Friday, June 03, 2011

Cookery for the Maid of all Work.

Day seven without a computer, but life and my iPad go on as if all is right with the world. Today I make it easy for myself by letting my chosen text do most of the talking. The title is what made it my choice for the day - Cookery for Maids of All Work (London, 1856)

The title page sums up the attitudinal expectations:

A GOOD SERVANT WILL NOT REPLY TO A MISTRESS, NOR
LISTEN TO EVIL THINGS SAID OF HER.
SAUCY ANSWERS DO NO GOOD.
LET SILENCE BE THE BEST ANSWER A SERVANT CAN MAKE.
UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES NEVER UTTER AN UNTRUTH.
BE HONEST IN DEED, BE HONEST IN WORD.
DRESS ACCORDING TO PLACE, AND AS THE FUTURE WIFE OF AN
HONEST WORKING MAN SHOULD DO.

The preface goes into detail as to the specific chores, after delivering the following address:

ADDRESS.
Much of the comfort of numerous households depends upon that very useful person, the "Maid of All Work." Yet she is generally found to be totally unfitted for her situation both by education and habit. Being early sent from home to gain her own living, she first of all gets a place to drag children about, then as time goes on, to help a little in the house, then to do a little washing—to cook after a fashion—and she then begins to look out for a better place, asking high wages, and professing to be a good plain cook, though she does not even know what it means, never imagining it is to cook a plain joint and vegetables well, and as well as the first cooks in the land can do it. Thus she disappoints her mistress ; but if that mistress would enquire previous to engagement how the intended servant cooked any articles of food, such as to fry fish, or to boil a leg of mutton, there would be much less disappointment; as a mistress must know that if a servant cannot clearly describe in what manner she would set about cooking a particular article, neither can she perform it. Cookery is no random art to be acquired by guessing, and though its rules are simple, they must be rigidly followed.

Now: back to the 21st century: You may think you operate as the maid of all work in your own home, especially if you are the mother of small children, but be thankful that there are some chores that are no longer on today's list - such as the following, for example:

Table Salt [How to prepare for the table]
Dry two lumps of salt, grate one against the other into a hair sieve, then sift. To divide large pieces of salt, take a kitchen knife, and hammer or poker, place the knife across as if to divide, hammer the knife into the salt, it will then fall into pieces.

For today's recipe, I give you, from the book, a recipe for sausages from scratch, but without the skins.

To Make Sausages Without Skin.
Chop very finely any cold or raw meat with a little of the fat; add one-third of sifted bread crumbs; mix separately equal portions of salt, pepper, and dried sifted sage, with a little ground allspice; mix this with the meat. Obtain a funnel, with the end, or pipe, nearly as large round as an egg-cup, and of a finger's length (a funnel can be made of this size for one shilling, and is very useful for filling tea or coffee canisters); dip this end in flour, also flour a plate; push the meat very hard through the funnel on to the plate; roll the rolls of meat well in flour (all this should be prepared the day before wanted). Have ready a small frying pan of boiling dripping or lard ; beat up an egg white and yolk, with a spoon baste the rolls with the egg; take them up with an egg-slice, place them in boiling fat, and well brown; drain them dry from fat; have ready some toast, either dry or buttered on one side; cut to the size of the sausages, serve them on this with sprigs of parsley round.

Quotation for the Day.

Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see how they are made.
Otto Von Bismarck (1815-1898

2 comments:

Jesse said...

I believe that quote at the end just made my day.

It's hard to imagine such a strict standard of loyalty to be expected of employees.

Marcheline said...

Mmmmmmmmm... sausage!

It always makes me wrinkle my brow when I see how many rules were in existence for the lowest on the totem pole of life. On one hand they're saying "you're worthless" and on the other they're making every word, every breath, every glance of the eye of huge importance.