Some Summer Vegetables and how to Cook Them

This is the third article in June of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on June 16, 1907, and is part one of two on cooking vegetables in summer time.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

Some Summer Vegetables and how to Cook Them

WE WILL not waste time and space in repetitions of what has been said strongly and often in this column of the gastronomic and sanitary virtues of tomatoes. No more wholesome vegetable comes upon our tables. I may add, none that is susceptible of more and agreeable varieties of cooking. I offer a few formulas that may be novel and attractive to our housemother who is not content to trot steadily in the track worn dusty by her forbears in the sphere of culinary enterprise.

Tomatoes Stuffed With Green Corn.

Select large, smooth tomatoes of uniform size; cut a piece from the blossom end of each with a keen knife and lay it aside. With a small silver spoon (an egg-spoon will do) dig out the pulp and seeds, leaving the walls untouched. Mince the extracted pulp and mix it with cold boiled green corn—two-thirds of the corn and one-third of the tomato pulp; season with melted butter, salt, pepper, and sugar. The sugar must never be omitted from tomatoes when cooked in any way. When the ingredients are well incorporated, fill the emptied tomatoes with the mixture, replace the tops, set them close together in a bake dish, put a bit of butter on each to prevent scorching, cover and bake ten minutes before removing the cover. If they are “sizzling” by then, uncover and cook from ten to twelve minutes more. The oven should be brisk. Serve in the bake dish.

Uncooked corn may be substituted for the boiled, if it be young and tender. In that case, cook five minutes longer, before uncovering. This is a good way of using corn left over from yesterday.

Tomatoes Stuffed With Mushrooms.

Empty fine ripe tomatoes, as directed in the last recipe. In this dish the pulp is not used. Put it into your soup stock before giving it the daily boil.

Have ready a cupful of fresh mushrooms, which have been peeled and cut into thirds—not minced. Put into a saucepan two tablespoonfuls of butter and a small onion, finely minced. Add the mushrooms and cook slowly for eight or ten minutes. Remove from the fire, season with pepper and salt, stir into the mixture two heaping tablespoonfuls of dry crumbs, and fill the tomatoes with it. After this is done, pour a tablespoonful of rich gravy—chicken or veal, if you have it—into each tomato, letting it sink into the mixture. Then strew line crumbs over all and fit on the tops cut from the tomatoes. Lastly, pour a little stock into the bakedish to keep the tomatoes from burning and add to the flavor; cover, and bake for twenty minutes. If you have not the fresh mushrooms, use champignons. This is a delicious luncheon dish, and good at any time.

Broiled Tomatoes.

Slice large, firm tomatoes, without peeling, into rounds rather more than a quarter inch thick. Arrange them upon a buttered broiler and cook for ten minutes over hot coals, turning every minute. Lay on a hot dish and coat with a sauce made of butter beaten to a cream with a little onion juice, salt, pepper, and sugar. Set the dish upon the upper grating of the oven to melt the sauce before serving.

Breaded and Fried Tomatoes.

Cut as for broiling; season with pepper, salt, and sugar; coat with dry crumbs, and fry quickly in a little butter.

To speak correctly, this process should be called “sauteing.” To fry is to immerse in boiling fat. To saute is to fry in just butter, oil, or other fat to keep the article to be cooked from sticking to the pan.

Green Tomatoes.

Green tomatoes may be sliced and broiled, or saute, according to the recipes given for ripe. They make a nice breakfast relish on a warm morning.

They may also be fried in the fat that has exuded from breakfast bacon, and the bacon be served as a garnish to the dish. They go well together.

Onions.

Onions are at their best in the “rich midsummer prime.” In winter they are plebeians. Useful they may be, and they may be rendered almost delicate by cooking in two waters and then treated to a final boil in milk. In summer a parboil of ten minutes in slightly salted water and a second ten minutes in half milk, half water converts them into patricians.

Stuffed Onions.

Arrange six or eight large Bermuda onions, peeled and washed, in a bake dish, cover with boiling water slightly salted and cook for half an hour, or until a wire will pierce them easily. Transfer the dish to a table, turn off all the water, and, with a sharp thin blade, extract the hearts of the onions without breaking the outer walls. Fill the cavity with a forcemeat or minced cold chicken and fine crumbs, seasoned with pepper and salt and moistened with melted butter. It should be very soft. Strew butter crumbs over the top, pour a rich white sauce in the dish until it almost touches the tops of the onions, cover and bake for half an hour, then brown delicately.

Scalloped Onions.

Slice full-grown, but young, onions across a quarter-inch thick, lay in a bakedish and cover with hot water. Fit a close cover on the dish and set in a quick oven for ten minutes. Drain off all the water, season with salt and pepper, pour a good drawn butter over them, strew with fine dry crumbs, stick butter bits over this and bake, covered, for ten minutes, then brown lightly.

Potato Snow.

Pare ripe but young potatoes so carefully that the peelings are as thin as paper. If they are thin-skinned, you may scrape off the outer covering, taking care not to leave the eyes or bits of colored skin. Put over the fire in plenty of boiling water, salted, and cook fast until they are tender, but not broken. Drain off the water; turn the potatoes into a colander and set in a hot open oven when you have sprinkled salt over them. Have at hand four or five squares of clean, cloth—clean dishcloths will do. Take up the potatoes, one by one, lay on the cloth and give the opposite ends of this a wring, enveloping and crushing the potato. As each crumbles into dry meal, reverse the cloth and let the meal drop into a heated dish. When you have a heap of snow and the last potato has been crushed, serve at once without touching the “drift.”

Garnish of Sweet Potatoes.

Wash and peel sweet potatoes of uniform size, and slice them evenly, lengthwise, a quarter inch thick. When this is done, run two stout straws from end to end of each potato when you have put the slices together in imitation of the originals. Pass a soft cotton string about the restored vegetables to hold the slices in shape, and parboil for eight or ten minutes in boiling salted water. Drain well, and lay in the roaster when a piece of beef is nearly done. Baste with the dripping and brown lightly. When the meat is dished, clip the threads, withdraw the straws, and arrange the potatoes about the meat. Do not let them fall apart until they are served.

A Potato “Buck.”

Slice enough cold boiled potatoes to fill a bakedish three-fourths of the way to the top. Arrange in layers, sprinkle each stratum with salt, pepper, bits of butter and Parmesan cheese. Have ready a cup of half milk, half cream, into which you have beaten three eggs. Pour this over the prepared potatoes and bake, covered, fifteen minutes, then brown.

Brussels Sprouts on the Half-Shell.

The “half-shell” is that of an Edam cheese from which the inside has been scooped by degrees, leaving it as hard as wood. Cook the sprouts tender in two waters, adding salt to the second. Cut each sprout in two and put a layer in the bottom of the shell when you have washed and wiped it. Cover lightly with fine cracker crumbs, dot with butter, season with pepper and salt and let fall on each layer a few drops of lemon juice. Stick butter bits thickly in the uppermost layer of sprouts, cover with crumbs and bake to a light brown. The sprouts should be put in very hot and the filling be done so rapidly that they do not cool before going into the oven. Long baking would affect the integrity of the shell. The slight flavor of cheese is a pleasant addition to that of the vegetable.

Scalloped Beets.

This is a good way to use up cold beets, usually regarded as unavailable except pickles of salad. Slice the beets and put in layers into a bakedish. Strew each with dots of butter, pepper, salt, and a very little onion juice. “Just enough to be suspected, but not convicted,” said the merry matron from whom I had the formula. A few drops of lemon juice on each slice are the finishing touch to the seasoning. Cover with fine crumps; put a few spoonfuls of melted butter on the crumbs and bake, covered, for half an hour, then brown the crumbs.

Next week I shall talk of mushrooms, green beans, eggplant, Swiss chard, vegetable marrow, okra, and other summer delights, some of which have not had from American cooks the intelligent appreciation their merits deserve.

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Cuts of Meat and How to Buy Them

This is the second article in June of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on June 9, 1907, and is an educating article on the cuts of meat.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

Cuts of Meat and How to Buy Them

FULLY as much wit goes to the purchase of meat as to its cookery. This if true of all cuts, but especially of the cheaper pieces. Any one with the money to pay for them can go to a butcher and order rib roasts, porterhouse steaks, French chops and the best cutlets, and be tolerably sure of good meat. It is when economy is an important factor in housekeeping that a knowledge of the value of the cheaper cuts, of the methods of buying and cooking them, is most desirable.

Beef is, of course, the great standby. There is a tradition that one can eat unvaried beef for a longer time without weariness than is possible with any other meat. Its nutritive values are high, and these, fortunately, are not confined to the prime cuts. Rightly purchased and prepared, it is feasible to economize in getting beef and not suffer in the process.

WAYS OF ECONOMIZING

Do not let me be misunderstood. If you wish good roast beef—roast pure and simple—you will have to buy a rib roast. If you desire a plain broiled steak, you must get either the porterhouse, the sirloin, the so-called “Delmonico” or “short” steak, or the hip bone steak. But by the purchase of cheaper cuts you may give your family beef a la mode, beef a la jardiniere, baked steak, smothered steak, beefsteak and onions and a variety of other savory dishes in the enjoyment of which they will forget to pine for the “choice cuts.”

Yet even these one may have by exercising skill in buying, A large family who have a place in which to meat may buy a big piece of beef—the whole cut of the ribs—at a price far smaller than they would give for any one of the favorite cuts. This piece would weigh from sixteen to twenty pounds, and can be cut in a variety of ways. A good steak may first he taken from the top. Then the tenderloin may be removed to make a line roast of fillet. Bart of the rest may be tied in a round and the part near the top of the ribs will make an excellent roast. Lower down, where the meat is less tender, the beef may be cooked a la mode or a la jardintiere or as a pot roast or made into a savory stew. It is a great mistake to think that stews are not nutritious. That this prejudice against them prevails so generally is due to the fact that they are usually poorly cooked.

THE PROPER WAY TO STEW

Fast boiling of meat in too much water, with no seasoning beyond salt and pepper, or, perhaps, an onion, produces a dish that deserves all that can be said against stews. But when the meat is cut in rather small pieces of medium size, put over the fire in cold water and cooked long and slowly, then seasoned judiciously by some one who knows the possibilities of herbs, sparingly employed, of celery salt, mushroom and walnut catsup, Worcestershire sauce, kitchen bouquet and the like, the result gives one a new idea of what may be meant by a stew.

The nutritive qualities are only lost when the liquor in which the meat is cooked is drained from it and converted into soup or used for some other purpose. Much of the good of the meat goes into the stock, and this should be eaten with the meat.

USING ODDS AND ENDS

To return to our piece of beef. From the bones and trimming of so large a section as this there may be made good soup stock. If there is more than is desired for stews, part of it may be minced for Hamburg steaks, to be either broiled, fried or baked, in small cakes or in one large steak. Bart of the beef may be pickled if there seems to be risk about keeping it.

When buying beef in smaller quantities it is well to bear in mind that while a cut from the round will not make a satisfactory plain roast it is excellent as a pot roast, or, as I have said, for beef cooked in any of the other ways I have mentioned. A steak from the top of the round, if pounded and rubbed with oil and vinegar half an hour before cooking, may be broiled and will please those who do not insist upon the tenderloin. The “short” steaks are almost as good as the porterhouse if properly cooked, although they, too, lack the tenderloin.

In purchasing lamb or mutton it is possible to achieve good results with small money by the exercise of judgment in buying. Long ago I rendered my tribute of gratitude to the household writer who first taught me the value of a forequarter of lamb or of young mutton. In the prevalent rise of prices, this, too, has soared from the 12 and 13 cents a pound it used to cost to 4 or 5 cents more on the pound. Even so, it is an economy to buy it.

From a forequarter of lamb or young mutton—which means a yearling lamb—weighing from seven to ten pounds you may secure a roast, a dish of chops, a stew and a soup. Have your butcher “lift” the shoulder out, taking away a good deal of the meat from the ribs as he does so. In a ten-pound forequarter you will have a shoulder roast of from four and a half to five pounds. Your butcher will wish to break the bone—but don’t let him do it! Have the piece roasted just as it is, and you will find it delicious. For a change you may sometimes have the bone extracted altogether and fill the orifice with a good stuffing.

You will now have from seven to ten nice chops, according to the size of the forequarter, which you can broil or fry, and for which you would pay from 20 to 28 cents a pound if you bought them by themselves, instead of with the rest of the large piece. From the neck and trimmings of the chops you can make a stew or a soup or both. The breast may either be cut up into stew meat or else rolled into a little roast and baked. Served with tomato sauce it is an appetizing dish.

If you have a small family, you may secure variety in buying a leg of mutton by having it cut in two, boiling the half nearer the shank, serving it with caper sauce and roasting the loin end. Or you may cut a couple of chops from the loin end of the leg and roast the near the shank. Also, it is worth while to bear in mind that the shoulder chops, which usually cost about half as much as the rib chops, may be trimmed into a very fair imitation of French chops and the trimmings used for soup or stew. Or the whole chop may be broiled or else cooked in casserole. The meat is quite as good as that from the ribs.

Veal, too, may be bought with judgment. The fillet is the most expensive cut, but it is no better than the loin or the shoulder. When the latter has had the bone removed (to be used for soup), the hole left filled with a good stuffing, and the meat slowly and thoroughly roasted and served with a rich brown gravy, it is as savory a dish as can be offered, and will bring joy to those whose gastronomic consciences permit them to eat veal.

The breast, too, is tender, and while the fact that it is rather a thin cut, except in a pretty large calf, does not make it a satisfactory roast without a little care, it may be boned, spread with a good stuffing, rolled and roasted. The breast is one of the cheapest cuts of veal, and to many one of the best. Either the neck or the leg pieces of veal may be used for stewing, and will make a good potpie with dumpling, or an excellent curry or a savory stew.

Marion Harland

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The Art of Canning Vegetables

This is the first article in June of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on June 2, 1907, and is the second of two talk on the art of canning fruits and vegetables.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

The Art of Canning Vegetables

USE glass jars always. Apart from the danger that the acid of the vegetables will make a poisonous combination with the metal can, the amateur who undertakes to solder the top to make it air-tight is likely to do the work unskillfully. Moreover, should the fruit ferment, the housewife cannot detect the beginning of the mischief, and check it by cooking the contents of the can a second time.

You cannot be too careful in preparing jars, tops and rubbers to do their part in the delicate process. It is never safe to use last year’s rubber bands for this season’s canning. They are cheap, but were they three times as expensive, the loss of two cans of fruit would be more than the price you would pay for the assurance that makes success doubly sure.

Sterilize jars, tops and bands by laying the first two in boiling water and not taking them out until you wish to fill the jars and clamp down the covers. Dip the rings into the boiling water just before they are fitted into place. Neglect of preliminary sterilizing ruins many a fine batch of “canned goods.”

To Can Tomatoes.

Select ripe tomatoes. The hard, whitish-green portions interfere with the good looks and the general integrity of the rest of the tomatoes. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes; cover the pan in which they are, to keep in the heat, and leave thus for five or, six minutes. Then strip off the skins and cut out defective or unripe parts.

When all are ready, set over a quick fire. Long and slow boiling injures color and flavor. Cover the kettle, that the boil may begin sooner than if the air were freely admitted. Boil for one minute, lift the kettle from the fire and rub the tomatoes through sterilized colander into a scalded bowl. This done, return to the kettle, and cook fast for ten minutes after the boil begins again.

The cans should be put now into fresh boiling water, and the pan containing them set on a table or chair near enough to the range to enable you to transfer the contents of the kettle directly to the cans, and while the pot is still bubbling. Dip out each ladleful from the kettle, and pour into the can which has been emptied that instant by an assistant. The jar must be filled to overflowing, the rubber being already in place. The cover is clapped on without the delay of a second and screwed down tightly. Now wash and wipe the jar, and set where the light will not strike it. When perfectly cold, wrapping paper and set away in a cool place.

Light is a serious disadvantage to canned fruits and vegetables. The forgoing directions apply to all kinds of canning, so far as the sterilization of the jars and rubbers, the actual boiling point at which the kettle must stand while the contents are transferred to the jars, the rapidity with which this is done, the scaling, cooling and the wrapping of the filled jars are concerned.

To Can Tomatoes Whole.

Scald and strip as directed in last recipe. As you peel the tomatoes, lay them in a colander to drain off superfluous juice. Have ready a kettle of really boiling water. When the tomatoes are all skinned, put them into the boiling water and leave them eight minutes, or until the boil begins again. Take out a few at a time—just enough to fill one jar; fill this up with boiling water from the kettle, seal, set aside and go on with the second jar. Proceed thus until all the tomatoes are used up.

Select the finest and firmest tomatoes for this purpose. Break them as little as possible, dipping them out with a wooden spoon.

To Can Tomatoes for Stuffing.

Peel and stew tomatoes of ordinary size, and strain through double cheese-cloth without pressing. Set the liquor aside to be used as I shall presently indicate.

Choose large, smooth tomatoes of uniform size. Do not take off the skins, but with as small,, keen-bladed knife extract the cores neatly. Arrange them in large baking pans; cover them entirely with cold water; cover the pans and leave them in the oven until the water begins to boil. Meanwhile, bring the reserved juice of the stewed tomatoes to a fast boil, and have the saucepan containing it close at hand and still boiling. Put the whole tomatoes with care into large-mouthed quart jars, fill these to overflowing with the hot juice and seal at once.

Tomatoes thus prepared may be stuffed and baked in the winter, and can hardly be distinguished from fresh.

One housewife assures me that she has used them as salad, filling them with celery or with shrimps and disposing upon lettuce leaves, then covering with mayonnaise dressing, and that they are almost equal to raw fruit. I do not vouch for the truth of her story. Tastes differ as to degrees of excellence. I do know that my stuffed tomatoes—warmed to the heart—are good.

To Can Asparagus.

Put the stalks to within two inches of the tips. There rest of the stem is wood. It will not be eaten, and takes up room in the jar that might be occupied to more advantage. Lay the asparagus, thus abbreviated, evenly and close together in a boiler and cover with cold water slightly salted. Put the cover on the boiler and set over the fire. Bring to a slow boil, and keep it up ten minutes, never letting the bubble become violent. Remove the asparagus gently with a wooden ladle; put into the jars, the tops in orderly array, uppermost; fill with boiling salt water and seal.

To Can Spinach.

Pick over the spinach when you have washed it and strip the leaves from the main stems without bruising them. Cover with cold water and leave this to freshen and crisp them. In an hour’s time transfer the leaves, dripping wet, to a granite or porcelain pot, adding no water except that which drips from the spinach. Set this pot or jar in a larger vessel of cold water. Cover the inner vessel closely to keep in the steam and set both over the fire. When the water in the outer pot begins to boil, open the inner and stir the contents gently with your wooden ladle to make sure that they are heated to the center. Cover again and let the boil go on for half an hour more. There should be enough liquid from the succulent leaves to cover the spinach when packed into the jars. Seal immediately.

To Can Beets.

Small beets are the best for canning. Wash as for present use, and leave an inch of stalk at top to prevent bleeding. Boil in slightly salted water; peel as for the table. Have ready in a neighboring saucepan enough cider vinegar to cover the beets. You must use your own judgment as to quantity. To each quart of vinegar add two tablespoonfuls of sugar, a teaspoonful of strained onion juice and a teaspoonful each of pepper and salt. Bring the vinegar to the boil. Pack the beets while hot into heated cans can cover with the vinegar from the boiling saucepan.

To Can String Beans.

The beans must be young, and newly gathered. If toughened by long keeping, or if old and stringy, they are not available for our purpose. With a sharp knife remove the strings from both sides of the beans. As you do this let the prepared beans fall into ice-cold water. Now, cut them into inch-lengths, still dropping the bits into water. Put over the fire covered with cold water, slightly salted and peppered. Boil until soft, but not broken. Transfer to heated jars, cover with boiling salted water from the kettle and seal.

Okra.

Can as you would string beans. It is absolutely essential that pods be young and tender.

Stale vegetables are unfit for canning.

A paper upon canning fruit will Appear during the summer. To give it before the height of the ripening time is upon us would be premature.

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A Revival of the Art of Preserving

This is the final article in May of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on May 26, 1907, and is the first of two talk on the art of canning fruits and vegetables.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

A Revival of the Art of Preserving

IF THE agitation and alarm excited by “food scandals” with the details of which the newspapers have reeked lately have no other permanent result, they have revived the custom of domestic preserving in thousand of households.

Canning is hardly fifty years old. It made its way but slowly for time. We paid fifty cents apiece for cans of fresh tomatoes, and $1 for a quart of canned peaches. Then factories of “canned goods” started up like mushrooms after a summer shower all over the country; prices came down on the run under the weight of competition, old-fashioned preserves went out of favor. They were expensive; they took time and thought that might better be bestowed upon worthier objects, and they were less wholesome than fresh, ripe fruits which retained, when canned, the flavor of the “real thing.” Here and there a housewife who learned her trade in the late forties and early fifties was stubborn in the belief that preserves, properly made, hurt nobody, and that the canned fruits were insipid caricatures of the ripe originals.

By degrees thoughtful women with more advanced ideas upon most subjects have swung around to her standpoint. with regard to conserves of fruit. We have learned that much sugar and long cooking prevent the generation of mischievous germs, and that where there is a modicum of sugar, and that little, when combined with acid fruits, is not cooked long, other agencies must be called in to secure sterilization. Hence—by a natural process of reasoning—the lavish use of “chemicals” in canning factories. This admitted, much become clear to the housemotherly perceptions that had puzzled her heretofore. We knew that canned fruits needed the addition of sugar and cream to make them presentable to our palates as desserts. We were aware, even after they were thus qualified and dressed for the table of a slightly bitter flavor in the “chemical blondes” and a certain roughness left upon the tongue.

Thanks to scientific sleuths we know now the full (and the fell) meaning of these peculiar features of the cheap and convenient substitutes for our grandmothers’ preserves, and we have resolved—thousands of us—to do our canning and other kinds of preserving fruits and vegetables. The health of our children is of more value than our time—precious as that may be.

In the practical directions for putting up fruits which will follow will be found some for canning. During the winter, which is now, we fondly hope, “over and gone,” at last, have had so much solid comfort in the store of fruits put up last summer under my own eyes that I am in good heart for the recommendation to fellow-housewives to do likewise. The “canned things” of unrighteous commerce have long been proscribed from our bills of fare. Home-made jellies, marmalades, and preserves are more delicious and indubitably more wholesome.

The “system” of which we spoke last week is eminently desirable in this branch of cookery. Have everything that will be required in the work laid to your hand before you begin.

In dutiful and affectionate imitation of my own grandmother’s and my mother’s methods, I do the bulk of my preserving in the early morning. Every utensil is set in order on kitchen table; if jellying be the business in hand, the fruit, preserved last night, was put into a covered crock and set in a pot of hot water at bedtime, the fire being kept low all night. By the time I (and the sun) am ready for work, the currants, quinces, or crab apples are cooked soft in their own juice and ready for straining. By 9 o’clock the jelly is in glasses, and the cooking utensils washed. Preserving at high noon is what our English sisters call “beastly work.”

Preserved Strawberries.

Choose fine, firm berries for preserving. The smaller and less sweet may be made into marmalade. It is well, on this account, to make marmalade on the same day. Cap the berries, handling lightly, not to bruise them. Allow a of fruit to one of sugar. Use the best grade of sugar in preserving.

Wash and drain the berries, not shaking the colander, yet letting all the water drip that will come away. Put a layer of fruit into the kettle; cover thickly with sugar, and fill the kettle in this order. Cover and set at the side of the range, where it will heat slowly for the first hour. Quicken the boil and cook steadily half an hour. Take out the berries, a few at a time, not to crush them, with a broad, perforated skimmer. Spread upon large platters and set in the sun you boil the syrup left in the kettle fast and hard. It should be quite thick in half an hour unless the berries were too watery. Return the berries to the syrup, and let all boil up once. Fill small glass jars with the hot preserves. Have them full, as the contents will shrink in cooling. Seal while hot.

Preserved Raspberries.

The large yellow and red varieties are best for preserving, although the smaller kinds and wild “black caps” make good marmalade. Cook exactly as directed in the recipe for preserving strawberries.

German Preserved Strawberries.

By this name are known to sellers and buyers the singularly delicious strawberries put up in narrow, tall jars.

Prepare the berries as for preserving in the usual way, and put them with an equal number of pounds of sugar in the kettle. Bring to a gentle boil, keep this up for one minute, and transfer the fruit with a broad, perforated skimmer to several large platters. Cover with panes of glass and set in the full heat of the sun. Leave them there all day; take in sunset and put out again on the morrow. Meanwhile, boil down the syrup until rich and clear, set away and on the third day put it back on the fire. When hot add thee berries, boil for five minutes and seal in small jars.

Berry Marmalade.

For each pound of capped and weighted berries allow three-quarters of a pound of white sugar. Put the berries into the kettle and to a steady boil. Keep up for half an hour, then dip out all the juice that will come away without squeezing the fruit and add the sugar to the berries left in the kettle. Do not be afraid of getting the marmalade too dry. The sugar will make syrup enough. Cook for half an hour after the contents of the kettle begin to boil again and turn, boiling hot, into tumblers or jars, sealing at once.

Make jelly of the surplus juice you have dipped out.

Both manufactures may be carried on at the same time.

Preserved Cherries.

Get large tart cherries. Extract the stones, saving the juice that escapes in the operation. Put the sugar into the kettle with the juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Then add the fruit, cook for half an hour, take the cherries out with a skimmer and spread on broad platters in the sun. Boil the juice thick, skimming as the scum rises. In an hour’s time return the cherries to the syrup, cook slowly for fifteen minutes after the boll begins, anew, and turn hot into jars.

Orange Marmalade.

Take the skin from twelves large oranges. Before the skins have time to harden into dryness, remove the thick white lining and shred the outer yellow peel with sharp scissors into thin strips an inch long. Leave these in cold while you slice the pulp of the fruit thin, removing the tougher membrane and all seed. While you are about the work an assistant should prepare two large grape fruit and one lemon in like manner. Leave the skins in water—which must be very cold—until the prepared pulp is ready. Put pulp and peel together, draining the peel free of water, and set in a cold place all night.

In the morning measure the juice, straining the pulp through a colander, and mix with the liquid a pound of sugar for every pint. Return the juice to skins and pulp. Put them over the fire and bring to a slow boil. Simmer quietly until the peel is clear and tender. Then add the sugar and cook steadily for forty-five minutes longer. The peel should be translucent and the marmalade a clear golden jelly.

This is a truly exquisite conserve if properly made. Not even the famous Dundee marmalades surpasses it.

Marion Harland

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Economizing Time, Money and Strength in Housekeeping

This is the third article in May of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on May 18, 1907, and is an interesting discussion on how to economize time in housework.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

Economizing Time, Money and Strength in Housekeeping

“SYSTEM is not a talent!”

I penned the words a quarter of a century ago. Today I turn back to them and the talk built upon them with a heart saddened as by a personal grief. I can begin this paper with nothing better suited to the case of four-fifths of the housewives who are my present audience. Listen! and judge for yourself if this be not true:

“The notable housewife who would be ashamed to admit that she does not look narrowly after paper and twine, bits of cold meat and scraps of butter—who does not calculate wisely concerning coal, candle-ends and crusts—confesses, without a blush, that she takes no thought of the gold-dust, known among us as minutes and seconds, that are sifting through her fingers. By and by she is as truly impoverished as if she had thrown away the treasure by the nugget. Then comes the lament, if not the repentance, unto life. She is ‘run to death with work,’ but to save her life she doesn’t see how it is to be helped. She never could economize time. She has no genius for arranging her business to advantage.”

SYSTEM IS EVERYTHING

I went on to say what I have repeated with vigorous emphasis—energy having gathered vehemence under the pressure of twenty-five years of added experience—“System—by which. I mean a sagacious and economical apportionment of the duty to the hour and the minute; an avoidance of needless waste of working hours; a courageous putting forth of the hand to the plow, instead of talking over the labors to be performed while the cool morning moments are flying—SYSTEM, then, is not a talent!”

I recall as if it were yesterday the circumstances under which the sentences were written. A neighbor—as city blocks settle neighborliness—had brought her fancy work over and sat herself down in my easiest chair to “spend the morning.”

“I know you don’t visit in the forenoon, and don’t want company then, but I thought I would run in and talk a few matters over. And it won’t hurt you to get out of the rut now and then. You are in danger of becoming a mere human machine.”

A FOOL TO HER FOLLY

I made no reply beyond a civil smile. It is the one and only way of meeting unintentional impertinence possible to a gentlewoman—and the most approved method of answering a fool according to her folly.

For two hours I hearkened to details of housewifely and domestic difficulties—a dolorous recital that returned oft and again to the impossibility of crowding all that is expected of a wife and mother who is also a housekeeper into the day, or week, or month appointed unto woman for work.

“Man’s work is from sun to sun;
Woman’s work is never done.”

she quoted, in rising to take her tardy leave. “My husband says it is bad management on my part, and tires me out by talking of ‘business principles introduced into the household.’ You know as well as I do that such talk is bosh! Maybe you systematic people, who do everything by rule and measure, may be able to accomplish something in that line. I haven’t a bit of system in my make-up. I wasn’t built that way!” With which morsel of slang she went her way to “be at home when the children come from school for luncheon.”

USE BUSINESS PRINCIPLES

In the fragment of my precious forenoon that remained after she had nibbled at it for two hours, I wrote what I have selected as the starting point of our confabulation today.

I believe, and hold for certain, that it is practicable to run a household upon business principles. That so few women recognize and act upon this as a cardinal truth is one reason why our work is “never done.” My opinion is that a man wrote the couplet, and that there is sarcasm at the bottom of it.

To begin with, take account of your duties and the time you will have to give to each. That “something must be crowded out” is as certain in your daily tale of labors as it is in your husband’s business. The unexpected is likely to fall into his lot as into yours. He leaves a margin for it, and so must you. For example, you know that three meals are to be prepared and served tomorrow. Before you close your eyes tonight arrange in your mind what shall compose these meals; what materials are in the larder that may be used for this purpose; what you must buy to supplement the supply on hand, and what you can afford for the outlay. You had company yesterday, and, manage as you will, an extra mouth does make a variation in the food bills. Beckon what your guests cost you and make up the difference by contriving a simpler menu for the next meal. I do not counsed meanness in showing one way in which the bills may be “evened” at tile week’s end. The canny housemother rather enjoys the task of keeping up her reputation as a good provider by dainty devices, best known to Frenchwomen, but which we are learning to practice. Yesterday’s roast is capable of metamorphoses the less ingenious caterer does not dream of. A spoonful of gravy; a cupful of cooked vegetable; half a dozen eggs and a handful of lettuce; the heel of dry cheese; a cluster of bread crusts, are so many possibilities in the eye of the aforesaid canny manager. In two or three households that I wot of, the day on which “the mother” is called to the kitchen to concoct a “toss-up” luncheon or dinner is hailed with acclamation by the children, while the father’s smile directed to the head of the table and his hearty “It is easy to see whose hand has been busy here” repay with compound interest for all the heat, the planning and the toil.

Housewifery is a profession—a craft; a lifelong contract—not a series of haphazard makeshifts. Into it should go serious thought and sustained energies. Just now two great nations are stirred by what in early English were termed “wondrous commovements,” touching the right of women to vote for rulers and to make laws. In more direct phrase, as is well formulated by an Englishwoman:

“What is, in fact, proposed is that women, while continuing to do all their own work, shall take an increased share in that of men.’’

I have no intention of entering into the main question at issue here and now. I allude to it that I may impress more deeply upon our housemother’s conscience the duty of ordering her present duties so wisely as to prove her ability to take her part in men’s work in such fashion as may make the world better.

DIGNIFY HOUSEWIFERY

Have I, in seeming, strayed from the subject in hand? It is in seeming alone. If we would dignify our profession—than which there is none more necessary to the welfare of humanity—we must, study the proportions of our several duties, assigning to each its lawful place. Every department of household work must have its place, and be kept in it. The housemother’s schedule of employments should be as orderly as the college girl’s daily appointment of recitations. To every day its especial line of labor; to every hour a specific task, or rest and recreation.

For some the obligation involves a long apprenticeship. The iron is blunt. Then lay to it more strength. System is not a natural gift, but an acquisition.

OTHER ARTICLES ALSO PUBLISHED…
Family Meals for a Week
Housemothers’ Exchange

How to Entertain at an Evening Reception

This is the second article in May of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on May 12, 1907, and is the last discussion on entertaining at meals.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of The Washington Times.

How to Entertain at an Evening Reception

NOBODY calls it a party nowadays. The word has been appropriated by politicians and “personal conductors” of voyagers, until the social flavor has been entirely dissipated.

A hundred years agone what we knew as a “reception” would have been called a “rout.”

I happened the other day upon a sentence in the “Life of Sydney Smith,” by his daughter, Lady Holland, that tickled me amazingly. It might have been printed in 1907, in the satirical critic’s corner of the Morning Trumpeter, of Chicago, Philadelphia, or New York.

The biographer of the clerical wit tells of his dissuading invited guests from attending a certain “rout” by “painting and describing in glowing colors the horrors of a dumplin rout—the heat, the crowd, the bad lemonade, the ignominy of appearing next day in the Morning Post.”

Cynical Views.

A blunt husband once defined his wife’s semi-annual assemblage of all her acquaintances as “saying grace over the whole social hogshead.” It is not unusual to hear sporting Benedicts allude to the big function as “wiping off the slate.”

The average omnium gathering, christened by society leaders “the reception,” deserves all this and more. It is no compliment to be invited to one, and seldom anything but a bore to the givers of the “rout.” In former papers I have spoken of the knack of bringing together congenial spirits as the very genius of successful hospitality. This selection of harmonious elements is impracticable when invitations are issued by the hundred. Somebody is bound to feel out of place and ill at ease. Host and guests are lucky if the “somebody” be not in the plural and do not include most of those present.

So well is the difficulty of entertaining a motley throng of acquaintances understood that the necessity of providing other forms of amusement than conversation is universally acknowledged. To this end card tables are laid in one room, a band of music a cleared floor for dancing in another, where the entertainers can afford space and money for these preparations.

So much for the general reception that clears off a multitude of social debts and leaves the mind of the hostess easy on the score of slights and affronts conceived in the minds of some of her dear 500 “friends.”

If, however, you, my reader, a woman of fair means and hospitable disposition wish to bring together under your roof fifty or seventy-five friends in the evening, perhaps, to mark the debut of a daughter, or to introduce to your circle of acquaintances a guest whom you delight to honor, you may make the function a pleasant memory to all who take part in it.

The dining table should be drawn to the utmost length that will allow free passage to the crowd that will troop into the room when supper is served. Chairs are set back against the wall leaving as much space as possible for the waiters and the men who supplement the hirelings in caring for the wants of their partners. If you have a handsome embroidered cloth of sufficient length to cover the table fully and hang gracefully over the edge at each end, use it. If not, dispose the prettiest centerpieces and doilies you have over the polished surface, leaving little bare space. The light should come mainly from candelabra and lamps. The supper table must be more brilliantly lighted than that laid for a dinner. A low bowl of flowers has the place of honor in the middle. Smaller bowls are nearer the corners, and dishes of fruit, tastefully arranged and garnished with leaves, flank the central ornament. For eatables have glass dishes of salads—lobster and chicken—sandwiches, boned and jellied tongue and chicken as substantials, and between them saucers or plates of salted nuts, bonbons, olives, candied ginger, small cakes, etc. Forms of ice cream and ices should be at the top and bottom and near the edge at the sides of the table to be accessible to the waiters. Annoying accidents to gowns and table furniture have been the consequence of carelessness in the placing of creams. The waiter should not be obliged to reach over intervening dishes to get at the fragile and treacherous sweets.

Receiving the Guests.

Hostess and daughters, with the master of the house—if there be one who is willing to bear his part in the reception—take their stand near the front door of the drawing room at the sound of the first arrival.

Dressing rooms are provided for men and for women. Wraps and hats are laid off in these, one or two maids being in attendance in the ladies’ dressing room to assist in removing mufflers and cloaks, and lending a hand in whatever rearrangement of toilettes may be required. The appointments of the dressing table should be complete and in order. Hand-glass, shoe and glove buttoners, hairpins, powder-puff, pins—and even a work basket, from which the maid may draw, at a minute’s notice, needle and thread to repair an unforseen rent—are little things which are no trifles in the time of sudden need. While women wear trains and cobweb draperies, and other people’s discarded hair, and renew damaged complexions with cosmetics, the provident hostess must cater to their infirmities.

Punctuality Not Necessary.

The hours during which the house will be open to arrivals are named the card of invitation. Punctuality is not a desideratum at this function. In fact, few make a point of being on time. If the hours be from 9 to 12 the rooms do not fill up until 10 and after. Supper is usually served about 10:30. The dining-room is then thrown open, and some member of the family, or friends who assist the hostess in her task, make the motion to enter. After the first installment of eaters has found the way to the table, the rest follow at their free will. Many partygoers make it a rule never to go into the supper room. There is nothing invidious in the refusal to partake of salads, creams, etc., at a late affair. As the veteran society woman sometimes takes in three receptions in one evening, the propriety of abstinence at one or two is obvious.

Says a social arbiter: “So long as guests are arriving, the hostess has no right to leave her post for food, or drink, or rest.” The justice of this cannot be denied, since the newest comer has the same right to attention as the first. Yet strict obedience to the rule leaves all guests to their own devices in a way which destroys, root and branch, the ostensible end of the reception. A brilliant woman, who is a figure in the best circles of the city where she is at home, told, in my hearing, the other day, the story of her experience in a house to which she was invited:

“I have what may be called a ‘calling acquaintanceship’ with the mother of the debutante in whose honor the evening party was given,” she said. “I had also met the daughter—a pretty and well-mannered girl. She stood at her mother’s side as I entered the splendid drawing room, bowed gracefully, smiled sweetly, and spoke my name as an echo to her mother’s cordial ‘Ah, Mrs. Blank! How very good in you to come.’ To her formula the hostess subjoined, ‘Louise feels highly honored that have paid her the compliment of attending her debut reception.’

‘Indeed I do!’ smiled the echo.

“I am sure that neither mother nor daughter would have recognized me in my evening dress had not the footman’s sonorous enunciation of my name reminded them of my identity. I lingered near the door and the reception group long enough to hear hostess and daughter say the same things in substance to ten other arrivals. Then I drifted through, the rooms, idly seeing, at least, a hundred faces—all strange to me—and not speaking person. Not a creature seemed to see me until I landed in the crowded supper room.

The table was superb, and well tended, for a waiter asked if he ‘might bring me something.’ I said ‘No’ and strayed leisurely back to the drawing room. By now the crowd was a press and it took at least ten minutes to thread it. I had been in the hospitable (?) mansion thirty-five minutes. As I made my adieux to the smiling twain on duty at the door, the hostess said sweetly: ‘Ah, Mrs. Blank! Going already? How very good in you to come! Louise feels highly honored that you have paid her the compliment of attending her debut.’ And dutiful Louise responded, ‘Indeed I do!’

“I went home and marked against the ‘Reception’ on my engagement calendar—‘Done!’ In that ‘social’ half hour I had not exchanged one syllable with a human being except what I have repeated.”

A travesty upon hospitality, you say. Perhaps so, but what more could the urbane hostess do for a single guest?

To avoid the hollow pretense of entertaining those who honor your invitation, ask a few intimate friends to act as pudding-sticks to the incongruous ingredients. Let some belonging to your family circle—relatives, if not members of your household—distribute themselves through the rooms, and look out for the stranger within your gates.

You cannot afford to employ paid artists to make music, to act plays, and recite for the delectation of the assembly. You are poor in expedients if you cannot devise recitations, charades, jugglery, or music that will give people who do not know each others’ names a few themes of common interest.

OTHER ARTICLES ALSO PUBLISHED…
Family Meals for a Week
Housemothers’ Exchange

How to Entertain at a Dinner

This is the first article in May of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on May 5, 1907, and is the second last discussion on entertaining at meals.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of The Washington Times.

How to Entertain at a Dinner

A DINNER is the stateliest if social functions. The acceptance of an invitation to dine should be regarded almost in the light of a vow. We are all familiar with the dictum of a modern arbiter elegantiarum, who was also a wit: “Accept an invitation to dinner with care. When you have accepted, go, if you are alive. If your die, let your executor go in your place.” It is ill bred, because inconsiderate to the verge of unkindness, to send a regret, unless for reasons that would hinder you from the fulfilment of a business engagement of extreme importance.

The law is based like the majority of social rules upon common sense. In making up her company, the sophisticated hostess selects the component parts as she would compound a cake, considering the effect of each ingredient upon the finished product. I called attention to this fact last week, in our 1uncheon talk. The composition of a dinner party is yet more important on account of the longer time passed at table. The orderly progress of an eight or ten course dinner occupies from an hour and a half to two hours. To be tied to one’s chair when one’s next neighbor has not an idea in common with one, and sometimes no ideas whatever, so far as his companions can discover, is purgatory, not pleasure-making. Invite people who would enjoy meeting their fellow-guests, making sure to have one or more good talkers, who will act like leaven in keeping up general liveliness. So well is the expediency of this ingredient in the social loaf understood that some hostesses who do not number many brilliant conversationalists upon their visiting lists, go outside of the pale of personal acquaintanceship for what may be classed as good table talkers. The subject of table talk is one that has engaged the thoughts and pens of able writers. It is full of interest. With it we have nothing to do today.

Eight the Perfect Number.

Some one has called eight “the perfect number for dinner.” One additional leaf in the family board will usually grant all the room needed for that number. One word on this head may be useful, Avoid crowding chairs together to an extent that will make seating the guests a matter of difficulty, or bring their elbows into contact in the course of the business of the meal. Leave room for the waitress to pass plates to and from each place. But avoid, as the other extreme, wide reaches of cloth that impart to the air of a waste and dreary wilderness. Without crowding the decorations and the dishes of olives, salted nuts, celery, etc., that are catalogued as “hors d’oeuvres,” see to it that no ghastly expanses of white damask make the feast seem scantily set forth. These are minor details, but disregard of them has marred the symmetry of many a dinner.

Dinner is announced by the butler’s or maid’s appearance in the door of the drawing room, with a bow to the hostess, and “Dinner is served.” Have I ever told in this column the anecdote of the new maid who had been duly instructed her employer as to the proper form of announcing the several meal? When told the cook to let company know that all was in readiness for eating, she horrified that mistress by droping her Old World courtesy in the doorway, and voicferating at a pitch that turned all eyes to ward her:

“Please, ma’am, breakfast is on; luncheon is ready; dinner is served.” The matter of her lesson was correct. In manner and in discrimination of times and seasons she was woefully astray.

Your dinner, then, is served. You have already signified quietly to each man woman he is to take into the dining room. The woman takes his right arm, the party moves toward the entrance, the host leading the way with the guest of honor, or the oldest women present or the greatest stranger This question is between host and hostess in advance In unofficial Amen can circles there is no Axed law of precedence in these matters.

Setting the Table.

At each plate is the “service-plate,” and at the right of it as many knives as will be needed before dessert is served, each with the sharp blade turned toward the plate. Outside of the knives lies the soup spoon, with the inner side of the bowl upward. At the left of the plates the forks are arranged. Both knives and forks are laid in the order in which they are to be used, beginning with that farthest from the plate and working inward. If there be raw oysters, the oyster fork is placed at the right of the soup spoon or across the oyster plate itself. The tines of the forks are turned upward.

Spoons and forks intended for the sweets and for Roman punch or sherbet usually accompany the plates, saucers or cups containing these.

A glass of water stands just beyond the extreme tins of the knives. If wines be used, the first wine glass is between the knives and the tumbler of water, and the others are arranged in a curved line beyond the plate. Sauterne or some other light, sour wine goes with the fish; sherry with the roast, or other piece de resistance, and claret with game. If but one wine be served, it is usually sherry or claret. The waitress fills the glasses after each course from a bottle, about the neck of which a napkin is wound.

The table is lighted with candles in “fancy” sticks, or set in candelabra. If you have not enough of these to give sufficient light, supplement it by shaded gas or electric burners.

One cardinal rule in serving a dinner is that a plate must be in place in front of each person from the first to the last course. The soup plate is set down upon the service plate, and is taken up with it; the soup plate, in turn, is superseded by that containing fish, and so on. All the serving is done from the kitchen and side table, now called the “service table.”

The waitress sets down the full plate at the left of the guest and takes the emptied plate from the right. She also sets down clean plates from the right.

In serving, she begins first at the right, then goes to the left of host, or the right and then to the left of the hostess, thus going down, or up, until the master or mistress is reached last. Some still persist in the custom of serving the hostess first of all, but the fashion is passing away. The only excuse for it was that if there were anything wrong wish dish or serving, the blunder might be rectified before the food reached the guests.

Clear Table for Sweets.

Just before the sweets are brought on the relishes, salt and pepper are taken off on a tray covered with a napkin, that the removal may be noiseless, and the crumbs are brushed off with a folded napkin. For creams, etc., plates bearing doilies and finger bowls are set on from the right of the eaters. The are one-third full of lukewarm water. The doilies are transferred to the table by the guests, and the bowls set upon them, leaving the plates clear for dessert.

The water in the finger bowl is usually slightly scented, sometimes by a bit of lemon verbena or rose gerainum left floating in it, on which the fingers may be lightly rubbed. At a recent well-appointed dinner the finger bowls contained liqueur glass in which were a few drops of essence of wintergreen, which, just before handing the bowl to the guest, the waiter deftly tipped into the finger bowl.

Coffee is taken into the drawing room for the ladies. They withdraw from the dining room at a signal from the hostess, the men rising and remaining standing until their fair companions disappear, after which they will sit down for coffee and cigars.

If liquers, creme de menthe, benedictine or wild cherry are the sequitur of the dinner, they are passed in tiny glasses to the women in the parlors, to the men at the table.

It is not form for the latter to protract the sitting over “walnuts and wine,” coffee and cigars, beyond the conventional half hour of separation. Nor is it considered “the thing” to linger late in the hospitable mansion after a dinner party. If the hour for dinner be half-past 7, carriages should not be ordered for a later hour than half-past 10.

Menu for a Spring Dinner.
Clams     Cocktails
Consomme a la Russe
Baked Shad with Sauce Tartare
Fried Potatoes and Cucumber Salad
Sweetbread Croquettes
Crown Roast of Lamb with Mint Sauce
Green Peas     Asparagus
Roman Punch
Broiled Spring Chickens Lettuce and Tomato Salad
Strawberry Ice Cream (with the fruit frozen in)     Cakes
Crackers and Gorgonzola Cheese
Black Coffee

N.B. —Full dress is imperative at a dinner party. Sack coats, Prince Alberts, and skirts of walking length are inadmissible.

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Family Meals for a Week
Housemothers’ Exchange