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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/82

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54
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

35 per cent, of its weight, in a gas oven only 25 per cent. This immense saving is no doubt due to the more evenly distributed and less fierce temperature.

It is essential that gas kitcheners should be kept scrupulously clean. The enamelled parts inside and out should be rubbed down when cold with a sponge or cloth dipped in warm water, and then wiped dry. The gas burners should be kept free from dust. Any grease on the kitchener should be carefully removed. If these precautions are taken and the burners properly lighted, all disagreeable odours will be avoided, and certainty of results ensured.

Advantages of Cooking by Gas.—There are many features to recommend cooking by gas, chief among which are—

  1. Cleanliness, and the readiness by which the fire can be lighted and extinguished, facilities which are conducive to economy, because the fire need only be maintained when it is required for cooking.
  2. It is economical in another respect, because meat cooked by gas has been found to lose less weight than when cooked in an oven heated by coal.
  3. The heat can be readily and instantly regulated, being concentrated precisely where required by means of the different burners, each of which is independent of the other.
  4. Gas stoves are especially useful in summer and in small households, where, during the greater part of the day, no fire is needed.
  5. Saucepans and other vessels may be kept as clean outside as inside.
  6. Cooking by gas is less heating, and consequently less tiring to the person employed, than cooking by a coal-range.

Construction of Gas Stoves.—The oven of a well-constructed gas stove is made either entirely of cellular cast iron and jacketed all over with slag wool, or it is made with a double casing with an intermediate hot-air jacket. This is necessary to prevent heat being conducted from the oven to the surrounding air. The gas-burners are not always inside the oven; when they are, the oven should have no bottom, or if it has, there must be some provision made for admitting atmospheric air to mingle with the gas. The mixture of air and gas produces a bluish light; when the light is yellow (while using the atmospheric burners) the stove is wrongly-constructed in this respect, or it has not been lit in a proper manner. The inside of the oven and the top of the stove should be lined with porcelain enamel, in order that it may be easily kept clean. The oven should be provided with some efficient means of ventilation, whereby the vitiated air may be carried away, and the mixed flavour which sometimes pervades different materials cooked in the same oven may be obviated. The best stoves are provided with a patent reversible grill which, when deflected downwards, may be used for grilling meat or toasting bread. The rings on the top of the