Twice Cooked - Vintage Cooking Process

Although this term is not used now, the process is nevertheless largely practiced.  Very tough meat and some fish, also some kinds of game, are said to become improved in flavor by twice cooking, with an interval of one day. 

Indeed, when cooking is performed on a very large scale, most of the dishes served are in a manner twice cooked.  We have two examples to quote, viz.: Biscuits and toast, where this method is employed. 

The biscuit is perhaps the oldest example, for "bis" means twice, and "cuit" means baked or cooked, though this word is now but seldom used in the literal sense.

Toast, however, serves as a good example of twice cooking; so do pulled bread and rusks; the latter are known as zwieback in German, which means, twice baked.  In these articles the change to dextrin is more complete than in once baked bread or biscuits and therefore the food becomes more soluble.

Twice Cooked Meats

Meat which is reheated or twice cooked is less nourishing than when first prepared because no matter how careful the cooking process, a certain amount of the nutritive juices will escape in the first cooking, although usually a portion of this is retained and served as a sauce or gravy.

So the wise housewife prepares various savory sauces when reheating meat or fish, to overcome this loss of flavor and add to the palatability of these warmed over dishes.

Twice cooked meat, if properly prepared, is very appetizing and not hard to digest—unless reheated in such a fashion as to render it tough and leathery. It is also necessary to bear in mind when preparing these various dishes, that the meat should never be actually twice cooked, but merely reheated.

Whenever vegetables, sauces, etc., are to be added to cooked meat or fish, they should be thoroughly cooked before being combined with the ingredients to be reheated.

The cooked meat or fish, when reheating, should be protected if possible from coming in direct contact with the heat of the fire, oven or fat; which means that the reheating process should be accomplished by adding the cooked food to a hot sauce, or be combined with other materials.

The finer these cooked ingredients are the less time required for reheating, and the more quickly will they absorb the sauce which is to give flavor to the dish.

However, this does not mean to mash the meat or fish, but carefully chop it; also be careful to remove all bone, gristle and undesirable portions before chopping, and if cutting in cubes or slicing, have the pieces of uniform size, which will add greatly to the appearance of the finished dish.

Any kind of cooked fish, meat and some vegetables may be used in making croquettes. Meat and fish croquettes are simply a finely chopped mixture combined with a thick sauce, then crumbed, shaped, dipped in egg, then in crumbs again and fried in deep fat. Whatever variety of meat or fish the rules for the sauce, molding and frying are the same.

Table Talk: The American Authority upon Culinary Topics and Fashions of the Table, Vol. XXVII, 1912, A Series of Articles Published Throughout the Year. Published Monthly by The Arthur H. Crist Co., Cooperstown, NY. A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Interests of American Housewives, Having special reference to the Improvement of the Table.  Marion Harris Neil, Editor.

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