In the days of long ago our grandmothers took infinite pride in their households and all matters pertaining to them, and would regard with scorn the perfunctory knowledge that the average housewife of modern times possesses regarding the good points of a joint, fowl, lobster, etc.
There are several causes contributing to this ignorance or indifference. One is the custom of tradesmen calling for orders, which are jotted down carelessly in an order-book without much regard to season or price. Secondly, the habit of allowing the cook, often a raw, inexperienced girl, to receive all goods, thereby losing the oppor-tunity of promptly returning any article that is not up to the required standard of freshness and quality. Thirdly, the blame may be given, in a certain degree, to the architects who plan houses and flats with such a disgraceful and senseless disregard of adequate larder and store-cup-board accommodation that it is impossible tore more than a few pounds of the various dry goods needed in a household.
Numberless cooks could state truthfully that their larders waste pounds' worth of food in a year owing to their damp, airless, and dark construction. But after making all excuses possible for the inferiority of goods purchased, the head of domestic affairs should recognise that it is as humiliating to be palmed off with flaccid seakale and antique peas as it would be to be given cotton instead of silk-back velvet, or some shop-soiled garment for a newly arrived Paris model.
Experience is necessary, of course; but study the following hints, then do your own marketing with eyes and commonsense well on the alert, and in a few weeks quite a scientific skill in the art of choosing and refusing will have been acquired.