There is to-day such a variety of well-preserved foods that a store-closet provided with these articles may be almost the equivalent of a full larder. With such a resource the housekeeper can meet without embarrassment the emergencies that may arise in any household, however well ordered. In the country, where tradespeople are difficult to reach, it will be especially useful at such times. The articles sealed in glass jars seem the most wholesome, and are sometimes so well preserved as to be a very good substitute for the fresh ones. Salted meats and fish are distinctive foods, which are occasionally very acceptable, and the dessicated foods are beyond suspicion of unwhole-someness. A few suggestions are offered of how to utilize some of the articles which can be recommended. Many of the soups are excellent; chicken gumbo is particularly good. Extract of beef can be quickly made into soup, beef-tea, or aspic jelly (page 322). Canned salmon and chicken, either of them, can be heated and covered with a white sauce, or be used for salad, or the salmon may be broiled and covered with a maitre d'hotel sauce (page 286).
Potted meats spread on toast make excellent canapes for luncheon (page 368). Shrimps make a salad, or in a chafing-dish can be prepared a la Newhurg (page 333). Of the salted and smoked meats are ham, bacon, dried tongue, chipped beef, codfish, smoked salmon, and mackerel, all of which are much esteemed as breakfast dishes, and may be offered at luncheon or supper. Of the vegetables, string-beans and flageolets make good salads. Asparagus makes a good extra course served alone. Tomatoes, the cheapest of all, and perhaps the most useful, will make soup, sauces, a scallop dish, or may be added to an omelet, macaroni, or rice. Pilot bread, toasted bread in slices, and rusks make delicious cream-toasts for luncheon or supper. Noodles or macaroni boiled plain for a vegetable, or mixed with any sauce, tomatoes, or cheese. Cheese is useful for canapes (pages 368-371), cheese souffle (page 370), macaroni, etc. There are varieties of plain and fancy cracker biscuits which can be used in the place of cake. Plum-puddings wrapped in tin-foil will keep indefinitely. The canned whole apples can be used for dumplings (page 429) or pies. California apricots or cherries around a form of plain boiled rice, hominy, or other cereal, make a dessert; peaches make a shortcake (page 443); jams make delicious tarts, or, served alone with cracker biscuits, are a sufficient dessert for luncheon. Plain boiled rice may be used as a vegetable in place of potatoes; or, sweetened and mixed with a few raisins, or served with stewed prunes, makes a dessert.
There are prepared flours from which biscuits may be quickly made; prepared buckwheat which makes good pancakes for supper or for breakfast. A few cans of condensed milk should be in the store-room for use in case of real necessity only; it answers very well for puddings, sweet dishes, or chocolate.
Outside the store-room supplies, eggs furnish a variety of dishes quickly prepared. Eggs & l'aurore, or Bourguignonne, omelets with peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, minced meat, etc., are for luncheon, and cheese omelets, sweet omelets, and souffles for dinner dishes.
It is well to have fondant (page 513) in close jars ready for icing cakes or for bonbons, candied fruits for sweets or for ornamenting desserts, ginger and brandied peaches to serve with ice-cream. Lady-fingers are easily made, and will keep in a cracker-box indefinitely. If these are at hand, a Charlotte russe is quickly made, and is one of the simplest and most acceptable light desserts.
There are olives, gherkins, and chow-chow for hors d'oeuvres. There are catsups and condiments in variety to make barbecues (page 331), or to make cold meats acceptable.
The growing plant, the globe of gold fish, the birdcage partly concealed with branches, may be utilized for table decoration. As circumstances alter cases, there are many expedients to which a housekeeper may resort in supplying deficiencies which might not be in rule, were the occasion a formal one. The chafing-dish on the luncheon or supper-table, or a dish more appropriate to a different meal, would not only be excused, but perhaps give to an embarrassing occasion the pleasant feature of informality.