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WHAT MAKES AN IDEAL KITCHEN

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It is a mistake to suppose that any room, however small and unpleasantly situated, is "good enough" for a kitchen. This is the room where housekeepers pass a great portion of their time, and it should be one of the brightest and most convenient rooms in the house; for upon the results of no other department depend so greatly the health and comfort of the family as upon those involved in this 'household workshop'.



Every kitchen should have windows on two sides of the room, and the sun should have free entrance through them; the windows should open from the top to allow a complete change of air, for light and fresh air are among the chief essentials to success in all departments of the household. Good drainage should also be provided, and the ventilation of the kitchen ought to be even more carefully attended to than that of a sleeping room. The ventilation of the kitchen should be so ample as to thoroughly remove all gases and odors, which, together with steam from boiling and other cooking processes, generally invade and render to some degree unhealthful every other portion of the house.

There should be ample space for tables, chairs, range, sink, and cupboards, yet the room should not be so large as to necessitate too many steps. Undoubtedly much of the distaste for, and neglect of, "housework," so often deplored, arises from unpleasant surroundings. If the kitchen be light, airy, and tidy, and the utensils bright and clean, the work of compounding those articles of food which grace the table and satisfy the appetite will be a pleasant task.

It is desirable, from a sanitary standpoint, that the kitchen floor be made impervious to moisture; hence, concrete or tile floors are better than wooden floors. Cleanliness is the great desideratum, and this can be best attained by having all woodwork in and about the kitchen coated with polish; substances which cause stain and grease spots, do not penetrate the wood when polished, and can be easily removed with a damp cloth.

The elements of beauty should not be lacking in the kitchen. Pictures and fancy articles are inappropriate; but a few pots of easily cultivated flowers on the window ledge or arranged upon brackets about the window in winter, and a window box arranged as a jardiniere, with vines and blooming plants in summer, will greatly brighten the room, and thus serve to lighten the task of those whose daily labor confines them to the precincts of the kitchen.

The kitchen furniture.
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The furniture for a kitchen should not be cumbersome, and should be so made and dressed as to be easily cleaned. There should be plenty of cupboards, and each for the sake of order, should be devoted to a special purpose. Cupboards with sliding doors are much superior to closets. They should be placed upon casters so as to be easily moved, as they, are thus not only more convenient, but admit of more thorough cleanliness.

Cupboards used for the storage of food should be well ventilated; otherwise, they furnish choice conditions for the development of mold and germs. Movable cupboards may be ventilated by means of openings in the top, and doors covered with very fine wire gauze which will admit the air but keep out flies and dust.

For ordinary kitchen uses, small tables of suitable height on easy-rolling casters, and with zinc tops, are the most convenient and most easily kept clean. It is quite as well that they be made without drawers, which are too apt to become receptacles for a heterogeneous mass of rubbish. If desirable to have some handy place for keeping articles which are frequently required for use, an arrangement similar to that represented in the accompanying cut may be made at very small expense. It may be also an advantage to arrange small shelves about and above the range, on which may be kept various articles necessary for cooking purposes.

One of the most indispensable articles of furnishing for a well-appointed kitchen, is a sink; however, a sink must be properly constructed and well cared for, or it is likely to become a source of great danger to the health of the inmates of the household.  The sink should if possible stand out from the wall, so as to allow free access to all sides of it for the sake of cleanliness. The pipes and fixtures should be selected and placed by a competent plumber.

Great pains should be taken to keep the pipes clean and well disinfected. Refuse of all kinds should be kept out. Thoughtless housekeepers and careless domestics often allow greasy water and bits of table waste to find their way into the pipes. Drain pipes usually have a bend, or trap, through which water containing no sediment flows freely; but the melted grease which often passes into the pipes mixed with hot water, becomes cooled and solid as it descends, adhering to the pipes, and gradually accumulating until the drain is blocked, or the water passes through very slowly. A grease-lined pipe is a hotbed for disease germs.

MACARONI RECIPES

Home-made macaroni.
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To four cupfuls of flour, add one egg well beaten, and enough water to make a dough that can be rolled. Roll thin on a breadboard and cut into strips. Dry in the sun. The best arrangement for this purpose is a wooden frame to which a square of cheese-cloth has been tightly tacked, upon which the macaroni may be laid in such a way as not to touch, and afterwards covered with a cheese-cloth to keep off the dust during the drying.



Boiled macaroni.
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Put a larg cup of macaroni into boiling water and cook until tender. When done, drained thoroughly, then add a pint of milk, part cream if it can be afforded, a little salt and one well-beaten egg; stir over the fire until it thickens, and serve hot.

Macaroni with cream sauce.
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Cook the macaroni as directed in the proceeding, and serve with a cream sauce prepared by heating a scant pint of rich milk to boiling, in a double boiler. When boiling, add a heaping tablespoonful of flour, rubbed smoothed in a little milk and one fourth teaspoonful of salt. If desired, the sauce may be flavored by steeping in the milk before thickening for ten or fifteen minutes, a slice of onion or a few bits of celery, and then removing with a fork.

Macaroni with tomato sauce.
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Drop a cup of macaroni into boiling milk and water, equal parts. Let it boil for an hour, or until perfectly tender. In the meantime prepare the sauce by rubbing a pint of stewed or canned tomatoes through a colander to remove all seeds and fragments. Heat to boiling, thicken with a little flour; a tablespoonful to the pint will be about the requisite proportion. Add salt and if desired, a half cup of very thin sweet cream. Dish the macaroni into individual dishes, and serve with a small quantity of the sauce poured over each dish.

Macaroni baked with granola.
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Cook a large cup of macaroni until tender in boiling milk and water. When done, drain and put a layer of the macaroni in the bottom of a pudding dish, and sprinkle over it a scant teaspoonful of granola. Add a second and third layer and sprinkle each with granola; then turn over the whole a custard sauce prepared by mixing together a pint of milk, the well beaten yolks of two eggs or one whole egg, and one-fourth of a teaspoonful of salt. Care should be taken to arrange the macaroni in layers loosely, so that the sauce will readily permeate the whole. Bake for a few minutes only, until the custard has well set, and serve.

Eggs and macaroni.
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Cook a cup of macaroni in boiling water. While the macaroni is cooking, boil the yolks of four eggs until mealy. The whole egg may be used if caught so the yolks are mealy in the whites simply jellied, not hardened. When the macaroni is done, drain and put a layer of it arranged loosely in the bottom of a pudding dish. Slice the cooked egg yolks and spread a layer of them over the macaroni. Fill the dish with alternate layers of macaroni and egg, taking care to have the top layer of macaroni. Pour over the whole a cream sauce prepared as follows: Heat one and three fourths cup of rich milk to boiling, add one fourth teaspoonful of salt and one heaping spoonful of flour rubbed smooth in a little cold milk. Cook until thickened, then turn over the macaroni. Sprinkle the top with grated bread crumbs, and brown in a hot oven for eight or ten minutes. Serve hot.

IMPORTANCE OF FOOD ELEMENTS

The purposes of food are to promote growth, to supply force and heat, and to furnish material to repair the waste which is constantly taking place in the body. Every breath, every thought, every motion, wears out some portion of the delicate and wonderful house in which we live.




Various vital processes remove these worn and useless particles; and to keep the body in health, their loss must be made good by constantly renewed supplies of material properly adapted to replenish the worn and impaired tissues. This renovating material must be supplied through the medium of food and drink, and the best food is that by which the desired end may be most readily and perfectly attained. The great diversity in character of the several tissues of the body, makes it necessary that food should contain a variety of elements, in order that each part may be properly nourished and replenished.

The food elements.
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The various elements found in food are the following: Starch, sugar, fats, albumen, mineral substances, indigestible substances.

The digestible food elements are often grouped, according to their chemical composition, into three classes; vis., carbonaceous, nitrogenous, and inorganic. The carbonaceous class includes starch, sugar, and fats; the nitrogenous, all albuminous elements; and the inorganic comprises the mineral elements.

Starch is only found in vegetable foods; all grains, most vegetables, and some fruits, contain starch in abundance. Several kinds of sugar are made in nature's laboratory; cane, grape, fruit, and milk sugar. The first is obtained from the sugar-cane, the sap of maple trees, and from the beet root. Grape and fruit sugars are found in most fruits and in honey. Milk sugar is one of the constituents of milk. Glucose, an artificial sugar resembling grape sugar, is now largely manufactured by subjecting the starch of corn or potatoes to a chemical process; but it lacks the sweetness of natural sugars, and is by no means a proper substitute for them. Albumen is found in its purest, uncombined state in the white of an egg, which is almost wholly composed of albumen. It exists, combined with other food elements, in many other foods, both animal and vegetable. It is found abundant in oatmeal, and to some extent in the other grains, and in the juices of vegetables. All natural foods contain elements which in many respects resemble albumen, and are so closely allied to it that for convenience they are usually classified under the general name of "albumen." The chief of these is gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Casein, found in peas, beans, and milk, and the fibrin of flesh, are elements of this class.

Fats are found in both animal and vegetable foods. Of animal fats, butter and suet are common examples. In vegetable form, fat is abundant in nuts, peas, beans, in various of the grains, and in a few fruits, as the olive. As furnished by nature in nuts, legumes, grains, fruits, and milk, this element is always found in a state of fine subdivision, which condition is the one best adapted to its digestion. As most commonly used, in the form of free fats, as butter, lard, etc., it is not only difficult of digestion itself, but often interferes with the digestion of the other food elements which are mixed with it. It was doubtless never intended that fats should be so modified from their natural condition and separated from other food elements as to be used as a separate article of food. The same may be said of the other carbonaceous elements, sugar and starch, neither of which, when used alone, is capable of sustaining life, although when combined in a proper and natural manner with other food elements, they perform a most important part in the nutrition of the body. Most foods contain a percentage of the mineral elements. Grains and milk furnish these elements in abundance. The cellulose, or woody tissue, of vegetables, and the bran of wheat, are examples of indigestible elements, which although they cannot be converted into blood in tissue, serve an important purpose by giving bulk to the food.

With the exception of gluten, none of the food elements, when used alone, are capable of supporting life. A true food substance contains some of all the food elements, the amount of each varying in different foods.

Uses of the food elements.
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Concerning the purpose which these different elements serve, it has been demonstrated by the experiments of eminent physiologists that the carbonaceous elements, which in general comprise the greater bulk of the food, serve three purposes in the body;

1. They furnish material for the production of heat;

2. They are a source of force when taken in connection with other food elements;

3. They replenish the fatty tissues of the body. Of the carbonaceous elements, starch, sugar, and fats, fats produce the greatest amount of heat in proportion to quantity; that is, more heat is developed from a pound of fat than from an equal weight of sugar or starch; but this apparent advantage is more than counterbalanced by the fact that fats are much more difficult of digestion than are the other carbonaceous elements, and if relied upon to furnish adequate material for bodily heat, would be productive of much mischief in overtaxing and producing disease of the digestive organs. The fact that nature has made a much more ample provision of starch and sugars than of fats in man's natural diet, would seem to indicate that they were intended to be the chief source of carbonaceous food; nevertheless, fats, when taken in such proportion as nature supplies them, are necessary and important food elements.

The nitrogenous food elements especially nourish the brain, nerves, muscles, and all the more highly vitalized and active tissues of the body, and also serve as a stimulus to tissue change. Hence it may be said that a food deficient in these elements is a particularly poor food.

The inorganic elements, chief of which are the phosphates, in the carbonates of potash, soda, and lime, aid in furnishing the requisite building material for bones and nerves.

Proper combinations of foods.
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While it is important that our food should contain some of all the various food elements,  experiments upon both animals and human beings show it is necessary that these elements, especially the nitrogenous and carbonaceous, be used in certain definite proportions, as the system is only able to appropriate a certain amount of each; and all excess, especially of nitrogenous elements, is not only useless, but even injurious, since to rid the system of the surplus imposes an additional task upon the digestive and excretory organs. The relative proportion of these elements necessary to constitute a food which perfectly meets the requirements of the system, is six of carbonaceous to one of nitrogenous. Scientists have devoted much careful study and experimentation to the determination of the quantities of each of the food elements required for the daily nourishment of individuals under the varying conditions of life, and it has come to be commonly accepted that of the nitrogenous material which should constitute one sixth of the nutrients taken, about three ounces is all that can be made use of in twenty-four hours, by a healthy adult of average weight, doing a moderate amount of work. Many articles of food are, however, deficient in one or the other of these elements, and need to be supplemented by other articles containing the deficient element in superabundance, since to employ a dietary in which any one of the nutritive elements is lacking, although in bulk it may be all the digestive organs can manage, is really starvation, and will in time occasion serious results.

It is thus apparent that much care should be exercised in the selection and combination of food materials. Such knowledge is of first importance  in the education of cooks and housekeepers, since to them falls the selection  of the food for the daily needs of the household; and they should not only understand what foods are best suited to supply these needs, but how to combine them in accordance with physiological laws.

HYGIENE OF DIGESTION

With the stomach and other digestive organs in a state of perfect health, one is entirely unconscious of their existence, save when of feeling of hunger calls attention to the fact that food is required, or satiety warns us that a sufficient amount or too much has been eaten. Perfect digestion can only be maintained by careful observance of the rules of health in regard to habits of eating.



On the subject of Hygiene of Digestion, we quote a few paragraphs from Dr. Kellogg's work on Physiology, in which is given a concise summary of the more important points relating to this:

"The hygiene of digestion has to do with the quality and quantity of food eaten, in the manner of eating it.

If the food is eaten too rapidly, it will not be properly divided, and when swallowed in coarse lumps, the digestive fluids cannot readily act upon it. On account of the insufficient mastication, the saliva will be deficient in quantity, and, as a consequence, the starch will not be well digested, and the stomach will not secrete a sufficient amount of gastric juice. It is not well to eat only soft or liquid food, as we are likely to swallow it without proper chewing. A considerable proportion of hard food, which requires thorough mastication, should be eaten at every meal.

Drinking Freely at Meals is harmful, as it not only encourages hasty eating, but dilutes the gastric juice, and thus lessens its activity. The food should be chewed until sufficiently moistened by saliva to allow it to be swallowed. When large quantities of fluid are taken into the stomach, digestion does not begin until a considerable portion of the fluid has been absorbed. If cold foods or drinks are taken with the meal, such as ice-cream, ice-water, iced milk or tea, the stomach is chilled, and a long delay in the digestive process is occasioned.

The Indians of Brazil carefully abstain from drinking when eating, and the same custom prevails among many other savage tribes.

Eating between Meals.
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The habit of eating apples, nuts, fruits, confectionery, etc., between meals is exceedingly harmful, and certain to produce loss of appetite and indigestion. The stomach as well as the muscles and other organs of the body requires rest. The frequency with which meals should be taken depends somewhat upon the age and occupation of an individual. Infants take their food at short intervals, and owing to its simple character, are able to digest it very quickly. Adults should not take food oftener than three times a day; and persons whose employment is sedentary say, in many cases at least, adopt with advantage the plan of the ancient Greeks, who ate but twice a day.

Simplicity in Diet.
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Taking too many kinds of food at a meal is a common fault which is often a cause of disease of the digestive-organs. Those nations are the most hardy and enduring whose dietary is most simple. The Scotch peasantry live chiefly upon oatmeal, the Irish upon potatoes, milk, and oatmeal, the Italian upon peas, beans, macaroni, and chestnuts; yet all these are noted for remarkable health and endurance. The natives of the Canary Islands, an exceedingly well-developed and vigorous race, subsist almost chiefly upon a food which they call gofio, consisting of parched grain, coarsely ground in a mortar and mixed with water.

Eating when Tired.
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It is not well to eat when exhausted by violent exercise, as the system is not prepared to do the work of digestion well. Sleeping immediately after eating is also a harmful practice. The process of digestion cannot well be performed during sleep, and sleep is disturbed by the ineffective efforts of the digestive organs. Hence the well-known evil effects of late suppers.

Eating too Much.
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Hasty eating is the greatest cause of over-eating. When one eats too rapidly, the food is crowded into the stomach so fast that nature has no time to cry, 'Enough,' by taking away the appetite before too much has been eaten. When an excess of food is taken, it is likely to ferment or sour before it can be digested. One who eats too much usually feels dull after eating."

FRUIT COCKTAILS

Cocktails made of a combination of fruits are often served as the first course of a meal,  usually a luncheon or a dinner, to precede the soup course. In warm weather, they are an  excellent substitute for heavy cocktails made of lobster or crab, and they may even be  used to replace the soup course. The fruits used for this purpose should be the more  acid ones, for the acids and flavors are intended to serve as an appetizer, or the same  purpose for which the hot and highly seasoned soups are taken. Fruit cocktails should always be served ice cold.



Grapefruit cocktail.
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The cocktail here explained may be served in stemmed glasses or in the shells of the  grapefruit. If the fruit shells are to be used, the grapefruit should be cut into two parts,  half way between the blossom and the stem ends, the fruit removed, and the edges of the shell  then notched. This plan of serving a cocktail should be adopted only when small grapefruits  are used, for if the shells are large more fruit will have to be used than is agreeable for  a cocktail.

2 grapefruits 2 oranges 1 c. diced pineapple, fresh or canned Powdered sugar

Remove the pulp from the grapefruits and oranges. However, if the grapefruit shells are  to be used for serving the cocktail, the grapefruit should be cut in half and the pulp  then taken out of the skin with a sharp knife. With the sections of pulp removed, cut  each one into several pieces. Add the diced pineapple to the other fruits, mix together  well and set on ice until thoroughly chilled. Put in cocktail glasses or grapefruit shells,  pour a spoonful or two of orange juice over each serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar,  garnish with a cherry, and serve ice cold.

Summer cocktail.
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As strawberries and pineapples can be obtained fresh at the same time during the summer,  they are often used together in a cocktail. When sweetened slightly with powdered sugar  and allowed to become ice cold, these fruits make a delicious combination.

2 c. diced fresh pineapple 2 c. sliced strawberries Powdered sugar

Prepare a fresh pineapple, and cut each slice into  small pieces or dice. Wash and hull the strawberries and slice them into small slices.  Mix the two fruits and sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Place in cocktail glasses and  allow to stand on ice a short time before serving.

Fruit cocktail.
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A fruit cocktail proper is made by combining a number of different kinds of fruit, such as bananas, pineapple, oranges, and maraschino cherries. Such a cocktail is served in a stemmed glass set on a small plate. Nothing more delicious than this can be prepared for the first course of a dinner or a luncheon that is to be served daintily. Its advantage is that it can be made at almost any season of the year with these particular fruits.

2 bananas 1 c. canned pineapple 2 oranges 1 doz. maraschino cherries Lemon juice Powdered sugar

Peel the bananas and dice them. Dice the pineapple. Remove the pulp from the oranges in the manner, and cut each section into several pieces. Mix these three fruits. Cut the cherries in half and add to the mixture. Set on ice until thoroughly chilled. To serve, put into cocktail glasses and add to each glass 1 tablespoonful of  maraschino juice from the cherries and 1 teaspoonful of lemon juice.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

FIVE FISH SOUPS

Fish stock.
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Ingredients:- 2 lbs. of beef or veal (these can be omitted), any kind of white fish trimmings, of fish which are to be dressed for table, 2 onions, the rind of 1/2 a lemon, a bunch of sweet herbs, 2 carrots, 2 quarts of water.




Mode:- Cut up the fish, and put it, with the other ingredients, into the water. Simmer for 2 hours; skim the liquor carefully, and strain it. When a richer stock is wanted, fry the vegetables and fish before adding the water.

Time. 2 hours.

Note. Do not make fish stock long before it is wanted, as it soon turns sour.

Crayfish soup.
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Ingredients:- 50 crayfish, 1/4 lb. of butter, 6 anchovies, the crumb of 1 French roll, a little lobster-spawn, seasoning to taste, 2 quarts of medium stock or fish stock.

Mode:- Shell the crayfish, and put the fish between two plates until they are wanted; pound the shells in a mortar, with the butter and anchovies; when well beaten, add a pint of stock, and simmer for 3/4 of an hour. Strain it through a hair sieve, put the remainder of the stock to it, with the crumb of the rolls; give it one boil, and rub it through a tammy, with the lobster-spawn. Put in the fish, but do not let the soup boil, after it has been rubbed through the tammy. If necessary, add seasoning.

Time. 1-1/2 hour.  

Eel soup.
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Ingredients:- 3 lbs. of eels, 1 onion, 2 oz. of butter, 3 blades of mace, 1 bunch of sweet herbs, 1/4 oz. of peppercorns, salt to taste, 2 tablespoonfuls of flour, 1/4 pint of cream, 2 quarts of water.

Mode:- Wash the eels, cut them into thin slices, and put them in the stewpan with the butter; let them simmer for a few minutes, then pour the water to them, and add the onion, cut in thin slices, the herbs, mace, and seasoning. Simmer till the eels are tender, but do not break the fish. Take them out carefully, mix the flour smoothly to a batter with the cream, bring it to a boil, pour over the eels, and serve.

Time. 1 hour, or rather more.

Note. This soup may be flavoured differently by omitting the cream, and adding a little ketchup.

Lobster soup.
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Ingredients. 3 large lobsters, or 6 small ones; the crumb of a French roll, 2 anchovies, 1 onion, 1 small bunch of sweet herbs, 1 strip of lemon-peel, 2 oz. of butter, a little nutmeg, 1 teaspoonful of flour, 1 pint of cream, 1 pint of milk; forcemeat balls, mace, salt and pepper to taste, bread crumbs, 1 egg, 2 quarts of water.

Mode:- Pick the meat from the lobsters, and beat the fins, chine, and small claws in a mortar, previously taking away the brown fin and the bag in the head. Put it in a stewpan, with the crumb of the roll, anchovies, onions, herbs, lemon-peel, and the water; simmer gently till all the goodness is extracted, and strain it off. Pound the spawn in a mortar, with the butter, nutmeg, and flour, and mix with it the cream and milk. Give one boil up, at the same time adding the tails cut in pieces. Make the forcemeat balls with the remainder of the lobster, seasoned with mace, pepper, and salt, adding a little flour, and a few bread crumbs; moisten them with the egg, heat them in the soup, and serve.

Time. 2 hours, or rather more.

Oyster soup -1.
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Ingredients:- 6 dozen of oysters, 2 quarts of white stock, 1/2 pint of cream, 2 oz. of butter, 1-1/2 oz. of flour; salt, cayenne, and mace to taste.

Mode:- Scald the oysters in their own liquor; take them out, beard them, and put them in a tureen. Take a pint of the stock, put in the beards and the liquor, which must be carefully strained, and simmer for 1/2 an hour. Take it off the fire, strain it again, and add the remainder of the stock with the seasoning and mace. Bring it to a boil, add the thickening of butter and flour, simmer for 5 minutes, stir in the boiling cream, pour it over the oysters, and serve.

Time. 1 hour.

Note. This soup can be made less rich by using milk instead of cream, and thickening with arrowroot instead of butter and flour.

Oyster soup -2
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Ingredients:- 2 quarts of good mutton broth, 6 dozen oysters, 2 oz. butter, 1 oz. of flour.

Mode:- Beard the oysters, and scald them in their own liquor; then add it, well strained, to the broth; thicken with the butter and flour, and simmer for 1/4 of an hour. Put in the oysters, stir well, but do not let it boil, and serve very hot.

Time. 3/4 hour.

Prawn soup.
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Ingredients:- 2 quarts of fish stock or water, 2 pints of prawns, the crumbs of a French roll, anchovy sauce or mushroom ketchup to taste, 1 blade of mace, 1 pint of vinegar, a little lemon-juice.

Mode:- Pick out the tails of the prawns, put the bodies in a stewpan with 1 blade of mace, 1/2 pint of vinegar, and the same quantity of water; stew them for 1/4 hour, and strain off the liquor. Put the fish stock or water into a stewpan; add the strained liquor, pound the prawns with the crumb of a roll moistened with a little of the soup, rub them through a tammy, and mix them by degrees with the soup; add ketchup or anchovy sauce to taste, with a little lemon-juice. When it is well cooked, put in a few picked prawns; let them get thoroughly hot, and serve. If not thick enough, put in a little butter and flour.

Time. 1 hour.

DIFFERENT WAYS TO COOK RICE

Rice needs to be thoroughly washed. A good way to do this is to put it into a colander,  in a deep pan of water. Rub the rice well with the hands, lifting the  colander in and out the water, and changing the water until it is clear; then drain. In this way the grit is deposited in the water, and the rice left thoroughly clean.



The best method of cooking rice is by steaming it. If boiled in much water, it loses a portion of its already small percentage of nitrogenous elements. It requires much less time for cooking than any of the other grains. Like all the dried grains and seeds, rice swells in cooking to several times its original bulk. When cooked, each grain of rice should be separate and distinct, yet perfectly tender.

Steamed rice.
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Soak a cup of rice in one and a fourth cups of water for an hour, then add a cup of milk, turn into a dish suitable for serving it from at table, and place in a steam-cooker or a covered steamer over a kettle of boiling water, and steam for an hour. It should be stirred with a fork occasionally, for the first ten or fifteen minutes.

Boiled rice (japanese method).
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Thoroughly cleanse the rice by washing in several waters, and soak it overnight.  In the morning, drain it, and put to cook in an equal quantity of boiling water, that is, a pint of water for a pint of rice. For cooking, a stewpan with tightly fitting cover should be used. Heat the water to boiling, then add the rice, and after stirring, put on the cover, which is not again to be removed during the boiling. At first, as the water boils, steam will puff out freely from under the cover, but when the water has nearly evaporated, which will be in eight to ten minutes, according to the age and quality of the rice, only a faint suggestion of steam will be observed, and the stewpan must then be removed from over the fire to some place on the range, where it will not burn, to swell and dry for fifteen or twenty minutes.

Rice to be boiled in the ordinary manner requires two quarts of boiling water to one cupful of rice. It should be boiled rapidly until tender, then drained at once, and set in a moderate oven to become dry. Picking and lifting lightly occasionally with a fork will make it more flaky and dry. Care must be taken, however, not to mash the rice grains.

Rice with fig sauce.
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Steam a cupful of best rice as directed above, and when done, serve with a fig sauce. Dish a spoonful of  the fig sauce with each saucer of rice, and serve with plenty of cream. Rice served in this way requires no sugar for dressing, and is a most wholesome breakfast dish.

Orange rice.
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Wash and steam the rice. Prepare some oranges by separating into sections and cutting each section in halves, removing the seeds and all the white portion. Sprinkle the oranges lightly with sugar, and let them stand while the rice is cooking. Serve a portion of the orange on each saucerful of rice.

Rice with raisins.
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Carefully wash a cupful of rice, soak it, and cook as directed for Steamed Rice. After the rice has began to swell, but before it has softened, stir into it lightly, using a fork for the purpose, a cupful of raisins. Serve with cream.

Rice with peaches.
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Steam the rice and when done, serve with cream and a nicely ripened peach pared and sliced on each individual dish.

Browned rice.
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Spread a cupful of rice on a shallow baking tin, and put into a moderately hot oven to brown. It will need to be stirred frequently to prevent burning and to secure a uniformity of color. Each rice kernel, when sufficiently browned, should be of a yellowish brown, about the color of ripened wheat. Steam the same as directed for ordinary rice, using only two cups of water for each cup of browned rice, and omitting the preliminary soaking. When properly cooked, each kernel will be separated, dry, and mealy. Rice prepared in this manner is undoubtedly more digestible than when cooked without browning.

COOKING OF GRAINS

 All grains, with the exception of rice, and the various grain meals, require prolonged cooking with gentle and continuous heat, in order to so disintegrate their tissues and change their starch into dextrine as to render them easy of digestion. Even the so-called "steam-cooked" grains, advertised to be ready for use in five or ten minutes, require a much longer cooking to properly fit them for digestion.



These so-called quickly prepared grains are simply steamed before grinding, which has the effect to destroy any low organisms contained in the grain. They are then crushed and shredded. Bicarbonate of soda and lime is added to help dissolve the albuminoids, and sometimes diastase to aid the conversion of the starch into sugar; but there is nothing in this preparatory process that so alters the chemical nature of the grain as to make it possible to cook it ready for easy digestion in five or ten minutes. An insufficiently cooked grain, although it may be palatable, is not in a condition to be readily acted upon by the digestive fluids, and is in consequence left undigested to act as a mechanical irritant.

Water is the liquid usually employed for cooking grains, but many of them are richer and finer flavored when milk is mixed with the water, one part to two of water. Especially is this true of rice, hominy, and farina. When water is used, soft water is preferable to hard. No salt is necessary, but if used at all, it is generally added to the water before stirring in the grain or meal.

The quantity of liquid required varies with the different grains, the manner in which they are milled, the method by which they are cooked, and the consistency desired for the cooked grain, more liquid being required for a porridge than for a mush.

All grains should be carefully looked over before being put to cook.

In the cooking of grains, the following points should be observed:

1. Measure both liquid and grain accurately with the same utensil, or with two of equal size.

2. Have the water boiling when the grain is introduced, but do not allow it to boil for a long time previous, until it is considerably evaporated, as that will change the proportion of water and grain sufficiently to alter the consistency of the mush when cooked. Introduce the grain slowly, so as not to stop the sinking to the bottom, and the whole becomes thickened.

3. Stir the grain continuously until it has set, but not at all afterward. Grains are much more appetizing if, while properly softened, they can still be made to retain their original form. Stirring renders the preparation pasty, and destroys its appearance.

In the preparation of all mushes with meal or flour, it is a good plan to make the material into a batter with a portion of the liquid retained from the quantity given, before introducing it into the boiling water. This prevents the tendency to cook in lumps, so frequent when dry meal is scattered into boiling liquid. Care must be taken, however, to add the moistened portion very slowly, stirring vigorously meantime, so that the boiling will not be checked. Use warm water for moistening. The other directions given for the whole or broken grains are applicable to the ground products.

Place the grain, when sufficiently cooked, in the refrigerator or in some place where it will cool quickly (as slow cooling might cause fermentation), to remain overnight.  

CIRCUMSTANCES IMPACTING THE QUALITY OF MEAT

During the period between the birth and maturity of animals, their flesh undergoes very considerable changes. For instance, when the animal is young, the fluids which the tissues of the muscles contain, possess a large proportion of what is called  albumen . This albumen, which is also the chief component of the white of eggs, possesses the peculiarity of coagulating or hardening at a certain temperature, like the white of a boiled egg, into a soft, white fluid, no longer soluble, or capable of being dissolved in water.



As animals grow older, this peculiar animal matter gradually decreases, in proportion to the other constituents of the juice of the flesh. Thus, the reason why veal, lamb are  white, and without gravy  when cooked, is, that the large quantity of albumen they contain hardens, or becomes coagulated. On the other hand, the reason why beef and mutton are  brown, and have gravy , is, that the proportion of albumen they contain, is small, in comparison with their greater quantity of fluid which is soluble, and not coagulable.

The quality of the flesh of an animal is considerably influenced by the nature of the  food on which it has been fed ; for the food supplies the material which produces the flesh. If the food be not suitable and good, the meat cannot be good either. To the experienced in this matter, it is well known that the flesh of animals fed on farinaceous produce, such as corn, pulse, &c., is firm, well-flavoured, and also economical in the cooking; that the flesh of those fed on succulent and pulpy substances, such as roots, possesses these qualities in a somewhat less degree; whilst the flesh of those whose food contains fixed oil, as linseed, is greasy, high coloured, and gross in the fat, and if the food has been used in large quantities, possessed of a rank flavour.

It is indispensable to the good quality of meat, that the animal should be  perfectly healthy  at the time of its slaughter. However slight the disease in an animal may be, inferiority in the quality of its flesh, as food, is certain to be produced. In most cases, indeed, as the flesh of diseased animals has a tendency to very rapid putrefaction, it becomes not only unwholesome, but absolutely poisonous, on account of the absorption of the  virus  of the unsound meat into the systems of those who partake of it. The external indications of good and bad meat will be described under its own particular head, but we may here premise that the layer of all wholesome meat, when freshly killed, adheres firmly to the bone.

Another circumstance greatly affecting the quality of meat, is the animal's treatment  before it is slaughtered . This influences its value and wholesomeness in no inconsiderable degree. It will be easy to understand this, when we reflect on those leading principles by which the life of an animal is supported and maintained. These are, the digestion of its food, and the assimilation of that food into its substance. Nature, in effecting this process, first reduces the food in the stomach to a state of pulp, under the name of chyme, which passes into the intestines, and is there divided into two principles, each distinct from the other. One, a milk-white fluid, the nutritive portion, is absorbed by innumerable vessels which open upon the mucous membrane, or inner coat of the intestines. These vessels, or absorbents, discharge the fluid into a common duct, or road, along which it is conveyed to the large veins in the neighbourhood of the heart.


Here it is mixed with the venous blood (which is black and impure) returning from every part of the body, and then it supplies the waste which is occasioned in the circulating stream by the arterial (or pure) blood having furnished matter for the substance of the animal. The blood of the animal having completed its course through all parts, and having had its waste recruited by the digested food, is now received into the heart, and by the action of that organ it is urged through the lungs, there to receive its purification from the air which the animal inhales. Again returning to the heart, it is forced through the arteries, and thence distributed, by innumerable ramifications, called capillaries, bestowing to every part of the animal, life and nutriment. The other principle the innutritive portion passes from the intestines, and is thus got rid of. It will now be readily understood how flesh is affected for bad, if an animal is slaughtered when the circulation of its blood has been increased by over-driving, ill-usage, or other causes of excitement, to such a degree of rapidity as to be too great for the capillaries to perform their functions, and causing the blood to be congealed in its minuter vessels. Where this has been the case, the meat will be dark-coloured, and become rapidly putrid; so that self-interest and humanity alike dictate kind and gentle treatment of all animals destined to serve as food for man.

CEREALS AND THEIR PREPARATION

Cereal is the name given to those seeds used as food (wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn, rice, etc.), which are produced by plants belonging to the vast order known as the grass family. They are used for food both in the unground state and in various forms of mill products.




The grains are pre-eminently nutritious, and when well prepared, easily digested foods. In composition they are all similar, but variations in their constituent elements and the relative amounts of these various elements, give them different degrees of alimentary value. They each contain one or more of the nitrogenous elements, gluten, albumen, caseine, and fibrin, together with starch, dextrine, sugar, and fatty matter, and also mineral elements and woody matter, or cellulose. The combined nutritive value of the grain foods is nearly three times that of beef, mutton, or poultry. As regards the proportion of the food elements necessary to meet the various requirements of the system, grains approach more nearly the proper standard than most other foods; indeed, wheat contains exactly the correct proportion of the food elements.

Being thus in themselves so nearly perfect foods, and when properly prepared, exceedingly palatable and easy of digestion, it is a matter of surprise that they are not more generally used; yet scarcely one family in fifty makes any use of the grains, save in the form of flour, or an occasional dish of rice or oatmeal. This use of grains is far too meager to adequately represent their value as an article of diet. Variety in the use of grains is as necessary as in the use of other food material, and the numerous grain preparations now to be found in market render it quite possible to make this class of foods a staple article of diet, if so desired, without their becoming at all monotonous.

In olden times the grains were largely depended upon as a staple food, and it is a fact well authenticated by history that the highest condition of man has always been associated with wheat-consuming nations. The ancient Spartans, whose powers of endurance are proverbial, were fed on a grain diet, and the Roman soldiers who under Caesar conquered the world, carried each a bag of parched grain in his pocket as his daily ration.

Other nationalities at the present time make extensive use of the various grains. Rice used in connection with some of the leguminous seeds, forms the staple article of diet for a large proportion of the human race. Rice, unlike the other grain foods, is deficient in the nitrogenous elements, and for this reason its use needs to be supplemented by other articles containing an excess of the nitrogenous material. It is for this reason, doubtless, that the Chinese eat peas and beans in connection with rice.

We frequently meet people who say they cannot use the grains, that they do not agree with them. With all deference to the opinion of such people, it may be stated that the difficulty often lies in the fact that the grain was either not properly cooked, not properly eaten, or not properly accompanied. A grain, simply because it is a grain, is by no means warranted to faithfully fulfil its mission unless properly treated. Like many another good thing excellent in itself, if found in bad company, it is prone to create mischief, and in many cases the root of the whole difficulty may be found in the excessive amount of sugar used with the grain.

Sugar is not needed with grains to increase their alimentary value. The starch which constitutes a large proportion of their food elements must itself be converted into sugar by the digestive processes before assimilation, hence the addition of cane sugar only increases the burden of the digestive organs, for the pleasure of the palate. The Asiatics, who subsist largely upon rice, use no sugar upon it, and why should it be considered requisite for the enjoyment of wheat, rye, oatmeal, barley, and other grains, any more than it is for our enjoyment of bread or other articles made from these same grains? Undoubtedly the use of grains would become more universal if they were served with less or no sugar. The continued use of sugar upon grains has a tendency to cloy the appetite, just as the constant use of cake or sweetened bread in the place of ordinary bread would do. Plenty of nice, sweet cream or fruit juice, is a sufficient dressing, and there are few persons who after a short trial would not come to enjoy the grains without sugar, and would then as soon think of dispensing with a meal altogether as to dispense with the grains.

Even when served without sugar, the grains may not prove altogether healthful unless they are properly eaten. Because they are made soft by the process of cooking and on this account do not require masticating to break them up, the first process of digestion or insalivation is usually overlooked. But it must be remembered that grains are largely composed of starch, and that starch must be mixed with the saliva, or it will remain undigested in the stomach, since the gastric juice only digests the nitrogenous elements. For this reason it is desirable to eat the grains in connection with some hard food. Whole-wheat wafers, nicely toasted to make them crisp and tender, toasted rolls, and unfermented zwieback, are excellent for this purpose. Break two or three wafers into rather small pieces over each individual dish before pouring on the cream. In this way, a morsel of the hard food may be taken with each spoonful of the grains. The combination of foods thus secured, is most pleasing. This is a specially advantageous method of serving grains for children, who are so liable to swallow their food without proper mastication.

BARLEY, THE NUTRITIOUS GRAIN

Barley is stated by historians to be the oldest of all cultivated grains. It seems to have been the principal bread plant among the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. The Jews especially held the grain in high esteem, and sacred history usually uses it interchangeably with wheat, when speaking of the fruits of the Earth.



Among the early Greeks and Romans, barley was almost the only food of the common people and the soldiers. The flour was made into gruel, after the following recipe: "Dry, near the fire or in the oven, twenty pounds of barley flour, then parch it. Add three pounds of linseed meal, half a pound of coriander seeds, two ounces of salt, and the water necessary." If an especially delectable dish was desired, a little millet was also added to give the paste more "cohesion and delicacy." Barley was also used whole as a food, in which case it was first parched, which is still the manner of preparing it in some parts of Palestine and many districts of India, also in the Canary Islands, where it is known as  gofio .

In the time of Charles I, barley meal took the place of wheat almost entirely as the food of the common people in England. In some parts of Europe, India, and other Eastern countries, it is still largely consumed as the ordinary farinaceous food of the peasantry and soldiers. The early settlers of New England also largely used it for bread making.

Barley is less nutritious than wheat, and to many people is less agreeable in flavor. It is likewise somewhat inferior in point of digestibility. Its starch cells being less soluble, they offer more resistance to the gastric juice.

There are several distinct species of barley, but that most commonly cultivated is designated as two-rowed, or two-eared barley. In general structure, the barley grain resembles wheat and oats.

Simply deprived of its outer husk, the grain is termed  Scotch milled  or  pot barley . Subjected still further to the process by which the fibrous outer coat of the grain is removed, it constitutes what is known as  pearl barley . Pearl barley ground into flour is known as  patent barley . Barley flour, owing to the fact that it contains so small a proportion of gluten, needs to be mixed with wheaten flour for bread-making purposes. When added in small quantity to whole-wheat bread, it has a tendency to keep the loaf moist, and is thought by some to improve the flavor.

The most general use made of this cereal as a food, is in the form of pearl, or Scotch, barley. When well boiled, barley requires about two hours for digestion.

ABC OF SOUP MAKING

Lean, juicy beef, mutton, and veal, form the basis of all good soups; therefore it is advisable to procure those pieces which afford the richest succulence, and such as are fresh-killed. Stale meat renders them bad, and fat is not so well adapted for making them. The principal art in composing good rich soup, is so to proportion the several ingredients that the flavour of one shall not predominate over another, and that all the articles of which it is composed, shall form an agreeable whole. To accomplish this, care must be taken that the roots and herbs are perfectly well cleaned, and that the water is proportioned to the quantity of meat and other ingredients.




Generally a quart of water may be allowed to a pound of meat for soups, and half the quantity for gravies. In making soups or gravies, gentle stewing or simmering is incomparably the best. It may be remarked, however, that a really good soup can never be made but in a well-closed vessel, although, perhaps, greater wholesomeness is obtained by an occasional exposure to the air. Soups will, in general, take from three to six hours doing, and are much better prepared the day before they are wanted. When the soup is cold, the fat may be much more easily and completely removed; and when it is poured off, care must be taken not to disturb the settlings at the bottom of the vessel, which are so fine that they will escape through a sieve. A tamis is the best strainer, and if the soup is strained while it is hot, let the tamis or cloth be previously soaked in cold water.

Clear soups must be perfectly transparent, and thickened soups about the consistence of cream. To thicken and give body to soups and gravies, potato-mucilage, arrow-root, bread-raspings, isinglass, flour and butter, barley, rice, or oatmeal, in a little water rubbed well together, are used. A piece of boiled beef pounded to a pulp, with a bit of butter and flour, and rubbed through a sieve, and gradually incorporated with the soup, will be found an excellent addition. When the soup appears to be  too thin  or  too weak , the cover of the boiler should be taken off, and the contents allowed to boil till some of the watery parts have evaporated; or some of the thickening materials, above mentioned, should be added. When soups and gravies are kept from day to day in hot weather, they should be warmed up every day, and put into fresh scalded pans or tureens, and placed in a cool cellar. In temperate weather, every other day may be sufficient.

Various herbs and vegetables are required for the purpose of making soups and gravies. Of these the principal are, Scotch barley, pearl barley, wheat flour, oatmeal, bread-raspings, pease, beans, rice, vermicelli, macaroni, isinglass, potato-mucilage, mushroom or mushroom ketchup, champignons, parsnips, carrots, beetroot, turnips, garlic, shalots and onions. Sliced onions, fried with butter and flour till they are browned, and then rubbed through a sieve, are excellent to heighten the colour and flavour of brown soups and sauces, and form the basis of many of the fine relishes furnished by the cook. The older and drier the onion, the stronger will be its flavour. Leeks, cucumber, or burnet vinegar; celery or celery-seed pounded. The latter, though equally strong, does not impart the delicate sweetness of the fresh vegetable; and when used as a substitute, its flavour should be corrected by the addition of a bit of sugar. Cress-seed, parsley, common thyme, lemon thyme, orange thyme, knotted marjoram, sage, mint, winter savoury, and basil. As fresh green basil is seldom to be procured, and its fine flavour is soon lost, the best way of preserving the extract is by pouring wine on the fresh leaves.

For the seasoning of soups, bay-leaves, tomato, tarragon, chervil, burnet, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, mace, black and white pepper, essence of anchovy, lemon-peel, and juice, and Seville orange-juice, are all taken. The latter imparts a finer flavour than the lemon, and the acid is much milder. These materials, with wine, mushroom ketchup, Harvey's sauce, tomato sauce, combined in various proportions, are, with other ingredients, manipulated into an almost endless variety of excellent soups and gravies. Soups, which are intended to constitute the principal part of a meal, certainly ought not to be flavoured like sauces, which are only designed to give a relish to some particular dish.



 

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