Friday, March 17, 2017

Cleaning Hints from 1897

Hot off the press from 1897....

HINTS ON CLEANING KITCHEN UTENSILS.

Saucepans should always be filled immediately after use, with hot water and soda. When they have stood some time, they must be scoured well, inside and out, with silver sand, well rinsed in hot water, and thoroughly dried in front of the fire. The lids must be wiped, and hung up separately.
Frying-pans should never be washed, but should be wiped thoroughly clean with soft paper immediately after use.
Tin vessels must be thoroughly washed in hot water, dried, lightly covered with whiting, and then rubbed bright with wash-leather.
Kitchen tables must be washed over with a wet cloth, sprinkled with silver sand, and thoroughly scrubbed, the way of the grain, with hot water and soda. All the sand must then be carefully wiped off with a damp cloth. Should the table be very greasy, damp fuller’s earth must be used instead of sand.
Pastry boards and wooden utensils must be washed over with a wet cloth, sprinkled with crushed soda and boiling water, then scrubbed well, the way of the grain, and dried with a cloth.
Knives must be placed in a jug, and covered with hot water as far as the haft, then wiped quite dry, cleaned with bath brick on a wooden board placed in a slanting position. When quite bright, the dust must be wiped off with a dry cloth.
The prongs of forks must be cleaned with a piece of rag dipped in bath brick.
Plates and dishes must be washed in hot water and soda, then rinsed in cold water, and left in the plate-rack to dry.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Vintage Household Hints

I love going through vintage cookbooks.  It's especially fun reading the household hints.  The following are from a 1836 cookbook.  Read them for fun only - some of these methods are definitely not safe!

Miscellaneous Receipts, and observations useful to young housekeepers.

1. To make Essence of Lemon.

Take one drachm of the best oil of lemon, and two ounces of strong rectified spirit. Mix the spirit by degrees, with the oil. Another way to procure the essence of the peel, is to rub the peel with lumps of sugar, till the yellow part is all taken up. Scrape off the surface of the sugar, and press it down tight, in a preserving pot, and cover it tight; a little of this sugar gives a fine flavor to pies or cake. This mode of procuring the essence of the peel, is superior to any other, as the fine flavor of the peel is extracted without any alloy.

2. Essence of Ginger.

Put three ounces of fresh grated ginger, an ounce of thin cut lemon peel, into a quart of brandy, or proof spirit, bottle and cork it, let it stand for ten days, shaking it up each day, it will then be fit for use. A few drops of this, in a little water, or on a lump of sugar, answers all the purposes of ginger tea, and is much more convenient and palatable.

3. Rose Water.

Gather your roses on a dry day, when full blown, pick off the leaves, and to a peck of them, put a quart[93] of water. Put them in a cold still, and put it over a slow fire, the slower they are distilled the better. When distilled put it in the bottles, let it stand a couple of days, then cork it tight.

4. Spice Brandy.

Into a large wide mouthed bottle, put French brandy, and fresh rose leaves, or lemon and orange peel. When this has stood a week, it is nice spice for pies, puddings and cake. Peach meats or almonds steeped in brandy are very good spice for custards.

5. Barley Water.

Take a couple of ounces of pearl barley, wash it in cold water, and put it into half a pint of boiling water, and let it boil four or five minutes, then turn off the water, and pour on two quarts of boiling water, strain it, and put to it two ounces of figs sliced, two of stoned raisins, half an ounce of liquorice cut into small bits, and bruised, boil it till reduced to a quart, and strain it. This is a very wholesome drink in fevers.

6. Water Gruel.

Mix a couple of table spoonsful of Indian meal, with one of flour and a little water, stir it into a pint of boiling water, let it boil six or eight minutes, then take it up put in a piece of butter of the size of a walnut, pepper and salt, to your taste, and nutmeg, or cinnamon if you like, turn it on to toasted bread or crackers. To convert this into caudle, add a little ale; wine or brandy, and loaf sugar.

7. Wine Whey.

Into a pint of milk while boiling, stir a couple of wine glasses of wine, let it boil for a moment, then[94] take it off, when the curd has settled, turn off the whey, and sweeten it with loaf sugar. Where wine cannot be procured, cider, or half the quantity of vinegar, is a good substitute.

8. Stomachic Tincture.

Bruise an ounce and a half of Peruvian bark, and one of bitter dried orange peel. Steep it in brandy or proof spirit, for a fortnight, shaking it each day. Let it remain for a couple of days without shaking it, then decant the liquor. A tea spoonful of it in a wine glass of water, is a fine tonic.

9. Beef Tea.

Broil a pound of fresh beef ten minutes, take it up, pepper and salt it, cut it into small pieces, and turn a pint of boiling water on to it, let it steep in a warm place for half an hour, then strain it off, and it is fit to drink. This is a quick way of making it, but the best way is to cut beef into small bits, and fill a junk bottle with it, stop it up tight, and immerse it in a kettle of cold water, put it where it will boil four or five hours. This way is superior to the other, as the juices of the meat are obtained unmixed with water; a table spoonful of this is as nourishing as a cup full of that which is made by broiling.

10. Carrageen or Irish Moss.

American, or Irish Carrageen, is a very nutritious and light article of food for children, and invalids, and is a good thickener of milk and broths, and for blanc mange is equal to the most expensive ingredients, while the cost is very trifling. The following decoction for consumptive patients, is recommended. Steep half an ounce of the moss in cold water, for a few[95] minutes, then take it out, boil it in a quart of milk until it attains the consistency of warm jelly, strain it, and sweeten it to the taste, with white sugar or honey, flavor it with whatever spice is most agreeable, if milk is disagreeable, water may be substituted. If a tea spoonful of the tincture of rhutany is mixed with a cup full of the decoction, a tone will be given to the stomach, at the same time that nourishment is conveyed to the system.

11. Moss Blanc Mange.

Steep half an ounce of Irish moss in a pint and a half of milk; when it becomes a thick jelly sweeten it with loaf sugar, and flavor it with white wine and cinnamon. To make orange, lemon or savory jellies, use a similar process, substituting water for milk. Jellies made of it, are more nourishing, than those made of sago, tapioca or arrow root.

12. Elderberry Syrup.

Wash and strain the berries, which should be perfectly ripe, to a pint of the juice put a pint of molasses. Boil it twenty minutes, stirring it constantly; then take it from the fire, and when cold add to each quart four table spoonsful of brandy; bottle and cork it. This is an excellent remedy for a tight cough.

13. New Bread and Cake from old and rusked bread.

Bread that is several days old, may be renewed by putting it into a steamer, and steaming it from half to three quarters of an hour, according to its size; the steamer should not be more than half full, otherwise the water will boil up on to the bread. When steamed, wrap it up loosely in a dry cloth, and let it remain till quite dry, it will then appear like bread just baked.[96] If pieces of bread are put in the oven and dried, several hours after baking in it, they will keep good a long time. They are good as fresh bread for dressing to meat, and for puddings, if soaked soft in cold water. Rich cake with wine or brandy in it, will keep good several months in winter, if kept in a cool place. The day it is to be eaten, it should be put in a tin pan, and set in a bake pan that has a tea cup of water in it, when heated thoroughly through take it up.

14. To Preserve Cheese from Insects and Mould.

Cover the cheese while whole with a paste made of wheat flour, put a piece of paper or cloth over it, and cover it with the paste, keep it in a cool dry place. Cheese that has skippers in it, if kept till cold weather will be free from them. Cheese that is growing mouldy can be prevented from becoming any more so, by grating it fine and moistening it with wine, and covering it up in a jar. It is preferred by many people to that which is not grated.

15. To keep Vegetables and Herbs.

Succulent vegetables, are preserved best in a cool shady place that is damp. Turnips, potatoes, and similar vegetables should be protected from the air and frost, by being buried in earth; in very severe cold weather, they should be covered with a linen cloth. It is said that the dust of charcoal will keep potatoes from sprouting, if sprinkled over them.—Herbs should be gathered on a dry day, either just before or while in blossom; they should be tied in bundles and hung in a shady airy place, with the blossoms downwards. When perfectly dry, put away the medicinal ones in bundles; pick off the leaves of those that are to be used in cooking, pound and sift them, and keep them in bottles corked tight.

16. To preserve various kinds of Fruit over winter.

Apples can be kept till June, by taking only those that are perfectly sound, and wiping them dry, and putting them in barrels with a layer of bran to each layer of apples. Cover the barrel with a linen cloth to protect them from the frost. Mortar put on the top of the apples, is said to be an excellent thing to prevent their decaying, as it draws the air from them, which is the principal cause of decay; the mortar should not touch the apples. To preserve oranges and lemons for several months, take those that are perfectly fresh, and wrap each one by itself in soft paper, and put them in glass jars, or a very tight box, strew white sand thickly round each one and over the top. The sand should be previously perfectly dried in the oven, several hours after baking in it. Cover the fruit up tight, and keep it in a cool dry place, but not so cold as to freeze it. To preserve grapes gather them on a dry day, when not quite dead ripe; pick those off from the stem, that are not perfectly fair, lay them in a glass jar and on each layer sprinkle a layer of dry bran, taking care that none of the grapes touch each other, have a layer of bran on the top of them, and cork and seal them tight. A box will do to keep them in if covered with mortar. To restore them to their freshness when they are to be eaten, cut the ends of the stalks and immerse them in wine, let them remain in it for a few moments before they are to be eaten. Various kinds of green fruit, such as grapes, currants, gooseberries and plums, can be kept the year round by putting them in bottles, and setting them in an oven four or five hours after baking in it; let them remain in it till they begin to shrink, then cork and seal them tight, they will be fit for pies, whenever you wish to use them. Ripe blackberries, and whortleberries, dried perfectly in the sun, and tied up in bags[98] so as to exclude the air, will keep good over the winter. Whenever you wish to use them for pies, pour on boiling water enough to cover them, and let them remain in it till they swell to nearly the original size, then drain off the water, and use them.

17. To extract essences from various kinds of flowers.

Procure a quantity of the petals of any kind of flowers that have an agreeable fragrance. Card thin layers of cotton, which dip into the finest Florence oil. Sprinkle a small quantity of salt on the flowers, and put a layer of them in a glass jar or wide mouthed bottle, with a layer of the cotton, put in a layer of each alternately until the jar is full, then cover the top up tight with a bladder. Place the vessel in a south window, exposed to the heat of the sun. In the course of a fortnight, a fragrant oil may be squeezed from the cotton, little inferior if rose leaves are made use of, to the imported otto of rose.

18. Indelible Ink for marking linen.

Dissolve a drachm of lunar caustic, in half an ounce of pure cold water. Dip whatever is to be marked in pearlash water, dry it perfectly, then rub it smooth with a silver spoon, (ironing it sets the pearlash water,) write on it, and place it in the sun, and let it remain until the name appears plain and black. Red ink for marking linen, is made by mixing and reducing to a fine powder, half an ounce of vermilion, a drachm of the salt of steel, and linseed oil enough to render it of the consistency of black durable ink.

19. Perfume Bags.

Rose leaves dried in the shade, and mixed with powdered cloves, cinnamon and mace, put in small[99] bags and pressed, is a fine thing to keep in drawers of linen, to perfume them.

20. Lip Salve.

Dissolve a small lump of white sugar, in a table spoonful of rose water, clear water will do but is not as good. Mix it with a table spoonful of sweet oil, a piece of spermaceti of the size of half a butternut. Simmer the whole together about eight or ten minutes.

21. Bread Seals.

Take the crust of newly baked bread, moisten it with gum water and milk, add either vermilion in powder or rose pink, to color it. When moistened work it with the fingers till it forms a consistent paste without cracking; it should then be laid in a cellar, till the next day. Then break it into pieces of the size you wish to have the seals, warm and roll them into balls, press one at a time, on the warm impression of a seal press. The bread should go into every part of the sealing wax impression; while the bread remains on it, pinch the upper part so as to form a handle, to hold the bread seal when in use. Take off the bread seal, trim all the superfluous parts, put the seals where they will dry slowly. The more the bread has been worked with the fingers, the more glossy and smooth will be the seals, and the better impression will they make.

22. To loosen the Glass Stopples of Decanters or Smelling Bottles when wedged in tight.

Rub a drop or two of oil with a feather round the stopple, close to the mouth of the bottle or decanter, then place it between one and two feet from the fire. The heat will cause the oil to run down between the stopple and mouth. When warm strike it gently on[100] both sides with any light wooden instrument, you may happen to have; then try to loosen it with the hand. If it will not move, repeat the process of rubbing oil on it, and warming it. By persevering in this method, you will at length succeed in loosening it, however firmly it may be wedged in.

23. Cement for broken China, Glass and Earthenware.

To half a pint of skimmed milk, add an equal quantity of vinegar to curdle it, then separate the curd from the whey, and mix the curd with the whites of five eggs, beat the whole well together, then add enough of the finest quicklime to form a consistent paste. (Plaster of Paris is still better if it can be procured, than lime.) Rub this mixture on the broken edges of the china or glass, match the pieces and bind them tightly together, and let them remain bound several weeks. They will then be as firm as if never broken. Boiling crockery in milk is a good thing to cement them, the pieces should be matched, bound with pieces of cloth, and boiled half an hour, they should remain in the milk till cold, and not be used for several weeks. Pulverized quicklime mixed with the white of an egg and rubbed in the cracks of china and glass, will prevent their coming apart; the dishes should be bound firmly for several weeks, after it is rubbed in. The Chinese method of mending broken china, is to grind flint glass, on a painter's stone, as fine as possible, and then beat it, with the white of an egg to a froth, and lay it on the edges of the broken pieces. It should remain bound several weeks. It is said, that no art will then be able to break it in the same place.

24. Japanese Cement or Rice Glue.

Mix rice flour intimately with cold water, and then gently boil it. It answers all the purposes of wheat[101] flour paste, and is far superior in point of transparency and smoothness. This composition made with a comparatively small proportion of water, that it may have the consistence of plastic clay, will form models, busts, statues, basso relievos and similar articles. The Japanese make fish of it which very much resemble those made of mother of pearl. Articles made of it when dry are susceptible of a very high polish. Poland starch, is a very nice cement, for pasting layers of paper together, and any fancy articles when it is necessary.

25. Cement for Alabaster.

Take of bees' wax one pound, of rosin half a pound, and three quarters of a pound of alabaster. Melt the wax and rosin, then strew the alabaster, previously reduced to a fine powder, over in it lightly. Stir the whole well together, then knead the mass in water, in order to incorporate the powder thoroughly with the rosin and wax. Heat the cement and the alabaster, which should be perfectly dry, when applied join and keep it bound a week. This composition when properly managed forms an extremely strong cement.

26. To Extract Fruit Stains.

Hold the spot over steam till quite moist, then over burning sulphur; the sulphurous gas will cause the spot to disappear.

27. To extract spots of paint from Silk, Woolen and Cotton Goods.

Saturate the spots with spirits of turpentine, let it remain several hours, then take the cloth and rub it between the hands. It will crumble away and not injure either the texture or color of the cloth.

28. To remove black stains on Scarlet Merinos or Broadcloths.

Wash the stain in water with a little tartaric acid in it, rinse it directly, and care should be taken not to get any of the acid water on the clean part of the dress. Weak pearlash water is good to remove stains produced by acids.

29. To remove grease spots from Paper, Silk or Woolen.

Grate on chalk enough to cover the grease spots. French chalk is the best, but common chalk will answer very well. Cover the spots with brown paper, and set a warm flat iron on the top, and let it remain until cold. Care must be taken not to get the iron so hot as to change the color of the article. If the grease does not appear to be extracted, on removing the flat iron, grate on more chalk, and heat the iron, and put it on again.

30. To extract stains from white Cotton goods and Colored Silks.

Spots of common or durable ink, can be removed by saturating them with lemon juice and salt in summer, and keeping them where the sun will shine on them several hours. Rub the juice and salt on them as fast as they get dry. Where lemons cannot be procured, tartaric acid dissolved in salt and water, is a good substitute. Iron mould can be removed in the same way; it is said that spirits of salts diluted with water will also extract iron mould. Sal ammoniac with lime, will take out the stains of wine. Mildew and most other stains on white goods, can be removed by rubbing on soft soap and salt, and putting them in[103] a hot summer's sun, it should be rubbed on as fast as it dries. Where this fails, lemon juice and salt will be generally effectual. Colored cotton goods that have ink spilt on them, should be soaked in lukewarm milk or vinegar; sour milk is the best. Spirits of turpentine, alcohol or sal ammoniac, are all good to remove spots from colored silks.

31. Rules for washing Calicoes.

Calicoes that incline to fade, can have the colors set by washing them with beef's gall in clear water previous to washing them in soap suds; a small tea cup full to a pail of water is the right proportion. By squeezing out the gall, and bottling and corking it up, it can be kept several months. A little vinegar in the rinsing water of calicoes, that have green, pink or red colors, will brighten them and prevent their mixing together. Yellow calicoes should be washed in soap suds and not rinsed. A little salt in the rinsing water of calicoes, particularly blues and greens, tends to prevent their fading by subsequent washing, it will also prevent their catching fire readily. Thin starch water is good to wash fading calicoes in, but it is rather hard to get them clean in it; no soap is necessary. Calicoes should not be washed in very hot suds and soft soap should never be used, excepting for buff and yellows, for which it is the best. The two latter colors should not be rinsed in clear water.

32. Rules for washing Silks.

The water in which pared potatoes has been boiled, is an excellent thing to wash black silk in, it makes it look almost as black and glossy as new. Beef's gall in soap suds is also very good, and soap suds without the gall does very well. Colored silks should have all the spots removed before the whole of the article[104] is wet. Put soap into boiling water and beat it till it is all dissolved, and forms a strong lather when at a hand heat, put in the article that is to be washed and if strong it may be rubbed hard; when clean squeeze out the water without wringing, and rinse it in warm water. Rinse it in another water and for bright yellows, crimsons, maroons and scarlets, put in oil of vitriol, sufficient to give the water an acid taste, for oranges, fawns, browns or their shades use no acids, for pinks, rose colors, and their shades, use tartaric acid, lemon juice or vinegar. For bright scarlet, use a solution of tin. For blues, purples, and their shades, add a small quantity of American pearlash, to restore the colors. Verdigris dissolved in the rinsing water of olive greens is good to revive the colors, a solution of copper is also good. Dip the silks up and down in the rinsing water, and take them out without wringing, and before they get perfectly dry fold them up tight and let them lay a few moments, then mangle them, if you have not a mangler, iron them on the wrong side. A little isinglass, dissolved in the rinsing water of blondes and gauzes, is good to stiffen them.

33. Rules for washing Woolens.

If you do not wish flannels to shrink, wash them in two good suds, made of hard soap, then wring them out, and pour boiling water on them, and let them remain in it till cold. A little indigo in the rinsing water of white flannels makes them look nicer. If you wish to shrink your flannels, wash them in suds made of soft soap, and rinse them in cold water. Colored woolens that incline to fade, should be washed with a little beef's gall in the suds. Cloth pantaloons look well washed with beef's gall in the suds; they should be pressed, when quite damp, on the wrong side.

34. Rules for washing white Cotton Clothes.

Table cloths that have coffee or any other stains on them, should have boiling water turned on them and remain in it till cold. The spots should be rubbed out before they are put in soap suds, or they will be set, so that they cannot be removed by subsequent washing. If a little starch is put in the rinsing water, the stains will come out more easily the next time they are washed. Any white cloths, that have fruit stains on them, should be washed in the same manner. It is a good plan, to soap and soak very dirty clothes over night; put them in when the water is lukewarm, and let them heat gradually, if they get to boiling it will not do any harm. Where rain water cannot be procured to wash with, a little lye in the proportion of half a pailful to seven or eight pails of hard water will soften it so that much less soap will be necessary. It is said that white clothes washed in the following manner will not need any rubbing. To five gallons of soft water, add half a gallon of lime water, a pint and a half of soap and a couple of ounces of the salts of soda. Wet the clothes thoroughly and soak the parts that are most soiled; if very dirty, they should be soaked over night. Heat the above mixture boiling hot, then put in the clothes, let them boil an hour, then drain and rinse them thoroughly in warm water, then in indigo water, and they are fit for drying. The soda can be procured cheap, by purchasing it in large quantities. It is a good plan to save the dirty suds after washing, to water your garden if you have one, it is also good to harden sandy cellars and yards.

35. To clean Silk and Woolen Shawls.

Pare and grate raw potatoes, put a pint of it in two quarts of clear water. Let it stand for five hours, then[106] strain the water and rub through as much of the potatoe as possible; let it remain until perfectly clear, then turn off the water carefully. Put a clean white cloth on a table, lay the shawl on it and pin it down tight. Dip a clean sponge into the potatoe water and rub the shawl with it till clean, then rinse the shawl in clear water. When nearly dry, mangle it; if you have not a mangler, wrap it up in a clean white cloth and press it under a heavy weight till perfectly dry. All the grease spots and stains should be taken out of the shawls, before they are washed with the potatoe water.

36. To clean Silk Stockings.

Wash the stockings in mildly warm hard soap suds, rinse them in soap suds and if you wish to have them of a flesh color, put in a little rose, pink or cochineal powder; if you prefer a bluish cast, put in a little indigo. Hang them up to dry without wringing, when nearly dry, iron them on the right side, till perfectly so. If you wish silks of any kind to have a gloss on them, never rinse them without soap in the water.

37. To clean Carpets.

Carpets should be taken up as often as once a year, even if not much used, as there is danger of their getting moth eaten. If used much they should be taken up two or three times a year. If there is any appearance of moths when carpets are taken up, sprinkle a little black pepper or tobacco on the floor before the carpets are put down. Shake the dust out of the carpets, and if they are so much soiled as to require cleaning, rub a little dry magnesia or grated raw potatoes on them; the potatoes should be rubbed on with a new broom. Let it remain until perfectly dry before walking on it. If there are any grease or oil spots on[107] the carpet, they should be extracted before the potatoe is rubbed on. They can be extracted by grating on potter's clay, covering it with brown paper and a moderately warm flat iron or warming pan. It will be necessary to do it several times to get out the whole of the grease.

38. To clean Feather Beds and Mattresses.

When feather beds become soiled or heavy, rub them over with a brush dipped into hot suds. When clean lay them on a shed or railing, where the rain will fall on them till they get thoroughly soaked, let them dry in a hot sun for a week, shaking and turning them over each day. This way of washing the beds makes the feathers fresh and light, and is much easier than the old fashioned way of emptying the beds, and washing the ticking and feathers separately, while it answers quite as well. Hair mattresses that have become hard and dirty, can be made nearly as good as new ones, by ripping them and washing the ticking, picking the hair free from bunches, and keeping it in an airy place several days. When the ticking gets dry fill it lightly, and tack it together.

39. To clean Light Kid Gloves.

Magnesia, moist bread and India Rubber, are all of them good to clean light kid gloves, if rubbed on thoroughly.

40. To remove Ink or Grease spots from Floors.

Ink spots can be removed by scouring them with sand, wet with water that has a few drops of oil of vitriol in it. Great care is necessary in using it, as it eats holes if suffered to remain long without having something put on to counteract its effects. When[108] rubbed on floors, it should be rinsed off immediately with weak pearlash water. Oil and grease spots can be removed by grating on potter's clay thick and wetting it, it should remain on till it has absorbed all the grease; if brown paper and a warm iron is put on, it will come out much quicker. Pearlash water and sand is also good to extract grease and oil, they should be rubbed hard, then rinsed directly.

41. To clean Mahogany and Marble Furniture.

They should be washed in water without any soap. A little oil rubbed on them occasionally gives them a fine polish. White spots on varnished furniture can be removed by rubbing them with a warm flannel cloth dipped in spirits of turpentine. It is said that ink spots can be extracted by rubbing them with blotting paper rolled up tight.

42. To clean Stone Hearths and Stoves.

If you wish to preserve the original color of free stone hearths, wash them in clear water, then rub them with a stone of the same kind pounded fine, let it remain until dry, then rub it off. If the hearths are stained, rub them hard with a free stone. Hot soft soap or soap suds, does very well to wash hearths in, provided you have no objections to their looking dark. For brick hearths use redding mixed with thin starch and milk. Varnished stoves should have several coats of varnish put on in summer so as to get quite hard before being used. They should be washed in warm water without any soap, a little oil rubbed on once or twice a week, improves the looks of them. Black lead is good to black stoves that have never been varnished, but it will not do where they have been. It should be rubbed on dry once or twice a day.

43. To clean Brass.

Rotten stone and spirit, is better than any thing else to clean brasses with. Acids make them look nice at first, but they will not remain clean long, they are also apt to spot without a great deal of care is used. When brass andirons are not in use, they should be thoroughly cleaned with rotten stone, and rubbed over with oil, and wrapped up tight.

44. To cleanse Vials and Pie Plates.

Bottles and vials, that have had medicine in them, can be cleaned, by putting a tea spoonful or two of ashes in them and immersing them in cold water, the water should then be heated gradually until it boils. When they have boiled about half an hour, take them from the fire, and let them cool gradually in the water. Pie plates that have been baked on many times, are apt to impart an unpleasant taste to pies. It may be remedied by boiling them in ashes and water.

45. Cautions relative to Brass and Copper.

Cleanliness has been aptly styled the cardinal virtue of cooks; food is not only more palatable cooked in a cleanly manner, but it is also more healthy. Many lives have been lost in consequence of carelessness in using copper, brass and glazed earthen utensils. No oily or acid substance should be allowed to cool or stand in them. Brass and copper utensils should be thoroughly cleaned with salt and hot vinegar before being used.

46. To keep Pickles and Sweet Meats.

Pickles should be kept in kegs or unglazed earthen jars. Sweetmeats keep best in glass jars, unglazed[110] earthen jars do very well. If the jar is covered with a paper wet in spirits, the sweet meats are less liable to ferment. Both pickles and sweet meats, should be looked to occasionally to see that they are not fermenting, if so, the vinegar or syrup should be turned from them and scalded. If pickles grow soft, it is owing to the vinegar's not being strong enough; to make it stronger, scald it and put in a paper wet with molasses, and a little alum.

47. Starch.

To make good flour starch, mix the flour with a little water till free from lumps, thin it gradually with more water, then stir it slowly into boiling water. Let it boil five or six minutes stirring it frequently, a tallow candle stirred round in it several times makes it smoother. Strain it through a thick bag. Starch made in this manner will be free from lumps, and answers for cotton and linen as well as Poland starch. Many people like it for muslins. Poland starch is made in the same manner as flour starch. When rice is boiled in a pot without a bag, the water that it is boiled in is as good as Poland starch for clearing muslins, if boiled by itself a few moments and strained. Muslins to look very clear, should be starched and clapped while the starch is hot.

48. To temper New Ovens and Iron Ware.

New ovens before being used, to retain their heat well, should be heated half a day. The lid should be put up as soon as the wood is taken out. It should not be used to bake in the first time it is heated. Iron utensils are less liable to crack if heated gradually before they are used. New flat irons should be heated half a day, to retain their heat well.

49. To temper Earthen Ware.

Earthen ware that is used to cook in, is less liable to crack from the heat, by being put before they are used into cold water and heated gradually till the water boils, then taken from the fire and left in the water until cold.

50. Preservatives against the Ravages of Moths.

To prevent woolen and fur articles of dress, from getting moth eaten when you have done wearing them, put them in a chest with cedar chips, camphor gum or tobacco leaves.

51. To drive away various kinds of Household Vermin.

A little quicksilver and white of an egg beat together and put in the crevices of bedsteads, with a feather, is the most effectual bed bug poison. A solution of vitriol is also a good thing rubbed on walls that are infested by them. Hellebore with molasses rubbed on it, is an excellent thing to kill cockroaches, and put round the places that they are in the habit of frequenting. Arsenic spread on bread and butter, and placed round in rat holes, will put a stop to their ravages very speedily. Great care is necessary in using all these poisons where there are children, as they are equally as fatal to human beings as vermin. The flower of sulphur sprinkled round places that ants frequent, will drive them away. Half a tea spoonful of black pepper, one of sugar and a table spoonful of cream mixed and kept on a plate, in a room where flies are troublesome will soon cause them to disappear. Weak brine will kill worms in gravel walks. They should be kept moist with it a week, in the spring, and three or four days in the fall.

52. To keep Meat in hot Weather.

Cover it with bran, and keep it where there is a free circulation of air, away from the flies. A wire safe is an excellent thing to preserve meat from spoiling.

53. To Prevent polished Cutlery from rusting.

Knives, snuffers and other steel articles, are apt to rust when not cleaned frequently. To prevent it wrap them tight in coarse brown paper, when not in use. Knives and forks should be perfectly free from spots and well polished when not in use. They should also be wrapped up, each one by itself, so as to exclude the air.

54. To melt Fat for Shortening.

The fat of all kinds of meat, excepting mutton and hams, makes good shortening. Roast meat drippings and the liquor that meat is boiled in, should stand until cold to have the fat harden so that it can be taken off easily. Cut your scraps of fat into small pieces, and melt them slowly without burning, together with the fat from your drippings. When melted, strain it and let it remain until nearly cold, then pour in a little cold water. When the fat forms into a hard cake, take it up and scrape off the sediment that adheres to the under side, melt it again and when lukewarm sprinkle in a little salt. The dregs of fat are good for soap grease. This shortening answers all the various purposes of lard very well, excepting in the warmest weather. In using it for pies it is necessary to use considerable butter with it. The fat of meat should not be suffered to lie more than a week in winter without melting, and in summer not more than two or three days. Mutton fat and the fat of beef, if melted into hard cakes, will fetch a good price at the tallow[113] chandler's. It is much more economical for housekeepers to put down their own pork, than to buy it already salted. The leaves and thin pieces that are not good for salting, should be cut into small bits and melted, then strained through a cullender with a cloth laid in it, as soon as it begins to thicken sprinkle in a tea cup of salt, to twenty or thirty weight of the lard; stir it in well, then set it away in a cool place. Some people have an idea that pork scraps must be fried till very brown in order to be preserved good the year round, but it is not necessary if salt is put in.

55. To preserve Eggs fresh a Year.

Mix a handful of unslacked lime with the same quantity of salt, two or three gallons of water. If eggs that are perfectly fresh are put in this mixture, they will keep good a year in it, provided none are cracked.

56. To preserve Cream for long Voyages.

Take cream that is fresh and rich, and mix it with half its weight of powdered white sugar, stir the whole well together, and preserve it in bottles corked very tight. In this state it is ready to mix with tea and coffee.

57. Substitute for Milk and Cream in Tea or Coffee.

Beat the white of a fresh egg in a bowl, and turn on to it gradually boiling tea or coffee. It is difficult to distinguish the taste from rich cream.

58. To Cure Butter.

Take two parts of the best common salt, one part of sugar and one of saltpetre, blend the whole well[114] together. Mix one ounce of this composition well with every sixteen ounces of the butter. Close it up tight in kegs, cover it with an oiled paper, and let it remain untouched for a month. Butter cured in this manner is very nice, and will keep good eight or nine months, if not exposed to the air.

59. To make salt Butter Fresh.

Put four pounds of salt butter into a churn, with four quarts of new milk and a small portion of annatto. Churn them together, take out the butter in the course of an hour, and treat it like fresh butter, working in the usual quantity of salt; a little white sugar improves it. This is said to be equal to fresh butter in every respect. The salt may be got out of a small quantity at a time, by working it over in fresh water, changing the water several times.

60. To take Rankness from a small quantity of Butter.

Take a quantity that is to be made use of, put it into a bowl filled with boiling water with a little saleratus in it, let it remain until cold, then take it off carefully and work it over with a little salt. By this method it is separated from the grosser particles.

61. Windsor Soap.

To make this celebrated soap for shaving and washing the hands, nothing more is necessary than to slice the best white soap as thin as possible and melt it over a slow fire. When melted take it up, when lukewarm scent it with the oil of caraway or any other oil that is more agreeable, then turn it into moulds and let it remain in a dry situation several days. It will then be fit for use.

62. To make Bayberry or Myrtle Soap.

To a pound of bayberry tallow, put a pint of potash lye, strong enough to bear up an egg. Boil them together till it becomes soap. Then put in half a tea cup of cold water, let it boil several minutes longer. Take it off, and when partly cooled put in a few drops of the essence of wintergreen, pour it into moulds and let it remain several days. This soap is good for shaving, and is an excellent thing for chapped hands and eruptions on the face.

63. Cold Soap.

To twenty pounds of white potash put ten of grease, previously melted and strained. Mix it well together with a pailful of cold water, let it remain several days, then stir in several more pailsful of cold water. Continue to pour in cold water at intervals of two or three days, stirring it up well each time. As soon as the water begins to thin it, it is time to leave off adding it. This method of making soap is much easier than any other, while it is equally cheap and good. If you have not land to enrich with your ashes they can be disposed of to advantage at the soap boiler's.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ultimate Comfort food

The simple potato...ultimate comfort food.  Thought you would enjoy some vintage recipes...



Boiled Potatoes.

If the potatoes are new, wash clean, and put into boiling water; boil thirty minutes, and serve immediately. As they grow older, scrape the skin off before boiling. For old potatoes, have a sharp knife with a thin blade; and pare the potatoes, having the skin as thin as possible. They are very much better if they stand in cold water a few hours before boiling; then put them in boiling water, and boil thirty minutes. When they have boiled fifteen minutes, throw in a handful of salt. When done, turn off the water, and let them stand on the back part of the range three minutes; then, shake them up once, and turn into the dish, and send to the table.

Baked Potatoes.

Be very particular to wash every part of[50] the potato clean, as many persons eat the skin. Put them in a pan (have an old one for this purpose), and bake in a moderate oven fifty minutes. There is such a difference in ovens, that each one must learn for herself what the time will be for each; for some will bake in less time, and some will take much longer than the time designated.

Fried Potatoes.

Pare and slice thin raw potatoes, and let them stand in cold water several hours; if in summer, put a piece of ice in the water. Cut the slices lengthwise of the potato. Have ready a basin with boiling drippings or lard, drain the potatoes a minute in a cullender, and drop them into the boiling fat, and fry a light brown; take them out with a skimmer, and lay them in a dry cullender, which should be placed in a tin pan, and set in an open oven. There should be as much fat as for frying doughnuts, and there should not be any more potatoes put in at a time than will fry brown and not[51] stick together. Have the basin in which you fry quite deep, as there is danger of the fat boiling over when the potatoes are put in. When you take the potatoes up, dredge a little salt over them. When potatoes are cooked in this manner, they will be light and crisp. If they do not get cooked enough at first, they are very much improved by dropping them into the fat for one minute, after they have been standing in the oven a while.

Fried Boiled Potatoes.

Cut the potatoes into slices, and fry in either pork fat or nice drippings. Have just fat enough in the pan to prevent their sticking, and sprinkle with salt while cooking. When these are brown, take them up and put in a little more fat, and fry as before.

Potatoes warmed with Pork.

Cut about eight slices of pork into pieces[52] about half an inch square, and fry a nice brown. Have ready one dozen cold potatoes cut into slices, and turn them into the pan with the fried pork, and dredge in a little salt and pepper, then stir and cut them into small pieces with the knife. When a light brown, serve.

Potatoes warmed in Gravy.

Slice cold potatoes as for frying, and turn them into the frying-pan, and to a dozen potatoes add a pint of cold gravy. Season with pepper and salt, and stir, and cut with a knife, until they are hot and in small pieces.

Fricassee of Potatoes.

Cut cold boiled potatoes into small squares, and put them in a basin with milk, pepper, and salt, allowing half a pint of milk to a dozen potatoes. Set the basin into another of hot water, and when it comes to a boil, add a tablespoonful of butter, and set on the stove, and let it boil up once, then serve.

Boiled Sweet Potatoes.

Wash and boil, with the skins on, forty-five minutes. They are much better baked than boiled, and I would cook them so generally.

Baked Sweet Potatoes.

Wash and wipe dry, and bake one hour. Do not cook squash when you have sweet potatoes.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pineapple Bavarian Cream

PINEAPPLE BAVARIAN CREAM

Dissolve a package of Lemon Jell-O in half a pint of boiling water and add half a pint of juice from a can of pineapple. When cold and still liquid whip to consistency of whipped cream. Add a cup of the shredded pineapple. Pour into mold and set in a cold place to harden. Turn from mold and garnish with sliced pineapple, cherries or grapes.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Crisp Fried Potatoes


Mom always soaked her potatoes in ice water before frying and made the best french fries.  I followed the tradition and never questioned why we did it.  I did notice that the 'starch' from the potatoes always settled to the bottom of the dish.  Not too long ago I ran across a recipe that called for 'potato starch' and realized maybe I should have been saving what was in the bottom of those bowls all these years.  It's funny what we pour down the drain these days when in the past it was saved for a new dish.  How often do you throw away the water from boiled pasta?  Ever think of using it for the base of your next soup?


Crisp Fried Potatoes

Crisp potatoes have as much to do with the temperature of the fat, which should be about 350 deg. to 375 deg. Fah., as it does with the potatoes.  To be crisped by deep frying, should first be soaked in cold water for twenty to thirty minutes, then dried perfectly before immersing in the fat. Also, they should be removed from the fat the moment they are done, and drained dry.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving Corn Cake

Thanksgiving Corn Cake

Self-Rising Corn Meal - 2 cups
Self-Rising White Flour - 2 cups
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Buttermilk - 1 cup
Sour Cream - 3/4 cup
Eggs - 4
Butter, melted - 1/3 cup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 11 x 7 rectangular pan or 8 inch square pan.  Sift together cornmeal, flour, and sugar.  Add milk, sour cream, eggs and melted butter, gradually stirring until well mixed.Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Memories



This time of year can be difficult. The stress of making the perfect Thanksgiving dinner falls on new and experienced cooks. Some of these dishes are only made once a year, so that really increases the pressure. While Thanksgiving is definitely about enjoying some delicious food, it's mostly about making some great memories.
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I can remember Mom buying each piece of this set of china. The sets were being sold in the local grocery store. With each grocery purchase, you could purchase a piece of china at a discounted price. Mom and I worked very hard to get just enough pieces to debut the set at our Thanksgiving table that year. While we didn't have every piece, there was enough for the dinner table.
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That dinner table had been used for years. While it was wooden, it had the most indestructible finished top. I think you could pour a gallon of water on it and it would never penetrate the wood. I remember laying my head on the cool surface when I was a child and crying with an ear ache. We played cards and Scrabble at that table. Decades of breakfasts and suppers sat upon it. At Thanksgiving, an extra leaf was added and it was covered with one of Grandma's white tablecloths. 
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This particular year, later referred to as the year of the china, Mom and I worked really hard to make sure the table was set 'just right'. I'll blame Mom, but it was probably my idea to take a picture of the 'set' table with the turkey in the center. After our photo shoot, we needed to move the table a little more to the center of the kitchen. Mom was on one end and I on the other when we picked up the table. That moment still plays like slow motion in my memories. Our beloved table, after decades of service, picked that moment to break in half. Mom and I gazed in horror as our brand new china began sliding toward the turkey in the center. We couldn't let go of the table and we couldn't grab the china. I'm not sure who screamed first, but the menfolk came running. Being men, they grabbed the turkey first. Mom and I screamed in unison 'the dishes, get the dishes!'. The only thing keeping everything from sliding to the floor was the tablecloth wrapped around the ends of the table we were still holding. It seemed like it took forever for those dishes to be moved. Mom and I just knew that they'd be chipped an broken before we had a chance to use them.
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Well, not a chip or scratch could be found on any plate. I guess that is the mark of really good china! Mom cried over the broken table, but we borrowed one from Grandma for Thanksgiving dinner. After all the usual chaos of Thanksgiving, the food was wonderful. All of us together, eating on new china and a borrowed table, made for a perfect Thanksgiving. In the end though, it's the memory of us holding that broken table, laughing and crying, that still stands out after all these years.
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Happy Thanksgiving!