THERE are many directions in which economy can be displayed about the home, but one of the surest is to take such care of every article as to insure the longest amount of service.
An excellent plan is to keep a strict account of all the daily expenses. Any little ruled blank-book will serve for this purpose, and in keeping the items, the prudent housewife will know just how much her weekly outlay is, and can keep her household expenses within a required sum.
It is not wise to dwell on any definite plans for the kitchen although a few suggestions will be welcomed by those who are not fortunate enough to enjoy the modern improvements which make the kitchen of to-day one of the best appointed rooms in the house. Make the kitchen as pleasant as possible, have plenty of fresh air and light, for both are indispensable to health and well-being. Arrange things conveniently, have a place for everything and everything in its place. Let cooking be a study, and surely before long it will reveal many pleasing things.
Have a hard wood floor or a painted pine one, or oil-cloth, never cover a kitchen floor with carpet, as it is in direct conflict with cleanliness. Painted walls and ceiling that can be washed two or three times a year will help keep it sweet and orderly.
The cooking utensils, subjected as they are to continual wear, must necessarily become unusable after a time. They may, however, always be kept clean and ready for use. It is a good plan to wash the pots and kettles as soon as they are emptied, and while they are still warm. By this means scrubbing and scraping will be avoided, and the work much abridged.
Sand or ashes should be used liberally on the outside of iron pots. If they, or the spiders, have a coating (which is the fat and contents that have hardened on the outside, through carelessness, boil them in a strong solution of sal-soda for an hour or so, placing them in a larger kettle that will entirely cover them. Wipe the stove with brown paper or a newspaper after each meal, and it will be kept polished much easier. Wash the oven often with strong soapsuds, and leave the door open while it is drying. The sink must receive a daily scrubbing, especially in the corners and under the rim. The soot and ashes should be taken out of the hearthpan and under the oven frequently, else it will not bake well. The workings of the stove or range should be understood, to insure best results.
Saucepans, gridirons, tin cups, everything of that character, can be hung on hooks under the pantry shelves. An orderly arrangement of the kitchen utensils means expedition in doing the work. In saving fragments, place them on a saucer, a plate or bowl to set away, so as to save room. Dry every tin before putting away, so it will not rust. Wooden-ware must not be set near the fire; for it warps and cracks.
Clean the refrigerator often, so that no odors will gather. Keep its waste-pipe open. Butter and milk absorb the flavors of other articles, so they should be kept by themselves. Never put an onion in the refrigerator. It will taint the food. Fish should be laid in it with the skin side down, but steaks and all meats must have a plate under them, if near the ice. Do not cover any sauce or gravy while hot.
The range, gas and gasoline stove should have the greatest attention, in order to insure successful cooking and baking. If possible it should never be placed opposite an outside door or window, as the direct draft proves detrimental to baking. In a range always be careful to remove all ashes from under the slides to heat the oven quickly and evenly, and see that the air passage is free from soot, as inattention to this seriously interferes with the heating of the stove.