COOKING AND KITCHEN ART.
Cooking in General. Siuce the advent of cooking stoves, and especially since the later improvements in kitchen stoves and ranges, there is no reason why bad or indifferent cook ing should be the rule. However simple the dishes, (and expensive dishes do not constitute good living), the exercise of care apd judgment will enable them to be brought to the table, nicely cooked, palatable, and nourishing. In the Uni ted States there seems to be a strong objection to soups and stews. There is no reason why this should be so, for there are few dishes more easily prepared, more savory, or more nourish ing. There is also a general lack of vegetable dishes. It has been said that the farmers' vege tables are cabbage and potatoes. It might have been said that they were potatoes and potatoes,, since the odorous boiled cabbage is by no means a standing dish, nor should it be The increased attention given by farmers to the cultivation of gardens will enable them to have all the princi pal vegetables and fruits of the season iu abun dance, and thus allow them to live as well as the best, with some attention to the manner of pre paring them. A good vegetable garden will yield nearly or quite half the living of the fam ily. In the body of this Encyclopedia will be found, articles pertaining to the principal vege tables cultivated, under their respective names, with directions for cultivation. In this connec tidn we propose to give plain directions for preparing them for the table, in connection with recipes for cooking and baking in the other departments of the culinary art. In these days of improved cooking utensils the cook is not obliged to depend upon iron pots, nor cheap tin ware, for making stews, sauces, etc., and the mod ern stove, whether hard or soft coal, coke or wood is used, leaves but little to be desired in baking, broiling or boiling. If the housewife have, in addition to the broiler, frying pan, bak ing pans, cutters for cake and vegetables, paste boards, rolling pin, skewers, sieves for flour, etc., meat saw and cleaver, various kitchen knives, colanders, basins, and the kitchen clock; if to these be added, a thermometer to mark up to 500°, a good set of scales and weights, a large and a small porcelain lined steam pan, she can do nice cooking aud baking, at a pinch, whatever the company may be. It is, of course, better that she have other conveniences; as an egg bowl and whisk, wooden spoons, a fish kettle, steamers, tart moulds, brazing pan, stock (soup) pots, meas ures, funnels, moulds for jellies, creams, char lottes, and cake; dredgers, ladles, skimmers, a mortar and pestle, large, forks, etc. Yet with those we have mentioned the farmer's wife, may easily get along until these can be had. In the making of soup, when it is part of the daily din ner, what is denominated stock, is used A strong soup, made of lean meat, the soup to be skimmed of all fat when cold. This may be made the basis of any soup,. In the articles relat ing to cooking proper, we shall extract liberally from Buckmaster's Cookery, a late and common sense English work on cooking. In addition, in the various branches of cooking, we shall give original recipes contributed by farmers, wives and daughters, and accumulated during years of editorial life. Any vegetable or meat prepared by simmering till the substance is suffi ciently pulpy or soft to be passed through a horse hair or tammy sieve is called purée. In the case of meat it is sometimes necessary to beat in a pestle and mortar after simmering. The sieve is placed bottom upwards over a dish or tin, and with a wooden spoon or purée-presser the sub stance is worked through, and what passes i through is called purée. It is sometimes neces sary to moisten with a little liquor, which facili tates the passing of the purcle. The purée of any vegetable stirred into a clear beef stock makes a soup and gives it its characteristic name. Butter required for soups should be added at two dif ferent times, except in preparing a Julienne soup. The first butter goes to fry the vegetables and adds little or nothing to the flavor. But, just before serving, two or three small pieces of but ter in the tureen are a very acceptable addition ; the butter should only be melted, for if boiled it loses its flavor and freshness. The addition of
cold butter to soups and sauces is sometimes called a liaison of butter. A less quantity of butter is required for sweating vegetables than for frying or browning them. Liaisons are methods for thickening soups. One liaison is prepared by mixing flour with water, or milk, or broth. Mix the flour smooth with one of the above liquids, strain through a pointed strainer into the soup, continually stirring with the hand. The proper way to mix a liaison is to add some of the soup to it, thoroughly mix, and then add all to the soup or take the yolk or yolks only of eggs, say the yolk of one egg for one pint of soup; separate the white or albumen from the yolk by pouring backwards and forwards, put the yolks into a basin, beat up with a little pow dered loaf sugar, (if none has been used with the soup), a small piece of butter, add a quarter pint of cream or half a pint of milk for each yolk; when thoroughly mixed, add a little soup and stir; remove your soup from the fire, and then stir in the liaison with wooden spoon. But never allow your soups to go on the fire after adding the liaison. A faggot of herbs, is con stantly referred to in cooking, and is a mixture of parsley, thyme, and bay-leaf, aud sometimes marjoram, rosemary and a clove of garlic; these are tied into a bunch, and are used for season ing; it is called bouquet garni. Wash the parsley, and arrange the other herbs so that they are en closed within the parsley. The ends of the pars ley should be folded over to more effectually enclose the herbs, and then tied round with a strlug. A small handful of parsley, weighing say one ounce, one-sixteenth in weight of thyme, the same weight of bay-leaves, the same weight of marjoram, and, if used, one clove only of garlic, constitute an ordinary bouquet garni, or faggot of herbs. For a small bouquet garni use half the quantity; for a large, double the quan tity. Dried herbs should always be to band, and are best prepared in the following way: Gather the herbs just before flowering, and dry them quickly in an oven or before a screen, and pick out all the stalks Gouffe recommends the fol lowing preparations: quarter ounce of thyme, one-eighth ounce of marjoram, quarter ounce of rosemary. These are to be pounded in a mor tar, with half ounce of nutmeg, quarter ounce of whole pepper, half ounce of cloves, one-eighth ounce of cayenne pepper, and passed through a hair sieve, and kept in a dry place in a well stoppered bottle. In these proportions a good seasoning is secured. The proportion for mixing with salt is one ounce of the mixture with four ounces of dry salt. Before cooking, arrange all your things as nearly as possible in order; no time is lost with this preliminary arrangement, it saves a good many steps; and as soon as you have finished with an article put it out of your way; this will save overcrowding, or in the mid dle of your cooking you will have to leave off to make room for your work. Wash your hands, clean your nails, read over slowly and thought fully the recipe. If you can not understand it in all its details, perhaps it will be better to substi tute one that you do understand. No two cooks work exactly to the same recipe, nor is it desira ble with persons who think about what they are doing. Rain water is best for all cooking pur poses, but it will be necessary sometimes to filter it. About half a pint of soup may be calculated for each person. Thick glutinous soups and sauces require constant stirring, and always use Wooden spoons. A small teaspoonful of pow dered loaf-sugar may be added to all vegetable soups, and green vegetables. Good oil may often be used instead of butter, or with butter, especially with beans and peas. In the use of butter, or dripping, remember a less quantity is required for sweating than frying or browning vegetables. In seasoning, be careful with vege tables, herbs and spices remarkable for strong flavors.