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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The Art of Canning Vegetables

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

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

The Art of Canning Vegetables

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

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

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

To Can Tomatoes.

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

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

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

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

To Can Tomatoes Whole.

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

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

To Can Tomatoes for Stuffing.

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

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

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

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

To Can Asparagus.

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

To Can Spinach.

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

To Can Beets.

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

To Can String Beans.

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

Okra.

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

Stale vegetables are unfit for canning.

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

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A Revival of the Art of Preserving

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

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.

A Revival of the Art of Preserving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preserved Strawberries.

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

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

Preserved Raspberries.

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

German Preserved Strawberries.

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

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

Berry Marmalade.

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

Make jelly of the surplus juice you have dipped out.

Both manufactures may be carried on at the same time.

Preserved Cherries.

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

Orange Marmalade.

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

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

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

Marion Harland

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Novel Ideals for an Afternoon Reception

This is the second article in April of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on April 14, 1907, and is a discussion on how to entertain at a afternoon reception.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of Boston Sunday Post.

Novel Ideals for an Afternoon Reception

IN THOUSANDS of American homes the habit of 5-o’clock tea is as confirmed as in the parent country, where the fashion is now hoary with age. It is a comfortable and a heartening custom. The tea-tray is brought into the family sitting-room—into the mistress’ sanctum—or, if the family be large, and the elements various, into the dining-room—wherever it is convenient to assemble the several members. The tea is poured by mother or daughter, a plate of bread and butter is passed, perhaps one of tea biscuits or light cake; there is cheerful talk over the teacups for fifteen or twenty minutes, if the household be busy, and the little party breaks up, each going her way until dinner time.

Should a visitor chance to call near tea time, the function is not altered. The tray is carried by maid or butler into the drawing-room, and the members of the family who are at home follow it.

In households where tea-drinking is dignified into a ceremony, and the quality of the beverage is made a matter of importance, the furniture of the tray includes teakettle and alcohol lamp, and the tea is brewed in the sight of the party. It is a graceful and a gracious “ceremony.” Stiffness and strangerhood melt before it, as frost under the sunshine. Talk is stimulated and good fellowship established.

DECADENCE OF CONVERSATION

The afternoon tea and reception is an expansion of the daily custom. An evening “affair” involves the necessity of a formal and a more or less elaborate supper. There must be music, and, nowadays, the hostess considers herself bound to provide some kind of “entertainment” other than dancing for the young people and cards for the elder guests. I make no pause here to bemoan the decadence of conversation as a lost art. Cards and dancing have taken the life out of talk. If a girl waltzes well, nobody asks if she can converse. If her mother, aunt or elder sister can hold her own at whist, or be an Horatia at the “Bridge”—what need of further social accomplishments?

Dancing and cards are varied by vocal and instrumental music, recitations, amateur theatricals—any novel fad that promises diversion to blase wordlings. The function is expensive, laborious and, to all save the debutante and the “young” beauty, tedious and trite.

“The only difference is in the caterer,” sighed a society girl in her third season. “I have been to twenty this winter. We say the same nothings; we meet the same set of people, and I know it all by heart before I go.”

HINTS FOR HOSTESSES

The afternoon function is a happy combination of the best features of the two forms of hospitality. There must be a set table in the dining-room, or, if more convenient, in the back parlor. The hostess compliments two of her friends by asking them “to pour,” one at each end of the prettily decorated board. If the room be not well-lighted, have candelabra, and soften the gas or electric light by balloon-shaped shades of colored silk or crimped tissue paper.

I enter my protest at this point against the barbaric practice of receiving guests—fresh from the sun filled air of heaven’s own making—in rooms dim with colored shadows and reeking with the breath of drooping flowers, not to mention artificial perfumes wrung from gums and oils and patented as “French.” I know it is the fashion to shut out the sunshine and to steep the “chiaroscuro” left in the airless interior in color and (alleged) fragrance. I am told that complexions show to advantage in the “doctored” twilight. To my apprehension, the complexion that cannot stand before the light of God’s day is not worth the trouble of keeping.

A shaded light need not be gloomy. If your dining-room or inner apartment be insufficiently lighted, as is the case with town houses that back upon courts or small yards—make it cheerful with gas, lamps or candelabra, but do not shade it to such a degree that you cannot recognize your best friend, or discover by the seeing of the eye whether you help yourself to a sandwich or an eclair.

The tea equipage should grace one end of the table, a chocolate service the other. Sugar, cream and sliced lemon surround the teapot or samovar. A pretty fork lies across the dish of sliced lemon; sugar tongs accompany the silver or china bowl of cut sugar. The cream jug has a ladle. It also stands in a tiny silver saucer of its own that stray drops may not trickle to the embroidered teacloth. The apparatus for chocolate is less varied. A china pot, a dish of granulated sugar (cut sugar does not dissolve readily in the thick liquid), and a wide-mouthed jug of whipped cream, a spoonful of which is laid upon the surface of each filled cup.

The interval dividing tea and chocolate equipages is filled with plates of sandwiches, cakes, bonbons, salted nuts, fancy rolls, etc. — whatever goes to make up a bountiful “afternoon tea.” If you have the knack of making veritable scones—pronounced “skuns” — the introduction of these will vary the collation agreeably. The sandwiches should be small and the contents must not overlap the edges. The eaters do not remove their gloves, and the ooze of cream cheese or mayonnaise will soil finger tips. Another acceptable addition to the conventional menu is toast. Toast thin strips of stale bread to a delicate brownish tint, butter while hot, and wrap in a heated doily. In serving, open the corner of the doily, to show the crisp bits within. It is very popular. Hot relays should come in from the kitchen during the afternoon. You may spread some of the toast with anchovy paste or with caviare.

If you desire to give the function more the air of a “reception” than a “tea,” enlarge the menu by serving hot bouillon in cups, and have a side table on which is arrayed the paraphernalia of claret punch or tea—or mint—or strawberry punch. Iced sherbet or cafe frappe may be substituted for the punch.

The hostess and her daughters are content to leave the business of dispensing the refreshments to the friendly “pourers” and to waiters. Their duty is to receive the guests and to mix the social brew into a cordial which shall not pall upon any.

Introductions at this function are convenient and pleasant, but the truly well-mannered guest does not wait for a formal presentation to a fellow-guest in a friend’s house. That he, or she, is there, and on equal terms with herself, is a guarantee of respectability, and that she will not lower her social status by falling into easy chat with her neighbor if occasion offer. Americans are beginning to comprehend this sensible social principle better than of old. There is no longer any excuse for having a “stupid time,” when the stupidity is not in one’s self.

Scones.

Sift a quart of flour three times with two tablespoonfuls of baking powder and one of salt. Chop into it a tablespoonful of butter and the same of cottolene. Wet with enough milk to make a dough just stiff enough to be rolled out. The softer the better, so long as it may be handled. Work the dough with a wooden spoon, not touching it with the hands. When mixed, roll out half an inch thick; cut in to rounds with a cake cutter, and bake upon a soapstone griddle, turning when the lower side is brown. Tear open, butter and lay within a heated napkin upon a hot plate. Eat soon.

Oatmeal Scones.

Mix in a deep bowl three cupfuls of oatmeal and one of white flour, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder and one of salt. Have at hand three liberal cupfuls of milk heated to scalding, into which you have put a tablespoonful of sugar and three of butter. Stir for a moment; make a hole in the centre of the flour and meal and pour in the milk. Stir it down into the milk with a wooden spoon, not once touching it with the fingers.

When you have a soft, rough-looking dough, roll it out about a quarter inch thick, cut into rounds and bake upon a hot soapstone griddle, turning to brown it on both sides.

Cream Scones.

Sift a quart of flour with two tablespoonfuls of baking powder and half a teaspoonful of salt. Sift all together twice, and chop into the flour two even tablespoonfuls of butter, as you would in pastry. Mix with half cream, half milk, to a soft dough; roll out into a sheet less than half an inch thick; cut into rounds and bake in a quick oven. Spilt and butter while hot.

Lettuce Sandwiches.

Cut the crust from white bread; slice it thin, and butter. Lay between two slices a crisp lettuce leaf dipped in mayonnaise dressing.

Lettuce and Cream Cheese Sandwiches.

Slice the bread very thin when you have pared off the crust. Butter smoothly and lightly. Spread one slice with cream cheese and lay upon the other a crisp leaf of lettuce dipped in mayonnaise dressing.

Mint Punch.

Melt a cupful of granulated sugar in the strained juice of six lemons. Then add three peeled and sliced lemons. Slice very thin. Leave all in a big bowl, set in ice until just Before serving. It cannot be too cold. Transfer to your punchbowl; mix in a quart of finely pounded ice; stir for a moment and pour from a height of two feet, upon the mixture three bottles of imported ginger ale. Lastly, add a dozen sprays of green mint, washed and slightly bruised between the fingers.

Tea Punch.

Make a good infusion of tea with four teaspoonfuls of the best mixed tea and a quart of boiling water. After it has drawn four minutes, strain it from the leaves and cool. Fill the punchbowl half way to the top with cracked ice; stir in a cupful of granulated sugar and the strained juice of four lemons. The tea goes in next, and just before it is served, a pint of some good table water.

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The Convalescent’s Tray

This is the fifth article in March of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on March 31, 1907, and is a discussion on how to tend to sick children and family, aka, the invalid.

One piece of advice I strongly agree with in this article is never ask the sick person what they would like to eat. It’s always better to just bring them something they can stomach in small doses. I had to Google what ‘Arrowroot’ was and apparently this root was very popular in Victorian times, especially in the colonies, and was seen as an easily digestible food for people with dietary restrictions.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of The Washington Times.

The Convalescent’s Tray

ONE of the best amateur sailors I know, who has always “absolutely usable to comprehend why one should be seasick,” made a voyage on the same steamer with me some years ago. His theory, expounded ad nauseam to the pale-faced occupants of deck chairs which had not been unfolded for the first days of the tour, was simple and admitted of no peradventure. Seasickness, according to him, was a malady of the imagination.

“Look at me!” he declaimed, standing with his back to the guards on the promenade deck, on a cloudy day in mid-ocean, when at least half of us were too faint with dread of yet rougher seas to open our eyes upon anything. “I have crossed ten times, and in all sorts of weather. I have been over that most villainous of waters— the British channel—every time I have come abroad. I spent five days on the Mediterranean once, when each day brought storm of a different complexion, and I have never missed a meal on shipboard. Yet my internal make-up can’t be unlike that of everybody else. I tell you, it is the mind—the spirit, the will—that renders me immune!”

Matter Conquers Mind.

A fortnight later compensating fate sent me across the channel, from Dover to Calais, and the immune lecturer by the same boat. All the night we had lain in our beds at the Lord Warden Hotel, hearkening, in the intervals of uneasy slumber, to the booming of thunderous waves against the chalky cliffs of Albion.

“And we sadly thought of the morrow.”

The sun arose out of a sea that was wondrous smooth after the passion of the midnight. The short chopping waves we had come to dread through horrible experiences had rounded into low, long rolls, that looked benignant. Before we were out of sight of land half of the passengers had found out what was meant by “a ground swell.” Midway in the passage I heard a jolly chuckle from the companion nearest my deck chair.

We had read “Tartarin of Tarascon” on the Atlantic voyage and laughed, as every one who has a spark of humor must laugh, at the braggart’s rush to the guard—“And France was disgraced!” This was what my companion said between the chuckles that made me lift weary lids from sick eyes.

“And France was disgraced!”

For the ground swell had got the better of Mind; had floored the Spirit; had beaten down the barriers of Will. The immune man had succumbed to circumstance, and as I opened my eyes it was to behold him hanging like a limp rag over the rail.

The scene has come back to me a hundred times since, when I have watched the passage of the invalid through the ground swell of Convalescence to the terra firma Assured Health.

Thirty years ago, when the care of a household, including young children, and the diseases to which human flesh is heir, bore heavily upon my mind, I penned this admonition:

“When, the rack of pain having been removed, the dulled perceptions of the mind reawaken to sensitiveness, and there comes to the sufferer’s mind the bugle call of Duty—sharp, imperative; when every idle moment speaks to him of a slain opportunity and the no longer strong man shakes his fetters with piteous cries against Fate—do not despise or be impatient with him. You see but the poor wreck left by the demon as he tore his way out of him at the Divine command. Gather it up lovingly in your arms and nurse it back to strength and comeliness.”

Tact Is Requited.

Because I meant it so much then; because I mean it so much more now that added years have borne in upon me with far greater force the truth of what I thought the youthful matron comprehended to the full—I claim the right to copy yet other extracts from my talk upon “Convalescence.”

Do not ask your charge what he would like to eat. He will, of a surety, sicken at the thought of selection, and say, ‘Nothing!’

Watch for the slightest intimation of a desire for any particular delicacy, and if you are assured that it cannot hurt him, procure it, if you can without letting him suspect your intention.

Feed him lightly and often, never bringing into his sight more than he may safely eat. A big bowl of broth or jelly will either tempt him to imprudence or discourage him.

Daintiness a Prerequisite.

While he is very weak, feed him with your own hand, playfully, as you would a child talking cheerfully of something else than his food, beguiling him into taking the needed nutriment.

As soon as his meals are over re move every vestige of them from the room. Even the glimpse of a soiled spoon lying on table or bureau may offend his fastidious appetite. Cover the stand or tray from which he takes his food with a spotless napkin, and serve his food in your daintiest ware.

“A hired nurse is a useful, often necessary, attendant, but, while you are upon your feet and mistress of your own house, delegate to no one the dear task of catering for the beloved convalescent.”

This catering is an art in itself. Success in it depends upon natural aptitude to some extent, but skill and tack may be acquired. Cook nothing in the room where the convalescent sits or lies. If you have friends who understand and practice what I call “kitchenly kindness,” make much of the unexpected delicacy you display proudly at the time of “feeding.” It is mysterious, yet invariable, the charm that attaches, in the invalid’s fancy to anything cooked out of the house in which he abides. One could imagine that a flavor of the love that prompted the gift goes with and informs it. Fruit, jellies, broths, game, accompanied by flowers—God’s own message to his weak and restless child—are the choicest decorations love and friendship can devise for the world bounded by the four walls of the convalescent’s chamber.

Very often the capricious appetite of a child can be coaxed a combination of an attractive tray service and a story. An ordinary white china egg receptacle, with a carved hen on the cover, may be used to advantage if the mother will take time to humor the little convalescent. For instance, the story of the little white hen that laid a fresh egg every day for the little sick boy may be made very realistic at just the right moment by lifting “Biddy” from her nest and disclosing the egg. Of course, the child will want to sample the fresh egg that was laid on purpose for him, and as the wonderful story progresses he will forget that he is eating, and the dreaded task will soon be accomplished.

Another treat which will please a convalescent child at any time, but which will greatly add to his enjoyment on Easter, is a “surprise pie.” Take a large baking pan and set into it a dainty tray with the little invalid’s breakfast. Cover the pan with ordinary manila paper, putting a dab of watercolor paint around the edges and in the center to simulate a bona fide pie. Or cover the pan with a huge daffodil made of crepe paper. This can be done easily if precautions are made beforehand, and the surprise will certainly be effectual.

Surprises Tempt Palates.

Let the youngster survey the treat, then tell him to play he is a little Jack Homer, to put in his thumb and pullout a plum. Of course, he will enjoy the joke, and when the pie “crust” is mutilated a dainty tray, decorated with pussy willows, those harbingers of spring which all children love, will be disclosed, and the food thereof he will surely partake.

An invalid, too, may be made the guest of honor on Easter Sunday, and some little surprise should be planned in her behalf. A dainty tray with a few slices of thin, crisp toast, or a “Panada” will entice her into the humor of eating and brighten her whole day.

EASILY PREPARED FOOD FOR RECOVERING INVALIDS

PREPARATIONS OF ARROWROOT.

Arrowroot Water Jelly.

IMPRIMIS—Do not let yourself be deluded into buying any but the best Bermuda arrowroot. I get mine from a responsible druggist, and in small packages. Keep it in dry place.

Stir two tablespoonfuls into as many tablespoonfuls of cold water until it is smooth. Have ready over the fire a cupful of boiling water in which you have dissolved two teaspoonfuls of white sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the dis solved arrowroot and continue to stir until it is clear, keeping the water at a boil all the time. Add a teaspoonful of strained lemon juice and take directly from the fire. Turn into small moulds wet with cold water, and when cold, set on ice. To prepare for eating, empty mould upon a saucer; strew with fine sugar, and drench with cream. Should the invalid like the flavor of rosewater, season delicately with it.

If wine be allowed by the physicians, you may substitute a small glass of it for the rosewater. In this case, heap the teaspoon with dry arrowroot, in measuring as the liquid will make the jelly less consistent. Both of these preparations are delicious and nourishing.

Arrowroot Blanc Mange.

Wet two tablespoonfuls of arrowroot with four of cold water and work into a smooth paste. Heat a large coffee cupful of milk to scalding, dropping in a tiny pinch of salt and the same of soda. Dissolve it in two teaspoonfuls of white sugar; stir in the arrowroot and cook for three minutes, stirring all the while. The three minutes should be counted from the instant the boil recommences. Flavor to taste. Form in small modis wet with cold water. Keep on ice until you are ready to serve. It should be eaten with sugar and cream.

Arrowroot Custard.

This a heavier preparation than jelly and blanc mange, but nourishing and palatable.

Wet three tablespoonfuls of arrowroot with four of cold milk, and stir smooth.

Heat a pint of milk to scalding, adding a pinch of soda; stir the arrowroot and cook three minutes after the boil begins anew. Turn into a bowl. Beat in an egg which has been whipped light with two tablespoonfuls of white sugar. Set the bowl in a saucepan of boiling water, put back on the fire and stir for two minutes after the water in the saucepan begins to boil again. Form in small moulds. Serve alone, or with cream, as desired.

Forbear to make any of these light foods too sweet or, or the patient will take a dislike to them.

Old Fashioned Panada.

Get six of the square old-fashioned Boston crackers our babies used to cut their teeth upon. Split them and lay in a deep bowl, sprinkling salt scantily and sugar rather bountifully among the layers. Cover with water that is freshly boiled. Our mothers and nurses laid stress upon this last condition. The water must cover the crackers two inches deep. Fit a close coyer on the bowl and set in a saucepan of boiling water on the range. At end of an hour you should have a bowlful of a jellied cereal. It should be eaten from the bowl with more sugar and a very little mace or nutmeg dusted over the panada.

Convalescent children are usually very fond of this dish, if it is properly made. It is very good for mothers of babies under a month old. They generally like it, too.

Always provided it is panada, and not mush. Not a cracker should be disintegrated.

Chicken Jelly.

Clean a tender chicken, wash well, and split down the back as for broiling. Set one-half away to be broiled another day. Pound other half with a wooden mallet, cracking every bone and reducing the flesh to a paste. Put into a saucepan with a close cover and cover a quart of cold water for two pounds of the chicken. Set where it will not come to the boil in less than an hour. Then let it simmer—never actually boiling—for three hours more. It must be so closely covered that the steam will not escape. Do not uncover until it has been off the fire so long as to be quite cold. Then strain, pressing hard, through a cheesecloth bag, getting out every drop of nourishment. Season the liquid to taste, return the fire, bring to a quick boil to throw up the scum and drop in the white of a raw egg. Boil one minute, strain again and set away to cool. Then leave in ice until you are ready to serve. Eaten with unleavened wafers or with thin bread and butter. It is very good and full of nourishment.

Unleavened Wafers.

Chicken Jelly.

Ch??? a teaspoonful of butter into a ??? of flour; salt slightly and make into a dough with a scant cupful of milk. The dough should be stiffer than that of a biscuit. Roll out thin, cut into round cakes and roll each of these as thin as paper. It should be as large as a teaplate. Prick with a fork in a dozen places and bake in a pan that has been floured—not buttered. Bake in a quick oven.

The wafers should be brittle and dry. They are appetizing and general favorites.

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Easter Fare and How to Serve It

This is the fourth article in March of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on March 24, 1907, and is a discussion on eggs and why they are so popular at Easter.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of The Boston Sunday Post.

Easter Fare and How to Serve It

A CORRESPONDENT writes as follows:

“Why eggs at Easter? Inasmuch as we have been surfeited with eggs and fish for forty days, why not give us a rest from them and a change of diet now that Lent is over and done with (thank goodness!) for the year? I foresee that your Easter talk will be of eggs! eggs! eggs! when a fair majority of your readers would be glad not to see another for six months to come. Why not discourse instead of the juiciness and savory steam of roast beef and the tender sweetness of spring lamb?

Of course, I know this protest will be of no use. Whatever we, the mal contents, may feel, think and say—and write—the Christian world will go egg-mad on Easter Sunday, and every breakfast table display eggs in some disguise or unadorned on Easter Monday.

Yet, why egg sat Easter—I repeat with agonized emphasis—more than on July 4th, or on Whitsunday or on Shrove Tuesday?

MADELINE (Philadelphia).

A woman who is neither so bright, nor to well educated as “Madeline,” “supposed” seriously in my hearing, the other day, “that everybody eats eggs at Easter because the hens all over the country begin to lay just then, and eggs are cheap after being so high all winter.”

I was reminded—although I kept the reminiscence to myself—of a man who once remarked to me, “How lucky it is that Lent is appointed at a season when fish is plenty and cheap. But, of course, the fellows who set the time—whoever they may be—stand in with the fish merchants and make a good thing out of it!”

He was more or less of a fool, but Madeline has brains, and knows how to put her thoughts into words.

Before entering upon the business of setting our Easter feast in order, let us reason together for a few minutes as to the significance of the Easter egg.

DOWN FROM ANTIQUITY

A noted scholar observes, in connection with the custom among the members of the Greek and Roman Catholic Churches of exchanging gifts of eggs on Easter morning; “The practice of presenting eggs to our friends at Easter is Magian, or Persian.” It is, then, of more remote antiquity than is generally supposed. Whatever it may have meant in the far Orient, we find the Jews adopting the Paschal egg as the emblem of the renewed creation of the world in the spring. The Passover Feast fell at the same time as what the Christian Church calls the first Easter. The word “Easter,” which occurs in the Book of Acts in King James’ version (twelfth chapter, fourth verse), is “Passover” in the Revised Version. The Paschal (Passover) egg of the Hebrew became the symbol to the early Christian of the Resurrection of the crucified Christ. We, who adopt the custom of dyeing Easter eggs, seldom bethink ourselves of the fact that the primitive Christians used but one color in their Easter day offerings, and that red, in allusion to the lifeblood shed on the cross as “a ransom for many.”

It was an age of types and symbols. We, living in the clearer light of revealed and established religion, retain some of these, and employ them as illustrations of belief rather than guides to devotion.

Even the staid burghers of our Dutch ancestry, staunchly stubborn in Protestantism, clung to an observance repudiated by their New England brethren as “Popish.” Washington Irving tells us that in the reign of godly Peter Stuyvesant there was “a great cracking of eggs at Paas, or Easter.” “Paas” was an evident perversion of “Pasch” or “Paschal.”

I have answered “Madeline” at greater length than some readers may think expedient, and, it may be, more seriously than she expected. The subject is interesting to devout believers in what the crimsoned egg represents, and curious to those who like to trace the origin of faiths and usages we are prone to take for granted.

SYMBOLS OF RESURRECTION

To the ancient Greeks the butterfly was an emblem of the immortal soul springing into new and more beautiful life from the dead chrysalis. The Christians deduced the glorious fact of the resurrection of all the blessed dead from the rising of their Lord. They saw in the broken shell of the egg the symbol of what they incorporated into their Creed; “I believe in the resurrection of the body.”

Of this we have a more eloquent and a fuller promise in the return of the flowers after the apparent death of winter. Every blade and bud and blossom has its message of cheer to the waiting heart. “There is no death.”

A “Schoolgirl” asks:

“Why do we make so much of rabbits at Easter? The shop windows are full of them, and they show up on Easter cards.”

Divers reasons are given for the conspicuous part taken by Bunny in our great festival. One is that he bounds gayly to the front, made over as good as new by much sleep underground. According to a German story, the mission of providing Easter eggs for poor children whose parents could not buy them was committed to compassionate rabbits, who, at that season alone, laid eggs of varied hues by the nestful in the fields. Hence the custom that still prevails in some districts of hunting eggs in the meadows and woods on Easter morning.

May I add a word of practical “application” to my Easter sermon? A sermon must have an application, you know.

We hear much of “Easter offerings.” If ever our hearts should be moved to thankfulness to the dear Father of us all, and to love of our fellow-men who are—with us—His children, it is at this season of awakening to new life. Woe look upon a fresh and lovely world—the same we have known and loved so long, yet renewed into beauty that is never old nor tame. Spring is the time of promise and of hope. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. In token of this glad gratitude, let your Easter offering be for those to whom life is less bright than it is to you.

“God scatters love on every side,
Freely among His children all;
And always hearts are lying open wide,
Wherein some grains may fall.”

Recipes to Prepare Easter Dishes

A Hen’s Nest for Breakfast

SIX hard-boiled eggs that have been thrown into ice-cold water as soon as they were boiled, to make the shells slip off easily. Five minutes later, roll each gently on the table, cracking the shell without breaking the egg. Peel off the shells; cut the eggs in half with a sharp knife; take out the yolks, rub to a powder and mix with the same quantity of cold chicken or of ham, minced. Make a soft paste by working into the mixture some good gravy; season to taste, and form into balls of the same size and shape as the original yolks. Pack into the whites, to resemble whole eggs. Arrange these in the middle of a hot platter; surround with fried potatoes, cut Into strips to simulate straw; set the dish in the oven, covered, just long enough to heat the eggs to the heart, and serve; or, you may make the paste softer with gravy and heat it to a boil in a saucepan before filling the hollowed whites. It will then take less time to reheat in the oven. In either case, potatoes and gravy must be hot. Pass more gravy with the dish.

An Easter Luncheon Dish

Prepare the hard-boiled eggs as directed in the preceding recipe and make the paste as before, of pounded yolks and chicken, tongue or ham. Have ready and hot a good gravy—of chicken, if you have it—add a teaspoonful of curry powder, mix with the mince; heat over the fire and add enough browned flour to make it just thick enough to mould. Stuff the eggs, put the halves neatly together in the right shape and lay upon a bed of rice in a platter. Surround with more rice, to make the “nest”; set in the oven to heat, and serve. Pass with them a boat of gravy, seasoned with curry.

A delicious accompaniment to any preparation of curry is bananas that have been left in ice until very cold. Serve one to each eater, who strips off the skin and slices it, or bites a bit after each mouthful of hot curry. If you can get short bananas that look (almost) like eggs, the pleasing effect of this dish will be enhanced.

A Duck’s Nest

Boll, chill and halve as in preceding recipes. Set the yolks in a bowl, and the bowl, covered. In boiling water at the side of the range. With a thin, keen blade shred the whites into imitation straw, and arrange them in the shape of a nest on a hot platter. Season with salt and white pepper, butter abundantly, cover and set in the oven. Now and then butter again, lest they dry and shrivel.

Work the pounded yolks into a paste with an equal quantity of minced cold duck (or turkey). Moisten well with butter, and bind with a beaten raw egg. Make into oval balls to imitate eggs; arrange within the fence of shredded whites; pour over all a cupful of rich drawn butter, and set, covered, in the oven for ten minutes to heat.

An Easter Swan’s Nest
(“Among the Reeds”)

Make a quart of blanc mange, and while it is cooling to blood-warmth make holes in the small ends of twelve eggs and empty them. As each is emptied hold it under cold water until it is full and lies at the bottom of the bowl. Leave the eggs in the water until all are ready. Pour out the water and fill the shells with the liquid blanc mange. Set them upright in a pan of meal or flour, and let them stay there until Easter. An hour before you wish to serve them break away the shells carefully and deftly, not to injure the consistency of the blanc mange. Have ready a layer of shredded citron in the bottom of a glass dish. The citrons should not be too finely cut, as it stimulates coarse grass and flags. Heap the eggs upon this layer, make a wall of coarse-spun sugar about them and stick upright in this the largest strips of citron yon can get out of the candied melon. These are the “reeds.” Dispose them as naturally as possible, keeping the design in mind, and using taste and ingenuity to carry it out.

Any housewife who is blessed with a fair share of both may get up the dish to the satisfaction of the family.

An egg and a little of the spun sugar (it may be had from your confectioner), with a “reed” or two, go to each “help.” Pass ice cream or plain cream and powdered sugar with the eggs.

You may vary the dish by coloring the blanc mange, dividing it into several portions when first made. Color one with chocolate, another with spinach juice, a third with cochineal, and leave one-fourth white.

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