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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1716

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HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

The German Middle Classes rise much earlier than the corresponding class in England, and usually breakfast between 7 and 8 o'clock. This simple, informal meal consists of rolls and coffee, the family seldom sit down together, each member partaking of the meal as he or she makes his or her first appearance.

At 11 o'clock there is a sort of snatch repast, which consists of white or brown bread, smoked sausages or cheese, and a glass of wine or lager beer.

The principal meal of the day is the Mittagessen or dinner, which is usually served between 12 and 1 o'clock. It consists of soup, meat, either roasted, boiled, or braised, accompanied by vegetables or salad, and is followed by a compôte of fruit or some other sweet, or, failing these, a little cheese. Light wine or beer is nearly always served with the midday repast.

The middle classes have, instead of our " afternoon tea," the caffee-klatsche or coffee gossip, a light, informal meal of coffee and cakes, which any number of uninvited guests may share; although many housewives of a humbler class provide coffee between ½ past 3 and 4 o'clock, this meal is by no means general with them: in fact, as a rule, nothing is served between dinner and supper.

The Supper, " Nachtessen " or " Abendmahl," is served between 7 and 8 o'clock in the evening, and may, in summer time, consist principally of the famous Teutonic dish "dicke Milch" and fruit, and at other times of a soup or an omelet, a dish of cold meat and salad, or some kind of dressed vegetable. Except among the upper classes, late dinners are not the rule in Germany, although the elaborate meals provided when friends are invited are identical with the English dinner in all but name.

The Austrian-German Cuisine has many broad features in common, although in many respects Austria is far in advance of Germany and other neighbouring countries. Providing well-cooked food for the masses became a national question many years ago, when self-supporting " People's Kitchens " were started in Vienna and other parts of the country, whereby good and wholesome food was brought within the reach of the poor and labouring classes at the lowest possible prices.

A knowledge of cookery runs through all classes, and is an essential part of education. This knowledge, however, is not as a rule acquired either at home or at a cookery school—for these latter institutions, which abound in England and Germany, are almost unknown in Austria —but under the guidance of chefs or cooks in hotels and private families. It is customary for most Austrian cooks to be allowed to receive one or more pupils, and although this may to us appear a peculiar practice, it is nevertheless a fact that any one desirous of learning the culinary art must necessarily resort to this means to obtain what they desire.

The food materials employed by the middle classes of Austria are