FOR THE USE OF THE MISTRESS OF A FAMILY
The mistress of a family should always
remember that the welfare and good management of the
house depend on the eye of the superior, and, consequently,
that nothing is too trifling for her notice, whereby
waste may be avoided.
Many families have owed their prosperity
full as much to the conduct and propriety of female
arrangement, as to the knowledge and activity of the
All things likely to be wanted should
be in readiness, sugars of different qualities
should be broken; currants washed, picked and dry in
a jar; spice pounded, &c. Every article should
be kept in that place best suited to it, as much waste
may thereby be avoided. Vegetables will keep
best on a stone floor if the air be excluded.
Dried meats, hams, &c., the same. All sorts of
seeds for puddings, rice, &c., should be close-covered,
to preserve from insects. Flour should be kept
in a cool, perfectly dry room, and the bag being tied
should be changed upside down and back every week,
and well shaken. Carrots, parsnips, and beet-roots
should be kept in sand for winter use, and neither
they nor potatoes be cleared from the earth.
Store onions preserve best hung up in a dry room.
Straw to lay apples on should be quite dry, to prevent
a musty taste. Tarragon gives the flavor of French
cookery, and in high gravies should be added only
a short time before serving.
Basil, savory, and knotted marjoram,
or London thyme, to be used when herbs are ordered;
but with discretion, as they are very pungent.
Celery seeds give the flavor of the
plant to soups. Parsley should be cut close to
the stalks, and dried on tins in a very cool oven;
it preserves its flavor and color, and is very useful
in winter. Artichoke bottoms, which have been
slowly dried, should be kept in paper bags, and truffles,
lemon-peel, &c., in a very dry place, ticketed.
Pickles and sweetmeats should be preserved
from air: where the former are much used, small
jars of each should be taken from the stock-jar, to
prevent frequent opening.
Some of the lemons and oranges used
for juice should be pared first, to preserve the peel
dry; some should be halved, and, when squeezed, the
pulp cut out, and the outsides dried for grating.
If for boiling any liquid, the first
way is best. When whites of eggs are used for
jelly, or other purposes, contrive to have pudding,
custards, &c., to employ the yolks also.
Gravies or soups put by, should be
daily changed into fresh scalded pans.
If chocolate, coffee, jelly, gruel,
bark, &c., be suffered to boil over, the strength
The cook should be charged to take
care of jelly bags, tapes for the collared things,
&c., which, if not perfectly scalded and kept dry,
give an unpleasant flavor when next used.
Hard water spoils the color of vegetables;
a pinch of pearlash or salt of wormwood will prevent
When sirloins of beef, loins of veal
or mutton come in, part of the suet may be cut off
for puddings, or to clarify; dripping will baste everything
as well as butter, fowls and game excepted; and for
kitchen pies nothing else should be used.
Meat and vegetables that the frost
has touched should be soaked in cold water two or
three hours before they are used, or more if much iced;
when put into hot water, or to the fire until thawed,
no heat will dress them properly.
Meat should be well examined when
it comes in, in warm weather. In the height of
the summer it is a very safe way to let meat that is
to be salted lie an hour in cold water; then wipe
it perfectly dry, and have ready salt, and rub it
thoroughly into every part, leaving a handful over
it besides. Turn it every day and rub the pickle
in, which will make it ready for the table in three
or four days; if it is desired to be very much corned,
wrap it in a well-floured cloth, having rubbed it
previously with salt. The latter method will corn
fresh beef fit for table the day it comes in; but
it must be put into the pot when the water boils.
If the weather permits, meat eats
much better for hanging two or three days before it
The water in which meat has been boiled
makes an excellent soup for the poor, when vegetables,
oatmeal, or peas are added, and should not be cleared
from the fat. Roast beef bones, or shank bones
of ham, make fine peas soup, and should be boiled
with the peas the day before eaten, that the fat may
be removed. The mistress of the house will find
many great advantages in visiting her larder daily
before she orders the bill of fare; she will see what
things require dressing, and thereby guard against
their being spoiled. Many articles may be redressed
in a different form from that in which they are first
served, an improve the appearance of the table without
increasing the expense.
In every sort of provisions, the best
of the kind goes farthest; cutting out most advantageously,
and affording most nourishment.
Round of beef, fillet of veal, and
leg of mutton, bear a higher price; but having more
solid meat, deserve the preference. It is worth
notice, however, that those joints which are inferior
may be dressed as palatably, and being cheaper ought
to be bought in turn; and when weighed with the prime
pieces, the price of the latter is reduced.
In loins of meat, the long pipe which
runs by the bone should be taken out, being apt to
taint, as likewise the kernels of beef.
Rumps and aitch bones of beef are
often bruised by the blows the drovers give, and that
part always taints: avoid purchasing such.
The shank bones of mutton should be
saved, and after soaking and bruising may be added
to give richness to gravies and soups, and they are
particularly nourishing for the sick.
Calves’ tongues, salted, make
a more useful dish than when dressed with the brains,
which may be served without.
Some people like neats’ tongues
cured with the root, in which case they look much
larger; but should the contrary be approved, the root
must be cut off close to the gullet, next to the tongue,
but without taking away the fat under the tongue.
The root must be soaked in salt and water, and extremely
well cleaned before it be dressed; and the tongue laid
in salt for a night and day before pickled.
Great attention is requisite in salting
meat, and in the country, where great quantities are
cured, it is of still more importance. Beef and
pork should be well sprinkled, and a few hours after
hung to drain, before it be rubbed with the preserving
salts; which mode, by cleansing the meat from the
blood, tends to keep it from tasting strong; it should
be turned daily, and, if wanted soon, rubbed.
A salting tub may be used, and a cover should fit
close. Those who use a good deal of salt will
find it well to boil up the pickle, skim, and when
cold pour it over meat that has been sprinkled and
drained. In some families great loss is sustained
by the spoiling of meat. If meat is brought from
a distance in warm weather, the butcher should be
charged to cover it close, and bring it early in the
Mutton will keep long, by washing
with vinegar the broad end of the leg; if any damp
appears, wipe it immediately. If rubbed with salt
lightly, it will not eat the worse. Game is brought
in when not likely to keep a day, in the cook’s
apprehension, yet may be preserved two or three days
if wanted, by the following method:
If birds (woodcocks and snipes excepted,
which must not be drawn), draw them, pick and take
out the crop, wash them in two or three waters, and
rub them with a little salt. Have ready a large
saucepan of boiling water, put the birds in it, and
let them remain five minutes, moving it, that it may
go through them. When all are finished, hang them
by the heads in a cold place; when drained, pepper
the inside and necks; when to be roasted, wash, to
take off the pepper. The most delicate birds,
even grouse, may be kept this way, if not putrid.
Birds that live by suction, &c., bear
being high: it is probable that the heat might
cause them to taint more, as a free passage for the
scalding water could not be obtained.
Fresh-water fish has often a muddy
taste, to take off which, soak it in strong salt and
water; or, if of a size to bear it, give it a scald
in the same, after extremely good cleaning and washing.
In the following, and indeed all other
receipts, though the quantities may be as accurately
set down as possible, yet much must be left to the
discretion of the persons who use them.
The different taste of people requires
more or less of the flavor of spices, garlic, butter,
&c., which can never be directed by general rules,
and if the cook has not a good taste, and attention
to that of her employers, not all the ingredients
with which nature or art can furnish her will give
an exquisite relish to her dishes.
The proper articles should be at hand,
and she must proportion them until the true zest be