Fortunately it is becoming fashionable to economize, and housekeepers are really finding it a pleasant pastime to search out and stop wastes in household expenses, and to exercise the thousand little economies which thoughtful and careful women understand so readily and practice with such grace. Somebody has said that a well-to-do French family would live on what an American household in the same condition of life wastes, and this may not be a great exaggeration. Here, the greatest source of waste is in the blunders and experiments of the inexperienced. Women are slow to learn by the experience of others. Every young housekeeper must begin at the beginning (unless her mother was wise enough to give her a careful training), and blunder into a knowledge of the practical, duties of the household, wasting time, temper and money in mistakes, when such simple instructions as any skillful housewife might readily give would be an almost perfect guide. Lately there have been attempts to gather such instructions as are needed into a book, but they have been partial failures, because the authors have been good book-makers, but poor bread-makers, or because, while practically familiar with the subjects treated, they have failed to express clearly and concisely the full processes in detail. In compiling this new candidate for favor, the one aim has been to pack between its covers the greatest possible amount of practical information of real value to all, and especially to the inexperienced. It is not a hap-hazard collection of recipes, gathered at random from doubtful sources, but has been made up, without sparing time, labor, or expense, from the choicest bits of the best experience of hundreds who have long traveled the daily round of household duties, not reluctantly like drudges, but lovingly, with heart and hand fully enlisted in the work. Those housewives, especially, whose purses are not over-pie^ thoric will, it is believed, find its pages full of timely and helpful suggestions in their efforts to make the balance of the household ledger appear on the right side, without lessening the excellence of the table or robbing home of any comfort or attraction.
The arrangement of subjects treated, whenever practicable, has been made in the simple order of the alphabet, and for the sake of still more ready reference a very full alphabetical index has been added. The instructions which precede the recipes of each department have been carefully made up, and are entirely trustworthy, and the recipes themselves are new to print and well indorsed. Several suggestive articles have also been introduced, which, though not belonging strictly to cookery, bear such close relations to it that the fitness of their appearance in the connection is evident.
There has been no attempt at display or effect, the only purpose being to express ideas as clearly and concisely as possible, and to make a thoroughly simple and practical work. In the effort to avoid the mistakes of others, greater errors may have been committed; but the book is submitted just as it is to the generous judgment of those who consult it, with the hope that it may lessen their perplexities, and stimulate that just pride without which work is drudgery and great excellence impossible.