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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1910

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Origin, Use and Compilation of Menus




Menus.—The successful compilation of menus, which to the inexperienced presents many difficulties, requires much more than a superficial knowledge of the materials used in cooking, and their method of preparation and serving. The following pages should afford ample assistance to those who desire to know how to compile and arrange menus in their correct form, and in the succeeding pages specimen menus of diverse kinds are given.

In considering the three chief points of a menu, the first, the materials to be provided, depends upon the occasion, the season, and the number of persons to be provided for. The more elaborate the meal, the more difficult is the task of selecting dishes which, while they differ from one another in material, appearance and flavour, will yet, when blended together, form a harmonious whole. Nothing can be more unsatisfactory than a series of badly assorted dishes selected without adequate consideration for variety in composition, flavour and colour.

Dishes appropriate to the season should also be selected, for when food materials are plentiful they are comparatively good and cheap. Moreover, a larger proportion of fruits and salads, and light dishes generally, should be introduced in summer, while in colder weather more substantial food will be found acceptable.

The success of a dinner does not depend upon the number of dishes introduced. It is far better to have fewer courses well cooked and well served than an elaborate pretentious badly-cooked meal. With reference to the dishes, there are certain rules which must at all times be observed. The inexperienced are apt to forget that if two soups are served they must be entirely opposite in character and consistency; that two brown or white sauces may not follow each other; and that each dish should vary in colour and taste from that served before and after it.