The breakage of dishes in some houses is fearful. There are very few families rich enough to bear it, much less the families of small means or just a competence. The mother is sick or wearied with the cares of the nursery, and can not see to the putting away of the best china, which has been used because a friend dined with them. While conversing with her guest, she hears a crash in the kitchen. It is with difficulty she remains calm until the guest departs, when she rinds a cup has fallen and cracked her nice tureen, and broke a nick out of two or three saucers; or several goblets, set in a careless place, have fallen and are broken. She is sick at heart, for it was but a few weeks before she had spent fifteen or twenty dollars to replace her broken, cracked, and nicked dishes. Little comfort does she get from Bridget, who replies: "La, madam, it was but a few of your dishes, and sure I could not help it. I would not think the likes of ye would make such a fuss." Every wise housekeeper will distinguish between carelessness and accidents. To correct this evil, and stop this great waste, the only way is to have help understand they must replace each broken or nicked dish (for a nick in a dish is as bad as a break), or have the cost of them deducted from their wages. This will cause two very valuable results. The servant will become more careful, which will add much to the comfort of the mistress; and' will also form a habit of carefulness that will fit her to become a good housekeeper.
There is an old and true saying, that "a woman can throw out with a spoon faster than a man can throw in with a shovel." In cooking meats, for instance, unless watched, the cook will throw out the water without letting it cool to take off the fat, or scrape the dripping-pan into the swill-pail. This grease is useful in many ways. Bits of meat are thrown out which would make good hashed meat or hash; the flour is sifted in a wasteful manner, or the bread-pan left with dough sticking to it; pie-crust is left and laid by to sour, instead of making a few tarts for tea; cake-batter is thrown out because but little is left; cold puddings are considered good for nothing, when often they can be steamed for the next day, or, as in case of rice, made over in other forms; vegetables are thrown away that would warm for breakfast nicely; dish-towels are thrown down where mice can destroy them; soap is left in water to dissolve, or more used than is necessary; the scrub-brush is left in the water, pails scorched by the stove, tubs and barrels left in the sun to dry and fall apart, chamber-pails allowed to rust, tins not dried, and ironware rusted; nice knives are used for cooking in the kitchen, silver spoons used to scrape kettles, or forks to toast bread; cream is allowed to mold and spoil, mustard to dry in the pot, and vinegar to corrode the casters; tea, roasted coffee, pepper, and spices to stand open and lose their strength; the molasses-jug loses the cork and the flies take possession; vinegar is drawn in a basin and allowed to stand until both basin and vinegar are spoiled; sugar is spilled from the barrel, coffee from the sack, and tea from the chest; different sauces are made too sweet, and both sauce and sugar are wasted; dried fruit has not been taken care of in season, and becomes wormy; the vinegar on pickles loses strength or leaks out, and the pickles become soft; potatoes in the cellar grow, and the sprouts are not removed until they become worthless; apples decay for want of looking over; pork spoils for want of salt, and beef because the brine wants scalding; hams become tainted or filled with vermin, for want of the right protection; dried beef becomes so hard it can't be cut; cheese molds and is eaten by mice or vermin; bones are burnt that will make soap; ashes are thrown out carelessly, endangering the premises, and wasting them; servants leave a light and tire burning in the kitchen, when they are out all the evening; clothes are whipped to pieces in the wind; fine cambrics rubbed on the board, and laces torn in starching; brooms are never hung up, and are soon spoiled; carpets are swept with stubs hardly fit to scrub the kitchen, and good new brooms used for scrubbing; towels are used in place of holders, and good sheets to iron on, taking a fresh one every week; table linen is thrown carelessly down, and is eaten by mice, or put away damp and is mildewed; or the fruit-stains are forgotten, and the stains washed in; table-cloths and napkins used as dish-wipers; mats forgotten to be put under hot dishes; tea-pots melted by the stove; water forgotten in pitchers, and allowed to freeze in winter; slops for cows and pigs never saved; china used to feed cats and dogs on; and in many other ways a careless or inexperienced housekeeper wastes, without heeding, the hard-earned wages of her husband. Economy counts nowhere so well as in the kitchen.