Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hints on Economy.

I just cant resist sticking with Jennie June's American Cookery Book (1870) for a couple more days, as it still has treats in store for us.

Today I give you in their entirety the ‘Hints on Economy’ from the book. I particularly draw your attention to the exhortation to wear pretty morning dress (protected by an apron of course), because it is advice entirely lacking in every modern cookery book I have ever read.

PROVIDE ON SATURDAY for Monday, so as not to take up the fire with cooking, or time in running errands, any more than is possible on washing day.
WAIT TILL ARTICLES, fruit, fish, poultry and vegetables, are in full season, before purchasing. They are then not only much lower in price than when first brought to market, but finer in quality and flavor.
OUTSIDE GARMENTS, bonnets, cloaks, hats, shawls, scarfs and the like, will last clean and fresh much longer, if the dust is carefully removed from them by brushing and shaking after returning from a ride or a walk.
WHEN YOUR APPLES begin to rot, pick the specked ones out carefully; stew them up with cider and sugar, and fill all your empty self-sealing cans. In this way you may keep in nice apple sauce till apples come again.
PICKLE OR PRESERVE JARS should be washed in lukewarm or cold water, and dried in the sun or near the fire. Hot water cracks the polished surface of the inside, and renders them unfit for their specific use.
NEVER ALLOW CHILDREN to eat butter with meat or gravy; it is both wasteful and injurious.
HOT BUCKWHEAT CAKES will go farther and last longer than any other single article of food. A celebrated judge declared that he could remain in court all day, without feeling a symptom of hunger, after a breakfast of buckwheat cakes.
A STEW is not a bad dish for a family dinner, once a week; make it of good meat, and savory with sweet herbs, and the most fastidious will not object to it.
RISE EARLY on fine summer mornings, and throw all the windows of the house open, so that it may exchange its close atmosphere, for the cool, fresh air. Have the work done before the heat of the day comes on, and save it as much as possible during the warmest weather.
TAKE CARE OF THE FOOD that is brought into the house, and see that none of it is wasted; but do not be always on the lookout for cheap things. Beans are cheap, and very good sometimes; corn meal is cheap too, and even more available, because it can be made into a great variety of dishes, but people would not care to live on beans and corn meal all the time, because they are cheap. Eating is intended as a means of enjoyment, as well as of sustaining life; and it is right to avail ourselves of the abundant resources provided, as far as we can consistently.
USE TEA LEAVES, or short, freshly cut grass, to sprinkle upon carpets before sweeping. It will freshen up the colors, and save the usual cloud of dust.
HAVE EVERYTHING CLEAN, on Saturday night, something nice for tea, and also for Sunday morning breakfast. Let the approach of the Sabbath be anticipated in all things, with pleasure. Stay at home with the children on Sabbath evening, and finish the day with a sacred concert.
ALLOW NO HOLES, or corners in the house, in drawers, on shelves, or in closets, for the stowing away of dirty rags, old bottles, grease-pots, and broken crockery. When bottles are emptied, let them be cleaned, and put down in the cellar, until they are wanted. Harbor no dirty grease pots, and when an article is broken past recovery, throw it away at once; there is no use in keeping it to collect dust, and cobwebs.
MAKE A POINT of examining safe, refrigerator, closets, drawers, and all receptacles for food, and kitchen articles, at least as often as once a week, either Saturday, or washing day. Look into pickle jars, bread jars, cake jars, butter tubs, apple, and potato barrels, everything in fact, examine their condition, see if they are kept covered and clean, and that food put away, is not left to spoil, or be wasted.
THE FEWER SERVANTS THE BETTER--two requires a third to wait upon them, and so on ad infinitum. Have good servants however, pay good wages, and make them responsible for their work.
IF IT IS POSSIBLE, and when there is a will there is a way, call your household together, after breakfast every morning, and have domestic worship, be it ever so short. A verse of a hymn, a passage from the Bible, and just a few words of heartfelt prayer, and praise, sets everything right for the day, smooths ruffled tempers, and puts the domestic machine in nicely running order. It is also no bad preparation for the temptations and annoyances of business.
BEFORE SWEEPING a room, have the furniture, and especially all the small articles, dusted and removed. This keeps them looking fresh, and new.
WEAR PRETTY MORNING DRESSES; they are inexpensive, and easily preserved from injury, by a large calico apron enveloping the skirt of the dress, and sleeves of the same kind, gathered into a band, top, and bottom, and extending over the elbows. These can be slipped on and off in a minute, and with a bib added to the apron in front, affords complete protection, while engaged in dusting, making pastry, and the like.
ALWAYS HAVE YOUR TABLE served neatly, and then if friends "happen in," you will not be ashamed to ask them to share your meal. Be hospitable, if it is only a crust, and a cup of cold water; if it is clean and good of its kind, there is no reason to blush for it; the hearty welcome will make amends for the absence of rich viands.
IF CHILDREN WANT ANYTHING between meals, which they should not, give them a cracker, or an apple; do not encourage an irregular and unhealthy appetite, by giving them pie, cake, or ginger-bread.

The obvious choice for the recipe for the day is the buckwheat cakes from the book.

Buckwheat Cakes.
Take equal quantities of buckwheat, Indian meal and Graham flour, to make one quart, add half a cup of new yeast, a tea-spoonful of saleratus, a little salt and enough good milk, or luke warm water to make a thick batter. Set it near the fire to rise, and when risen, cook them in a well buttered griddle.

Quotation for the Day.

“That's a good girl. I find you are perfectly qualified for making converts, and so go help your mother to make the gooseberry-pie.”
 Oliver Goldsmith  (1730-1774)

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