WOMAN'S INSTITUTE LIBRARY OF COOKERY
ESSENTIALS OF COOKERY
WOMAN'S INSTITUTE OF DOMESTIC ARTS AND SCIENCES, Inc.
The Woman's Institute Library of Cookery consists of five volumes that cover the various phases of the subject of cookery as it is carried on in the home. These books contain the same text as the Instruction Papers of the Institute's Course in Cookery arranged so that related subjects are grouped together. Examination questions pertaining to the subject matter appear at the end of each section. These questions will prove helpful in a mastery of the subjects to which they relate, as they are the same as those on which students of the Institute are required to report. At the back of each volume is a complete index, which will assist materially in making quick reference to the subjects contained in it.
This volume, which is the first of the set, deals with the essentials of cookery, cereals, bread, and hot breads. In Essentials of Cookery, Parts 1 and 2, are thoroughly treated the selection, buying, and care of food, as well as other matters that will lead to familiarity with terms used in cookery and to efficiency in the preparation of food. In Cereals are discussed the production, composition, selection, and care and the cooking and serving of cereals of all kinds. In Bread and Hot Breads are described all the ingredients required for bread, rolls, and hot breads of every kind, the processes and recipes to be followed in making and baking them, the procedure in serving them, and the way in which to care for such foods.
Whenever advisable, utensils for the preparation of food, as well as labor-saving devices, are described, so as to enable beginners in the art of cookery to become acquainted with them quickly. In addition, this volume contains breakfast, luncheon, and dinner menus that will enable the housewife to put into practical, every-day use many of the recipes given.
It is our hope that these volumes will help the housewife to acquire the knowledge needed to prepare daily meals that will contain the proper sustenance for each member of her family, teach her how to buy her food judiciously and prepare and serve it economically and appetizingly, and also instil in her such a liking for cookery that she will become enthusiastic about mastering and dignifying this womanly art.
ESSENTIALS OF COOKERY The Problem of Food Selection of Food Food Substances Food Value Digestion and Absorption of Food Preparation of Food Methods of Cooking Heat for Cooking Utensils for Cooking Preparing Foods for Cooking Order of Work Table for Cooking Foods Care of Food Menus and Recipes Terms Used in Cookery
CEREALS Production, Composition, and Selection Cereals as a Food Preparation of Cereals for the Table Indian Corn, or Maize Wheat Rice Oats Barley Rye, Buckwheat, and Millet Prepared, or Ready-to-Eat, Cereals Serving Cereals Italian Pastes Breakfast Menu
BREAD Importance of Bread as Food Ingredients for Bread Making Utensils for Bread Making Bread-Making Processes Making the Dough Care of the Rising Dough Kneading the Dough Shaping the Dough Into Loaves Baking the Bread Scoring Bread Use of the Bread Mixer Serving Bread Bread Recipes Recipes for Rolls, Buns, and Biscuits Toast Left-Over Bread
HOT BREADS Hot Breads in the Diet Principal Requirements for Hot Breads Leavening Agents Hot-Bread Utensils and Their Use Preparing the Hot-Bread Mixture Baking the Hot-Bread Mixture Serving Hot Breads Popover Recipes Griddle-Cake Recipes Waffle Recipes Muffin Recipes Corn-Cake Recipes Biscuit Recipes Miscellaneous Hot-Bread Recipes Utilising Left-Over Hot Breads Luncheon Menu
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ESSENTIALS OF COOKERY (PART 1)
THE PROBLEM OF FOOD
1. Without doubt, the greatest problem confronting the human race is that of food. In order to exist, every person must eat; but eating simply to keep life in the body is not enough. Aside from this, the body must be supplied with an ample amount of energy to carry on each day's work, as well as with the material needed for its growth, repair, and working power. To meet these requirements of the human body, there is nothing to take the place of food, not merely any kind, however, but the right kind. Indeed, so important is the right kind of food in the scheme of life that the child deprived of it neither grows nor increases in weight, and the adult who is unable to secure enough of it for adequate nourishment is deficient in nerve force and working power. If a person is to get the best out of life, the food taken into the body must possess real sustaining power and supply the tissues with the necessary building material; and this truth points out that there are facts and principles that must be known in order that the proper selection of food may be made, that it may be so prepared as to increase its value, and that economy in its selection, preparation, use, and care may be exercised.
2. Probably the most important of these principles is the cooking of food. While this refers especially to the preparation of food by subjecting edible materials to the action of heat, it involves much more. The cooking of food is a science as well as an art, and it depends for its success on known and established principles. In its full sense, cookery means not only the ability to follow a recipe, thereby producing a successfully cooked dish, but also the ability to select materials, a knowledge of the ways in which to prepare them, an understanding of their value for the persons for whom they are prepared, and ingenuity in serving foods attractively and in making the best use of food that may be left over from the previous meals, so that there will be practically no waste. Thus, while cookery in all its phases is a broad subject, it is one that truly belongs to woman, not only because of the pleasure she derives in preparing food for the members of her family, but because she is particularly qualified to carry on the work.
3. The providing of food in the home is a matter that usually falls to the lot of the housewife; in fact, on her depends the wise use of the family income. This means, then, that whether a woman is earning her own livelihood and has only herself to provide for, or whether she is spending a part of some other person's income, as, for instance, her father's or her husband's, she should understand how to proportion her money so as to provide the essential needs, namely, food, clothing, and shelter. In considering the question of providing food, the housewife should set about to determine what three meals a day will cost, and in this matter she should be guided by the thought that the meals must be the best that can possibly be purchased for the amount of money allowed for food from the family income and that their cost must not exceed the allotment. To a great extent she can control the cost of her foods by selecting them with care and then making good use of what her money has bought. It is only by constant thought and careful planning, however, that she will be able to keep within her means, and she will find that her greatest assistance lies in studying foods and the ways in which to prepare them.
4. A factor that should not be disregarded in the problem of food is waste, and so that the housewife can cope with it properly she should understand the distinction between waste and refuse. These terms are thought by some to mean the same thing and are often confused; but there is a decided difference between them. Waste, as applied to food, is something that could be used but is not, whereas refuse is something that is rejected because it is unfit for use. For example, the fat of meat, which is often eaten, is waste if it is thrown away, but potato parings, which are not suitable as food, are refuse.
In connection with the problem of waste, it may be well to know that leakage in the household is due to three causes. The first one is lack of knowledge on the part of the housekeeper as to the difference between waste and refuse and a consequent failure to market well. As an illustration, many housewives will reject turkey at a certain price a pound as being too expensive and, instead, will buy chicken at, say, 5 cents a pound less. In reality, chicken at 5 cents a pound less than the price of turkey is more expensive, because turkey, whose proportion of meat to bone is greater than that of chicken, furnishes more edible material; therefore, in buying chicken, they pay more for refuse in proportion to good material. The second cause for this leakage in the household is excessive waste in the preparation of food for the table, arising from the selection of the wrong cooking method or the lack of skill in cooking; and the third cause is the serving of too large quantities and a consequent waste of food left on individual plates and unfit for any other use in the home.
5. Another matter that constantly confronts the housewife is what foods she shall select for each day's meals. To be successful, all meals should be planned with the idea of making them wholesome and appetizing, giving them variety, and using the left-overs. Every woman should understand that food is cooked for both hygienic and esthetic reasons; that is, it must be made safe and wholesome for health's sake and must satisfy the appetite, which to a considerable degree is mental and, of course, is influenced by the appearance of the food. When the housewife knows how to cook ordinary foods well, she has an excellent foundation from which to obtain variety in the diet—by which in these lessons is meant the daily food and drink of any individual, and not something prescribed by a physician for a person who is ill—for then it is simply a matter of putting a little careful thought into the work she is doing in order to get ideas of new ways in which to prepare these same foods and of utilizing foodstuffs she has on hand. However, ample time must always be allowed for the preparation of meals, for no one can expect to produce tasty meals by rushing into the kitchen just before meal time and getting up the easiest thing in the quickest manner. Well-planned meals carefully prepared will stimulate interest in the next day's bill of fare and will prove extremely beneficial to all concerned.
6. In the practice of cookery it is also important that the meals be planned and the cooking done for the sake of building the human body and caring for it. As soon as any woman realizes that both the present and the future welfare of the persons for whom she is providing foods depend on so many things that are included in cookery, her interest in this branch of domestic science will increase; and in making a study of it she may rest assured that there is possibly no other calling that affords a more constant source of enjoyment and a better opportunity for acquiring knowledge, displaying skill, and helping others to be well and happy.
The fact that people constantly desire something new and different in the way of food offers the housewife a chance to develop her ingenuity along this line. Then, too, each season brings with it special foods for enjoyment and nourishment, and there is constant satisfaction in providing the family with some surprise in the form of a dish to which they are unaccustomed, or an old one prepared in a new or a better way. But the pleasure need not be one-sided, for the adding of some new touch to each meal will give as much delight to the one who prepares the food as to those who partake of it. When cookery is thought of in this way, it is really a creative art and has for its object something more than the making of a single dish or the planning of a single meal.
7. From what has been pointed out, it will readily be seen that a correct knowledge of cookery and all that it implies is of extreme importance to those who must prepare food for others; indeed, it is for just such persons—the housewife who must solve cookery problems from day to day, as well as girls and women who must prepare themselves to perform the duties with which they will be confronted when they take up the management of a household and its affairs—that these lessons in cookery are intended.
In the beginning of this course of study in cookery it is deemed advisable to call attention to the order in which the subject matter is presented. As will be seen before much progress is made, the lessons are arranged progressively; that is, the instruction begins with the essentials, or important fundamentals, of food—its selection, preparation, and care—and, from these as a foundation, advances step by step into the more complicated matters and minor details. The beginner eager to take up the actual work of cookery may feel that too much attention is given to preliminaries. However, these are extremely essential, for they are the groundwork on which the actual cooking of food depends; indeed, without a knowledge of them, very little concerning cookery in its various phases could be readily comprehended.
8. Each beginner in cookery is therefore urged to master every lesson in the order in which she receives it and to carry out diligently every detail. No lesson should be disregarded as soon as it is understood, for the instruction given in it bears a close relation to the entire subject and should be continually put into practice as progress is made. This thought applies with particular emphasis to the Sections relating to the essentials of cookery. These should be used in connection with all other Sections as books of reference and an aid in calling to mind points that must eventually become a part of a woman's cookery knowledge. By carrying on her studies systematically and following directions carefully, the beginner will find the cooking of foods a simple matter and will take delight in putting into practice the many things that she learns.
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SELECTION OF FOOD
MATTERS INVOLVED IN RIGHT SELECTION
9. Each one of the phases of cookery has its importance, but if success is to be achieved in this art, careful attention must be given to the selection of what is to be cooked, so as to determine its value and suitability. To insure the best selection, therefore, the housewife should decide whether the food material she purchases will fit the needs of the persons who are to eat it; whether the amount of labor involved in the preparation will be too great in proportion to the results obtained; whether the loss in preparation, that is, the proportion of refuse to edible matter, will be sufficient to affect the cost materially; what the approximate loss in cooking will be; whether the food will serve to the best advantage after it is cooked; and, finally, whether or not all who are to eat it will like it. The market price also is a factor that cannot be disregarded, for, as has been explained, it is important to keep within the limits of the amount that may be spent and at the same time provide the right kind of nourishment for each member of the family.
10. In order to select food material that will meet the requirements just set forth, three important matters must be considered; namely, the substances of which it is composed; its measure of energy-producing material, or what is called its food, or fuel, value; and its digestion and absorption. Until these are understood, the actual cost of any article of food cannot be properly determined, although its price at all times may be known.
However, before a study of any of these matters is entered into, it is necessary to know just what is meant by food and what food does for the body. As is well understood, the body requires material by which it may be built and its tissues repaired when they are torn down by work and exercise. In addition it requires a supply of heat to maintain it at normal temperature and provide it with sufficient energy to do the work required of it. The material that will accomplish these important things is food, which may therefore be regarded as anything that, when taken into the body, will build and repair its tissues or will furnish it with the energy required to do its work.
11. Although, as has just been stated, food may be considered as anything that the human engine can make over into tissue or use in living and working, not all foods are equally desirable any more than all materials are equally good in the construction of a steam engine and in the production of its working power. Those food substances which are the most wholesome and healthful are the ones to be chosen, but proper choice cannot be made unless the buyer knows of what the particular food consists and what it is expected to do. To aid in the selection of food, therefore, it is extremely necessary to become familiar with the five substances, constituents, or principles of which foods are made up; namely, water, mineral matter, or ash, protein, fat, and carbohydrate. A knowledge of these will help also in determining the cooking methods to adopt, for this depends on the effect that heat has on the various substances present in a food. Of course, so far as flavor is concerned, it is possible for the experienced cook to prepare many dishes successfully without knowing the effect of heat on the different food constituents; but to cook intelligently, with that success which makes for actual economy and digestibility, certain facts must be known concerning the food principles and the effect of dry and moist heat on foods.
12. Water.—Of the various constituents that are found in the human body, water occurs in the largest quantity. As a food substance, it is an extremely important feature of a person's diet. Its chief purpose is to replenish the liquids of the body and to assist in the digestion of food. Although nature provides considerable amounts of water in most foods, large quantities must be taken in the diet as a beverage. In fact, it is the need of the body for water that has led to the development of numerous beverages. Besides being necessary in building up the body and keeping it in a healthy condition, water has a special function to perform in cooking, as is explained later. Although this food substance is extremely essential to life, it is seldom considered in the selection of food, because, as has just been mentioned, nearly all foods contain water.
13. Mineral Matter.—Ranking next to water in the quantity contained in the human body is mineral matter. This constituent, which is also called ash or mineral salts, forms the main part of the body's framework, or skeleton. In the building and maintaining of the body, mineral salts serve three purposes—to give rigidity and permanence to the skeleton, to form an essential element of active tissue, and to provide the required alkalinity or acidity for the digestive juices and other secretions.
The origin and distribution of these mineral substances are of interest. Plants in their growth seize from the earth the salts of minerals and combine them with other substances that make up their living tissue. Then human beings, as well as other living creatures, get their supply of these needed salts from the plants that they take as food, this being the only form in which the salts can be thoroughly assimilated. These salts are not affected by cooking unless some process is used that removes such of them as are readily soluble in water. When this occurs, the result is usually waste, as, for instance, where no use is made of the water in which some vegetables are boiled. As is true of water, mineral matter, even though it is found in large quantities in the body, is usually disregarded when food is purchased. This is due to the fact that this important nutritive material appears in some form in nearly all foods and therefore does not necessitate the housewife's stopping to question its presence.
14. Protein.—The food substance known as protein is a very important factor in the growth and repair of the body; in fact, these processes cannot be carried on unless protein is present in the diet. However, while a certain quantity of protein is essential, the amount is not very large and more than is required is likely to be harmful, or, since the body can make no use of it, to be at least waste material. The principal sources of protein are lean meat, eggs, milk, certain grains, nuts, and the legumes, which include such foods as beans and peas. Because of the ease with which they are digested, meat, fish, eggs, and milk are more valuable sources of protein than bread, beans, and nuts. However, as the foods that are most valuable for proteins cost more than others, a mixed diet is necessary if only a limited amount of money with which to purchase foods is available.
15. So much is involved in the cooking of foods containing protein that the effect of heat on such foods should be thoroughly understood. The cooking of any food, as is generally understood, tends to break up the food and prepare it for digestion. However, foods have certain characteristics, such as their structure and texture, that influence their digestibility, and the method of cooking used or the degree to which the cooking is carried so affects these characteristics as to increase or decrease the digestibility of the food. In the case of foods containing protein, unless the cooking is properly done, the application of heat is liable to make the protein indigestible, for the heat first coagulates this substance—that is, causes it to become thick—and then, as the heat increases, shrinks and hardens it. This fact is clearly demonstrated in the cooking of an egg, the white of which is the type of protein called albumin. In a raw egg, the albumin is nearly liquid, but as heat is applied, it gradually coagulates until it becomes solid. If the egg is cooked too fast or too long, it toughens and shrinks and becomes less palatable, less attractive, and less digestible. However, if the egg is properly cooked after the heat has coagulated the albumin, the white will remain tender and the yolk will be fine and mealy in texture, thus rendering it digestible.
Similar results, although not so evident to the sight, are brought about through the right or wrong way of cooking practically all other foods that contain much protein. Milk, whose principal ingredient is a protein known as casein, familiar as the curd of cheese, illustrates this fact very plainly. When it is used to make cottage cheese, heating it too long or to too high a degree will toughen the curd and actually spoil the texture of the product, which will be grainy and hard, instead of smooth and tender.
16. FATS.—The food substances just discussed—water, mineral matter, and protein—yield the materials required for building and repairing the tissues of the body, but, as has been explained, the body also requires foods that produce energy, or working power. By far the greater part of the total solids of food taken into the body serve this purpose, and of these fats form a large percentage. Although fats make up such a large proportion of the daily food supply, they enter into the body composition to a less extent than do the food substances that have been explained. The fats commonly used for food are of both animal and vegetable origin, such as lard, suet, butter, cream, olive oil, nut oil, and cottonseed oil. The ordinary cooking temperatures have comparatively little effect on fat, except to melt it if it is solid. The higher temperatures decompose at least some of it, and thus liberate substances that may be irritating to the digestive tract.
17. CARBOHYDRATES.—Like fats, the food substances included in the term carbohydrates supply the body with energy. However, fats and carbohydrates differ in the forms in which they supply energy, the former producing it in the most concentrated form and the latter in the most economical form.
So that the term carbohydrate may be clearly understood and firmly fixed in the mind, it is deemed advisable to discuss briefly the composition of the body and the food that enters it. Of course, in a lesson on cookery, not so much attention need be given to this matter as in a lesson on dietetics, which is a branch of hygiene that treats of diet; nevertheless, it is important that every person who prepares food for the table be familiar with the fact that the body, as well as food, is made up of a certain number of chemical elements, of which nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen form a large part. Protein owes its importance to the fact that of the various food substances it alone contains the element nitrogen, which is absolutely essential to the formation of any plant or animal tissue. The other three elements, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, go to make up the carbohydrates; in fact, it is from the names of these three elements that the term carbohydrate is derived. The carbohydrates include the starches and sugars that are used and eaten in so many forms, and these contain the three elements mentioned, the hydrogen and oxygen contained in them being in the proportion that produces water. Thus, as will readily be seen, by separating the name into its parts—carbo (carbon) and hydrate (hydrogen and oxygen in the proportion of two parts of hydrogen and one of oxygen, that is, in the form of water)—carbohydrate is simply carbon united with water. While the facts just brought out have much to do with food economy, they are of interest here chiefly because they help to make clear the term carbohydrate, which, as will be admitted, is the only correct name for the food substance it represents.
18. STARCH, one of the chief forms of carbohydrates, is found in only the vegetable kingdom. It is present in large quantities in the grains and in potatoes; in fact, nearly all vegetables contain large or small amounts of it. It is stored in the plant in the form of granules that lie within the plant cells.
Cooking applied to starch changes it into a form that is digestible. Moist heat cooks the granules until they expand and burst and thus thicken the mass. Dry heat changes starch first into a soluble form and finally into what is called dextrine, this being the intermediate step in the changing of starch into sugar.
19. SUGAR, another important form of carbohydrate, is mainly of vegetable origin, except that which is found in milk and called lactose. This, together with the fat found in milk, supplies the child with energy before it is able to digest a variety of foods. The sap of various plants contains such large quantities of sugar that it can be crystalized out and secured in dry form. The liquid that remains is valuable as food, for, by boiling it down, it forms molasses. Sugar is also present in considerable amounts in all fruits, and much of it is in a form that can be assimilated, or taken up by the body, quickly. A sugar very similar to this natural fruit sugar is made from the starch of corn and is called glucose. Much of the carbohydrate found in vegetables, especially young, tender vegetables, is in the form of sugar, which, as the vegetables grow older, changes to starch.
Sugar melts upon the application of heat or, if it is in a melted condition, as sirup or molasses, it boils down and gives off water. When all the water has boiled away, the sugar begins to caramelize or become brown, and develops a characteristic flavor. If the cooking is continued too long, a dark-brown color and a bitter taste are developed. Because the sugar in fruits and vegetables is in solution, some of it is lost when they are boiled, unless, of course, the water in which they are cooked is utilized.
20. CELLULOSE is a form of carbohydrate closely related to starch. It helps to form the structure of plants and vegetables. Very little cellulose is digested, but it should not be ignored, because it gives the necessary bulk to the food in which it occurs and because strict attention must be paid to the cooking of it. As cellulose usually surrounds nutritive material of vegetable origin, it must be softened and loosened sufficiently by cooking to permit the nutritive material to be dissolved by the digestive juices. Then, too, in old vegetables, there is more starch and the cellulose is harder and tougher, just as an old tree is much harder than a sapling. This, then, accounts for the fact that rapid cooking is needed for some vegetables and slow cooking for others, the method and the time of cooking depending on the presence and the consistency of the cellulose that occurs in the food.
21. IMPORTANCE OF A VARIETY OF FOODS.—Every one of the five food substances just considered must be included in a person's diet; yet, with the exception of milk, no single food yields the right amounts of material necessary for tissue building and repair and for heat and energy. Even milk is in the right proportion, as far as its food substances are concerned, only for babies and very young children. It will thus be seen that to provide the body with the right foods, the diet must be such as to include all the food substances. In food selection, therefore, the characteristics of the various food substances must be considered well. Fats yield the most heat, but are the most slowly digested. Proteins and carbohydrates are more quickly digested than fats, but, in equal amounts, have less than half as much food value. Water and mineral salts do not yield heat, but are required to build tissue and to keep the body in a healthy condition. In addition, it is well to note that a well-balanced diet is one that contains all of the five food substances in just the right proportion in which the individual needs them to build up the body, repair it, and supply it with energy. What this proportion should be, however, cannot be stated offhand, because the quantity and kind of food substances necessarily vary with the size, age, and activity of each person.
22. Nearly all foods are complex substances, and they differ from one another in what is known as their value, which is measured by the work the food does in the body either as a tissue builder or as a producer of energy. However, in considering food value, the person who prepares food must not lose sight of the fact that the individual appetite must be appealed to by a sufficient variety of appetizing foods. There would be neither economy nor advantage in serving food that does not please those who are to eat it.
While all foods supply the body with energy, they differ very much in the quantity they yield. If certain ones were chosen solely for that purpose, it would be necessary for any ordinary person to consume a larger quantity of them than could be eaten at any one time. For instance, green vegetables furnish the body with a certain amount of energy, but they cannot be eaten to the exclusion of other things, because no person could eat in a day a sufficient amount of them to give the body all the energy it would need for that day's work. On the other hand, certain foods produce principally building material, and if they were taken for the purpose of yielding only energy, they would be much too expensive. Meats, for example, build up the body, but a person's diet would cost too much if meat alone were depended on to provide the body with all the energy it requires. Many foods, too, contain mineral salts, which, as has been pointed out, are needed for building tissue and keeping the body in a healthy condition.
23. To come to a correct appreciation of the value of different foods, it is necessary to understand the unit employed to measure the amount of work that foods do in the body. This unit is the CALORIE, or calory, and it is used to measure foods just as the inch, the yard, the pound, the pint, and the quart are the units used to measure materials and liquids; however, instead of measuring the food itself, it determines its food value, or fuel value. To illustrate what is meant, consider, for instance, 1/2 ounce of sugar and 1/2 ounce of butter. As far as the actual weight of these two foods is concerned, they are equal; but with regard to the work they do in the body they differ considerably. Their relative value in the body, however, can be determined if they are measured by some unit that can be applied to both. It is definitely known that both of them produce heat when they are oxidized, that is, when they are combined with oxygen; thus, the logical way of measuring them is to determine the quantity of heat that will be produced when they are eaten and united with oxygen, a process that causes the liberation of heat. The calorie is the unit by which this heat can be measured, it being the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 pint of water 4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the name of the thermometer commonly used in the home. When burned as fuel, a square of butter weighing 1/2 ounce produces enough heat to raise 1 pint of water 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and it will yield the same amount of heat when it is eaten and goes through the slow process of oxidation in the body. On the other hand, 1/2 ounce of sugar upon being oxidized will produce only enough heat to raise the temperature of 1 pint of water about 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, as will be seen, 1/2 ounce of butter has a value of approximately 100 calories, whereas 1/2 ounce of sugar contains only about 57-1/2 calories.
Other foods yield heat in varying degrees, and their food value is determined in exactly the same way as that of butter and sugar. To give an idea of the composition of various food materials, as well as the number of calories that 1 pound of these food materials will yield, food charts published by the United States Department of Agriculture are here presented. As an understanding of these charts will prove extremely profitable in the selection of food, a careful study of them at this time is urged. In addition, reference to them should be made from time to time as the various kinds of foods are taken up, as the charts will then be more easily comprehended and their contents of more value.
DIGESTION AND ABSORPTION OF FOOD
24. The third requirement in the selection of food, namely, its digestion and absorption, depends considerably on the persons who are to be fed. Food that is chosen for adults entirely would not be the same as that intended for both young persons and adults; neither would food that is to be fed to children or persons who are ill be the same as that which is to be served to robust adults who do a normal amount of work. No hard-and-fast rules can be laid down here for this phase of food selection, but as these lessons in cookery are taken up in turn, the necessary knowledge regarding digestibility will be acquired.
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PREPARATION OF FOOD
REASONS FOR COOKING FOOD
25. The term cookery, as has been explained, means the preparation of both hot and cold dishes for use as food, as well as the selection of the materials or substances that are to be cooked. The importance of cooking foods by subjecting them to the action of heat has been recognized for ages; and while it is true that there are many foods that appeal to the appetite in their raw state and still others that can be eaten either raw or cooked, there are several reasons why it is desirable to cook food, as will be seen from the following:
1. Cooking makes foods more palatable. This is true of such foods as meat, cereals, and many vegetables, which would be very unappetizing if they were eaten raw.
2. Cooking renders foods more digestible. For instance, the hard grains, such as wheat, and the dried vegetables, such as beans, cannot be readily digested unless they are softened by cooking. But while cooking makes such foods more digestible, it renders others more difficult of digestion, as in the case of eggs, the degree of digestibility depending somewhat on the cooking method used and the skill of the cook. An egg in an almost liquid form, or when only slightly cooked, as a soft-boiled egg, is more easily digested than when it becomes hardened by cooking. Then, too, a properly prepared hard-cooked egg is more digestible than an improperly cooked one, although the degree of hardness may be the same.
3. Cooking gives foods greater variety. The same food may be cooked by various methods and be given very different tastes and appearances; on the other hand, it may be combined with a large number of other foods, so as to increase the variety of the dishes in which it is used. The large number of recipes found in cook books show the attempts that have been made to obtain variety in cooked dishes by the combining of different foods.
4. Cooking sterilizes foods either partly or completely. Many foods need partial or complete sterilization for safety. They must be completely sterilized if the germs that produce fermentation or putrefaction and thereby spoil food would be destroyed. This is done when fruits and vegetables are canned for keeping. Foods that are exposed to dust, flies, and improper handling should be thoroughly cooked in order to destroy any pathogenic germs that might be present. By such germs are meant disease-bearing germs. They differ from germs that produce fermentation and putrefaction, or spoiling, and that must in general be considered as a help, for these play an important part in the raising of bread and the preparation of various foods, as is pointed out later.
5. Cooking develops flavor in many foods. In the case of some vegetables, the flavoring substance is given off in the air by certain methods of cooking and a better flavor is thereby developed.
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METHODS OF COOKING
26. Food is cooked by the application of heat, which may be either moist or dry. While it is true that the art of cooking includes the preparation of material that is served or eaten raw, cooking itself is impossible without heat; indeed, the part of cooking that requires the most skill and experience is that in which heat is involved. Explicit directions for carrying on the various cooking processes depend on the kind of stove, the cooking utensils, and even the atmospheric conditions. In truth, the results of some processes depend so much on the state of the atmosphere that they are not successful on a day on which it is damp and heavy; also, as is well known, the stove acts perfectly on some days, whereas on other days it seems to have a stubborn will of its own. Besides the difficulties mentioned, the heat itself sometimes presents obstacles in the cooking of foods, to regulate it in such a way as to keep it uniform being often a hard matter. Thus, a dish may be spoiled by subjecting it to heat that is too intense, by cooking it too long, or by not cooking it rapidly enough. All these points must be learned, and the best way to master them is to put into constant practice the principles that are involved in cookery.
27. Without doubt, the first step in gaining a mastery of cookery is to become familiar with the different methods and processes, the ways in which they are applied, and the reasons for applying them. There are numerous ways of cooking food, but the principal processes are boiling, stewing, steaming, dry steaming, braizing, fricasseeing, roasting, baking, broiling, pan broiling, frying, and sauteing. Which one of these to use will depend on the food that is to be cooked and the result desired. If the wrong method is employed, there will be a waste of food material or the food will be rendered less desirable in flavor or tenderness. For example, it would be both wasteful and undesirable to roast a tough old fowl or to boil a tender young broiler.
The various methods of cookery just mentioned naturally divide themselves into three groups; namely, those involving dry heat, those requiring moist heat, and those in which hot fat is the cooking medium.
COOKING WITH DRY HEAT
28. Cooking with dry heat includes broiling, pan broiling, roasting, and baking; but, whichever of these processes is used, the principle is practically the same. In these processes the food is cooked by being exposed to the source of heat or by being placed in a closed oven and subjected to heated air. When dry heat is applied, the food to be cooked is heated to a much greater temperature than when moist heat is used.
29. BROILING.—The cooking process known as broiling consists in exposing directly to the source of heat the food that is to be cooked; that is, in cooking it over or before a clear bed of coals or a gas flame. The aim in broiling is to retain the juices of food and develop flavor. As it is a quick method, foods that are not tender, as, for example, tough meats, should not be broiled, because broiling does not help to render their fibers more tender. In applying this cooking process, which is particularly suitable for tender portions of meat and for young fowl, the food should be exposed to intense heat at first in order to sear all surfaces quickly and thus retain the juices. At the beginning of the cooking, the article that is being broiled should be turned often; then, as soon as the outside is browned, the heat should be reduced if possible, as with a gas stove, and the article allowed to cook until done. If the broiling is done over coals, it is necessary to continue the turning during the entire process. While broiling produces an especially good flavor in the foods to which it is applied, provided they are not tough, it is not the most economical way of cooking.
30. PAN BROILING.—Pan broiling is an adaptation of the broiling method. It consists in cooking food in a sissing-hot pan on top of the stove without the use of fat. In this process the surfaces of the steak, chop, or whatever the food may be, are quickly seared, after which the article is turned frequently and cooked more slowly until done. The object of pan broiling is the same as that of broiling, and it is resorted to, as a rule, when the fire is not in the right condition for broiling.
31. ROASTING.—Originally, the term to roast meant to cook before a fire, because, before the time of stoves, practically all food was cooked in the fireplace. Food that was to be roasted was placed before the fire in a device that reflected heat, this device being open on the side toward the fire and closed on that toward the room. The roast was suspended in this device, slowly turned, and thus cooked by radiant heat—that is, heat given off in the form of direct rays—the principle being the same as that of broiling, but the application different. Nowadays, the term roasting is almost universally applied to the action of both hot air and radiant heat. However, much of what is called roasting is in reality baking. Foods cooked in the oven of an ordinary coal or gas range are really baked, although they are said to be roasted, and a covered roasting pan is a misnomer. Food must be exposed to the air in the process of cooking if it is to be roasted in the true sense.
It may be well to note that successful roasting or broiling depends more on the shape of the article to be roasted or broiled than on its weight. For this reason, thick, compact cuts of meat are usually selected for roasting and thin cuts for broiling. Good results also depend very much on the pan selected for the roasting process. One of the great aims in cooking should be to save or conserve all the food possible; that is, if by one process less waste in cooking results, it should be chosen rather than one that will result in loss at the end of the cooking process.
32. BAKING.—By baking is meant cooking in a heated oven at temperatures ranging from 300 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. As the term baking is frequently used in a wrong sense, the actual conditions of the process should be thoroughly understood. In both broiling and the original method of roasting, the heat is applied directly; that is, the food is exposed directly to the source of heat. Actual baking differs from these processes in that it is done in a closed oven or by means of heated air. Starchy foods, such as bread, cakes, and pastry, are nearly always baked, and gradually other foods, such as meats, fish, and vegetables are being subjected to this method of cooking. In fact, persons who are skilled in cooking use the oven more and more for things that they formerly thought had to be cooked in other ways. But the name that is applied to the process depends somewhat on custom, for while meat that is cooked in the oven is really baked, it is usually termed roasted meat. It seems strange, but it is nevertheless true, that ham cooked in the oven has always been termed baked, while turkey cooked in exactly the same way is said to be roasted.
COOKING WITH MOIST HEAT
33. The methods of cooking with moist heat, that is, through the medium of water, are boiling, simmering, steaming, dry steaming, and braizing. In every one of these processes, the effect of moist heat on food is entirely different from that of dry heat. However, the method to be selected depends to a great extent on the amount of water that the food contains. To some foods much water must be added in the cooking process; to others, only a little or none at all. If food is not placed directly in large or small quantities of water, it is cooked by contact with steam or in a utensil that is heated by being placed in another containing boiling water, as, for example, a double boiler.
As water is such an important factor in cooking with moist heat, something concerning its nature and use should be understood. Therefore, before considering the moist-heat cooking processes in detail, the function of water in the body and in cooking and also the kinds of water are discussed.
34. FUNCTION OF WATER IN THE BODY.—Water supplies no energy to the body, but it plays a very important part in nutrition. In fact, its particular function in the body is to act as a solvent and a carrier of nutritive material and waste. In doing this work, it keeps the liquids of the body properly diluted, increases the flow of the digestive juices, and helps to carry off waste material. However, its ability to perform these necessary functions in the right way depends on its quality and its safety.
35. KINDS OF WATER.—Water is either hard or soft. As it falls from the clouds, it is pure and soft until it comes in contact with gases and solids, which are dissolved by it and change its character. It is definitely known that the last of the water that falls in a shower is much better than the first, as the first cleanses not only the air, but the roofs and other things with which it comes in contact. In passing through certain kinds of soil or over rocks, water dissolves some of the minerals that are contained there and is thus changed from soft to hard water. If sewage drains into a well or water supply, the water is liable to contain bacteria, which will render it unfit and unsafe for drinking until it is sterilized by boiling. Besides rain water and distilled water, there is none that is entirely soft; all other waters hold certain salts in solution to a greater or less degree.
The quality of hardness, which is present in nearly all water, is either temporary or permanent. Water is temporarily hard when it contains soluble lime, which is precipitated, that is, separated from it, upon boiling. Every housewife who uses a teakettle is familiar with this condition. The lime precipitated day after day clings to the sides of the vessel in which the water is boiled, and in time they become very thickly coated. Permanent hardness is caused by other compounds of lime that are not precipitated by boiling the water. The only way in which to soften such water is to add to it an alkali, such as borax, washing soda, or bicarbonate of soda.
36. USES OF WATER IN COOKING.—It is the solvent, or dissolving, power of water that makes this liquid valuable in cooking, but of the two kinds, soft water is preferable to hard, because it possesses greater solvent power. This is due to the fact that hard water has already dissolved a certain amount of material and will therefore dissolve less of the food substances and flavors when it is used for cooking purposes than soft water, which has dissolved nothing. It is known, too, that the flavor of such beverages as tea and coffee is often greatly impaired by the use of hard water. Dried beans and peas, cereals, and tough cuts of meat will not cook tender so readily in hard water as in soft, but the addition of a small amount of soda during the cooking of these foods will assist in softening them.
Water is used in cooking chiefly for extracting flavors, as in the making of coffee, tea, and soups; as a medium for carrying flavors and foods in such beverages as lemonade and cocoa; for softening both vegetable and animal fiber; and for cooking starch and dissolving sugar, salt, gelatine, etc. In accomplishing much of this work, water acts as a medium for conveying heat.
37. BOILING.—As applied to cooking, boiling means cooking foods in boiling water. Water boils when its temperature is raised by heat to what is commonly termed its boiling point. This varies with the atmospheric pressure, but at sea level, under ordinary conditions, it is always 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When the atmospheric pressure on the surface of the water is lessened, boiling takes place at a lower temperature than that mentioned, and in extremely high altitudes the boiling point is so lowered that to cook certain foods by means of boiling water is difficult. As the water heats in the process of boiling, tiny bubbles appear on the bottom of the vessel in which it is contained and rise to the surface. Then, gradually, the bubbles increase in size until large ones form, rise rapidly, and break, thus producing constant agitation of the water.
38. Boiling has various effects on foods. It toughens the albumin in eggs, toughens the fiber and dissolves the connective tissues in meat, softens the cellulose in cereals, vegetables, and fruits, and dissolves other substances in many foods. A good point to bear in mind in preparing foods by boiling is that slowly boiling water has the same temperature as rapidly boiling water and is therefore able to do exactly the same work. Keeping the gas burning full heat or running the fire hard to keep the water boiling rapidly is therefore unnecessary; besides, it wastes fuel without doing the work any faster and sometimes not so well. However, there are several factors that influence the rapidity with which water may be brought to the boiling point; namely, the kind of utensil used, the amount of surface exposed, and the quantity of heat applied. A cover placed on a saucepan or a kettle in which food is to be boiled retains the heat, and thus causes the temperature to rise more quickly; besides, a cover so used prevents a loss of water by condensing the steam as it rises against the cover. As water boils, some of it constantly passes off in the form of steam, and for this reason sirups or sauces become thicker the longer they are cooked. The evaporation takes place all over the surface of the water; consequently, the greater the surface exposed, the more quickly is the quantity of water decreased during boiling. Another point to observe in the boiling process is that foods boiled rapidly in water have a tendency to lose their shape and are reduced to small pieces if allowed to boil long enough.
Besides serving to cook foods, boiling also renders water safe, as it destroys any germs that may be present. This explains why water must sometimes be boiled to make it safe for drinking. Boiled water, as is known, loses its good taste. However, as this change is brought about by the loss of air during boiling, the flavor can be restored and air again introduced if the water is shaken in a partly filled jar or bottle, or beaten vigorously for a short time with an egg beater.
39. SIMMERING, OR STEWING.—The cooking process known as simmering, or stewing, is a modification of boiling. By this method, food is cooked in water at a temperature below the boiling point, or anywhere from 185 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Water at the simmering point always moves gently—never rapidly as it does in boiling. Less heat and consequently less fuel are required to cook foods in this way, unless, of course, the time consumed in cooking the food at a low temperature is much greater than that consumed in cooking it more rapidly.
Aside from permitting economy in the use of fuel, simmering, or stewing, cooks deliciously certain foods that could not be selected for the more rapid methods. For example, tough cuts of meat and old fowl can be made tender and tasty by long cooking at a low temperature, for this method tends to soften the fiber and to develop an excellent flavor. Tough vegetables, too, can be cooked tender by the simmering process without using so much fuel as would be used if they were boiled, for whatever method is used they require long cooking. Beets, turnips, and other winter vegetables should be stewed rather than boiled, as it is somewhat difficult to cook them tender, especially in the late winter and early spring. If dry beans and peas are brought to the simmering point and then allowed to cook, they can be prepared for the table in practically the same length of time and without so much fuel as if they boiled continuously.
40. STEAMING.—As its name implies, steaming is the cooking of food by the application of steam. In this cooking process, the food is put into a steamer, which is a cooking utensil that consists of a vessel with a perforated bottom placed over one containing water. As the water boils, steam rises and cooks the food in the upper, or perforated, vessel. Steamers are sometimes arranged with a number of perforated vessels, one on top of the other. Such a steamer permits of the cooking of several foods at the same time without the need of additional fuel, because a different food may be placed in each vessel.
Steaming is preferable to boiling in some cases, because by it there is no loss of mineral salts nor food substances; besides, the flavor is not so likely to be lost as when food is boiled. Vegetables prepared in this way prove very palatable, and very often variety is added to the diet by steaming bread, cake, and pudding mixtures and then, provided a crisp outside is desired, placing them in a hot oven to dry out the moist surface.
41. DRY STEAMING.—Cooking foods in a vessel that is suspended in another one containing boiling water constitutes the cooking method known as dry steaming. The double boiler is a cooking utensil devised especially for carrying on this process. The food placed in the suspended, or inner, vessel does not reach the boiling point, but is cooked by the transfer of heat from the water in the outside, or lower, vessel. A decided advantage of this method is that no watching is required except to see that the water in the lower vessel does not boil away completely, for as long as there is water between the food and the fire, the food will neither boil nor burn.
Because of the nature of certain foods, cooking them by this process is especially desirable. The flavor and consistency of cereals and foods containing starch are greatly improved by long cooking in this way. Likewise, custards and mixtures containing eggs can be conveniently cooked in a double boiler, because they do not require a high temperature; in fact, their texture is spoiled if they are cooked at the boiling point. To heat milk directly over the flame without scorching it is a difficult matter, and, on the other hand, boiled milk is hard to digest. Because of these facts, food containing milk should not be boiled, but should be cooked at a lower temperature in a double boiler.
42. BRAIZING.—Cooking meat in an oven in a closed pan with a small quantity of water constitutes braizing. This cooking process might be called a combination of stewing and baking, but when it is properly carried out, the meat is placed on a rack so as to be raised above the water, in which may be placed sliced vegetables. In this process the meat actually cooks in the flavored steam that surrounds it in the hot pan. The so-called double roasting pans are in fact braizing pans when they are properly used. A pot roast is the result of a modification of the braizing method.
COOKING WITH HOT FAT
43. Of the three mediums of conveying heat to food, namely, hot air, hot water, and hot fat, that of hot fat renders food the least digestible. Much of this difficulty, however, can be overcome if an effort is made to secure as little absorption of the fat as possible. If the ingredients of the food are properly mixed before applying the fat and if the fat is at the right temperature, good results can be obtained by the various methods of cooking with hot fat, which are frying, sauteing, and fricasseeing.
44. FRYING.—By frying is meant the cooking of food in deep fat at a temperature of 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any kind of fat that will not impart flavor to the food may be used for frying, but the vegetable oils, such as cottonseed oils, combinations of coconut and cottonseed oils, and nut oils, are preferable to lards and other animal fats, because they do not burn so easily. Foods cooked in deep fat will not absorb the fat nor become greasy if they are properly prepared, quickly fried, and well drained on paper that will absorb any extra fat.
45. SAUTEING.—Browning food first on one side and then on the other in a small quantity of fat is termed sauteing. In this cooking process, the fat is placed in a shallow pan, and when it is sufficiently hot, the food is put into it. Foods that are to be sauted are usually sliced thin or cut into small pieces, and they are turned frequently during the process of cooking. All foods prepared in this way are difficult to digest, because they become more or less hard and soaked with fat. Chops and thin cuts of meat, which are intended to be pan-broiled, are really sauted if they are allowed to cook in the fat that fries out of them.
46. FRICASSEEING.—A combination of sauteing and stewing results in the cooking process known as fricasseeing. This process is used in preparing such foods as chicken, veal, or game, but it is more frequently employed for cooking fowl, which, in cookery, is the term used to distinguish the old of domestic fowls from chickens or pullets. In fricasseeing, the meat to be cooked is cut into pieces and sauted either before or after stewing; then it is served with a white or a brown sauce. Ordinarily, the meat should be browned first, unless it is very tough, in order to retain the juices and improve the flavor. However, very old fowl or tough meat should be stewed first and then browned.
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HEAT FOR COOKING
47. Inasmuch as heat is so important a factor in the cooking of foods, it is absolutely necessary that the person who is to prepare them be thoroughly familiar with the ways in which this heat is produced. The production of heat for cooking involves the use of fuels and stoves in which to burn them, as well as electricity, which serves the purpose of a fuel, and apparatus for using electricity. In order, therefore, that the best results may be obtained in cookery, these subjects are here taken up in detail.
48. Probably the first fuel to be used in the production of heat for cooking was wood, but later such fuels as peat, coal, charcoal, coke, and kerosene came into use. Of these fuels, coal, gas, and kerosene are used to the greatest extent in the United States. Wood, of course, is used considerably for kindling fires, and it serves as fuel in localities where it is abundant or less difficult to procure than other fuels. However, it is fast becoming too scarce and too expensive to burn. If it must be burned for cooking purposes, those who use it should remember that dry, hard wood gives off heat at a more even rate than soft wood, which is usually selected for kindling. Electricity is coming into favor for supplying heat for cooking, but only when it can be sold as cheaply as gas will its use in the home become general.
49. The selection of a stove to be used for cooking depends on the fuel that is to be used, and the fuel, in turn, depends on the locality in which a person lives. However, as the fuel that is the most convenient and easily obtained is usually the cheapest, it is the one to be selected, for the cost of the cooked dish may be greatly increased by the use of fuel that is too expensive. In cooking, every fuel should be made to do its maximum amount of work, because waste of fuel also adds materially to the cost of cooking and, besides, it often causes great inconvenience. For example, cooking on a red-hot stove with a fire that, instead of being held in the oven and the lids, overheats the kitchen and burns out the stove not only wastes fuel and material, but also taxes the temper of the person who is doing the work. From what has just been said, it will readily be seen that a knowledge of fuels and apparatus for producing heat will assist materially in the economical production of food, provided, of course, it is applied to the best advantage.
COAL AND COKE
50. VARIETIES OF COAL.—Possibly the most common fuel used for cooking is coal. This fuel comes in two varieties, namely, anthracite, or hard coal, and bituminous, or soft coal. Their relative cost depends on the locality, the kind of stove, and an intelligent use of both stove and fuel. Hard coal costs much more in some places than soft coal, but it burns more slowly and evenly and gives off very little smoke. Soft coal heats more rapidly than hard coal, but it produces considerable smoke and makes a fire that does not last so long. Unless a stove is especially constructed for soft coal, it should not be used for this purpose, because the burning of soft coal will wear it out in a short time. The best plan is to use each variety of coal in a stove especially constructed for it, but if a housewife finds that she must at times do otherwise, she should realize that a different method of management and care of the stove is demanded.
51. SIZES OF COAL.—As the effect of coal on the stove must be taken into consideration in the buying of fuel, so the different sizes of hard coal must be known before the right kind can be selected. The sizes known as stove and egg coal, which range from about 1-3/8 to 2-3/4 inches in diameter, are intended for a furnace and should not be used in the kitchen stove for cooking purposes. Some persons who know how to use the size of coal known as pea, which is about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter, like that kind, whereas others prefer the size called chestnut, which is about 3/4 inch to 1-3/8 inches in diameter. In reality, a mixture of these two, if properly used, makes the best and most easily regulated kitchen coal fire.
52. QUALITY OF COAL.—In addition to knowing the names, prices, and uses of the different kinds of coal, the housewife should be able to distinguish poor coal from good coal. In fact, proper care should be exercised in all purchasing, for the person who understands the quality of the thing to be purchased will be more likely to get full value for the money paid than the one who does not. About coal, it should be understood that good hard coal has a glossy black color and a bright surface, whereas poor coal contains slaty pieces. The quality of coal can also be determined from the ash that remains after it is burned. Large chunks or great quantities of ash indicate a poor quality of coal, and fine, powdery ash a good quality. Of course, even if the coal is of the right kind, poor results are often brought about by the bad management of a fire, whether in a furnace or a stove. Large manufacturing companies, whose business depends considerably on the proper kind of fuel, buy coal by the heat units—that is, according to the quantity of heat it will give off—and at some future time this plan may have to be followed in the private home, unless some other fuel is provided in the meantime.
Mixed with poor coal are certain unburnable materials that melt and stick together as it burns and form what are known as clinkers. Clinkers are very troublesome because they often adhere to the stove grate or the lining of the firebox. They generally form during the burning of an extremely hot fire, but the usual temperature of a kitchen fire does not produce clinkers unless the coal is of a very poor quality. Mixing oyster shells with coal of this kind often helps to prevent their formation.
53. COKE.—Another fuel that is sometimes used for cooking is coke. Formerly, coke was a by-product in the manufacture of illuminating gas, but now it is manufactured from coal for use as a fuel. Because of the nature of its composition, coke produces a very hot fire and is therefore favorable for rapid cooking, such as broiling. However, it is used more extensively in hotels and institutions than in kitchens where cooking is done on a small scale.
54. VALUE OF GAS AS FUEL.—As a fuel for cooking purposes, gas, both artificial and natural, is very effective, and in localities where the piping of gas into homes is possible it is used extensively. Of the two kinds, artificial gas produces the least heat; also, it is the most expensive, usually costing two or three times as much as natural gas. Both are very cheap, however, considering their convenience as a kitchen fuel. Heat from gas is obtained by merely turning it on and igniting it, as with a lighted match. Its consumption can be stopped at once by closing off the supply, or it can be regulated as desired and in this way made to give the exact amount of heat required for the method of cookery adopted. Neither smoke nor soot is produced in burning gas if the burners of the gas stove are adjusted to admit the right amount of air, and no ashes nor refuse remain to be disposed of after gas has been burned. Because gas is so easily handled, good results can be obtained by those who have had very little experience in using it, and with study and practice results become uniform and gas proves to be an economical fuel.
55. MEASUREMENT OF GAS.—Gas is measured by the cubic foot, and a definite price is charged for each 1,000 cubic feet. To determine the quantity used, it is passed through what is called a meter, which measures as the gas burns. It is important that each housewife be able to read the amount registered by the meter, so that she can compare her gas bill with the meter reading and thus determine whether the charges are correct. If only the usual amount of gas has been consumed and the bill does not seem to be correct or is much larger than it has been previously, the matter should be reported to the proper authorities, for the meter may be out of order and in need of repair.
56. READING A GAS METER.—To register the quantity of gas that is consumed, a gas meter, as is shown in Fig. 1, is provided with three large dials, each of which has ten spaces over which the hand, or indicator, passes to indicate the amount of gas consumed, and with one small dial, around which the hand makes one revolution every time 2 cubic feet of gas is consumed. This small dial serves to tell whether gas is leaking when the stoves and lights are not turned on. Above each large dial is an arrow that points out the direction in which to read, the two outside ones reading toward the right and the center one toward the left; also, above each dial is lettered the quantity of gas that each dial registers, that at the right registering 1,000 cubic feet, that in the center 10,000 cubic feet, and that at the left 100,000 cubic feet. To read the dials, begin at the left, or the 100,000 dial, and read toward the right. In each instance, read the number over which the hand has passed last. For instance, when, as in Fig. 1, the hand lies between 5 and 6 on the left dial, 5 is read; on the center dial, when the hand lies between 5 and 6, 5 is read also; and on the right dial, when the hand lies between 2 and 3, the 2, which is really 200, is read.
57. To compute the quantity of gas used, the dials are read from left to right and the three readings are added. Then, in order to determine the quantity burned since the previous reading, the amount registered at that time, which is always stated on the gas bill, must be subtracted from the new reading.
To illustrate the manner in which the cost of gas consumed may be determined, assume that gas costs 90 cents per 1,000 cubic feet, that the previous reading of the gas meter, say on May 15, was 52,600 cubic feet, and that on June 15 the meter registered as shown in Fig. 1. As was just explained, the left dial of the meter reads 5, the center dial 5, and the right dial 200. Therefore, put these figures down so that they follow one another, as 5-5-200. This means then that the reading on June 15 is 55,200 cubic feet. With this amount ascertained, subtract from it the previous reading, or 52,600 cubic feet, which will give 2,600 cubic feet, or the quantity of gas burned from May 15 to June 15. Since gas costs 90 cents per 1,000 cubic feet, the cost of the amount burned, or 2,600 cubic feet, may be estimated by dividing 2,600 cubic feet by 1,000 and multiplying the result by 90; thus 2,600 / 1,000 = 2.6, and 2.6 x .90 = 2.34
58. PREPAYMENT METERS.—In many places, gas concerns install what are called prepayment meters; that is, meters in which the money is deposited before the gas is burned. Such meters register the consumption of the gas in the same way as the meters just mentioned, but they contain a receptacle for money. A coin, generally a quarter, is dropped into a slot leading to this receptacle, and the amount of gas sold for this sum is then permitted to pass through as it is needed. When this amount of gas has been burned, another coin must be inserted in the meter before more gas will be liberated.
59. In communities where gas is not available, kerosene, which is produced by the refinement of petroleum, is used extensively as a fuel for cooking, especially in hot weather when the use of a coal or a wood stove adds materially to the discomfort of the person who does the cooking. Kerosene is burned in stoves especially designed for its use, and while it is a cheap fuel it is not always the same in quality. It contains water at all times, but sometimes the proportion of water is greater than at others. The greater the amount of water, the less fuel will be contained in each gallon of kerosene. The quality of kerosene can be determined by checking up the length of time the stove will burn on a specified quantity of each new purchase of it.
Another product of the refinement of petroleum is gasoline. However, it is not used so extensively for fuel as kerosene, because it is more dangerous and more expensive.
60. The use of electricity for supplying heat for cooking is very popular in some homes, especially those which are properly wired, because of its convenience and cleanliness and the fact that the heat it produces can be applied direct. The first electrical cooking apparatus was introduced at the time of the World's Fair in Chicago, in 1892, and since that time rapid advancement has been made in the production of suitable apparatus for cooking electrically. Electricity would undoubtedly be in more general use today if it were possible to store it in the same way as artificial gas, but as yet no such method has been devised and its cost is therefore greater. Electricity is generated in large power plants, and as it is consumed in the home for lighting and cooking it passes through a meter, which indicates the quantity used in much the same manner as a gas meter. It will be well, therefore, to understand the way in which an electric meter is read, so that the bills for electricity can be checked.
61. READING AN ELECTRIC METER.—An electric meter, which is similar in appearance to a gas meter, consists of three or four dials, which are placed side by side or in the shape of an arc. In the usual type, which is shown in Fig. 2 and which consists of four dials placed side by side, each one of the dials contains ten spaces and a hand, or indicator, that passes over numbers ranging from to 9 to show the amount of electricity used.
The numbers on the dials represent kilowatt-hours, a term meaning the energy resulting from the activity of 1 kilowatt for 1 hour, or 1 watt, which is the practical unit of electrical power, for 1,000 hours. Since 1,000 hours equal 1 kilowatt, 1,000 watt-hours equal 1 kilowatt-hour. It will be observed from the accompanying illustration that the dial on the extreme right has the figures reading in a clockwise direction, that is, from right to left, the second one in a counter-clockwise direction, or from left to right, the third one in a clockwise direction, and the fourth one in a counter-clockwise direction; also that above each dial is indicated in figures the number of kilowatt-hours that one complete revolution of the hand of that dial registers.
To read the meter, begin at the right-hand dial and continue to the left until all the dials are read and set the numbers down just as they are read; that is, from right to left. In case the indicator does not point directly to a number, but is somewhere between two numbers, read the number that it is leaving. For example, in Fig. 2, the indicator in the right-hand dial points to figure 4; therefore, this number should be put down first. In the second dial, the hand lies between and 1, and as it is leaving 0, this number should be read and placed to the left of the first one read, which gives 04. The hand on the third dial points exactly to 6; so 6 should be read for this dial and placed directly before the numbers read for the first and second dials, thus, 604. On the fourth and last dial, the indicator is between 4 and 5; therefore 4, which is the number it is leaving should be read and used as the first figure in the entire reading, which is 4,604.
After the reading of the electric meter has been ascertained, it is a simple matter to determine the electricity consumed since the last reading and the amount of the bill. For instance, assume that a meter registers the number of kilowatt-hours shown in Fig. 2, or 4,604, and that at the previous reading it registered 4,559. Merely subtract the previous reading from the last one, which will give 45, or the number of kilowatt-hours from which the bill for electricity is computed. If electricity costs 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, which is the price charged in some localities, the bill should come to 45 X .03 or $1.35.
PRINCIPLE OF STOVES
62. Before stoves for cooking came into use in the home, food was cooked in open fireplaces. Even when wood was the only fuel known, a stove for burning it, called the Franklin stove, was invented by Benjamin Franklin, but not until coal came into use as fuel were iron stoves made. For a long time stoves were used mainly for heating purposes, as many housewives preferred to cook at the open fireplace. However, this method of cooking has practically disappeared and a stove of some kind is in use for cooking in every home.
63. For each fuel in common use there are many specially constructed stoves, each having some advantageous feature; yet all stoves constructed for the same fuel are practically the same in principle. In order that fuel will burn and produce heat, it must have air, because fuel, whether it is wood, coal, or gas, is composed largely of carbon and air largely of oxygen, and it is the rapid union of these two chemical elements that produces heat. Therefore, in order that each stove may work properly, some way in which to furnish air for the fire in the firebox must be provided. For this reason, every stove for cooking contains passageways for air and is connected with a chimney, which contains a flue, or passage, that leads to the outer air. When the air in a stove becomes heated, it rises, and as it ascends cold air rushes through the passageways of the stove to take its place. It is the flue, however, that permits of the necessary draft and carries off unburned gases. At times it is necessary to regulate the amount of air that enters, and in order that this may be done each stove is provided with dampers. These devices are located in the air passages and they are so designed as to close off the air or allow the desired amount to enter. By means of these dampers it is possible also to force the heat around the stove oven, against the top of the stove, or up the chimney flue. A knowledge of the ways in which to manipulate these dampers is absolutely necessary if correct results are to be obtained from a stove. The flue, however, should receive due consideration. If a stove is to give its best service, the flue, in addition to being well constructed, should be free from obstructions and kept in good condition. Indeed, the stove is often blamed for doing unsatisfactory work when the fault is really with the flue.
64. Probably one of the most important things considered in the construction of stoves is the economizing of fuel, for ever since the days of the fireplace there has been more or less of a tendency to save fuel for cooking, and as the various kinds grow scarcer, and consequently more expensive, the economical use of fuel becomes a necessity. While most stoves for cooking purposes are so constructed as to save fuel, many of them do not, especially if the method of caring for them is not understood. Any housewife, however, can economize in the use of fuel if she will learn how the stove she has must be operated; and this can be done by following closely the directions that come with the stove when it is purchased. Such directions are the best to follow, because they have been worked out by the manufacturer, who understands the right way in which his product should be operated.
COAL, STOVES AND THEIR OPERATION
65. GENERAL CONSTRUCTION.—In Fig. 3 is illustrated the general construction of the type of coal stove used for cooking. The principal parts of such a stove, which is commonly referred to as a cook stove, or range, are the firebox a; the grate b; the ash pit c, which usually contains an ash-pan d; the oven e; the dampers f, g, h, and i; the flue opening j and flue k; openings in the top and suitable lids, not shown, for kettles and pans; and the air space extending from the firebox around three sides of the oven, as shown by the arrows. To prevent the stove from wearing out rapidly, the firebox, in which the fuel is burned, is lined with a material, such as fireclay, that will withstand great heat. The fire in the firebox is supported by the grate, which is in the form of metal teeth or bars, so as to permit air to pass through the fuel from underneath. The grate is usually so constructed that when the fire is raked it permits burnt coal or ashes to fall into the ash-pan, by means of which they can be readily removed from the stove. The oven, which lies directly back of the firebox and is really an enclosed chamber in which food may be cooked, receives its heat from the hot air that passes around it. The dampers are devices that control the flow of air in and out of the stove. Those shown at f and g serve to admit fresh air into the stove or to keep it out, and those shown at h and i serve to keep heated air in the stove or to permit it to pass out through the flue.
66. Building a Coal Fire.—To build a coal fire is a simple matter. So that the draft will be right for rapid combustion, it is first necessary to close the dampers f and h and to open the bottom damper g and the chimney damper i. With these dampers arranged, place crushed paper or shavings on the grate; then on top of the paper or shavings place kindling, and on top of the kindling put a small quantity of coal. Be careful to place the fuel on the grate loosely enough to permit currents of air to pass through it, because it will not burn readily if it is closely packed. Light the fire by inserting a flame from below. When this is done, the flame will rise and ignite the kindling, and this, in turn, will cause the coal to take fire. When the fire is burning well, close the dampers g and i so that the fuel will not burn too rapidly and the heat will surround the oven instead of passing up the chimney; also, before too much of the first supply of coal is burned out, add a new supply, but be sure that the coal is sufficiently ignited before the new supply is added so as not to smother the fire. If only a thin layer is added each time, this danger will be removed. Experience has proved that the best results are secured if the fire is built only 4 inches high. When hot coals come near the top of the stove, the lids are likely to warp and crack from the heat and the cooking will not be done any more effectively. Another thing to avoid in connection with a fire is the accumulation of ashes. The ash-pan should be kept as nearly empty as possible, for a full ash-pan will check the draft and cause the grate in the firebox to burn out.
67. ADJUSTING THE DAMPERS.—To get the best results from a cook stove, and at the same time overcome the wasting of fuel, the ways in which to adjust the dampers should be fully known. If it is desired to heat the oven for baking, close dampers f and i and open dampers g and h. With the dampers so arranged, the heated air above the fire is forced around the oven and up the flue, as is clearly shown by the arrows in Fig. 3. A study of this diagram will readily show that the lower left-hand corner of the oven is its coolest part, since the heated air does not reach this place directly, and that the top center is the hottest part, because the hottest air passes directly over this portion of the oven and the heated air in the oven rises to it.
If it is desired to heat the surface of the stove, so that cooking may be done on top of it, close dampers f, h, and i and open damper g. With the dampers so arranged, the heated air does not pass around the oven, but is confined in the space above it and the firebox, as shown in Fig. 4. While the damper i in the flue is closed in order to confine the heated air as much as possible to the space under the top of the stove, it contains openings that allow just enough air to pass up the flue to maintain the draft necessary for combustion. When the dampers are arranged as mentioned, the hottest place on the surface of the stove is between the firebox and the stovepipe, and the coolest place is behind the damper h.
68. BANKING A COAL FIRE.—To economize in the use of fuel, as well as to save the labor involved in building a new fire, it is advisable to keep a fire burning low from one meal to another and from one day to the next. As the nature of hard coal is such that it will hold fire for a long time, this can be done by what is called banking the fire. To achieve this, after the fire has served to cook a meal, shake the ashes out of the grate so that the glowing coals are left. Then put fresh coal on this bed of coals, and, with the dampers arranged as for building a new fire, allow the coal to burn well for a short time. Finally, cover the fire with a layer of fine coal and adjust the dampers properly; that is, close dampers g and h and open dampers f and i. If the banking is carefully done the fire should last 8 or 10 hours without further attention. Care should be taken, however, to use sufficient coal in banking the fire, so that when it is to be used again the coal will not be completely burned, but enough burning coals will remain to ignite a fresh supply. When the fire is to be used again, rake it slightly, put a thin layer of coal over the top, and arrange the dampers as for starting a fire. As soon as this layer of coal has begun to burn, add more until the fire is in good condition.
GAS STOVES AND THEIR OPERATION
69. GAS RANGES.—A gas stove for cooking, or gas range, as it is frequently called, consists of an oven, a broiler, and several burners over which are plates to hold pans, pots, and kettles in which food is to be cooked. As is true of a coal range, a gas range also requires a flue to carry off the products of unburned gas. Gas stoves, or ranges, are of many makes, but in principle all of them are practically the same; in fact, the chief difference lies in the location or arrangement of the oven, broiler, and burners. In Fig. 5 is illustrated a simple type of gas range. The oven a of this stove is located above the top of the stove, instead of below it, as in some stoves. An oven so located is of advantage in that it saves stooping or bending over. The door of this oven contains a glass, which makes it possible to observe the food baking inside without opening the door and thereby losing heat. The broiler b, which may also be used as a toaster, is located directly beneath the oven, and to the right are the burners c for cooking. The gas for these parts is contained in the pipe d, which is connected to a pipe joined to the gas main in the street. To get heat for cooking it is simply necessary to turn on the stop-cocks and light the gas. The four burners are controlled by the stop-cocks e, and the oven and the broiler by the stop-cock f. The stove is also equipped with a simmering burner for the slow methods of cooking on top of the stove, gas to this burner being controlled by the stop-cock g. To catch anything that may be spilled in cooking, there is a removable metal or enamel sheet h. Such a sheet is a great advantage, as it aids considerably in keeping the stove clean.
70. Some gas stoves are provided with a pilot, which is a tiny flame of gas that is controlled by a button on the gas pipe to which the stop-cocks are attached. The pilot is kept lighted, and when it is desired to light a burner, pressing the button causes the flame to shoot near enough to each burner to ignite the gas. However, whether the burners are lighted in this way or by applying a lighted match, they should never be lighted until heat is required; likewise, in order to save gas, they should be turned off as soon as the cooking is completed.
To produce the best results, the flame given off by gas should be blue. A flame that is yellow and a burner that makes a noise when lighted, indicate that the gas flame has caught in the pipe, and to remedy this the gas must be turned out and relighted. When the gas flame coming from a new burner is yellow, it may be taken for granted that not enough air is being admitted to make the proper mixture. To permit of the proper mixture, each gas pipe extending from the stop-cock and terminating in the burner is provided with what is called a mixer. This device, as shown in Fig. 6, consists of several slots that may be opened or closed by turning part a, thus making it a simple matter to admit the right amount of air to produce the desired blue flame. If burners that have been in use for some time give off a yellow flame, it is probable that the trouble is caused by a deposit of soot or burned material. Such burners should be removed, boiled in a solution of washing soda or lye until the holes in the top are thoroughly cleaned, and then replaced and adjusted. As long as the flame remains yellow, the gas is not giving off as much heat as it should produce and is liable to smoke cooking utensils black. Therefore, to get the best results the burners should be thoroughly cleaned every now and then in the manner mentioned. Likewise, the pan beneath the burners, which may be removed, should be cleaned very frequently, and the entire stove should be wiped each time it is used, for the better such a stove is taken care of, the better will it continue to do its work.
71. FIRELESS-COOKING GAS STOVES.—A style of gas stove that meets with favor in many homes is the so-called fireless-cooking gas stove, one style of which is shown in Fig. 7. Such a stove has the combined advantages of a fireless cooker, which is explained later, and a gas stove, for it permits of quick cooking with direct heat, as well as slow cooking with heat that is retained in an insulated chamber, that is, one that is sufficiently covered to prevent heat from escaping. In construction, this type of stove is similar to any other gas stove, except that its oven is insulated and it is provided with one or more compartments for fireless cooking, as at a and b. Each of these compartments is so arranged that it may be moved up and down on an upright rod, near the base of which, resting on a solid plate c, is a gas burner d, over which the insulated hood of the compartment fits. When it is desired to cook food in one of these compartments, the hood is raised, as at b, and the gas burner is lighted. The food in the cooker is allowed to cook over the lighted burner until sufficient heat has been retained or the process has been carried sufficiently far to permit the cooking to continue without fire. Then the insulated hood is lowered until the compartment is in the position of the one shown at a. It is not necessary to turn off the gas, as this is done automatically when the hood is lowered.
KEROSENE STOVES AND THEIR OPERATION
72. As has been mentioned, kerosene is used considerably as a fuel in localities where gas cannot be obtained. Kerosene stoves are not unlike gas stoves, but, as a rule, instead of having built-in ovens, they are provided with portable ovens, which are heated by placing them on top of the stove, over the burners. Such stoves are of two types, those in which cotton wicks are used, as in oil lamps, and those which are wickless, the former being generally considered more convenient and satisfactory than the latter. In Fig. 8 is shown a three-burner kerosene stove of the first type mentioned. Oil for the burners, or lamps, a is stored in the container b, which may be of glass or metal, and it is supplied to the reservoir of each burner by the pipe c. Each burner is provided with a door d, which is opened when it is desired to light the wick. The flame of each burner is controlled by the screw e, which serves to raise or lower the wick, and the heat passes up to the opening f in the top of the stove through the cylindrical pipe above the burner. The arrangement of a wickless kerosene stove is much the same as the one just described, but it is so constructed that the oil, which is also stored in a tank at the side, flows into what is called a burner bowl and burns from this bowl up through a perforated chimney, the quantity of oil used being regulated by a valve attached to each bowl.