This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Model CookBook" book
The section of the house which is most rarely seen by the visitor is the one which is most necessary to his comfort and that of the family. While the drawing-room, the library, the dining-room, and other apartments contribute their share to the enjoyment of life, the kitchen and its products are essential to existence itself. Whatever, therefore, it may be felt important to say about the arrangement and adornment of the rooms most in evidence in the well-ordered household, in all accounts of family life a large space needs to be devoted to the kitchen, that reservoir from which flows an endless succession of palatable viands, which have much to do with making life worth living. Of the time at our command a considerable portion is spent at the table ; eating and drinking occupy a large place in our thoughts, and, while conscious that we must eat to live, we do our utmost to make the act of eating one of the chief enjoyments of life.
For this the art of the cook is all essential. Nature offers us a great variety of foods, and man has learned how to combine and develop these into hundreds of palatable dishes. They can be spoiled; nothing is more easy. They can be rendered unnutritious and distasteful by careless or ignorant handling. On the other hand, by the exercise of skill and care, they can be made nutritious, toothsome, often delightful to the palate, and the task of sustaining life can be converted into one of the leading pleasures of existence. How this may be done it is proposed to show in the following pages, by giving a collection of practical recipes for the preparation of food. In this it has been our purpose to combine economy with palatableness. Many of the recipes given in cook-books are so lavish in the use of butter, eggs, and other costly ingredients as to place them beyond the reach of ordinary families. This we have endeavored to avoid, and have also taken care to submit all our recipes to the inspection of experienced housewives, giving none which have not received the verdict of approval.
Man is omnivorous in appetite. He is at once a carnivorous and a herbivorous animal. A due combination of meats and vegetables forms the basis of our meals; followed, when appetite is stayed, with delicate and tasteful viands, in which all the art of the cook is enlisted to make them deli' cious. In ordinary dinner service it is customary to begin with soup, and follow with fish, meats or game, accompanied with vegetables, and proceed to a dessert of pies or puddings, cake, fruit, and other stays to the failing appetite. In arranging our recipes we nave followed in general this order, beginning with soups and proceeding through the solid courses to the dessert.