ON CHOOSING. ON STEAMING.
MEAT should be selected carefully, cooked by the best methods, and eaten at regular times, and in proper quantities. With these hints acted upon, and with thorough mastication, there would be fewer dyspeptics among us.
If beef is good it will be fine grained, smooth, bright red and fat.
If the fat is yellow, the meat is not prime.
Veal should be dressed very soon after killing.
Good veal flesh is dry, firm, and white, with kidneys covered with fat.
Mutton is at its best from August till Christmas.' Wethers are better mutton than ewes. If to be kept long, wipe often and dust with pepper.
The flesh of good mutton is dark red, with firm, white fat.
Pork should be rejected if there are kernels in the fat. The skin should be smooth and thin. Discard clammy flesh.
The choicest beef cuts for roasting are the fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs.
If a roast is rolled by the butcher, have him send home the bones for soup.
If meat or fish have to be washed, use water very slightly salted. That prevents the extraction of the natural salts of the meat.
If it is necessary to freshen ham or salt pork, it is recommended very strongly to put into milk and water for several hours. Sour milk will answer as well as sweet. Rinse after taking out. This also applies to salt mackerel.
If meat is eaten when first killed, it will be tender. If a short time elapses, the muscles stiffen, and it will be tough. If more time elapses, the muscles relax, and it will be tender again.
Young meat of all kinds should be cooked very thoroughly, to be healthy. It offers less resistance to masticaton, hence will be less liable to be digested properly. Older and tougher meat, offering more resistance, will, of necessity, be better masticated and better incorporated with the saliva; hence, will be better digested.
In cold weather, great care should be taken to heat plates to serve at table. More especially, when mutton is used. Many a good dinner has been spoiled by a showing of cold mutton tallow on a still colder plate. If there is no warming oven to the stove, let them set in hot water for a few minutes.
Fresh meat, if to be boiled, should be put to cook in boiling water, and if more water is needed in the pot, let it be boiling when added.
Salt meat must be put over in cold water, that the salt may be extracted in cooking. Remove the scum as soon as it rises.
To be tender, meat should cook very gently; hard boiling toughens it. The toughest meat can be made tender by boiling it a long time, or baking it in a covered dish in the oven.
I give recipes for steaming, boiling, and roasting different meats. But my own favorite manner of cooking nearly all kinds of meat and poultry, vegetables, and dumplings, besides puddings and bread of different kinds, is by steaming. I use a steam cooker, having different chambers, and we cook a pudding, a piece of corned beef, potatoes, and other vegetables, in the different apartments at the same time. When cooking fresh beef or mutton, if we wish to have it browned, it is only necessary to put it in a hot oven for a few minutes. Too much cannot be said in favor of steaming. It renders food very nutritious and palatable, besides being economical both of time and fuel. Vegetables are never water soaked. The same can be said of dumplings and puddings.