Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/605

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THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.

maid, and parlor-maid, besides the gardener and his boy, and they dine at supper-time.

In the days of the one marchioness and the basement kitchen, these citizens "of credit and renown" dined at dinner-time, and were in the habit of placing a three-legged open iron triangle in a brown earthenware dish; then spreading a stratum of peeled potatoes on said dish, and a joint of meat above, on the open triangular support. The combination was carried by the marchioness to the bakehouse round the corner at about 11 a. m., and brought back steaming and savory at 1 p. m.

This was not done always, but at other times, as when the condition of the mistress's wardrobe offered no particular motive for going to church, she staid at home and roasted the Sunday dinner. The experience thus obtained demonstrated a material difference between the flavor of the roasted and the baked meat very decidedly in favor of the home-roasted. Why?

The principal reason was, I believe, that the baker's large bread oven contained at dinner-time a curious medley of meats—mutton, beef, pork, geese, veal, etc., including stuffing with sage and onions, besides the possibility of a joint or two that had been hung longer than was necessary for procuring tenderness. The vapors of these would induce a confusion of flavors in the milder meats, fully accounting for the observed superiority of the home-roasted joints.

A little reflection on the principles already expounded will show that, theoretically regarded, a given piece of meat would be better roasted in a closed chamber radiating heat from all sides toward the meat than it could be when suspended in front of a fire and heated only on one side, while the other side was turned away to cool more or less, according to the rate of rotation.

If I agreed with the popular belief in the advantage of open-air exposure to direct radiation from glowing coal, I should suggest that for large joints a special roasting fire be constructed, by building an upright cylinder of fire-brick, and erecting within this a smaller cylinder or grating of iron bars, so that the fuel should be placed between these, and thus form an upright cylindrical ring or shirt of fire, inclosed outside by the bricks, but open and glowing toward the inside of the hollow cylinder, in the midst of which the meat should be suspended to receive the radiation from all sides.

The whole apparatus might stand under a dome, terminating in an ordinary chimney, like a glass-house or a steel-maker's cementing furnace; or, in this respect, like those wondrous kitchens of the old seraglio, to which I have already alluded, where each apartment is a huge chimney, outspreading downward, so that the cooks and their materials and apparatus, as well as the huge fires themselves, are all under the great central chimney-shaft.

I do not, however, recommend such an apparatus, even to the most