This section is from the book "The New Cookery", by Lenna Frances Cooper. Also available from Amazon: The New Cookery.
Turn the gas on full for five or six minutes, or until the oven reaches the desired temperature, then turn the burners partly off. Always allow at least ten minutes for regulating the temperature of the oven.
The methods of cooking are boiling, stewing, steaming, broiling, baking, frying, sauteing, braising, fricasseeing and fireless cooking.
Boiling is cooking in water at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is indicated by the bubbling which takes place as the steam and watery vapor are given off. The escape of steam means loss of heat. It is impossible by the ordinary methods of cooking to raise the temperature of water above 212 degrees Fahrenheit. An excess of heat escapes in the steam which is given off, hence it is not economical to cook foods violently, as water in violent agitation conveys no more heat to the foods than that which is bubbling gently.
Foods are said to simmer at 185 degrees F.
Stewing is cooking in a small amount of water at a low temperature, 160 degrees to 180 degrees F., for a long time.
Steaming is cooking in contact with steam at 212 degrees. This is usually accomplished by placing the food receptacle in a colander, which in turn is set over a vessel of boiling water. The colander is then covered to prevent the escape of the steam. Steamers are also used for the same purpose. Foods are also said to be steamed when cooked in a double boiler. This is also sometimes known as dry steaming. Foods cooked in the inner portion of a double boiler never boil, but may reach a temperature of 200° to 206° F.
Broiling is cooking over or before a clear fire or glowing coals. Broiling may also be done under gas. The food to be broiled is usually placed on the broiler and laid near the coals. The object is to first sear the outside in order to prevent the escape of the flavor and juices, then a lower temperature is maintained to penetrate to the inner portion of the food. The food to be broiled must be turned frequently to prevent the escape of the juices.
Pan Broiling is an adaptation of this method to modern methods of cooking. This is accomplished by placing the food over a hot griddle with only sufficient fat to prevent sticking. The food must be turned often as for broiling.
Roasting is also cooking before a clear fire much the same way as for broiling. This method has given way almost entirely to baking, though we still use this term when applied to certain articles cooked in the oven.
Baking is cooking in the oven. Different temperatures are needed for the cooking of various kinds of foods. A slow oven is from 270 degrees to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, a moderate oven 350 degrees to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, a quick oven 400 degrees to 480 degrees Fahrenheit.
Frying is cooking by immersing in hot fat. The temperatures should vary according to the variety of food used. Foods prepared in this way are much less digestible than when prepared in almost any other way. This is due both to the effect upon the fat and the effect upon the food constituents. Fats subjected to the high temperatures for frying are somewhat decomposed and made less digestible. There is some uncertainty as to just what changes take place, but the probabilities are that it is broken down into the two component parts, a fatty acid and glycerine. Acrolein is also formed when the fat is overheated. The fumes which irritate the eyes and the nasal passages when standing near frying fat are due to the acrolein. Starches subjected to the heated fat are undoubtedly more or less saturated with it, thus delaying their digestion until the fat has been digested. Fats are attacked only by the bile and pancreatice juices, hence the starches are unduly delayed in their digestion when saturated with fat. Protein is hardened and made less digestible by the high temperatures, hence foods cooked in frying fat are made less digestible both by the change which takes place in the fats and in the foods.
Sauteing is cooking in a small quantity of fat. Foods prepared in this way are considered even less digestible than when fried. This method is frequently called frying, though improperly so.
Braising is a combination of stewing and baking.
Fricasseeing is a combination of sauteing and stewing.
Fireless Cooking is a combination of boiling and cooking by conservation of heat. This is accomplished by insulated receptacles, which are so constructed as to prevent the radiation of heat. Foods are first brought to the boiling point and then placed in the insulated receptacle. The remainder of the cooking is accomplished by the heat which is retained, because of the non-conducting substances surrounding the receptacle.
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