This section is from the book "Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery", by Mary E. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery; A Textbook Of Domestic Science For Use In Schools.
Select medium-sized potatoes, scrub them well, and dry them. Bake them in a shallow pan on the rack in a moderately hot oven until soft (usually about forty-five minutes). Turn them occasionally, that they may bake evenly. When soft, press them between the fingers, and break the skin to let the steam escape. Serve them folded in a napkin in an uncovered dish.
Put water to boil. Select potatoes uniform in size. Scrub or wash them, and if they are to be pared, pare them length-wise, remove the "eyes" and any dark spots, and drop them into cold water.1 Put them into a kettle with enough boiling water to cover them. When they have boiled twenty minutes, add salt, using one tablespoonful to six potatoes. When the potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork or knitting-needle, drain off all the water, shake the kettle gently, sprinkle the potatoes with a little salt, cover the kettle with a cloth folded in several thicknesses, and let it stand in a warm place until the potatoes are served. Serve them uncovered.
1 The cold water keeps them from discoloring. The oxygen of the air forms with the potato a dark-colored substance. This acid also stains the paring-knife.