Seasoning for Soups.—In addition to salt and pepper, which form the ordinary seasonings for soups, and which must be added with caution, nutmeg, allspice, mace, sugar and cinnamon are used, but in all cases judgment and discretion must be exercised, as an overdose of any one of the above ingredients may spoil the best soup.
The exact quantity of liquid needed in making soup cannot, speaking generally, be given, so much depends on the rate of cooking, and whether the lid of the saucepan is kept on to prevent waste by evaporation. If the liquid becomes greatly reduced by rapid boiling but has been closely covered, the contents of the saucepan have merely become concentrated in strength and flavour, and water may be added to make up the original quantity. Should the liquid, by being allowed to boil in an uncovered saucepan, have wasted its strength and flavour, sufficient stock, milk, or whatever formed the basis of the soup, must be added to make up the original STRENGTH and quantity. The inexperienced cook should take this lesson to heart—Cooking cannot be Hastened. If the preparations for dinner have been somewhat delayed nothing is gained by placing the saucepan containing the soup, stew, or meat on the top of a fierce fire. When once the SLOW-BOILING or simmering point has been reached all excess of heat is wasted, and the BENEFIT of slow progressive cooking is lost.
The following information and directions will be found useful in the making of stock.
1. Beef makes the best brown stock, but it lacks gelatinous substance; therefore stock for good consommé, or clear soup, should be made of beef and veal, and a fowl, or part of a fowl added to give it an additional flavour.
2. White stock is usually made from veal, bones and remains of poultry and calves' feet. The liquor in which calves' head or fowls has been boiled makes excellent white stock.
3. Stock meat should be as lean and as fresh as possible. Never wash meat unless obliged, as it deprives its surface of all the juices. It should be cut into small pieces, in order to multiply the surfaces to be exposed to the softening and dissolving influences of the water.
4. The usual allowance of water is 1 quart to each lb. of meat. This may, however, be too large a quantity if the stock is very gently simmered and kept covered the whole time; on the other hand, if cooked too quickly, or if by careless exposure the evaporation is excessive, the amount specified may not be sufficient.
5. The meat should be allowed to stand in the water for a little time in order to dissolve the soluble constituents; heat should be applied gradually until the stock reaches the boiling point; when the scum