In history we find frequent mention of those who have attained high position in the State, through no other virtue than superior attainments in the Art of Cookery. No title seemed too noble, or emoluments too vast, to mark the bestower's sense of the value of a favorite and successful cook. Laying aside his ladle, he has ruffled it with the noblest of the land. Royal dames have delighted to do him honor; while in the conclave of statesmen, or in the cabinet of sovereigns, he has been alike the accepted and well-approved confidant and adviser. In these more modern days, although we do not go to such extreme lengths in rewarding the professors of the culinary art, yet are we by no means insensible to its importance, or backward in our appreciation of its results.
To be an able and successful cook should be the aim of every prudent housekeeper, for we know of no surer mark of sloth or negligence than an ill-served table. For if incapacity and indifference be allowed to exist in the kitchen, need we be surprised to find it in the parlor. Nor need we remind our fair readers how often an ill-cooked dish is the source, not only of bitter mortification, but of domestic discord and unhappi-ness. And is it not also equally true that many of the mental and physical derangements of both mind and body are frequently to be traced directly to the careless and imperfect preparation of our daily food.
A would-be frugal housekeeper, actuated by the best motives, and really striving to "make both ends meet," is perplexed at her want of success, and is anxiously looking abroad for causes that she would find much nearer home. And what else is the reason but that, notwithstanding an expensive outlay in provision's, bad cooking spoils and renders uneatable a large proportion; and that which should have graced her table, and delighted the palates of her household, becomes fit for naught else than food for pigs, and is therefore consigned to the already overgorged swill tub. In how many of our households is not this notoriously the case? If thus the art of Cooking exercises so great an influence upon the health and happiness of the community, we are sure we need no longer dwell upon the importance, nor urge upon our readers the necessity of a closer study of this truly important branch of our domestic economy.
This volume is offered to the experienced housekeeper as well as to the young beginner, as a faithful and intelligent counsellor and guide, in whom they can place the fullest confidence, and whose directions they can unhesitatingly follow. Every recipe having been fully tested, is now presented to them as the result of actual individual experience. They will be found to be practical, clear and simple, readily understood and as easily followed. So precise are the directions on every page, that no novice, however unsophisticated, need be misled. Appended to each recipe is a summary of the different ingredients which it contains, with the exact proportions of each and the precise time necessary to dress the whole : thus showing at a glance its various requirements.
The directions for boning poultry and game are entirely new, and also very exact; while those pages devoted to explaining the somewhat rare accomplishment of carving, and how to set out a table, will, we trust, be found equally acceptable and instructive to our readers.
To our country-women, then, throughout the land we dedicate this work in the fullest assurance that, in many households, it will become a valued and honored servant, always ready when needed, ever willing to advise; and whose counsels when faithfully followed will tend to add to the gratifications of many an American home.