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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1835

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1045
HERBS, CONDIMENTS, AND AUXILIARIES

globular form and brownish hue, which changes to nearly black when dried. This is the black pepper of commerce, white peppercorns being produced by steeping the dark berries in lime and water, and afterwards subjecting them to certain rubbing processes, by which their dark husks are removed.

Pepper, Krona.—This well-known condiment is made from the Hungarian paprika, capsicum pod, etc. It is bright-red in colour, with an agreeable flavour, and with less pungency than cayenne, and consequently may be regarded as an exceedingly useful combination of flavouring and seasoning ingredients.

Pepper, Mignonette.—This is ordinary white pepper with the husks removed and crushed finely, but not ground.

Salt (Fr.—Sel). The importance of salt as a condiment, as an antiseptic, and an article of food cannot be overestimated. In cookery its uses are apparently contradictory, for it aids in softening certain substances when applied through the medium of cold water, and greatly assists in hardening the same when the medium is boiling water. It increases the specific gravity of water, and consequently raises the boiling point, a matter of considerable importance in boiling rice, when it is necessary to keep the water in a state of ebullition to prevent the rice coalescing. Every other condiment, no matter how irable, may be dispensed with, or one condiment may be substituted for another, but salt is absolutely indispensable, for it makes palatable food that would otherwise be uneatable. Salt, like all other seasonings, must be used with judgment: the expression "salt to taste," even when applied to water in which vegetables are cooked, means that the amateur should taste the water until experience teaches her how much to add.

Sugar (Fr.—Sucre).—Sugar, like salt, is both an antiseptic and a valuable food, as well as a useful flavouring ingredient. What salt is to meat and vegetables, sugar is to all fruits and many farinacc foods, rendering palatable what would otherwise be insipid or un< able in consequence of extreme sourness. In very small quantii frequently used to soften or heighten the flavour of ragouts and sauces.

Turmeric (Fr.—Merite).—Turmeric is the tuber of the Cucuma longa, a branch of the ginger family, extensively cultivated in the East Indies. The tubers are dried and then ground to a fine powder. This condiment enters laregely into the composition of curry-powder, and gives to it the peculiar odour and the bright yellow colour which that compound possess

Vanilla (Fr.—Vanille).—Vanilla is the fruit of a tropical orchid plant, the best varities are now grown in Mexico. The dried, aromatic sheath-like pod has a delicious fragrance. Its use was first discovered by the Spaniards, but it is now extensively employed as a flavouring for cakes, custards, puddings, chocolate, liqueurs, etc. The