This most simple of culinary processes is uot often per-formed in perfection; it does not require quite so much nicety and attendance as roasting; to skim your pot well, and keep it really boiling (the slower the better) all the while - to know how long is required for doing the joint, etc., and to take it up at the critical moment when it is clone enough - comprehends almost the whole art and mystery. This, however, demands a patient and perpetual vigilance, of which few persons are. unhappily, capable. The cook must take especial care that the water really boils all the while she is cooking, or she will be deceived in the time; and make up a sufficient fire (a frugal cook will manage with much less fire for boiling than she uses for roasting) at first, to last all the time, without much mending or stirring, and thereby save much trouble. When the pot is coming to a boil, there will always, from the cleanest meat and clearest water, rise a scum to the top of it; proceeding partly from the foulness of the meat, and partly from the water: this must be care-fully taken off, as soon as it rises. On this depends the good appearance of all boiled things, an essential matter. When you have scummed well, put in some cold water, which will throw up the rest of the scum. The oftener it is scummed, and the cleaner the top of the water is kept, the cleaner will be the meat. If let alone, it soon boils down and sticks to the meat; which, instead of looking delicately white and nice, will have that coarse and filthy appearance we have too often to complain of, and the butcher and poulterer be blamed for the carelessness of the cook in not scumming her pot with due diligence. Many put in milk, to make what they boil look white, but this does more harm than good: others wrap it up in a cloth; but these are needless preclusions; if the scum be attentively removed, meat will have a much more delicate colour and finer flavour than it has when muffled up. This may give rather more trouble - but those who wish to excel in their art, must only consider how the processes of it can be moist perfectly performed: a cook who has a proper pride and pleasure in her business, will make this her maxim and rule on all occasions. Put your meat into cold w ater, in the proportion of about a quart of water to a pound of meat; it should be covered with water during the whole of the process of boil ing, but not drowned in it; the less water, provided the meat be covered with it, the more savoury will be the meat, and the better will be the broth in every respect. The water should be heated gradually, according to the thickness, etc, of the article boiled: for instance, a leg of mutton of ten pounds weight should be placed over a moderate fire, which will gradually make the water hot, without causing it to boil, for about forty minutes; if the water boils much sooner, the meat will be hardened, and shrink up as if it had been scorched - by keeping the water a cer-tain time heating without boiling, it-fibres are dilated, and it yields a quan-tity of scum, which must be taken off as soon as it rises, for the reasons already mentioned. "If a vessel containing water be placed over a steady fire, the water will grow continually hotter, till it reaches the limit of boiling; after which, the regular accessions of heat are wholly spent in converting it into steam; the water remains at the same pitch of temperature, however fiercely it boils. The only difference is, that with a strong fire it sooner comes to boil, and more quickly boils away, and is converted into steam." Such are the opinions stated by Buchanan in his "Economy of Fuel." There was placed a thermometer in water in that state which cooks call gentle simmering - the heat was 212°, i. e., the same degree as the strongest boiling. Two mutton chops were covered with cold water, and one boiled fiercely, and the other simmered gently, for three-quarters of an hour; the flavour of the chop which was simmered was decidedly superior to that which was boiled* the liquor which boiled fast, was in like proportion more savoury, and, when cold, had much more fat on its surface; this explains why quick boiling renders meat hard, etc - because its juices are extracted in a greater degree. (See 239.)
591. Reckon the time for its first coming to a boil. The old rule pf fifteen minutes to a pound of meat, we think rather too little; the slower it boils, the tenderer, the plumper, and whiter it will be. For those who choose their food thoroughly cooked (which all will who have any regard for their stomachs), twenty minutes to a pound will not be found too much for gentle simmering by the side of the fire; allowing more or less time, according to the thickness of the joint, and the coldness of the weather; always remembering, the slower it boils the better. Without some practice it is difficult to teach any art; and cooks seem to suppose they must be right, if they put meat into a pot, and set it over the fire for a certain time - making no allowance, whether it simmers without a bubble, or boils at a gallop.
592. Fresh Killed Meat will take much longer time boiling than that which has been kept till it is what the butchers call ripe, and longer in cold than in warm weather; if it be frozen, it must be thawed before boiling as before roasting; if it be fresh killed, it will be tough and hard, if you stew it ever so long, and ever so gently. In cold weather, the night before you dress it, bring it into a place of which the temperature is not lees than forty-five degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer. The size of the boiling pots should be adapted to what they are to contain; the larger the saucepan the more room it takes upon the fire; and a larger quantity of water requires a proportionate increase of fire to boil it. In 6mall families, we recommend block tin saucepans, etc, as lightest and safest; if proper care is taken of them, and they are well dried after they are cleansed, they are by far the cheapest; Che purchase of a new tin saucepan being little more than the expense of tinning a copper one. Take care that the covers of your boiling pots fit close not only to prevent unnecessary evaporation of the water, but that the smoke may not insinate itself under the edge of the lid, and give the meat a bad taste
593. If you let Meat or Poultry REMAIN IN the Water after it is done enough, it will become sodden and lose its flavour.
594. Beef and Mutton a little under-done (especially very large joints, which will make the better hash or broil) is not a great fault - by some people it is preferred; but lamb, pork, and veal, are uneatable if not thoroughly boiled - but do not overdo them. A trivet, or fish-drainer, put on the bottom of the boiling pot, raising the contents about an inch and a half from the bottom, will prevent that side of the meat which conies next the bottom from being done too much - and the lower part of the meat will be as delicately done as the other part; and this will enable you to take out the contents of the pot without sticking a fork, etc, into it. If you have not a trivet, use four skewers, or a soup-plate laid the wrong side upwards.
595. Take care of the liquor you have boiled poultry or meat in; in five minutes you may make it into soup.
596. The good housewife never boils a joint without converting the broth into some sort of soup.
597. If the liquor be too salt, only use half the quantity, and the rest water; wash salted meat well with cold water before you put it into the boiler.