Friday, February 19, 2010

Cooking Songs.

If you are trying to teach ‘the younger generation’ in your household to cook in the hope that they will take over some of the responsibility for meal preparation, but are finding them rather lukewarm to your instruction, perhaps you could try an idea developed by a certain nineteenth century New York City school mistress.

Mrs J.B.Romer was the author of Cooking and Sewing, Songs and Recitations for Industrial and Mission Schools, (1889). Mrs. Romer says “In teaching cooking classes to classes of children, I have found bright and cheerful songs very helpful and inspiring”, and she expands on her theme in the book’s Introduction.

The success which has attended the introduction of cooking into industrial and mission schools has surprised its most enthusiastic and sanguine advocates. A few years ago it would have been thought impossible to teach cooking to a class of fifteen little girls of ten and twelve years of age. But the experiment has been fully tried, and it has been proved that this can be very satisfactorily done.
A little daughter is soon able to cook the simple meals when the mother goes out to work, and, as she learns neatness and economy in the cooking school, she puts her lessons in practice in her home. The mother learns from her child that with her small earnings she may have better food and a more inviting table, and she is generally quite ready to adopt the new school methods which the little cook so earnestly advocates. Many of the mothers, having been always employed in shops and factories, do not understand the first principles of cooking, and do not know howto prepare properly a simple meal for their families. The little girl becomes the teacher, and the mother soon begins to cook from the school recipes, and finds to her surprise that cheap articles of food may be made both palatable and nourishing. This knowledge is imparted to other mothers in the same house, and so the influence extends. A child who has been properlytrained in a cooking class can do more in a tenement house to improve home living than a missionary visitor.

The sample song from the book does double-duty as the recipe for today. Just get your own little darlings to memorise the words (I am sure they know the tune), and look forward to listening to it as you lie abed next Sunday morning while they are whipping up breakfast for you.

Omelet Song.
Tune – “Pop goes the Weasel.”

First open out two nice fresh eggs,
Be careful not to spatter;
Whip up the whites to a stiff foam,
The yolks to a stiff batter.
Add to the yolks a little milk.
About a gill you'd better;
Then season as you have been taught
With salt and pepper.

Then lastly add the beaten whites,
And stir in very lightly;
Unless you heed with care this rule,
Your dish may be unsightly!
Have ready in a frying-pan
A good-sized piece of butter,
Put on the stove and wait until
You hear it sputter !

When this shall hiss, you'll know it's hot,
And for the mixture ready;
So put it in, and do not spill -
Your hand you must keep steady.
Now watch it till the form is set.
Then place in a warm oven;
Be careful not to let it scorch,
That would look sloven.

This omelet I think should cook
Ten minutes to the letter;
And when it's done should look like gold,
And taste very much better !
Reverse upon a nice warm plate,
Be sure you do not break it ;
With pleasure to the dining-room
Now you may take it.

Quotation for the Day.
Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.
G.K Chesterton.


Anonymous said...

Gah! How dreadful. I attempted to sing it, and it did not scan one bit!

Heiko said...

I love that! I like a bit of music while cooking. Maybe I should make up some songs for some different recipes.

CDR said...

hello there. Just passing by to your site showing some support. Please feel free to do the same.

tasteofbeirut said...

I think my daughter would gladly learn the song, play it on her ukelele and still would not touch a pot or pan!

Sheila Crye said...

Wow! What goes around, comes around. Working women in the 19th century had little time or energy to cook. By teaching the girls basic healthy cooking skills, the whole family benefited.

I am using the same logic today in youth culinary education--except today the cooking role is no longer restricted to the female gender.

Anonymous said...

How fascinating. I am teaching children with severe and complex learning difficulties and we sing all the time. I stumbled on your blog when doing a search to start a cooking lesson!! So there truly is nothing new under the sun - well done to that teacher of long ago.