CEREALS hold an important place in the diet, ranking first among vegetable foods. They are, moreover, easily prepared, are both palatable and digestible, and are easily preserved without deterioration.

Variety is to be found both in using the different kinds of cereals and in preparing the common cereals in new ways. Most cereals are improved by the addition of a little milk during the latter part of the cooking, and most of them are also improved by the addition of chopped dates or whole sultana raisins.

Thoroughness of cooking is a factor which has an important bearing upon digestibility; and it is unfortunate that cereals are so often served for breakfast and hurriedly prepared. They should wherever possible be cooked over night, and it is for this reason that the use of the fireless cooker is to be especially recommended.

The ready-cooked foods are usually higher in price and not necessarily better. Where there is no fireless cooker, however, and where the saving of fuel is to be considered, they are not necessarily more expensive.

In justice to the prepared foods it may be said that they are on the whole well cooked and palatable and usually reach the consumer in clean, fresh condition. They are also frequently more tempting to the jaded appetite.

For cooking cereals by the fireless method see the chapter on "Fireless Cookery."

Oatmeal Porridge

As oatmeal is ground in different grades of coarseness, the time for cooking varies and it is best to follow the directions given on the packages. The meal should be cooked until soft, but should planned for a' Family of Four not be mushy. Cook in a double boiler the required time. Keep covered until done; then remove the cover and let the moisture escape.

Oatmeal With Cheese

1 cup oatmeal 1 teaspoon salt

Water 1 tablespoon butter

1 cup grated cheese

Cook the oatmeal over night and just before serving add the butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and serve at once.

Baked Apple With Oatmeal

Pare and core the apples and fill the core space with left-over oatmeal mush. Put the apples in a baking dish; sprinkle with sugar; pour a little water into the bottom of the pan and bake in a moderate oven until the apples are tender. Serve warm with cream for breakfast or luncheon.

Wheat Cereals

Wheat cereals, like oatmeal, are best cooked by following the directions on the package. Most of them are greatly improved by the addition of a little milk or by |a few chopped dates or whole sultana raisins.

Corn-Meal Mush

1 cup corn meal 1 teaspoon salt

1 cup cold water 1 pint boiling water

Mix together the corn meal and salt and add the cold water gradually, stirring until smooth. Pour this mixture into the boiling water and cook in a double boiler from three to five hours. Serve hot with cream and sugar.

Fried Mush

Pour hot corn meal into a square dish that has been rinsed in cold water. When the mush is cold cut it into slices one half inch thick; dust with flour and fry a delicate brown. Serve with syrup.

Boiled Rice

cup rice 2 quarts water

1 tablespoon salt

Put the rice in a strainer; place the strainer over a bowl nearly full of cold water; rub the rice; lift the strainer from the bowl and change the water. Repeat the process until the water in the bowl is clear. Have the two quarts of water boiling briskly; add the rice and salt gradually so as not to check the ebullition; boil twenty minutes or until soft; drain through a colander and place the colander over boiling water for ten minutes to steam. Every grain will be distinct and tender.

If desired, the rice may be brought to a boil in a little milk instead of being steamed, though in this case the grains may not remain separate.

Serve as a vegetable with butter and salt, or as a cereal with cream and sugar.

Rice In Milk

1 cups hot milk cup rice l/2 teaspoon salt

Clean the rice as for boiling in water; and cook with the milk and salt, adding a few seeded or sultana raisins if desired. Serve hot like boiled rice or press into small cups, cool and serve with cream and sugar.

Farina

3 tablespoons farina 1 pint boiling water

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook the mixture in a double boiler for about one hour.

Hominy

1 cup hominy 2 tablespoons butter

2 quarts water 1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cream

Get the unbroken hominy and after careful washing soak it twenty-four hours in the water. Cook slowly in the same water in a covered vessel for eight hours or until all the water has been absorbed by the hominy; add the butter, salt and cream and serve as a vegetable or as a cereal with sugar and cream.