Food materials that are not to be mixed with others still need special preparation before heat is applied.
For fruits and vegetables, washing is the first stage, followed by scraping, paring, peeling, cutting, or slicing. Meats, poultry, and fish must be cleaned by wiping, and cut and trimmed with a sharp knife.
Cooked meats and fish and vegetables may be chopped or sliced.
Cooked vegetables are also mashed and beaten.
Cream is whipped or beaten, and eggs served raw likewise.
These seem simple processes, but each one needs a good tool and a knack in the muscles. Each method will be taken up in detail, with each food material.
Methods of mixing are important, where several ingredients are combined. We seek for a way that will give the most complete mingling of all the substances with smoothness and lightness, at the same time saving time and strength. We must look always for the "short cut." It is necessary to have the texture of the food such that it can be well masticated and mixed with the digestive fluids, but time is too precious to spend hours on a dessert, or in beating biscuits.
Sifting, or putting materials through a fine mesh, is used to lighten flour that has been packed down, to remove coarse portions, or to mix thoroughly several dry ingredients.
Stirring is done with a spoon, and is a round and round motion, used for mixing a liquid and a dry ingredient.
Rubbing is used for combining a dry ingredient with a semi-solid substance like butter. Creaming is a term used for the rubbing of butter until it becomes soft and creamy. A spoon should be used, not the hand.
"Cutting in" with a knife is used for combining butter with flour in biscuit and pastry where the butter should not be softened.
Beating with a spoon, or beater of the spoon type, is a free over and over motion, the spoon being lifted from the mixture for the backward stroke. This is used for increasing the smoothness of the mixture after the first stirring, and for beating in air. It needs a strong free motion of the forearm. Beating is also accomplished by the rotary motion of a mechanical beater like the Dover.
Cutting and folding is the delicate process of mixing lightly beaten egg with a liquid or semi-liquid without losing out the air. The spoon is cut in, sidewise, a rotary motion carries it down and up again, and it folds in the beaten egg as it goes.
Kneading is a motion used with dough, and is a combination of a rocking and pressing motion, accomplished by the hands. A good result can be obtained by some bread machines, and this is the cleaner method.
Rolling out is just what the term denotes, a rolling of a thick piece of dough by means of a cylindrical wooden "pin " to the thickness proper for cookies and crusts. Dry bread is also rolled to break it into fine crumbs.
The order of mixing is important in its effect in batters and doughs and is discussed in that chapter.