Light and ventilation are quite as essential to the healthfulness of a cellar as to other rooms of the dwelling. Constantly during warm weather, and at least once a day during the winter season, windows should be opened wide, thus effecting a free interchange of air. All mold and mustiness should be kept out by thorough ventilation and frequent coats of whitewash to the walls. Vegetables and other decomposable articles, if stored in the basement, should be frequently sorted, and all decaying substances promptly removed. This is of the utmost importance, since the germs and foul gases arising from decomposing food stuffs form a deadly source of contamination through every crack and crevice.
In these days of invention and progress, much thought and ingenuity have been expended in making and perfecting labor-saving articles and utensils, which serve to make housework less of a burden and more of a delight.
THE STEAM-COOKER.—One of the most unique of these conveniences is the steam-cooker, one kind of which is illustrated by the accompanying cut. Steaming is, for many foods, a most economical and satisfactory method of cooking. Especially is this true respecting fruits, grains, and vegetables, the latter of which often have the larger proportion of their best nutritive elements dissolved and thrown away in the water in which they are boiled. In the majority of households it is, however, the method least depended upon, because the ordinary steamer over a pot of boiling water requires too much attention, takes up too much stove room, and creates too much steam in the kitchen, to prove a general favorite. The steam-cooker has an escape-steam tube through which all excess of steam and odors passes into the fire, and thus its different compartments may contain and cook an entire dinner, if need be, and over one stove hole or one burner of an oil or gasoline stove.
[Illustration: The Steam-Cooker.]
THE VEGETABLE PRESS.—The accompanying cut represents this handy utensil, which is equally useful as a potato and vegetable masher; as a sauce, gruel, and gravy strainer; as a fruit press, and for many other purposes for which a colander or strainer is needed, while it economizes both time and labor.
[Illustration: Vegetable Press.]
LEMON DRILL.—This little article for extracting the juice of the lemon, and which can be purchased of most hardware dealers, is quite superior to the more commonly used lemon squeezer. Being made of glass, its use is not open to the danger that the use of metal squeezer is are from poisonous combinations of the acid and metal, while the juice extracted is free from pulp, seeds, and the oil of the skin.
[Illustration: Lemon Drill.]