Split peas have the skins removed and thus are more readily digested. The skins of the larger beans may be rubbed off after soaking and parboiling.
Salad plants-cucumber, Parsley, Radishes, Cabbage, Lettuce
Few people use the variety of beans they might, as the black beans for soup, the limas or red kidney for stewed beans, the pea bean and yellow eye for baking and the French flageolets for salads.
A peck of potatoes may cost from fifteen to seventy-five cents, according to the season of the year, and the abundance of the crop. This quantity will weigh fifteen pounds and will average from fifty to sixty potatoes. That is, one pound will be about four potatoes of medium size, and will cost from one to five cents.
If pared before cooking and all bad places removed, average potatoes will lose from twenty to twenty-five per cent, or one of the four potatoes in a pound. From selected potatoes the government experts scraped the skins, removing as little flesh of the potato as possible. This was about eleven per cent of the weight. In potatoes as usually purchased, the green ends, decayed places, and the potatoes gashed with the hoe easily bring the total loss up to the higher percentage.
It may be a profitable loss to pare old and inferior potatoes before cooking. The main point to notice in the cooking of the potato is to let out the steam or to pour off the water as soon as the fibre and starch are softened.
Black Bean Soup Garnished with Lemon and Parsley
Because the potato is lacking in protein and fat, the instinct of man has taught him to eat it with meat, since it gave him the food principles the meat lacked, and also the bulk desirable for the process of digestion.
The art of the cook has devised many methods of combining butter, oil, milk and eggs with the potato and other vegetables to supply protein and fat. The fried potato absorbs fat while cooking; the white sauce of creamed potato adds both fat and protein; a potato soup is creamed potato with more milk; the potato croquette contains egg and is cooked in fat; a potato salad has oil and often eggs.
Such additions, though increasing the cost of the food, make the result equivalent to vegetables with a moderate allowance of meat. Hence vegetable souf-flees, or croquettes, may be served when the meat supply is limited.
Almost any vegetable, by due combination with milk, butter, and eggs may appear as soup, fritters, croquettes, soufflees, or salads. For these complicated dishes, it is essential that the vegetable first shall be perfectly cooked in a simple fashion.
The methods of cookery applied to vegetables are similar to those used for meat, but must be adapted to the composition and condition of the individual specimen.
Potatoes with Meat
It is impossible to give the exact time for cooking any variety of vegetable, for every sample will differ. They are unpalatable when underdone and also at the other extreme.
There is usually some way of cooking best for each vegetable, but if one kind only is available it is necessary to serve it in a variety of ways. This, perhaps, explains why the average cook book gives more re-ceipes for the potato than for all other vegetables. Suitable utensils are essential; vegetables should not be cooked in iron kettles when others are attainable; strainers, mashers, cutters, ricers and presses are desirable.
Strong flavors frequently are due to careless preparation. Careful trimming and thorough washing are essential. Wilted vegetables are improved, as has been said, by soaking. Salad plants need especial care in washing to remove parasites and insecticides.
Any portion of a root or tuber grown above ground becomes green and strong flavored and will impart its flavor to other portions with which it may be cooked. A decayed bit, or the scorching where the water evaporates, may often ruin the flavor of all.
Young, tender, well flavored vegetables should be cooked and served in the simplest manner. Inferior specimens, like tough asparagus or celery which has lost its crispness, by boiling, straining, and flavoring may be made into palatable soup when they would be worthless under simple treatment.
Vegetable soups are of two types; - for one, the vegetables are cooked till tender, cut in convenient bits and added to a meat stock. For the other, by long cooking in water a single vegetable or several together are made into stock, and all that is soft enough is rubbed through a strainer and then put with about an equal quantity, according to the strength of each, of meat stock or thin white sauce. Thick, pulpy stock, like that from peas, beans, or potatoes, needs a much thinner sauce than would celery or asparagus. Unless some thickening of flour is used, the solider portions will settle, leaving the soup watery on top.
In one of the publications of the United States Department of Agriculture the difference in digestibility of the same food cooked in various ways is thus stated: Whole peas soaked and cooked, 60 per cent digested; peas cooked a long time and strained, 82.5 per cent; pea flour cooked with milk, butter and eggs, 92 per cent. This would seem to prove that the portion of vegetable food considered undigestible can be reduced by right methods of cooking.
Tomato Jelly With Beets