Hot Cakes

This is the final article in February of the School for Housewives 1909 series published on February 28, 1909, and is an article on hot cakes.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the The Buffalo Sunday Morning News.

Hot Cakes

AN EMINENT English physician—the late Dr. Milner Fothergill—wrote to me of an article I had published, advising light and simple breakfasts for American families:

“You are on the right track. More power to your elbow! The almost in evitable feature of your national breakfast—buckwheat cakes—is an outrage of natural laws.”

I felt, then, that he was too sweeping in his condemnation. There is an old song that expresses the sentiment of the average “native” on this head:

Do you ask what I love best of all things to eat?
Let them come every day, or come without warning—
There is nothing in all the wide world so sweet
As sausage and cakes on a cold, frosty morning.

The rhymester hit the nail on the head in the last line. “The outrage” is most digestible and most toothsome in the keenest winter weather. The “cold, frosty morning” goes as naturally with the buckwheats as the sausage, and the addendum of maple syrup, which completes a satisfactory meal. Canny housemothers adapt diet to weather. Hot cakes belong to frost and snow, as ices and jellied tongue and crisp salads to the dog days. To the failure to accommodate food to the thermometric conditions is due much of the reproach under which this one of our national dishes lies. At the right season, and made in the right way, hot cakes never come amiss. Nobody denies their popularity. I suppose the proverb, “It goes off like hot cakes,” must be of American birth. We borrowed the germ from the aboriginal Indian. He pounded maize upon a flat stone, mixed it with water to a pulp, and baked it upon another flat stone heated in the embers. The hungry settler who chanced to be his compulsory or voluntary guest, eating of the hot corn cake, pronounced it very good, and improved upon it to the evolution of johnny cake and griddles.

That is the name they go by in Yankeeland to this day. At the South the are “batter cakes,” probably in contradistinction to the firmer dough of “pone” and “ashcake.” South of Mason and Dixon’s line they are but one of the numberless “hot breads” which furnish the breakfast table with the regularity of sunrise. It may be remarked in passing that in defiance of dietetic dicta dyspepsia is not so common a disease at the South as in New England. I do not account for the phenomenon; I merely record the fact.

It Stuck to their Ribs.

An intelligent widow, left as a young woman to bring up six children upon painfully narrow means, tabulated the results of gastronomic experiments upon the digestion and consequent growth of her brood. She writes, when they are all men and women:

“I found that a hearty winter breakfast of buckwheat or rice cakes and molasses satisfied them for the forenoon as nothing else did. As the oldest boy phrased it: ‘It stuck to their ribs longer.’ You will comprehend what he meant. It kept them from being hungry in school and while at work. They were sturdy and active and spent much time in the open air. That may account for the fact that buckwheats and molasses never disagreed with them. I was careful that the batter should be light, and the cakes were cooked with as little grease as possible.”

Had she made the experiment later in life, she would have learned that the cakes may be baked and not fried. The gain to the average digestion effected by the use of the soapstone griddle is inestimable.

The dietetic disadvantages of hot cakes lies chiefly in the frying process. Even when the griddle is at the precise degree of heat requisite to cook them through and brown them quickly some of the fat will strike into the heart of the batter and more clings to the surface of the cakes. The soapstone abolishes the evil. It should be cleaned thoroughly with hot suds, rinsed in two waters, dried and then rubbed with plenty of salt.

“But does madame know how much salt it do take?” asked one novice in the use of the utensil. To which I replied that salt is cheap, and bade her beware that not a drop of grease ever touched the griddle. If this admonition be obeyed there is no smell of hot fat in halls and other rooms than the kitchen—nor, indeed, there! The cakes leave the soapstone brown and firm and so free from oily matter that they do not grease the hot napkin enveloping them when served.

That they are far more wholesome than when fried goes without saying.

Old-Fashioned Buckwheat Cakes.

One quart of the best buckwheat flour, four tablespoonfuls of yeast, one teaspoonful of salt, one good handful of Indian meal, two tablespoonfuls of good molasses (not syrup) enough warm (not hot) water to make the ingredients into a thin batter.

Beat long and hard; much of the excellence of the cakes depends upon them beating. The old-fashioned cook beat the batter for ten minutes. Cover, set in a moderately warm place to rise, where there is no danger of a sudden chill during the night. In the morning it should be a spongy mass, nearly as white as cream and full of bubbles. Should it have a sour smell, beat in a very little soda dissolved in warm water. Mix at night in a great stone or agate-ironware pot, and leave some of the risen batter in the bottom—about half a pint—to serve as a sponge for the next night, instead of using a fresh supply of yeast. If the weather be cold, you may do this nightly for a week. Don’t try it for a longer time, for fear of mustiness. Add the usual quantity of flour, meal, salt and molasses every night, the old batter taking the place of yeast.

Some New England foremothers put into the batter two-thirds buckwheat flour and one-third oatmeal, and left out the cornmeal. To my way of thinking (and taste) the Indian meal makes the makes more porous and palatable.

Old Virginia Flapjacks.

One quart of buttermilk.
Two eggs, beaten light without separating whites and yolks.
Two tablespoonfuls of the best molasses.
One tablespoonful of melted shortening.
One tablespoonful of salt.
One teaspoonful of soda, sifted three times with the meal and flour.
Half a cupful of flour.
Two cupfuls of Indian meal or enough to make a good batter.
Sift together meal, flour, soda and salt. Do this three times. Stir the beaten eggs into the buttermilk with shortening and molasses. Put the sifted meal and flour into a great bowl; make a hollow in the middle and pour in milk, eggs, etc., stirring vigorously all the time. The batter should be a trifle thicker than that for flannel cakes. Bake at once.

Flannel Cakes.

One quart of sweet milk.
Three tablespoonfuls of yeast (or half a yeast cake dissolved in warm water.)
One tablespoonful of melted butter or other shortening.
Two eggs, the yolks and whites beaten separately.
One teaspoonful of salt.
About two cups of sifted flour—enough for a good batter.
Make a sponge of yeast, milk and salted flour overnight and cover. Leave in a sheltered corner to rise. In the morning add the beaten eggs and the butter. Some think these excellent cakes improved by the addition of a tablespoonful of molasses beaten in with the eggs and butter. They take on a richer brown if this be added.

Marion Harland

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Fish, Flesh or Fowl

This is the third article in February of the School for Housewives 1909 series published on February 21, 1909, and is an article on xx

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the The Buffalo Sunday Morning News.

Fish, Flesh or Fowl

THAT we of the Anglo-Saxon race—Britons and Americans alike—eat more meat than any other nation is a fact established beyond the reach of dispute. It would be waste of time, space, ink, paper and nervous force to enter upon a survey of the reasons why it would be well for us, physically, mentally—and vegetarians say morally—to eat but half as much flesh foods as we now consume. I doubt if all the lectures, essays and private arguments on the subject with which we have been pelted within a quarter century have lowered the income of one butcher in these United States. A thoughtful minority of readers who are willing to be learners, acknowledging that a heavy meal of beefsteak, fried potatoes and buckwheat cakes is not the best preparation hygienic science could devise for the day’s work, especially for the brain toiler, have modified the morning bill of fare. Fruit, cereals, made more nourishing by cream; broiled English bacon, toast, tea and coffee are stereotyped menus in thousands of homes. In as many fish is eaten more freely as a substitute for grosser meats. In like proportion eggs has assumed higher values, and command in consequence fabulous prices.

This complexion of dietetic opinion has done more than reverence for churchly ordinance to turn the attention of buyers and consumers to Lenten observances. I quoted here years ago the illustration of two points of view from flesh foods for the period enjoined by more than one communion of Christians:

“You are keeping Lent, I see, William,” said a Presbyterian master to his coachman as the former stopped at the door of the cottage in which the man’s family was at dinner.

The table was simply spread with salt codfish and potatoes.

“Ah, well,” pursued the employer, thoughtfully, “I believe it would be well for all of us if we abstained from eating meat four days in the week as the spring comes on.”

William pulled at his forelock.

“Yes sir! But, if you please, sir, you’re meaning that it would be better for the body. We think it is better for the soul.”

“It’s difficult to separate the two,” said the other, pleasantly, and went his way.

The Semi-Vegetarian.

He was right. While the two hold together we shall never show how much religious melancholia is the offspring of indigestion, nor how much easier it is for one whose stomach gives him no trouble to be a saint than it is for the confirmed dyspeptic to be a tolerably decent citizen and family man.

Granted, then, that we do eat more meat than is wholesome for us all the year around, and particularly in springtime, when the digestive organs are jaded by caring for much fiber and salted fats for four months on a stretch, what shall we buy and eat in place of beef, mutton, pork, veal and poultry?

The semi-vegetarian is quick to reply with a list of seafoods. “Full of phosphates, tender of tissue and with no coarse blood corpuscles to clog the stomach! Look at the hardy Norsemen and the islanders who subsist almost entirely upon fish and bivalves! Fevers and kidney complications are unknown, etc., etc., etc!”

The thorough vegetarian holds, as one wrote to me the other day, that “a fish suffers as much in the killing as a warm-blooded creature.”—while anther “thanks God nightly that nothing He has made has died that she might live.” This real simon pure and thorough-paced vegetarian, is ready with a substitute for meat, fish and crustaceans.

The Abused Organs.

“Nuts!” he proclaims, “solve the food problem to the demonstration.” Eaten with salt, or with sugar, or plain as they came from the tree; ground into protose, in imitation of Hamburg steaks; moulded into croquettes and fried in vegetable oil or butter; pounded fine and blended with milk and butter into a puree—there is, he affirms, practically no end to the varieties and uses of them—the food God made to grow for the service of man. In desserts, they are of acknowledged worth the world over. The gourmand, surfelted by the beastly profusion of roasts, entrees, games and gravies, resort to nuts and raisins, to walnuts and wine, to restore tone to the abused organs. It is a natural taste—that for this staff of life. What child does not take to a nut tree as naturally and eagerly as a squirrel?

Beans, peas and cereals of all kinds vary his dietary, but nuts are the staple.

Fish, eggs, milk, nuts and green esculents—we have here the menu for our reformed dietary for 40 days to come. As a woman who has lived long and seen much of the planet upon which we live, I may ask humbly, respectfully, what is to be done for those of us who cannot drink milk regularly without growing bilious; those who dislike eggs and cannot digest them; the respectable minority to whom fish is generally rank poison; and the greater number of men and women, and especially children, with whom nuts disagree violently, when eaten in abundance?

That all these exceptions (if you choose to call them so) do exist, and some of them in force, I constantly affirm. There may be healthy human beings who cannot digest meat and to whom the taste is disagreeable. I sat out a dinner party next to one such once upon a time. There were 12 courses—all well cooked—and she dined upon a boiled potato and a water ice. But, then, she was an extremist who maintained that milk and its by-products, butter, are “animal matter.”

Let It Alone.

If this sound flippant, believe that it is written in very sober perplexity, as the Lenten season draws on apace. If church and hygiene concur in prescribing fish as part of daily food, in the place of flesh, with eggs as the alternative, it is the bounded duty of those whose digestive idiosyncrasies revolt at the suggestion to fight against aversion, based upon experience, and learn to eat fish and eggs? We have become uncomfortably familiar with the words “ptomaine poison” within the last few years. Stories of fish, kept in cold storage from September until April, then vended as “fresh,” have made us shy of marketed salmon, cold and halibut. Even if we can be sure that our breakfast eggs are not of the crated variety, we tire of the ovates after 50 or 60 repetitions.

I wish some of staff of physicians and nurses would let us have their honest verdict upon the nut craze. I have not exaggerated the claims made by vegetarians of a certain type, on behalf of these substitutes for flesh foods. In reading the argument adduced in support of said claims, I have been led to collect statistics from mothers and housewives relative to the wholesomeness of nuts. I am surprised to find how many report evil effects from free use of the “substitutes.” With some systems they induce constipation; several women agree in declaring that they have headaches always after parking heartily of them, and six mothers report that eating nuts produces what are sometimes called “cold sores,” and by some known as “fever blisters,” on the lips. I have known for a long time that I cannot indulge in Brazil nuts and English walnuts without suffering from an irritating rash, and that the outbreak of “fever blisters” about the lips is a warning signal that no more of the oily nutriment must be eaten for awhile. Raw chestnuts are notoriously unwholesome.

What is the conclusion of the whole matter? One thing is clear: It is presumptuous and irrational to ordain a fixed dietary for human creatures. The homely adage that “one man’s meat is another man’s bane” is as true as if it had been recorded in the Scriptures. In the same family, as mothers will testify, there are as many varieties of likings as there are children. I do not believe in pampering foolish fancies in ordering our bills of fare. Boys and girls should be trained to partake of what is set before them, asking no questions for civility’s sake. But, when a certain article of food disagrees with child or adult once and again, it is absolutely wrong—a sin against nature and health—for that person to eat it. Something in you wars against that particular combination of ingredients. Let it alone! Be it fish, flesh, fowl, eggs, or even “the one perfect food—milk!” Some imperfection in the individual makeup is antagonistic. Follow the teachings of Mother Nature, when you have assured yourself that it is she who is speaking, and not caprice.

Marion Harland

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Second Paper on Colonial Cookery

This is the fourth article in January of the School for Housewives 1909 series published on January 24, 1909, and is a continuation of the previous article on colonial cookery.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the The Buffalo Sunday Morning News.

Second Paper on Colonial Cookery

The “spider” and the “hoe,” described in our former chapter on the colonial kitchen, had short, thick handles, by which they were lifted on and from the fire. The handle of the frying-pan was from three to four feet in length. There was not an inch too much of it when pancakes were to grace the family board.

The traditional feat of tossing a pancake up the chimney with dexterity that made it turn a somersault in the transit and alight unerringly in the middle of the pan may be an overstrained version of the fact that pancakes were tossed high and straight by accomplished cooks. If the daughter of a housewifely mother in training for managing a home of her own did not win the reputation accorded by a western traveler to the locomotive on a certain railway, of “jumping higher and lighting truer than any other in the State, the more refined phraseology of her eulogists meant the same thing. “She beats all for tossing a pancake,” conferred the degree of “past mistress of cookery.”

Here is one recipe for the vaunted delicacy.

Old-Time Pancakes.

“Beat six eggs light; whites and yolks must be separate. Beat the yolks 10 minutes by clock, then strain. The whites must stand alone. Mix the beaten yolks with a pint and a half of sweet milk that has not been skimmed. Warm milk from the cow is best. Then stir in a quarter of a pound of melted butter. Sift a scant cup of flour with a little salt; stir the flour, one handful at a time, into the egg and milk by turns, with a great spoonful of the stiff whites.

“You must have the frying pan clean and on the fire with a quarter of a pound of butter heaped in it. It must not burn, but it should hiss around the edges. Put in enough batter to cover the whole bottom of the pan, but the pancake should not be too thick.”

“Fry over hot, clear coals, toss the minute the lower side is done. Sprinkle with sugar with which you have mixed a little cinnamon. Or, if you prefer, roll the pancakes up plain and eat with a sweet butter sauce.”

“Mem. It is customary to have pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.”

You will complain that the formula the eighteenth century matron had time to write and to follow is elaborate by comparison with the terms of our modern recipes. What, then, will you say to our next selection?”

To Make Oyster “Pye.”

“Take a quart of large oysters and boil them in their own liquor, with onion, a little thyme, winter savory and sweet marjoram. Season with whole peppers and a blade of mace. When they have stewed a little take them off the fire and let them stand until they are almost cold. Then take the yolk of an egg, beat it up in a little of the liquor, and take some parsley, thyme and a little lemon peel, 12 of the oysters, a little salt, pepper, and a blade of mace and two good spoonfuls of grated white bread. Mince all very small, mix it with egg, and make it into lumps as big as oysters. Then make a good short crust, and put it in the patty-pan. Then put in the parboiled oysters, the lumps of ‘forced’ (sic) meat and the marrow of marrow bones, the yolks of 10 hard-boiled eggs, whole. Then cover your ‘pye,’ and just as it goes into the oven put in liquor the oysters were stewed in. It will take an hour’s baking. Then take off the lid. Have ready half a pound of butter, half a pint of gravy, the yolk of a hard egg, bruised and dissolved in the gravy, and a little lemon peel shred very small. Put it over the fire and make it very hot. Then squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, and pour it all over the ‘pye.’

“Lay on the lid again, and serve very hot.”

Without stopping to inquire how much oyster flavor remained in the “pye” by the time all the ingredients were in, pass we on to a formula that is simplicity itself when contrasted with the last:

To Make Butter Chicken.

“Take two chickens, picked very clean, and boil them with a blade of mace and a little salt. Take them off and cut them in pieces and put them into a toss-up pan with a little parsley. Shred a little parsley, a little lemon peel, a bit of butter, a little of the liquor the chicken was boiled in. Toss up all together with four spoonfuls of cream. Put in a little salt. Put it into your dish and some juice of lemon. Garnish the dish with sliced lemon, then serve it up hot.”

Crab Soup.

A recipe for crab soup was given to me, with the assurance that the original was found in a scrap book which bore upon a tattered fly-leaf the name of “Martha Washington.”

“Boil one dozen large, fresh crabs. They must be lively when they go into the pot. Let them get cold and pick out the meat with a fork or awl. Cut into bits a pound of corned pork and boil very fast half an hour. (Mem.—Smoked bacon will not do.) Take the pot from the fire and set in very cold water to cool. Skim off the fat as it congeals on the top and throw away. Put the liquor the pork was boiled in back over the fire. As soon as it is hot put the crab meat into this and stew slowly half an hour. Meanwhile whip the yolks of six eggs very smooth, pour upon them, stirring all the time, a pint of fresh milk which has not been skimmed, heated scalding hot. Put this into a clean stew pan, stir in the crab meat and the liquor in which they were cooked. At the last stir in a spoonful of green parsley chopped very small. Serve very hot.”

We heave a sigh of relief that onions, heard-boiled eggs and “lemon peel shred small” do not smother the taste of the sea food in this formula.

Writers of New England folk tales have made us familiar with the name of “tansey pudding.” One of them speaks of it as “a delicate dainty.” Could it have been what our North river chatelaine registers under the head of “a tansey”?

To Make a Tansey.

“Take the yolks of 18 eggs, the whites of four, and half a pint of cream, half a pint of the juice of spinage (sic) and tansey, together with a spoonful of grated bread and a grated nutmeg. Put in a little salt and sweeten it to your taste. Then beat it well together and put it in the dish and strew loaf sugar over it. Garnish it with oranges cut in quarters and serve it up hot.”

Presumably the dish was put into the Dutch oven after the loaf sugar (pulverised in the mortar and sifted through coarse net) was strewed on top. Please note that the write hints at nothing of the kind, or so much as approaches the fire in imagination until she enjoins that the “tansey” be served up hot.

Alas for the tyro in housewifery who was her contemporary, if she tried to lean practical cookery from the manuscript manuals of her elders!

Eggs were not 50 cents per dozen 150 years agone, yet 18 for one dish of “tansey” and a dozen for the next recipe on our list must have kept Dame Partlet and her pullets busy.

To Make Puffert.

“Take 12 eggs, one pint of milk, three-quarters of a pound of butter, one pound of sugar, one pound of currants, four pounds of flour, three spoonfuls of yeast, 12 cloves and one nutmeg. Mix well together; let it stand to rise. Then bake it. The milk and butter must be warm.”

Again, alas for the learner who could not read between the lines how long “it” was to rise; when the eggs were to go in; how the flour should be incorporated with the fruit; if this last were to be dredged, and if cloves were put in whole.

The cook-book maker of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries sets, in fancy, the unskilled worker before her, and, if she understands her trade, instructs her reader as if the learner were ignorant of the successive processes of compounding and cooking. Our very great-grandmother took too much for granted. Hence we find her store of practical recipes—which she called “receipts”—broken reeds, when we would fain depend upon her garnered wisdom. Her books are amusing reading. And other lessons than those that have to do with the preparation of rare and racy dishes are to be gathered from the study of them and of the times to which they belong.

Lessons of contentment with the lives we stigmatize as artificial and unhealthy, fast and crowded. If those were “good old times,” ours are better. If spinning was fine exercise for the growing girl, tennis, golf and other outdoor games are more healthful.

Solomon kept a very far look ahead in these as in major and minor masters of his day and ours.

“Say not though, ‘What is the cause that the former days were better than these?’ For thou dost not inquire wisely concerning us.”

Marion Harland

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Colonial Cookery

This is the third article in January of the School for Housewives 1909 series published on January 17, 1909, and is an article on colonial cookery.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the The Buffalo Sunday Morning News.

Colonial Cookery

I WAS conducted through an alleged “suite” of rooms the other day that ended in what should have been called “a light closet,” if it had not had at one side a tiny gas range that might have helped furnish a doll’s house.

“This,” said my hostess, proudly, “is my kitchenette! I had never heard the word before. No other would have fitted so well into the wee corner at sight of which I could not command my risible muscles. For that means the preparation of meat and drink for a family of four. So much—or so little—for the march of modern improvement in the housewifely world.

The whole kitchenette would have gone badly into the fireplace of a colonial kitchen. Those who have seen the domestic offices of lordly mansions in England and o this side of the Atlantic, visited now as antiquities, lived in as homes a century and a half ago, will testify that the above assertion is not an exaggeration of a fact. Even in thrifty New England, where space was not wasted as in the Southern and dwellings were more compact than in New Amsterdam and South Carolina, the huge fireplace filled nearly all of one end of a kitchen spacious by comparison with the rest of the house. The fireplace was wide, and it was deep. Massive andirons (we call them firedogs now) sprawled for a part on the hearth laid with great flat stones. Midway in the cavernous mouth of the chimney was fixed the crane, a stout, horizontal iron bar, hinged at one end, and fastened deep in the masonry. From this were suspended on pothooks and hangers, pots and kettles, big and little.

Two generations later school children knew their first copies in writing books as “pothooks and hangers,” with no thought of the origin of the words. They were solid verities, material agencies to our colonial dame. Crane and dependencies were of honest wrought iron. No “castings” for the cook of that day. Below the crane, whether it were dull or empty, burned a fire that never went out in winter, and smouldered for weeks together in summer under a blanket of ashes.

Before Stoves.

The cook stove and range were as yet in the imagination of the daring inventors. Everything was cooked over and in front of the open wood fire. Tea kettles clothes boilers, big-bellied pots, in which hams and “barons” of corned beef were boiled, and smaller “stew-pans” for vegetables, swung amicably side by side, in the red glare of deep beds of hickory embers.

In front of this substratum of living coals—so hot that the very ashes were alive—were ranged vessel in which baking was done. The semi-weekly baking of bread in the northern States was in the brick oven, built in the outer wall of the kitchen.

We see brick ovens still in colonial houses that have escaped the vandalism of improvement. They are usually closed by a blank wall within, leaving no token of their former work. From the outer wall protrudes the useless hump, like a wen upon the face of the “restored” homestead. Said restoration never goes so far as to open the mouth of the oven. It had an iron door in the days of its usefulness, and an iron floor laid upon a brick foundation.

On baking day the interior was filled with short billets of hickory or birch, the torch was applied and the door was closed. A narrow flue supplied a draught that converted the wood into coals. After they had heated the oven walls through and through, the coals were transferred to the fireplace, the floor and sides of the oven were swept clean and the loaves of bread were slid into the innermost recesses of the cave from a broad wooden shovel kept for that purpose.

It was my privilege as a girl to see, in the venerable homestead which was the birthplace of eight generations of our family, the identical shovel, black with age and hard as lignum vitae, from which had slidden brown and white loaves for 200 years. The dear great-aunt who then presided over the household took the Virginia guest into the spacious kitchen, lifted the latch of the iron door, and with her own hands showed me how the ancient utensil had done its part in the family baking.

“The oven was still in use when your father was a boy,” said the gentle voice. “Tell him that you saw it and the old shovel.”

When the fragrant loaves—light, hot and mellow brunette in complexion—were drawn from the recess, cake and gingerbread went in, and if the oven were a good specimen of its kind, there remained after the cakes were done heat enough for the weekly batch of pies.

The “Dutch Oven.”

I never saw the “brick oven” at the South. Bred was made daily there and in variety that still earns for southern “hot-breads” international reputation. It was baked in loaves, or as rolls, closely set together in the “Dutch oven.” Why the name, I do not know. It was a round or oval pot with a flat bottom and a tightly-fitting lid. Iron legs held it above the coals, among which frying pan and griddle loved to nestle, for baking and roasting required that air should pass between the coals and “oven.” A shovelful of coals covered the lid and kept the heat even.

“A spider” was a smaller pot of the same shape and furnished with three strong short legs. Johnny and hoe cakes were known also as “spider cake” when cooked in this. The hoe had no top. It was round and legless. To bring cakes and pones to perfection it was set in hot ashes—the live ashes of which I spoke just now—a mass of sparks dug out of the bowels of the fire that was never quenched for six months on a stretch.

Our colonial ancestors brought the turnspit with them from England. In some houses they were retained until the beginning of the 19th century. I talked last week with a gentlewoman of the old school, who had seen the “spit” in action in her father’s house.

“It demanded constant attention,” she said. “After the roast went on it was one person’s business to keep the ‘jack’ in gentle motion. But the properly-tended roast was perfect of its kind. A dripping-pan placed under I saved every drop of gravy.”

Where the spit was not available, large roasts were set before the fire in roasting-pots of corresponding dimensions. Coals were piled beneath and on the lid. The lid had to be removed for each basting and turning of turkey or joint.

The concoction of sweet dishes involved an amount of work the modern housewife would be horrified to contemplate.

Spices and pepper were ground involved an amount of work the modern housewife would be horrified to contemplate.

Nothing was bought ready made. Even flavoring essences were of home manufacture. Within my memory, the housewife who clung pertinaciously to the former ways as indubitably better than these, flavored blanc mange, jellies and cakes with lemon by rubbing the fresh peel upon lumps of loaf sugar, and with bitter almond by rubbing the sugar with green peach leaves. Rosewater flavoring was obtained by steeping rose petals in brandy. After the lump sugar was tinged to the proper degree of yellow or green, it was pounded in a mortar with a pestle, then sifted through lace or muslin to the powder suitable for cake-making.

Had “Longer Days.”

I shall, by and by, offer recipes in evidence of the truth that our foremothers had longer days than ours, hence more time to bestow upon the various processes of culinary operations.

One important branch of cookery in that far-off time when, according to my computation, there were 48 hours to the day, 14 days to the week, and 60 to the month—was putting up all manner of fruits and a few manners of vegetables for use when fruits and green vegetables were clean out of season.

I have recipes for pickles that call for an hour a day for a whole month; for preserves that could not have been brought to the requisite lucency and crispness by less than 12 hours’ skilled labor. Apples and peaches were pared, sliced and dried under the watchful eye of the mistress, turned twice a day, taken out with the young turkeys if the sun shone, and brought in should the skies threaten rain. Then they were put up in muslin bags and examined every Monday, lest worms and mould might attack them. Pears and peaches were pared, crushed and sun-dried into leather” and tomatoes stewed and strained and sunned into “honey.”

We have a way speaking of those departed dames as “thrifty and frugal!” To borrow an expressive nonsense word from Lewis Carroll, I fairly “chortled aloud” with wicked glee in poring over the time-sallowed manuscripts lent to me in the course of my explorations into the daily works and ways of our revered colonial housemother. Foodstuffs were cheaper then than now, it is true. But there was less money in circulation, and what was to be had was worth more than our currency.

Judge for yourself, my economical reader, as to the frugality of a bona-fide recipe, laid before me by the great-great-great-granddaughter of the chatelaine who administered domestic law in a dear colonial homestead on the Hudson River, over 160 years back of our extravagant times. I bring the spelling down to date:

A Stew of Pigeons.

“Take the pigeons, clean and flour them. Brown a quarter of a pound of butter in a stewing pan; put in your pigeons and, when they are brown on both sides, take them out, fling away your butter and wash your pan clean. Put your pigeons in again, with as much water as will cover them, two clovers, pepper, salt and one bay leaf. Let them stew slowly one hour and a half. Strain out the liquor and take the yolks of two eggs beaten up with a teaspoonful of vinegar. Mix in your liquor and thicken it. Put your pigeons in the dish and throw your sauce upon it. You must add to your sauce upon it. You must add to your sauce sweetbreads, mushrooms and roasted chestnuts. Boil these half an hour.”

The quantity of each of the articles last named is left to the discretion of the individual housewife or cook. Madame is more explicit in the next formula:

To Make Waffers (Waffles!)

“Half a pound of white flour, half a pound of fine sugar; then take a little water and boil and melt in it half a pound of good butter. Beat the yolks of two eggs well in a little lemon peel, orange water and a little lemon peel, shred small. Beat all these very well, butter your irons and bake them over a quick, clear wood fire. When the wafers are baked roll them up.”

Another authentic recipe is for

Pound Cake.

“One pound of flour, one pound of butter, washed in three waters, to get out the salt. Knead it well in the water, then squeeze out every drop of water in a clean linen cloth. Rub the butter then to a cream, with a pound of fine sugar flavored with lemon peel before it is pounded and sifted; beat into this a glass of brandy, a grated nutmeg and the same of mace, pounded fine and sifted. Now, whip the yolks of six eggs very light, and beat these into the butter and sugar and spice. At the last put in the whites whipped stiff and high by turns with a pound of sifted and sundried flour. Mix well and beat steadily for half an hour, always from the bottom of the batter.”

None of these were accounted “fancy dishes” by the thrifty dames aforesaid. They reel off the list of pounds of butter and quarter pounds thrown away as coolly as they call for mushrooms by the dozen and pairs of sweetbreads.

Next week we will record other and as startling instances of the “frugality” in time and material which, we were brought up to hold and believe as certain, was characteristic of our revered exemplars.

Marion Harland

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Learning to Cook and Proper Utensils

This is the third article in July of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on July 21, 1907, and is an educating article on cooking.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

Learning to Cook and Proper Utensils

A KNOWLEDGE of cookery does not come by nature, although many persons seem to think it does, if one may judge from the little trouble they take to prepare themselves for the work. Neither is it a “knack” that can be picked up at will and requires no preliminary instruction. Any one who wishes skill in the practice of cooking has to work for it as for any other profession. The great advantage of it over many other kinds of work is that even a little attention and labor will produce good results, and that such results appear at an early stage of the study.

Cookery has been called an exact science, and in a way this is true. But it is not like chemistry in its exactness—rather like agriculture, which, after the best efforts have been made, must in a great degree depend for success upon the weather. So in cookery perfect work in preparation may sometimes be spoiled by the eccentricities of the oven or the fluctuations of the fire.

Barring such accidents as these, however, one may be fairly sure of good effects, if one goes about the task in the right way. A few things even the “born cook” must know to start with, or there will be a failure.

Of course, the ideal method of learning cookery is by the practical direction of a skilful teacher—not by attendance at a cooking school, but by work in a kitchen, where, in the good old style inculcated by the immortal Mr. Squeers, we “spell it first and then go and do it.”

In other words, if one have a good cook book, and a competent cook at one’s elbow to give a few needed directions and corrections, one can learn more quickly by experience than in any other way.

DETAILS ARE IMPORTANT

If this cannot be attained, and if there is no motherly soul at hand to give counsel, the cooking school may be resorted to. I have known persons who declared they had derived great good from cooking lessons, but my observation inclines me to think that the gain was made when the pupils had had some preliminary instruction.

If one understands the rudiments, the “frills” can be acquired at a cooking lesson; but unless one enters a class for beginners at a regular cooking school, it is hard to attain familiarity with the first things of the kitchen.

The tyro in cookery who must make her own way with little or no aid except that which she can derive from a cook book should resolve from the first not to despise the day of small things.

There should be no high-flying attempts at elaborate dishes; and I may add that this advise is worth heeding even by those who know a little something of the outlines of cookery. When a familiarity with simple dishes is once gained the more involved processes will follow more or less as a matter of course, but they should be avoided for a good while.

A man once said that if a woman knew how to sweep a floor, to broil a beefsteak, and to make a loaf of bread, she would have no difficulty in getting a husband. He might have added, “or in keeping one.”

Even with this high aim in view, however, it is not well for the beginner to start too rashly upon a career as a bread maker. The broiling of the steak, a knowledge of how to cook plain vegetables, to roast a piece of meat, to make toast, tea and coffee, even to boil eggs, will all serve as beginning better than any process where judgment has to be used, as is essential in making bread, biscuit or cake or anything else in which the thickening qualities of the flour or other uncertain quantities have to be considered.

I have often wondered why it is that the young girl learns to make cake before she attempts anything else. Perhaps it is on the same principle as that which moves her to acquire a knowledge of embroidery before she can darn stockings and to play the piano before she can make her bed or sweep her room!

When I had daughters of my own who had to learn to cook, I gave them instruction in cookery and kitchen economy as I would have done in a language or a science.

THE RUDIMENTS

They were taught how to broil steak and chops, how to mix bread and biscuit. They were enlightened as to the difference between the consistency of dough for bread, for cake, or batter for griddle cakes and waffles.

They were taught that there were two kinds of frying—one, the process conducted in shallow fat, which is described by the French as to “saute” (pronounced so-tay), and is employed in frying sausage, pan fish, cutlets and the like; the other, the frying in deep fat, in which the object is immersed, and which is suitable for doughnuts, crullers, croquettes, fritters, potatoes and so forth. They learned that the heat in the latter case must be such that a bit of bread dropped into the fat would brown in a minute, and that food cooked in this mode was different thing from articles left to soak in lukewarm grease.

Also they learned that bread to rise to the correct degree must increase to double its bulk; that if eggs and milk were cooked together more than just the right length of time they would curdle; that to make a white sauce—the model of nearly all sauces—a tablespoonful each of butter and flour must be allowed to half a pint of milk; that the oven for roasting meat must be kept at a high temperature for ten or fifteen minutes after the roast goes in, so that the outside may be seared and the juices retained; that soups must always cook slowly; that the toughest meat can be made tender by long, deliberate cookery, and a score of other things which, while they were not sufficient to produce experienced cooks, were yet superstructure could be reared. I would advise every woman with daughters at home to go and do likewise.

“GO SLOW”

But there are housekeepers who have already homes of their own, or who are entering upon them, and are unequipped with the rudiments. If they have to learn these for themselves, I can only repeat, the advice I gave a few minutes back— “Go slow!” Provide yourself with a good cook book, and begin with simple dishes.

Believe the words of a veteran housekeeper when I say that your John would rather have for his dinner a well-baked potato, a perfectly broiled steak and a satisfactory cup of coffee than all the fancy and made dishes that you can perpetrate—unless these are done with the skill that bespeaks practice as well as enterprise.

Often I am asked concerning the utensils required for the cook, and I never hear the query without recollecting the dishes I have eaten that were prepared with the simplest utensils, and were yet good because the cook knew how to handle them.

One might as well expect French to be won by the purchase of a dictionary and a phrase book as cookery to be gained by an outfit of utensils. Certain articles are, of course, indispensable. A gridiron, a frying pan, baking tins, a covered roaster, mixing bowls and spoons, a grater and a vegetable press, a skimmer and a strainer, measuring cups and flour sifters, egg beaters and paring knives—but the list of these you will find in your cook book or can obtain from any housekeeper or from a salesman in a house-furnishing shop.

Having secured your utensils let me give you one bit of advice about them. Never begin to cook until you have gathered to you everything you are going to use in the preparation of the dish you have undertaken.

DELAYS ARE PERILOUS

The inexperienced cook wastes time and imperils the product of her hands by having to stop at critical moments to run to the pantry for this or that essential.

If you are making a batch of biscuit, have ready your mixing bowl and flour sifter, your spoon, measuring cup and rolling pin, your biscuit board and tins. Bring together all the materials, too: your flour and shortening and salt and milk and baking powder.

Having these and your recipe, recall to mind all you have heard about cookery being exact.

Remember that the famous French cooks are careful to weigh even the vegetables they use in their soup and leave nothing to chance. Presence of mind and happy guessing may be admirable in some emergencies, but they are out of place in the category of the inexperienced cook.

Be sure of your recipe, then go ahead! Follow directions and take no liberties. Nice customs may courtesy to great kings and queens, but a woman must be pretty sure of her dominion in her kitchen before she departs from the customs dictated by her superiors in knowledge and experience.

One of these days you, too, shall arrive, but, until then, “follow the man from Cook’s!”

Marion Harland

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More Summer Vegetables and How to Cook Them

This is the fourth article in June of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on June 23, 1907, and is the second talk on cooking less well-known vegetables in summer time.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

More Summer Vegetables and How to Cook Them

NEXT-TO-EVERYBODY has some idea how to fry eggplant. Therefore, I omit the recipe for preparing the delicious vegetable in that way. Comparatively few cooks know how good it may be made if handled in obedience to the directions which follow this preamble.

Parboil the eggplant for ten minutes if it be of medium size. Put it over the fire in cold, salted water and keep it there for ten minutes after the boil is reached. Plunge then into ice water and leave it to get cold and firm. It is well to parboil and cool it the day before it is to be cooked, as it will then be cold to the heart. When this has been done, cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise, and scrape out the heart, leaving a crust an inch thick. Mince the pulp and mix to a forcemeat with minced chicken, or veal or duck, fine crumbs, well seasoned, melted butter and a dash of onion juice. With this forcemeat fill both halves of the eggplant, put them together in the original shape and bind securely with soft cotton lamp wick or tape. Lay in your covered roaster, pour a cupful of good stock about it, cover closely and bake. Baste with the stock every ten minutes. It should be done in about forty-five minutes, unless it is very large.

Transfer to a dish, remove the strings carefully not to separate the halves, and keep hot while you thicken the gravy left in the pan with browned flour rolled in butter. Boil up and pour over and about the eggplant.

Eggplant a la Creole.

Prepare as directed in the preceding recipe until you are ready to stuff it. Then make the forcemeat of the pulp, a chopped sweet pepper, one young okra pod minced, four or five ripe tomatoes, cut up small, and a cupful of fine crumbs. Add a great spoonful of melted butter, pepper and salt to taste, not omitting a little sugar to correct the acid of the tomato. It is well to parboil the pepper if it be large, before adding it to the stuffing.

Fill the hollowed halves with the mixture, bind as in the last recipe, and lay in the pan.

Pour a rich tomato sauce about it and baste with butter and water. Keep the top of the roaster on while the eggplant is cooking, and it will not shrivel.

Serve as with the stuffed eggplant above described and pour the tomato sauce about the base.

Scalloped Eggplant.

Peel, cut into strips as long as your finger and nearly as wide. Lay these in ice-cold water well salted, and leave in a cold place for an hour. Then boil until they are clear and tender, but not broken. Drain all the water off in a colander, and arrange the strips in a buttered bake dish. Butter, pepper and salt, strew with fine crumbs, season these in like manner; then another layer of eggplant, and so on until the dish is full. The last layer should be thicker than the rest, and soaked with cream. Bake, covered, half an hour, then brown.

A Scallop of Mushrooms.

Select mushrooms of medium and uniform size. Skin them without cutting off the stems. Lay enough to cover the bottom of the dish, stems uppermost, in a pudding dish. Dust with salt and pepper, and pour into the gills a little melted butter. Then strew very lightly with fine cracker crumbs, and arrange a second layer upon the first. Season and butter, cover with crumbs, soak the crumbs in cream; dot with butter and bake, covered, for twenty minutes, and brown very delicately. Serve at once. There is no more delicious preparation of mushrooms than this.

Sweet Peppers a la Creole.

Cut a slit in the side of each pepper and extract the seeds, touching the inside as little as possible. The pungency lies chiefly in the seeds. Lay the emptied peppers in boiling water for ten minutes. Prop the slits open with a bit of wood to let the water reach the inside. At the end of the ten minutes drain the peppers and cover with ice-cold water, leaving them in it until they are perfectly cold. Wipe and stuff with a forcemeat of any kind of meat that you have on hand, preferably poultry, veal or lamb. Add to the meat a raw tomato skinned and chopped, and one-third as much fine crumbs as you have meat. Season with salt, melted butter and a very little sugar to soften the acid of the tomato. Wet well with gravy. Tie the filled peppers into shape with soft thread and set upright in the covered roaster; pour a cupful of gravy about them, and bake, covered, for twenty minutes, then five more, uncovered. Serve upon a heated platter, pouring the thickened gravy over and about them.

You may, if you like, substitute fish, picked free of bones and skin, for the meat.

Or, mushrooms, skinned, parboiled and cut small—not chopped.

Or, and perhaps best of all, sweetbreads, blanched, then stewed for ten minutes in the gravy that is to be poured about the peppers. This last-named dish is exceedingly dainty.

Swiss Chard.

An excellent vegetable, so lately introduced into our country that the name is unfamiliar to most of our housewives. It is not very unlike spinach in general appearance, although it belongs to a different family of esculents.

Pick over carefully, stripping the leaves from the stalks, and lay them in cold water for an hour. Drain, without drying, and put the leaves into the inner vessel of a double boiler. Fill the outer with cold water, and bring to a quick boil, keeping the inner vessel closed. This will steam the chard in the juice extracted from the leaves.

I may observe here that spinach, steamed in the same way, with no water except that which clings to the leaves after washing, is quite another vegetable from that which is generally served on our tables under the name.

When the chard is tender and broken, drain, pressing in the colander. Turn now into a wooden bowl and chop, or run it through the vegetable press. Set over the fire in a saucepan, stir in a teaspoonful of sugar, a tablespoonful of butter, salt and pepper to taste and beat to a creamy mass. When piping hot, serve in a deep dish, with sippets of toast arranged upon it.

Vegetable Marrow.

Another esculent popular for a century among our English cousins, but which needs a formal introduction to the rank and file of our native cooks. It is akin to the squash family, with a smooth richness of flavor and flesh all its own. Having cultivated it successfully in my garden for ten years, I can certify that it takes kindly to American soil and climate and is easily brought to perfection.

Pare away the rind, cut into squares or strips and lay in cold water for half an hour. Drain and put over the fire in plenty of salted boiling water. Cook until clear and tender, but not until the pieces lose form. Drain off the water, pour in a good drawn butter, set the saucepan at the side of the range for ten minutes to let the sauce sink into the marrow, and serve.

Cold vegetable marrow, cooked as above directed, maybe wrought into an excellent pudding to be eaten with meat. Run through the vegetable press, beat in a spoonful of melted butter, season with pepper and salt, and add two well-beaten eggs. Turn into a buttered bake dish when you have beaten all the ingredients together for a minute; bake, covered, for fifteen minutes in a quick oven, and brown lightly.

Green Corn Pudding.

Grate, or slice with a sharp knife, the kernels from twelve ears of corn. If the corn be hard, grate it. If immature, it will lose nearly all its substance under the grater. The knife will slice it to better advantage. Season with pepper and salt, and stir in a tablespoonful of sugar and two tablespoonfuls of melted butter. Beat light the yolks of four eggs and whip the whites stiff. Stir the yolks into a scant quart of milk and into this the seasoned corn. Finally, fold in the frothed whites, pour the mixture into a buttered pudding dish and bake, covered, half an hour, then brown.

Green Corn Gumbo.

Put two tablespoonfuls of butter into a saucepan, and when it hisses, add three onions of fair size, sliced thin. Brown slightly, and put into the sizzling pan six tomatoes, peeled and sliced, two sweet peppers that have been parboiled and minced, two okra pods, also sliced thin, and the grains from six ears of corn. Add a generous cupful of stock—chicken, if you have it—salt, pepper and a teaspoonful of sugar. Cook, covered, forty-five minutes, steadily but not hard.

Just before dishing, stir in two teaspoonsful of “file” (sassafras powder), boil up and serve.

If you wish to use this as a soup, double the quantity of stock. The dish described here is to accompany meat or fish.

You may convert this into a curry gumbo by the addition of a heaping teaspoonful of curry powder.

The “file” may be had of first-class city grocers .It gives smoothness, and yet piquancy, to the gumbo.

Cucumbers a la Syrie.

Half well-grown young cucumbers lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Leave in salt and water for half an hour, wipe and till with cold meat—beef or veal, or mutton—seasoned well and mixed with one-third the quantity of fine crumbs. Moisten with gravy. Bind the sides of the cucumbers in place with soft twine; lay in your covered roaster; pour a cupful of gravy about them and bake, covered, for half an hour. Uncover, and brown slightly. Untie the strings, lay the cucumbers in a heated platter, and pour the gravy about them.

I made the acquaintance of this dish in northern Syria, eating it first almost in the shadow of the cedars of Lebanon, and improved the friendship many times afterward. It is singularly pleasant to the palate, and more digestible than raw cucumbers.

Okra Gumbo.
(A Louisiana Dish.)

Wash and scrape lightly a dozen young okra pods. Lay in cold water while you peel and slice six tomatoes; chop a peeled onion; seed and scald a large a sweet pepper, and chop it. Put the okras then into a saucepan, cover with boiling water and cook for ten minutes. While they are cooking, heat two tablespoonfuls of butter in a frying pan, add the onions and pepper, and cook for one minute’s simmer. Turn into a saucepan with the tomatoes, and cook gently for half an hour. Slice the okras, add to the rest and cook fifteen minutes more. Season with salt, and stir in a teaspoonful of “file” five minutes before dishing.

Line the dish with thin, buttered toast.

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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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