Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/531

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THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.

succulent joints of larger households. A little reflection on the principles applied in my last to the grilling of steaks and chops will explain the source of this little difficulty, and I think show how it may he overcome.

I will here venture upon a little of the mathematics of cookery, as well as its chemistry. While the weight or quantity of material in a joint increases with the cube of its through-measured dimensions, its surface only increases with their square—or, otherwise stated, we do not nearly double or treble the surface of a joint of given form when we double or treble its weight; and, vice versa, the less the weight, the greater the surface in proportion to the weight. This is obvious enough when we consider that we can not cut a single lump of anything into halves without exposing or creating two fresh surfaces where no surfaces were exposed before. As the evaporation of the juices is, under given conditions, proportionate to the surface exposed, it is evident that this process of converting the inside middle into two outside surfaces must increase the amount of evaporation that occurs in roasting.

What, then, is the remedy for this? It is twofold: First, to seal up the pores of these additional surfaces as completely as possible; and, secondly, to diminish to the utmost the time of exposure to the dry air. Logically following up these principles, I arrive at a practical formula, which will probably induce certain orthodox cooks to denounce me as a culinary paradoxer. It is this: That the smaller the joint to be roasted the higher the temperature to which its surface should be exposed. The roasting of a small joint should, in fact, be conducted in nearly the same manner as the grilling of a chop or steak described in my last. The surface should be crusted or browned—burned, if you please—as speedily as possible, in such wise that the juices within shall be held there under high pressure, and only allowed to escape by burst and splutters, rather than by steady evaporation.

The best way of doing this is a problem to be solved by the practical cook. I only expound the principles, and timidly suggest the mode of applying them. In a metallurgical laboratory, where I am most at home, I could roast a small joint beautifully by suspending it inside a large red-hot steel-melter's crucible, or, better still, in an apparatus called a "muffle," which is a fire-clay tunnel open in front, and so arranged in a suitable furnace as to be easily made red-hot all round. A small joint placed on a dripping-pan and run into this would be equally heated by all-round converging radiation, and exquisitely roasted in the course of about ten to thirty minutes, according to its size. Some such an apparatus has yet to be invented in order that we may learn the flavor and tenderness of a perfectly-roasted small joint of beef or mutton.

For roasting large masses of meat, a different proceeding is neces-