthen ware, in particular, may be toughened in this way. A handful of rye, or wheat, bran, thrown in while it is boiling, will preserve the glazing, so that it will not be destroyed by acid or salt.
Clean a brass kettle, before using it for cooking, with salt and vinegar.
Skim-milk and water, with a bit of glue in it, heated scalding hot, is excellent to restore old, rusty, black Italian crape. If clapped and pulled dry, like nice muslin, it will look as well, or better, than when new.
Wash-leather gloves should be washed in clean suds, scarcely warm.
The oftener carpets are shaken, the longer they wear; the dirt that collects under them, grinds out the threads.
Do not have carpets swept any oftener than is absolutely necessary. After dinner, sweep the crumbs into a dusting-pan with your hearth-brush; and if you have been sewing, pick up the shreds by hand. A carpet can be kept very neat in this way; and a broom wears it very much.
Buy your woollen yarn in quantities from some one in the country, whom you can trust. The thread-stores make profits upon it, of course.
It is not well to clean brass andirons, handles, &c. with vinegar. It makes them very clean at first; but they soon spot and tarnish. Rotten-stone and oil are proper materials for cleaning brasses. If wiped every morning with flannel and New England rum, they will not need to be cleaned half as often.
If you happen to live in a house which has marble fire-places, never wash them with suds; this destroys the polish, in time. They should be dusted; the spots taken off with a nice oiled cloth, and then rubbed dry with a soft rag.
Feathers should be very thoroughly dried before they are used. For this reason they should not be packed away in bags, when they are first plucked. They should be laid lightly in a basket, or something of that kind, and stirred up often. The garret is the best place to dry them; because they will there be kept free from dirt and moisture; and will be in no danger of being blown away. It is well to put the parcels, which you may have from time to time, into the oven, after you have removed your bread, and let them stand a day.
If feather-beds smell badly, or become heavy, from want of proper preservation of the feathers, or from old age, empty them, and wash the feathers thoroughly in a tub of suds; spread them in your garret to dry, and they will be as light and as good as new.
New England rum, constantly used to wash the hair, keeps it very clean, and free from disease, and promotes its growth a great deal more than Macassar oil. Brandy is very strengthening to the roots of the hair; but it has a hot, drying tendency, which N.E. rum has not.
If you wish to preserve fine teeth, always clean them thoroughly after you have eaten your last meal at night.
Rags should never be thrown away because they are dirty. Mop-rags, lamp-rags, &c. should be washed, dried, and put in the rag-bag. There is no need of expending soap upon them: boil them out in dirty suds, after you have done washing.
Linen rags should be carefully saved; for they are extremely useful in sickness. If they have become dirty and worn by cleaning silver, &c., wash them, and scrape them into lint.
After old coats, pantaloons, &c. have been cut up for boys, and are no longer capable of being converted into garments, cut them into strips, and employ the leisure moments of children, or domestics, in sewing and braiding them for door-mats.
If you are troubled to get soft water for washing, fill a tub or barrel half full of ashes, and fill it up with water, so that you may have lye whenever you want it. A gallon of strong lye put into a great kettle of hard water will make it as soft as rain water. Some people use pearlash, or potash; but this costs something, and is very apt to injure the texture of the cloth.
If you have a strip of land, do not throw away suds. Both ashes and suds are good manure for bushes and young plants.
When a white Navarino bonnet becomes soiled, rip it in pieces, and wash it with a sponge and soft water. While it is yet damp, wash it two or three times with a clean sponge dipped into a strong saffron tea, nicely strained. Repeat this till the bonnet is as dark a straw color as you wish. Press it on the wrong side with a warm iron, and it will look like a new Leghorn.
About the last of May, or the first of June, the little millers, which lay moth-eggs begin to appear. Therefore brush all your woollens, and pack them away in a dark place covered with linen. Pepper, red-cedar chips, tobacco,—indeed, almost any strong spicy smell,—is good to keep moths out of your chests and drawers. But nothing is so good as camphor. Sprinkle your woollens with camphorated spirit, and scatter pieces of camphor-gum among them, and you will never be troubled with moths. Some people buy camphor-wood trunks, for this purpose; but they are very expensive, and the gum answers just as well.
The first young leaves of the common currant-bush, gathered as soon as they put out, and dried on tin, can hardly be distinguished from green tea.
Cream of tartar, rubbed upon soiled white kid gloves, cleanses them very much.
Bottles that have been used for rose-water, should be used for nothing else; if scalded ever so much, they will kill the spirit of what is put in them.
If you have a greater quantity of cheeses in the house than is likely to be soon used, cover them carefully with paper, fastened on with flour paste, so as to exclude the air. In this way they may be kept free from insects for years. They should be kept in a dry, cool place.
Pulverized alum possesses the property of purifying water. A large spoonful stirred into a hogshead of water will so purify it, that in a few hours the dirt will all sink to the bottom, and it will be as fresh and clear as spring water. Four gallons may be purified by a tea-spoonful.
Save vials and bottles. Apothecaries and grocers will give something for them. If the bottles are of good thick glass, they will always be useful for bottling cider or beer; but if they are thin French glass, like claret bottles, they will not answer.
Woollens should be washed in very hot suds, and not rinsed. Lukewarm water shrinks them.
On the contrary, silk, or anything that has silk in it, should be washed in water almost cold. Hot water turns it yellow. It may be washed in suds made of nice white soap; but no soap should be put upon it. Likewise avoid the use of hot irons in smoothing silk. Either rub the articles dry with a soft cloth, or put them between two towels, and press them with weights.
Do not let knives be dropped into hot dish-water. It is a good plan to have a large tin pot to wash them in, just high enough to wash the blades, without wetting the handles. Keep your castors covered with blotting-paper and green flannel. Keep your salt-spoons out of the salt, and clean them often.
Do not wrap knives and forks in woollens. Wrap them in good, strong paper. Steel is injured by lying in woollens.
If it be practicable, get a friend in the country to procure you a quantity of lard, butter, and eggs, at the time they are cheapest, to be put down for winter use. You will be likely to get them cheaper and better than in the city market; but by all means put down your winter's stock. Lard requires no other care than to be kept in a dry, cool place. Butter is sweetest in September and June; because food is then plenty, and not rendered bitter by frost. Pack your butter in a clean, scalded firkin, cover it with strong brine, and spread a cloth all over the top, and it will keep good until the Jews get into Grand Isle. If you happen to have a bit of salt-petre, dissolve it with the brine. Dairy-women say that butter comes more easily, and has a peculiar hardness and sweetness, if the cream is scalded and strained before it is used. The cream should stand down cellar over night, after being scalded, that it may get perfectly cold.
Suet and lard keep better in tin than in earthen.
Suet keeps good all the year round, if chopped and packed down in a stone jar, covered with molasses.
Pick suet free from veins and skin, melt it in water before a moderate fire, let it cool till it forms into a hard cake, then wipe it dry, and put it in clean paper in linen bags.
Preserve the backs of old letters to write upon. If you have children who are learning to write, buy coarse white paper by the quantity, and keep it locked up, ready to be made into writing books. It does not cost half as much as it does to buy them at the stationer's.
Do not let coffee and tea stand in tin. Scald your wooden ware often; and keep your tin ware dry.
When mattresses get hard and bunchy, rip them, take the hair out, pull it thoroughly by hand, let it lie a day or two to air, wash the tick, lay it in as light and even as possible, and catch it down, as before. Thus prepared, they will be as good as new.
It is poor economy to buy vinegar by the gallon, Buy a barrel, or half a barrel, of really strong vinegar, when you begin house-keeping. As you use it, fill the barrel with old cider, sour beer, or wine-settlings, &c., left in pitchers, decanters or tumblers; weak tea is likewise said to be good: nothing is hurtful, which has a tolerable portion of spirit, or acidity. Care must be taken not to add these things in too large quantities, or too often: if the vinegar once gets weak, it is difficult to restore it. If possible, it is well to keep such slops as I have mentioned in a different keg, and draw them off once in three or four weeks, in such a quantity as you think the vinegar will bear. If by any carelessness you do weaken it, a few white beans dropped in, or white paper dipped in molasses, is said to be useful. If beer grows sour, it may be used to advantage for pancakes and fritters. If very sour indeed, put a pint of molasses and water to it, and, two or three days after, put a half pint of vinegar; and in ten days it will be first rate vinegar.
Barley straw is the best for beds; dry corn husks, slit into shreds, are far better than straw.
Straw beds are much better for being boxed at the sides; in the same manner upholsterers prepare ticks for feathers. Brass andirons should be cleaned, done up in papers, and put in a dry place, during the summer season.
If you have a large family, it is well to keep white rags separate from colored ones, and cotton separate from woollen; they bring a higher price. Paper brings a cent a pound, and if you have plenty of room, it is well to save it. 'A penny saved is a penny got.'
Always have plenty of dish-water, and have it hot. There is no need of asking the character of a domestic, if you have ever seen her wash dishes in a little greasy water. When molasses is used in cooking, it is a prodigious improvement to boil and skim it before you use it. It takes out the unpleasant raw taste, and makes it almost as good as sugar. Where molasses is used much for cooking, it is well to prepare one or two gallons in this way at a time.
In winter, always set the handle of your pump as high as possible, before you go to bed. Except in very rigid weather, this keeps the handle from freezing. When there is reason to apprehend extreme cold, do not forget to throw a rug or horse-blanket over your pump; a frozen pump is a comfortless preparation for a winter's breakfast. Never allow ashes to be taken up in wood, or put into wood. Always have your tinder-box and lantern ready for use, in case of sudden alarm. Have important papers all together, where you can lay your hand on them at once, in case of fire.
Keep an old blanket and sheet on purpose for ironing, and on no account suffer any other to be used. Have plenty of holders always made, that your towels may not be burned out in such service.
Keep a coarse broom for the cellar stairs, wood-shed, yard, &c. No good housekeeper allows her carpet broom to be used for such things.
There should always be a heavy stone on the top of your pork, to keep it down. This stone is an excellent place to keep a bit of fresh meat in the summer, when you are afraid of its spoiling.
Have all the good bits of vegetables and meat collected after dinner, and minced before they are set away; that they may be in readiness to make a little savoury mince meat for supper or breakfast. Take the skins off your potatoes before they grow cold.
Vials, which have been used for medicine, should be put into cold ashes and water, boiled, and suffered to cool before they are rinsed.
If you live in the city, where it is always easy to procure provisions, be careful and not buy too much for your daily wants, while the weather is warm.
Never leave out your clothes-line over night; and see that your clothes-pins are all gathered into a basket.
Have plenty of crash towels in the kitchen; never let your white napkins be used there.
Soap your dirtiest clothes, and soak them in soft water over night.
Use hard soap to wash your clothes, and soft to wash your floors. Soft soap is so slippery, that it wastes a good deal in washing clothes.
Instead of covering up your glasses and pictures with muslin, cover the frames only with cheap, yellow cambric, neatly put on, and as near the color of the gilt as you can procure it. This looks better; leaves the glasses open for use, and the pictures for ornament; and is an effectual barrier to dust as well as flies. It can easily be re-colored with saffron tea, when it is faded.
Have a bottle full of brandy, with as large a mouth as any bottle you have, into which cut your lemon and orange peel when they are fresh and sweet. This brandy gives a delicious flavor to all sorts of pies, puddings, and cakes. Lemon is the pleasantest spice of the two; therefore they should be kept in separate bottles. It is a good plan to preserve rose-leaves in brandy. The flavor is pleasanter than rose-water; and there are few people who have the utensils for distilling. Peach leaves steeped in brandy make excellent spice for custards and puddings.
It is easy to have a supply of horse-radish all winter. Have a quantity grated, while the root is in perfection, put it in bottles, fill it with strong vinegar, and keep it corked tight.
It is thought to be a preventive to the unhealthy influence of cucumbers to cut the slices very thin, and drop each one into cold water as you cut it. A few minutes in the water takes out a large portion of the slimy matter, so injurious to health. They should be eaten with high seasoning.
Where sweet oil is much used, it is more economical to buy it by the bottle than by the flask. A bottle holds more than twice as much as a flask, and it is never double the price.
If you wish to have free-stone hearths dark, wash them with soap, and wipe them with a wet cloth; some people rub in lamp-oil, once in a while, and wash the hearth faithfully afterwards. This does very well in a large, dirty family; for the hearth looks very clean, and is not liable to show grease spots. But if you wish to preserve the beauty of a freestone hearth, buy a quantity of free-stone powder of the stone-cutter, and rub on a portion of it wet, after you have washed your hearth in hot water. When it is dry, brush it off, and it will look like new stone. Bricks can be kept clean with redding stirred up in water, and put on with a brush. Pulverized clay mixed with redding, makes a pretty rose color. Some think it is less likely to come off, if mixed with skim milk instead of water. But black lead is far handsomer than anything else for this purpose. It looks very well mixed with water, like redding; but it gives it a glossy appearance to boil the lead in soft soap, with a little water to keep it from burning. It should be put on with a brush, in the same manner as redding; it looks nice for a long time, when done in this way.
Keep a bag for odd pieces of tape and strings; they will come in use. Keep a bag or box for old buttons, so that you may know where to go when you want one.
Run the heels of stockings faithfully; and mend thin places, as well as holes. 'A stitch in time saves nine.'
Poke-root, boiled in water and mixed with a good quantity of molasses, set about the kitchen, the pantry, &c. in large deep plates, will kill cockroaches in great numbers, and finally rid the house of them. The Indians say that poke-root boiled into a soft poultice is the cure for the bite of a snake. I have heard of a fine horse saved by it.
A little salt sprinkled in starch while it is boiling, tends to prevent it from sticking; it is likewise good to stir it with a clean spermaceti candle.
A few potatoes sliced, and boiling water poured over them, makes an excellent preparation for cleansing and stiffening old rusty black silk.
Green tea is excellent to restore rusty silk. It should be boiled in iron, nearly a cup full to three quarts. The silk should not be wrung, and should be ironed damp.
Lime pulverized, sifted through coarse muslin, and stirred up tolerably thick in white of eggs, makes a strong cement for glass and china. Plaster of Paris is still better; particularly for mending broken images of the same material. It should be stirred up by the spoonful, as it is wanted.
[Footnote 2: Some think it an improvement to make whey of vinegar and milk, and heat it well up with the eggs before the lime is put in. I have heard of iron mended with it.]
A bit of isinglass dissolved in gin, or boiled in spirits of wine, is said to make strong cement for broken glass, china, and sea-shells.
The lemon syrup, usually sold at fifty cents a bottle, may be made much cheaper. Those who use a great quantity of it will find it worth their while to make it. Take about a pound of Havana sugar; boil it in water down to a quart; drop in the white of an egg, to clarify it; strain it; add one quarter of an oz. of tartaric acid, or citric acid; if you do not find it sour enough, after it has stood two or three days and shaken freely, add more of the acid. A few drops of the oil of lemon improves it.
If you wish to clarify sugar and water, you are about to boil, it is well to stir in the white of one egg, while cold; if put in after it boils, the egg is apt to get hardened before it can do any good.
Those who are fond of soda powders will do well to inquire at the apothecaries for the suitable acid and alkali, and buy them by the ounce, or the pound, according to the size of their families. Experience soon teaches the right proportions; and, sweetened with a little sugar or lemon syrup, it is quite as good as what one gives five times as much for, done up in papers. The case is the same with Rochelle powders.
When the stopper of a glass decanter becomes too tight, a cloth wet with hot water and applied to the neck, will cause the glass to expand, so that the stopper may be easily removed.
Glass vessels in a cylindrical form, may be cut in two, by tying around them a worsted thread, thoroughly wet with spirits of turpentine, and then setting fire to the thread. Court plaster is made of thin silk first dipped in dissolved isinglass and dried, then dipped several times in the white of egg and dried.
When plain tortoise-shell combs are defaced, the polish may be renewed by rubbing them with pulverized rotten-stone and oil. The rotten-stone should be sifted through muslin. It looks better to be rubbed on by the hand. The jewellers afterwards polish them by rubbing them with dry rouge powder; but sifted magnesia does just as well—and if the ladies had rouge, perhaps they would, by mistake, put it upon their cheeks, instead of their combs; and thereby spoil their complexions. The best way to cleanse gold is, to wash it in warm suds made of delicate soap, with ten or fifteen drops of sal-volatile in it. This makes jewels very brilliant.
Straw carpets should be washed in salt and water, and wiped with a dry, coarse towel. They have a strong tendency to turn yellow; and the salt prevents it. Moisture makes them decay soon; therefore they should be kept thoroughly dry.
Rye paste is more adhesive than any other paste; because that grain is very glutinous. It is much improved by adding a little pounded alum, while it is boiling. This makes it almost as strong as glue.
Red ants are among the worst plagues that can infest a house. A lady who had long been troubled with them, assured me she destroyed them in a few days, after the following manner. She placed a dish of cracked shagbarks (of which they are more fond than of anything else) in the closet. They soon gathered upon it in troops. She then put some corrosive sublimate in a cup; ordered the dish to be carried carefully to the fire, and all its contents brushed in; while she swept the few that dropped upon the shelf into the cup, and, with a feather, wet all the cracks from whence they came, with corrosive sublimate. When this had been repeated four or five times, the house was effectually cleared. Too much care cannot be taken of corrosive sublimate, especially when children are about. Many dreadful accidents have happened in consequence of carelessness. Bottles which have contained it should be broken, and buried; and cups should be boiled out in ashes and water. If kept in the house, it should be hung up high, out of reach, with POISON written upon it in large letters.
The neatest way to separate wax from honey-comb is to tie the comb up in a linen or woollen bag; place it in a kettle of cold water, and hang it over the fire. As the water heats, the wax melts, and rises to the surface, while all the impurities remain in the bag. It is well to put a few pebbles in the bag, to keep it from floating. Honey may be separated from the comb, by placing it in the hot sun, or before the fire, with two or three colanders or sieves, each finer than the other, under it.
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In the city, I believe, it is better to exchange ashes and grease for soap; but in the country, I am certain, it is good economy to make one's own soap. If you burn wood, you can make your own lye; but the ashes of coal is not worth much. Bore small holes in the bottom of a barrel, place four bricks around, and fill the barrel with ashes. Wet the ashes well, but not enough to drop; let it soak thus three or four days; then pour a gallon of water in every hour or two, for a day or more, and let it drop into a pail or tub beneath. Keep it dripping till the color of the lye shows the strength is exhausted. If your lye is not strong enough, you must fill your barrel with fresh ashes, and let the lye run through it. Some people take a barrel without any bottom, and lay sticks and straw across to prevent the ashes from falling through. To make a barrel of soap, it will require about five or six bushels of ashes, with at least four quarts of unslacked stone lime; if slacked, doable the quantity.
When you have drawn off a part of the lye, put the lime (whether slack or not) into two or three pails of boiling water, and add it to the ashes, and let it drain through.
It is the practice of some people, in making soap, to put the lime near the bottom of the ashes when they first set it tip; but the lime becomes like mortar, and the lye does not run through, so as to get the strength of it, which is very important in making soap, as it contracts the nitrous salts which collect in ashes, and prevents the soap from coming, (as the saying is.) Old ashes are very apt to be impregnated with it.
Three pounds of grease should be put into a pailful of lye. The great difficulty in making soap 'come' originates in want of judgment about the strength of the lye. One rule may be safely trusted—If your lye will bear up an egg, or a potato, so that you can see a piece of the surface as big as ninepence, it is just strong enough. If it sink below the top of the lye, it is too weak, and will never make soap; if it is buoyed up half way, the lye is too strong; and that is just as bad. A bit of quick-lime, thrown in while the lye and grease are boiling together, is of service. When the soap becomes thick and ropy, carry it down cellar in pails and empty it into a barrel.
Cold soap is less trouble, because it does not need to boil; the sun does the work of fire. The lye must be prepared and tried in the usual way. The grease must be tried out, and strained from the scraps. Two pounds of grease (instead of three) must be used to a pailful; unless the weather is very sultry, the lye should be hot when put to the grease. It should stand in the sun, and be stirred every day. If it does not begin to look like soap in the course of five or six days, add a little hot lye to it; if this does not help it, try whether it be grease that it wants. Perhaps you will think cold soap wasteful, because the grease must be strained; but if the scraps are boiled thoroughly in strong lye, the grease will all float upon the surface, and nothing be lost.
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Cotton wool, wet with sweet oil and paregoric, relieves the ear-ache very soon.
A good quantity of old cheese is the best thing to eat, when distressed by eating too much fruit, or oppressed with any kind of food. Physicians have given it in cases of extreme danger.
Honey and milk is very good for worms; so is strong salt water; likewise powdered sage and molasses taken freely.
For a sudden attack of quincy or croup, bathe the neck with bear's grease, and pour it down the throat. A linen rag soaked in sweet oil, butter, or lard, and sprinkled with yellow Scotch snuff, is said to have performed wonderful cures in cases of croup: it should be placed where the distress is greatest. Goose-grease, or any kind of oily grease, is as good as bear's oil.
Equal parts of camphor, spirits of wine, and hartshorn, well mixed, and rubbed upon the throat, is said to be good for the croup.
Cotton wool and oil are the best things for a burn. A poultice of wheat bran, or rye bran, and vinegar, very soon takes down the inflammation occasioned by a sprain. Brown paper, wet, is healing to a bruise. Dipped in molasses, it is said to take down inflammation.
In case of any scratch, or wound, from which the lockjaw is apprehended, bathe the injured part freely with lye or pearl-ash and water.
A rind of pork bound upon a wound occasioned by a needle, pin, or nail, prevents the lock-jaw. It should be always applied. Spirits of turpentine is good to prevent the lock-jaw. Strong soft-soap, mixed with pulverized chalk, about as thick as batter, put, in a thin cloth or bag, upon the wound, is said to be a preventive to this dangerous disorder. The chalk should be kept moist, till the wound begins to discharge itself; when the patient will find relief.
If you happen to cut yourself slightly while cooking, bind on some fine salt: molasses is likewise good.
Flour boiled thoroughly in milk, so as to make quite a thick porridge, is good in cases of dysentery. A tablespoonful of W.I. rum, a table-spoonful of sugar-baker's molasses, and the same quantity of sweet oil, well simmered together, is likewise good for this disorder; the oil softens the harshness of the other ingredients.
Black or green tea, steeped in boiling milk, seasoned with nutmeg, and best of loaf sugar, is excellent for the dysentery. Cork burnt to charcoal, about as big as a hazel-nut, macerated, and put in a tea-spoonful of brandy, with a little loaf sugar and nutmeg, is very efficacious in cases of dysentery and cholera-morbus. If nutmeg be wanting, peppermint-water may be used. Flannel wet with brandy, powdered with Cayenne pepper, and laid upon the bowels, affords great relief in cases of extreme distress.
Dissolve as much table-salt in keen vinegar, as will ferment and work clear. When the foam is discharged, cork it up in a bottle, and put it away for use. A large spoonful of this, in a gill of boiling water, is very efficacious in cases of dysentery and colic.
[Footnote 3: Among the numerous medicines for this disease, perhaps none, after all, is better, particularly where the bowels are inflamed, than the old-fashioned one of English-mallows steeped in milk, and drank freely. Everybody knows, of course, that English-mallows and marsh-mallows are different herbs.]
Whortleberries, commonly called huckleberries, dried, are a useful medicine for children. Made into tea, and sweetened with molasses, they are very beneficial, when the system is in a restricted state, and the digestive powers out of order.
Blackberries are extremely useful in cases of dysentery. To eat the berries is very healthy; tea made of the roots and leaves is beneficial; and a syrup made of the berries is still better. Blackberries have sometimes effected a cure when physicians despaired.
Loaf sugar and brandy relieves a sore throat; when very bad, it is good to inhale the steam of scalding hot vinegar through the tube of a tunnel. This should be tried carefully at first, lest the throat be scalded. For children, it should be allowed to cool a little.
A stocking bound on warm from the foot, at night, is good for the sore throat.
An ointment made from the common ground-worms, which boys dig to bait fishes, rubbed on with the hand, is said to be excellent, when the sinews are drawn up by any disease or accident.
A gentleman in Missouri advertises that he had an inveterate cancer upon his nose cured by a strong potash made of the lye of the ashes of red oak bark, boiled down to the consistence of molasses. The cancer was covered with this, and, about an hour after, covered with a plaster of tar. This must be removed in a few days, and, if any protuberances remain in the wound, apply more potash to them, and the plaster again, until they entirely disappear: after which heal the wound with any common soothing salve. I never knew this to be tried.
If a wound bleeds very fast, and there is no physician at hand, cover it with the scrapings of sole-leather, scraped like coarse lint. This stops blood very soon. Always have vinegar, camphor, hartshorn, or something of that kind, in readiness, as the sudden stoppage of blood almost always makes a person faint.
Balm-of-Gilead buds bottled up in N.E. rum, make the best cure in the world for fresh cuts and wounds. Every family should have a bottle of it. The buds should be gathered in a peculiar state; just when they are well swelled, ready to burst into leaves, and well covered with gum. They last but two or three days in this state.
Plantain and house-leek, boiled in cream, and strained before it is put away to cool, makes a very cooling, soothing ointment. Plantain leaves laid upon a wound are cooling and healing.
Half a spoonful of citric acid, (which may always be bought of the apothecaries,) stirred in half a tumbler of water, is excellent for the head-ache.
People in general think they must go abroad for vapor-baths; but a very simple one can be made at home. Place strong sticks across a tub of water, at the boiling point, and sit upon them, entirely enveloped in a blanket, feet and all. The steam from the water will be a vapor-bath. Some people put herbs into the water. Steam-baths are excellent for severe colds, and for some disorders in the bowels. They should not be taken without the advice of an experienced nurse, or physician. Great care should be taken not to renew the cold after; it would be doubly dangerous.
Boiled potatoes are said to cleanse the hands as well as common soap; they prevent chops in the winter season, and keep the skin soft and healthy.
Water-gruel, with three or four onions simmered in it, prepared with a lump of butter, pepper, and salt, eaten just before one goes to bed, is said to be a cure for a hoarse cold. A syrup made of horseradish-root and sugar is excellent for a cold.
Very strong salt and water, when frequently applied, has been known to cure wens.
The following poultice for the throat distemper, has been much approved in England:—The pulp of a roasted apple, mixed with an ounce of tobacco, the whole wet with spirits of wine, or any other high spirits, spread on a linen rag, and bound upon the throat at any period of the disorder.
Nothing is so good to take down swellings, as a soft poultice of stewed white beans, put on in a thin muslin bag, and renewed every hour or two.
The thin white skin, which comes from suet, is excellent to bind upon the feet for chilblains. Rubbing with Castile soap, and afterwards with honey, is likewise highly recommended. But, to cure the chilblains effectually, they must be attended to often, and for a long time.
Always apply diluted laudanum to fresh wounds.
A poultice of elder-blow tea and biscuit is good as a preventive to mortification. The approach of mortification is generally shown by the formation of blisters filled with blood; water blisters are not alarming.
Burnt alum held in the mouth is good for the canker.
The common dark-blue violet makes a slimy tea, which is excellent for the canker. Leaves and blossoms are both good. Those who have families should take some pains to dry these flowers.
When people have a sore mouth, from taking calomel, or any other cause, tea made of low-blackberry leaves is extremely beneficial.
Tea made of slippery elm is good for the piles, and for humors in the blood; to be drank plentifully. Winter evergreen is considered good for all humors, particularly scrofula. Some call it rheumatism-weed; because a tea made from it is supposed to check that painful disorder.
[Footnote 4: This plant resembles the poisonous kill-lamb, both in the shape and the glossiness of the leaves: great care should be used to distinguish them.]
An ointment of lard, sulphur, and cream-of-tartar, simmered together, is good for the piles.
Elixir proprietatis is a useful family medicine for all cases when the digestive powers are out of order. One ounce of saffron, one ounce of myrrh, and one ounce of aloes. Pulverize them; let the myrrh steep in half a pint of brandy, or N.E. rum, for four days; then add the saffron and aloes; let it stand in the sunshine, or in some warm place, for a fortnight; taking care to shake it well twice a day. At the end of the fortnight, fill up the bottle (a common sized one) with brandy, or N.E. rum, and let it stand a month. It costs six times as much to buy it in small quantities, as it does to make it.
The constant use of malt beer, or malt in any way, is said to be a preservative against fevers.
Black cherry-tree bark, barberry bark, mustard-seed, petty morrel-root, and horseradish, well steeped in cider, are excellent for the jaundice.
Cotton wool and oil are the best things for a burn. When children are burned, it is difficult to make them endure the application of cotton wool. I have known the inflammation of a very bad burn extracted in one night, by the constant application of brandy, vinegar, and water, mixed together. This feels cool and pleasant, and a few drops of paregoric will soon put the little sufferer to sleep. The bathing should be continued till the pain is gone.
A few drops of the oil of Cajput on cotton wool is said to be a great relief to the tooth-ache. It occasions a smart pain for a few seconds, when laid upon the defective tooth. Any apothecary will furnish it ready dropped on cotton wool, for a few cents.
A poultice made of ginger or of common chickweed, that grows about one's door in the country, has given great relief to the tooth-ache, when applied frequently to the cheek.
A spoonful of ashes stirred in cider is good to prevent sickness at the stomach. Physicians frequently order it in cases of cholera-morbus.
When a blister occasioned by a burn breaks, it is said to be a good plan to put wheat flour upon the naked flesh.
The buds of the elder bush, gathered in early spring, and simmered with new butter, or sweet lard, make a very healing and cooling ointment.
Night sweats have been cured, when more powerful remedies had failed, by fasting morning and night, and drinking cold sage tea constantly and freely.
Lard, melted and cooled five or six times in succession, by being poured each time into a fresh pail-full of water, then simmered with sliced onions, and cooled, is said, by old nurses, to make a salve, which is almost infallible in curing inflammations produced by taking cold in wounds.
Vinegar curds, made by pouring vinegar into warm milk, put on warm, and changed pretty frequently, are likewise excellent to subdue inflammation.
Chalk wet with hartshorn is a remedy for the sting of bees; so is likewise table-salt kept moist with water.
Boil castor-oil with an equal quantity of milk, sweeten it with a little sugar, stir it well, and, when cold, give it to children for drink. They will never suspect it is medicine; and will even love the taste of it.
As molasses is often given to children as a gentle physic, it will be useful to know that West India molasses is a gentle cathartic, while sugar-baker's molasses is slightly astringent.
If a fellon or run-round appears to be coming on the finger, you can do nothing better than to soak the finger thoroughly in hot lye. It will be painful, but it will cure a disorder much more painful.
Whiskey, which has had Spanish-flies in soak, is said to be good for ring-worms; but I never knew an instance of its being tried. Unless too strong, or used in great quantities, it cannot, at least, do any harm. Washing the hands frequently in warm vinegar, is good for ring-worms.
When the toe nails have a tendency to turn in, so as to be painful, the nail should always be kept scraped very thin, and as near the flesh as possible. As soon as the corner of the nail can be raised up out of the flesh, it should be kept from again entering, by putting a tuft of fine lint under it.
As this book may fall into the hands of those who cannot speedily obtain a physician, it is worth while to mention what is best to be done for the bite of a rattlesnake:—Cut the flesh out, around the bite, instantly; that the poison may not have time to circulate in the blood. If caustic is at hand, put it upon the raw flesh; if not, the next best thing is to fill the wound with salt—renewing it occasionally. Take a dose of sweet oil and spirits of turpentine, to defend the stomach. If the whole limb swell, bathe it in salt and vinegar freely. It is well to physic the system thoroughly, before returning to usual diet.
Gruel is very easily made. Have a pint of water boiling in a skillet; stir up three or four large spoonfuls of nicely sifted oat-meal, rye, or Indian, in cold water. Pour it into the skillet while the water boils. Let it boil eight or ten minutes. Throw in a large handful of raisins to boil, if the patient is well enough to bear them. When put in a bowl, add a little salt, white sugar, and nutmeg.
This is at once food and medicine. Some people have very great faith in its efficacy in cases of chronic dysentery. It is made thus: Boil a pint of new milk; beat four new-laid eggs to a light froth, and pour in while the milk boils; stir them together thoroughly, but do not let them boil; sweeten it with the best of loaf sugar, and grate in a whole nutmeg; add a little salt, if you like it. Drink half of it while it is warm, and the other half in two hours.
Put about a pint of water in a skillet to boil; stir up a large spoonful of arrow-root powder in a cup of water; pour it into the skillet while the water is boiling; let them boil together three or four minutes. Season it with nutmeg and loaf sugar. This is very light food for an invalid. When the system is in a relaxed state, two tea-spoonfuls of brandy may be put in. Milk and loaf sugar boiled, and a spoonful of fine flour, well mixed with a little cold water, poured in while the milk is boiling, is light food in cases of similar diseases.
CALF'S FOOT JELLY.
Boil four feet in a gallon of water, till it is reduced to a quart. Strain it, and let it stand, till it is quite cool. Skim off the fat, and add to the jelly one pint of wine, half a pound of sugar, the whites of six eggs, and the juice of four large lemons; boil all these materials together eight or ten minutes. Then strain into the glasses, or jars, in which you intend to keep it. Some lay a few bits of the lemon-peel at the bottom, and let it be strained upon them.
Wash it two or three times, soak it five or six hours; simmer it in the same water with bits of fresh lemon-peel until it becomes quite clear; then put in lemon juice, wine and loaf sugar.
The sago should be soaked in cold water an hour, and washed thoroughly; simmered with lemon-peel and a few cloves. Add wine and loaf sugar when nearly done; and let it all boil together a few minutes.
Beef tea, for the sick, is made by broiling a tender steak nicely, seasoning it with pepper and salt, cutting it up, and pouring water over it, not quite boiling. Put in a little water at a time, and let it stand to soak the goodness out.
Wine whey is a cooling and safe drink in fevers. Set half a pint of sweet milk at the fire, pour in one glass of wine, and let it remain perfectly still, till it curdles; when the curds settle, strain it, and let it cool. It should not get more than blood-warm. A spoonful of rennet-water hastens the operation. Made palatable with loaf sugar and nutmeg, if the patient can bear it.
This is given as sustenance when the stomach is too weak to bear broth, &c. It may be made thus,—Pour boiling water on roasted apples; let them stand three hours, then strain and sweeten lightly:—Or it may be made thus,—Peel and slice tart apples, add some sugar and lemon-peel; then pour some boiling water over the whole, and let it stand covered by the fire, more than an hour.
Boil new milk; stir flour thoroughly into some cold milk in a bowl, and pour it into the kettle while the milk is boiling: let it all boil six or eight minutes. Some people like it thicker than others; I should think three large spoonfuls of flour to a quart of milk was about right. It should always be seasoned with salt; and if the patient likes, loaf sugar and nutmeg may be put in. In cases of fever, little salt or spice should be put into any nourishment; but in cases of dysentery, salt and nutmeg may be used freely: in such cases too, more flour should be put in porridge, and it should be boiled very thoroughly indeed.
Stew them very gently in a small quantity of water, till the stones slip out. Physicians consider them safe nourishment in fevers.
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Parsnips should be kept down cellar, covered up in sand, entirely excluded from the air. They are good only in the spring.
Cabbages put into a hole in the ground will keep well during the winter, and be hard, fresh, and sweet, in the spring. Many farmers keep potatoes in the same way.
Onions should be kept very dry, and never carried into the cellar except in severe weather, when there is danger of their freezing. By no means let them be in the cellar after March; they will sprout and spoil. Potatoes should likewise be carefully looked to in the spring, and the sprouts broken off. The cellar is the best place for them, because they are injured by wilting; but sprout them carefully, if you want to keep them. They never sprout but three times; therefore, after you have sprouted them three times, they will trouble you no more.
Squashes should never be kept down cellar when it is possible to prevent it. Dampness injures them. If intense cold makes it necessary to put them there, bring them up as soon as possible, and keep them in some dry, warm place.
Cabbages need to be boiled an hour; beets an hour and a half. The lower part of a squash should be boiled half an hour; the neck pieces fifteen or twenty minutes longer. Parsnips should boil an hour, or an hour and a quarter, according to size. New potatoes should boil fifteen or twenty minutes; three quarters of an hour, or an hour, is not too much for large, old potatoes; common-sized ones, half an hour. In the spring, it is a good plan to cut off a slice from the seed end of potatoes before you cook them. The seed end is opposite to that which grew upon the vine; the place where the vine was broken off may be easily distinguished. By a provision of nature, the seed end becomes watery in the spring; and, unless cut off, it is apt to injure the potato. If you wish to have potatoes mealy, do not let them stop boiling for an instant; and when they are done, turn the water off, and let them steam for ten or twelve minutes over the fire. See they don't stay long enough to burn to the kettle. In Canada, they cut the skin all off, and put them in pans, to be cooked over a stove, by steam. Those who have eaten them, say they are mealy and white, looking like large snow-balls when brought upon the table.
Potatoes boiled and mashed while hot, are good to use in making short cakes and puddings; they save flour, and less shortening is necessary.
It is said that a bit of unslacked lime, about as big as a robin's egg, thrown among old, watery potatoes, while they are boiling, will tend to make them mealy. I never saw the experiment tried.
Asparagus should be boiled fifteen or twenty minutes; half an hour, if old.
Green peas should be boiled from twenty minutes to sixty, according to their age; string beans the same. Corn should be boiled from twenty minutes to forty, according to age; dandelions half an hour, or three quarters, according to age. Dandelions are very much improved by cultivation. If cut off, without injuring the root, they will spring up again, fresh and tender, till late in the season.
Beet-tops should be boiled twenty minutes; and spinage three or four minutes. Put in no green vegetables till the water boils, if you would keep all their sweetness.
When green peas have become old and yellow, they may be made tender and green by sprinkling in a pinch or two of pearlash, while they are boiling. Pearlash has the same effect upon all summer vegetables, rendered tough by being too old. If your well-water is very hard, it is always an advantage to use a little pearlash in cooking.
Tomatoes should be skinned by pouring boiling water over them. After they are skinned, they should be stewed half an hour, in tin, with a little salt, a small bit of butter, and a spoonful of water, to keep them from burning. This is a delicious vegetable. It is easily cultivated, and yields a most abundant crop. Some people pluck them green, and pickle them.
The best sort of catsup is made from tomatoes. The vegetables should be squeezed up in the hand, salt put to them, and set by for twenty-four hours. After being passed through a sieve, cloves, allspice, pepper, mace, garlic, and whole mustard-seed should be added. It should be boiled down one third, and bottled after it is cool. No liquid is necessary, as the tomatoes are very juicy. A good deal of salt and spice is necessary to keep the catsup well. It is delicious with roast meat; and a cupful adds much to the richness of soup and chowder. The garlic should be taken out before it is bottled.
Celery should be kept in the cellar, the roots covered with tan, to keep them moist.
Green squashes that are turning yellow, and striped squashes, are more uniformly sweet and mealy than any other kind.
If the tops of lettuce be cut off when it is becoming too old for use, it will grow up again fresh and tender, and may thus be kept good through the summer.
It is a good plan to boil onions in milk and water; it diminishes the strong taste of that vegetable. It is an excellent way of serving up onions, to chop them after they are boiled, and put them in a stewpan, with a little milk, butter, salt, and pepper, and let them stew about fifteen minutes. This gives them a fine flavor, and they can be served up very hot.
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All herbs should be carefully kept from the air. Herb tea, to do any good, should be made very strong.
Herbs should be gathered while in blossom. If left till they have gone to seed, the strength goes into the seed. Those who have a little patch of ground, will do well to raise the most important herbs; and those who have not, will do well to get them in quantities from some friend in the country; for apothecaries make very great profit upon them.
Sage is very useful both as a medicine, for the headache—when made into tea—and for all kinds of stuffing, when dried and rubbed into powder. It should be kept tight from the air.
Summer-savory is excellent to season soup, broth, and sausages. As a medicine, it relieves the cholic. Pennyroyal and tansy are good for the same medicinal purpose.
Green wormwood bruised is excellent for a fresh wound of any kind. In winter, when wormwood is dry, it is necessary to soften it in warm vinegar, or spirit, before it is bruised, and applied to the wound.
Hyssop tea is good for sudden colds, and disorders on the lungs. It is necessary to be very careful about exposure after taking it; it is peculiarly opening to the pores.
Tea made of colt's-foot and flax-seed, sweetened with honey, is a cure for inveterate coughs. Consumptions have been prevented by it. It should be drank when going to bed; though it does good to drink it at any time. Hoarhound is useful in consumptive complaints.
Motherwort tea is very quieting to the nerves. Students, and people troubled with wakefulness, find it useful.
Thoroughwort is excellent for dyspepsy, and every disorder occasioned by indigestion. If the stomach be foul, it operates like a gentle emetic.
Sweet-balm tea is cooling when one is in a feverish state.
Catnip, particularly the blossoms, made into tea, is good to prevent a threatened fever. It produces a fine perspiration. It should be taken in bed, and the patient kept warm.
Housekeepers should always dry leaves of the burdock and horseradish. Burdocks warmed in vinegar, with the hard, stalky parts cut out, are very soothing, applied to the feet; they produce a sweet and gentle perspiration. Horseradish is more powerful. It is excellent in cases of the ague, placed on the part affected. Warmed in vinegar, and clapped.
Succory is a very valuable herb. The tea, sweetened with molasses, is good for the piles. It is a gentle and healthy physic, a preventive of dyspepsy, humors, inflammation, and all the evils resulting from a restricted state of the system.
Elder-blow tea has a similar effect. It is cool and soothing, and peculiarly efficacious either for babes or grown people, when the digestive powers are out of order.
Lungwort, maiden-hair, hyssop, elecampane and hoarhound steeped together, is an almost certain cure for a cough. A wine-glass full to be taken when going to bed.
Few people know how to keep the flavor of sweet-marjoram; the best of all herbs for broth and stuffing. It should be gathered in bud or blossom, and dried in a tin-kitchen at a moderate distance from the fire; when dry, it should be immediately rubbed, sifted, and corked up in a bottle carefully.
English-mallows steeped in milk is good for the dysentery.
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A few general rules are necessary to be observed in coloring. The materials should be perfectly clean; soap should be rinsed out in soft water; the article should be entirely wetted, or it will spot; light colors should be steeped in brass, tin, or earthen; and if set at all, should be set with alum. Dark colors should be boiled in iron, and set with copperas. Too much copperas rots the thread.
The apothecaries and hatters keep a compound of vitriol and indigo, commonly called 'blue composition.' An ounce vial full may be bought for nine-pence. It colors a fine blue. It is an economical plan to use it for old silk linings, ribbons, &c. The original color should be boiled out, and the material thoroughly rinsed in soft water, so that no soap may remain in it; for soap ruins the dye. Twelve or sixteen drops of the blue composition, poured into a quart bowl full of warm soft water, stirred, (and strained, if any settlings are perceptible,) will color a great many articles. If you wish a deep blue, pour in more of the compound. Cotton must not be colored; the vitriol destroys it; if the material you wish to color has cotton threads in it, it will be ruined. After the things are thoroughly dried, they should be washed in cool suds, and dried again; this prevents any bad effects from the vitriol; if shut up from the air without being washed, there is danger of the texture being destroyed. If you wish to color green, have your cloth free as possible from the old color, clean, and rinsed, and, in the first place, color it a deep yellow. Fustic boiled in soft water makes the strongest and brightest yellow dye; but saffron, barberry bush, peach leaves, or onion skins, will answer pretty well. Next take a bowl full of strong yellow dye, and pour in a great spoonful or more of the blue composition. Stir it up well with a clean stick, and dip the articles you have already colored yellow into it, and they will take a lively grass green. This is a good plan for old bombazet curtains, dessert cloths, old flannel for covering a desk, &c; it is likewise a handsome color for ribbons.
Balm blossoms, steeped in water, color a pretty rose-color. This answers very well for the linings of children's bonnets, for ribbons, &c. It fades in the course of one season; but it is very little trouble to recolor with it. It merely requires to be steeped and strained. Perhaps a small piece of alum might serve to set the color, in some degree. In earthen or tin.
Saffron, steeped in earthen and strained, colors a fine straw color. It makes a delicate or deep shade according to the strength of the tea. The dry outside skins of onions, steeped in scalding water and strained, color a yellow very much like 'bird of paradise' color. Peach leaves, or bark scraped from the barberry bush, colors a common bright yellow. In all these cases, a little piece of alum does no harm, and may help to fix the color. Ribbons, gauze handkerchiefs, &c. are colored well in this way, especially if they be stiffened by a bit of gum-Arabic, dropped in while the stuff is steeping.
The purple paper, which comes on loaf sugar, boiled in cider, or vinegar, with a small bit of alum, makes a fine purple slate color. Done in iron.
White maple bark makes a good light-brown slate color. This should be boiled in water, set with alum. The color is reckoned better when boiled in brass, instead of iron.
The purple slate and the brown slate are suitable colors for stockings; and it is an economical plan, after they have been mended and cut down, so that they will no longer look decent, to color old stockings, and make them up for children.
A pailful of lye, with a piece of copperas half as big as a hen's egg boiled in it, will color a fine nankin color, which will never wash out. This is very useful for the linings of bed-quilts, comforters, &c. Old faded gowns, colored in this way, may be made into good petticoats. Cheap cotton cloth may be colored to advantage for petticoats, and pelisses for little girls.
A very beautiful nankin color may likewise be obtained from birch-bark, set with alum. The bark should be covered with water, and boiled thoroughly in brass or tin. A bit of alum half as big as a hen's egg is sufficient. If copperas be used instead of alum, slate color will be produced.
Tea-grounds boiled in iron, and set with copperas, make a very good slate color.
Log-wood and cider, in iron, set with copperas, makes a good black. Rusty nails, or any rusty iron, boiled in vinegar, with a small bit of copperas, makes a good black,—black ink-powder done in the same way answers the same purpose.
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MEAT CORNED, OR SALTED, HAMS, &C.
When you merely want to corn meat, you have nothing to do but to rub in salt plentifully, and let it set in the cellar a day or two. If you have provided more meat than you can use while it is good, it is well to corn it in season to save it. In summer, it will not keep well more than a day and a half; if you are compelled to keep it longer, be sure and rub in more salt, and keep it carefully covered from cellar-flies. In winter, there is no difficulty in keeping a piece of corned beef a fortnight or more. Some people corn meat by throwing it into their beef barrel for a few days; but this method does not make it so sweet. A little salt-petre rubbed in before you apply the common salt, makes the meat tender; but in summer it is not well to use it, because it prevents the other salt from impregnating; and the meat does not keep as well.
If you wish to salt fat pork, scald coarse salt in water and skim it, till the salt will no longer melt in the water. Pack your pork down in tight layers; salt every layer; when the brine is cool, cover the pork with it, and keep a heavy stone on the top to keep the pork under brine. Look to it once in a while, for the first few weeks, and if the salt has all melted, throw in more. This brine, scalded and skimmed every time it is used, will continue good twenty years. The rind of the pork should be packed towards the edge of the barrel.
It is good economy to salt your own beef as well as pork. Six pounds of coarse salt, eight ounces of brown sugar, a pint of molasses, and eight ounces of salt-petre, are enough to boil in four gallons of water. Skim it clean while boiling. Put it to the beef cold; have enough to cover it; and be careful your beef never floats on the top. If it does not smell perfectly sweet, throw in more salt; if a scum rises upon it, scald and skim it again, and pour it on the beef when cold.
Legs of mutton are very good, cured in the same way as ham. Six pounds of salt, eight ounces of salt-petre, and five pints of molasses, will make pickle enough for one hundred weight. Small legs should be kept in pickle twelve or fifteen days; if large, four or five weeks are not too much. They should be hung up a day or two to dry, before they are smoked. Lay them in the oven, on crossed sticks, and make a fire at the entrance. Cobs, walnut-bark, or walnut-chips, are the best to use for smoking, on account of the sweet taste they give the meat. The smallest pieces should be smoked forty-eight hours, and large legs four or five days. Some people prefer the mutton boiled as soon as it is taken from the pickle, before it is smoked; others hang it up till it gets dry thoroughly, and eat it in thin slices, like hung beef. When legs of meat are put in pickle, the thickest part of the leg should be placed uppermost, that is, standing upright, the same as the creature stood when living. The same rule should be observed when they are hung up to dry; it is essential in order to keep in the juices of the meat. Meat should be turned over once or twice during the process of smoking.
The old-fashioned way for curing hams is to rub them with salt very thoroughly, and let them lay twenty-four hours. To each ham allow two ounces of salt-petre, one quart of common salt and one quart of molasses. First baste them with molasses; next rub in the salt-petre; and, last of all, the common salt. They must be carefully turned and rubbed every day for six weeks; then hang them in a chimney, or smoke-house, four weeks.
They should be well covered up in paper bags, and put in a chest, or barrel, with layers of ashes, or charcoal, between. When you take out a ham to cut for use, be sure and put it away in a dark place, well covered up; especially in summer.
Some very experienced epicures and cooks, think the old-fashioned way of preparing bacon is troublesome and useless. They say that legs of pork placed upright in pickle, for four or five weeks, are just as nice as those rubbed with so much care. The pickle for pork and hung beef, should be stronger than for legs of mutton. Eight pounds of salt, ten ounces of salt-petre and five pints of molasses is enough for one hundred weight of meat; water enough to cover the meat well—probably, four or five gallons. Any one can prepare bacon, or dried beef, very easily, in a common oven, according to the above directions. The same pickle that answers for bacon is proper for neat's tongues. Pigs' tongues are very nice, prepared in the same way as neat's tongues; an abundance of them are sold for rein-deer's tongues, and, under that name, considered a wonderful luxury.
Neat's tongue should be boiled full three hours. If it has been in salt long, it is well to soak it over night in cold water. Put it in to boil when the water is cold. If you boil it in a small pot, it is well to change the water, when it has boiled an hour and a half; the fresh water should boil before the half-cooked tongue is put in again. It is nicer for being kept in a cool place a day or two after being boiled. Nearly the same rules apply to salt beef. A six pound piece of corned beef should boil full three hours; and salt beef should be boiled four hours.
The saltier meat is, the longer it should be boiled. If very salt, it is well to put it in soak over night; change the water while cooking; and observe the same rules as in boiling tongue. If it is intended to be eaten when cold, it is a good plan to put it between clean boards, and press it down with heavy weights for a day or two. A small leg of bacon should be boiled three hours; ten pounds four hours; twelve pounds five hours. All meat should boil moderately; furious boiling injures the flavor.
Buffalo's tongue should soak a day and a night, and boil as much as six hours.
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CHOICE OF MEAT.
If people wish to be economical, they should take some pains to ascertain what are the cheapest pieces of meat to buy; not merely those which are cheapest in price, but those which go farthest when cooked. That part of mutton called the rack, which consists of the neck, and a few of the rib bones below, is cheap food. It is not more than four or five cents a pound; and four pounds will make a dinner for six people. The neck, cut into pieces, and boiled slowly an hour and a quarter, in little more than water enough to cover it, makes very nice broth. A great spoonful of rice should be washed and thrown in with the meat. About twenty minutes before it is done, put in a little thickening, and season with salt, pepper, and sifted summer-savory, or sage. The bones below the neck, broiled, make a good mutton chop. If your family be small, a rack of mutton will make you two dinners,—broth once, and mutton chop with a few slices of salt pork, for another; if your family consist of six or seven, you can have two dishes for a dinner. If you boil the whole rack for broth, there will be some left for mince meat.
Liver is usually much despised; but when well cooked, it is very palatable; and it is the cheapest of all animal food. Veal liver is by some considered the best. Veal liver is usually two cents a pound; beef liver is one cent. After you have fried a few slices of salt pork, put the liver in while the fat is very hot, and cook it through thoroughly. If you doubt whether it be done, cut into a slice, and see whether it has turned entirely brown, without any red stripe in the middle. Season it with pepper and salt, and butter, if you live on a farm, and have butter in plenty. It should not be cooked on furiously hot coals, as it is very apt to scorch. Sprinkle in a little flour, stir it, and pour in boiling water to make gravy, just as you would for fried meat. Some think liver is better dipped in sifted Indian meal before it is fried. It is good broiled and buttered like a steak. It should be cut into slices about as thick as are cut for steaks.
The heart, liver, &c. of a pig is good fried; so is that of a lamb. The latter is commonly called lamb-fry; and a dinner may be bought for six or eight cents. Be sure and ask for the sweet-bread; for butchers are extremely apt to reserve it for their own use; and therefore lamb-fry is almost always sold without it. Fry five or six slices of salt pork; after it is taken out, put in your lamb-fry while the fat is hot. Do it thoroughly; but be careful the fire is not too furious, as it is apt to scorch. Take a large handful of parsley, see that it is washed clean, cut it up pretty fine; then pour a little boiling water into the fat in which your dinner has been fried, and let the parsley cook in it a minute or two; then take it out in a spoon, and lay it over your slices of meat. Some people, who like thick gravies, shake in a little flour into the spider, before pouring in the boiling water.
Bones from which roasting pieces have been cut, may be bought in the market for ten or twelve cents, from which a very rich soup may be made, besides skimming off fat for shortening. If the bones left from the rump be bought, they will be found full of marrow, and will give more than a pint of good shortening, without injuring the richness of the soup. The richest piece of beef for a soup is the leg and the shin of beef; the leg is on the hind quarter, and the shin is on the fore quarter. The leg rand, that is, the thick part of the leg above the bony parts, is very nice for mince pies. Some people have an objection to these parts of beef, thinking they must be stringy; but, if boiled very tender, the sinews are not perceived, and add, in fact, to the richness of a soup.
The thick part of a thin flank is the most profitable part in the whole ox to buy. It is not so handsome in appearance as some other pieces, but it is thick meat, with very little bone, and is usually two cents less in the pound than more fashionable pieces. It is good for roasting, and particularly for corning and salting. The navel end of the brisket is one of the best pieces for salting or corning, and is very good for roasting.
The rattle rand is the very best piece for corning, or salting.
A bullock's heart is very profitable to use as a steak. Broiled just like beef. There are usually five pounds in a heart, and it can be bought for twenty-five cents. Some people stuff and roast it.
The chuck, between the neck and the shoulder, is a very good piece for roasting,—for steaks, or for salting. Indeed, it is good for almost anything; and it is cheap, being from four to five cents a pound.
The richest, tenderest, and most delicate piece of beef for roasting, or for steak, is the rump and the last cut of the sirloin. It is peculiarly appropriate for an invalid, as it is lighter food than any other beef.
But if economy be consulted instead of luxury, the round will be bought in preference to the rump. It is heartier food, and, of course, less can be eaten; and it is cheaper in price.
The shoulder of veal is the most economical for roasting or boiling. It is always cheap, let veal bear what price it may. Two dinners may be made from it; the shoulder roasted, and the knuckle cut off to be boiled with a bit of pork and greens, or to be made into soup.
The breast of veal is a favorite piece, and is sold high.
The hind-quarter of veal and the loin make two good roasting pieces. The leg is usually stuffed. The line has the kidney upon it; the fore-quarter has the brisket on it. This is a sweet and delicate morsel; for this reason some people prefer the fore-quarter to any other part.
Always buy a shoulder of pork for economy, for roasting, or coming to boil. Cut off the leg to be boiled. Many people buy the upper part of the spare-rib of pork thinking it the most genteel; but the lower part of the spare-rib toward the neck is much more sweet and juicy, and there is more meat in proportion to the bone.
The breast, or shoulder, of mutton are both nice, either for roasting, boiling or broth. The breast is richer than the shoulder. It is more economical to buy a fore-quarter of mutton than a hind-quarter; there is usually two cents difference per pound. The neck of fat mutton makes a good steak for broiling.
Lamb brings the same price, either fore-quarter or hind-quarter; therefore it is more profitable to buy a hind-quarter than a fore-quarter; especially as its own fat will cook it, and there is no need of pork or butter in addition. Either part is good for roasting or boiling. The loin of lamb is suitable for roasting, and is the most profitable for a small family. The leg is more suitable for boiling than for anything else; the shoulder and breast are peculiarly suitable for broth.
The part that in lamb is called the loin, in mutton is called the chop. Mutton chop is considered very good for broiling.
Pig's head is a profitable thing to buy. It is despised, because it is cheap; but when well cooked it is delicious. Well cleaned, the tip of the snout chopped off, and put in brine a week, it is very good for boiling: the cheeks, in particular, are very sweet; they are better than any other pieces of pork to bake with beans. The head is likewise very good baked about an hour and a half. It tastes like roast pork, and yields abundance of sweet fat, for shortening.
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It is necessary to be very careful of fresh meat in the summer season. The moment it is brought into the house, it should be carefully covered from the flies, and put in the coldest place in the cellar. If it consist of pieces, they should be spread out separate from each other, on a large dish, and covered. If you are not to cook it soon, it is well to sprinkle salt on it. The kidney, and fat flabby parts, should be raised up above the lean, by a skewer, or stick, and a little salt strewn in. If you have to keep it over night, it should be looked to the last thing when you go to bed; and if there is danger, it should be scalded.
Veal should boil about an hour, if a neck-piece; if the meat comes from a thicker, more solid part, it should boil longer. No directions about these things will supply the place of judgment and experience. Both mutton and veal are better for being boiled with a small piece of salt pork. Veal broth is very good.
Veal soup should be slowly stewed for two hours. Seasoned the same as above. Some people like a little sifted summer-savory.
Six or seven pounds of veal will roast in an hour and a half.
Fried veal is better for being dipped in white of egg, and rolled in nicely pounded crumbs of bread, before it is cooked. One egg is enough for a common dinner.
Calf's head should be cleansed with very great care; particularly the lights. The head, the heart, and the lights should boil full two hours; the liver should be boiled only one hour. It is better to leave the wind-pipe on, for if it hangs out of the pot while the head is cooking, all the froth will escape through it. The brains, after being thoroughly washed, should be put in a little bag; with one pounded cracker, or as much crumbled bread, seasoned with sifted sage, and tied up and boiled one hour. After the brains are boiled, they should be well broken up with a knife, and peppered, salted, and buttered. They should be put upon the table in a bowl by themselves. Boiling water, thickened with flour and water, with butter melted in it, is the proper sauce; some people love vinegar and pepper mixed with the melted butter; but all are not fond of it; and it is easy for each one to add it for themselves.
Beef soup should be stewed four hours over a slow fire. Just water enough to keep the meat covered. If you have any bones left of roast meat, &c. it is a good plan to boil them with the meat, and take them out half an hour before the soup is done. A pint of flour and water, with salt, pepper, twelve or sixteen onions, should be put in twenty minutes before the soup is done. Be careful and not throw in salt and pepper too plentifully; it is easy to add to it, and not easy to diminish. A lemon, cut up and put in half an hour before it is done, adds to the flavor. If you have tomato catsup in the house, a cupful will make soup rich. Some people put in crackers; some thin slices of crust, made nearly as short as common shortcake; and some stir up two or three eggs with milk and flour, and drop it in with a spoon.
A quarter of an hour to each pound of beef is considered a good rule for roasting; but this is too much when the bone is large, and the meal thin. Six pounds of the rump should roast six quarters of an hour; but bony pieces less. It should be done before a quick fire.
The quicker beef-steak can be broiled the better. Seasoned after it is taken from the gridiron.
Tie up a round of beef so as to keep it in shape; make a stuffing of grated bread, suet, sweet herbs, quarter of an ounce of nutmeg, a few cloves pounded, yolk of an egg. Cut holes in the beef, and put in the stuffing, leaving about half the stuffing to be made into balls. Tie the beef up in a cloth, just cover it with water, let it boil an hour and a half; then turn it, and let it boil an hour and a half more; then turn out the liquor, and put some skewers across the bottom of the pot, and lay the beef upon it, to brown; turn it that it may brown on both sides. Put a pint of claret, and some allspice and cloves, into the liquor, and boil some balls made of the stuffing in it.
MUTTON AND LAMB.
Six or seven pounds of mutton will roast in an hour and a half. Lamb one hour. Mutton is apt to taste strong; this may be helped by soaking the meat in a little salt and water, for an hour before cooking. However, unless meat is very sweet, it is best to corn it, and boil it.
Fresh meat should never be put in to cook till the water boils; and it should be boiled in as little water as possible; otherwise the flavor is injured. Mutton enough for a family of five or six should boil an hour and a half. A leg of lamb should boil an hour, or little more than an hour, perhaps. Put a little thickening into boiling water; strain it nicely; and put sweet butter in it for sauce. If your family like broth, throw in some clear rice when you put in the meat. The rice should be in proportion to the quantity of broth you mean to make. A large table spoonful is enough for three pints of water. Seasoned with a very little pepper and salt. Summer-savory, or sage, rubbed through a sieve, thrown in.
Fresh pork should be cooked more than any other meat. A thick shoulder piece should be roasted full two hours and a half; and other pieces less in proportion. The slight sickness occasioned by eating roasted pork may be prevented by soaking it in salt and water the night before you cook it. If called to prepare it on short notice, it will answer to baste it with weak brine while roasting; and then turn the brine off, and throw it away.
Strew fine salt over it an hour before it is put down. It should not be cut entirely open; fill it up plump with thick slices of buttered bread, salt, sweet-marjoram and sage. Spit it with the head next the point of the spit; take off the joints of the leg, and boil them with the liver, with a little whole pepper, allspice, and salt, for gravy sauce. The upper part of the legs must be braced down with skewers. Shake on flour. Put a little water in the dripping-pan, and stir it often. When the eyes drop out, the pig is half done. When it is nearly done, baste it with butter. Cut off the head, split it open between the eyes. Take out the brains, and chop them fine with the liver and some sweet-marjoram and sage; put this into melted butter, and when it has boiled a few minutes, add it to the gravy in the dripping-pan. When your pig is cut open, lay it with the back to the edge of the dish; half a head to be placed at each end. A good sized pig needs to be roasted three hours.
Three tea-spoons of powdered sage, one and a half of salt, and one of pepper, to a pound of meat, is good seasoning for sausages.
There is a great difference in preparing mince meat. Some make it a coarse, unsavory dish; and others make it nice and palatable. No economical house-keeper will despise it; for broken bits of meat and vegetables cannot so well be disposed of in any other way. If you wish to have it nice, mash your vegetables fine, and chop your meat very fine. Warm it with what remains of sweet gravy, or roast-meat drippings, you may happen to have. Two or three apples, pared, cored, sliced, and fried, to mix with it, is an improvement. Some like a little sifted sage sprinkled in.
It is generally considered nicer to chop your meat fine, warm it in gravy, season it, and lay it upon a large slice of toasted bread to be brought upon the table without being mixed with potatoes; but if you have cold vegetables, use them.
BEANS AND PEAS.
Baked beans are a very simple dish, yet few cook them well. They should be put in cold water, and hung over the fire, the night before they are baked. In the morning, they should be put in a colander, and rinsed two or three times; then again placed in a kettle, with the pork you intend to bake, covered with water, and kept scalding hot, an hour or more. A pound of pork is quite enough for a quart of beans, and that is a large dinner for a common family. The rind of the pork should be slashed. Pieces of pork alternately fat and lean, are the most suitable; the cheeks are the best. A little pepper sprinkled among the beans, when they are placed in the bean-pot, will render them less unhealthy. They should be just covered with water, when put into the oven; and the pork should be sunk a little below the surface of the beans. Bake three or four hours.
Stewed beans are prepared in the same way. The only difference is, they are not taken out of the scalding water, but are allowed to stew in more water, with a piece of pork and a little pepper, three hours or more.
Dried peas need not be soaked over night. They should be stewed slowly four or five hours in considerable water, with a piece of pork. The older beans and peas are, the longer they should cook. Indeed, this is the case with all vegetables.
Pigs' feet, ears, &c., should be cleaned after being soaked in water not very hot; the hoofs will then come off easily with a sharp knife; the hard, rough places should be cut off; they should be thoroughly singed, and then boiled as much as four or five hours, until they are too tender to be taken out with a fork. When taken from the boiling water, it should be put into cold water. After it is packed down tight, boil the jelly-like liquor in which it was cooked with an equal quantity of vinegar; salt as you think fit, and cloves, allspice, and cinnamon, at the rate of a quarter of a pound to one hundred weight: to be poured on scalding hot.
Tripe should be kept in cold water, or it will become too dry for cooking. The water in which it is kept should be changed more or less frequently, according to the warmth of the weather. Broiled like a steak, buttered, peppered, &c. Some people like it prepared like souse.