måndag 8 juni 2009
Tea with Gutenberg
I found "The Skilful Cook, A Practical Manual of Modern Experience" by Mary Harrison on my last visit to Project Gutenberg. The book is from 1905 – a time when you were supposed to have at least one servant:
But there are some ladies to whom a knowledge of domestic economy ought to be especially invaluable—namely, those whose means are so limited that they cannot afford to engage servants who have had any great experience, and, therefore, who keep only what is called a general servant, a term which often means a woman or 4girl who will undertake to do everything, but who has only the vaguest notions of how anything should be done. They, poor things, have had no opportunity of learning in the homes from which they came. But it will be well for the poor ‘General’ if her mistress can teach and train her; for she will then leave her situation with knowledge and habits that will make her a valuable and useful woman, and be of the greatest service to her all her life.
_ _ _
A really capable housekeeper will not be satisfied with good cookery only. She will be careful to have each dish nicely served, however plain it may be. Culture, or the want of it, will be seen at once in the appointment of her table. This remark does not apply to a profusion of glass, silver, or flowers—these are questions of wealth—but to the neatness and order with which a table is laid, and the manner in which the meal is served.
Some people are particularly sensitive to external impressions; and to them a dinner, or any other meal, however costly, served in an untidy room, with table-cloth soiled, silver tarnished, glasses smeared, and above all a slovenly servant, would be enough to give a feeling of depression that would anything but aid digestion.
A great point to be attended to is to have everything perfectly clean and orderly, however old and plain. Clean table-cloths make a wonderful difference to the look of a table; a few flowers also will do much to give it a bright appearance. Servants should be neat in their dress, and quiet in their movements. If only one is kept, that is no reason why she should wait at table in a slovenly dress and with ruffled hair.
This is a thorough book with fundamental advice.
I have never heard of Vienna flour before – maybe some of my British friends know what it is. Otherwise it sounds as you can use any all-purpose flour and get ordinary rolls.
Ingredients—2 lb. of Vienna flour.
2 oz. of butter.
1 oz. of German yeast.
1 pint of milk.
1 teaspoonful of salt.
Method.—Rub the butter well into the flour, and add the salt.
Make the milk tepid, and mix smoothly with the German yeast.
Make a well in the middle of the flour, and stir in the milk smoothly.
Knead very lightly for a minute, and then put the dough to rise in a warm place for two hours.
When it has well risen, make it into rolls or fancy twists.
If you don't want rolls you might like to try Shrewsbury Cakes and Yorkshire Teacakes.
Ingredients—¼ lb. of butter.
¼ lb. of castor sugar.
6 oz. of flour.
Method.—Cream the butter and sugar.
Add to them the egg, well beaten.
Then stir in the flour.Knead it to a dough.
Roll out, and cut into small round cakes with a cutter.
Place them on a greased baking-sheet.
Bake in a moderate oven from fifteen to twenty minutes.
Then bake in a quick oven from ten to twenty minutes, according to their size.
When nearly cooked, brush them with a little milk or white of egg to glaze them.
Ingredients—¾ lb. of flour.
1½ gill of milk.
1 oz. of butter.
½ oz. of German yeast.
Method.—Put the flour into a basin, and rub the butter into it.
Make the milk tepid, and blend it with the yeast.
Strain it into the flour.
Add the egg.
Beat all well together for a few minutes.
Then divide the dough in two.
Make each part into a ball, and put them in floured cake-tins.
Put the cakes in a warm place to rise for one hour, and then bake them for about twenty minutes.
Brush them over with a syrup of sugar and water to glaze them.