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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1833

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1643
HERBS, CONDIMENTS, AND AUXILIARIES

clove has a considerable resemblance. Cloves were but little known to the ancients, and Pliny appears to be the only writer who mentions them: and he says, vaguely enough, that some were brought to Rome, very similar to grains of pepper, but somewhat longer: that they were only found in India, in a wood consecrated to the gods; and that they served in the manufacture of perfumes. The Dutch, as in the case of the nutmeg, endeavoured, when they gained possession of the Spice Islands, to secure a monopoly of cloves, and, so that the cultivation might be confined to Ambroyna, their chief island, bribed the surrounding chiefs to cut down all trees elsewhere. The Ambroyna, or royal clove, is said to be the best, and is rare: but other kinds, nearly equally good, are produced in other parts of the world, and they come to Europe from Mauritius, Bourbon, Cayenne, and Martinique, as also from St. Kitt's, St. Vincent's, and Trinidad. The clove contains about 20 per cent, of volatile aromatic oil. to which is attributed its peculiar pungent flavour, its other parts being composed of woody fibre, water, gum, and resin.

Coriander (Fr.—Coriandre).—This plant, the Coriandrum sativum. is of Eastern origin. The seeds of the plant, when fresh, have a disagreeable smell: in their dry state they are used by the confectioner, distiller, and in the manufacture of curry-powder, but very rarely in ordinary cookery.

Curry (Fr.—Poudre de Kari).—Curry is composed of various condiments and spices, which include cardamon-seed, coriandar-seed, cumin-seed, dried cassia leaves, dried chillies, cayenne, ginger, mustard-seed, turmeric, cinnamon, mace, and cloves. It ours its peculiar odour and bright colour to the presence of turmeric, a variety of ginger in the East Indies. Thorough cooking is absolutely necessary to develop the full flavour of the various ingredients comprising curry powder, the directions given in the respective recipes for preparing the curry sauce before adding to it other substances should therefore be strictly followed.

Ginger (Fr.—Gingembre).—Ginger is the tuber of a perennial plant called Zingiber officinale. growing chiefly in the West Indies. There are two varieties; the white and the black. The former is considered the better, and is prepared by washing and scalding the tubers, and then scraping them and drying them in the sun: in the black ginger the scraping process is omitted, it being merely scalded before being dried. Ginger is much used in culinary operations: grated green ginger is deemed by epicures to be an important item in a dish of curry.

Lemon (Fr.—Citron).—This fruit is a native of Asia, and was first cultivated in England in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Lemons are imported in large quantities from the Azores, St. Helena, Spain, and Portugal, those from Spain being considered the best. The juice of the lemon is invaluable in many culinary operations, being employed in some as a bleaching agent, in others to expedite disinte-