Please read these directions and explanations first.
Boiling: Everything should be gently boiled, rather than boiled fast, in order to be tender. The water should never be allowed to stop boiling before the article is done. The kettle should be kept covered, merely raising the cover to remove the scum. When more water is needed always use boiling water, adding cold water will ruin anything.
Frying: The fat must always be very hot, then the surface of anything is almost instantly hardened or crisped, when thrown into it; the inside is thus kept free from the grease. The same fat can be used several times for frying the same things, by straining it through a wire strainer. Frying is really boiling in hot lard.
Broiling: The gridiron should be very hot and well greased, cover the gridiron with a baking pan, which will keep the heat in. Birds and fowls should be turned often, to be cooked evenly, without being burned. Steak should be turned often to keep the juice in, never put a fork in the lean part of the steak, when cooking, as it allows the juice to escape.
Baking: Meats and fowls should be well basted all the time they are cooking. I would recommend all housekeepers to have a self-basting pan; by using it, less fuel is required, and you can always have nicely cooked meats, even with the most careless of cooks. Frozen meats should be immersed in cold water, until they have thawed. Meats kept a day or two before being cooked are more tender.
Egg and Bread Crumbing: It is best to sift the bread or cracker crumbs. Always keep a jar of each kind of crumbs, which is easily done if a little is added to them every week, using scraps of bread and broken crackers. Have the egg in one plate slightly beaten, and the crumbs in another, roll the article first in the crumbs, then in the egg, then in the bread crumbs again.
Larding: Cut firm bacon into very narrow strips with a sharp knife, place one end in a larding needle, draw it through the skin and a small bit of the meat, leaving the strip of pork in the meat. The two ends left exposed should be of equal length, and the larding may be arranged in any fanciful way to suit the cook. If you have no larding needle, the strips of pork can be tied on and thus removed before the meat is sent to the table.
Lemon Zest: Rub lumps of loaf sugar on the yellow rind of lemons, which will absorb all of the globules of oil; then melt the sugar in the article to be flavored. Orange Zest is made in the same manner.
To Baste to pour water or butter over meats, poultry, etc., while baking or broiling.
To Blanch Almonds pour boiling water over them and remove the brown skins.
When the word cup is used it means teacup.
Milk sweet milk.
Dredge to sprinkle with flour.
Grill to broil.
Saute to semi-fry in a very little lard or butter, then give it the seasoning of a broil.
Roux is a mixture of butter and flour cooked; that is, the butter is melted in a sauce pan, then the flour is stirred in and the pan taken immediately from the fire.
Rub a piece of butter as large as an egg into a quart of flour, add a tumbler of milk, two eggs, three tablespoons of sugar, three teaspoons baking powder, add a teaspoon of salt, scatter the baking powder, salt and sugar into the flour, add the eggs, the butter melted, the milk and then stir altogether and bake in well-greased pan. To be eaten warm with butter.
Place one pint of milk on the fire, put into it one dessertspoon of butter; as soon as butter has melted remove from the fire. Sift six tablespoons of flour, one-half teaspoon of salt and add gradually the warm (not hot) milk, then add four eggs, beaten separately. Bake in a quick oven in muffin rings. Serve immediately.
One pint of sweet milk and into it stir one-half pint cup of meal, one egg, a pinch of salt, a teaspoonful of baking powder. Grease the pan and bake fifteen minutes in a hot oven.
Soft Corn Bread
To one pint of meal pour two cups of boiling water, add one tablespoon of butter, beat hard and let cool. Then add two well-beaten eggs, one cup of rice (boiled), two cups of buttermilk and one teaspoon of soda. Pour into a buttered dish to bake and serve in same while hot.
One quart of corn meal, a little salt and a small tablespoon of butter, scald with boiling water and beat hard for a few minutes, drop a large spoonful in a well greased pan, the batter should be thick enough to just flatten on the bottom leaving them quite high in the center. Bake in a hot oven.
Boston Steam Bread
Two teacups of corn meal, one teacup of white flour, two teacups of sweet milk, one-half teacup of molasses, one teaspoon of soda, salt to your taste, boil three hours, after boiling three hours then place the bucket inside the range for a few moments to dry out.
Scald one pint of brown flour, make it thick as thick mush, then put in a half cup of yeast and let this sponge stand over night. In the morning mix with white flour and sweeten to taste. This quantity makes two small loaves; it requires longer to bake than white bread.
Set a sponge as for any risen bread; when ready to make, take one quart of flour, one teaspoon of salt, one tablespoon of sugar (white), sifted, add to it the sponge and whites of two eggs, well beaten, and one-half to three-fourths of a pint of tepid milk. Kneed well; the dough should be supple and blister; let rise until twice its size, then make little balls, roll out thin, butter and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place at least three layers on each other, let rise one hour again and then bake.
Baking Powder Biscuit
One quart of flour, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, one large tablespoonful of lard and a pinch of salt. Sift the flour in the pan; add the baking powder and the salt, mixing well with the flour; rub the lard in until there is not a lump, mix with cold water or sweet milk. Flour the biscuit board and work the dough until it is firm and smooth, roll out one-fourth of an inch thick and cut with the biscuit cutter. The success of these biscuits depends upon their being well kneaded and upon the temperature of the oven being just right. They should bake ten minutes; if baked in less time they will be too soft; if baked longer they taste like warmed-over biscuits. Experience will soon teach you when the oven is the proper temperature.
These biscuits to be well and easily made should be kneaded with a machine made for that purpose. They cost from ten to fifteen dollars, according to finish. The labor of making the biscuit is trifling, compared with the old-fashioned way of beating them. The recipe here given will make three dozen biscuits: two quarts of flour, one pint of sweet mile and water mixed in equal proportions, one-half a teacup of fresh lard, two dessertspoonfuls of salt. Mix the lard and flour thoroughly together, then add the salt and milk. Knead well with the hands for a few minutes when it will be ready to be worked through the kneading machine. Roll the dough rather thin, prick on top with a fork, cut out and bake.
Published in U S Legacies Magazine March 2004