Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/530

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

sion. To do this, divide the chop in equal halves, then hold one half over a flaming coal, immersing it in the flame, and cook it thus. Now cut a bit of fat off the other, throw this fat on a surface of clear, glowing, flameless coal or coke, and, when a good blaze is thus obtained, immerse this half chop recklessly and unmercifully in this flame; there let it splutter and fizz, drop more fat and make more flame, but hold it there, nevertheless, for a few minutes, and then taste the result.

In spite of its blackness, it will be (if just warmed through to the above-named cooking temperature) a deliciously cooked, juicy, nutritious, digestible morsel, apparently raw, but actually more completely cooked than if it had been held twice as long, at double the distance, from the surface of the fire.

For further instruction, make a third experiment by imitating the cautious unscientific cook, who, ignorant of the difference between the condensation products of coal and those from beef and mutton fat, carefully raises the gridiron directly the flame from the dropping fat threatens the object of her solicitude. The result will be an ordinary domestic chop or steak. I apply this adjective, because, in this particular effort of cookery, the grilling of chops and steaks, domestic cookery is commonly at fault. The majority of our city men find that while the joint cooked at home is better than that they usually get at restaurants and hotels, the chops and steaks are inferior.

I believe that this inferiority is due, in the first place, to the want of understanding of the difference between coal-flame and fat-flame; and in the second, to the advantage afforded to the "grill-room" cook by his specially constructed fire, where a large surface of glowing coke is surmounted by a sloping grill, whereon he can expose his chops and steaks to the radiation from a large glowing surface with a minimum of convection heat, the hot air passing in a current over the coke surface having such small depth that it barely touches the bars of the grill. (This may be seen by watching the course of flame produced by the droppings of the fat.) The same obliquity of draught prevents the serious blacking of the meat, which, although harmless, is unsightly and calculated to awaken prejudice.

The high temperature rapidly imparted by radiation to the surface of the meat forms a thin superficial crust of hardened and semi-carbonized albumen and fiber, which resists the outrush of vapor, and produces within a certain degree of high pressure, which probably acts in loosening the fibers. A well-grilled chop or steak is "puffed" out—made thicker in the middle; an ill-cooked, desiccated specimen is shriveled, collapsed, and thinned by the slow departure of its juices.

 
IX.

Happy little couples, living in little houses with only one little servant—or, happier still, with no servant—complain of their little joints of meat, which, when roasted, are so dry, as compared with the big,