The broader the pot, and the blacker It is, the quicker it boils. Fresh meats should be started in boiling water; salt or corned meats, and those intended for stews or soups, in cold water. The meat (except hams) should be cut into chunks of not over five pounds each, and soup bones well cracked. Watch during first half hour, and skim off all scum as fast as it rises, or it will settle and adhere to meat. Fresh meat should be boiled until bones are free, or until a fork will pierce easily (ten pounds take about two and a half hours). Save the broth for soup-stock, or make gravy of it by seasoning with pepper and thickening with flour. (See page 303).
Meat that is to be eaten cold should be allowed to cool in the liquor in which it was boiled. A tablespoonful or two of vinegar added to the boiling water makes meat more tender and fish firmer. Turn the meat several times while boiling. If the water needs replenishing, do it with boiling, not cold, water. Season a short time before meat is done. If vegetables are to be cooked with the meat, add them at such time that they will just finish cooking when the meat is done (potatoes twenty to thirty minutes before the end; carrots and turnips, sliced, one to one and a half hours).
Remember this: put fresh meat in hard boiling water for only five minutes, to set the juices; then remove to greater height over the fire and boil very slowly — to let it boil hard all the time would make it tough and indigestible. Salt or corned meats go in cold water at the start and are gradually brought to a boil; thereafter they should be allowed barely to simmer.
Fish go in boiling salted water. Boiling meat must be kept covered.
At high altitudes it is impossible to cook satisfactorily by boiling, because water boils at a lower and lower temperature the higher we climb. The decrease is at the rate of about one degree for every 550 feet up to one mile, and one degree for 560 feet above that, when the temperature is 700. With the air at 320 F., and the barometer at 30 inches, water boils at 212° at sea-level, 202.50 at 5,000 feet, 193.3° at 10,000 feet, and 184.50 at 15,000 feet. These figures vary somewhat according to the purity of the water, the material of the vessel, etc.
To parboil is to boil only until tender, before cooking in some other way.