Sugar is an improvement in nearly all soups, sauces, and gravies; also with stewed vegetables, but of course must be used with discretion.
Ketchups, Soy, Harvey’s sauce, &c., are used too indiscrimately by inferior cooks; it is better to leave them to be added at table by those who approve of their flavour.
Any thing that is required to be warmed up a second time, should be set in a basin placed in a bain-marie, or saucepan, filled with boiling water, but which must not be allowed to boil; or the article will become hardened and the sauce dried up.
To remove every particle of fat from the gravies of stews, &c., a piece of white blotting-paper should be laid on the surface, and the fat will adhere to it; this should be repeated two or three times.
It is important to keep saucepans well skimmed; the best prepared dish will be spoiled by neglect on this point.
The difference between good and bad cookery is particularly discernible in the preparation of forcemeats. A common cook is satistified if she chops or minces the ingredients and moistens them with an egg scarcely beaten, but this is a very crude and imperfect method; they should be pounded together in a mortar until not a lump or fibre is perceptible. Further directions will be given in the proper place, but this is a rule which must be strictly attended to by those who wish to attain any excellence in this branch of their art.
Eggs for forcemeats, and for every description of sweet dishes, should be thoroughly beaten, and for the finer kinds should be passed through a sieve.
A trustworthy zealous servant must keep in mind, that waste and extravagance are no proofs of skill. On the contrary, GOOD COOKERY is by no means expensive, as it makes the most of every thing, and furnishes out of simple and economical materials, dishes which are at once palatable and elegant.
STOCK OR CONSOMME.
This is the basis of all kinds of soup and sauces. Shin of beef or ox-cheek make excellent stock, although good gravy-beef is sometimes preferred; the bones should always be broken, and the meat cut up, as the juices are better extracted; it is advisable to put on, at first, but very little water, and to add more when the first quantity is nearly dried up. The time required for boiling depends upon the quantity of meat; six pounds of meat will take about five hours; if bones, the same quantity will require double the time.
Gravy beef with a knuckle of veal makes a fine and nutritious stock; the stock for white soups should be prepared with veal or white poultry. Very tolerable stock can be procured without purchasing meat expressly for the purpose, by boiling down bones and the trimmings of meat or poultry.
The liquor in which beef or mutton intended for the table has been boiled, will also, with small additions and skilful flavoring, make an excellent soup at a trifling expense.