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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/106

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HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

tubes composed of siliceous infusorial earths, which are very compact, but allow water introduced into them slowly to percolate. The only way to obtain absolutely pure water is to use a still, in which water is evaporated by heat, and the steam being caught and condensed by cold is obtained in the form of liquid water. But this water is of a "dead" character, having no oxygen, and if exposed to the air quickly absorbs atmospheric gases and dust. For practical purposes, if water has to be purified, the best plan is to boil it. This not only destroys living germs and their spores, but splits up organic matter and causes the earthy salts to be deposited in the form of slime or "fur." The kettle has the advantage of being available both for home and outdoor use—for instance on country excursions, when very often water of doubtful character is alone to be procured.

Washing and Wringing Machines.—In large establishments where there is a laundry these do not enter into "The Arrangement and Economy of the Kitchen," but in smaller ones they often of necessity form part of the furniture. The price of a small one is from 20s to 90s.

Washing machines are daily becoming more general in private families, and needless to say washing at home, if practicable, is a great economy.

Fireproof Earthenware Cooking Appliances and Casserole Pots are benefits which we owe to Continental chefs. For many purposes they are not to be surpassed. They are light, cleanly, impart no flavour to the most delicate of viands, quick in use, and may, for the most part, be sent up to table with their contents direct from the kitchener. Among other purposes fireproof earthenware vessels are excellent for cooking "œufs sur le plat," or fried eggs, scrambled eggs, stewed and baked tomatoes, joints of meat "au daube," that is, stewed with rich gravy and vegetables. These are all dishes which would be spoilt in colour and flavour if iron saucepans were used. Moreover, as this ware is decidedly ornamental, they only require to be taken from the oven or hot plate, placed on a dish and sent to the dining-room.

Enamelled Ware is now much used, both for cooking and other kitchen utensils. As a rule these consist of rather thin sheets of steel, or iron, stamped out into different shapes, and then coated inside and out with fireproof enamel; the coat used for the outside generally being blue, and that for the inside white. The advantages of enamelled ware are that it is clean, acid-proof and does not injure the colour or flavour of any article cooked and placed within it. Vessels of this ware are especially useful for making sauces, boiling milk, farinaceous puddings and stewing fruit. These utensils are also easily cleaned. But it is necessary to buy good quality articles, as in the cheaper classes the enamel is often thin, inferior and contaminated with arsenic. Inferior enamel is apt to chip, and this is dangerous, as the particles are as sharp as glass and capable of causing serious digestive troubles. Moreover, if the enamel is chipped or badly cracked, all the advantages of enamelling are neutralized, as the foods come into direct contact with the metal, and