Cookery for Little Girls
|I.||Good things for breakfast||1|
|II.||Using odds and ends||13|
|III.||Some easy soups||23|
|IV.||Fish, fresh and dried||31|
|V.||Simple meat dishes||37|
|VI.||The interesting potato||45|
|VII.||Different kinds of vegetables||53|
|VIII.||For the unexpected guest||63|
|IX.||Rice and macaroni||73|
|X.||Baking cake and bread||81|
|XI.||Desserts good in summer||95|
|XII.||The Thanksgiving dinner||107|
|XIII.||The Christmas dinner party||117|
|XIV.||Delicious home-made candies||125|
|XVI.||Sandwiches and drinks||139|
|XVII.||A few more desserts||145|
|Ready to pour the jelly||Frontispiece|
|Preparing to make biscuit||3|
|Table set for Valentine luncheon||15|
|Fresh vegetable salad||16|
|Green pepper salad||24|
|Tossing up a salad||29|
|Creamed codfish and coffee for Father's breakfast||35|
|Veal cutlet as reed birds||38|
|A standing roast of beef||43|
|Table set for an Easter luncheon||64|
|Creamed oysters in baskets||67|
|Tray arranged for Welsh rarebit||69|
|Compote of rice||75|
|Icing the cake||83|
|Tea cakes baked in heart shape||85|
|Afternoon tea for two||92|
|Fruit jelly with whipped cream||97|
|Cornstarch pudding, small moulds||103|
|Dinner table with fruit centerpiece. Nuts and raisins in individual baskets||109|
|Delicious home-made candies||126|
|Marking the preserves||132|
(For these recipes, unless otherwise specified, make all measurements level. The use of measuring cups, divided into halves and thirds, is strongly urged, as well as the tea and table measuring spoons.)
Every mother should begin to instruct her little daughter at an early age in the different branches of housekeeping, and if taught in the right way, none will prove more attractive than cooking. When quite young the child will be eager to experiment, and generally will be careful; and with many of the simple recipes she can scarcely make a mistake, and they will prove invaluable to her later on.
Cooking is of great educational value. Aside from giving a girl that knowledge necessary to the proper conduct of a home, in the dextrous handling of utensils and food products, the concentration required, and the practice of doing certain work for certain results, it also gives excellent mental training and brings all-round development. Every girl should become a good practical cook; and in the majority of cases the mother, for many reasons, is the best teacher.
The small cook should be provided with her own apron, sleeves and cap. Also attach to her belt a tea-towel and a small holder for lifting hot pans. This will make her feel more important and too, impress upon her the need of having everything clean and orderly. Then emphasize the necessity of always following directions, and taking the pains to make each cupful an even cupful—each spoonful an even spoonful. The pan for baking should be thoroughly greased and set aside ready for use, after the fire has first been put in good condition, so that the oven will be right, and then all the cooking utensils and materials placed conveniently at hand.
For the first lesson suppose the choice be baking-powder biscuit. When properly made they are delicious, but from the number of times that otherwise good cooks fail on this point, I have come to the conclusion that the secret lies in the mixing and handling.
Have the child place two even cupfuls of flour in the sifter, with two level teaspoonfuls of baking-powder, half a teaspoonful of salt, and then sift. To this add one rounded tablespoonful of lard. The little maid's hands and nails should be specially cleaned so she can work this thoroughly into the flour, and it may take her five minutes to do it properly. Next, dusting her hands, have her take a table fork and stir all the time as she adds the milk. Generally three-quarters of a cupful of milk is enough, but if the flour was packed in solid it may take a whole cupful. Mix up well with the fork into a soft dough, and turn out on a floured bread-board. She must not handle it, even now, but sprinkle over just enough flour to keep the rolling-pin from sticking while she rolls it out until three-fourths of an inch thick.
Next she should be shown how to cut into small rounds without any waste, for the dough that is left to be molded over will take up more flour and consequently be thicker and not so light. As each biscuit is cut it should be carefully placed in the pan, close to its neighbor, but not crowding, and when all are ready, popped into a hot oven for fifteen minutes' baking.
This lesson should be repeated in a few days, before the child has forgotten any of the details, and thereafter it is advisable to let her make the same dough, for different purposes, at least once a week for a while. For meat pies, dumplings, or shortcake, one-half the recipe will be plenty for a family of four, and she will feel that she has learned each time how to make a new dish. Provide a small blank book and have her write down every recipe, with the full directions for mixing. This will be her very own, and as it grows will come to be a valued treasure.
As cooked fruits are such nourishing food, let the child prepare some kind while the biscuits are baking—apples, for instance. The oven being hot, it is best to bake them, so show her how to wash, core and then fill each opening with sugar, cinnamon and a little butter. It will take only a few moments to prepare them, and while the baking is in progress the dishes that have been used should be washed and set in the closet, the materials left be put away. All must be in order before the lesson is pronounced over and the dish-pan wiped and put up. Where it is desired to serve the apples and biscuits at the same meal, the apples should be prepared first, as they take longer to bake.
Corn bread, too, is easy for any child to make. Have her mix one and one-half cups of sifted flour, one-half cup of yellow corn meal, three tablespoons of granulated sugar, one teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of baking powder. Add two well-beaten eggs, one cup milk, and one tablespoon of melted butter. Pour in buttered tin or gem pans, and bake in hot oven for fifteen or twenty minutes.
Then next try muffins. Have her sift two cups of flour, one teaspoon of salt, and two teaspoons of baking powder. Add one cup of milk, two tablespoons of melted butter, and two eggs, with the stiff whites last. Bake in buttered muffin tins fifteen or twenty minutes in a hot oven.
If successful with these things, she will be quite sure with a little care to make good griddle cakes. Have her sift two cups of flour with two teaspoons of baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of sugar, and stir in the yolks of two eggs, well beaten, and a cup and a half of milk. When perfectly smooth, and just before baking, fold in the stiff whites. Grease a hot griddle with a piece of suet, put down a spoonful of batter at a time, and turn as soon as it bubbles well over the top. Watch carefully to keep from burning, but never turn a pancake the second time.
After a girl has learned how to make biscuit and other light breads, she should be shown at once how to prepare eggs in different ways so that she will be able at any time to serve a dainty breakfast.
To boil an egg would seem to be the easiest matter possible, but it requires care just the same. Scarcely any two people in a family like eggs cooked the same length of time, and so, after ascertaining the way each one prefers, have the water boiling hard, and then check by adding a little cold water so that the shells will not crack from the heat. Put in the eggs carefully with a tablespoon, to prevent striking each other, boil the required number of minutes and remove each when its time is up, sending to the table at once. Hard boiled eggs, to be digestible, should be kept just at the boiling point for thirty minutes. The yolks will then be mealy.
Poached eggs should be dropped in buttered gem pans and then set in a deep dripping-pan and covered with boiling water. When boiled as long as desired, lift gently on to rounds of buttered toast, sprinkle with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley or small celery leaves and serve on a hot platter.
For an omelet for four people, separate yolks and whites of five eggs. Beat yolks very light, add one-quarter teaspoonful salt, pepper, five tablespoonfuls milk, and lastly the whites, beaten very stiff. Mix lightly, but thoroughly, and pour in well-buttered hot frying-pan, place on stove about two minutes until well puffed up, then put in oven for a moment until firm on top. On removing, fold omelet over with a cake-turner, place on a hot plate and garnish with parsley.
After the little daughter has mastered this popular dish, show her how to make it into a fancy one by adding various things. A small quantity (half a cupful) of chopped ham stirred in before cooking, converts it into a ham omelet, a cupful of cold boiled rice mixed thoroughly through the uncooked eggs, a rice omelet, while a cupful of chopped meat—or better, chopped chicken—will make a meat or chicken omelet. A delicious green corn omelet has the pulp from two ears of green corn, grated from the cob, added just before cooking. This should be given a slower fire and more time. For a cheese omelet, sprinkle half a cupful of grated cheese over the eggs after they are cooked before folding over.
The wise mother will suggest to the young cook that instead of always using one recipe she try to think of some way of improving or varying it. A few green peas left from dinner can be made hot and sprinkled over an omelet the same way as the cheese, or the cup of stewed tomatoes left from the day before be strained, thickened with a teaspoonful of flour, seasoned with butter, pepper and salt, and served as a sauce, this making a delicious accompaniment to a plain omelet.
Take the desired number of hot hard-boiled eggs, cut in quarters, lay on pieces of hot buttered toast, and cover with white sauce. This makes a most appetizing dish for breakfast or luncheon. Garnish with parsley.
Put on in hot water, simmer for half an hour, then place in cold water to loosen shells. When cold, cut in half, remove yolks, mash, and season with salt, pepper, a dash of prepared mustard, and a teaspoonful of vinegar, with a half teaspoonful of soft butter for each egg. Rub to a smooth paste, and pack back in the whites. For picnics, fasten two halves together with a wooden toothpick.
Beat the desired number enough to break the yolks, season with salt and pepper, and add a tablespoonful of milk for each egg. Put in a hot pan half a teaspoonful of butter for each egg, and when melted, pour in the beaten eggs. Stir constantly, scraping from the bottom of the pan until cooked enough to suit individual taste, but watch closely, for the longer they cook the drier they become. Garnish with parsley or with dried beef, frizzled in a hot skillet with a small quantity of butter.
Place thin slices of bacon in a hot skillet, turn frequently to keep from curling, and remove to a hot plate when cooked as much as desired. Break eggs in a saucer, one at a time, to see that they are fresh, then drop gently into the hot fat. When done to suit individual taste, lift carefully to the center of a hot platter, and garnish with the bacon.
The secret of an attractive table, which should be made clear to every girl, is clean linen, with dishes and silver carefully arranged. Each article of food, however simple, should be carefully placed in the center of its dish, and vegetables, meats and salads garnished with parsley, celery leaves, or occasionally rings of hard-boiled eggs. The eggs are especially nice on salads and on such a vegetable as spinach.
A kitchen lesson would be incomplete without a few words regarding the care of the all-important dish-towels and dish-cloth. However many may be on hand, it is a wise plan to teach the little cook to take warm water and plenty of soap and wash them out each time, being careful to rinse them thoroughly after she is through. Then hang out in the air to dry.
Every mother, in teaching her little daughter to cook, should impress upon her two essential points—economy and neatness. A cook cannot be too careful to have her materials, her utensils, and herself as clean as possible. So, before beginning work, the child should carefully wash her hands, clean her nails, smooth up any stray locks of hair, and put on the cap, sleeves and apron that are to protect her from spots and flying flour. Then all fruits or vegetables which are to be used should be well washed before being peeled, and the cooking utensils wiped off. Sometimes the pans or the stewing kettle have not been used for days, and there is sure to be a certain amount of dust on these that is almost imperceptible, but nevertheless unwholesome and often dangerous.
Following the instructions regarding cleanliness, and of equal importance, is the lesson in the economical use of materials on hand. Anyone can take a recipe calling for all fresh materials and, with a little care, turn out a successful dish; but it takes a culinary artist to successfully work up the odds and ends found in the ice-box and pantry. In small families these bits can be made into attractive dishes for luncheon, or, in case of an unexpected guest, converted into an additional course. In the line of vegetables, for instance, there may be left a few leaves of lettuce, a couple of tomatoes, the remains of a roast, a small quantity of chicken, and a bottle of sour milk. Not very promising, certainly, in the ice-box, but full of possibilities. The little cook is going to be a magician, and by a wave of her wand (the cook-book,) make a grand transformation.
First the sour milk! Not attractive as sour milk, but most delicious as cream cheese. Set one quart of sour milk on the stove where it will warm slowly, and let stand until the curd and whey separate. Spread a piece of cheese-cloth or an old napkin over a colander, pour in the curds and let drain until quite dry. This may take a couple of hours, and it is a good plan to warm the milk while getting the supper and then let stand all night. Next put the curds in a bowl and rub to a paste with one teaspoonful of butter, a saltspoonful of salt and a tablespoonful of cream. When smooth, mold into little balls if to be served with a salad.
Nut cheese crackers are most appetizing, too, made by spreading this cheese on small saltine crackers, and sprinkling chopped nuts over the top. Any child will delight to make these, and while easy and cheap, they are attractive enough to serve any company. Or, the cheese can be served, French fashion, with a little heavy cream and a small quantity of richly preserved currants or cherries, (Bar-le-duc,) for dessert.
If there is too little of the roast to serve sliced cold, it can be chopped fine, seasoned well with salt and pepper and moistened with the cold gravy. If the quantity is still too small, it can be increased by adding a beaten egg and half a cupful of dried bread-crumbs. This works into a nice dish by taking sweet green peppers, splitting in half, washing and removing the seeds, and then packing with the minced meat. Bake until peppers are tender, about half an hour, then remove from oven, lay on squares of hot toast, and cover with white sauce or warmed-over gravy.
Good white sauce is needed for so many different kinds of vegetable, fish and meat dishes, that a child should be taught it at the beginning of her work. Have her melt one tablespoon of butter and stir in one tablespoon of flour. When smooth, add slowly one cup of milk, stirring all the time to keep from getting lumpy. If lumps do form, however, before the child has learned the secret of mixing, she can strain after it has cooked five minutes. Season with quarter-teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper. For brown sauce, simply brown the flour and butter before adding the milk.
A small quantity of chicken is often left from dinner, yet not enough to serve cold. Let the mother show the child how to cut off every bit of meat from the bones—and she will get more than she expects from wings and necks. But all pieces of fat and skin must be discarded. Then for a hot dish, making a white sauce first, she can stir in the minced chicken, let it cook a few moments, and serve on rounds of buttered toast.
Still another way, if the quantity is small, is to add to one cupful of chopped chicken one-half cupful of rolled bread-crumbs, a half cupful of hot milk, two well-beaten eggs, a teaspoonful of chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. This is to be shaped into croquettes, dipped in rolled bread-crumbs, beaten egg, crumbs again, and browned in hot fat.
White sauce served on the side will make it doubly attractive; and if the quantity is still small for the number to be served, it will go farther and be made more savory if garnished with curls of crisp bacon.
If a cold dish is desired, let her add an equal amount of finely cut celery, season with salt and pepper, moisten with cooked salad dressing, and she will have a delicious chicken salad. To be particularly nice, however, she should use only the white meat.
Our little cook should be taught the first thing how to make a good salad dressing, for into a salad it is almost always possible to turn the left-overs that otherwise might be thrown out. Only one other thing (soup) will use up as many scraps in making nourishing as well as appetizing dishes.
As many people do not care for the flavor of oil, a nice easy dressing is made by taking two tablespoonfuls butter, rubbed to a cream, to which is added one teaspoonful salt, one-half teaspoonful mustard, a dash of red pepper, and one cupful hot milk. Stirring well, this should immediately be poured on the beaten yolks of three eggs, and then cooked in a double boiler until thick. Remove from the fire, add one-quarter of a cup of vinegar, and stir until cool. When to be used in fruit salads, add half a cup of thick cream just before serving. But eggs and milk curdle if boiled.
Easily made is the French dressing, and often prepared at the table. To one-quarter teaspoonful of finely minced onion, add one-half teaspoonful salt, a little black pepper, a few grains of Cayenne and six teaspoonfuls olive oil. Stir well, add two teaspoonfuls vinegar, and mix thoroughly.
To make the best of the few vegetables we have found on hand, wash the lettuce carefully (looking out for the tiny green bugs found on some kinds,) and arrange on a plate. Peel and slice the two tomatoes, and lay lightly on the lettuce, with a few bits of celery, several radishes or some thin slices of cucumber if available, and cover with salad dressing.
For the heart salad illustrated, cut cold boiled beets into heart-shaped sections, and serve on lettuce hearts, with French dressing.
Small quantities of cooked vegetables, such as beets, string beans, asparagus, peas and boiled potatoes, make a nice salad cut into small pieces, laid on lettuce leaves and covered with French dressing. But they must be thoroughly chilled.
Cabbage salad is possible at all seasons of the year, and should be one of the first that the child should learn to make. Insist on getting small, perfect heads, and have the leaves removed one at a time, examined closely and washed as carefully as lettuce, for fear of worms. After chopping finely, the desired quantity is to be seasoned with salt and pepper and served on the small, tender white leaves, with the following dressing:
To half a cup of thick sour cream, add half a teaspoonful of salt, a teaspoonful of sugar, a dash of black pepper, and two teaspoonsful of strong vinegar.
Almost all kinds of fruit are used in salads. Bananas and oranges, alone or together, are served on lettuce with the cream salad dressing, as are also the skinned and seeded white grapes. Pineapple and grapefruit are delicious with head lettuce, served with the French dressing containing but a few drops of the onion juice. Then again, all may be combined, served with either dressing preferred, and improved by the addition of a few nuts.
For four people have the little cook take four pretty red apples, cut a slice off the top, and after removing the core, carefully cut out with a teaspoon the inside of each without breaking the skin. Taking half the scooped-out apple, she must add an equal amount of celery (cut in small pieces) and chopped English walnuts, one teaspoonful salt and boiled dressing enough to cover. After tossing up lightly with a fork pack in the apple shells, and when possible serve in nests made of lettuce cut in strings.
Take sweet green peppers, cut a slice from the top, remove seeds, and fill with either the mixed vegetables or diced cucumbers, covered with French dressing. Serve on lettuce.
Every little cook should early be taught how to make a variety of soups, as many small quantities of food can be utilized in this way that otherwise might be wasted.
Take, for instance, the bones and small trimmings from steaks, chops or a roast, and the remnant of a chicken. These, with a five-cent soup bone, will make the stock, which is the foundation for a great many kinds of soup. If part of the scraps have been fried or roasted, so much the better, as then the stock will be a delicate brown and have even a richer taste. The meat, cut in small cubes, with the bones well cracked, should be covered with twice the quantity of cold water and allowed to stand for several hours.
Any kind of vegetables on hand can be put in at the same time, a small onion cut in slices, a little chopped carrot, turnip, a few string beans cut in inch lengths, half a cupful of peas, a couple of stalks of celery, a few sprigs of parsley, together with three or four cloves and salt and pepper to taste. If these vegetables with the meat fill the kettle one-third full, then it can be filled to the top with cold water. After standing several hours it should be placed where it will heat slowly and allowed to simmer for two hours, then strained and set aside to cool and let the grease come to the top. When it is cold the cake of fat can easily be lifted off.
Then to make the finest kind of perfectly clear soup, stir into each two quarts of cold stock the beaten white and crushed shell of one egg, place on the fire and keep stirring until it boils. Allow to cook without stirring for twenty minutes, after which set aside for ten minutes; skim and strain through a cheese-cloth bag. This may seem like a good deal of work, but if the soup is first boiled in the morning while cleaning up the kitchen and then clarified while getting dinner, it will not require much time nor trouble, and the result will be a delicious consommé or bouillon. It is called bouillon if made principally of beef with vegetables, and brown in color; it is consommé if made of uncooked meat and bones, including veal and chicken, and consequently light in color.
Stock made thus can be simply reheated or changed to any desired kind of soup by the addition of a particular garnishing. For rice soup, either a few teaspoonfuls of uncooked rice or half a teacupful of cold boiled rice can be added; for vegetable soup a cupful of mixed vegetables cut in small pieces can be put in and boiled until tender. Macaroni, broken in inch lengths, washed and then cooked in the stock until it is done makes a nice change, called Italian consommé, while a cupful of tomatoes will convert it into a tomato soup. If the additions suggested are to be made, however, it is not necessary to clarify the stock. It takes common sense to make good soup, as well as time and patience, and one must learn to be guided by the taste if trying to use up left-overs instead of following a regular recipe.
Cream soups, however, do not require any stock, and so are easily and quickly made. They are delicious, too, and something any bright girl could make while her mother got up the rest of the dinner. They take the name of the kind of vegetable used, but all are put together in about the same way.
For cream of celery take two cupfuls of diced celery, using the leaves, ends and coarse pieces not good enough to send to the table uncooked. Cover with two cupfuls of cold water, season with salt and allow to cook until tender—about twenty minutes. While this is boiling the little maid mixes in another pan two tablespoonfuls of melted butter with two tablespoonfuls of flour. Placing it over the fire, she adds three cupfuls of milk and stirs for five minutes while it boils. After seasoning with salt and pepper and a dash of red pepper, pour in the strained water from the cooked celery and boil all gently on the back of the stove for five minutes before serving.
For cream of pea soup, simply substitute two cupfuls of cooked peas that have been pressed through a colander. For cream of asparagus boil up first two cupfuls of the tough ends of the asparagus that would not do for the table, or take two cupfuls of the water used in cooking the asparagus for dinner and put with the thickened milk. But in order to avoid giving the family the same vegetable twice at a meal, it is best to save the asparagus water or the celery ends until another time, putting in the ice-box to keep fresh. We all like variety, and in this way it can be had without extra expense.
Cream of potato soup is made by adding two scant cupfuls of mashed potato to the milk foundation given. Some people like the addition of a half-teaspoonful of onion juice to flavor or a tablespoonful of chopped bacon. If too thick it can be thinned with some of the boiling potato water.
It is advisable for the mother to have the child make a certain cream soup twice in close succession to be sure that she thoroughly understands the process, and then make each of the other kinds soon after, so that she will get used to using up whatever left-overs she finds on hand.
Black beans make a particularly nice soup for a company dinner. To two cupfuls of the dried beans use four cupfuls of cold water and let stand over night. Next day add two cupfuls of boiling water and cook until the beans are perfectly tender, with one small chopped onion, three cloves, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne. Melt two tablespoonfuls of butter, stir in two tablespoonfuls of flour, add a cupful of cold water; cook the same as the milk foundation and add to the beans after they have been put through a colander. Boil up well together, stirring to blend well. Put a couple of thin slices of hard-boiled egg and lemon in each plate and pour the hot soup in. If desired, the soup can be additionally flavored with a small wineglassful of sour wine.
Before leaving the soup question, let me say that the cream of tomato is made by heating two cupfuls of canned tomatoes to the boiling point, then straining, and after adding a good-sized pinch of soda, which must be stirred in well, poured slowly on to the milk foundation, prepared in another vessel. This must be served immediately, as it is not so good when allowed to stand.
Instead of always serving the ordinary crackers, teach the child how to prepare some simple little extras for nice soups. Plain square crackers spread with butter, salted and then browned in the oven will taste quite different; another time let her grate the least bit of cheese over before the toasting. Or she can take stale bread, cut in long narrow strips, spread with butter, season with salt and pepper and bake a light brown in a slow oven. Croûtons, too, are a welcomed variety, made by cutting bread in half-inch cubes, dipping in melted butter and frying crisp. A few of these are scattered on top of each plate of soup just before sending to the table. Such extras require but little time, yet they mark the experienced cook; and if our small maid has been paying due attention to her directions (and consequently getting good results in her work,) she ought now to be so interested that she will be eager to try every new dish suggested and desirous of making the greatest possible number of dishes out of each particular kind of food.
Now let us review and see what we have out of the odds and ends that we found that we had on hand to start with, and what a luncheon it would make. We should have either a soup or the stuffed peppers for a first course, salad for a second, and the cheese crackers served with a small quantity of jam or preserves for a finish! Quite a nice meal, and one we need not hesitate to set before an unexpected guest. Besides, from any reasonable quantity of left-overs there would probably be enough for four people.
Fresh fish, in the first place, must be absolutely fresh. They will have little odor, the eyes will be full and clear, and the flesh firm. They are usually delivered from the market cleaned and scaled, but they should be washed with cold water, and sprinkled with salt if not used immediately.
Smelts, trout, perch and other small fish, are fried whole, while the larger kinds are cut in pieces called fillets. After washing, drying and seasoning with pepper and salt, each piece should be dipped in finely rolled, dried bread or corn meal, and laid on the bread-board. When all through, beginning with the first, dip each one in well-beaten, seasoned egg, and then in the crumbs again, taking pains to have them covered completely. Lay back on the board to dry before cooking. Heat a half cupful of lard in a skillet until smoking hot, then put in the fish and fry on one side until brown. Turn carefully to avoid breaking, and brown on the other side, but do not turn more than once, and watch to keep from burning. Many cooks use flour or rolled crackers for covering the fish, but the bread crumbs do not hold as much grease, and the fish always seem to fry better than when dipped in anything else. When cooked a deep, rich brown, lift out on to brown paper to drain, and then slip on to a hot platter and send to the table at once, garnished with slices of lemon, parsley or water cress.
A halibut steak is fine when, after washing thoroughly, it is put in a dripping pan, seasoned with salt and pepper, covered with boiling water and cooked in the oven until done,—from twenty minutes to half an hour. While it is cooking, our little maid can prepare her favorite white sauce, only now she must add a cupful of strained tomatoes and season with red pepper. When the fish is ready, she must serve it on a hot platter, covered with the hot sauce. A steak of this kind usually weighs about two pounds, and is ample for four or five people.
White fish, weak fish, blue fish and similar kinds I like best when large enough to have the bones first removed and the fish then spread, skin down, on a wire broiler, or an oak plank. Spread with a little butter and seasoned with pepper and salt, it may be cooked in a gas stove or before a hot fire. This will take from twenty to thirty minutes. When thoroughly done and browned on top, garnish with roses of mashed potato, lemon or parsley, and serve immediately,—right on the plank if desired. Any left over can be picked into small pieces, and worked up with an equal amount of cold mashed potato, into cakes, to be fried for breakfast.
There are many kinds of smoked and canned fish that make specially appetizing dishes for breakfast or luncheon. They should always be kept in the house, with other shelf supplies, and will prove "a friend in need."
Finnan Haddie can be served in several ways. After washing and wiping off with a cloth, it can be buttered, seasoned with salt and pepper and either broiled or fried. Or it is even better if boiled first for five minutes (put on it cold water), then picked into small flakes and stirred into our little maid's standby, white sauce. After cooking five minutes longer, it should be served on rounds of hot buttered toast, garnished with parsley.
Smoked halibut, salmon and sturgeon can all be bought in small pieces (even as little as half a pound), and are most inviting when cut into thin slices and made hot in a skillet with just enough butter to keep them from burning.
But in talking of dried fish, we must not forget our old favorite, creamed codfish. As the boxed codfish is always so salty, it is necessary, after picking it carefully apart and removing the bones, to let it soak in cold water for half an hour, then drain. Put half a cupful of fish on in a stewpan, cover with cold water and let come to a boil. Pour this off immediately, cover with fresh boiling water, and let gently simmer for ten minutes. While it is cooking, our small maid should rub to a smooth paste one tablespoon of flour and one tablespoon of butter. Then adding one cup of milk and one well-beaten egg to the codfish, she next puts in the paste, and continues to stir for five minutes more while it is cooking. It should then be served on rounds of hot toast.
Salt mackerel should be covered with cold water and left skin side up to soak over night. For breakfast, dry in a cloth and broil, with the flesh side toward the fire, or else brown in a hot pan with a little butter, and serve on a hot platter garnished with slices of lemon.
I have purposely avoided giving recipes calling for frying in deep fat, as there is always more or less danger of an inexperienced child meeting with an accident in handling any quantity of melted lard, but mothers who wish to use it will find that fritters, fish and other things when cooked that way get a nice color and really take up less fat than when fried (sautéd) in the more common style.
Here let me put in a few words about some easy ways of cooking meat. The recipes are simple, but everything depends on your getting in plenty of seasoning, cooking as directed, and—not burning. Be sure to have veal, lamb and pork well done, as no one likes these rare or even pink, but study the family taste about the length of time to cook beef. I have purposely omitted the ordinary dinner meats (I couldn't tell you everything in one little book!), but if you learn to make what I do tell you about, you will certainly become a good cook.
Lamb chops are particularly nice pan-broiled. First scrape off any fine particles of bone, trim off superfluous fat, and then place in a hissing hot skillet. Turn often until well seared, to prevent escape of juices, and cook until brown, about ten minutes. Serve on a hot platter, season with salt and pepper, dot with butter, and garnish with parsley, peas, or a ring of mashed potatoes.
Pork chops need to be thoroughly cooked, and after washing, I always parboil ten minutes first in a covered frying pan, then season with salt and pepper and brown in fat. They are often served with tomato sauce.
The veal for this purpose, sometimes called Mock Reed Birds, should be sliced thin, then cut in four-inch squares. Spread lightly with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and scatter with finely minced parsley and celery, or either one alone. Roll each piece up tightly and tie with a piece of white string. Place "birds" in a hot skillet with a little water and melted butter, cover and simmer for twenty minutes, then brown in butter or fat as preferred. Serve on rounds of hot buttered toast, with brown gravy.
Take one pound of round steak, cut in small pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put a little suet in a hot kettle, or melt two tablespoons of butter, and add a couple of slices of dry onion, turning frequently until brown, then put in the meat. Stir to keep from scorching until well seared on all sides, cover with boiling water, and set on the back of the stove to simmer for at least three hours. As it boils down, allow to brown before filling up again, and have the meat covered with the broth when done. Thicken with two tablespoons of flour stirred to a smooth paste in half a cup of cold water. Add more salt then if necessary. Send to the table in a covered dish, and serve with mashed potatoes.
When there is going to be company, baked ham is one of the nicest kinds of meat that can be had. Take either a small end or half a ham, as needed, and soak several hours in cold water. Wash well and put on in a kettle with cold water to cover and boil slowly, allowing at least twenty minutes to the pound. After boiling half an hour, remove one-third the water, and fill up with fresh boiling water, and keep covered until done. Then set aside and allow to cool in the liquor. When cold, lift out, trim off the brown skin, cover the fat with brown sugar, stick with whole cloves, and bake brown—about twenty or thirty minutes. This is delicious either hot or cold.
Different kinds of steak need to be cooked in different ways. Tenderloin, porterhouse, and sirloin are best broiled over a hot fire, or pan broiled by being turned frequently on a very hot skillet, with only the fat that comes from the steak itself. Serve on a hot platter, with butter, pepper and salt. Round steak is nice cut in small pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper, rolled in flour, and cooked quickly in some of the suet, first put in the pan until tried out. Lift browned pieces of the steak (for this needs more cooking than tenderer meat), on to a hot platter, add a little butter to the fat in the pan, stir in a scant tablespoon of flour, stir well until smooth and brown, then pour in quickly a cupful of cold water, and continue to stir until well thickened. This gravy will be smooth and of nice flavor, and can be poured over the meat. Season, of course, with salt and pepper to taste.
Hash, though a dish often laughed at, is always appetizing when well made. Corn beef hash indeed has quite a reputation, and is made by chopping cold corn beef rather fine, adding an equal quantity of cold boiled potatoes, chopped, wetting with enough boiling water to keep from burning, seasoning with salt, pepper and a little butter, and then allowing to cook gently for at least twenty minutes. All kinds of hash need to simmer for quite a while, in order to blend the flavor of the meat and the potatoes, and give the delicate taste that marks a carefully prepared dish. Beef, particularly browned scraps, finely minced, and mixed with an equal quantity of minced cold boiled potatoes, seasoned and prepared as just directed, is very good for breakfast served on rounds of buttered toast. And either kind can be allowed to brown down in the pan and then turned out on a hot plate, rolled over with a nice thick crust. Any kind of meat can be used, however.
A lamb pie is an attractive way of using up small pieces of cold lamb. Cut off all scraps and gristle, and add enough cold gravy to cover. Season well with salt and pepper, and simmer twenty minutes. Take a pudding dish, invert a small cup in the bottom, pour in the hot meat, add half a can of peas, cover with a crust of light biscuit dough, and bake until brown. Before sending to the table lift crust and remove cup, which has drawn up the gravy. Serve with either mashed or baked potatoes.
Dried beef dressed in cream is always an appetizing dish and very quickly made ready. The child should first take a half-pound of chipped beef and tear it into small pieces, removing all strings and fat. Then put in a stew-pan, cover with cold water and let come to a boil. While it is heating, however, she should stir smooth one tablespoonful butter and one tablespoonful flour. When the water boils on the beef she must pour off half (or it will be too salty), and add an equal amount of milk. Into this stir slowly the mixed butter and flour, season with pepper and let boil until thick. Some people like the addition of two well-beaten eggs, but I prefer the beef plain, with the gravy rather thick, served on rounds of hot buttered toast. The toast could be made first and set where it will keep warm, and thus save the time of making afterwards, for a dish of this kind cools very quickly, and should be sent to the table as soon as ready.
A roast of beef, after being scraped and wiped free from all particles of sawed bone, should be seasoned well with salt and pepper, and dredged with flour. Put it in a hot oven, and when it has seared on top, to keep in the juice, turn over and allow to sear on the bottom. Then pour in the pan enough boiling water to keep from burning, and baste frequently. Allow about one hour for a five pound roast rare, and an hour and a half to cook well done. Serve a rib roast, left on the bone, standing as shown in the illustration, garnished with parsley.
Every girl should know how to cook potatoes properly; yet really there is scarcely any other one vegetable that can be prepared in so many ways and still is often so poorly cooked as to be practically unfit to eat. It would seem an easy thing to make a light, appetizing dish of mashed potatoes—and what is more inviting?—but how often are they served wet and soggy! To understand the right way to cook and serve potatoes is as much an art as to make a salad or bake a cake.
Plain boiled potatoes, with the skin on, are delicious when cooked as they should be. The requisite number should be selected, perfect in form and uniform in size, and scrubbed with the vegetable brush, but the skins not broken. If they are old they will be better for soaking half an hour in cold water. A half hour before dinner-time, if they are of medium size, they should be covered with boiling salted water and placed on the stove, where they will boil gently, not hard, until the skins begin to crack open. Test with a fork, and as soon as they are tender, drain off all the water and set on the back of the stove to steam dry. Serve in a hot, open vegetable dish; and if there is company or you are very particular, remove the skins (without breaking the potatoes) just before sending to the table. In case there is to be fish or a meat dish without gravy, serve the potatoes with the white sauce our little cook was taught to make in one of her first lessons.
For mashed potatoes the mother should tell the child to pick out the imperfect ones, or those too large to bake, to be peeled and cut up. Have her put them on in boiling salted water half an hour before dinner-time, cook until perfectly tender, then drain and let steam dry. After standing a few moments (in a hot place), have her mash them thoroughly, first with an old-fashioned wooden masher until all the lumps are removed, and then with a wire one. To each cupful of potato add a teaspoonful of butter and a tablespoonful of hot milk. They should be beaten up creamy with the wire beater, then turned out into a hot covered dish, with a lump of butter in the center and a sprinkling of pepper over the top, and served at once.
If dinner is delayed, however, and there is danger of their getting cold, have her put them in a baking-dish or tin, smooth them nicely over the top and set where they will keep warm. Then when needed, if she will grate a little cheese over the top and put in the oven for a few minutes to brown, she will find that they are even nicer than when first made. The mashed potatoes left from dinner can be worked up with a little cream and molded into small round cakes, to be fried brown next morning.
Often in buying potatoes one finds a quantity of little ones usually considered "too small to be bothered with." They seem hardly worth peeling, but if scrubbed clean and boiled as directed the skins can be removed quickly when they are tender. Then if a white sauce is made, these little potato balls can be dropped in and served garnished with finely chopped parsley on top. This is a favorite way of preparing new potatoes and most appetizing.
If the mother prefers, she can have the child take these little balls (peeled after they are cooked), cut them up fine, and fry them as follows: In a hot pan melt two tablespoonfuls of butter and add a teaspoonful of finely chopped onion, which should be cooked until a delicate brown before the seasoned potatoes are added.
Parboil sliced potatoes, or slice cold boiled ones, line the bottom of a baking dish, sprinkle with salt, pepper, a little flour, grated cheese, and dots of butter. Repeat until the pan is nearly full, cover with milk, sprinkle the top with the grated cheese, and bake until brown, or about half an hour. Cheese potatoes are particularly good served with cold meat.
Potatoes for baking should be of uniform, medium size and perfect. After being well scrubbed they should be wiped dry and put in a moderate oven three-quarters of an hour before meal-time. If the meal is delayed for any reason they should be pricked with a fork in several places to let out the steam, and then set where they will keep hot, but not in a covered dish, or they will get wet and soggy.
If it is necessary to keep them any length of time, cut off the end of each potato, scrape out the inside, season with salt, pepper, a little butter, a small quantity of cream and to every three potatoes one egg, the white beaten stiff. After whipping up light put back in the shells, where they will keep warm. Just before sending to the table, put in the oven for a few moments, until they puff up and brown at the ends.
Cold boiled potatoes can be used in so many different ways that where there is no servant in the house it often is a saving of time and labor to boil a quantity at one time and then heat up as needed. They are nice simply sliced thin and fried brown in butter.
If this is considered too rich, half the amount of butter will be sufficient to flavor and keep from scorching, and then when they brown as they are hashed in the pan pour in a few spoonfuls of cream. Season well, allow to brown down again, then fold like an omelet and serve on a hot platter garnished with parsley.
Scalloped potatoes are very nice for a supper dish, as they can be prepared early in the day and set away until needed. The little cook, after washing and peeling her potatoes, next cuts them in thin slices, enough to fill the dish needed and parboils in salted water for ten minutes. Then drain. Arrange a layer of these, with a sprinkling of flour, pepper and salt and a few small pieces of butter, repeating in layers until the pan is full. Pour over enough milk to cover. When ready to cook, allow half an hour for the baking, and from time to time add a little extra hot milk. It is well to set a large pan containing water under the baking-dish to catch any milk that might boil over and burn on the bottom of the oven.
Sweet potatoes that have been boiled are particularly nice when cut in half, buttered, seasoned with very little salt and pepper and then sprinkled over the top with granulated sugar and browned in the oven. "Candied sweet potatoes" they are called when served in hotels as something extra.
A mother can make the cooking of potatoes and the plainer vegetables interesting if she will use a little tact and stimulate the child's desire to make, first, as many different dishes from each article as possible, and second, to make them as appetizing as she can. Doubtless many a girl who will not eat plain food now could be taught to like things by getting her interested in cooking, for then she has to taste and make sure she has seasoned properly.
Such winter vegetables as turnips, carrots and parsnips should be well washed, peeled, cut in small pieces and cooked in boiling salted water for sixty minutes, more or less, depending on the age of the vegetables, as the older they are the longer they will take to get tender. When sufficiently cooked they should be drained and may then be mashed, seasoned with pepper and salt and butter and served in a hot covered dish. Or if preferred they can be left in the cubes and served with our little cook's favorite white sauce poured over. If mashed they are to be served on the dinner plate, but if in cream sauce they will have to be put in individual sauce-dishes.
Plain boiled parsnips are delicious if cut in slices and fried in butter, as they acquire a sweetness not brought out in any other way of cooking. If the left-over quantity is mashed, it can be made into little flat cakes and browned in butter. The child should be encouraged to think of as many different ways as possible and then allowed to experiment and see the result.
Winter squash is good prepared in the same way as the mashed parsnips—that is, plain boiled and then mashed, but I prefer the Hubbard variety, cut in large squares and baked in the shell—without being peeled. Season before putting on the oven shelf, spread with a little butter and add a slight sprinkling of granulated sugar. This will take about three-quarters of an hour to bake, and should be a light brown over the top. The child may have some difficulty in cutting a Hubbard squash, as it is so hard, but she can prepare it after it has been cut for her.
Put to soak half a pound of dried Lima beans in a small quantity of cold water. Next morning set where they will simmer slowly for two hours in salted water enough to cover. At dinner-time drain, and serve on the dinner plates simply seasoned with butter, pepper and salt. Or, if preferred, they can be served in sauce dishes, with white sauce.
A nice way to serve cabbage hot is to chop fine after it has soaked half an hour in cold water, put on in boiling salted water, and cook in an open kettle with a pinch of soda, about forty minutes or until tender. Then drain and serve immediately with butter, pepper and salt, or with white sauce. Some people prefer to add simply a little vinegar, so find out the family taste.
For a small family, soak one pint of the small navy beans over night, and next morning boil gently until nearly tender. Drain, throw away that water, and add a teaspoonful of salt, a tablespoon of molasses and a cupful of boiling water. Cut a quarter of a pound of salt pork in small pieces, put half of the beans in a baking dish, add a layer of half the pork, fill up with the rest of the beans and lay the rest of the pork around over the top. Cover the beans with boiling water, put a tin over the dish, and bake a number of hours,—the longer the better. As the water boils away, add enough more to keep from burning, and half an hour before serving, uncover and allow to brown over the top. If a slow fire is going in the range, the beans will be the better for cooking most of the day, but they must be watched to keep from burning. However, they will taste very fine if boiled longer at first,—until perfectly tender, and then baked only an hour.
Peel off the outside skin, cover with boiling water, cook five minutes, drain, and cover with fresh boiling water, well salted. Cook until tender, the length of time depending on the size, then drain and serve in a hot covered vegetable dish with white sauce, made while the onions were cooking.
First boil as above directed, then lift into a piepan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place a small lump of butter in a little hole on top of each, and bake until brown.
With the coming of the spring vegetables will be opened a new field for the child to explore. Asparagus, one of the first in the market, is considered one of the choicest, and it is also one of the most easily prepared. To retain all the delicate flavor many people think it should be served plain. For this, tie the asparagus in bunches, after washing carefully and snapping off the tough ends. Set upright in a deep kettle and pour over boiling salted water enough to reach nearly to the tips, but do not cover. The tender ends will cook enough at first, for ten minutes, in the steam, and then the bunches should be turned down sideways for thirty minutes more. Lift carefully with a skimmer, allowing the water to run off, lay on a hot platter, remove the strings and serve immediately with tiny lumps of butter and a dash of pepper over the top. Or the asparagus can be first cut in small lengths, boiled until tender in salted water, then drained, laid on hot toast and covered with cream sauce. As mentioned before, the water in which it has been cooked can be set away to be used for soup, with a few tips added if desired.
Take one pint of well-seasoned bouillon, and while still warm, add the quantity of gelatine stated on the package necessary to make one pint of jelly, and when thoroughly dissolved, set away until it begins to stiffen. Then slice one cucumber, after peeling and ridging the sides, season with salt and pepper, and lay in vinegar for a moment. Rinse out the mould in cold water, lay around the cucumber in any pattern desired, and fill up the mould with the thickening jelly. Leave on ice after set, until ready to serve.
Wax or string beans should be snapped in small pieces and all strings removed, then washed and put on to boil in hot salted water. Cook until tender (generally this requires about forty minutes), drain and serve in a hot dish with butter, pepper and salt, or, if preferred, the cream sauce. Our young cook will have many opportunities to use her recipe for white sauce with the spring vegetables, for almost all kinds are improved when it is added.
Peas and Lima beans, after being shelled and covered with salted boiling water, are cooked until tender (forty to sixty minutes) and then served either plain, as directed for the beans, or with the cream sauce, which, by the way, is better for such vegetables if thinned with more milk than when used in other ways.
Cauliflower, after being carefully washed, should be tied up in a piece of cheese-cloth to keep the shape, and after soaking for an hour in cold water, cooked in boiling salted water at least half an hour. When tender, it should be carefully lifted to the vegetable dish and the cream sauce poured around the base. A little chopped parsley scattered on top the sauce improves the appearance.
Young beets have to be washed carefully to avoid breaking the skin, and have roots and half an inch of the tops left on while cooking. They should be kept covered with salted boiling water, and cooked until tender, allowing at least an hour for new beets, and possibly even three for old. When perfectly tender (on being tried by the prong of a kitchen fork), remove from the fire, drop into cold water for a moment to cool enough to slip off the skins, and then slice in a hot dish. They can be served plain, with butter, pepper and salt, although our grandmothers preferred the addition of a few spoonfuls of warm, thick cream. Many, however, like a little vinegar instead.
Baked tomatoes are made by taking the fresh tomatoes, scooping out the centers and mixing with bread crumbs, seasoning with butter, pepper and salt, and then refilling the shell, sprinkling a few crumbs on top. They require about twenty minutes to bake, and can be served on rounds of toast, with cream sauce. In winter, however, canned tomatoes, alternated with layers of buttered bread, seasoned with butter, pepper and salt, are nice baked in a dish, with crumbs browned over the top.
Green corn "on the cob" must first have the husks and silk carefully removed and then be dropped into boiling salted water and kept boiling (under a cover) for from ten to twenty minutes, according to the age of the corn. If very fresh and tender, it will cook quickly, but it should be served as soon as removed from the water.
Any corn left from a meal can be grated off the cob and used for corn oysters. To one cupful of corn, add half a cup of milk, one beaten egg, half a teaspoon of salt, and one tablespoon of melted butter. Into this stir one-half cup of sifted flour, and bake like pancakes on a hot, well greased skillet. Be careful to avoid too hot a fire or they will scorch on the bottom before cooking through, and they must not be raw in the middle. It may be necessary to put a little extra butter in the pan when they are turned, but they have to be watched carefully all the time.
Entertaining can be made easy by some forethought, and a little girl should be made to realize that hospitality, of all things, should be genuine. In the case of expected company it is well to get whatever is needed in plenty of time, but the unexpected guest should receive none the less cordial greeting while the housekeeper hurriedly reviews her resources in the way of material available.
One of the most important lessons to teach the little girl is that of making simple dishes so attractive that no hesitation need be felt in asking friends to share the family fare. This is particularly true in the case of dishes for supper. They should not require much extra work, but be quickly prepared and preferably of what one happens to have in the house. For a light supper it is desirable to have one hot dish, beside a warm bread, cold meat, fruit, cake and tea.
If the child has become proficient, she should be allowed as a special favor to make the baking-powder biscuits by herself. Have her use a small cutter not more than two inches in diameter, as small biscuits are more appetizing; and be sure to have them baked to a light brown.
Potato salad makes a good chief dish for the unexpected guest and is easily prepared. The child should be told to select medium-sized potatoes, at least one for each person and after scrubbing with a brush to get perfectly clean, put on with boiling water enough to cover and boil gently until tender, then drain and set aside to cool. This can be done at dinner time, when the fire is hot, and save extra trouble. When the potatoes are cold the skins can be easily removed, and the potatoes then cut in thin slices. Next she should peel and cut in very thin slices one small onion (unless the family taste prefers more) and arrange the alternate layers of sliced potatoes and onions, well seasoned with salt and pepper, in a pretty salad bowl. It looks attractive, too, tossed lightly on lettuce leaves arranged on a small platter. Over the whole then pour the boiled salad dressing, or the French, as the family prefer, and when the potato salad is ready to serve it should be garnished with sprigs of parsley and slices of hard-boiled egg.
Scalloped oysters make a fine supper dish on a cold night, and there are several ways they can be prepared. The one I like best I will give first. The child should butter a number of thin slices of bread and spread on the bottom of a dripping-pan, laying on next a layer of oysters, with pepper and salt; then another layer of the thin buttered bread, another layer of oysters, and the top finished with a layer of bread, well seasoned. Over the whole pour the oyster juice and one-half cupful of milk. This will require from twenty to twenty-five minutes in a hot oven, when the bread on top will be toasted crisp. Many people like scalloped oysters prepared with crackers, and in that case the rolled cracker-crumbs are used instead of the bread, but the taste of the two dishes is different.
Cook one pint of oysters in their own liquor or in a few spoonsful of salted water until they curl at the edges. Have ready a thick cream sauce, stir in the oysters, and cook a few moments longer. Serve in baskets made by removing the inside of the light rolls, brushing with melted butter and browning in the oven. Make handles from crust, and insert after filling.
To fry oysters, select large, choice ones, and dry in a napkin. Taking one at a time, roll in cracker crumbs, season with salt and pepper, dip in beaten egg, and cover thoroughly again with the rolled cracker. Spread out on a bread board and allow to stand a little while for this covering to set, then cook either in a skillet with a small amount of butter, or in deep fat, until lightly browned. Lift on to a piece of wrapping paper to drain, but keep hot, and serve garnished with parsley and sliced lemon.
This is another good dish for an evening supper. Crumble half a pound of grated cheese, and put in a chafing-dish or a double boiler. Season with half a teaspoonful of salt, half a teaspoonful of prepared mustard and a dash of red pepper. When it begins to melt, stir constantly, and as soon as it begins to look the least bit "stringy," pour in slowly a quarter of a cup of cream and one beaten egg. As this blends, add a teaspoonful of butter, cook until smooth, and serve immediately on rounds of hot toast or square soda crackers.
Fritters help out nicely, too, for company, and can be fried in a small quantity of very hot fat instead of in the deep fat if mother prefers. Sift one cup of flour, add one-quarter teaspoon salt, a tablespoon sugar, two-thirds of a cup of milk, one tablespoonful melted butter, and the yolk of one egg, beaten light. Stir to a smooth batter, add the stiffly beaten white, and lastly several sour apples, cut in thin slices, or three bananas, cut a little thicker. Drop by the spoonful in the smoking hot fat, set where they will not scorch, and if in a frying pan, turn over as soon as brown around the edges. Serve with powdered sugar.
Put on in a double boiler two cups of milk, one tablespoonful of butter, salt to your own taste, and allow to come to a boil. Have ready four squares of nicely browned toast, put in a hot vegetable dish, pour over the milk, clap on the cover, and serve at once. Some people like the milk thickened with a teaspoonful of flour that has first been moistened with a little cold milk, but I prefer it without.
Every housekeeper should impress on her young daughter the importance of keeping on hand a small quantity of canned goods to provide for the unexpected guest, and this should include sardines, salmon, shrimps, lobster, French peas, olives and orange marmalade. These things will all keep for months in a cool place, yet are indispensable in an emergency. The can of shrimps, opened and placed in cold water for a little while, will taste as good as the fresh, and the salmon, with the skin and bones removed, will be ready on short notice to be served in a number of ways.
For salad, take either shrimps, lobster or salmon, and after breaking in small pieces, add an equal amount of celery, season with salt and moisten with salad dressing. Serve on lettuce.
If our small cook wishes to serve a hot dish, however, in a hurry for company, she can make to use with her canned fish, the favorite white sauce. For this she must first melt one tablespoonful of butter and add to it one tablespoonful of flour, a quarter teaspoonful of salt, a dash of pepper, and lastly, after mixing well, one cupful of milk, stirring all the time until thick. After boiling two minutes put in the can of lobster, shrimps or salmon, broken in small pieces, and allow to boil gently for three minutes more. Then serve on rounds of buttered toast, garnished with parsley.
If only sardines happen to be left in the reserve stock and yet something hot is needed, let the mother show the child how to make that rather unusual dish, sardine canapés. After removing the bones and tails, the sardines should be rubbed to a paste and mixed with an equal quantity of chopped hard-boiled eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper, a teaspoonful of lemon juice and half a teaspoonful of Worcestershire sauce. Then she must cut circles of bread, toast or fry them brown in butter, and spread on the sardine paste. Send to the table immediately, garnished with circles of the hard-boiled white of egg.
Rice is one of our most nutritious foods, and it can be served in such a variety of ways it is one of the first things a child should be shown how to prepare. The very easiest (and cheapest) way is to wash and drain a cup of rice and then sprinkle it slowly into two quarts of boiling salted water. Without stirring, set it where it will simmer slowly, and by the time it has boiled down thick it should be tender enough to crush with the tongue. If not, add a little more boiling water and allow to cook a while longer, but if it is not stirred the grains will be whole and the rice will not stick to the pan as long as there is water enough to keep from burning. If it is to be served plain, with only cream and sugar, add a teaspoonful of butter and stir through lightly just before turning out in the dish for the table and sprinkle a little ground cinnamon over the top. This makes an easy and generally very acceptable dessert. It is particularly nice if turned first into cups to mold, and then served on a small dish with a spoonful of jelly or some preserve over the top.
Rice cups are made by lining small well-greased baking-cups with the rice half an inch thick and filling with any kind of cold meat, chopped fine and seasoned. A thin layer of the rice is then spread over the top and the cups baked in a moderate oven for twenty minutes. By running a knife around the edge when done they can be turned out when cooked, and may be served on hot toast with either warmed-over gravy or tomato sauce.
The rice cups will be delicious for dessert, if instead of using cold meat they are filled with mince meat or raisins that have lain in cold water until they have swelled. When baked they are to be turned out on sauce dishes and served with a sauce made by creaming one-third cupful of butter with one cupful of brown sugar, flavoring with half-teaspoonful vanilla and heating in a double boiler until hot and creamy.
Take plain boiled rice, pack lightly in small cups, and put in a warm place for an hour to set. Turn out molded, and send to the table garnished with any kind of rich preserves,—preferably such large fruits as peaches, pears or plums.
Rice nicely cooked is often served in place of a vegetable and eaten with a fork from the dinner plate like mashed potatoes. It is a good thing for the little cook to learn all the different ways of cooking it, as often a small quantity left from one meal would prove most acceptable for another, if prepared differently.
The plain boiled rice intended to be served like a vegetable or for a simple dessert might not all be used. If a cupful were left it could be cut in thin slices and browned in butter for breakfast, or it could be stirred into the soup made from the left-overs, as described in one of our former lessons. The little maid must learn to use all her odds and ends, and a good way to teach her would be to ask her what she thought could be prepared from the small quantity of food left from a meal. While often there might not be enough for the whole family, there might be plenty for the few that happened to be home for the noon luncheon, or perhaps only enough for the school lunch that after a while gets to be such a hard thing for mother to fix up "in a different way."
Rice pudding is one of the first desserts a child should learn to make, as it is so little trouble and always a favorite. She should first beat up thoroughly two eggs; add half a cupful of sugar, two cupfuls of milk, a little nutmeg, and stir through two cupfuls of cooked rice. If the rice has been standing long enough to stiffen, then, after washing her hands, she will have to work the rice through the custard with her fingers in order to remove any lumps. A half cupful of raisins or dried currants stirred in after the pudding is in the baking-dish will make it just that much nicer. In baking, leave in the oven until the pudding is firm, which will show when a silver knife stuck in the middle comes out clean. A custard is never baked enough that sticks to the knife and leaves it milky.
As there are many days, especially in summer, when macaroni can well take the place of meat, it is desirable that the small maid be taught how to prepare it attractively.
The macaroni is first broken in small pieces, washed and then boiled in salted water until tender—about twenty minutes. It can be tested with a fork. It is very good if simply drained when cooked, sprinkled with salt and pepper, dotted with lumps of butter and sent to the table piping hot.
Or it can be taken from the boiling water, put in a colander, rinsed with cold water, then arranged in a baking dish in alternate layers with grated cheese. Over the top pour one cup of hot milk in which has been stirred a teaspoon of butter and a beaten egg. This must be baked a light brown as quickly as possible, and served at once. It is not so good after it has stood.
If preferred, a cupful of white sauce can be used instead of the milk and egg.
For baked macaroni with tomato, have the little cook put in her baking dish first a layer of the cooked and rinsed macaroni, then a layer of tomatoes, either fresh or canned, but well seasoned, then another layer of macaroni, then one of tomatoes, and on the top sprinkle rolled bread crumbs. Scatter tiny lumps of butter all around, season again, and bake a light brown in a quick oven.
But if she finds that she has a small quantity of cold meat on hand, beef, veal or chicken, she can put one layer of that through the middle of the macaroni, and she will have a surprise for her family—delicious, too. This is quite nice for wash-day dinner when it can be served with baked potatoes, at little cost of time or trouble.
In a series of cooking lessons of this kind, it is manifestly impossible to include directions for preparing all kinds of food, but I have outlined the work with the idea of teaching the children a great variety of dishes, believing that their success with these will stimulate them to try by themselves recipes found elsewhere.
The child who has been assisted in preparing the various dishes given in our previous cooking lessons, and who has learned to follow directions, will now be eager to undertake different kinds of baking. The mother should impress on the little student that the first essential to success is correct measurements, and the second, careful mixing. For cake baking a graduated tin cup, marked in quarters and thirds, is almost a necessity, as different people's ideas vary so as to what constitutes a quarter or a third. If the cup is at hand, however, and is used in taking all the measurements, there can be no mistake. And a cupful means a level cupful, not heaping; a teaspoonful a level spoonful, not a rounded one, unless so specified.
Before beginning the work, the child should read over her recipe and lay out all ingredients needed. She should have the mixing bowl on the table with the mixing spoon, the teaspoon and tablespoon for measurements, and the measuring cup. The cake pan, wiped off, warmed and greased lightly with lard, is next set aside, ready for use.
Then the fire must be in good condition. If a gas stove is used it will take only a few moments to heat the oven properly, but if wood or coal is the fuel, the mother must show the child how to prepare the fire, so as to have the oven the right temperature and on time. The old way of having it as hot as one can stand the hand while counting twenty, is a fair test.
As small cakes bake more evenly and quickly for the inexperienced cook, it is a good idea to let the child put her cake dough in muffin tins. A mixture that might fall and seem a failure if put in a loaf and not properly baked, will often come up very nicely in gem pans; and, besides, the small cakes appeal more to the childish fancy. A nice one-egg cake is made as follows:
One-third of a cup of butter, one cup of sugar, one egg, one cup of milk, two cups of sifted flour, two level teaspoonfuls of baking powder, half a teaspoonful of vanilla, and half a cup of currants.
First the child should measure her flour while her cup is dry, and adding the baking-powder, sift it on to a paper or in an extra bowl, and set it aside, ready for use. Next she can measure the even cupful of sugar into the mixing bowl, add an even one-third cupful of butter, and rub together to a creamy mass. If the butter has been standing a while in the kitchen, it will be warm enough to work up nicely. Then she must separate the egg, beating the white stiff and the yolk until it is foaming. Adding the beaten yolk to the butter and sugar, she again stirs thoroughly, and then begins adding—a little at a time—first the milk and then the sifted flour, stirring evenly all the while. Put in the vanilla, the stiffly beaten white of egg, with the currants, mixing as little as possible, and pour out into the greased gem pans. If the oven is right, the baking will take from fifteen to twenty minutes, but if the oven seems too hot, leave the door slightly open for about five minutes. An old-fashioned way of finding out when the cakes are well baked is to try with a new wooden toothpick. If it comes out clean and dry the cakes are done.
On removing from the oven, loosen around the bottom edge (the cakes should have shrunk from the sides), and turn on to a bread board. When cold, they can be iced with the following simple icing:
Two tablespoonfuls milk or cream, enough confectioner's sugar to make a thick paste and half dozen drops of vanilla. In spreading, if the icing does not go on as smoothly as desired the silver knife used for spreading can occasionally be dipped in a glass of cold water.
When the child has followed this recipe several times successfully, she can then try baking it in two cake tins. When done and cool, she can put the layers together with the same icing, to which, by adding two teaspoonfuls of cocoa, she will have a nice chocolate filling. When the cocoa is used, she will need a trifle more milk or cream.
After the child has fully mastered this recipe, let her next try some ginger cookies. To a half a cupful of molasses, one teaspoonful of soda, half a cupful sour milk, half a cupful of sugar, and one-third cupful of melted butter add one well-beaten egg, three cupfuls of flour, with one tablespoonful of ginger. This will make a thick mass which is to be turned out as soft as can be handled, half at a time, on a well-floured bread board. The child must then flour her rolling-pin to keep it from sticking, and roll as thin as desired. She should thoroughly grease the dripping pan and then cut out her cookies and lift carefully into place, one just touching another. The oven should be quite hot for these as they ought to bake quickly; and on removing from the oven, they should stand a moment in the pan before being lifted on to a plate.
For an inexpensive spice cake, take one-half cup of butter, one cup of sugar, one egg, (white beaten separately), one and one-half cups of flour, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, half a cup of milk, one-quarter teaspoonful ground cloves, one-quarter teaspoonful nutmeg, one teaspoonful cinnamon, half a teaspoonful vanilla. Cream the butter and sugar, add yolk of egg and beat very light. Sift flour and baking powder, and stir in alternately with the milk. Add spice and flavoring next, then the stiff white, and bake either in gem pans or in a loaf. Half a cupful of seeded raisins or currants will be an improvement.
Stir together half a cup of molasses, half a cup of brown sugar, one teaspoonful of soda, one beaten egg, two tablespoons melted butter, half a cup of milk, two cups of flour, one tablespoonful of ginger, teaspoonful of cinnamon, one-quarter teaspoonful cloves, and a little nutmeg. Mix in the order given, pour in greased shallow pan, and bake from fifteen to twenty minutes.
When the little cook has learned to follow the foregoing recipes so that she understands all the details of mixing and is able to make nice light cakes, let her some time try the following, which by using the whites for a delicate cake and the yolks for a gold cake, will give her two choice cakes without extra expense. After bringing to the table, when ready to begin, the sugar can, the butter jar, the egg dish, the milk, the vanilla and the baking powder, so that everything will be convenient, and having well greased a pan for the gold cake (which will be baked in a loaf) and the two jelly tins for the white cake, she can then separate three eggs, and to the three yolks add one whole egg. On account of the baking it is best to make the white cake first, and then it can be iced and the dishes cleaned away while the loaf cake bakes.
One even half cupful of butter and an even cupful of sugar, creamed until it is light and foamy. To one and one-half cupfuls of flour add two level teaspoonfuls baking-powder, and sift several times. Then into the creamed butter and sugar pour one-half cupful milk, alternately, a little at a time, with the flour. Before putting in the last of the flour, stir extra well, then put in one teaspoonful vanilla and the stiffly beaten whites of the eggs, mix as little as possible, to stir through, and then add the last of the flour. Bake either in a loaf or in two layer tins. The layers can be put together when cold with either the icing already given or this chocolate frosting:
To one cup of granulated sugar add one-third cup of boiling water, and stir to dissolve until it begins to boil, but no longer. Cook until it hairs from a spoon, then pour slowly on the stiff white of an egg, beating steadily. When the candy is well mixed through the egg, add two squares of chocolate, grated, and continue beating until cool and thick enough to spread. If the candy happens to be taken off too soon, the icing will not get thick, and in that event it can be made the right consistency by the addition of a little confectioner's sugar.
For the plain white boiled icing, simply omit the chocolate from the foregoing recipe, and flavor as desired.
After the two white layers have been put into the oven, if she will be very careful not to forget them, our little maid can go at her loaf cake.
To one cupful of sugar, and a rounded tablespoonful of butter rubbed creamy, she can stir in the four yolks and one whole egg beaten together as light as the proverbial feather. Then after sifting one and one-half cupfuls of flour with two level teaspoonfuls baking-powder in a separate bowl, she can add, a little at a time, one-half cupful of milk and the flour in the same way that she did in mixing her white cake. Flavor with a teaspoonful of vanilla, or lemon, if preferred.
If citron is liked, a quarter-cupful, cut very thin, and lightly floured, can be stirred through the batter made for the gold cake, the last thing. This cake will bake better if put in a pan having a funnel opening in the center. The oven should be a little cooler for a loaf cake, and it should bake from forty to forty-five minutes. When done, it will shrink slightly from the sides of the pan and should be a delicate brown. The best way to avoid the possibility of sticking, is to first cut a piece of paper to fit the bottom of the pan and grease it thoroughly. On removing from the oven, the loaf cake should stand a few moments and then be turned out on the bread board.
If desired, when the loaf is cool, it can be iced also, with a white icing, and it will look attractive if a few nut meats are scattered over the top before the icing hardens. If nuts are liked, a few can be stirred through the cake instead of the citron and thus by using either (or neither) our small cook can make three different cakes with the same recipe.
A delicious chocolate cake, sometimes called Devil's Food, is made as follows: cream three-quarters of a cup of butter with one cup of sugar, and add the beaten yolks of two eggs. Sift several times one and one-half cups of flour with two scant teaspoonfuls of baking powder, and stir in, alternating with half a cup of milk. Flavor with three tablespoonfuls of cocoa (or two squares of unsweetened chocolate, grated), and half a teaspoonful of vanilla, and lastly add the two whites, beaten stiff. Bake in two layers, and put together with white icing.
Any child with care and a little practice should be able to bake successfully any of the recipes given. They are not expensive, and yet if properly put together will make cake light and nice enough to offer any guest. The first, of course, is a trifle cheaper, but the others will give a good variety for any company, and when she has learned to make them so they turn out well every time, she will have made a great advance in her cooking lessons. Then by simply changing her icing she can have as many different kinds as the family desire.
Home-made bread is one thing that everybody likes, and while it takes time and patience, it is not really hard to make. One little girl I knew took pride in making all the bread for a family of four, and it was fine, too. The recipe here given will make three large loaves, so if you prefer, you can use only half at first, until sure that you have learned to do it properly. Take three quarts of sifted flour, one even iron kitchen spoonful of salt, a rounded one of sugar, and one, also rounded, of lard melted in one cup of warm water—not hot. Dissolve one fresh compressed yeast cake in one cup of warm water, and add that, with two more cups of warm water. Mix this all well together, using your big spoon. When as smooth as you can get it that way, turn out on a floured board, and knead for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then set it away where it will not get chilled, and leave it to rise for from four to six hours, when it will be about double its original size. Then turn out on your bread board again, cut it in three parts, roll into nice smooth loaves, without more kneading, put in buttered bread tins, leave again in a warm place for about two hours, then bake in a moderate oven until a pretty brown. When done, go lightly over the hard crust with a small white cloth dipped in cold water, roll in a fresh tea towel and allow to cool before cutting. If you wish, you can start your bread and give the first kneading at night, then cover and leave until morning.
For light biscuit, take one of the three parts cut for the bread, twist off little pieces the size of an egg, roll smooth without working, wet over the top with melted butter or milk, let rise to double their size, and bake in a hot oven from fifteen to twenty minutes.
For the hot days of summer, I know the mothers and little cooks will be deeply interested in cold desserts of all kinds—dishes that can be made early in the morning and set away, as well as various frozen dainties. It is well to enjoy the delicious fruits and melons in their season (and really nothing finishes off a dinner better after a close, warm day), but still we all want to know how to make light puddings and jellies for a change.
Floating island is a nice dessert, easily made by any child, with reasonable care. For six persons, have her take three even cupfuls of milk and one-fourth teaspoonful salt, and put on to heat in a double kettle. Then beat up the yolks of three eggs, add one-half cupful sugar, one-half teaspoonful vanilla, and pour in them slowly the hot milk, stirring all the time. Return to the double boiler and continue to stir until it thickens and gets creamy, coating the spoon. Do not allow to boil, or it will curdle. Cover and set aside to cool.
Next the whites should be beaten up very stiff, and sweetened with two tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar. Have a pan filled with boiling hot water—but not bubbling—and into this drop the whites in heaping big spoonfuls. After standing a few moments they will puff up very light. While they are cooking, pour the custard in a glass dish, then lift the whites with a skimmer, allow to drain and dot them over the top. Made in this way, the meringue tastes much better than when served uncooked. A half-teaspoonful of currant jelly on top of each "island" makes the dessert even more inviting, and it looks particularly nice when served in individual glass dishes or sherbet cups.
Gelatin forms the basis for many delicious, inexpensive puddings. It is well for the housewife to examine the recipes coming with the different brands, for while some boxes will make only one quart of jelly, others at the same price will make two, and therefore cost only half as much.
For plain lemon jelly, the mother will instruct the child to soak two rounded tablespoonfuls of granulated gelatin in one-third cupful of cold water for fifteen minutes. Then add two cupfuls of boiling water, one cupful sugar, and the strained juice of two lemons. Pour in a shallow mold to set and when ready to send to the table turn onto a small platter and garnish with whipped cream, or serve with the custard used for floating island.
For a fruit jelly in winter, line the bottom of the mold or individual cups with pieces of banana, orange, or preserved cherries, fill up with the liquid lemon jelly and set away to harden. In berry season, however, flavor the gelatin with half a cupful of the pure berry juice strained (instead of using lemon), and pour into cups half filled with fine, whole berries. This is best served with whipped cream, one large berry decorating the top of each cup.
These jellies have to be set in a very cold place to make them firm, and it is often advisable in warm weather, if they cannot be put on ice, to make them, the night before they are needed, then put them in the coolest place possible.
Whipped cream is called for with so many dishes, that every little girl should learn how to prepare it. In the first place the cream must be very thick and very cold. In the cities a special cream is usually delivered if ordered for whipping; and I believe it is a day older than the other kind. But if thick enough and cold, there is no trick at all about making it stiff in a very few moments. Have the child take a deep bowl or small stone butter jar, rinse it in cold water until chilled, then wipe and pour in one-half pint of cream. Taking a Dover egg-beater, also thoroughly cold, let her whip steadily and not too fast until thick as the stiff white of an egg. Taking out the beater, next add half a cupful of confectioners' sugar, half a teaspoonful of vanilla, stir thoroughly and set away on the ice until needed. It is best when freshly made.
Nuts are used so much nowadays, in all kinds of cookery, that we find them in the most unexpected places. When chopped, they are mixed with cottage cheese for sandwiches, stirred into all kinds of salads, put into cake batter, and all kinds of icings; and when left in unbroken halves, used to garnish many gelatine puddings and whipped-cream desserts.
But when the very hottest days come, we all like the good things that come from the ice-cream freezer. The best up-to-date freezers do their work very quickly, the great secret being to have the ice broken up in very fine pieces or crushed in a strong bag. A good rule to follow for mixing with salt is as follows:
For ice-creams, three parts ice to one part salt.
For frappés, two parts ice to one part salt.
For mousses, etc., equal parts ice and salt.
Then be sure to get the top on your can tightly, and when you are ready to remove it be careful to first brush aside all ice and salt, so not one particle can possibly get into the freezer. Nothing marks the amateur more than salt in the ice-cream.
A delicious French ice-cream has for its foundation a custard made by beating up first the yolks of three eggs very light, adding a pinch of salt, one cupful sugar and two cupfuls of milk. Cook this in a double boiler until it coats the spoon, but do not allow to boil or it will curdle. Cool, flavor with a teaspoonful of rich vanilla, add one pint of cream and freeze.
For a rich chocolate ice-cream, make like the foregoing, only add to the custard before it cools two ounces of grated, unsweetened chocolate which has been set in a pan of hot water long enough to allow it to melt. This takes but a few moments, however.
For a refreshing fruit ice, have our little maid prepare the juice of three oranges, three lemons, and one pint of either strawberries or red raspberries. After straining through a coarse strainer, she must add three cupfuls of sugar, three cupfuls of cold water and the stiffly beaten whites of two eggs. This does not need to be frozen quite so hard as the ice-cream.
In strawberry season, particularly on a farm where there is an abundance of rich cream and luscious fruit, the finest kind of a frozen dessert is made by adding to a pint of thick unflavored cream, whipped as directed, two cupfuls of crushed berries and two cupfuls of sugar. The berries and sugar, well mixed, should be folded carefully into the cream and pressed in a mold. The cracks must be filled with butter or lard to prevent the salt water leaking in, and the mold packed closely in salt and ice and left for four hours. Remember it is not frozen in the freezer by turning. When ready to unmold, wring a cloth out of boiling water and lay around the can for a moment, after loosening where possible with a thin-bladed knife. Turn on to a platter and send to the table to be cut in slices.
For a plain lemon ice, take the grated rind of one lemon, and the juice of three, a cupful and a half of sugar, four cupfuls of water, and the stiffly beaten whites of two eggs. Freeze, but not too hard.
Citron custard is good summer or winter, served hot or cold. The child should first beat up very light two eggs, then add a pinch of salt, one-third cupful of sugar, two cupfuls of milk, and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Next she must line a baking-dish or individual cups with thin slices of citron, then pour in the custard and bake, after setting her dish or cups in a pan of boiling water. If a few small nails are scattered over the bottom of the water-pan, so the pudding cups do not touch, but are surrounded by water, the custard will cook more evenly. Leave in the oven about twenty minutes, but test before taking out by inserting in the middle the blade of a silver knife. When thoroughly done the blade will come out clean instead of coated.
Cornstarch pudding is an old favorite, too, either hot or cold. First mix four level tablespoonfuls of cornstarch with three tablespoonfuls of sugar, and beat up light one egg. Then scald two cupfuls of milk, after pouring a few spoonfuls on the cornstarch in order to thoroughly wet it. When the milk is hot, add the moistened cornstarch and sugar, the beaten egg, and flavoring to taste, stirring constantly until thick. Then allow to cook gently for ten minutes at least. A double boiler is best for all such puddings, as it prevents all possibility of scorching, but it takes longer. One delicious way of serving this otherwise ordinary dish is to cut a few thin peelings from a lemon (just the yellow part), cook with the milk till a delicate flavor is imparted, and then remove. When the pudding is done, pour in a mold and let set. Then serve with whipped cream flavored with vanilla. The combination of the two flavorings is very agreeable.
Tapioca is a thing every child should learn to use, as it is capable of so many variations. For the simplest pudding, have her first cover three-quarters of a cup of tapioca, (or sago, either), with one cupful of cold water and allow to soak at least an hour. Then add three cupfuls of boiling water, one-half teaspoonful salt, the flavoring and sugar to taste, and boil until transparent. If the family like lemon, let her add the strained juice and grated rind of one lemon and one-half cupful of sugar. Or, she can use a level cupful of raisins, the juice and grated rind of half a lemon and cupful of sugar. (The raisins should be seeded, of course.)
Or still another way is to boil the tapioca, sweetened but not flavored, for about fifteen minutes, then pour into a baking-dish half filled with sliced apples and flavored with nutmeg. This must be baked until the apples are tender.
Probably the most common way, though, of making tapioca pudding is by taking half the recipe given and after boiling fifteen minutes, (without flavoring or sugar), adding to it two cupfuls of milk, two well-beaten eggs, one-half teaspoonful vanilla, and half a cupful of sugar, then baking until the custard begins to brown on top. All these desserts are to be served with cream, plain or whipped, which adds to the appearance as well as taste.
There are several brands of granulated tapioca on the market, and they are convenient if one is in a hurry, but they are more expensive than the ordinary kind, and I have found that the directions on the box seldom allow sufficient time to boil, and also that the pouring on of boiling water suggested is apt to result in the powdered tapioca forming lumps which require an extra amount of cooking.
A favorite hot sauce for puddings, or to be served separately with vanilla ice-cream, is made by melting one square of unsweetened chocolate, adding a teaspoonful of butter, one-third of a cup of water, one cup of sugar, and a few drops of vanilla. Cook for five minutes, and keep hot until needed. Two tablespoonfuls of cocoa can be used if preferred.
My little cooks should now have become experienced enough that if they saw a recipe they thought they would like in some newspaper or magazine they could go ahead and try it by themselves. It might be well for mother to glance it over first and see if it looks all right, and then if she said "Yes," proceed with it. But whatever they try, they should remember to be sure they put in every ingredient according to directions, and then cook to the queen's taste!
All children are deeply interested in preparations for company, and in the getting ready for the Thanksgiving dinner every mother will find good opportunity to teach her little daughter many valuable lessons. There is so much to be thought of at this time and so much to be done that the wise woman will take the child into consultation, and by freely discussing plans get help and at the same time train her into the right way to prepare for guests.
In the first place, talk over with her and decide about the number to be entertained, and then settle on the menu. Get her to express her opinions, and if they are good let her see that you approve them by following her suggestions. If they are not good point out wherein they are at fault, and after deciding what dishes are to be served, show her how to write out the bill of fare in proper form. This should then be hung up in the kitchen for reference, as otherwise it would be an easy matter to overlook something or make a mistake. If, for instance, a simple dinner of the usual good things is desired, it should be written out in this way—and the child herself can do the writing:
The day before let the child help in the marketing. As she has already been shown how to make consommé, she can now be allowed to do it by herself, and set it away to be heated up when needed. When you go to buy the turkey, vegetables and fruits, show her the right kind to select. Explain that the celery should be crisp and white, not wilted and discolored; the cranberries hard and red, not soft and brown in spots; the oranges solid and heavy, not pithy and light.
Have her consult the list made before starting out, to be sure she gets everything needed before beginning her cooking.
Returning home, as soon as the turkey is delivered show her how to dress it. This is always an interesting process, and while few mothers like to see their girls really do this work, they ought to explain it fully. After taking out the pinfeathers and singeing, the skin should be carefully washed with warm water, soap and a small clean cloth, for so much dust adheres to the flesh of poultry that in no other way can it be removed. As fowls are usually drawn at the market, now take out the giblets, tear away the lights, rinse thoroughly the inside and then sprinkle with salt.
The little cook herself can be allowed to make the stuffing. To each loaf of stale bread, broken in small pieces, add salt and pepper to taste, two tablespoonfuls of butter, half-teaspoonful of ground sage and boiling water enough to slightly moisten.
For dry dressing, crumble the bread, omit the water, but use four tablespoonfuls of melted butter. Pack in the turkey very loosely. Some people like this seasoned with thyme, while others prefer onion.
Or if oyster dressing is preferred, omit sage and add instead one pint of oysters, using the liquor to dampen the bread. Pack lightly in the turkey, sew up the opening with white thread and set away in a cool place.
Taking the cranberries next, the child can sort them over, wash and a granite kettle, allowing half a cupful of water and two cupfuls of sugar to each quart of berries. Place over a slow fire, and after boiling fifteen or twenty minutes, stirring only enough to keep from burning, remove and set away until cool enough to pour in a glass dish. Berries cooked this way will keep their shape, be transparent and a bright, pretty red.
The mince-meat takes some time to prepare, and is much better if made a week or two beforehand and allowed to stand in a tightly covered jar. Our small cook can help get ready the raisins, currants, citron, orange peel, and apples while the beef is boiling, and then will be delighted to do the chopping. To half a pound of lean beef, cooked until well done and chopped fine, add half a pound of chopped suet and one pound of chopped tart apples, prepared separately. To this put half a pound of currants, cleaned and dried, half a pound of seeded raisins, half a pound of citron, cut in small pieces, two cupfuls of light-brown sugar, an even teaspoonful salt, half a teaspoonful each of ground cloves and allspice, one teaspoonful cinnamon, one-fourth teaspoonful grated nutmeg, one tablespoonful of finely broken dried orange peel, juice of one lemon, one pint of boiled cider. Boil slowly for an hour, add, if desired, one-half cupful of brandy, and then pack away in a crock in a cool place. This recipe, with full directions for mixing, should then be written out in the small cook-book, for although it may not be needed again for a long time, it will be ready for reference at any moment, ready for use without any doubt or trouble—and "the kind that mother used to make." Mince-meat is so fascinating, too, on account of all the good things that go into it, that scarcely anyone that ever made it right once can fail thereafter.
Every girl should know how to make good pie crust, and as it is principally a matter of having the ingredients chilled from the ice-box, almost anyone can be successful by taking a little care.
Sift one and one-half cupfuls of flour with one-half teaspoonful salt. Chop through this until like meal a half-cupful of chilled lard. Add just enough ice-water to make a stiff dough, and turn out with as little handling as possible on a floured bread-board. Sprinkle on flour enough to keep from sticking to rolling-pin, and dividing into sections, roll to fit the size of the pie-pan. (Perforated tins are preferable.) Add filling, put on thinly-rolled top crust, with a few openings in center to emit steam, and bake about half an hour, after pressing the edges thoroughly together to keep in all juice. If desired shorter, three-quarters of a cupful of lard can be used, but the dough must be kept thoroughly chilled, and it is best made in a cold room.
Then, on Thursday morning begin the dinner in plenty of time, so there will be no hurry or confusion at the last moment. The table can be set early, the little maid being shown the silver required. At the right of each plate put the knife, soup spoon and necessary teaspoons; at the left the forks, three if a salad is served. The glass for water is placed to the right of the center, in line with the knife, and the napkin either directly in the center on the service-plate or to the left of the forks. If no flowers are available for table decorations, pile the fruit up attractively for a centerpiece, using the small dishes of nuts and raisins at each end to balance.
The vegetables next should be prepared. Trim off the long green ends of the celery and the discolored outside stalks, (which will make a nice cream of celery soup next day), and then instead of separating the remaining stalks, cut through the whole bunches into quarter sections or smaller. In this way each person gets part of the inside tender heart, and the celery is more attractive.
When dinner is all ready, if there is no maid to help, the easiest way is to have the soup served and placed on the table just before calling out the guests. Then, when ready for the next course, our little cook can remove the soup plates, taking from the right side of each person, and bring on the dinner. When that is over, she must remove all the dishes before each one, clear the table of everything but the water glasses and the decorations, brush the cloth with a folded napkin and a plate to catch the crumbs, and lastly bring in the dessert. Every family has its own way as regards details, but a mother can very quickly get a child into the habit of being neat, careful and quiet about handling dishes. And she must always remember to proffer food on a tray, at the left.
Our little cook, after her experience at Thanksgiving, will probably be most eager to take part in the preparations for the Christmas dinner. Consult her now, as before; tell her all your ideas, get her suggestions, and then make all plans at least a week beforehand. Holidays should be holidays for the hostess as well as the guest, and can be made so by the choice of a dinner that is good and at the same time easily prepared. The suggested menu following will be found attractive enough for any party, and at the same time it is neither expensive nor very difficult to get ready.
Let the little girl again make out the bill of fare and hang up in the kitchen for reference, make out her list for market and grocery, and help in the selection of the goose, the vegetables and the fruits. Thus she will learn the best kinds to buy and what they cost, and incidentally mother and daughter can have a regular little lark out of the expedition and become better chums than in almost any other way.
The first dish to make, strange to say, is the last one on the list, and the plum pudding is better if made several weeks before it is needed, and then simply steamed up again for a couple of hours just before serving. A fine old recipe that had been in a friend's family for years, was once given me, but as it filled six molds I reduced it to the following proportions, which is ample for a mold large enough for eight people:
One-half cupful butter, three-quarters cupful sugar, one-quarter pound suet, two and one-half cupfuls flour, one-half pound seeded raisins, one-half pound currants, one ounce citron, three eggs yolks and whites (beaten separately), one-half cupful milk, one-quarter cupful almonds (blanched and chopped fine), one-quarter cupful brandy (or boiled cider if preferred), one-half teaspoonful cloves, one-quarter teaspoonful nutmeg, one teaspoonful cinnamon.
After getting all her ingredients out on the table and ready, the little cook should cream her butter and sugar, beat in yolks, add milk, and then stir in the flour alternately with the stiff whites. Then put in the brandy and spice, and last of all the fruit and nuts, dredged with a little flour. This should be well stirred, and then packed in a thoroughly greased covered mold and steamed for four hours.
Two kinds of sauce are nice for this pudding, served together. A hard sauce is made by creaming one-half cupful of butter in one cupful of fine sugar, adding half teaspoonful of brandy or vanilla and one teaspoonful cream and stirring until light and creamy. It can be set in a bowl of hot water at first to help make the butter cream, but after being beaten light should be set in the cold to harden. A teaspoonful of this hard sauce is served on each portion of the pudding.
The following hot sauce is poured around: one-quarter cupful butter, one cupful sugar, one teaspoonful flour. Mix flour and sugar, add butter and one cupful cold water, and stir until it boils and thickens. Flavor with nutmeg.
The day before Christmas repeat the lesson in dressing a fowl, and let her make the stuffing from the recipe used before, only this time she should omit the sage or oysters and season with a small onion chopped fine.
For the accompanying apple sauce, let her peel and quarter half a dozen tart apples, put on to cook in a cup of cold water, and when tender press through a colander, sweeten to taste, and then put in a pretty glass dish and grate nutmeg over the top. This should then be covered and set away until ready to be carried to the table.
As we intended to have as little work as possible about this particular dinner, I have suggested raw oysters for the first course instead of a soup. Serve on the half-shell if you can get them that way, putting a little chopped ice on each plate to hold the shells in place, giving four or five oysters to each person, and putting one empty shell in the center to hold the horseradish or slice of lemon. If the oysters are opened at the market all you have to do is to see that they are kept on ice until served.
For the tomato jelly salad, first boil together until very tender one quart can of tomatoes, one small sliced onion, six cloves, one-half cupful chopped celery. Strain through a jelly bag, season with salt and pepper, and add gelatin which has been dissolving in a few spoonfuls of cold water. As different brands vary, however, study the directions on the box in order to get the right amount to stiffen one quart of jelly.
If the gelatin does not thoroughly melt with the warm tomato juice, set over the fire for a few moments, and then pour into small molds (wine glasses or after-dinner coffee cups will serve nicely), and set away to harden over night. Next morning fix the required number of salad dishes with lettuce leaves or tender cabbage cut in strings, and turn out carefully the molded tomato jelly. Over the top of each drop a large spoonful of thick boiled dressing.
A pretty idea for a Christmas table is to carry out as fully as possible a color scheme of red and green. The centerpiece, of course, should be of holly, and a novel one it will be if large beautiful pieces are put in the upper part of a double boiler and set out to freeze. I did this once by accident, and when I went for my holly there it was—imbedded in a solid block of ice. The shape of the oat-meal kettle, like a flowerpot, allowed the ice to turn out easily, and it could then be set on a plate and trimmed around the bottom with the holly leaves. A couple of bolts of red baby ribbon will be enough for streamers from the chandelier to each plate, at which should be a pretty piece of the holly—or better still, if you can get them, three or four red carnations for each lady, and one for the buttonhole of each gentleman.
To carry out this color plan, the oysters should be served with catsup and garnished with parsley, the tomato jelly be turned out on lettuce, the plum pudding (ablaze with a spoonful of alcohol) decorated with holly, and the candy—red and white peppermint wafers—tied with green baby ribbon.
If the details of preparing the dinner have been followed out as I have suggested, and everything possible done the day before, on Christmas morning there will be little to do: the goose to put into the oven and roast, the potatoes to mash and the beans to dress, the plum pudding to heat up, the sauce to prepare, with the gravy and the coffee to make at the last moment. Our small cook of course has the celery cleaned preparatory to cutting up, and the nuts all cracked, and she can tie up the candy and assist with the decorations. Having helped set the table for the Thanksgiving party, she will feel perfectly competent to undertake the arrangement now, alone, and you, Mother, can say, "You have gotten along with everything so nicely, and remembered so well, I will let you put on the dishes and silver all by yourself." Then when she reports that all is ready, look over the work yourself and see that it is all right. Possibly she will have misplaced some pieces, forgotten others, but if you point out the errors and have her remedy the mistakes herself, she will likely remember next time and make her table a well-appointed one.
All children love to make candy, and the home-made kinds are much purer and better—besides being much cheaper—than those usually sold at the small confectionery stores. Every mother will do well to help her little daughter master this branch of cookery, for it will not only enable her to make wholesome sweets for the family when desired, but also to prepare a dainty box when she wishes to make an inexpensive present.
For fine nut candy, have the child first pick out half a cupful of nut meats. Put on in a small saucepan two level cupfuls of light-brown sugar, one-half cupful of water, a level teaspoonful of butter and a tablespoonful of vinegar, and boil without stirring until the candy crackles when dropped in cold water. Pour into a well-buttered pie-pan that has been sprinkled with the nuts, and as soon as cool, mark into squares.
For delicious maple fudge, take one and one-half cupfuls of light-brown sugar, one cupful of maple sirup, half a cupful of milk, and a level teaspoonful of butter. Boil slowly until it makes a soft ball when rolled between the fingers in cold water, then set aside until cool. Then beat with a fork until a creamy, sugary mass, turn quickly on to a buttered plate and mark into squares. If the little cook finds it is soft from having been taken off a moment too soon, she will have to let it stand longer to turn to sugar, but the fudge that stands overnight will be particularly smooth.
Cream candy is made by boiling two cupfuls of granulated sugar, without stirring, with three-fourths cupful water, two tablespoonfuls vinegar and a teaspoonful of butter until brittle when dropped in cold water. Pour on to a buttered pan, but do not scrape the sugared edge of the kettle, and pull as soon as cool. If a little care is exercised in handling at first, it will not stick to the fingers. The butter or flour sometimes put on the hands to prevent this only spoils the candy. When pulled perfectly white, cut with scissors into small cubes. The longer this stands, the more delicious it becomes, and if flavored with a few drops of essence of peppermint when first put on (so it can be well stirred through) and then put away when done in a glass jar for a couple of weeks, it will make delicate "after-dinner mint."
Easy chocolate creams require two cupfuls of confectioner's sugar, with a few teaspoonfuls of milk to moisten enough to work like dough, and a quarter teaspoonful of vanilla. Knead well, and work out into small balls. Melt one square of unsweetened chocolate by first grating and then setting in a pan of hot water, and drop in the creams, one at a time. Roll around quickly with a fork, and lift on to a sheet of buttered paper. Put in a cool place to harden. Different flavorings can be used instead of all vanilla, and half an English walnut stuck on the top of each cream before the chocolate hardens will add to the attractiveness. Or, instead of dipping all the creams in the chocolate, they can be cut in half and wrapped around with figs or seeded dates. They will grow more creamy if allowed to stand a day or two.
Particularly smooth fudge is made in a way that seems strange until you try it. Take two cups of sugar, half a cup of milk, one tablespoonful of butter, a few drops of vanilla, and four tablespoonfuls of cocoa. Mix, and boil without stirring until it makes a soft ball when dropped in cold water. Remove from the fire, set aside until cool, then pour on to a buttered platter and beat with a silver fork until creamy. When you see it beginning to harden, quickly smooth out and mark in squares.
All little children like this, and it is easily made. To two cups of molasses, add one cup of sugar, two tablespoons of butter, and boil until brittle when dropped in cold water. Add then one-fourth teaspoonful of soda, stir through and pour on buttered tins. When cool enough to handle pull to a light color, cut in sticks, and lay on oiled paper to harden. This is good flavored with a few drops of peppermint, but do not get in too much.
Stuffed dates are a most wholesome sweet, and quickly made, too. The dates must first be picked apart, washed in warm water and dried in an old napkin. Remove the seed from each with a sharp knife, slip a nut in its place, press together, and sift over with granulated sugar. Leave standing a while on oiled paper to become firm. They are nice served at the end of a dinner, with the dessert and coffee.
Salted nuts, used so much, are usually placed on the table when it is set, and passed during the meal. They are very expensive if bought ready for use, but quite inexpensive made at home. Either almonds or peanuts can be used, but the almonds must first be dropped in boiling water long enough to loosen the skins, which will slip off easily in a cloth. Melt half a teaspoonful of butter in a pie-pan, pour in a cup of nut meats, stir enough to cover with the oil, and brown in the oven. Remove, and rub dry with a soft cloth, and sprinkle with fine salt.
I should not feel the series of lessons complete without a word to the mothers about how to interest their girls in this important part of cooking. It is so easily done, and my own little daughters took such pleasure in the work, that I hope every woman will let her child try putting up at least one kind of fruit. The first step, however, is to get the fruit jars and glasses all conveniently at hand, clean and dry, with fresh rubbers for the tops.
Peaches and pears should be thinly peeled and halved, then dropped into a thick sirup made by boiling four parts granulated sugar to one part water. The fruit juice will thin this considerably, but the fruit should be boiled gently until thoroughly cooked and transparent. Then lift it carefully into the jars, set in a pan of boiling water, out of a draft, to avoid breaking, pack to the top, and fill to overflowing with the sirup. Screw tops on immediately as tight as possible. This is the great secret of successful canning.
Damson plums make a rich, old-fashioned preserve if washed, pricked, and allowed to stand a few hours, mixed with an equal quantity of sugar—pound for pound—then put on the stove where they will gently simmer until cooked down quite thick. They must be watched carefully, however, to prevent scorching. Such rich fruit is best put up in pint jars, as usually only a small quantity is needed at a time.
Seed the cherries after washing them, watching carefully to see that none are wormy, and measure. Take half the quantity of sugar, moisten with just enough water to melt, boil to a thick syrup, and then add the cherries. Cook fifteen minutes, and seal.
Pick over the berries, measure, wash and then crush. Put on to boil, and cook ten minutes, stirring to keep from sticking to the pan. Then add three-quarters the amount of heated sugar, cook twenty minutes longer and pour into small jars, or in glasses that can be covered with paraffin as soon as the jam is cold.
Wash, stem, and measure the currants. Take three-quarters the amount of sugar, moisten with barely enough water to melt, boil to a thick syrup, turn in the currants, and cook twenty minutes. Pour into small glasses, and as soon as cool cut rounds of white paper to fit tops, wet in brandy, and lay over the fruit. Cut larger circles of the paper, wet thoroughly on one side with white of egg, and paste over the glass carefully, to make air-tight. This sounds like going back to the days of our grandmothers, but these currants are too rich to be put up in larger quantities, and jelly tumblers do not have tight tops.
First peel and core sound sour apples, and put on to stew with just enough water to cover. Cook until the apples are almost a mush, put in a jelly-bag, and let hang overnight. Do not squeeze. Next day measure the juice and let boil twenty minutes, skimming whenever necessary. While it is cooking, heat an equal quantity of granulated sugar in the oven and stir it in. Cook five minutes longer, or until the jelly forms when dropped on a cold saucer. Stand jelly glasses in a dripping-pan, surround with boiling water, pour in the jelly, and set aside until firm. When solid, if covered with one-quarter inch of melted paraffin, it will not mould, nor will tin covers be necessary.
Crab apple jelly is made in the same way as the apple jelly, but the fruit is simply wiped off and quartered,—not peeled.
Pick grapes from the stem, wash, crush, and boil twenty minutes. Then put in jelly-bag to drip overnight, but do not squeeze. Next day measure juice, boil ten minutes, add an equal amount of sugar that has been warming, boil three minutes, or until a drop jellies on a cold dish, then turn into glasses.
About half as much juice as drips will be left in the bag, and it can afterward be squeezed out and boiled separately, (for it will be cloudy), or the entire contents of the jelly-bag can be put through the colander, sweetened and spiced to taste, and cooked until of the desired thickness. This makes a nice marmalade.
At a time when other fruits are very high, the plain apple jelly, so delicate in flavor itself, can be mixed when ready to pour with any kind of preserved fruit, ready to be put up, even in the proportion of one-fourth, and it will not be noticeable. Since the pure food law went into effect and manufacturers have had to print their formulas on the bottles, we have been able to gather a few trade secrets; and one of our best-known firms has this admission on its jam labels:
"These goods are compounded from forty per cent, each fresh fruit and granulated sugar, with addition of ten per cent. each fresh apple juice and corn sirup, to prevent crystallization."
Their jams are very good, but why pay twenty cents a pound for a mixture of apple juice and corn sirup?
And only forty per cent. fresh fruit!
Really, though, this fine apple jelly is quite a valuable addition to such strong fruits as quinces, or such watery ones as strawberries.
For picnics, school luncheons, and her evening parties my little maid will want sandwiches, and there are many kinds easily made. And generally she will want the bread cut very thin and spread with soft butter. For ordinary occasions she may use any kind of meat she happens to find in the house, slicing it if she can, then seasoning with mustard, or else putting it through the grinder and seasoning with mustard, a small minced pickle, or finely chopped sweet green pepper. In using the ground meat, however, rub it to a paste with the butter intended for the bread, and it will spread more easily.
To be particularly nice, mince the ham, cream with the butter, season with mustard, spread on one slice of bread, cover with a crisp lettuce leaf, add the top slice of bread, then cut in triangles.
On thin slices of buttered bread lay a fresh leaf of lettuce, and spread with salad dressing, before adding top slice.
These are especially good for afternoon tea or parties. Butter the bread each time before slicing, so it can be cut very thin without breaking. Spread with cream cheese that has been rubbed to a paste with cream, and sprinkle with chopped olives. Cut in fancy shapes.
Spread thinly sliced brown bread with butter first, then with raisins, seeded and chopped.
Butter graham crackers, and spread with chopped and mixed nuts and raisins. Or, take square soda crackers, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, and toast a light brown. The latter, served hot, are also very nice for afternoon tea.
Though children should not be allowed to drink tea and coffee, (and young people are better off without them,) every little maid should be taught how to prepare these drinks for the grown-ups, most of whom are apt to be critical.
First, find out the kind your friends like if you possibly can, and do not give Ceylon to a lover of uncolored Japan! Then have fresh boiling water, and scald out your teapot, which should be earthenware or china. While it is still hot, put in the tea, a teaspoonful for each cup if you use the ordinary kinds, but only half a teaspoonful of some of the strong black varieties. Pour on immediately the required amount of boiling water, and set in a warm place, or cover with a cozy for five minutes. If desired cold, then pour off the grounds, and when cool enough, put in the ice box or serve at once with chopped ice. Never boil tea, nor allow to stand on the leaves very long, as it draws out the injurious tannin, besides impairing the flavor. A thin slice of lemon in each glass improves the taste as well as the looks.
People have different ways of making coffee, but a very easy one is to measure out a tablespoonful of ground coffee for each cup desired, tie up in a square cheesecloth, and cover with an equal number of cups of boiling water. Set on the stove where it will keep just below the boiling point, for three minutes, then pour and serve with cream and sugar. But to make this way, grind very fine. If your friends prefer boiled coffee, however, measure out a tablespoonful for each person, moisten well with part of the white of an egg, cover with one cup of cold water, and when that boils, add rest of the required amount from your boiling teakettle. Cook for five minutes, then settle with a third of a cup of cold water, and place where it will not boil up again. This will make one cupful apiece.
Cool drinks are most welcomed in hot weather, and several kinds are quite nice for little girls to make. Iced cocoa requires for each person half a glass of milk and half a glass of water, heated to the boiling point. Mix in a cup a round teaspoonful of cocoa with one round spoonful of sugar, and dissolve with the hot milk. Then put together in the kettle, boil gently several minutes, and flavor with a drop or two of vanilla before taking from the fire. After cooling, place on ice, and when ready to serve, pour in glasses over ice, and cover the top with sweetened whipped cream. Delicious hot, however.
Grape-juice is the most nourishing kind of a fruit drink, and every family ought to put up enough in the fall when grapes are plentiful and cheap to last all winter. First pick the fruit from the stem, wash and put on in water enough to cover. Cook until the grapes lose their form, put in a jelly-bag, and let them hang overnight. Next day measure, and put on to boil with half as much sugar. Cook for five minutes and put at once into air-tight bottles. When ready to serve, either dilute with a small quantity of water or pour on chopped ice.
A most refreshing beverage on a very warm day is a lemonade made from the juice of two lemons, a half cupful of sugar and eight glasses of water, to which is added the pulp of a small grapefruit that has been removed with a sharp-edged teaspoon. Fill up glasses with shaved ice.
During the canning season often a small quantity of rich juice will be left. If this is strained through a cloth and bottled boiling hot, it will make a splendid drink, diluted with water and served iced.
Before closing, let us consider some simple every day desserts that every little cook should know how to make. And first comes
For a small family, take a quart baking dish, cover the bottom with broken bread, sprinkle with raisins or currants, dot with tiny lumps of butter, and then repeat the process. Over this second layer pour a custard made by beating very light two eggs, adding two cups of milk, a pinch of salt, half a cupful of sugar, and a little grated nutmeg. Bake until a light brown on top, and serve with cream and sugar.
Butter thin slices of bread, line the bottom of the pudding dish, add a layer of sliced apples, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, and repeat these layers until the dish is full. Cover with a tin lid and bake twenty minutes, then remove lid and leave until brown on top. The cover is necessary to keep in the moisture, as the juice of the apples is the only liquid. Serve with cream and sugar, or hot sauce.
Cream one-third of a cup of butter with three-fourths of a cup of sugar, add one egg, beaten very light, one cup of milk, and two cups of flour sifted with two teaspoonfuls of baking powder. Stir thoroughly and bake in a shallow pan. Cut in squares and serve hot, with hot chocolate or lemon sauce.
Make a syrup by boiling for five minutes one cup of sugar with one-quarter cup of water and a teaspoonful of butter. Removing from the fire, add the strained juice of half a lemon.
Take one cup of flour, half a teaspoonful of salt, and one-half teaspoonful baking-powder, sifted well, half a cupful of sugar, and stir to a smooth batter with half cup of milk. Add one tablespoonful of melted butter, and two eggs, beaten light, then pour into a buttered pudding dish over two cupfuls of fresh fruit, either berries, sliced apples, bananas or peaches, and bake slowly half an hour. Serve immediately with hot pudding sauce, flavored with nutmeg.
Beat very light the yolks of three eggs, add one cup of sugar, half a cup of cold water, one and one-half cups of flour sifted several times with two scant teaspoonfuls of baking powder, flavor with half a teaspoonful of lemon extract, and lastly fold in the stiff whites. Bake in a sheet from thirty to forty minutes.
Cut sponge cake into narrow strips, or use lady fingers, to line a glass bowl or individual glass cups as preferred. Fill center with whipped cream, for which directions are given elsewhere, and garnish top with Maraschino cherries. Prepare at the last moment before dinner, as the cake is apt to become soaked if left standing long.
Whip thick half a pint of cream, add two tablespoonfuls of confectioner's sugar, one white of egg, beaten stiff, one-quarter of a pound of marsh-mallows cut in small pieces, two tablespoonfuls of chopped nuts, and half a teaspoonful of vanilla. Mix up lightly, and pile on the split halves of little cakes baked in heart-shaped pans. Place a Maraschino cherry in the center of each, pierce with a candy arrow, and pour a thickened cherry syrup around for a sauce. This dessert might also be called Bleeding Hearts.
Sift two cups of flour with two teaspoonfuls of baking powder and half a teaspoonful of salt, work into it two tablespoonfuls of lard until "mealy," add one cup of milk, and stir with a fork as little as possible to make a smooth dough. Turn out on a floured board, roll out thin, cut in squares, place in the center of each half of a sour apple, sprinkle with a little sugar and ground cinnamon, cover with the dough, place in a pie pan and bake slowly half an hour. Serve with cream and sugar or hot sauce as preferred.
Make crust as directed for apple dumplings, turn on to a floured board, cut out with a biscuit cutter and bake twenty minutes in a hot oven. On removing, break each biscuit in half, butter, place the lower piece in a saucer, cover with sweetened crushed berries, put on the top half, and pour the crushed berries over all. Or, if preferred for a nice company dessert, drop a big spoonful of whipped cream on top of each biscuit, and stick a fine whole berry in the center.
Soak half a pound of prunes over night, then stew half an hour and sweeten with half a cupful of sugar. When cool, cut in small pieces or put through the colander, and stir in to the stiffly beaten whites of five eggs, with half a cupful of granulated sugar. Pour into a buttered pudding dish, bake half an hour in a slow oven, and serve at once, before it begins to go down, with thick cream.
Make paste as directed before, line a deep pie pan, prick the bottom to keep from blistering, and bake in a hot oven about ten minutes. Remove and fill immediately with the following preparations:
Mix three tablespoonfuls of cornstarch with one cup of sugar, add two-thirds of a cup of boiling water, and one teaspoonful of butter, and cook five minutes, stirring all the time. Then pour on to the beaten yolks of two eggs, flavor with the strained juice and grated rind of one lemon, and fill the shell. Bake until the crust is brown, then cover with the meringue, and set back long enough to color lightly.
Beat two whites very stiff, stir in slowly half a cupful of powdered sugar, and spread on with a knife or apply through a pastry tube. It will take some time to stir in the sugar slowly enough, but it must be well mixed, then baked until a delicate brown.
Line a pie tin with the crust, fill with sliced sour apples, sprinkle thickly with sugar, flavor with nutmeg, cover with the crust, making an opening in the center to emit the steam, press closely together and trim around the edge, and bake in a moderate oven about three-quarters of an hour.