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HERBS, CONDIMENTS, AND AUXILIARIES

 
CHAPTER LXI
 

The first pages of the present chapter deal principally with the various seasonings and flavourings which form an important part of every culinary preparation, followed by a brief description of the elementary processes which enter largely into every-day cookery. The success of many dishes depends more on the condiments and auxiliaries used in compounding them than on the material forming the base; hence the necessity of some slight knowledge of the qualities of the respective seasonings and flavourings, and the exercise of a certain amount of care in preparing the auxiliaries.

Herbs

Aromatic Herbs and Plants.—A number of these are used in a dry state, but when freshly gathered a better flavour is added to the preparation of which they form a part.

Bay-leaves (Fr.—Feuilles de laurier).—The leaves of the common laurel, Prunus laurocerasus, are employed for culinary purposes to give a kernel-like flavour to sauces, stocks, mirepoix, custards, puddings, etc. They may be dried and their flavour preserved for a great length of time if kept in an air-tight tin.

Basil (Fr.—Basilic). The flavour of this herb greatly resembles that of the bay-leaf. It finds great favour with French cooks, but it is not much used in England except as a flavouring for fish soups and fish sauces. It is in perfection about August, when it should be dried and preserved in air-tight bottles or tins for winter use. Like many other herbs, it may be obtained ready-prepared.

Bouquet Garni.—The little bunch or fagot of herbs to which this name is applied usually consists of two or three sprigs of parsley, a sprig of thyme, and a bayleaf, with the addition of marjoram, celery leaves, basil, or other herbs may, if liked, be added.

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