In using salt and pepper, diversities of strength make a difficulty in giving very exact directions; so also do inequalities in the size of spoons and tumblers. But so much can be done, that a housekeeper, after one trial, can give exact directions to her cook, or with a pencil alter the recipe.

It is a great convenience to have recipes that employ measures which all families have on hand, so as not to use steelyards and balances. The following will be found the most convenient:

A medium size tea-spoon, even full, equals 60 drops, or one eighth of an ounce.

A medium size table-spoon, even full, equals two tea-spoonfuls.

One ounce equals eight even tea-spoonfuls, or four table-spoonfuls.

One gill equals eight even table-spoonfuls.

Half a gill equals four even table-spoonfuls.

Two gills equal half a pint, and four gills equal one pint.

One common size tumbler equals half a pint, or two gills.

One pint equals two tumblerfuls, or four gills.

One quart equals four tumblerfuls, or eight gills.

Four quarts equal one gallon.

Four gallons equal one peck.

Four pecks equal one bushel.

A quart of sifted flour, heaped, a sifted quart of sugar, and a softened quart of butter each weigh about a pound, and so nearly that measuring is as good as weighing.

Water is heavier, and a pint of water weighs nearly a pound.

Ten eggs weigh about one pound.

The most economical modes of cooking, as to time, care, and labor, are stews, soups, and hashes; and when properly seasoned, they are great favorites, especially with children.

Below is a drawing of a stew and soup-kettle that any tinman can easily make. Its advantages are, that, after the meat is put in, there is no danger of scorching, and no watching is required, except to keep up the fire aright, so as to have a steady simmering. Another advantage is, that, by the tight cover, the steam and flavors are confined, and the cooking thus improved. Then, in taking up the stew, it offers several conveniences, as will be found on trial.

Fig. 6.

Fig. 6.

This stew-kettle consists of two pans, the inner one not fastened, but fitting tight to the outer, with holes the size of a large pin-head commencing half an inch from the bottom and continuing to within two inches of the top of the under pan. It has a flat lid, on which may be placed a weight, to confine steam and flavors. The holes may be an inch apart. The size of the kettle must depend on the size of the family: it may be of any desired size.

General Directions.

Generally, in making stews, use soft water; but when only hard is at hand, put in half a tea-spoonful of soda to every two quarts of water. Put in all the bones and gristle first, breaking the bones thoroughly.

Rub fresh meat with salt, and put it in cold water, for soups, as this extracts the juices.

As soon as water begins to boil, skim repeatedly till no more scum rises.

Never let water boil hard for soups or stews; for

"Meat fast boiled Is meat half spoiled."

Let the water simmer gently and not stop simmering long, as this injures both looks and flavor.

Keep in water enough to cover the meat, or it becomes hard and dark.

In preparing for soups, it is best to make a good deal of broth at one time; cool it slowly, first removing sediment by straining through a colander. When cold, remove the fat from the top, and keep the liquor for soups and gravies. This is called stock, and as such should have no other seasoning than salt. The other seasoning is to be put in when heated and combined with other material for soup.

In hot weather, stock will keep only a day or two; but in cool weather, three or four days. If vegetables were boiled in it, it would turn sour sooner.

Remnants of cooked meats may be used together for soup; but take care that none is tainted, thus spoiling all. Liquor in which corned beef is boiled should be saved to mix with stock of fresh meat, and then little or no salt is needed. The recipes for stews that follow will make good soups by adding more water.