CREAM-CHEESE SANDWICHES.—Chop up some of the white part of a head of celery very fine, and pound it in a mortar with a little butter; season it with some salt. Use this mixture and butter some thin slices of bread, place a thin slice of cream cheese between these slices, cut the sandwiches into squares or triangles with a very sharp knife, and pile the sandwiches up on a silver dish. Surround the dish with parsley, and place a few slices of cream-cheese, cut round the size of a halfpenny, round the base, stick a little piece of the yellowish-white leaves of the heart of celery in each piece.
In many parts of the country mushrooms grow so plentifully that their cost may be considered almost nothing. On the other hand, if they have to be bought fresh, at certain seasons of the year they are very expensive, while tinned mushrooms, which can always be depended upon, cannot be regarded in any other light than that of a luxury.
When mushrooms can be gathered in the fields like black-berries they are a great boon to vegetarians. Of course, great care must be taken that only genuine mushrooms are picked, as there have been some terrible instances of poisoning from fungi being gathered by mistake, as many Cockney tourists know to their cost. As a rule, in England all mushrooms bought in markets can be depended upon. In France, where mushrooms are very plentiful, an inspector is appointed in every market, and no mushrooms are allowed to be sold unless they have first received his sanction. This is a wise precaution in the right direction.
One important word of warning before leaving the subject. Mushrooms should be eaten freshly gathered, and, if allowed to get stale, those which were perfectly wholesome when fresh picked become absolutely poisonous. The symptoms are somewhat similar to narcotic poisoning. This particularly applies to the larger and coarser kind that give out black juice.
MUSHROOMS, PLAIN, GRILLED.—The larger kinds of mushrooms are best for the purpose. The flat mushrooms should be washed, dried, and peeled. They are then cooked slowly over a clear fire, and a small wire gridiron, like those sold at a penny or twopence each, is better adapted for the purpose than the ordinary gridiron used for grilling steak. The gridiron should be kept high above the fire. The mushrooms should be dipped in oil, or oiled butter, and care should be taken that they do not stick to the bars. They should be served very hot, with pepper and salt and a squeeze of lemon-juice.
MUSHROOMS, FRIED.—When mushrooms are very small they are more easily fried than grilled. They should be washed, dried and peeled, placed in a frying-pan, with a little butter, pepper and salt, and cooked till tender. They are very nice served on toast, and the butter in which they are cooked can be poured on the toast first, and the mushrooms arranged on the top afterwards. A squeeze of lemon-juice is an improvement.