Practical Cooking and Serving - 1908

Practical Cooking and Serving - 1908

Practical Cooking and Serving
A Complete Manual of How to Select, Prepare, And Serve Food
Janet McKenzie Hill
Editor Of “The Boston Cooking School Magazine"
Author Of “Salads, Sandwiches, And Chafing Dish Dainties”
With Many Illustrations
New York
Doubleday, Page & Company
Copyright 1908 by
Doubleday, Page & Company
Published October 1908

From A List of Books for Women in the Home and in Busines

“Good introductions on the preparation of each kind of food. Especially good on serving foods attractively, and has many illustrations to guide in serving. Contains many recipes for such dishes as are in demand for formal occasions—fancy cooking.“

“Certainly,” replied the oracle, “study the art of pleasing by dress and manner as long as you are of an age to interest us; and, above all, let all women, pretty and plain, married and single, study the art of cookery. If you are an artist in the kitchen, you will always be esteemed. Only be careful, in studying both arts, never to forget the great truth that dinner precedes blandishments, and not blandishrnents dinner."
Elizabeth and Her German Garden.
I Regard the discovery of a dish a far more interesting event than the discovery of a. star, for we have already stars enough, but we can never have too many dishes; and I shall not regard the sciences as sufficiently honored or adequately represented among us until I see a cook in the first class of the [French] Institute.
Hourion de Penessy (a learned French judge)


This book is designed to be something more than a compilation of recipes—though recipes make up a large portion of its contents. Cookery is a necessary art, and an art that is worthy the attention of the most intelligent and cultivated women of the land. How few women realize that the warp and woof of our muscular and nervous systems are woven out of the food we eat, or that food even more than environment makes or mars the individual.
In the arrangement of subject matter into chapters, the time-honored divisions into bread, soups, eggs, fish, etc., have been retained, though this plan is not strictly scientific. In the secondary grouping of topics in the various chapters, an attempt has been made, as far as possible, to classify the matter in a systematic and scientific manner.
The relation between the various subdivisions, and their interdependence not only upon each other, but also upon divisions made in other parts of the volume, is shown. In this and other respects we claim that the book is a step-in advance on all preceding works on cookery—from which we hereby acknowledge we have drawn inspiration and aid.
The remark has been made recently by an authority on the subject that “a good cook does not need recipes." This is, perhaps, in accordance with the idea that cooks, like poets, are born and not made. But while a grain of truth may lie hidden in this statement, still there is room for misunderstanding and a well-founded difference of opinion. In the science and art of cookery we are dealing with materials that cannot be said to have a fixed value; yet the effects of heat and moisture, at varying degrees of temperature, and the several combinations necessary to secure definite results under ordinary circumstances, may become as thoroughly fixed in mind as the multiplication table or the declension of nouns. A cook with this fundamental knowledge understands the relation between a sauce thickened with roux, a custard soufflé, an ice cream thickened with starchy material, and many an entrée. She knows the probable value, or jellying quality, of a certain quantity of starch or gelatin, and with no fear of failure she adds whipped white of egg, or cream, to the remnants of a fruit jelly to produce, respectively, a charlotte or a Bavarian cream, and thus formulates recipes to make use of the materials she has on hand.
But while the majority of girls in America become proficient in mathematics before the age of fifteen, as yet it is only the favored few who receive any systematic training in the principles of cookery; and hence there still seems to be a demand for reliable formulas in accordance with which food materials may be successfully combined. Then, again, progress is made in cookery 'as in other arts, and what is considered a good method of procedure today may be much improved upon to-morrow. For these and other excellent reasons we have endeavored to note and to illustrate the latest and best in manipulation and appliance that pertained to the culinary art.
Recipes are given for simple everyday dishes and also for such as are in demand on the most formal occasions. To insure accuracy, it is to be noted that in all recipes where flour is used, unless otherwise stated, the flour is measured after sifting once. When flour is measured by cups, the cup is filled with a spoon, and a level cupful is meant. A tablespoon or a teaspoonful of any designated material is a level spoonful of such material.
The recipes are of dishes prepared by the author during an experience of twenty years in housekeeping; these are supplemented by dishes prepared to illustrate demonstrations in cookery given before classes of housekeepers in New England, the Middle West and the South.
A few formulae are favorite recipes donated by cooking teachers, cooks and housekeepers of note in various sections of the country. A part of these have been tried by the author and found excellent; others have not been so tested, but in all cases the name accompanying the recipe is guaranty of the quality of the dish. Many of these recipes appear now for the first time in print; others have been published in the Boston Cooking School Magazine, and still others have accompanied illustrations by the author in The Ladies’ Home Journal. As the main idea in the journal was pictorial rather than literary, the details of combination were not dwelt upon in that publication; these are here, together with the illustrations, now made complete.
Recognizing the fact that names were originally given to food combinations for specific reasons, which still have meaning to the initiated, an attempt has been made to preserve the original names of dishes, and to avoid designating at random other combinations, which are founded upon the original or derivative idea.
In respect to the illustrations, the fact that a dish presents an attractive appearance does not argue necessarily that it is expensive. A simple mold of pink rhubarb jelly, surrounded with whipped cream, presents an elegant or showy appearance, yet with rhubarb at two cents per pound and sugar at six the dish could not be considered too elaborate or expensive for occasional use. The difference in cost of materials and time expended is not so great that it should be considered burdensome to present a dish finished with a sprig of parsley, a curl of bacon, one or two toast points, or, occasionally, as in the case of a sweet, with half a cup of whipped cream. If the habit of making all dishes attractive be once acquired, the extra time will not be noted, or the effort given a thought.
Of the illustrations, some are given to make plain the different processes in cooking, or to show the utensils used in the several operations. Others are given as a guide in serving—i. e., to show how the finished dish should appear.
Dainty serving is intimately connected with dainty cooking. In fact, it is the climax of the art of cookery. Though hints on serving will be found scattered throughout the volume, a special chapter is devoted to garnishing and serving—, and another to the art of hospitality and the etiquette of entertaining.
Taking into consideration the present large and rapidly increasing number of women who are interested in providing a well-balanced dietary for their families, the chemical composition of the various food products, as given in the bulletin prepared by Professor Atwater for the United States Department of Agriculture, has been presented at the head of the respective chapters. To follow the laboratory standards accurately, as these are given for different classes and ages of individuals, calls for more time and appliances than the average housekeeper has at her command. Indeed, this will not be attempted in daily life, except occasionally, unless by specialists; nor is this in any sense a necessity. But a study of these tables, in connection with the matter in Chapter I., Part I., and in Chapters II. and IV., in Part III., will enable the thoughtful housekeeper, in planning her weekly bills of fare, to secure, approximately, the right proportions of the various food principles, or, if she wills to do so, as accurately as in the work of the specialist.
But we believe that a woman’s duty does not end in the selection of food containing the proper proportions of the various food principles. What does it avail to select wisely if in cooking we lose the nutritive value originally found in the product, or if, through monotony in manner of preparation, the food fail to be assimilated?
That the careful use of this book may enable the thoughtful mistress or maid to take the most common and inexpensive food products and so prepare them as to bring out and conserve their latent and nutritive qualities of juiciness and flavor, and at the same time render them pleasing to the eye and acceptable to the palate, is the earnest desire of the author.

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