Ultimate concise guide to food and cooking

ADULTERATION OF FOODSTUFFS .

Prior to 1855, the amount of adulteration—and dangerous adulteration—which was practised on articles of food, was quite appalling; almost every scrap which our parents put in their mouths was more or less adulterated with injurious ingredients. In that year, however, a Committee of Inquiry investigated the question, and, as a result, the first Adulterations Act was passed in 1860. Other Acts followed in 1872 and 1875. and another one came into force some years ago for the protection of the public. Now, therefore, in buying food, we can be reasonably certain that, although it may possibly not be up to the approved standard of food value, yet it contains no dangerous ingredients deliberately compounded therein.

It may be of interest to know how certain of our foodstuffs are liable to adulteration.

Sausages, unless guaranteed pure pork, may be much adulterated by admixture with beef, whilst beef sausages frequently contain huge quantities of bread.

Jams are often mixed with inferior and cheaper fruit, and glucose is substituted for sugar. Those of us who remember the War period will perhaps recall that a tremendous amount of jam— and very nutritious jam, too— was compounded of turnips and glucose, flavoured with fruit essences.

Milk occasionally suffers from dilution, skimming, and the addition of borax and other preservatives .

Coffee is one of the most extensively adulterated of commodities; apart from the recognized coffee-adulterant, beans and acorns are extensively used, particularly the latter. Not that these additions are in any way injurious—¦ acorns are extensively used as coffee in Germany—but the commodity is not what it purports to be. As regards the so-called coffee essences, it is hard to say what their composition is : they certainly taste like treacle.

We all know the legend about the sand in sugar, but it is certain that occasionally peppers and spices are adulterated with red wood and other vegetable dusts.

Nobody will suggest that the reputable firms would disgrace themselves by selling articles other than they purport to be, but it behoves the shopper to insist upon the purest when purchasing articles of food; if they are guaranteed perfectly pure, they can be depended upon, as the law is now administered. BAKING.

Possibly baking, or cooking in the oven, is the most popular of the three forms of cookery known; certainly it lends itself to a vaster range of dishes embracing, as it does, the cooking of both savouries and sweets. There are many people who believe that no other method of cooking meat surpasses the oven. Without the oven, bread, the staff of life, would be a poor thing, while the mysteries of the pastry-cook depend almost entirely on this useful accessory.

The time allowed for baking meat in the oven varies with the joint and the weight; the same applies to fish. A turkey will take from two to three hours; a goose from an hour and a half to two hours; fowls, three quarters of an hour to an hour and a quarter; and duck from an hour to an hour and a half according to size and age. Game takes rather less time to bake; woodcock, for instance, takes as little as a quarter of an hour, if the oven is a brisk one.

Bread should be baked in a very hot oven forrty fo to sixty minutes, according to the size of the batch, and dinner rolls from twenty to thirty minutes. Pies and cakes require a very hot oven.

Potatoes, baked in their jackets, should be cooked in a not too hot oven, until they are floury. Vegetables, as a class, lend themselves better to boiling than baking.

The oven should be contructed in such a manner as to allow a current of air to circulate all round it—thus enabling roasting to be done therein as satisfactorily as on the old-fashioned spit over the fire.

BOILING.

Boiling consists in cooking with water in a saucepan over the fire. This must not be confused, however, with stewing and the French system of braising: both of which types of cookery entail the use of but little water— the idea being for the articles to cook in their own juices.

Care must be taken when boiling not to cook the articles too much, otherwise, particularly with meats, they lose their flavour. Vegetables boil to a mash if overdone. The liquor remaining after boiling is almost as useful as the comestible itself—it forms the basis for nourishing soups.

When boiling a joint, it should be plunged into boiling water; boiled briskly for ten minutes, then allowed to simmer until done. Fish and fowls should have the juice of half a lemon added to the water when boiling. This keeps the flesh white. A chicken should boil for 45 minutes, and a large fowl for two to three hours, according to age. A 10-lb ham should cook for four hours, and a quarter of an hour should be allowed for each pound over ten. A rabbit, once brought to the boil, should simmer for about two hours.

Vegetables are generally boiled, and if the water is very hard, a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda should be added. Potatoes should be boiled for about twenty minutes ; onions vary according to size, but should be boiled until soft. Carrots, turnips, parsnips and other radicals should boil for about half an hour, and the same applies to cabbages. Beans take about twenty minutes to cook, and peas about the same.

The average loss of weight in boiling butcher’s meat is about two ounces to the pound; on poultry, about two and a half ounces.

CARVING.

The carver should be equipped with a sharp carving knife, a fork to match and a steel. It is as useless to attempt carving with an indifferent knife as to shave with a blunt razor. The art of carving consists in serving each person with an equitable quantity of meat, and preserving the neatness of the joint. Certain rules are laid down for carving, based on the above principle.

Sirloin of beef should be cut transversely into slices like a tongue. If the joint is to be again served up cold, it should only be carved on one side.

A shoulder of mutton should be cut laterally across the shoulder blade. To carve a leg, cut deeply into the centre of the joint and carve from that base. A loin of mutton is cut down between the bones, each one being severed into cutlets.

Flat fish should be cut straight down the backbone, and slices flaked off first from one side, then the other. Mackerel, if too large for one, should be served in halves, divided through the backbone. Pike is cut in large slices from the shoulder not forgetting to also serve a little stuffing. Salmon should be served in slices.

Fowls are sliced down the breast, with a wing or a leg to each, provided they will go round, and a certain amount of forcemeat as well. A goose is carved down each side of the breast.

Some of the smaller birds and fish can be served whole. The 76 careful carver should not forget to supply a little of the garnishings to each guest.

See that the knife is thoroughly keen before starting to carve. Stick the fork firmly into the joint, and hold it tightly. Never use a steel knife for fish: use a fish slice or a silver fish knife.

Certain parts of the dish are generally considered delicacies— the outside (first slice) of well-cooked sirloin, the breast of a chicken, the liver of the cod, the roes of the mackerel, the head of the carp, and the outside section of loin of lamb.

Calves’ heads are carved across the cheek; ham and pork from the knuckle in slices. With hare, slices are cut from the whole length of the back, the legs and shoulders, and so forth. CONFECTIONERY .

Con-fectionery may be described as the science of sugar cookery, although the term is sometimes loosely used to include Pastry Cooking. Basically, the whole ai-t consists in compounding ordinary sugar into various disguises by the addition of fruit and other flavourings, and boiling.

All kinds of sugar may be boiled, but when using loaf sugar a tablespoonful of vinegar should be added to every three pounds of sugar, to prevent the syrup from becoming hard and glassy when making up. All kinds of shapes may be made from loaf sugar, when boiled and pulled until as white as snow. When boiled and pulled for some time, loaf sugar may be rolled and twisted to form various kinds of rock.

A marble stone or a china tile should be provided to make the paste and also on which to pour the sugar when boiled.

Barley Sugar.

Ingredients— 1 lb. loaf sugar. Tcacupful of water. Saffron yellow colouring. Lemon essence.

Boil the sugar in water, over slow fire, for £ hour: keep skimming as scum arises, and try with a tube in cold water. Add a few drops of saffron, flavour to taste with lemon juice, and turn on to the slab, When cool, cut into narrow strips, twist into spirals, and when quite cool store in airtight bottles or tins.

Everton Toffee.

Ingredients— 4 oz. butter. £ lb. treacle. £ lb. moist sugar.

Put butter in a saucepan and warm till melted : add the treacle and sugar, stir slowly with a wooden spoon till boiling. Allow to boil for ten minutes and test by dropping a little in cold water. if it is crisp, it is boiled enough. Butter a large dish and pour toffee in to cool, leaving until set.

Peppermint Creams .

Ingredients—& lb. icing sugar. J teaspoonful peppermint essence. White of 1 egg.

Roll icing sugar till free from lumps, whip the egg and add to the sugar with the peppermint essence. Mix to stiff paste; if too dry to work add J teaspoonful of water or 1 of cream, if preferred. Roll out on to a board sprinkled with icing sugar, to about £ inch thick; cut out in rounds with an egg-cup. Allow to stand on sugared dish for about 6 hours. No cooking is required.

Plain Toffee. —

Ingredients — 1 lb. brown sugar. 2 oz. butter.

Mix the sugar and butter. Boil slowly, stir to prevent burning, and when tested in cold water and found to break, pour out on to square buttered tins, and leave to set, when it can be removed with a knife.

COOKING BY COAL FIRES, GAS, ELECTRICITY AND OIL STOVES.— The old-fashioned coal fire still has many adherents; in some respects it is more handy, once lit, and it certainly looks more cheerful in cold weather. It. requires constant attention, however, and entails considerable trouble in lighting and cleaning-up, and on the whole it is rather more expensive than the other forms of heat generation. Nevertheless, there are still many people who consider that the food cooked over a coal fire is superior in flavour to that cooked by any other means For grilling, certainly, there is nothing to equal the open fire.

The gas stove is a decided improvement on the old fashioned fire-oven; it is more cleanly and, if carefully regulated, is cheaper. The latest types of stove which allow a current of air to circulate renders gas cooking much more satisfactory than the old types. At one time, there was a tendency to flavour the food with gas, but recent improvements have entirely obviated this possibility. The popular designs are ingeniously constructed to enable several kinds of roasting and baking to proceed simultaneously, while at the same time, grilling and boiling of several saucepans can be effected on the top. It is safer to use a pyrometer, in order to regulate the heat.

From the point of view of convenience, electricity is overwhelmingly superior to any other form of cookery. A touch of the switch, and the heat is generated— and it takes no time to heat up an oven or other cooking utensil. It is perfectly clean, gives off no fumes, and requires no attention. So clean in fact, is electricity, that many things, as bacon, eggs, toast, tea or coffee, etc., may be actually prepared on the meal table itself. It is difficult to discover any disadvantages in this form of cookery, except, perhaps, the initial expense in fitting. The cost of upkeep varies in different parts of the country— in some districts the price per unit is considerably less than gas, but in others it is much dearer.

The oil stove, which is very similar in design to the gas stove, but constructed of lighter material, is a great boon to those in the country where gas is not laid on. In fact, by this means, it is possible to cook a several course dinner whilst camping out. In the oil burning types of stoves, the actual flame of the lamps never comes into contact with the dish or saucepan in which the food is cooked.

CULINARY TERMS.

The following are everyday terms used in cookery:

Aspic.

A jelly used for cold savoury dishes.

Au gratin.

Baked with breadcrumbs and sauce.

Blanch.

To whiten poultry or vegetables’, or to remove the skin by plunging into boiling water.

Bouillon .

A soup, not so strong as Consomme’, but more concentrated than an ordinary one.

Braise.

To cook in the French manner, by stewing (in own juice) in a closed pan on the fire, so arranged that the flames are all round the container.

Consommd.

A very rich and concentrated clear soup.

Entrde.

A side-dish. A dish served between the courses.

Fondant.

A foamy sweetmeat, prepared by boiling and beating up sugar.

Haggis.

The Scottish equivalent of a black pudding or a faggot.

Marinade.

A preparation of vinegar and spices, in which certain savouries are soaked prior to cooking.

Mayonnaise.

A rich, creamy sauce, used, amongst other things, as a salad dressing.

Puree.

A very thick soup, the ingredients of which have been well rubbed through a sieve.

Skillet.

A long-handled iron pan, shaped like a frying pan, but having a lid.

Stock-pot.

A large container in which fragments of savouries, gravy, stock, etc., are stored ready for making the basis of soups.

Trifle.

A sweet with a basis of sponge cake, garnished with cream, wine, jams, etc.

Vol-au-vent.

French, ‘ a puff of wind.’ A piece of rninced meat in a light puff paste. EGGS, THEIR VALUE AS FOOD.

Eggs possess greater food value than any other comestible; if we exclude the shell, we may say that the egg is 100% nourishment. So far as nourishment is concerned, two eggs are equivalent to practically a quarter of a pound of meat ; thus, an eminent medical authority has calculated that an ordinary hen of a good laying strain will produce, in eggs, the value of half a sheep per annum. An egg will yield in heat and energy as much as 1J ounces of fat meat or of half a tumbler of new milk.

Eggs have their limitations, however, being very deficient in carbo-hydrates. This limitation may be corrected by combining with milk to form the various egg and milk dishes, but, to obtain the full advantage of the combination, they should be taken raw—the egg beaten up in the milk. Eggs are not, however, easily digested by everybody—in fact, to some people, they are almost a poison. The more lightly cooked it is, the easier to digest. Therefore, hard-boiled eggs, omelettes and fried eggs are not so suitable for children as lightly boiled or poached eggs. Curiously enough, a hard-boiled egg, which has been boiled say, a quarter of an hour, may be very difficult to digest; but if it is allowed to boil for an hour to an hour and a half, it will be quite easy to assimilate. If a hard-boiled egg be chopped up very finely it can be digested by the most delicate stomach. It should be remembered that the yolk contains most fat, and this is the portion which should be given to young children in preference to the white. EGGS, NOVEL WAYS OF COOKING.

Carmelite Eggs.

Prepare half a cupful of very finely chopped boiled spinach by adding to it a teaspoonful of butter and a little grated nutmeg, and put it where it will keep warm. Hard boil three or four eggs, then cut each carefully in two, lengthwise. Remove the yolks and stir them into the spinach, mashing them well until all the yolk is thoroughly mixed with the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and neatly fill the mixture into the hollowed halves of the white of egg. Make a sauce of a cupful of milk, a dab of butter, and a tablespoonful of flour. When this has thickened, arrange the halved eggs in a dish and pour the sauce around; set in the oven for five minutes to make thoroughly hot.

Egged Mushrooms.

Put two ozs. of butter in a saucepan, and when melted add a pound of peeled and washed mushrooms. Let them simmer gently for ten minutes, then add to them two hard-boiled eggs cut into slices, and half a cup of cream.

Eggs Lyonnaise.

Put a table-spoonful of butter in a frying-pan, and when melted, add half a finely chopped onion, and let it simmer slowly for ten minutes. Add a dessertspoonful of flour and stir well until smooth, add to this two tablcspoonfuls of milk, a little salt and pepper, and let it cook for three or four minutes only. Pour into a deep dish and break upon it three eggs; sprinkle with bread crumbs, and let it cook in a moderate oven for about five minutes until the eggs are set. Serve in the same dish.

Frothed Eggs.

Separate the yolks and whites of four eggs, putting each yolk into its shell or on to a separate plate. Beat the whites until very stiff, and fill a well-buttered custard cup half full of the white—make a hole in the centre, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lemon juice and drop a yolk into each cup. Put into a shallow pan of boiling water with a cover on it, and when the eggs are set, turn out upon buttered toast. Garnish with parsley.

Golden Eggs.

Hard boil three eggs, take off the shells, and separate the yolks from the whites. Chop the whites very finely and press the yolks through a sieve, keeping them separate. Put half a cupful of milk in a double boiler and when it boils add to it half a tablespoonful of butter and the same of flour mixed together; and when the sauce has thickened, season it with salt and pepper and stir into it the chopped whites of the eggs. While the sauce is cooking, prepare three rounds of toast and place them on a hot dish. Cover each piece of toast with alternate layers of the white sauce, and yolk of eggs, two layers of each. Season with pepper and salt, and place in the oven for a moment or two before serving.

Japanese Eggs.

Hard boil the required eggs, and after halving them remove the yolks and mix them (the yolks) with a little butter (using a tablespoonful to six eggs), pepper and salt, and a little tomato or Harvey sauce. Refill the halved whites with this and use the eggs to garnish two cupfuls of boiled rice. Pour over all some white or parsley sauce when serving.

EGGS, PRESERVING.

Use waterglass, which can be procured from any chemist, with full instructions. The eggs should first be placed in a large container, and the preparation poured over them. Before using, the eggs should be well washed.

FISH, HOW TO SELECT.

The smell is the best test as to whether fish is fresh: there is no mistaking fish which is a little bit ‘off.’ Firmness of flesh and clearness of eye are indispensable criteria. Cod can also be tested by the rigidity of the muscles and scales, and the redness of the gills. Fresh turbot should have the underside of a rich cream colour. Fish should be cooked immediately after purchase.

FISH, HOW TO COOK.

Fresh cod and salmon, pike and jack are usually boiled. Cod steaks are either stewed or fried. Finnan haddock should be stewed, as also should eels. Mackerel, trout, herrings, etc., are generally grilled as are most dried or salted fish. sole, plaice, turbot and the generality of flat fish are preferable fried. Lobster, crab and shrimps are scalded, but oysters are eaten raw unless used as an accessory to another dish.

All the examples of fish may be cooked in numerous and alternative manners, but the forms cited, are those usually employed for simple dishes.

FOOD IN SEASON.

January. Fish: Bloaters, carp, cod, eels, flounders, haddock, halibut, herrings, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, shrimps, skate, smelt, sole, sprats, turbot, whitebait, whiting.

Fruit: Apples, chestnuts, fil- berts, grapes, oranges, pears, walnuts.

Meal: Beef, lamb, mutton, pork, veal.

Poultry and Game: Chickens, ducks, fowl, geese, hares, partridges, pheasants, pigeons, quail, rabbits, snipe, turkeys, woodcock.

Vegetables: Artichokes, beet, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, chervil, cress, endive, garlic, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, potatoes, sea-kale, spinach (winter), turnips, tomatoes.

February .

Fishi Carp, cockles, cod, crayfish, dabs, eels, flounders, haddock, halibut, herrings, mullet, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, salmon, shrimps, skate, smelts, sole, sprats, trout, turbot,. whitebait, whiting.

Fruit: Apples, bananas, chestnuts, oranges, pears.

Meal: Beef, lamb, mutton, pork, veal.

Poultry and Game: Chickens, ducklings, geese, guinea-fowl, hares, pigeons, quail, rabbits, snipe, turkeys, woodcock.

Vegetables: Artichokes, beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, cress, endive, garlic, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, new potatoes, onions, parsnips, potatoes, radish, savoys, spinach, tomatoes, turnips.

March.

Fish: Cockles, cod, conger-eels, dabs, dory, eels, flounders, halibut, ling, mullet, mussels, oysters, prawns, salmon, shrimps, skate, smelt, sole, sprats, sturgeon, trout, turbot, whitebait.

Fruit: Apples, chestnuts, oranges, pears.

Meat: Beef, lamb, mutton, pork, veal.

Poultry and Game: Chickens, ducklings, geese, pigeons, rabbits, snipe, turkeys.

Vegetables: Artichokes, beet, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cress, endive, garlic, lettuce, mushrooms,onions, parsnips, potatoes, savoys, sea-kale, spinach, turnips.

April.

Fish: Bloaters,cockles, conger-eels, crabs, dabs, eels, flounders, haddock, halibut, lobsters, mackerel, mullet, mussels, oysters, prawns, scallops, shrimps, so skate, smelt, sole, sturgeon, trout, turbot, whitebait.

Fruit: Apples, bananas, nuts, oranges, pears.

Meat: Beef, lamb, mutton, pork, veal.

Poultry and Game: Chickens, ducklings, fowls, goslings, pigeons, pullets, rabbits.

Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radish, rhubarb, sea-kale, spinach, turnip-tops.

May.

Fish: Bass, bloaters, brill, conger-eels, crabs, crayfish, dabs, dace, eels, flounders, haddock, hake, halibut, herring, lobsters, mackerel, mullet, plaice, prawns, salmon, scallops, shrimps, skate, smelt, sole, sturgeon, trout, turbot, whitebait.

Fruit: Apples, bananas, brazils, cherries, currants, figs, gooseberries, melons, oranges, pears.

Meat: Beef, mutton, pork, veal.

Poultry and Game: Chickens, ducklings, fowls, goslings, pigeons, pullets, rabbits.

Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, endive, garlic, horse-radish, kidney-beans, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, sea-kale, spinach, -turnips.

June.

Fish’. Brill,conger-eels, crabs, crayfish, eels, flounders, haddock, halibut, herring, lobsters, mackerel, mullet, plaice, prawns, salmon, shrimps, skate, smelt, sole, trout, turbot, whitebait, whiting.

Fruit: Almonds, apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, currants, gooseberries, melons, pears, raspberries , strawberries.

Meat: Beef, mutton, pork, veal, venison.

Poultry and Game: Chickens, ducklings, geese, pigeons, plovers, rabbits, turkey, woodpigeons.

Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beans, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, endive, leeks, lettuce, mustard and cress, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, turnips, vegetable marrow.

July.

Fish: Bass, bloaters, brill, carp, conger-eels, crabs, crayfish, dabs, dory, eels, flounders. haddock, hake, halibut, herring, lobsters, mackerel, mullet, perch, pike, plaice, prawns, salmon, shrimps, skate, soles, sturgeon, tench, trout, turbot, whitebait, whiting.

Fruit: Apples, apricots, cherries, currants, gooseberries, greengages, melons, nectarines, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, raspberries, strawberries.

Meat: Beef, lamb, mutton, veal, venison.

Poultry and Game: Chickens, ducks, fowls, pigeons, plovers, quails, rabbits, turkeys, wild duck, wild pigeons, wild rabbits.

Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beans, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, turnips.

August.

Fish: Bass, bloaters, brill, carp, cod, conger-eels, crabs, crayfish, dabs, dace, eels, flounders, haddock, herring, lobsters, mackerel, mullet, perch, pike, plaice, prawns, salmon, shrimps, skates, soles, sturgeon, tench, turbot, whitebait, whiting.

Fruit: Apples, apricots, bananas, brazils, cherries, currants, figs, filberts, gooseberries, grapes, greengages, melons, mulberries, nectarines, peaches, pears, pines, plums, raspberries, Spanish nuts.

Meat: Beef, lamb, mutton, veal, venison.

Poultry and Game: Blackcock, chickens, ducks, hares, pigeons, plovers, quail, rabbits, turkeys.

Vegetables: Artichokes, beans, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, cucumbers, endive, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, turnips.

September.

Fish : Bass, bloaters, brill, carp, cockles, cod, conger-eels, crabs, dace, eels, flounders, haddock, hake, halibut, herrings, lobsters, mackerel, mullet, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, shrimps, soles, turbot, wh itebait, wh iting.

Fruit: Apples, bananas, brazils, cherries, cob-nuts, damsons, figs, filberts, grapes, lemons, melons, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, quinces, walnuts.

Meat: Beef, mutton, pork, veal, venison.

Poultry and Game: Blackcock, chickens, ducks, grouse, hares, larks, partridges, pigeons, plovers, ptarmigan, quail, rabbits, teal, turkey.

Vegetables: Artichokes, beans, cabbages, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, cucumber, leeks, lettuces, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, turnips.

October.

Fish: Bloaters, brill, carp, cockles, cod, conger-eels, crabs, crayfish, dace, dory, eels, flounders, haddocks, hake, halibut, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, shrimps, smelt, sole, turbot, whitebait, whiting.

Fruit: Apples bananas, cranberries, damsons, grapes, lemons, nectarines, nuts, peaches, pears, quinces.

Meat: Beef, mutton, pork, veal, venison.

Poultry and Game: Blackcock, chickens, ducks, grouse, hares, larks, partridges,; pheasants, pigeons, ptarmigan, quail, rabbits, snipe, turkey, woodcock.

Vegetables: Artichokes, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, endive, leeks, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, savoys, spinach (winter), tomatoes, truffles, turnips, marrows.

November.

Fish: Bloaters, brill, carp, cockles, cod, crabs, crayfish, dace, dory, eels, flounders, gudgeons, haddocks, hake, halibut, herrings, lobsters, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, shrimps, skate, smelt, sole, turbot, whitebait, whiting.

Fruit: Apples, bananas, chestnuts, grapes, medlars, melons, nuts, oranges, pears.

Meat: Beef, lamb, mutton, pork, veal, venison.

Poultry and Game: Blackcock, chickens, ducks, fowls, geese, grouse, hares, larks, partridges, pheasants, pigeons, ptarmigan, quail, rabbits, snipe, turkey, woodcocks.

Vegetables: Artichokes, beet, borecole, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, endive, leeks, lettuces, onions, parsnips, potatoes, savoys, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, turnip-tops.

December.

Fish : Bloaters, carp, cockles, cod, crabs, crayfish, dab, dory, eels, flounders, haddock, hake, halibut, herrings, lobsters, mullet, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, shrimps, skate, smelt, sole, sprats, turbot, whitebait, whiting.

Fruit: Apples, bananas, chestnuts, grapes, medlars, nuts, oranges, pears.

Meat: Beef, lamb, mutton, pork, veal, venison.

Poultry and Game: Chickens, ducks, geese, guinea-fowl, hares, larks, partridges, pheasants, pigeons, quail,- rabbits, snipe, turkeys, woodcocks.

Vegetables: Artichokes, beetroot, borecole, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, endive, leeks, lettuces, onions, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, savoys, spinach, truffles, turnips. FOOD VALUES.

No matter what the food value of a comestible no food can fulfil its fdestined purpose unless complete admixture with saliva takes place. This salivation is promoted by the process of mastication—hence the necessity for thoroughly chewing one’s food. Salivation is the first stage in digestion. The saliva becomes diluted if much liquid is taken with meals, and therefore acts imperfectly, and this is the reason why many medical authorities forbid the partaking of fluids with meals. If, however, liquid be taken an hour after eating, digestion is materially assisted.

Too much flesh meat is eaten by Englishmen and women, and too few vegetables and fruit. A little meat is essential for our needs, especially in our chilly climate, and when one is engaged in strenuous labour, but as a nation, we are rather apt to undervalue the /properties of a partial vege-table-fruit-nut diet.

The edibles highest in order of body-building properties are given herewith in their relative positions: Cheese, pulses (peas and beans), chicken, lean fresh meat, salt fish, oatmeal (in porridge), eggs, nuts, fresh fish, dried fruits, butter and milk, vegetables of every description, fruit. Water aids digestion and cleanses the stomach, but alcoholic liquors serve no useful purpose, except, perhaps, medicinally in some cases. Green vegetables, particularly salads, supply numerous essential salts, while sugar, starch and the greases (butter and oil) are fat forming. Coffee is a valuable stimulant, but possesses little food value, but chocolate and cocoa are fat forming to some extent. Tea, though very refreshing, has no particular food value, and, owing to the tannin it contains, has the effect of hardening meats and retarding their their digestion—hence, tea should never be taken with a meat meal.

FROZEN MEAT, HOW TO COOK.

Great care should be taken in cooking frozen meat to insure its being cooked right through. It should be thoroughly thawed before attempting to cook, otherwise it will be quite raw in the middle. Before roasting, it is a good plan to grill for a minute or two on a gridiron. If it is intended to be boiled, the shank (if a leg), or one end if any other joint, should be suspended in fast boiling water, until the meat is warm throughout, as, if immersed directly into the water, it will take the latter quite off the boil. When thoroughly warm, the joint may then be entirely immersed in the water.

FRUIT.

Dietetically, fruit stands very high in virtuous properties. It is one of the few foods which has practically no disadvantages. Fresh fruits, particularly. oranges and lemons, are rich in the useful ‘vitamin C’; most fruits are gently laxative, and all contain certain acids which are essential to the cleansing of the blood.

Fruit should not, however, be eaten in an unripe condition; the laxative properties are fre- quently exaggerated and become purgative to the verge of colic, also, owing to their hardness, they are generally very indigestible. A little fruit, partaken of first thing in the morning, is more valuable than any medicine—grape-fruit, which is becoming increasingly popular in this country, is particularly useful in this direction. The most wholesome and digestive fruits are apples, pears, gooseberries, currants (fresh), grapes, apricots, peaches, strawberries and oranges. Several fruits are very nutritive, but are a little difficult of digestion, as, for instance, nuts, melons, cherries and some varieties of plums.

The value of a fruit diet in a tropical climate cannot be well overstressed, and the Englishman going abroad should make it a prominent item on every menu, especially as the most tropical climates possess the most luscious varieties. Some children show a curious distaste for fruit, and this inclination should be speedily overcome. No child is too young to be benefited by its advantages— doctors recommend a little orange juice for even the youngest of babies.

FRUIT DRYING.

Fruit to be dried should be carefully selected; only the perfect specimens being used, and these slightly under, rather than over, ripe. They should be carefully stored in a very dry attic or barn, laid down in thick layers or dry straw. Great care should be exercised to insure that none of the fruit are touching each other. They should be inspected periodically during the drying process, and any of the fruit which show signs of rotting should be ruthlessly removed; if decaying fruit are allowed to remain amongst the rest, there is a fear of the whole lot becoming contaminated.

FRYING.

Frying is the simplest form of cooking; even the most helpless bachelor is wise in the use of the frying pan. Simple as it is, however, it is surprising how few people are really capable of frying even the humble rasher properly.

It is not sufficient to throw the food into a pan, light the stove, or place it on the fire and let it cook itself. Firstly, the frying-pan should be a stout one—preferably iron; it should be clean—free of all burnt refuse; good fat of some description should be used, and be heated before immersing the food. The article to be fried should not be overdone, or it becomes hard and indigestible; it should be eaten whilst hot.

Deep frying consists of practically boiling articles in fat, as in the case of chipped potatoes. In this case, only fresh clean fat should be used, and the articles should be placed in a wire basket which is immersed in the pan, in order that they may be taken out and well drained when brown. Bacon, if fairly fat, may be fried dry, I.e., in its [own grease, but eggs, fish, meat croquettes, etc., should be fried in a shallow pool of boiling fat.

It is well to remark that this, whilst being one of the most tasty and easy forms of cookery, is one of the most indigestible, and is not recommended for dyspeptics or for young children. Fried food should never be given to invalids.

Careful frying can hardly be distinguished from grilling. GRILLING OR BROILING.— Grilling, or, as our ancestors called it, broiling, is one of the few forms of cookery in which Englishmen excel. Almost anything which can be fried, with perhaps the exception of eggs, can be grilled with more satisfactory results. The process seals up the pores, and retains the juices, which are lost in roasting or frying, thus retaining all the delicious flavour of the meat.

The first essential is a brisk, bright, red fire which is improved by sprinkling with salt. A gridiron is used, and the meat to be grilled is placed thereon until it is charred gently, but not actually burnt. The meat must be cooked very quickly.

The following chart gives the average time required for grilling various popular dishes:

Average time (mins.)

Herring, split .. .. 8 to

Kidneys, sheep’s ..

Loin chop .. .. 8 to

Mackerel, split .. 10 to

Mushrooms .. .. 7 to

Neck of Mutton .. 6 to

Salmon Steak, } inch thick 15 to 20

Sausages .. .. 8 to

Steak, 1 inch thick .. about 8

Steak, 1J inches thick .. 8 to 10

Tomatoes .. .. 6 to

HERBS, DRYING.

Herbs for drying should be collected on a dry day, and should be dried in the oven or before the fire, after which the leaves should be separated from the stems, the former pulverised and bottled until required . In thoroughly dry kitchens herbs are sometimes dried by being hung up beside the fire and left until required, but herbs so dried are apt to become flavourless. HORS-D’OEUVRES.

These are mere appetisers—trifles served up before a meal to tickle the palate. Plain hors-d’ceuvres are very easily prepared, being merely a mixtures of anything which strikes thefancy—olives, sardines, caviare, bits of smoked herring, hard-boiled egg, beetroot, slices of Continental sausage, etc. The more ingredients, the better. Fancy hors-d’ceuvres are more elaborate, and require some care and artistry in the preparation. Their name is legion, being only limited by the imagination of the cook. A few fancy hors-d’oeuvres are given herewith:

Anchovy Toast.

Ingredients: Eggs (one per person) or the equivalent in dried eggs. A little milk. Anchovy essence. Pepper and salt. Butter. Buttered toast.

Beat up the eggs, add the milk, and flavour with anchovy essence, pepper and salt. Melt a small piece of butter in a saucepan, pour in the eggs and flavouring and stir over fire till it thickens. Have ready some hot buttered toast, pour a little on to each, and serve hot.

Olives and Tomatoes.

Remove the skins of six very small tomatoes; take a little pulp out of each, and replace with an olive.

Sardine Eggs.

Ingredients.— 3 eggs. 3 sardines. 1 teaspoonful chopped parsley. I oz. margarine. Pepper and salt. Lemon juice. Essence of anchovy. Cream dressing.

Boil the eggs hard, halve, remove yolks and pound them in a mortar with the sardines honed and scraped. Add the parsley, margarine, seasoning, lemon juice and a few drops of the anchovy essence. Fill the whites with the mixture, arrange on a salad, and serve with cream dressing.

Stuffed Tomatoes.

Ingre- dients: 6 tomatoes. 1 egg. 1 onion. Herbs. 4 tablespoonsful of bread-crumbs. 1 teaspoonful of parsley.

Remove part of the inside of each tomato, making a hole for the stuffing; chop up the onion and parsley finely, add breadcrumbs. Then add herbs to taste; beat up the egg and mix ingredients all together. Stuff the tomatoes with the mixture, bake in a quick oven until cooked, and serve on toast.

ICES, SIMPLE CREAM.

The party, especially in the summer, is not complete without a few ices. The following are a few simple recipes:—

Chocolate Ice Cream.— 1 pint of custard (made with eggs, sugar and fresh milk), 4 ozs. of chocolate, teacupful of milk, lb. castor sugar.

Prepare the custard and allow it to cool. Grate the chocolate and stir it into the milk; add the sugar. Mix well together, then add the custard. Freeze.

Fruit Ice Cream.— 1 pint of custard (as above), 1 gill of fresh cream, 4 ozs. crystallized fruit.

Mix the cream with custard (cool), and add the fruit, cut up very small. Freeze, and when firm, serve on a large dish with whipped cream.

Strawberry Ice Cream.

Fresh strawberries, sugar, cream, cochineal or carmine.

Press the strawberries through a sieve. To each pint of purde add half pound of castor sugar and half pint cream. Mix well, and add a few drops of cochineal or carmine. Partly freeze the mixture, then whip stiffly another pint of cream, and add it to the freezing cream. Continue freezing till quite firm.

Vanilla Ice Cream.— pint of custard (as above), pint cream, vanilla essence, sugar.

Whip the cream stiffly and add it to the prepared custard after it has cooled. Stir in the vanilla essence and a little sugar, then freeze.

This mixture may be used as a foundation for many different ices, variety being obtained by adding fruit juices, flavourings, jams, etc. JAM MAKING.

The preserving of fruit in sugar is the old-fashioned method of providing a supply of fruit for the season when fresh fruit is unprocurable. Though the present rapid means of transport and adequate refrigerating system make it possible for us to obtain the most exotic fruits in a more or less fresh condition at any time, there are still many people who look upon the jam pot with favour.

A large iron or copper preserving pan is necessary, and it is far more satisfactory if the boiling can be effected on an open fire in preference to a gas stove. The following are a few recipes for ¦ old-fashioned simple preserves :

Blackberry Jam.

Ingredients: Blackberries, 1 lemon, £ lb. sugar to the pound of fruit.

Pick over the fruit, lay on a large dish, cover with sugar, squeeze the juice of a lemon over the sugar, and leave to stand all night. Pour the fruit, juice and sugar into a preserving pan, stir over gentle heat till all sugar has dissolved, then boil for about 2 hour. Pour into clean, warm jars, and cover closely.

Damson Jam.

Ingredien ts: Damsons, J lb. preserving sugar to the pound of fruit.

Pick off the stalks and cut fruit in halves. Put fruit and sugar into a preserving pan and stand beside the fire till the juice flows. Then heat gently and stir till all sugar has dissolved. Bring to boiling point, stir and skim frequently. Remove the stones as they float to the top of the pan. Boil until the syrup jellies when tested. Pour into warm jars and cover closely.

Greengage Jam.

Ingredients: Ripe greengages, $ lb. preserving sugar to the pound of fruit.

Stalk and stone the fruit. Put it with a little water into the preserving pan, bring to boil and simmer gently for a quarter of an hour, then add the sugar, previously warmed, stir till it has dissolved, boil up again and continue to boil gently until the syrup sets when tested. Pour at once into jars and cover.

Orange Marmalade.

Ingredients: 12 Seville oranges, 1 ½ lb. of preserving sugar to each pound of oranges, 4 sweet oranges, 11 pints of water to the pound of oranges.

Wipe and weigh the oranges. Put into a large preserving pan, add water and boil gently for 1J hours. Stir frequently, and when peel is tender, take pan from fire and allow to cool. Remove the fruit and drain in a colander. Halve the oranges and scoop out the pulp; press this through a sieve, discard pips and pith, and replace the pulp in the preserving , pan with the water. Finely slice the rinds and put into the pan with the rest; bring to the boil, stir in the sugar, previously heated, and continue boiling for about 1 ½ hours longer. Skim and stir frequently. Test the syrup on a cold plate, and when it sets quickly, pour the marmalade into warm jars and cover at once. MENUS.

In compiling the menu for a dinner, three things should be taken into consideration: the season, the general balance, and the particular tastes of the guests. In regard to the first, it would be folly to offer a host of heavy, overheating dishes in the height of summer. With reference to balance, care should be taken to ensure that a course is not duplicated and that due regard is paid to the appropriateness of the sequence of dishes. The third consideration is a very difficult one, but if one or more of the guests are known to possess violent objections to certain articles of food, one would naturally endeavour to avoid including them in the menu.

The menu should be artistically arranged in tabular form—cards for the purpose can be purchased from most stationers—the items appearing in the order in which they are served, thus:—

Hors d’ceuvres.

Soup.

Fish.

Entree.

Roast.

Vegetables.

Sweets.

Dessert.

PICKLES.

As jams are preserved fruits, so pickles are, in most cases, preserved vegetables, prepared either in brine, mustard or spices.

For ordinary salt pickles, the vegetables should be soaked in brine for a day or two before pickling, after which they should be steeped in vinegar in which have been boiled various spices. Only the best vinegar should be used—malt vinegar for dark vegetables, and white for light coloured vegetables. Enamelled or aluminium pans are preferred for pickling —never copper. Wooden spoons should be used for stirring. Wide-necked jars with patent stoppers or corks (the latter wrapped in grease-proof paper) should be used for bottling.

Indian Chutney.

Ingredients: 8 ozs. chopped sour apples, 8 ozs. tomatoes, 8 ozs. brown sugar, 8 ozs. salt, 8 ozs. stoned raisins, 4 ozs. powdered ginger, 4 ozs. cayenne, 2 ozs. garlic, 2 ozs. shallots, 3 quarts vinegar, 1 quart lemon juice.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly, put in a well-covered jar, keep in a warm place and stir every day for a month, taking care to close tightly each time. Steam, but do not squeeze dry, and store in the usual way in a cool place.

Mixed Pickles.

Ingredients: 1 cauliflower, 4 small green tomatoes, £ lb. shallots, 1 small cucumber, 1 pint white vinegar, 1 dessertspoonful peppercorns, salt, chillies.

Cut up the cauliflower quite small. Peel and slice the tomatoes and cucumber. Place these vegetables in a large dish, and add shallots, then cover with salt. Leave until next day. Pour boiling water over the vegetables to remove the salt, remove from the salt water and pack closely in jars. Boil the vinegar and peppercorns; place a few chillies in each jar and fill up with the vinegar. Cover closely at once.

Pickled Cucumbers.

Ingredients: Cucumbers, salt, vinegar.

Peel the cucumbers and slice thinly. Lay on a large dish and cover with salt, leaving to stand for 24 hours. Then strain off the brine, pack the cucumber slices in alternate layers, with salt, into jars, and cover closely. When required, soak in cold water to remove the salt, and serve with vinegar.

ROASTING.

See Baking. SALADS.

To most people a salad is merely a mixture of uncooked fruits and vegetables, used as a cold dish in summer-time. Yet there are many ways of using a salad as a more useful and substantial dish. It is as well to remember that if a dressing is used it should not be put on the fresh green salad until it is about to be used. The clean inner leaves of lettuce should not be washed, but all those that are washed should be thoroughly dried before the dressing is added. Lettuce and other vegetables in a salad should never be cut with a steel knife; the lettuce should be torn with the hands (which should be rubbed with olive oil for the operation), and any vegetables that require dividing should be treated with a spoon or silver knife. Prepared mayonnaise or salad dressings of very good quality are now manufactured and can be purchased quite reasonably.

Grated nuts make an excellent addition to a fruit salad, especially if two or more sorts are used. Any kind of fresh fruit may be used in a salad. Is should be served with whipped cream.

Asparagus, potatoes, mushrooms, peas, &c., should be boiled before putting into a salad. STEAMING.

This is a modern development of boiling. The water of the steamer never actually comes into contact with the food, the cooking being done by the action of boiling steam.

The steamer itself consists of a bottom pan containing water, on to which fits a sequence of other pans having perforated bottoms. The gas (the steamer was primarily designed for use on a gas stove) is lit under the bottom pan, and as the water boils the hot steam spreads through to the other pans. This is the ideal method of cooking ‘boiled’ puddings and most vegetables.

VEGETABLES, HOW TO SELECT.

The proper time to buy vegetables is when in season . Unripe vegetables are insipid and indigestible, whilst when over-ripe or old, they are either ‘strong’ or stringy. Medium-sized vegetables, of every variety, are preferable to giants—they are more normal as regards size, and, therefore, the quality, it follows, is normal. Cauliflowers should be bought only when the flower is white and covered with pollen; discoloured specimens should be avoided. Cabbages should be firm and dry. Peas should be chosen which have the pods well filled— —firm and regular in shape, and clean. Potatoes must be firm and dry; free of eyes and bruises, and not frost-bitten. Celery, when perfect, is strong and crisp. Root vegetables should be plump and firm, with a fragrant smell. Mushrooms are always a problem, and should never be gathered if there is a doubt as to their identity. Those sold in shops may be relied upon, however. Most people prefer the small ‘buttons’ in preference to the large flat ones. In the buttons, the underside should be of a fresh liver colour, but in the big one the underside becomes black. Tomatoes should be firm and clear of any blight, The actual shade varies a little in different varieties, but the best tomatoes are a brilliant red. VEGETABLES, HOW TO COOK.

All green vegetables require thorough cooking. This renders their tissues softer and more easily digestible. Soft water should preferably be used. To obtain the best from potatoes, they should be placed in boiling water. If put on in cold water, and raised to boiling point, much of the starch is lost through mixing with the water. Spinach, the most easily digestible of all vegetables, becomes a pulp by steaming—in fact, is half digested before being eaten. Asparagus should be tied in bundles, and placed upright with the green ends out of the water. Fresh peas and beans require anything from twelve minutes to half an hour boiling, but dried peas, which contain 100 per cent, food value, should be subjected to prolonged boiling, after having been soaked in water for at least 12 hours. All members of the cabbage tribe should be boiled alone on account of the offensive smell of the water in which they are cooked. For this reason, too, the water should not be poured down the sink, but taken outside and poured down the drain. Carrots should be put on in boiling water with a little salt and a piece of fat or dripping, and boiled for about 20 minutes. Never scrape or pare young carrots; simply wash them well and put into boiling water. Artichokes should be soaked well in water and pared, then placed in a basin containing vinegar and water.

All vegetables should be well washed, and old outside leaves, &c, picked off before cooking. Green vegetables preserve their colour better if boiled in soft water. If, however, the local water is hard, a little bicarbonate of soda in the water helps to preserve the colour.

The following list gives the average time required for cooking the more common vegetables:—

Artichokes, Globe ..30—35 min.

Do.,Jerusalem ..30—35 ,,

Beans, French and

Broad ..15—25 ,, Beans, Haricot (soak overnight) .. 15—20 ,,

Beetroot . .1^—2 hrs.

Brussels Sprouts ..10—15 min.

Cabbage, Spring ..15—20 ,,

Do., Large ..20—30 ,,

Carrots, Old ..20—25 ,,

Do., New ..10—15 ,,

Cauliflower, medium.. 20—25 ,,

Leeks ..30—35 ,,

Onions, Spanish .. 1—ljhrs.

Parsnips .. 1—1

Peas, Green .. 15—25 min.

Potatoes, Old ..25—40 ,,

Do., New ..25—30 ,,

Seakale. ..25 ,,

Spinach ..15—20 ,,

Turnips, Old .. £— lhr.

Do., New .. 15—20 min.

Do., Tops ..20—25 „

Vegetable Marrows ..15—25 ,,

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