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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/162

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and finish with reduced heat. Gas as well as electric heat and the spirit lamp can be easily regulated as desired.

For outdoor cooking (picnics and camping) the chafing-dish is useful, but should be supplemented with a tinplate oil cooking stove, which generally provides an oven, hot plate, and ring for kettle or stewpan.

For emergencies a good substitute for cream can be made with fresh milk, a little butter and flour.

If milk cannot be procured for tea and coffee, use an egg beaten up to a froth.

If fresh-water fish is caught and has to be cooked, wash thoroughly in clean water; if small, fry; if large, stew with a sauce, in which wine or vinegar and aromatic herbs are used.


An important consideration is, how food may be best preserved with a view to its being suitably dressed. More waste is often occasioned by the want of judgment, or necessary care in this particular than by any other cause. In the absence of proper places for keeping provisions, a hanging safe, suspended in any airy situation, is the best substitute. A well-ventilated larder, dry and shady, is better for meat and poultry, which require to be kept for some time; and the utmost skill in the culinary art will not compensate for the want of proper attention to this particular. Though it is advisable that animal food should be hung up in the open air till its fibres have lost some degree of their toughness, yet, if it is kept till it loses its natural sweetness, its flavour has become deteriorated, and, as a wholesome comestible, it has lost many qualities conducive to health. As soon, therefore, as the slightest trace of putrescence is detected, it has reached its highest degree of tenderness, and should be dressed immediately. During the sultry summer months, it is difficult to procure meat that is not either tough or tainted. It should, therefore, be well examined when it comes in, and if flies have touched it, the part must be cut off, and the remainder well wiped with a clean cloth dipped in warm water and vinegar. In loins of meat, the long pipe which runs in the cavity of the bone should be taken out, as it is apt to taint, as also the kernels of beef. Rumps and aitch-bones of beef, should not be purchased when bruised.

All these things ought to enter into the consideration of every household manager; and great care should be taken that nothing is thrown away, or suffered to be wasted in the kitchen, which might, by proper management, be turned to a good account.

The shank bones of mutton, so little esteemed in general, give richness to soups or gravies, if well soaked and bruised before they are added to the boiling liquor.