The cook must pay continual attention to the condition of her stew-pans, soup-kettles, etc. which should be examined every time they are used. The prudent housewife will carefully examine the condition of them herself at least once a month. Their covers also must be kept perfectly clean and well tinned, and the stew-pans not only on the inside, but about a couple of inches on the outside: many mischiefs arise from their getting out of repair; and if not kept nicely tinned, all your good work will be in vain; the broths and soups will look green and dirty, taste bitter and poisonous, and will be spoiled both for the eye and palate, and your credit will be lost.
The health, and even life of the family, depends upon this, and the cook may be sure her employers had rather pay the tinman's bill than the doctor's; therefore, attention to this cannot fail to engage the regard of the mistress, between whom and the cook it will be my utmost endeavor to promote perfect harmony.
If she has the misfortune to scorch or blister the tinning of her pan, which will happen sometimes to the most careful cook, I advise her, by all means, immediately to acquaint her employers, who will thank her for candidly mentioning an accident; and censure her deservedly if she conceal it.
Take care to be properly provided with sieves and tammy cloths, spoons and ladles. Make it a rule without an exception, never to use them till they are well cleaned and thoroughly dried, nor any stew-pans, &.c. without first washing them out with boiling water, and rubbing them well with a dry cloth and a little bran, to clean them from grease, sand, etc, or any bad smell they may have got since they were last used: never neglect this.
Though we do not suppose our cook to be such a naughty slut as to wilfully neglect her broth-pots, etc, yet we may recommend her to wash them immediately, and take care they are thoroughly dried at the fire, before they are put by, and to keep them in a dry place, for damp will rust and destroy them very soon: attend to this the first moment you can spare after the dinner is sent up.
Never put by any soup, gravy, etc. in metal utensils; in which never keep any thing longer than is absolutely necessary for the purposes of cookery; the acid, vegetables, fat, etc. employed in making soups, etc. are capable of dissolving such utensils: therefore stone or earthern vessels should be used for this purpose.
Stew-pans, soup-pots, and preserving pans, with thick and round bottoms (such as saucepans are made with), will wear twice as long, and are cleaned with half the trouble, as those whose sides are soldered to the bottom, for sand and grease get into the joined part, and cookeys say that it is next to an impossibility to dislodge it, even if their nails are as long as Nebuchadnezzar's.
Take care that the lids fit as close as possible, that the broth, soup, and sauces, etc. may not waste by evaporation. They are good for nothing, unless they fit tight enough to keep the steam in and the smoke out.
Stew-pans and saucepans should be always bright on the upper rim, where the fire does not burn them; but to scour them all over is not only giving the cook needless trouble, but wearing out the vessels.
Lean, juicy beef, mutton, or veal, form the basis of broth; procure those pieces which afford the richest succulence, and as fresh killed as possible.
Stale meat will make broth grouty and bad tasted, and fat meat is wasted. This only applies to those broths which are required to be perfectly clear: fat and clarified drippings may be so combined with vegetable mucilage, as to afford, at the small cost of one penny per quart, a nourishing and palatable soup, fully adequate to satisfy appetite and support strengths this will open a new source to those benevolent, housekeepers, who are disposed to relieve the poor, will show the industrious classes how much they have it in their power to assist themselves, and rescue them from being objects of charity dependent on the precarious bounty of others, by teaching them how they may obtain a cheap, abundant, salubrious, and agreeable aliment for themselves and families.
This soup has the advantage of being very easily and very soon made, with no more fuel than is necessary to warm a room. Those who have not tasted it, cannot imagine what a salubrious, savory, and satisfying meal is produced by the judicious combination of cheap homely ingredients.
The general fault of our soups seems to be the employment of an excess of spice, and too small a portion of roots and herbs.
There is no French dinner without soup, which is regarded as an indispensable overture; and believe it an excellent plan to begin the banquet with a basin of good soup, which by moderating the appetite for solid animal food, is certainly a salutiferous custom.
We again caution the cook to avoid over-seasoning, especially with predominant flavors, which, however agreeable they may be to some, are extremely disagreeable to others.
Zest, soy, cavice, coratch, anchovy, curry powder, savory ragout powder, soup herb powder, browning, ketchups, pickle liquor, beer, wine, and sweet herbs, and savory spice, are very convenient auxiliaries to finish soups, etc.
The proportion of wine should not exceed a large wine-glassful to a quart of soup. This is as much as can be admitted, without the vinous flavor becoming remarkably predominant; though not only much larger quantities of wine (of which claret is 'ncomparably the best, because it contains less spirit and more flavor, and English palates are less acquainted with it), but even veritable eau de vie is ordered in many books, and used by many (especially tavern cooks). So much are their soups overloaded with relish, that if you will eat enough of them they will certainly make you drunk, if they don't make you sick: all this frequently arises from an old cook measuring the excitability of the eaters' palates by his own, which may be so blunted by incessant tasting, that to awaken it, requires win3 instead of water, and cayenne and garlic for black pepper and onion.