Appetizing Jellied Soups for Hot Days

This is the final article in July of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on July 28, 1907, and is an article on jellied soups.

The thought of jellied soups gives me the willies, in fact, there is a line in this article that states, “it is prudent not to enter into details of the manufacture,” i.e. making gelatine is gross. hahaha.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

Appetizing Jellied Soups for Hot Days

IMPRIMIS: Never resort to the cheap trick of using gelatin to cover lack of skill and the failure to combine the right elements to secure consistency. I have before me recipes for making mint jelly, for jellied bouillon, and, strangest of all, for the manufacture of fruit jellies to be kept over from season to season—all of which call for sparkling gelatine in varying quantities.

Gelatine is excellent in its place. That is, as a substitute for the calf’s feet from which our granddames were wont to evolve jellies that, in clarity and flavor, are not equaled by the finest products that have gelatine as the basic idea.

It is superfluous to tell the least sophisticated of our housewifely readers that this same gelatine is an animal product. It is prudent not to enter into details of the manufacture. Like many another popular article of human food, it is best received on faith by the consuming one asking no questions for the diaphragm’s sake.

Being an animal bi-product, it decomposes too readily to be compounded into jellies that are to be stored for use in the months to come.

We do not can or pot jellied soup in the private family. I have, it is true, poured it hot into air-tight jars and kept it good for some weeks. I doubt not it could be preserved for several months if properly made and kept sealed from the air and in a dark closet.

What we are considering today is the preparation of jellied soups to be eaten in lieu of hot in the “good old summer-time,” when the cooler a thing is the more it tempts the palate.

Soup-jelly should be strong. It must have gathered unto itself the best elements of the meat and vegetables that go into it. They must cook long and slowly until the residuum in the strainer is tasteless and no more nutritious than the same bulk of bleached cotton would be.

There is no short cut to excellence in the work of preparation. Unless the busy house-mother has learned the art of dove-tailing the tasks of the day, so as to carry on several processes at once, bestowing the requisite amount of time and attention upon each in its turn, she would better not essay the composition until she has a leisure forenoon.

Jellied Bouillon.

Two pounds of lean beef. The coarser parts of the meat will do as well as choice cuts, but there must be not a particle of fat upon it. One pound of lean veal. Mince it fine. Two pounds each of beef and of veal bones, cracked faithfully by the butcher.
A bunch of soup herbs, including parsley.
Two teaspoonfuls of onion juice. Chop the onion and squeeze through cheesecloth. If the pulp be added it will cloud the soup.
Three teaspoonfuls of kitchen bouquet.
White pepper and salt to taste.
One gallon of cold water.

Put meat, bones and vegetables with the water into a deep pot; cover closely and set at the side of the range, where it will not reach the boiling point under an hour’s time. Simmer thus for four hours, never allowing it to boil hard, yet keeping it at boiling heat all the time. At the end of the second hour pour in a cupful of cold water to throw up the scum; cover and set the pot back in place when you have skimmed it. Should the water sink to less than half the original quantity while the soup is in cooking, replenish from the boiling kettle.

When the soup has cooked four hours and you have reduced the liquid to two quarts, remove from the fire, season as directed above, cover again tightly and set in a cool place until the morrow. It should be a firm jelly, clinging to meat and bones. Scrape off the fat carefully. A greasy bouillon is nearly disgusting. Set over the fire and warm quickly to a boil.

As this is merely to rid bones and meat of jelly, do not keep it up more than five minutes. Drop in a lump of ice as big as an egg to check the bubble, transfer the pot to the table and let it alone for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, line a colander with white flannel which has been scalded and then rinsed in two waters. Pour the soup in to the colander, taking care not to disturb the dregs of meat and bones. Put again over the fire, drop in the white of an egg and the crushed shell, bring to a fast boil and strain again through the flannel, which should be perfectly clean. Do not squeeze the cloth at any time.

Finally, having satisfied yourself by tasting that the seasoning is right, set away the bouillon in a cool place.

When quite cold put on ice.

I have been thus explicit in giving the details of the process, because they are substantially the same in making jellied soups of whatsoever kind. The manufacture is by no means as tedious and difficult as might appear to the casual reader. While the soup is boiling, other work may go on without interruption, the bouillon taking care of itself, and demanding no thought beyond an occasional glance to make sure it is not cooking too fast.

Jellied bouillon is in great request at women’s luncheons and in the sick-room. An invalid will relish and digest a few spoonsful of iced jellied soup who would turn away in revulsion from hot liquids.

Jellied Chicken Soup.

Clean and dress a large fowl. It should weigh from four to five pounds when cleaned. Sever each joint from the rest and cut the breast into four pieces. Crack a knuckle of veal from which most of the meat has been stripped. (Veal is especially useful in making jellied soups because it contains much gelatinous matter.) Put the pieces of fowl and the veal bone into a pot; add two teaspoonfuls of onion juice and three stalks of celery cut into inch lengths, and cover with a gallon of cold water.

Cover closely and set where it will not boil under an hour, yet will heat steadily. Cook slowly for four hours, or until the flesh of the fowl slips from the bones. The toughest meat may be made tender by slow and prolonged cooking. The liquid should be reduced to two quarts.

Set the pot away, covered tightly, until the contents are a cold jelly. Heat to a boil to loosen the jelly from the bones, and strain as directed in the foregoing recipe. Clear with a cracked egg shell and the white of an egg as with beef bouillon.

Jellied Chicken and Sago Soup.

Make as for jellied chicken soup, but when the meat has boiled from the bones, stir into the hot soup four tablespoonfuls of sago that have soaked for three hours in a cupful of cold water. Add now a quart of boiling water and simmer for another hour. Leave the soup until cold. Skim then, and re-heat to the boiling point. Strain through double cheesecloth without squeezing, season to taste with white pepper and celery salt and set away to cool and to jelly.

A palatable and nourishing dish for invalids.

Jellied Veal and Celery Soup.

Crack a knuckle of veal into bits to get at the marrow. Put it over the fire, with six stalks of white celery cut into inch lengths; cover with a gallon of cold water and cook slowly for four—perhaps five—hours, replenishing the liquid with boiling water should it boll away too fast. When the meat is done to white rags, season with white pepper and salt, a little minced parsley, two teaspoonfuls of onion juice and a teaspoonful of kitchen bouquet. Set away for ten hours, skim and heat to liquefy the jelly, and strain without squeezing.

Serve ice cold in bouillon cups.

The recipes given herewith are susceptible of numberless variations at the hands of the ingenious cook. The general principles of slow and regular cooking; an abundance of raw, sound meat and a judicious proportion of such materials as contain gelatine, together with wise seasoning, hold good with all.

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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Proper Care of Sink and Refrigerator

This is the second article in July of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on July 14, 1907, and is an educating article about keeping sink and fridge clean.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

Proper Care of Sink and Refrigerator

THE kitchen sink cannot be made slightly by any device. It cannot be draped; and to draw a screen before it is to subject the priestess of the domain to countless inconveniences when she must have light and room for operations. The basin may be of porcelain, and the row of faucets above it of shining nickel. The whole construction is unmistakably and irredeemably ugly.

It is, nevertheless, the criterion of the housewife’s or cook’s “management.”

“Show me your sink, and I will describe your cook!” is a homely old saying.

If it be littered with tea leaves and coffee grounds; if it be “whisk-clean” save for a greasy gloss on bottom and sides, while in the far corner the blackened whisk conceals a disgusting deposit of refuse and of coagulated fats—you need not inquire verbally into the management of that mistress’ housewifery or into that cook’s fidelity to the duties of her calling.

Keep a sink sieve hanging above the sink and use it whenever anything that contains sediment is poured out. The stationary grating in the bottom of the basin is too coarse to keep back the substances which clog the pipes.

Beware of Grease.

The vilest of these in all its works and ways is, of course, grease, invisible to the careless eye when hot, but afterward working out the mischievous fruits of neglect. It coagulates upon the sides of the drain, and if not “cut,” becomes as hard and as impervious to water as wax. Nine-tenths of the disastrous stoppages in the pipes that flood the kitchen floor with all manner of uncleanness and involve the expense of the costly plumber and his equally costly assistant, are the direct result of a collection of oil matter that should never have found its way into the sink at all—or if this had happened, ought not to have been suffered to stiffen into a mass.

In consideration of this truth, the duty of flushing the sink daily with caustic alkalies cannot be too strongly enforced upon cook and housewife. Have ever on hand chlorides—or, better still, and more easily procured— washing soda, which disintegrates the accumulation of grease. Plain folk say “cuts” it, and the term is more emphatic than the polysyllable.

Scald the sink every other day flushing the pipes by letting the hot water run when at its hottest and for ten minutes at a time. Before the flushing begins, lay a lump of washing soda over the grating and run the water directly upon it.

Summer Expedients.

In summer, substitute, twice a week, a lump of unslaked lime for the soda. If a handful of borax be thrown into the sink at night directly over the grating and left there until morning, it will tend to dissuade water bugs from creeping through the pipe and sweeten the first dash of water turned out of the faucet on the morrow.

Beside the can of borax set above the sink should stand the bottle of household ammonia. The combined cost of an abundant stock of the two would not equal in a year what a plumber “and man” would charge for three hours’ work—“and time.”

(By the way, why must a plumber invariably bring a helper along when one man could do all the work? Must the species always hunt in couples?)

I mentioned “water bugs” in a casual, airy manner just now, that was altogether disproportioned to the part they play in bathroom, kitchen, and sink, not to speak of pantry and refrigerator. They are cousin-german to the cockroach.

There is a covert pun in that compound word. For our water bug was brought to our shores in the holds of German vessels. Ever since that unhappy hour he has been a “stowaway” of the most detestable type. To cap the climax of odiousness, he and his kinsman inflict upon the memory a sesquipedalian title. The cockroach is “Blatta (or Periplaneta) Orientails.” The imported variety is “Blatta Germanica.”

A naturalist thus describes the pest of sink and larder:

“Nocturnal in habits and very troublesome in houses, where they multiply in great rapidity, infesting kitchens and pantries and attacking provisions of all kinds. They have a very offensive smell.”

He might have added that an ill-kept sink is their favorite resort.

Borax comes into deserved prominence in the list of our helpers in the mission of freeing our premises of the loathly things. Strew it thickly over shelves and blow it into cracks. Or—mix it with molasses and cornmeal into a paste, work in tartar emetic, or red lead, and set tiny plates of the delicacy in the sink and on the shelves overnight. Or (again!) pour a little oil of pennyroyal down the pipe at night and wet a cloth in hot water, drop a little of the oil upon it and wipe off the woodwork of the sink with it.

Old-fashioned Southern housemothers knew not the “water bug” even by name. The native cockroach we have had from time immemorial. They (the aforesaid mothers) used to boil poke weed root in water, and mix the strong decoction with an equal quantity of black molasses. This was spread on bread and laid in the tracks of the nocturnal prowlers. They ate it ravenously and departed to other hunting grounds—if there be a future state for the Blatta tribe.

In our germ-mad generation, it is surprising that in the howl against cold storage foods, so little has been made of the peril to health by unclean refrigerators. The confined air is, of itself, unwholesome, imparting a “close taste” to butter and meats, easily recognized, yet rarely analyzed. The chill of the ice arrests decay, but it does not prevent the growth of mould.

Did you ever look at a section of mould through a microscope? You would see it pretty forest or jungle of divers color. Like non-edible toadstools, it is fair to see, and, like them, it is poisonous to human stomach. If the sink be a faithful witness to the housewifery of owner or caretaker, the refrigerator is a yet more correct reporter. It should be absolutely odorless.

How to Keep Food.

Meats that give forth a goodly smell should be kept in a meat safe in the cellar. Fragrant fruits must never be set in the same compartment with other foods. If milk and butter are kept in the refrigerator, give them a shelf to themselves, and, unless the butter be perfectly fresh, keep it away from the milk.

In summer the shelves should be cleared dally and the contents sorted under the of the mistress. The corners must be scrubbed faithfully with a cloth wrung out in boiling water and baking soda, that nothing may accumulate there. Then the doors must be left open until the shrives are entirely dry. To shut up humidity in the chilled interior is to make a dark cave of it.

It is an excellent plan to lay a lump of dry, clean charcoal upon each shelf, exchanging it for fresh once a week. It absorbs musty smells and tends to keep the refrigerator dry inside.

Charcoal is an invaluable sweetener.

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Kitchen Plenishing

This is the third article in March of the School for Housewives 1905 series published on Mar 19, 1905, and is a more extensive article on what sorts of tools a housewife would need in the kitchen. Some items such as the ham-boiler and fish kettle seem needless in many people’s modern kitchen today.

School for Housewives – Kitchen Plenishing

An expressive word that – “plenishing” – of old English and Scotch ancestory. It signifies something more than furnishing or supplying, carrying wit it a sense of fullness, completeness and fitness.

Your kitchen may be a mere cabinet as to size. Let it be well and fitly appointed. The spacious kitchens of our foremothers – who were many of them English born – were designed as general sitting rooms for the family. In a majority of old New England and Middle State farmsteads the kitchen was, within a generation, also the dining room. Nowadays, in unconscious imitation of the French – the best cooks in the world – it is a place where food is prepared, and its appointments are adapted strictly for that purpose. It is virtually a tool chest – a place where work of a specific kind is done. When the labor of the hour and day is over the workers go elsewhere for rest and recreation. We will, therefore, consider our plenishing with a single eye to business.

THE FLOOR AND WALLS

Beginning with the floor, let me say, after long experience in this regard, that of oiled hardwood floors, painted floors, stained floors, cocoa matted floors, carpeted floors, oilcloth floors, tiled floors and floors covered in linoleum, I give the decided preference to the last named. A good inlaid linoleum will outwear an oilcloth of the best grade by five years. Tiled floors are cold and slippery, requiring a covering of rugs to make them endurable. Linoleum, in a neat tiled pattern, looks almost as well and is far more comfortable for those who stand or walk upon them. I emphasize “inlaid linoleum,” because color and figure go clear through the fabric, and hold their own as long as a piece of it is left, whereas with oilcloth and cheaper grades of linoleum the figure wears off gradually until a dingy mottled surface is left, unpleasing to the sight and unmistakably shabby.

The inlaid linoleum is easily kept clean. When soiled, wipe off with a soft cloth wrung out in clean suds, wiping dry with another as you go on. New and then go over it with old flannel wrung out in warm water to which a little kerosene has been added.
Have the walls painted, if possible. Kalsomine or paper soils easily, absorbs steam and colors, and is difficult to clean. Of course, tiled walls are preferable to any other. The cost of these puts them beyond the reach of the average purse. The next best thing is hard paint, with “a zinc finish.” One notable housewife has covered her kitchen walls with floor oilcloth, laid on smoothly, and tacked at the bottom and top. In figure it matches the linoleum on the floor. The effect is harmonious.

ALWAYS WITH IRON AND TIN

I have spoken before in this series of the advantage of zinc-topped tables. If too expensive for your purse, buy the plain deal table from the furniture dealer, and a square of zinc from a stovebaker, and let John nail the cover on some evening. Thirty years ago, wearing of seeing one cook wearing her strength out in continual scrubbings of the tables, and a succession of cooks letting grease and stain sink in the wood, until a plane was necessary to get rid of the dirt, I evolved from my inner consciousness the scheme of covering kitchen table tops with zinc, and gained a great peace of spirit thereby. Nobody credits me with what I flattered myself was an original idea. But let that pass!

For over twenty years I have abjured iron pots and tin saucepans as relics of an age when time was a drug in the domestic market, if one may judge of the expenditure of that, to us, priceless treasure in cleansing and compounding by ancestral dames. I use, instead, ware as stout as iron, and as easily kept I order as common crockery. It is light, it is rustless, pleasant to the eye and costs less than the cumbrous “castings” over which the old-time cook groaned in lifting and scrubbing.

A ham-boiler is the largest utensil you will need to buy, if, as I assume, the family washing is not done in your kitchen. It is an oblong kettle, with a closely fitting top, and useful for boiling hams, legs of mutton, fowls, etc.

A fish kettle must be use for cooking fish, and for nothing else. Even the non-absorbent ware of which I speak will retain a faint suspicion of the peculiar odor of the finny tribe, let it be ever so faithfully scalded and rinsed. It gets into the joints and seams, and “Will not out.” This vessel is also oblong, and has a closed lid. There is a moveable grating upon which the fish lies, the water passing freely under it, rendering adhesion to the bottom impossible.

Of farina or rice double boilers you should have at least two sizes. They are indispensable for cooking cereals, milk, custards, blanc mange and everything else which “Catches” readily in cooking. If you can afford one holding three quarts, one two quarts, and a third that will contain one quart, to be used for individual portions, for the nursery or the sick room, get them all.

A soup kettle, with a cover and straight sides, is also a “must-have.” If, also I hope, you have a just sense of the importance of the stock pot in every well-regulated family, you should have a soup kettle of six quarts’ capacity. After each soup-making, cleanse thoroughly, air and sun, leaving it open, the cover lying beside it.

Saucepans are in almost infinite variety, and tempting to the housewifey eye. Those with straight sides are best, offering broad bottoms to the fire and heating more quickly and evenly than those with curving sides. You should have four, ranging from a quart to a gallon in capacity, all with covers.

As to teakettles, you can get along with one; but two are better, the second and smaller being convenient when the top of the range is crowded, and water must be boiled for tea or coffee.

Colanders come in graded sizes. One of moderate capacity is all you need. Be sure the holes are not so large as to let the rags and smaller bone of meat and the cores of tomatoes escape through them.

THE FRYING-PANS

A covered roaster is a desideratum, a sine qua non-in kitchen English, a must-have. In choosing one, bear in mind and in measurement the dimensions of your oven, buying one that will fit in easily, with room for the covered top.

A quart and a pint cup for measuring, mixing spoons in three sizes, a pudding mold with a close cover, soup strainer, vegetable press, three sizes of mixing bowls, four pie plates, and the same number of jelly cake tins, three of the last with straight sides; salt and pepper boxes, are among the smaller essentials of your plenishing.

A flourholder, with sifter attached; a box for bread, and another for cake; kneading board and rolling-pin, egg beater and syllabub churn, a large and small dishpan, a vegetable and a nutmeg greater, two breadpans, a soapstone griddle, a spatula for turning cakes, one large knife of good steel, and half a dozen smaller, with forks to match; a set of muffin tins, a colander, canisters for tea and coffee, for sugar and for salt, a butter jar, a coffee pot (the tea you will make upon the table), a couple of stout pitchers –

“Where will the growing number end?”

At a rough computation you can bring your plenishing within $50.

This does not include laundry appointments.

Marion Harland

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Uses and Abuses of Canned Goods in the Household

This is the fifth article in January of the School for Housewives 1905 series published on Jan 29, 1905, and is a revisiting of a topic that had been covered two years previously on the dangers of “canned goods” although I have yet to come across this previous “talk” in my research. Transcribed from the Sunday edition of The Washington Times.

School for Housewives – Uses and Abuses of Canned Goods in the Household

How to Make the Best of the Preserved Foods and Some Errors to be Guarded Against.

SOME of our readers may not have forgotten a lively discussion we had two years ago in this department concerning what we have all fallen into the habit of calling “canned goods.” In this course of our debate sundry unpleasant facts were evolved that moved me then, and ever since, to press upon housewives the importance of putting up fruits and vegetables for their own family use, when this is practicable. It was proceed upon the testimony of competent chemists that many of the “bleached” fruits and such vegetables as corn and asparagus owe color and “staying qualities” to certain acids and salts which are not conducive to the health of the eaters.

One of our staff of chemical experts announced that he found in three tablespoonfuls of preserved pears enough salicylic acid for a strong dose for an adult. From one canning establishment I received the formula for a powder warranted to preserve vegetables, etc., sent in ingenuous good faith. One of the principal ingredients was salicylic acid.

I am assured by several reputable canning firms that nothing of the kind is used in their works, in proof whereof they invite chemical analysis. I am the more willing to believe this because in mid-winter hundreds of families in the country and among the poorer classes of town residents are obliged to depend upon canned vegetables for variety in a diet of salted meats, cabbage, onions, and potatoes.

Next week I shall speak of the need of a winter fare of greenstuffs and fruits. Now, I propose to show how the reproach may be lifted in part from airtight esculents kept over from the fruiting season. We get very tired of them when served au naturel for days together. No matter how good they may be, they are an indifferent substitute for the things whose names they bear. Since we have them and must use them, if only for their antiscorbutic properties, let us study ways and means for making the best of them. The poorest of the tribe is a vast improvement upon the time when desiccation was the one method practiced for preservation, for winter use, of green vegetables, while preserving in syrup, vinegar, and spirits was resorted to for keeping fruits in palatable form for the table. Sweet corn was dried when nearly hard, and had to be soaked over night, then boiled for a long time before it could be eaten. After all, it was hardly an improvement upon the coarser hominy. Tomatoes, peaches, plums, cherries, and pears lost most of their distinctive flavor through long exposure to the sun and subsequent soaking and stewing.

While the demand for canned goods may not have lessened throughout the country, it is undeniable that there is a growing disrelish for them in the minds of people of dainty and cultured tastes, and this is not so much for the reason given in the discussion, viz., the belief that they are not wholesome, as because they are stale, flat, and “common,” if not unprofitable. People who can ill afford it, pay high prices for forced vegetables, rather than set before guests the content of cans purchased at the corner grocery.

Let us see if the cause of this growing dislike many be not in the nature of the thing preserved so much as in the cook’s determination to regard it as an end, not a means, a finished product, instead of semi-raw material. The wrong way to serve all potted provisions is to “dump” them from the can or jar into the saucepan, and from the saucepan into the platter or root-dish, with no attempt at seasoning or enrichment.

Must Have the Air.

It ought not to be necessary for me to repeat again and here as in invariable rule that canned meats, fruits, vegetables, soups, etc., should be turned out of the vessels in which they were preserved at least one hour before they are cooked, or sent to table, and left in open dishes to rid them of the close, airless smell which disgusts many with the entire class. One and all they need aerating – to be “oxygenated” before they are prepared for the service of man.

Get Them in Glass.

Tomatoes, when canned, are the least objectionable of the class. So far as I have pushed my researches for the presence of deleterious ingredients introduced by those who manipulate them for the market, they are comparatively – some brands entirely – free from salicylic acid and the like preservatives. Of course, with these, as with other vegetables, fruits, soups, and meats, there are brands and brands. Some turn out a superfluity of liquid, many unripe lumps and bits of skin mingled with the pulp. Note the name and address of the manufacturer and avoid the brand in future. The housewife who takes advantage of the height of the season, and puts up her own tomatoes, rejecting cores and hard pieces, and draining off half the juice, ill fare best on this score.

When you buy them, give the preference, if you can afford it, to tomatoes put up in glass. The natural acid sometimes forms an unholy alliance with the metals of the cans.

Were I to describe the scallops, croquettes, rissoles, puddings, bisques and other variations of lobster and salmon, which would tickle the palates of the eaters, and gratify the ambition of the hounsemother, I should present the best advertisement of “canned goods” ever spread before the American reading public. Were I to expatiate upon the ease with which the “tinny” taste can be eliminated from canned succotash, and how a can of corn and another of beans may be aired and combined into still better succotash; how canned asparagus, masked by cream sauce, and laid in state upon toast, almost recalls springtime, and when heated and dressed, while hot, with vinegar, melted butter and French mustard, then allowed to get ice-cold – is a delicious salad – there would not be room below this general “talk” for the recipes which are to illustrate this specifically.

The reader is confidently referred to this continuation of our subject for directions as to the “treatment” of some of the countless varieties of artificially preserved foods.

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