This section is from the book "Progressive Cookery", by E. M. Hinckley. Also available from Amazon: Progressive Cookery.
A cook hook cannot be like an encyclopedia. If all the explanations necessary were given for each recipe, this work would fill volumes.
All the money in the world will not bring about looked-for results in cooking, unless all the materials are properly prepared.
All odds and ends left over from the table should be put carefully away, as they can be utilized in various ways.
Bread Crumbs that cannot be used for toast or puddings, may be dried in the oven (not browned) rolled, sifted, and put away in a jar, and are-much better than crackers, for rissoles, croquettes, oysters, etc. Stale bread crumbs are made by simply rubbing through the palms of the hands.
Make use of everything. Waste nothing. Have no prejudices. Be careful, clean and punctual. Take as much interest with the family you are with as if it were your own. Work conscientiously, not merely for wages received.
Be careful in measuring. Do not think this or that will do. If you have not the tested measuring cups, use an ordinary cup, being careful at all times to use one of uniform size.
Have flour, powdered sugar, mustard and salt sifted before measuring. Fill your measures with a spoon to prevent air spaces. A cupful of dry material should be rounded, then leveled off.
A teaspoon or tablespoon of flour, butter, sugar, or baking powder, are measured rounding.
A teaspoon or tablespoon of salt, pepper or mustard are level spoonfuls. A speck of pepper is what can be taken up on the end of a penknife. One-half teaspoon is accurately measured by dividing through the middle lengthwise. A saltspoon is one-fourth of a teaspoon. A heaping teaspoon or tablespoon is all they will hold.
A tablespoonful of melted butter should be measured after being melted. Butter the size of an egg is a quarter of a cup.
Four cups of flour equal one quart or one pound.
Two cups of solid butter equal one pound.
Two cups of granulated sugar equal one pound.
Two and one-half cups of powdered sugar equal one pound.
These measurements are for the tested measuring cups.
Four tablespoons of liquid equal one wine-glass.
One heaping tablespoon of sugar equals one ounce.
Two round tablespoons of flour equal one ounce.
One round tablespoon of butter equals one ounce.
Nine large eggs and ten medium eggs equal one pound.
One gill equals one-half cupful.
The water in which meats are cooked to retain their juices, such as boiled mutton, chicken, etc., is not strong enough to be used for broths, but may be used for meat sauces, croquettes, blanquettes, etc., or reduced and added to soup stock or purees.
water contains oxygen. When water is boiled the air escapes. It is then dead water, and if boiled a number of times in the same vessel, such as a tea-kettle, a crust will form, and after awhile will peel off, causing a rattling in the kettle. When through with the water in your tea-kettle pour it out, and when needed replenish with fresh water. Water boils at 212 degrees, and will become no hotter.
A small piece of charcoal added to cabbage or cauliflower while cooking prevents any unpleasant odor.
When soup stock is called for in a recipe, and not convenient, extract of meat may be substituted. Meat, after being once cooked, then warmed over again in any form, should only be heated, as boiling will harden.
Meat should be immediately removed from butcher's brown paper, as it absorbs the juices.
In bean soups a thin slice of salt pork can be added when the beans are cooking.
Clarify deep fat by boiling a potato in it, and then straining. Fat that has been used for doughnuts, and become brown, can be clarified and strained through a cloth and used for frying croquettes. Strain all fats after using.
All grease that has been removed from soups, roasts, etc., should be set on the fire and boiled with a raw potato, strained and set away; it is better than butter for many purposes, especially hashes.
When the fat begins to smoke put in a bit of bread. If it brown quickly, it is hot enough.
If salt is put in with beans when first put on to cook it will harden them. Add salt when nearly cooked.
Powdered sweet herbs are one hunch each of thyme, marjoram, summer savory and sage, one-quarter of a pound of hay leaves. Pound, sift and mix thoroughly. The hay leaf of California is too pungent; use the imported.
After greasing pans for cake, sprinkle over a little flour to keep the cake from sticking to pan.
If boiled custard curdles stir in teaspoon of cold milk.
For soups and sauces that contain milk, the milk must he hot before adding the seasoning. Salt put into cold milk will curdle it.
Green Sage placed in a pantry will keep out red ants.