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Title: What to Eat, How to Serve it

Author: Christine Terhune Herrick

Release date: February 13, 2016 [eBook #51197]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Edwards, Christian Boissonnas and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


Title Page

What to Eat

How to Serve it




Copyright, 1891, by Harper & Brothers.

All rights reserved.

[Pg iii]


The Dining Room 1
At the Breakfast-Table 16
More about Breakfast 24
The Invalid's Breakfast 32
A Breakfast-Party 40
Family Breakfasts for Spring 48
Family Breakfasts for Summer 58
Family Breakfasts for Autumn 68
Family Breakfasts for Winter 77
At Luncheon 88
A Small Luncheon 96
A Large Luncheon 104
A Standing Lunch 112
The Lunch Basket 120
Family Lunches for Spring 128
Family Lunches for Summer 137
Family Lunches for Autumn 147
Family Lunches for Winter 157
Dinner at Night 165 [Pg iv]
Dinner at Noon 173
The Sunday Dinner 181
The Small Dinner-Party 188
A Large Dinner 196
Family Dinners for Spring 204
Family Dinners for Summer 213
Family Dinners for Autumn 221
Family Dinners for Winter 230
What Shall We Eat? 239
The Children's Table 247
The Family Tea 255
Afternoon Tea 263
High Tea 271
Some Hints about Supper 279
China and Glass 288
Linen and Silver 296
Index 305

[Pg 1]

What to Eat

How to Serve it


Letter T

THE apartment in which the members of a family assemble three times a day for meals must be pleasant. There is a chance to escape from any other part of the house. The business man rarely sees his drawing-room until after the shades are drawn and the lamps lighted. The wife and mother divides her time between nursery, sewing-room, and kitchen, while school-children are out of the house nearly as much as they are in it—at least during their waking hours. But no matter how widely the little flock may be scattered by their different employments, always twice and often three times a [Pg 2] day they are all together in this common rallying-place of the home.

Only in the houses of the wealthy, or of those possessed of exceptionally large dwellings, is there found a breakfast-room other than that in which are eaten all the meals of the family. English mansions frequently possess both a family and a state dining-room, and the same custom prevails in some of the private palaces of our own millionaires; but in the average American home one room must do duty for every repast, whether simple or superb; and in our large cities this apartment is too likely, alas! to be situated in the basement.

The immeasurable superiority of a dining-room built above-ground over one even partially beneath it hardly needs demonstration—it is more cheerful, more airy, and as a consequence more healthful, better lighted, of finer proportions, and more susceptible of effective decoration and furnishing—the advantages might be continued ad infinitum. No one who has ever had the pleasure of using an up-stairs dining-room can contentedly [Pg 3] descend to one below the level of the street. Apart from every other consideration, such rooms are very liable to be damp. It is not uncommon to have carpets grow musty and mouldy on their floors, or to find a perceptible dampness on their walls. These faults may be to some extent remedied by a layer of thick felt paper under the carpet, and by good fires and constant and thorough ventilation.

A few housekeepers express their preference for basement dining-rooms because of the nearness of these to the kitchen, and the work saved thereby. This is an important consideration in houses where but one maid is kept. Her work as cook and waitress is almost doubled when she has to run up-stairs to remove the dishes from the dumb-waiter, and then fly back to her kitchen between the intervals of waiting on the table. In the country and in country towns it is the rule rather than the exception to find the kitchen in the L, or as an extension, and on the same floor with the dining-room and parlor, but in the majority of city houses the apartment [Pg 4] in which the family gathers at meal-times is a little below ground. When this is the case, and when there is no possibility of converting the back parlor up-stairs into a dining-room by introducing a dumb-waiter and pantry, or when expediency or want of space precludes such a change, the best must be made of existing circumstances, and the efforts redoubled to render the despised basement as pleasant as possible.

The wall-paper must never be dark in a room like this, which at the best of times is never too light. Choose instead a creamy ground well covered with some small figure, or, better still, an ingrain paper of a solid color—a soft gray, a pale green, a cream, or one of those indescribable neutral tints that make good backgrounds, and furnish well but not obtrusively.

Unless the room is wainscoted with wood, a very pretty and inexpensive substitute can be made of India matting, secured at the top by a narrow band of wood moulding. The matting can be washed off with salt and water whenever it needs cleansing. An excellent [Pg 5] plan is that of having the walls done in hard finish, and then painting this. The surface can then be scoured as often as it becomes stained or specked, and will always look neat and fresh. An additional coat of paint can be put on when the first becomes worn or faded.

In a rented house the tenants must, of course, take what they can get, and in many cases the landlord is unwilling to make changes. Still, pretty pictures, draperies, neat furniture, and a well-set table will do wonders, even for a room that appears unpromising at the outset.

It never pays to purchase an expensive carpet for the ordinary dining-room. Something durable should be selected, like an ingrain of a mixed color, or with a minute, closely-set figure. Better still is a rug, an art square, or a Smyrna rug, neither of which is high-priced, while either is satisfactory both in appearance and in wearing qualities.

The floor should be stained or painted, for a distance of from two to three feet [Pg 6] from the wall all around the room, in a neat dark color. Borders of wood-carpeting are handsome and last a long time, but are costly, and one does not often find hard-wood floors in a rented house. The rug may be either laid loosely or tacked down around the edges.

The draperies in a dining-room should not be heavy. Not only do such darken the room, but they catch and retain the odors of food, and hold constantly in their folds depressing reminders of former feasts. Scrim, lace, or light Madras or China silk, decorates the room and softens outlines without impeding the entrance of light or air. Shades are essential, and so should be also window-screens from the appearance of the first fly in the spring until the last one has vanished in the fall.

An open fireplace in a dining-room is unsurpassed for cheer and comfort there, as it is everywhere. A screen should always be in readiness to temper the glow and glare while the family are at meals. The chimney is a potent aid to ventilation, and helps to [Pg 7] disperse those odors that will collect in the best-ventilated salles à manger, and which are so appetizing before meals and so unpleasant afterwards.

Basement dining-rooms are seldom too cold. If they are heated by a register or a stove, or even by a coal fire in the grate, the constant struggle of the housekeeper is to prevent their becoming uncomfortably warm. Vicinity to the kitchen has much to do with this, and is in summer-time a serious draw-back to comfort. An equable temperature must be striven for by frequent airing at all seasons, and during the heated term by shading the windows, and by keeping, as much as possible, the doors shut that communicate with the kitchen. One advantage at least is possessed by the basement dining-room in summer. In common with the cellar, or with any other partially subterranean chamber, it is cooler than one that is above ground and thus unprotected from the hot air without.

The best method of artificially lighting a dining-room is hard to decide. Nothing is [Pg 8] prettier or pleasanter than candle-light, and it is preferable to gas or lamps in that it does not heat a room perceptibly. But candles are expensive, if enough are used to produce a respectable illumination, and nothing is more dismal than eating by a dim light. Good candles are costly, and cheap ones not only give a poor light, but drip and smoke and smell, and are otherwise intolerable. A new style of candle has recently been introduced which is pierced through its length with three holes. These tiny pipes are supposed to carry off the melted wax, and their advocates claim that these candles will not drip on the outside.

Except on state occasions, candles are barred out for people of moderate means, and they must have recourse to lamps or gas. The light should always be suspended above the table, except, of course, where candles and candelabra or a tall-stemmed lamp are used. A side-light does not serve the purpose of a central one, for some one must always sit with his back towards it, and his plate is thus in a perpetual eclipse. [Pg 9] Pretty hanging lamps come at all prices, but it never pays to get a cheap one. It may do very well for a time, but before long the burner will be out of order; the machinery by which the wick is turned up or down will prove refractory, and repairs will do little good. The only efficient way of mending a poor lamp is by buying a new one.

Among the best-known makes of lamps there is one with a powerful burner which gives a clear, steady flame, equal to two or three ordinary gas-jets. The only draw-back connected with it is the intense heat it radiates, which makes it objectionable in summer. Such a lamp costs about seven dollars, is furnished with a large ground-glass shade, and supplied with fixtures and a chain, by means of which it may be raised and lowered at pleasure.

Whichever is used, gas or kerosene, the glare should always be softened by a shade of some kind. Globes of ground or colored glass may be used on gas-burners, or, if they are of clear glass, the light may be subdued by the Japanese half-shades, which can be [Pg 10] slipped over the lower half of the globe. A pretty fashion is that of fastening a Japanese umbrella, stick upwards, under the chandelier, although this darkens the table too much, unless there is a strong light above it. If any member of the family suffers from weak eyes, and is distressed by the light that is none too brilliant for the others, quaint paper-screen shades, also of Japanese make, may be hung on the side of the globe towards the sufferer. The long pliable wires attached to these shades permit them to be twisted at almost any angle. Or the fancy paper screens which imitate roses, pond-lilies, sunflowers, and the like may be hung on the globes.

There has been a good deal of discussion among furnishers as to what style of picture should be hung in a dining-room. One declares that the stereotyped paintings and engravings of fruit, fish, and fowl are the only appropriate works of art for this room; while another argues that it is enough to see the food in its prepared condition upon the table, without being forced to contemplate it in its [Pg 11] natural state upon the walls. The wise course to follow seems to lie between the two. Really pretty pictures of game birds or fish, or of fruit or flowers, are undoubtedly in their place in a dining-room, but there is no reason why every other kind of picture should be excluded. Pastoral or marine scenes, genre pictures, almost anything except family portraits, may fitly be placed there. Their place is in the library, the sitting-room, or in the large hall, if there be one.

Nothing should hang in the dining-room that is not good of its kind. A cheap chromo, a poorly executed drawing or water-color, or an indifferent photograph annoys beyond words the unfortunate wight who has to sit opposite it for an hour or two each day.

The furniture of a dining-room should be durable, even if its owners cannot afford to have it very handsome. Cheap chairs and table are out of place here. Even those who cannot afford leather-upholstered chairs and a heavy mahogany or black-walnut or oak [Pg 12] dining-table may get solid, durable substitutes. Cane seats for the chairs, and an unpolished top for the table, are better than showy—and cheap—elegance. A square table generally allows more space to those seated about it than does a round one. Almost any amount of money may be expended upon a sideboard, but a good one may be purchased at no great outlay. In addition to this, if space permits, there should be a table, with a shelf or two above it, to serve as a dinner-wagon. This is almost a necessity when the vegetables are passed instead of being placed on the table, and it is also useful for holding relays of clean plates, etc.

The amount of furniture that is useful and appropriate in a dining-room is of necessity limited. Besides the articles already named, there may be a china press or cabinet, an easy-chair or two, or even a sofa. The last is a boon to an invalid or convalescent, who grows weary of a long séance in a high, straight-backed chair. The couch may be forced to serve a double purpose by being made in the form of a long box, broad and [Pg 13] low, covered with cretonne, denim, or any other durable material, and provided with a hair mattress on the top. When two or three square pillows are added to this, behold a comfortable divan, that will at the same time be a receptacle for the table-linen. Some such coffer as this is almost a must-have in a dining-room, unless the china closet is provided with drawers.

A wall cabinet for choice pieces of china is a pretty ornament for a dining-room, and so is an over-mantel. The latter may consist of two, three, or more shelves, and should be solid at the back, as small hooks may then be screwed in, upon which to hang tea or coffee cups. These shelves may extend the full length of the mantel, or occupy only part of the space. In any case they are excellent for displaying such pieces of china as one may not wish to keep concealed in the depths of a china closet. Nothing very delicate that will be injured by dust should stand here.

A corner cupboard adds to the beauty of a room, and may either be bought ready-made, or built to fit some especial corner. The [Pg 14] lower part of the cupboard may have a solid wooden door, while glass doors for the upper part permit a view of the glass or silver stored there.

Blessed is that woman whose house contains a butler's pantry. Too often the fine china and glass must either be washed in the kitchen, or else in a dish-pan brought into the dining-room. When a pantry is lacking, there should be a butler's tray to hold the solid dishes. Such a tray may be closed, and put out of the way when not in use. A folding screen covered with Japanese pictures, with wall-paper, or with some textile fabric, may conceal the door to the pantry, or the slide by which dishes enter the dining-room, or may cut off the corner in which stands the butler's tray.

To the woman of quick wit and ready fingers countless are the opportunities provided for beautifying her dining-room. She may drape her mantel and conceal the ugly marble, using for this stamped Madras, or silkolene, both of which are pretty and cheap; she may make covers for her sideboard, [Pg 15] rich with drawn-work and embroidery; she may set a box of growing plants in the window, and tend them, so that she may always have a vase of fresh blossoms or of green sprays for the centre of the table; and she may expend boundless energy in the manufacture of doilies, tray-cloths, and the thousand and one dainty pieces of linen dear to the housewife's soul.

[Pg 16]


Letter E

EVERYTHING in reason should be done to make the breakfast a tolerably pleasant meal. Very cheerful or jovial it seldom is. The father is in a hurry to get to his office or business, and usually buries himself in the morning paper; the children are burdened with the thought of approaching school duties; the mother is silently mapping out the line of her day's operations, and is disinclined to conversation. Add to this that all are apt to be more or less dominated by the physical depression of tone and passive discomfort so well known that one judge is fabled to have refused to ordain capital punishment for a man convicted of having committed a murder before breakfast. Until after that meal, even the best-tempered are prone to petulance, while those of a taciturn nature are quiet to the verge of what looks like sullenness.

[Pg 17]

Here, as everywhere, upon the mother devolves the burden of the family well-being. If her face is cast down and gloomy, its reflection is seen in the countenances of all those about her; while if she is bright and sunny, there is a perceptible rise in the spiritual thermometer. Only by making a positive duty of cheerfulness is it practicable sometimes for the mother to conquer the weariness and languor, the aching head, and the loathing for food, that are so frequently a woman's morning portion. The discomfort the other members of the family know is increased tenfold in her case if a restless child, an ailing baby, or worry over financial or domestic matters has robbed her of part of her night's sleep.

A good deal may be done to create an atmosphere of pleasantness by due attention to the condition of the room. Unless it has been left in spotless order the preceding evening, either the maid or one of the family must bestow some attention upon it beyond putting the breakfast on the table. No crumbs from the last repast should disfigure [Pg 18] the carpet; no dust of yesterday's raising should be thick upon the furniture. The windows should have been open long enough to change the air of the room; then, in cold weather, been closed a sufficient length of time before the entrance of the family to allow the atmosphere to become comfortably warmed. The vase of flowers or the growing plant that ought to grace the centre of every table should have a drink of fresh water, and be ready to do its part in brightening the board. The table should be carefully set, the food well cooked, and promptly served. And, above all, there should be a sincere and conscientious endeavor on the part of each member of the household to sink his own disagreeable feelings, and to do all in his power to contribute his share towards the sum total of the family cheerfulness. Conversation on pleasant topics should be encouraged, and the items of morning news distributed to all, not monopolized by the one in possession of the paper.

No amount of accustomedness should ever induce the mistress of the house to condone [Pg 19] carelessness on the plea that there is no one present but the family. Just because it is "only home folks," everything should be at its brightest. There is no necessity for urging the parade of pretty china, the preparation of tempting dishes, when an honored guest is to be served. Should not even more pains be taken to have everything attractive and appetizing when those are to be fed who have not the charm of novelty to act as sauce, and to whom the ordinary methods of cookery may seem stale and hackneyed?

The table should always appear at its best at breakfast-time. A colored cloth is economical as well as pretty, for it does not show every spot or splash with the readiness of a white cloth. There is a large variety of these table coverings from which the housekeeper may make her selections, ranging in beauty and price from the plain, comparatively cheap red cloth with light figures to the exquisite pieces of fine damask, gorgeous with embroidery, and with a lace-like border of drawn-work. For common daily use, the judicious choice will probably lie somewhere [Pg 20] between these, either in a buff, a buff and scarlet, a buff and blue, or one of the beautiful Holbein cloths that come, with the dozen napkins, at about eight dollars the set. The ground in these is well covered, and they have the advantage of being nearly as pretty on the wrong side as they are on the right. Another recommendation is that they wear admirably, one at least within the writer's knowledge having been in constant use for between four and five years without showing a sign of old age, except in the thinning of the fringe, while the body of the cloth remained without a break. The delicate tints of the worked pattern will fade with frequent washing, so that blue and pink would better be avoided, and the preference given to the scarlets and buffs, which hold their own well.

The cloth is saved by the use of mats under dishes. Those of straw or wicker-work are apt to become soiled and stained, and are not readily cleansed. On the contrary, those which are knitted, netted, or crocheted may be washed every week, if necessary. It is [Pg 21] almost impossible to find a waitress so careful that once in a while a dish will not be brought to the table with a black rim on the bottom, or wet or greasy with something spilled where it has been standing on the kitchen-table. Wherever this touches, the cloth beneath is disfigured, and it is better to protect it against such misadventures by the use of mats in the first place than to be forced to conceal the blemishes afterwards by "setting the table to humor the spots."

Worked and fringed doilies are pretty substitutes for mats, and when there is a cover of felt on the table under the damask cloth—as there should always be—they are thick enough to guard the varnished table-top from injury from the hot dishes. A carving-cloth should be spread under the meat-platter, and will generally by the close of the meal bear upon its surface eloquent testimony to the service it has done in saving the table-cloth.

While it is no sign of stinginess not to have one's best and most fragile china for constant use, poor judgment is shown when only plain heavy white ware is employed for [Pg 22] the family when they are alone. Decorated porcelain is cheap nowadays, and makes a table look extremely pretty. Each one of the household should have his own especial oatmeal set, either the bowl, plate, and pitcher, or one of the deep saucers that come for this purpose in dark blue and white ware, with a plate to match, while the cream or milk may be held for common use in one good-sized pitcher, to be served by the mother, or passed to each, as may seem best. Every tea or coffee drinker should have his own cup and saucer, and in his imagination his favorite beverage will taste better from that cup than from any other.

There is little chance to make mistakes in setting the breakfast-table. The hostess has the tray before her, and serves the tea, coffee, or chocolate. At the other end of the table is the principal dish, presided over generally by the master of the house, while biscuit, bread, muffins, or griddle-cakes and potatoes have their posts at the sides. An oatmeal set stands at each place, accompanied by the knife, fork, and spoon, tumbler, napkin, [Pg 23] butter-plate—unless the oatmeal course is preceded by one of fruit, when fruit plates, with fruit napkins and finger-bowls, should hold the first place.

With the fresh room, the bright cloth, the shining glass and silver, the vase of flowers, the appetizing food, one must be either very dyspeptic or a confirmed pessimist who does not feel a slight rise of spirits as he takes his place at the breakfast-table.

[Pg 24]


Letter I

IN the majority of the homes where fruit is served for breakfast it appears as a first course. Countless are the headaches to which this custom has given rise among those whose stomachs resent the introduction of the acid as the earliest nourishment of the day. The choice should always be given each eater between beginning with fruit or reserving it as a final course. When it is served last it acts as a pleasant neutralizer of the solid or possibly greasy food that has been already consumed, and sends one from the table with what children call "a good taste" in the mouth.

The habit of eating some cereal for breakfast is happily becoming almost universal. There are comparatively few households in which porridge of one sort or another does not appear on the breakfast-table, and it is usually relished by both children and elders. [Pg 25] It need not be always of oatmeal. There are numerous varieties of cereals in the market at present, and an occasional change will prevent any one's wearying of the wholesome dish. With cracked wheat, cerealine, wheat-germ meal, wheatena, wheat, oat, and Graham flakes, corn-meal mush, hominy boiled plain, hominy boiled in milk, and a number of others to choose from, there is no reason why any one should have occasion to complain of monotony. Cream adds greatly to the toothsome qualities of any one of these preparations, and may usually, even in the city, be procured in sufficient quantities to allow a modicum for each of the elders. The healthy appetites of the children rarely need this encouragement.

The tea should always be made on the table when it is possible, as by this means there need be no doubt that the water used in its concoction is actually boiling. The "loud-hissing urn" is a decided addition to the beauty and brightness of the table, especially when the "urn" is in the form of a pretty brass or copper kettle, swinging from [Pg 26] one of the tall cranes known as a "five-o'clock tea." Some people prefer making the coffee on the table too, and this is possible when a Vienna coffee-pot or a French drip coffee-pot is used. The only trouble is that the coffee in the latter pot is apt to cool before it has stood long enough to extract the full strength of the berry.

The tea-cozy should never be lacking, and it is not a bad plan to have a similar wadded cap with which to cover the coffee-pot. One of the prettiest and best kinds of tea-cozy is the covered Japanese basket with a thick stuffed lining, in which the china teapot is set. These are not costly, and will outwear the ordinary cozy made of silk, woollen, or chamois-skin. When the lining of the basket is worn out, it may easily be renewed.

The substantial part of our American breakfast is not marked by much variety. At nearly all of them will be found the steak, chops, or cutlets, varied once in a while by fish, a hash, or a stew, semi-occasionally by a dish of eggs. Potatoes in some form—stewed, baked, boiled, or fried—are in order, [Pg 27] and these are flanked by a plate of hot biscuit or muffins, or oftenest by successive instalments of griddle-cakes.

There is no use in adding further to the diatribes that have been written and spoken against the American breakfast. Such as it is, it appears to be here to stay, and it is a waste of time, breath, and energy to attempt a radical reform. All one can hope to do is possibly to modify it, and lighten its sameness by suggesting dishes that may please the palate and not impair the digestion. The adoption of the Continental breakfast has been vainly urged, and it is an open question whether or not the habit ever survives transportation. The American climate and mode of life differ so much from those of the Continent that other fashions must be followed here than those which prevail there. Many families, who during a long foreign residence have found quite sufficient for their matutinal meal the coffee or chocolate, the rolls and butter, possibly supplemented by fresh eggs or a little marmalade, have conscientiously endeavored to pursue the same [Pg 28] custom upon their return to this country. In not a single case within the writer's cognizance has the attempt proved other than a failure, recognized as such at the end of a few months. Autre pays, autres mœurs.

While the children are still young, the entire family usually breakfasts together. The obligation upon the younger members of reaching their schools at a given hour forces them to be on time, although there are homes in which the wretched practice is observed of permitting the school boys and girls to rush in at the last moment and gulp down a few mouthfuls, hurrying off to their recitations after having thus successfully sown the seeds of future dyspepsia. As the sons and daughters grow into manhood and womanhood, they drift more and more into unpunctual habits. The breakfast-table is left standing well on into the middle of the morning, and sundry plats are kept hot in the oven for Mr. Jack or Miss Mamie, who has been out late the night before. Often the demands of business require the young man to be down in season, but there are no [Pg 29] such claims obliging his sister to quit her couch at a—to her—unseasonable hour. As a consequence, what should be one of the family gathering-places becomes little better than a hotel breakfast-room, where the guests come and go as suits themselves. Besides all other considerations, the work of the servants is increased, and their own duties are crowded out by the necessity of being in readiness to serve these tardy ones.

At the first glance it may seem harsh to exact the prompt appearance at the breakfast-table of the girl who has danced until after one o'clock in the morning, and whose head has not touched her pillow until an hour or two later. But the habit of self-indulgence fostered by such concessions, does the girl no good. Is it any harder for her to rise betimes than it is for the weary mother, whose domestic cares forbid her lying in bed? Does not this indolence to a certain degree unfit the daughter for the duties that will devolve upon her when she in turn becomes a wife and mother?

One sensible matron, who still held the [Pg 30] reins of family government as firmly when her children were grown as when they were first short-coated, always insisted on promptness at the breakfast-table. "Human beings are gregarious," she would say, "and they should eat together. If you are tired and sleepy, take a nap later in the day, but be on hand at breakfast-time."

Of course there may be exceptions to this rule, and here the maternal judgment must appear. More privileges can be allowed to the delicate, nervous girl, than to the strong, robust one; but then the former should avoid late hours and dissipation. An occasional morning nap does no harm; but there is little rhyme or reason in permitting the young, healthy members of the family to be the lie-abeds.

Without encouraging any disposition to "finicalness" concerning food, special attention should be paid to individual preferences in catering for the family breakfast. Children are apt to take whims, and these should not be fostered; but when either a child or an older person has a decided distaste for [Pg 31] some article of food, he cannot be forced into a fondness for it. Better is it to humor his idiosyncrasies by preparing something that he will eat. In a private family it may be out of the question to cook a separate breakfast for each one, but a little forethought will enable the housekeeper to so arrange her menu that every one will have at least one dish to his or her taste. This is not a difficult matter, unless there is the unusual combination of a large family and very distinct preferences. Generally there is so much in common that trifling varieties in the bill of fare will accommodate each person.

[Pg 32]


Letter F

FOR the invalid there is often no possibility of the slight stimulus to appetite produced by the change of air from one room to another. Breakfast, the hardest meal of the day to many well people, is doubly difficult to one who must eat it in the same room where she has spent the night—perhaps many nights—of feverish restlessness, that has given her a detestation of the bed, the bedroom, and everything connected therewith, chiefest of all being the disgust with herself, the weary, distraught being with aching limbs, heavy head, and ill-tasting mouth.

When feasible, the invalid should be taken from bed to eat her regular breakfast, previously strengthening her by a cup of beef-tea, of chicken or oyster broth, or a glass of hot milk, or of hot milk and seltzer. First of all, however, the face and hands should be sponged off in tepid water and dried quickly, [Pg 33] and the mouth well rinsed out. Then, refreshed and stimulated by this and the warm draught, a little more elaborate toilet may be made, always allowing a few moments for the settling of the stomach after the food before the dressing begins. A more thorough bathing, a combing of the hair, a change of linen, the slipping on of a warm dressing-gown, and the moving to another couch or an easy-chair will not be a prolonged piece of work if the attendant is quick and deft, and has everything in readiness for bath and toilet.

A great advantage is gained when the invalid can be wheeled or supported into another room, and have a completely changed air and scene in which to take her meal. But when this is impracticable the room should be well aired before the patient is taken out of bed, and as soon as she is established on her couch or in her chair, and this placed as far as possible from the bed, the covers of this should be stripped off and carried from the room. Every piece of cast-off linen, every receptacle containing soiled water, everything [Pg 34] that recalls the fact that this is a sleeping-room and that can be removed, should be banished. A screen should be set between the patient and the bed, and if the chamber still seems close, she should be bundled up while another draught of fresh, pure air is allowed to rush into the room. After all this, when a table bearing an attractive breakfast is moved to the invalid's elbow, she is usually quite ready to partake of it.

In many cases it is out of the question for the patient to leave her bed, and then the coaxing of the appetite is a more difficult task. The very fact of being in bed seems to render eating almost an impossibility to some people. The woman who complained petulantly that everything she ate in bed tasted of the blanket and pillows, only voiced the sentiments of a multitude of her sisters. Among some women, breakfast in bed is esteemed a luxury; but it is one thing to take it there from choice, and quite another to be forced to do so by weakness or ill-health. Still, with due care, it may be made less distasteful [Pg 35] than would seem practicable at the first glance.

The preliminary sponging, mouth-washing, and hot drink should take place in this as in the other case. Then, after a brief rest, during which the windows should have been opened for a few minutes, and closed long enough to allow the room to regain a comfortable temperature, the task of rearranging the bed and its occupant should be begun. Clean linen and pillows should be at hand, and the patient be sponged off, have her hair combed, be arrayed in another night-dress, moved to the other side of the bed, and provided with a fresh pillow, as expeditiously yet gently as may be. Then, when the soiled clothing has been removed, the room been once more aired and warmed, the patient may be raised on pillows and her breakfast brought to her. There is an admirable little table which may be arranged above the patient's knees, and is a great comfort to any one compelled to take her meals in bed for any length of time.

Nothing should be left untried to render [Pg 36] the invalid's breakfast tempting. The tray should be covered with a spotless cloth, the china, silver, and glass should be of the best the house affords, and the same napkin should never be offered a second time.

The tea or coffee cup and the egg-glass should be filled with boiling water, that they may not cool what is put into them. A pretty little pot should hold the tea or coffee, and there should be a tiny cream-jug and sugar-bowl. A vase containing a few flowers, preferably those without a heavy perfume, should grace the tray, and in the preparation of the food every evidence should be given of the loving thoughtfulness that has left unsought no means of lightening the discomfort of the sufferer. Where there is no bed-table, there should be another tray, smaller than that in which the breakfast is brought. This may then be placed on a stand or chair beside the bed, while the other holds the cup or plate upon the patient's lap. A large napkin or clean towel should always protect the bedclothes from food that may possibly be spilled upon them, for few things are more [Pg 37] unpleasant to a sick person, especially to one afflicted with a squeamish stomach, than the sight of a spot of egg, coffee, or grease on sheet or spread. When such an accident occurs, the stained article should always be promptly exchanged for a fresh one.

The meal over, every vestige of food and every reminder of the repast should be at once removed, the patient's face and hands again sponged off, the pillows shaken and turned, and the invalid's position changed. Should any odor of food remain, the room may once more be aired.

Peace and quiet must reign while the invalid eats. If visitors are to be admitted it must not be at that time. Only one or possibly two members of the family, and those the quietest ones, may be present, and the conversation must be pleasant and cheery. No distressing topics must be broached, no references except encouraging ones made to the invalid's state of health. In the delicately balanced condition of nerves which generally afflicts a sick person, very little [Pg 38] will serve to upset the equilibrium and to effectually banish appetite.

All that love's ingenuity can suggest should be done to provide a variety of food for the invalid. After a little while she usually tires of what impatient men, under similar circumstances, stigmatize as "slops," and wearies for something more substantial and appetizing than gruels, broths, and soft toast. In those cases where solid food is forbidden by the physician, catering is more difficult, but often a convalescent is permitted to eat a greater variety of food than is offered her. Cream soups, clear soups, broiled birds, a bit of tenderloin steak, a lamb chop, a tiny baked omelet, raw, stewed, and roast oysters, broiled and fricasseed chicken, poached and soft-boiled eggs, a bit of venison, dishes of rice, sago, and tapioca, jellies, custards, blanc-manges, fruits, plain ice-cream—there is almost no end to the dainty menus that can be arranged. Every meal should be a surprise; there should be no discussion in the invalid's presence of what she can eat, although every reasonable wish she expresses [Pg 39] for any article of food should be gratified, if feasible. The sick one's lot is hard enough at the best, and no expedient should be left untried to ameliorate it.

[Pg 40]


Letter L

LARGE breakfasts, or déjeûners à la fourchette, are not a very common form of entertainment in this country, and yet they may be made charming. Unlike luncheons, where there are usually only women present, both men and women may be invited to a breakfast. The hour is usually twelve, although it may be a little earlier or later. One o'clock is the latest hour which it is advisable to set for a breakfast.

The number of guests invited is optional, but a small party, consisting of from six to twelve, is pleasanter than a crush. Indeed, unless one has an exceptionally spacious salle à manger, it is difficult to accommodate comfortably more than a dozen guests, and an over-crowded table is always unpleasant. The writer preserves a vivid memory of a dinner she once attended where fourteen people were packed about a table of the [Pg 41] proper size for ten guests. There was hardly room for the waiters to pass the dishes between the convives. Each one elbowed his neighbor, and what might have been a delightful repast became a struggle at close quarters with the difficulties of getting through the courses without nudging his next companion, knocking over his glass, or materially interfering with his eating.

At a ceremonious breakfast the table should be spread with a handsome breakfast or lunch cloth, either of pure white, hem-stitched or adorned with drawn-work, or one containing more or less color. If the table is very handsome, the cloth may be left off. The floral ornamentation is less formal than at a dinner. There may be a bowl of flowers in the centre of the table, but quite as pretty as this are three or four graceful vases scattered here and there, each holding a few choice blossoms, and supplemented, if the table is large, by a few tiny globes or little dishes filled with short-stemmed flowers that look well, massed, like pansies, violets, primroses, etc., mixed with plenty of delicate [Pg 42] feathery green. If a central ornament for the table is desired, there is nothing prettier than a wicker or metal basket filled with growing ferns, grasses, or lycopodium, with possibly one or two plants in bloom among them.

In setting the table for a large breakfast, a plate, napkin, water-glass, and a butter-plate holding a tiny pat or ball of butter, are laid at each place, and a salt-cellar also, if individual salts are used. At the right of each plate is the silver butter-knife, and one other knife; to the left is the fork. The taste of the hostess must decide the point of placing more small silver than is needed at each course by the plates when the table is first spread. Laying it all at once saves waiting, but some good authorities ordain that a waiter should bring in a fresh knife and fork with each course for each guest, while others, equally reliable, advocate placing the knife and fork upon a cold plate in front of each person at the beginning of every course. The guest instantly removes them, and a hot plate is substituted by the [Pg 43] waiter for the cold one before the next dish is passed. This system involves much additional waiting, and should not be attempted unless an exceptionally well-trained butler is in charge.

The little dishes of bonbons, marrons, and glacé fruits that are always en règle at a luncheon should not appear on the breakfast-table. There may, however, be olives, radishes, and salted almonds placed here and there.

The first course should consist of fruit. The plates, holding each its doily, finger-bowl, fruit-knife, fork, and spoon, may be on the table when the guests enter the room, or be put there as soon as they are seated. The variety of fruit offered must be decided by the time of year. When they are in season, nothing could be more delicious than big strawberries, served uncapped. These may be passed in a dish, and each guest allowed to help himself. Sugar into which to dip the berries may then be served to each. Prettier still is it to place in front of each guest a plate bearing a tiny decorated basket filled [Pg 44] with the berries. The sugar may be in tiny individual sugar-cellars or be passed in a bowl. Unless the berries are fine large ones, it is better to serve them hulled, and to eat them with sugar and cream. In that case they are eaten from saucers.

Peaches, pears, apricots, nectarines, etc., in summer, and oranges, apples, mandarins, bananas, and the like in winter, all add greatly to the beauty of a breakfast-table when they are garnished with leaves and heaped upon a large flat salver, or in a cut-glass bowl, or an open-work one of china or silver.

After the fruit may come a course of oysters cooked à la poulette, broiled, steamed, panned, or in croquettes. For these may be substituted lobster or crab in some form, if preferred, or both the oysters and the other may be served in successive courses. Next may come some such entrée as sweetbreads roasted, broiled, fricasseed, or in vol-au-vent with mushrooms, or chickens may be served in some such dainty form as pâtés, timbales, à la marengo, or au suprême. Next are chops, cutlets, or small beef tenderloins, with [Pg 45] potatoes in some fanciful style. There should be no other vegetable. French bread or rolls must be passed frequently.

The next course may consist of a game pie, either cold or hot, or of boned fowl, and may be followed by a salad. The name of these is legion, but the plain lettuce salad is better reserved for dinner, and in its stead at breakfast there may be served something like tomatoes and lettuce with mayonnaise dressing, celery mayonnaise garnished with radishes, and accompanied by crackers and cheese, or a fruit-salad of oranges, grape fruit, or pineapple.

The dessert may be of any cold sweets, and if ices are used they should be of the punch order—one of the many varieties known as Roman, Siberian, creole, cardinal, etc. If crackers and cheese are not served with the salad, they may be passed at the close of the breakfast. Brie, Gorgonzola, or Roquefort may be used.

At a breakfast of ceremony the tea or coffee tray is never placed on the table, but breakfast coffee or cocoa is served in large [Pg 46] cups after the fruit, and is passed by the butler, instead of being poured by the hostess. Tea may also be offered. Wines are not strictly selon les règles at a breakfast, although occasionally claret is served about the middle of the meal.

The waiting at such a breakfast as this is about as ceremonious as it would be at a luncheon. No large dishes are placed on the table, but everything is passed by the butler or waitress. Each dish may go the rounds, and the guests be allowed to help themselves, or a plate containing a portion may be placed by the butler in front of each person. The guest always helps himself to cheese and hors-d'œuvres, but the ices are served separately on plates. Bouquets de corsage, boutonnières, cards and menus are not necessary at a breakfast.

A wedding breakfast is conducted on much the same line as that described above, except that there are usually fewer hot and more cold dishes served, such as salmon, lobster, or chicken à la mayonnaise, boned turkey and chicken, pâté-de-foie-gras, jellied tongue [Pg 47] and fowl, and a greater variety of such sweets as creams and jellies. Wines, too, are quite comme il faut.

The giving of a breakfast need not be a matter of dread to the hostess who has confidence in her cook and waitress. The menu suggested may be so modified or increased as to make it as simple or as elaborate as preference may dictate. A breakfast is a pleasant style of entertainment, for, while both sexes are admitted, as at dinner, there is not the formality of dress essential at that meal, the men appearing in morning coats, and the women in handsome high-necked and long-sleeved house or calling costumes.

[Pg 48]


Letter W

WHILE the principal features of the home breakfast remain essentially the same throughout the year, variety is gained by adapting the different articles of food to the season of the year in which they are served. A lighter, less carbon-producing diet is not only more agreeable, but more healthful, in warm weather than one containing much animal food, while the latter is preferable and almost necessary in winter. To this consideration is added the eminent propriety of making one's bills of fare seasonable, and thus achieving fitness and economy.

With the desire to aid the housewife in her labors, a few selected menus for each meal and each season will be given, none of them too costly to be beyond the reach of people of moderate means, and appended to [Pg 49] each bill of fare will be recipes for the preparation of certain dishes therein mentioned which may possibly be unfamiliar to the readers of these chapters.

Cracked Wheat.
Parsley Omelet. Corn Muffins.
Buttered Potatoes.
Tea. Coffee.

Parsley Omelet.—Five eggs, two tablespoonfuls milk, one tablespoonful butter, one tablespoonful finely minced parsley; pepper and salt to taste. Beat the whites and yolks of the eggs separately and very light; add the milk to the yolks and stir in the whites, not mixing them in thoroughly, however; season to taste. Pour into the omelet pan in which the butter has been heated, and set over the fire in a moderately hot spot. Keep the omelet from adhering to the pan by slipping a knife between them from time to time. Just before the omelet is "set," sprinkle it thickly with the chopped parsley. When done, fold one half over the [Pg 50] other, slip to a hot dish, and serve at once, as it falls quickly.

Corn Muffins.—One and a half cups flour, one and a half cups yellow corn-meal, three tablespoonfuls sugar, two tablespoonfuls butter, two eggs, one and a half cupfuls milk, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder, half teaspoonful salt. Sift the salt and baking-powder with the flour; beat the eggs light; add the milk, the butter (melted), and the sugar. Stir in the flour and meal; beat hard, and bake in muffin-tins.

Buttered Potatoes.—Slice cold boiled potatoes, heat them in a steamer, thence transfer them to a hot dish. Put on them a large tablespoonful of butter into which have been worked a teaspoonful of chopped parsley and a saltspoonful of lemon juice. Set the dish, covered, over hot water for two minutes, and serve.

Cerealine Porridge.
Creamed Cod, with Potatoes. Griddle Muffins.
Coffee. Chocolate.

Creamed Cod, with Potatoes.—To two cupfuls [Pg 51] of boiled cod, salt or fresh, well picked to pieces, allow one cupful of mashed potato. Season to taste. Put into the frying-pan over the fire with a half-cupful of milk and a large tablespoonful of butter. Stir and beat constantly while it heats, and soften it by adding to it boiling water at discretion. When a creamy, smoking mass, transfer it to a hot dish. If you have drawn butter in the house, or sauce tartare, or egg sauce left over from the first appearance of the fish, this may be used in place of the milk and butter.

Griddle Muffins.—One egg, one tablespoonful butter, one cupful milk, one teaspoonful baking-powder, pinch of salt, flour enough to make a soft dough. Mix the milk, beaten egg, and melted butter together; sift the baking-powder and salt into one cupful of the flour; then add the rest; roll out the dough as thick as for biscuit, cut into rounds with a biscuit-cutter, and bake slowly on a griddle, turning when done on one side. Tear open, and butter while hot.

[Pg 52]

Graham Brewis.
Baked Mince. Feather Muffins.
Water Cress.
Stewed Prunes.
Tea. Cocoa.

Graham Brewis.—Two cups milk, one tablespoonful butter, one saltspoonful salt; Graham bread crumbs at discretion. Heat the milk in a double boiler, stir in the butter and salt, and add the Graham crumbs until the brewis is as thick as ordinary oatmeal porridge; cook ten minutes, and eat with butter, or butter and sugar.

Baked Mince.—Two cups chopped beef, one cup mashed potato, half an onion minced, one cup gravy or one cup boiling water, and a tablespoonful of butter, two teaspoonfuls Worcestershire sauce; pepper and salt to taste. Mix the ingredients well together, and put into a greased pudding-dish; sprinkle a few fine crumbs over the top; set in the oven and brown.

Feather Muffins.—One cup flour, one cup milk, lump of butter the size of an egg, one teaspoonful baking-powder, pinch of salt, [Pg 53] two eggs. Beat the eggs light, the whites and yolks separately. Into the latter stir the milk, the flour, with which has been sifted the salt and baking-powder, and the butter, melted. Last, add the whipped whites, and bake in a quick oven.

Oatmeal Porridge.
Scallop Patties. Graham Gems.
Baked Potatoes.
Tea. Coffee.

Scallop Patties.—Cook a pint of scallops in their own liquor for ten minutes. Take out the scallops and add to the liquor a tablespoonful of butter rubbed smooth with one of flour, and pepper and salt to taste. Return the scallops to this sauce, and let it just come to a boil. Fill scallop-shells with the mixture, sprinkle fine crumbs over them, dot with bits of butter, and brown in the oven. Pass lemon with this.

Graham Gems.—Two cups Graham flour, two cups milk, two eggs, two teaspoonfuls butter, two teaspoonfuls sugar, pinch of salt. [Pg 54] Melt the butter, warm the milk, and stir these into the unbeaten eggs. Add the flour and salt, and beat well before baking in heated gem-pans in a hot oven.

Corn-meal Hasty Pudding.
Broiled Fresh Mackerel. Saratoga Potatoes.
Buttered Toast.
Tea. Coffee.

Wheat-Germ Meal.
Curried Eggs. Rice Muffins.
Strawberries and Cream.
Tea. Cocoa.

Curried Eggs.—One cup good gravy, six hard-boiled eggs, one teaspoonful curry-powder. Heat the gravy; stir into it the curry-powder wet up in a little cold gravy or water, and lay the eggs, each sliced in three, in the scalding gravy. Set the saucepan at the side of the stove where it will not boil, and let it stand ten minutes before sending to table.

Rice Muffins.—One cup boiled rice, two eggs, two cups flour, one tablespoonful melted butter, pinch salt, three cups milk. Stir [Pg 55] together the milk, eggs, butter, and salt; beat in the rice and flour; bake quickly.

Graham Porridge.
Broiled Steak. Stewed Potatoes.
Omelet Bread.
Coffee. Cocoa.

Omelet Bread.—Half-cup flour, three eggs, one tablespoonful melted butter, one teaspoonful sugar, pinch of salt, milk enough to make thick batter. Beat the whites and yolks of eggs separately, and very light; stir the butter, flour, milk, salt, sugar, and yolks together, and add the frothed whites; pour into a well-greased tin pan, and bake, covered, on the top of the stove; uncover and brown in the oven; eat immediately.

Crisped Smoked Beef. Brown Biscuit.
Chopped Potatoes.
Coffee. Chocolate.

Crisped Smoked Beef.—Boil slices of smoked beef for five minutes; take them [Pg 56] out, dry, and put into the frying-pan with a tablespoonful of butter; stir about until crisp, but not too dry.

Brown Biscuit.—One cup white flour, two cups Graham flour, two tablespoonfuls lard, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder, a little salt, milk enough to make a soft dough. Handle the dough as little as possible, and bake quickly.

Hominy boiled in Milk.
Poached Eggs. Fried Bacon.
Raspberry Short-cake.
Tea. Cocoa.

Raspberry Short-cake.—Four cups flour, two cups milk, two tablespoonfuls lard, or lard and butter, three teaspoonfuls baking-powder, salt, one quart raspberries. Roll out a little more than half the dough into a sheet to cover the bottom of a deep biscuit-pan. Spread the berries thickly on this, sprinkle with sugar, and of the remaining dough make a top crust. Bake in a steady oven, cut into squares, and eat hot with butter and sugar, or with sugar and cream.

[Pg 57]

Cracked Wheat.
Broiled Chicken. Saratoga Potatoes.
Boston Brown Bread.
Coffee. Chocolate.

Boston Brown Bread.—One cup Indian-meal, one cup rye-meal, half-cup white flour, one cup milk, half-cup molasses, pinch salt, one small teaspoonful soda. Sift the meal, flour, soda, and salt together, work in the milk and molasses, pour into a well-greased brown-bread mould, and boil two hours, taking care that the water in the outer vessel does not come to the top of the mould. Unless you have a late breakfast, it is well to cook the bread the day before, and warm it the next morning.

[Pg 58]


Letter A

AS the season advances and the warm weather becomes settled, the preference should be given to fish and egg dishes rather than to those containing meat. For a sultry morning a breakfast of which fruit makes an important part is welcome generally to both palate and digestion.

The many kinds of delicious fresh fish that may easily be procured should hold a prominent place in summer bills of fare; while eggs, usually plentiful and cheap at this season, may be prepared in various tempting fashions.

Moulded Cerealine.
Broiled Shad. New Potatoes.
Rye Gems.
Tea. Cocoa.

Strawberries.—When served as a first [Pg 59] course at breakfast, it is better to have them unhulled, and to eat them with the fingers, dipping each berry into powdered sugar.

Moulded Cerealine.—Prepare the cerealine as usual the day before, and fill small cups with it. Turn it out the next morning, and eat cold, with cream.

Rye Gems.—Three cups rye-flour, three cups milk, three eggs, one tablespoonful sugar, one tablespoonful butter. Beat hard and bake quickly.

Red Raspberries.
Shad Roes in Ambush.
Potato Croquettes. Dry Toast.
Tea. Coffee.

Shad Roes in Ambush.—Two shad roes, four hard-boiled eggs, one cup milk, one tablespoonful flour, two teaspoonfuls butter; pepper and salt to taste. Lay the roes in boiling water, and let them simmer for ten minutes. Drain this off, pour cold water upon them, and let them stand in this for [Pg 60] ten minutes; then take them out, and set them aside until wanted. Separate the whites and yolks of the boiled eggs, chop the whites coarsely, and rub the yolks through a sieve. Make a white sauce by heating the milk and thickening it with the butter and flour rubbed together. Rub the shad roes to pieces with the back of a spoon, taking care not to crush the eggs too much. Stir them into half of the white sauce, season, let them stand on the fire long enough to be heated through, and pour into a pudding-dish. Mix the whites of the eggs with the rest of the sauce, and cover the shad roes with this; last, strew the powdered yolks over the top. Cover closely, and set in a hot oven for three minutes.

Boiled Hominy.
Chicken Mince. Raw Tomatoes.
Green Corn Fritters.
Blackberries and Cream.
Tea. Cocoa.

Chicken Mince.—From the bones of a cold roast, boiled, or fricasseed chicken cut [Pg 61] all the meat, and mince it fine with a sharp knife, chopping with it two hard-boiled eggs. Stir this into a cup of gravy, or, if you have none, use instead a cup of white sauce made as directed in "Shad Roes in Ambush." Season to taste, fill a pudding-dish or scallop-shells with the mixture, and serve very hot.

Green-Corn Fritters.—Two cupfuls green corn cut from the cob, two eggs, two tablespoonfuls milk, one tablespoonful melted butter, flour enough for thin batter. Whip the eggs light, beat into these the corn and the other ingredients, adding the flour last of all. Bake on a griddle.

Black Raspberries.
Wheaten Grits.
Broiled Salt Mackerel, Cream Sauce.
Stewed Potatoes. Graham Pop-Overs.

Broiled Salt Mackerel.—Soak your fish overnight in cold water, and wipe it dry before putting it on the gridiron. Broil over a clear fire, lay on a hot platter, and pour the sauce over it.

[Pg 62]

Cream Sauce.—Make like white sauce given above, doubling the quantity of butter, seasoning to taste, and using half milk, half cream, if you have the latter.

Graham Pop-Overs.—Three eggs, one and a half cups Graham flour, half cup white flour, two cups milk, pinch salt. Beat the eggs very light, whites and yolks together. Add the milk and salt, and sift in the flour rather slowly, to prevent lumping. Strain the batter through a sieve, and fill heated gem-pans. Bake in a quick oven, and eat immediately.

Moulded Oatmeal.
Sardines au gratin. Fresh Eggs, boiled.
Cocoa. Coffee.

Sardines au gratin.—Open a box of sardines; take them out carefully and lay them in a small pie-plate; squeeze a few drops of a lemon on each fish, sprinkle lightly with fine crumbs, and brown in the oven.

Sally-Lunn.—Two eggs, two tablespoonfuls [Pg 63] melted butter, one cup milk, pinch salt, half yeast-cake, two cups flour. Beat the eggs light; stir in the butter, salt, and milk, then the flour, and last the yeast cake, dissolved. Let it rise at least six hours in a very well-greased tin; bake, turn out, and eat hot.

Graham Flakes.
Baked Omelet. Parisian Potatoes.
Quick Biscuit.
Blackberries and Cream.
Coffee. Cocoa.

Baked Omelet.—Five eggs, half cup milk, quarter cup fine bread-crumbs, tablespoonful melted butter; pepper and salt to taste. Soak the crumbs in the milk ten minutes; beat the eggs very light, the whites and yolks separately; stir the soaked crumbs, the milk, the butter, and seasoning into the yolks, and mix the whites in lightly. Pour into a well-greased pudding-dish, and bake in a quick oven.

Parisian Potatoes.—From peeled and washed white potatoes scoop out little balls with the cutter that comes for this [Pg 64] purpose. Boil them for five minutes, then put them in the frying-pan with two tablespoonfuls of melted butter. Stir them about until every ball is well coated with the butter, pour into a colander, and set them in the oven until brown. Sprinkle with salt and a little minced parsley before serving.

Quick Biscuit.—Two cups flour, one tablespoonful mixed lard and butter, one cup milk, one heaping teaspoonful baking-powder, pinch salt. Handle little, roll out and cut quickly, and bake in a steady oven.

Boiled Rice.
Fried Pickerel. Stewed Potatoes.
Cocoa. Coffee.
Peach Short-Cake.

Peach Short-Cake.—Make a dough as for quick biscuit, doubling the materials. Roll two thirds of the dough into a sheet to fit the bottom of a baking-pan, spread thickly with sliced peaches, sprinkle with sugar, and lay over these a crust made of the remaining [Pg 65] dough. Bake in a steady oven. Split, butter, and eat hot.

Farina Porridge.
Barbecued Ham. Water-cress.
Butter Cakes.
Tea. Coffee.

Barbecued Ham.—Slice cold boiled corned or smoked ham. Fry in its own fat, remove the slices to another dish, and keep hot while you add to the fat in the pan a teaspoonful of white sugar, three dashes of black pepper, a teaspoonful (scant) of made mustard, and three tablespoonfuls of vinegar. Boil up once, and pour over the ham.

Butter Cakes.—Prepare a dough as for quick biscuit, roll it out quarter of an inch thick, and cut into small rounds. Roll each of these out until as thin as cookies, prick with a fork, and bake in a quick oven. When done, butter well. Leave in the oven half a minute longer, and send hot to table.

[Pg 66]

Omelet with Corn. Deviled Tomatoes.
Cold Bread.
Peaches and Cream.
Iced Tea. Coffee.

Omelet with Corn.—Prepare as you do baked omelet; but at the last, before putting into the pan, add a cupful of green corn cut from the cob. Pour the omelet into a frying-pan containing two tablespoonfuls of butter, and cook, loosening it constantly from the bottom with a knife to prevent its scorching. When done, double over and serve.

Deviled Tomatoes.—Cut fresh tomatoes into thick slices, broil on a fine wire gridiron over a clear fire, and when done lay in a dish, and pour over them a sauce like that made for barbecued ham, substituting two tablespoonfuls of olive oil or of melted butter for the ham fat.

[Pg 67]

Peaches and Pears.
Moulded Hominy.
Broiled Bluefish. Stuffed Potatoes.
Corn-meal Gems.
Tea. Coffee.

Stuffed Potatoes.—Bake eight large, fine potatoes until soft; cut off the tops, and scoop out the contents; add to them one egg whipped light, two tablespoonfuls melted butter, half cup milk, pepper and salt. Beat all together, and return to the skins. Set in an oven, top upwards, long enough to become well heated, and serve.

Corn-meal Gems.—Three eggs, two cups milk, two tablespoonfuls butter, two cups corn-meal, one cup flour, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder. Work the butter and milk into the meal, then add the other materials, the flour last. Have your gem-pans very hot, and bake half an hour in a hot oven.

[Pg 68]


Letter D

DURING the early part of the autumn, and indeed until late in the winter, the supply of fruit is only less abundant than in the summer. Melons and peaches go first, but their place is taken by grapes, pears, apples, bananas, and, later, mandarins, tangerines, and oranges. Meat now begins to be a more necessary article in the bill of fare. By the exercise of a little ingenuity, left-overs from the dinner of the previous day may be rendered even more appetizing than they were in their first estate.

Peaches and Pears.
Veal Cutlets à la Maître d'Hôtel.
Potatoes hashed with Cream.
Quick Sally-Lunn.
Cocoa. Coffee.

Veal Cutlets à la Maître d'Hôtel.—Cut veal [Pg 69] cutlets into neat pieces, and pound each with a mallet. Broil over a clear fire, transfer to a hot dish, and lay on each cutlet a small piece of maître d'hôtel butter. Set in a hot corner, covered, for five minutes before sending to table.

Maître d'Hôtel Butter.—Into one cupful of good butter work a tablespoonful of lemon juice and two tablespoonfuls of finely chopped parsley, with a little salt and white pepper. Pack into a small jar, cover, and keep in a cool place. It is useful to put on chops, steaks, or cutlets, or to mix with potatoes.

Potatoes hashed with Cream.—Chop cold boiled potatoes fine, and stir them into a cup of hot milk in which has been melted two tablespoonfuls of butter. Pepper and salt to taste. Let the potatoes become heated through before you serve them. If you have cream, use this and half as much butter.

Quick Sally-Lunn.—Three eggs, half cup butter, one cup milk, three cups flour, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder, half teaspoonful [Pg 70] salt. Stir the butter, melted, into the beaten yolks; add the milk, the flour (into which the baking-powder has been sifted), and the whites last. Bake in one loaf, in a steady oven.

Cracked Wheat.
Minced Mutton with Poached Eggs.
Buttered Toast. Baked Potatoes.
Tea. Coffee.

Minced Mutton with Poached Eggs.—Chop cold boiled or roast mutton quite fine. Put two cupfuls of this into the frying-pan with half an onion minced, and a half-cupful of good gravy. If you have none, use instead a gill of hot water and a lump of butter the size of an egg. Just before taking the mince from the fire, stir into it a tablespoonful of Worcestershire sauce or two tablespoonfuls of tomato catsup. Heap the mince on small squares of buttered toast laid on a hot platter, and place a poached egg on top of each mound. Serve very hot.

[Pg 71]

Wheat Granules.
Soused Mackerel. Potato Balls.
Quick Waffles.
Cocoa. Coffee.

Soused Mackerel.—These may be purchased canned at nearly any good grocery, and make an excellent breakfast dish.

Potato Balls.—To two cupfuls cold mashed potato add an egg, a teaspoonful of butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Form with floured hands into small round or long balls, and fry in deep fat.

Quick Waffles.—Three cups flour, one tablespoonful butter, two eggs, two cups milk, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder, a little salt. Beat the eggs light, add the milk, butter, and salt. Stir in the flour with the baking-powder last. Grease your waffle-irons well with a piece of fat pork.

Wheaten Grits.
Broiled Steak with Mushrooms.
Fried Egg-plant. Unleavened Bread.
Coffee. Chocolate.

[Pg 72]

Broiled Steak with Mushrooms.—Broil your steak over a clear fire. Before you put it on, open a can of mushrooms, take out half of them, and cut each mushroom in two. Sauté them in a frying-pan with a little butter, unless you have a cup of bouillon or clear beef soup or gravy at hand. If you have, let them simmer in this for ten minutes, and when you dish your steak, pour gravy and mushrooms over it. Leave it covered in the oven five minutes before sending to table.

Unleavened Bread.—Two cups flour, one tablespoonful butter, a pinch salt, enough water to make a dough. Knead this well, roll out very thin, cut in rounds with a biscuit cutter, prick with a fork, and bake in a hot oven.

Corn-meal Mush.
Dropped Fish-cakes. Saratoga Potatoes.
Simple Griddle Cakes.

Dropped Fish-cakes.—One cup of salt cod picked very fine, half cup milk, one tablespoonful [Pg 73] butter, two teaspoonfuls flour, one egg, pepper to taste. Make a white sauce of the flour, butter, and milk, stir the fish into this, add the egg, beaten light, season, and drop by the spoonful into boiling lard, as is done with fritters.

Simple Griddle Cakes.—Four cups sour milk, one small teaspoonful baking-soda, salt, flour for batter. Stir well and bake quickly.

Rye-meal Porridge.
Broiled Sausages. Stewed Potatoes.
Wheat-flour Gems.

Broiled Sausages.—Make sausage-meat into quite thin cakes with the hands, lay them on a gridiron, and broil them over a hot fire.

Wheat-flour Gems.—Two cups flour, one cup milk, one tablespoonful melted butter, two eggs, saltspoonful salt. Beat the eggs light, stir in the milk, the butter, the salt. Sift in the flour, stir briskly, and bake in gem-pans in a hot oven.

[Pg 74]

Clam Fritters. Boiled Potatoes.
English Muffins.
Tea. Coffee.

Clam Fritters.—Two dozen clams, one egg, one cup milk, two small cups flour, or enough for thin batter, salt and pepper. Chop the clams fine, and stir them into the batter made of the milk, clam liquor, beaten eggs, and the flour. Season to taste, and fry by the spoonful in very hot lard.

English Muffins.—Two cups milk, one tablespoonful butter, one teaspoonful sugar, saltspoonful salt, half of a yeast-cake. Four cups flour, or enough to make a very stiff batter. Set to rise for about three hours, or until the batter is like a honeycomb, then bake on a soapstone griddle in very large muffin-rings. Make them the day before they are wanted, and, when ready to use them, split, toast lightly, butter, and eat hot.

[Pg 75]

Large Hominy.
Fried Smelts. Moulded Potato.
Hasty Muffins.
Tea. Coffee.

Moulded Potato.—Press cold mashed potato into small teacups; turn out, brush over with yolk of egg, put a bit of butter on top of each, and brown in the oven.

Hasty Muffins.—Two cups flour, two eggs, one tablespoonful mixed butter and lard, two teaspoonfuls white sugar, one teaspoonful baking-powder, saltspoonful salt, one cup milk. Into the eggs, beaten very light, stir the melted shortening, the sugar, the milk, and the flour, well mixed with the salt and baking-powder. Stir well, and bake in thoroughly greased tins.

Cerealine cooked in Milk.
Egg Timbales with Cheese. Lyonnaise Potatoes.
Wheat Puffs.

Egg Timbales with Cheese.—Six eggs, one [Pg 76] gill milk, salt and pepper to taste, two tablespoonfuls grated cheese. Beat the eggs well without separating the yolks and whites, add the milk and seasoning, stir in the cheese, and pour into well-greased little tin pans with straight sides; set these in a pan of hot water, and bake in the oven; when the egg is firm, turn out on a flat dish, and pour a white sauce over them.

Lyonnaise Potatoes.—Slice cold boiled potatoes into neat rounds; cut a medium-sized onion into thin slices, and put it with a good tablespoonful of butter or bacon dripping into the frying-pan; when the onion is colored, add the potatoes, about two cupfuls, and stir them about until they are a light brown. Strew with chopped parsley, and serve.

Wheat Puffs.—Two cups milk, two eggs, two cups flour. Beat hard and very smooth, and bake in greased and heated gem-pans or earthenware cups. Eat at once.

[Pg 77]


Letter A

A WORD may be said here anent the cooking of porridges. There are as many theories about this apparently simple affair as there are denominational differences in theological circles. One housekeeper soaks the oatmeal overnight; another puts it on when the fire is made; another fifteen minutes before breakfast. Mrs. A. soaks hers in cold water, Mrs. B. uses boiling, while Mrs. C. inclines to having the water just hot. One stirs the porridge frequently; another says it is ruined if touched with a spoon.

On general principles, one may say that oatmeal is never the worse for a soaking, although some varieties need it less than others; that unless carefully and evenly cooked it is apt to become lumpy without stirring or beating; and that the degree of stiffness to which it should be brought must depend [Pg 78] upon the taste of those who are to eat it.

Graham Mush.
Sausage Rolls. Rye Muffins.
Baked Potatoes.
Tea. Coffee.

Sausage Rolls.—Make a good pastry by chopping into two cups of flour four tablespoonfuls of butter, making this to a paste with half a cup of ice-water, and rolling out three times. Have the ingredients and utensils very cold, and handle the paste as little and as lightly as possible. Cut the pastry with a sharp knife into strips about three inches square. On one of these lay cooked and minced sausage-meat, and cover it with another square of the same size. Pinch the edges together, and bake in a moderate oven. Proceed thus until all the materials are used.

Rye Muffins.—One cup white flour, two cups rye flour, two eggs, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder, one tablespoonful butter, one tablespoonful sugar, saltspoonful salt, milk [Pg 79] enough for stiff batter. Beat well, and bake in muffin-tins.

Boiled Hominy.
Pork Tenderloins. Apple Sauce.
Coffee. Cocoa.

Crumpets.—Two cups milk, three cups flour, three tablespoonfuls butter, saltspoonful salt, half yeast-cake dissolved in warm water. Warm the milk; beat in the salted flour, the melted butter, and the yeast. Let this sponge stand in a warm place until light. Bake in greased muffin-rings on a hot griddle, or in muffin-pans in the oven. In either case fill the pans or rings only half full, as the crumpets will rise in baking.

Veal Croquettes. Stewed Potatoes.
Sour-milk Muffins.
Stewed Prunes.
Tea. Coffee.

Veal Croquettes.—One cup cold veal, minced [Pg 80] fine; tiny bit of onion, scalded and chopped; half teaspoonful parsley; one cup milk, or half milk, half soup stock; one tablespoonful flour; one tablespoonful butter; pepper and salt to taste; one egg. Cook the butter and flour together until they bubble; pour the milk or milk and stock on them, and stir until they thicken. Remove from the fire, and pour upon the beaten egg; then stir in the meat, seasoned with the onion, parsley, pepper, and salt. Set this aside until cold enough to handle, then form into croquettes between the floured hands. Roll in egg, and then in fine cracker crumbs, and drop into boiling lard. They are better prepared an hour before frying.

In making veal croquettes, oyster liquor may be used in place of the stock, and a few oysters chopped with the veal will improve the flavor.

Sour-milk Muffins.—One egg, two cups sour milk, half teaspoonful salt, half teaspoonful soda dissolved in hot water; flour to make a stiff batter. Beat hard, and bake quickly.

[Pg 81]

Wheat Flakes.
Apples and Bacon. Loaf Corn Bread.
Saratoga Potatoes.
Tea. Coffee.

Apples and Bacon.—Fry thin slices of bacon crisp in its own fat. Take up the bacon and keep hot while you fry in the fat left in the pan apples sliced across and cored, but not peeled. Arrange the apples in the centre of the dish, the bacon around the sides.

Loaf Corn Bread.—Two eggs, two cups milk, two cups corn meal, one cup flour, one tablespoonful lard, one tablespoonful sugar, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder, saltspoonful salt. Beat the eggs light, add the melted lard, the milk, the flour, and meal, sifted with the baking-powder and salt, and beat very hard. Bake in a round tin, one with a tube in the middle, if you have it.

[Pg 82]

Broiled Salt Mackerel à la Maître d'Hôtel.
Stewed Potatoes. Risen Muffins.
Tea. Cocoa.

Broiled Salt Mackerel à la Maître d'Hôtel.—Soak the mackerel overnight. In the morning wipe it dry, broil, lay on a hot dish, and anoint plentifully with maître d'hôtel butter, made by directions given in the preceding chapter.

Risen Muffins.—Two cups milk, two eggs, one tablespoonful lard, one tablespoonful sugar, saltspoonful salt, half yeast cake dissolved in a little warm water, flour enough for batter. Set a sponge of all the ingredients except the eggs to rise overnight. In the morning beat these light, add them to the batter, and bake the muffins in tins in a quick oven.

[Pg 83]

Wheat Germ-Meal Porridge.
Broiled Ham. Canned Pea Pancakes.
Buttered Toast.
Baked Apples.
Cocoa. Coffee.

Canned Pea Pancakes.—One can of green pease, one egg, one cup milk, two teaspoonfuls melted butter, half cupful flour, half teaspoonful baking-powder, salt to taste. Open the can several hours before it is to be used, and drain off the liquor. Rinse the pease in cold water. Mash them with the back of a spoon, and mix with them the butter and salt. Make a batter of the egg, the milk, and the flour, with the baking-powder. Add the pease, beat well, and bake on a griddle.

Rice Porridge.
Moulded Eggs. Ham Toast.
Baked Potatoes.
Tea. Coffee.

Moulded Eggs.—On the bottom of well-buttered patty-pans with straight sides [Pg 84] sprinkle finely minced parsley and a little pepper and salt. Break an egg into each pan, set them in a large pan filled with boiling water, and bake until set. Turn out on a flat dish, and pour a white sauce over them.

Ham Toast.—To every cupful of chopped cold boiled ham put a half-teaspoonful of made mustard, as much butter, and a little Worcestershire sauce. Trim the crust from slices of bread, toast and butter them, and spread them with the chopped ham.

Broiled Smoked Salmon. Breakfast Biscuit.
Savory Potatoes.
Cocoa. Coffee.

Breakfast Biscuit.—Two cups milk, half cake yeast dissolved in warm water, two teaspoonfuls white sugar, two tablespoonfuls lard, one tablespoonful butter, saltspoonful salt, flour for soft dough. Warm the milk, melt the shortening, and set the sponge overnight. The next morning roll into a sheet, [Pg 85] cut out with a biscuit cutter, let them rise twenty minutes in the pan, and bake.

Savory Potatoes.—Two cupfuls cold potatoes sliced, half cup gravy, quarter of an onion sliced. Heat the gravy in a frying-pan with the onion, add the potatoes, and leave them until they are brown, stirring often. Serve potatoes and gravy together.

Cracked Wheat.
Lyonnaise Tripe. Boiled Potatoes.
Bread-and-milk Cakes.
Tea. Coffee.

Lyonnaise Tripe.—One pound boiled tripe, one onion, one tablespoonful butter, one cupful stewed tomatoes, pepper and salt. Brown the onion in the butter, add the tripe, cut into neat pieces, add the seasoning. Brown lightly, add the tomatoes, and, when these are hot, serve.

Bread-and-milk Cakes.—One cup fine bread crumbs, two cups milk, one egg, two teaspoonfuls melted butter, saltspoonful salt, two tablespoonfuls flour. Soak the crumbs [Pg 86] in the milk ten minutes; beat in the whipped egg, the butter, the salt, and the flour. Bake on a well-greased griddle.

Graham Flakes.
Fried Scallops. Light Loaf.
Hashed Potatoes.
Tea. Coffee.

Fried Scallops.—Stew the scallops five minutes in their own liquor. Take out, drain, and roll first in egg, then in fine cracker crumbs. Fry to a light brown in deep fat, lay on a sheet of brown paper in a hot colander, and serve on a small napkin laid on a heated dish.

Light Loaf.—One cup milk, one tablespoonful sugar, one tablespoonful butter, two eggs, two cups flour, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder, saltspoonful salt. Beat the eggs light; add the butter, melted, the sugar, salt, milk, and, last, the flour sifted with the baking-powder. Bake in one loaf, and serve hot.

Hashed Potatoes.—Chop cold potatoes fine, [Pg 87] have ready in a pan a tablespoonful of bacon dripping made very hot, stir into this two cupfuls of the potatoes, and toss about until well browned.

[Pg 88]


Letter P

PROPERLY treated, luncheon may be the pleasantest meal of the day. Simple or elaborate, as the housekeeper's taste may dictate, always informal, it is more comfortable than the breakfast because less hurried, more agreeable than the dinner because less ceremonious.

The table at luncheon may either be set as for breakfast, with a pretty colored cloth to cover it; or a prettier way, if one has a table with a handsome top, is to spread on this a large luncheon napkin that only partially conceals the polished surface. One or more of these napkins may be used, according to their size and the amount of space you wish covered. A fringed doily or a crocheted or netted mat may be laid at each place to protect the table-top from the heated plate. Other mats should be laid under the hot dishes of meat, [Pg 89] etc., while a tile or a trivet will hold the chocolate or teapot.

A writer on household decoration in a recent article in a popular magazine enlarged upon the charming effect produced by painting a table-top white, and thus producing a good background upon which to display old blue-and-white china. This would doubtless be extremely pretty, but in the practical mind the suspicion arises that, by the time the bare white table had held hot dishes during half a dozen meals, its surface would be marked with yellow rings that would leave no choice to the housewife but to conceal the whole of the defaced expanse with a table-cloth. A good furniture polish, or a simple mixture of sweet-oil and turpentine, applied with a piece of flannel, will restore the beauty of a hard-wood table-top, but it is questionable if the white paint could be so readily renovated.

The flowers that should have freshened the breakfast board must not be lacking at luncheon-time. The table may be spread with a luncheon set of china, or, if one does not own [Pg 90] this, with the same plates, etc., that are used at breakfast and at tea. The tea-tray, with its burden of sugar-bowl, cream-pitcher, tea-caddy, and dainty cups and saucers, may stand in front of the mistress of the house, while at her elbow may be the five-o'clock-tea crane bearing its kettle of boiling water; or a smaller hot-water urn in brass, copper, or silver, with a spirit-lamp under it, may be on the table near her right hand, with the teapot beside it. If the small hot-water pot is used, and the table is bare, a tray should hold the kettle and stand, lest a drop of blazing alcohol should blister the polished surface of the wood. When cocoa or chocolate is drunk at luncheon, the paraphernalia of kettle and spirit-lamp is, of course, unnecessary.

There are some brands of cocoa for which it is claimed by the manufacturers that they are excellent when prepared for use by simply pouring the boiling water on the powder. So far as the writer's experience has gone, however, there is not one of them that is not benefited by being boiled for a few minutes before serving.

[Pg 91]

Nearly everything that is to compose the ordinary luncheon for the family may be put upon the table at one time. Of course there must be an exception to this rule when the first course consists of soup or bouillon; but even then all the cold dishes may be in place when the guests are seated. The waiting need be only of the simplest, unless formality is desired. Those about the table may help themselves and one another, while the duties of the waitress may be confined to passing the dishes that are on the sideboard, changing the plates, bringing in hot dishes, etc.

The truth, often reiterated, that women cook only for men, and that a woman would never take the trouble to prepare anything for herself beyond a cup of tea and a slice of toast, is strongly emphasized by the carelessness many of them manifest in the matter of luncheon. Of course, when there are several in the family the needs and tastes of others have to be consulted; but when the mistress of the house has to sit down to a solitary meal, or at best to one that is the nursery dinner for two or three children whose diet is [Pg 92] of the simplest, she is apt to let her luncheon consist of little more than a "cold bite," and the—almost—invariable cup of tea. Such a course must affect the health sooner or later, and is a species of carelessness of self against which a woman must guard if she does not wish to reap its fruits in headaches, dyspepsia, and general depression of the system. Without getting up a troublesome menu, she may yet devise divers tempting little dishes which will coax her appetite. She will feel happier and work better for a substantial although not heavy meal in the middle of the day.

Luncheon is pre-eminently the meal at which to make use of potted meats, sardines, pâtés, and the like. There are many of these from which to make a choice. A luncheon is not to be despised that begins with a cup of bouillon, or with a plate of soup left over from last night's dinner, continues with fresh rolls or biscuit or muffins, or toasted crackers, or good cold bread—white or brown—cut in delicate slices, and one of the pâtés put up by certain French and American companies, [Pg 93] or a Gotha liver sausage, or a few sardines, accompanied by a cup of tea or cocoa, and concludes with some simple sweet, such as marmalade, jam, or fruit.

But luncheon need not be confined to cold delicacies that must be bought outright. It is the time for using up left-overs, for trying new recipes for side-dishes and entrées, for the housekeeper to learn for herself and to teach her cook the daintiest methods of utilizing those remnants which the uninitiated might stigmatize as "scraps." Great is the variety of styles in which these may be employed. That bit of cold fish from last evening's dinner may be picked to shreds, stirred into a white sauce, and baked in a scallop-shell. Or it may be mixed with half as much mashed potato, moistened with boiling water and a little melted butter, and tossed up into a dish of creamed fish.

The scraps of pastry left from pie-making and the sausage or two that were spared at breakfast may compose a sausage-roll, the cold potato and the fragment of steak may be turned into a hash, and odd slices of cold [Pg 94] lamb, mutton, or veal are just the thing for croquettes and fritters. And of the odds and ends of poultry what delicious compounds may be made! Croquettes, scallops, minces, fritters, filling for pâtés, salad enough for one or two if eked out with lettuce, and a dozen other dainty plats. Or a tiny omelet, either baked or sauté, may be prepared; and when one begins to count up the appetizing dishes which may be made of eggs, the list seems without an end. Even when several people are to partake of the meal a variety of little dishes may take the place of a single large one for which new material would have to be purchased. In the cultivation or creation of a talent as a réchauffeuse true economy consists.

In some homes luncheon is a quite elaborate affair, and comprises several courses, including, perhaps, a soup or bouillon, a meat course, a salad, and fruit or sweets. In the majority of establishments owned by people of moderate means, however, the meal is simpler, but need be no less delightful. Many people can eat muffins, griddle-cakes, and [Pg 95] other hot breads at noon with less after-discomfort than at any other season, and dishes of this sort are usually acceptable on the luncheon-table. With their help the meal can hardly fail to be appetizing.

[Pg 96]


Letter L

LUNCHEONS are among the most popular forms of entertainment that can be selected, when only a limited number are to be honored. To these affairs men are seldom invited, and there are not wanting those among the sterner sex who do not hesitate to attribute their banishment to desire on the women's part for the opportunity to chat uninterruptedly and unreservedly on those subjects presumed dear to their hearts—dress, babies, and servants. Other men go so far as to hint that gossip, and even scandal, engage the tongues of these much-maligned women, while even the most charitable husbands and brothers cannot refrain from openly expressing their pity for the unfortunate ladies debarred, for even a limited period, from the delights of the society of the lords of creation.

[Pg 97]

Casting aside the intimations respecting gossip or scandal as unworthy of notice, and tracing the animus of the other slurs to their source, in the overpowering jealousy on the part of their perpetrators that they are excluded from the select assemblages they affect to condemn, it may be said in refutation of the last charge that there are few women who do not agree in considering a luncheon among the most delightful of their social experiences. An invitation to one is usually hailed with joy, and a woman will undergo a good deal of inconvenience sooner than consent to decline it.

A luncheon is elastic in its nature, and may be of any size the hostess's fancy or judgment dictates. One woman may invite another to share the meal with her, and to help form that solitude à deux so delightful to two congenial souls. In such a case a long and elaborate menu is out of place, and not in the best form. What dishes there are should be wisely selected, perfectly prepared, and carefully served; but a multiplication of courses or viands is unnecessary, and savors of vulgar [Pg 98] display. The same principle applies at any small luncheon. The definition of size is a rather difficult matter, but a company of this sort of not more than five or six persons may fitly be called small. With every addition to the number the need increases for more items in the menu.

For a small and unpretentious luncheon the invitations should not be issued long in advance, unless the hostess finds it necessary to do so in order to secure the presence of some especial guests. In that case, if the entertainment is to be very simple, it is as well to inform the guests of the fact when writing to them. Either a written or a verbal invitation is admissible. It should always be clearly understood, however, that the engagement, when once made, is no less binding than if it were a promise to attend the largest and most ceremonious dinner. Indeed, fidelity to one's acceptance and prompt attendance are even more obligatory at a small than at a large affair, because at the latter the defection of one person is less noticeable than it would be were very few [Pg 99] expected to be present. In either case failure to keep the engagement is a grave breach of etiquette. It may be said, in this connection, that more of a compliment is implied by the request to be one of a small and—by inference—select band than is shown when the invitations embrace a larger party.

An even number is usually better than an odd number at a luncheon, unless the table is a large round one, about which the guests can gather without leaving an awkward gap on one side.

The covering for the table may either be a very pretty luncheon cloth with a little color about it, or else of plain white. Of course, should the hostess desire to have any one tint predominate in her table appointments, it is better to have the cloth of that shade or of white. If artificial light is required, candles give a pleasanter light than anything else, and one candelabrum of several branches is generally enough for a small table. Should this not sufficiently illuminate the room, the gas may be lighted and partially turned down, or a lamp or two may be placed [Pg 100] on a mantel-shelf or on a bracket. There should always be flowers in the centre of the table, preferably a flat or low dish or vase, for where there are few guests they should be able to see each others' faces, instead of being obliged to dodge around a tall ornament that effectually conceals those seated on one side of the board from those placed on the other. Bouquets de corsage, while always pretty, are not essential at a simple luncheon, nor are cards necessary.

The table should be spread with the daintiest china and silver. At each plate must be the usual articles—knife, fork, tumbler, butter-plate, and napkin. A knife and fork for each course may be laid by every plate, the knives on the right side, the forks on the left. A roll or two or three sticks of bread must lie on each napkin. The usual little dishes of olives, salted almonds, pea-nuts or pistachio-nuts, radishes, bonbons, etc., should stand here and there, and by their color or sparkle add to the beauty of the repast.

The first course may be either beef or chicken bouillon. This is served in bouillon- [Pg 101]cups, with covers and saucers, if one has them, or, if not, in tea or after-dinner coffee-cups. The latter are a trifle small, but one need not go to the other extreme, as was done at a lunch given not long ago, where the bouillon was served in mugs nearly as large as those commonly used for shaving, and quite as thick and heavy. It was impossible to help recalling the saying of the woman who declared that when she took coffee from one of the breakfast cups in use at most hotels she felt as though she were drinking it over the side of a stone wall. Bouillon is usually sipped with a spoon, however, although it is not out of the way to raise the cup to the lips.

The bouillon may either be on the table when the guests enter the room, or be brought in as soon as they are seated. It is followed by fish in some dainty form, as creamed fish, creamed or buttered lobster, croquettes of lobster, oysters, or fish; or oyster or lobster pâtés. These are not passed in the dish, but are brought in already served, and a plate holding a portion placed in front [Pg 102] of each guest. Rolls, French bread, or bread and butter are then passed.

The next course in a luncheon of this size need not be an entrée, although one may be introduced here. Sweetbreads, chicken cutlets, timbales of some sort, a vol-au-vent—any one of these will answer, but there is no violation of rules if it is omitted altogether at a small luncheon. In that case the next course—the pièce de résistance—may follow the fish directly, and may consist of French chops with pease, and potatoes daintily prepared, or chicken broiled, fried, or cooked in some attractive fashion, or broiled tenderloins of beef with mushrooms, or birds.

After this the salad appears, and may be of chicken, lobster, shrimps, oysters, or tomatoes, avoiding, of course, any meat or fish that has appeared earlier in the meal, even although in another form. The olives should be passed with this, and, indeed, may have gone the rounds during and between the other course, as have the salted nuts and the radishes.

The salad eaten, the table is cleared and [Pg 103] crumbed, and the dessert brought in—ices in some pretty form, accompanied by fancy cakes. Fruit may succeed this, or it may be omitted, and the final cup of chocolate or coffee served at once. The bonbons now receive attention, and are usually carried into the drawing-room by the guests, who, being women, seem to find almost as much enjoyment in nibbling these as men do in discussing their post-prandial cigars.

[Pg 104]


Letter A

A MUCH more ceremonious affair than that described in the preceding chapter is the large luncheon, where there are present anywhere from eight to twenty guests. The invitations for this are issued at least ten days, and often three weeks or more, previous to the date for which the guests are asked, and should be written, not verbal, except when given to an intimate friend. The recipient should reply at once. The hour set is usually one or half-past one, and the most punctilious promptness should always be observed. Nothing short of a serious accident or illness or a death in the family can justify any one in breaking such an engagement.

"People don't always keep that precept," says a woman, decidedly. "I can give more than one example to the contrary from my own experience. Here is an instance. I had [Pg 105] a letter not long ago from a friend living out of town, begging me to fix a time when she could come and see me. She dreaded making the trip into town when it was doubtful if she would find me at home. I knew she had few outings, so I wrote and asked her to lunch with me upon a certain day, adding that there would be a couple of other old friends present whom she would be glad to meet again. The appointed day came, and was misty and drizzly. It never occurred to me that the weather would keep any one housed, and at the lunch hour 'the guests were met, the feast was set'—or, at least, two of the guests were there—but the one in whose honor they had been invited failed to appear. A whole mortal hour did we wait for that woman. Then in despair we sat down to a luncheon that had been in no ways improved by the delay. It was to have been a partie carrée, and one side of the table looked wofully blank and bare."

"But did you not get a satisfactory explanation of your friend's absence?" queries an interested listener.

[Pg 106]

"Only a note the next day, stating that as it had stormed, she had supposed I would not expect her. It never seemed to occur to her that she ought at least to have telegraphed."

"I had an experience that equals that," chimes in another. "I had promised a young girl friend a lunch party whenever she should come to the city. Just before the holidays she wrote to me that she would be in town for a week. I was run to death with Christmas preparations and social engagements, but I sent her a note at once, asking her to fix a day for her luncheon, and enclosing the list of guests—most of them old school friends—whom I would invite to meet her. She replied, setting a day. I went to no end of trouble and expense to get up the most recherché luncheon I could devise. Just before the appointed hour one of the guests, who had promised to call for my young friend and bring her to my house, brought instead a verbal message that Jennie 'was not very well, and would be unable to come. She was extremely sorry,' etc. As I learned from another [Pg 107] source that she went to the theatre that night, I concluded her indisposition, whatever it was, had not been very serious."

One marvels at the bad habits of good society in hearing such tales as these, but they are unfortunately common. Some persons appear to be deficient in a sense of good-breeding, as others are in an eye for color or an ear for music, and all the maxims in the world seem inadequate to instil what is missing.

One general principle may be laid down for the following of any woman who thinks of giving a large luncheon—don't undertake too much. If you cannot afford to engage the most difficult dishes from a caterer, be very sure that your cook is equal to preparing them in a satisfactory manner. Better have a few things, and have them well done, than a long menu of indifferently cooked viands. A large luncheon is no light undertaking at the best, except to those who have a practised chef and an expert butler, and a great deal of personal supervision is required to make it a success.

[Pg 108]

If the number of guests is larger than can be conveniently accommodated at one table, two or three smaller ones may be used. One table is rather prettier, however, as it admits of concentrating, instead of scattering, the decoration. The cloth should be white, or something very handsome in colors. A centre-piece of velvet or plush or satin, or of linen, embroidered, painted, done in cut-work or drawn-work, or something else equally elegant in material or ornament, should be laid down the middle of the table. An exquisite centre-piece may be made of bolting-cloth, hand-painted and trimmed with lace. On this a mirror is often placed, bearing the bowl, basket, or jar of flowers.

Tall candelabra should hold enough candles to light the room well, and each candle should have its tiny paper or silk shade and its glass bobèche. If the gas must be used, it should be shaded. The dishes containing hors d'œuvres—bonbons, glacé fruits, etc.—must be many, and their contents of the choicest.

The arrangement of silver, glass, and china may be the same as at a small luncheon, except [Pg 109] that the amount of silver at each place must be increased. The bread sticks on every napkin must be tied with a narrow ribbon matching the broad one that ties the bouquet de corsage provided for the guest. Cards bearing the names of the guests indicate their seats, and may be either hand-painted or plain. Favors are often given, and should be placed on the table before the luncheon is announced.

Oyster or Little Neck clams compose the first course, and are followed by bouillon. Fish succeeds this; then comes one entrée, and sometimes two. Next is a dish of meat, with one or more vegetables, and then the Roman punch appears.

After this, game comes, and then salad. The table then being cleared, pastry in some form, or Charlottes or jellies are brought in, and this course in turn is succeeded by ices in pretty or fanciful shapes. An attractive caprice is that of ices or cream in the form of fruits heaped up in and rolling out of a basket of clear ice or spun sugar placed on a salver. Ices in small goblets or tumblers of [Pg 110] clear ice are often served. The fruit comes next, and is accompanied by bonbons, glacé fruits, marrons, and the like. Last are coffee and chocolate.

Of the following menus, either one is suitable for a large luncheon:

Raw Oysters.
Chicken Bouillon.
Creamed Lobster. Crackers or Bread and Butter.
Scalloped Chicken.
Sweetbread Pâtés. Green Pease.
Maraschino Punch.
Fillet of Beef, Mushroom Sauce.
French Fried Potatoes.
Broiled Squabs on Toast. Water-cress.
Chicken Salad.
Strawberries in Wine Jelly, with Whipped Cream.
Nesselrode Pudding. Biscuit. Fancy Cakes.
Fruit. Bonbons.
Coffee. Chocolate.

[Pg 111]

Clams on Ice.
Halibut Steaks, Cream Sauce. Parisian Potatoes.
Ham Pâtés. Green Pease.
Stuffed Crabs.
Chicken Cutlets.
Broiled Fillet of Beef, au Maître d'Hôtel. Asparagus.
Roman Punch.
Quail on Toast. Celery Salad.
Fried Mushrooms on Toast, with Sauce à l'Espagnol.
Frozen Pudding. Whipped Cream.
Coffee. Chocolate.

With either of these menus wine may be served, although there is not the variety of these at a ladies' luncheon that there is at a dinner. Claret may be served with the fish or first entrée, and drunk during the luncheon, or brought in with the game, or with the heaviest meat course. In some cases no claret is served, and the only wine is the small glass of sherry offered late in the meal.

[Pg 112]


Letter F

FOR a long time there was a felt need for some form of entertainment that would be more general in its character than a dinner or a lunch, less of a full-dress affair than an evening party, and more elaborate than the ordinary kettle-drum or afternoon tea. This want was finally supplied by the introduction of the standing lunch, which is in reality little more than a regular reception, such as usually takes place in the evening, held in the afternoon. To this both ladies and gentlemen are invited.

The hours for which the guests are asked—usually from four to six or seven—preclude the necessity of full dress. The men usually wear morning coats, while the women are arrayed in handsome calling costumes, and do not remove their bonnets. It may be remarked, en passant, that the wearing of the [Pg 113] hat or bonnet is, or should be, a rule without exception at a ladies' lunch. Only the hostess or those of the company who are guests in the house appear with their heads uncovered. The others wear handsome dressy bonnets, such as they would assume for the theatre in the evening or for an afternoon reception.

The hostess who desires to entertain her friends or to discharge her social obligations by a standing lunch must issue her invitations some days in advance of the date fixed. They should be formal, and are usually engraved, although they may be written. The former method is preferable.

At a lunch of this kind, as the name implies, the guests are not to be seated at one large table, nor even at a number of small ones. The large dining-room table and sideboard are set out with a repast consisting of some hot and some cold dishes. The guests move about the drawing-room, seating themselves if they have the chance, as they would at an evening reception, and are served with plates containing the successive [Pg 114] courses, either by waiters or by their escorts. Not only is there less formality in the conduct of the guests than would be observed at an ordinary luncheon, but there is also less precision in the serving of the refreshments.

For such a lunch the hostess does well when she provides a number of camp-chairs in addition to the seats she already has in her rooms. It is always more agreeable to eat when one is seated than when standing and endeavoring to handle a full plate and a brimming coffee-cup at the same time. Such an effort is severe even for a man, who has been obliged to practise it all his life, but it is doubly distressing to a woman, who is in constant terror lest an unguarded movement on her own or her neighbor's part should cause an upset and a spill that might fatally damage at least one gown, and possibly more.

In preparing for a standing lunch, or for any other large reception, it is prudent for the hostess to clear her parlors of such breakables as statues, tall vases, piano lamps, etc., [Pg 115] that rest upon pedestals or easily overturned stands. These, if not taken from the room, should be moved into corners where they will be comparatively safe from injury; while the largest pieces of furniture, such as sofas or lounges and big easy-chairs, should be wheeled back near the wall, so as not to interfere with the movements of people through the rooms. Light chairs should stand about here and there, and the camp-chairs should be stacked in some convenient closet or in the corner of the hall, whence they can be produced at a moment's notice when the refreshments are served.

The floral decorations may be either simple or ornate, according to the wishes of the hostess. Mantels banked with flowers, chandeliers and brackets draped with smilax, a profusion of roses, and baskets of choice cut flowers are very beautiful, but the rooms can be rendered attractive by less costly means. If there is to be a large number of guests, the flowers will be unnoticed by many of them unless judgment be shown in [Pg 116] the disposition of vases. These should be placed on the mantels, on brackets, on the top of the piano, or in some other place where they will be seen readily, rather than on low tables, where they are not only hidden, but are in imminent danger of being knocked over. Palms or ferns in pots and other growing plants decorate pleasingly, and can be engaged for the evening from a florist, if the mistress of the house neither owns them nor feels inclined to buy them.

In preparing the dining-room table it should be drawn out to a size that will permit of its holding without undue crowding the dishes and plates that will be required for the lunch. If the refreshments are too numerous to be accommodated here, the sideboard should be cleared for their reception, and even one or two side-tables brought in. The table should be spread with a long white cloth. A bowl or jar or pot of flowers may be in the centre of the board. Very elaborate floral arrangements are unnecessary in the dining-room, unless a [Pg 117] good many of the guests are expected to come out here.

At each end of the table and at intervals along the sides spaces should be left for the dishes that are to hold the refreshments. Between these may be the piles of plates and the napkins. These may either be separate or arranged together, a napkin being laid on each plate and all placed in piles, so that they may be easily distributed. Forks and spoons should also be close at hand, with the necessary utensils for serving the different dishes, that there may not be a hurried search for a carving knife or fork or a large spoon just at the last moment, when its presence might have saved delay and confusion.

The side-table should hold the coffee and chocolate cups, the wineglasses, goblets, or tumblers for water, etc. Let it be seen, by the way, that there is plenty of iced water in readiness. Many a guest at a large reception has longed for a drink of it and found it apparently the hardest thing to get which he could have selected.

Unless the hostess has a remarkably well- [Pg 118]trained butler, and one or two other servants who understand waiting, she will be wise if she engages hired waiters to take charge of the serving of the dishes, and has her butler and maids confine their services to passing plates in the drawing-room. This is pleasanter than having the outside helpers waiting on the guests, while their skill and practice in serving render them most efficient in the work of filling plates.

The first course of a standing lunch is usually bouillon, served in cups. When these have been removed, a plate is brought to each guest containing oysters in some shape, usually fricasseed or creamed, and accompanied possibly by a lobster croquette or a sweetbread or mushroom pâté. The third course may comprise chicken croquettes or rissoles, accompanied by lettuce or celery salad. Both with this and the preceding course tiny square or three-cornered sandwiches of thin bread and butter, spread with some potted meat or fish, with sardines, or with lobster mayonnaise, may have been passed. After this course come the sweets—ice-creams or [Pg 119] ices in small shapes, biscuit in paper cases, and fancy cakes—followed by coffee or chocolate. Nothing must be served that cannot be easily eaten with a fork or spoon. Light wines or a bowl of punch are always in order.

[Pg 120]


Letter T

TO many people the lunch basket and its contents are quite as important as any regularly set-out meal of the day—more important than such occasional luxuries as ceremonious déjeûners à la fourchette and standing lunches.

Among this number are not only the school-children who, five days out of the week, must carry what the Southern boys and girls would term a "snack" with them to school, but also the army of men and women whose employment takes them to such a distance from their homes that it is impracticable for them to return there for the midday meal. With these must not be forgotten the band of night workers who, in one capacity or another, have part in making the morning papers, and who, turning day into night, find it as essential to take a midnight as others do a midday repast.

[Pg 121]

In a less degree interest is felt in the lunch basket by those young people who regard the coming of the summer chiefly as the return of the picnic season. All these desire to know of something appetizing to supply their needs, and nearly all agree in condemning certain articles as stale and hackneyed, asserting that they are tired to death of them. Among these are generally ham and tongue sandwiches.

In making suggestions on this subject, the first thing to be considered is the basket, and to begin with, it should be a basket, and not a close tin box or pail that cannot be sweetened except by scouring and scalding between the times of using. A basket, by permitting the passage of air through its interstices, prevents the food acquiring a close, musty taste; and even the basket should have frequent airings and sunnings, and an occasional plunge into hot salt and water, followed by a rinsing in fresh hot water, and a wiping and drying in the sun or near the fire.

Only fresh napkins must be used for wrapping about the lunch, and if their use proves [Pg 122] too severe a strain upon the linen drawer, Japanese paper napkins may be substituted, or even fresh white tissue-paper, or druggist's paper. The daintiness of ribbons to tie the different parcels is all very pretty, but it is hardly possible for the hurried house-mother who has to put up even one lunch a day, much less when she has two or three to prepare. In order to succeed in making them even ordinarily attractive, she must take thought for these lunches as carefully as she does for the other meals of the day, and make provision accordingly, not waiting until the last moment, and then hastily gathering up whatever odds and ends she can find, and hurriedly cramming them all together into the basket in a manner that savors unpleasantly of the bestowal of "broken victuals" and cold bits upon the beggar at the kitchen door.

Not until she gives the matter serious thought does the housewife appreciate what a variety she can select for the lunch basket of her boy or girl, or of her husband. Hot foods are out of the question, of course, and [Pg 123] even hot drinks, unless a tiny alcohol "pocket stove," filled and ready for lighting, and a tin or agate-iron cup, accompany the outfit. In that case, many a hot cup of café au lait or chocolate, of soup or bouillon, may be enjoyed by the luncher.

But even when this cannot be managed, cold coffee and tea are not to be despised, while cold bouillon is preferred by many to the hot beef tea. Or, for a change from this, a small flask of milk or of lemonade may be carried. In any case the bottle should be a stout one, and provided with a good stopper, that no break or leakage may cause the ruin of the rest of the refection.

China makes the lunch basket too heavy, and takes up too much room. If a plate is required, let it be one of the little wooden butter plates that can be thrown away after using. It is often possible to procure a glass from which to drink, but even when it is not, a flat glass or a collapsing cup may easily be carried in the pocket; or an ordinary flask, having a cup fitted to the bottom, may be purchased and kept for service in the lunch [Pg 124] basket. A tiny cruet for salt and another for pepper should also be part of the outfit.

Often it does not seem to occur to the housekeeper that it is quite practicable to carry a cup custard, a baked apple or pear, a tiny mould of jelly or blanc-mange, as well as uncooked fruit. While the latter is always wholesome and generally popular, there are times when one wants something else. To paraphrase Miss Woolson's words in "For the Major," "A large cold apple on a winter day is not calculated to arouse enthusiasm."

Other dainties are easily prepared. Every one who has read "Little Women"—and who has not read it?—will remember Meg and Jo March trudging off to their work on frosty mornings, each carrying the turnover that was to compose her lunch, and gaining comfort for the cold fingers from its warmth.

A tiny pie baked in a saucer, a small tart, a diminutive rice or tapioca pudding in a patty-pan, are not hard to make, and are a welcome variety at the midday "snack."

While it might possibly be an expensive item to provide potted meat for sandwiches [Pg 125] for every day in the week, there are often odds and ends that, with a little "doctoring," may be made into excellent substitutes. The meat on the drumstick left from the roast or stewed chicken of last night may be chopped fine, moistened with a little gravy or melted butter, seasoned, and spread on thin slices of buttered bread. The bit of steak that clung to the bone may be minced, and have stirred into it a little Worcestershire sauce and a suspicion of made mustard; while the slice of cold lamb or veal, also minced, may be flavored with curry-powder and softened with melted butter to make filling for sandwiches.

The one or two cold sausages left in the pantry will make an appetizing sandwich when crushed fine with the back of a spoon, and laid between the two sides of a buttered roll or biscuit; while the last spoonful of lobster or chicken salad scraped from the bottom of the dish may be spread on buttered bread for yet another kind of sandwich.

White, Graham, brown, or whole-wheat bread may be used in turn, with an occasional [Pg 126] roll or biscuit to still further vary monotony. Egg sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, sweetbread sandwiches, sardine sandwiches, minced ham, tongue, ham and chicken, chicken and bacon sandwiches—their name is legion.

But some one may object, one does not want all sandwiches. True enough, but they are the pièce de résistance of the lunch. They may be supplemented, however, by a piece of cold fowl, by, once in a while, a broiled bird, by a few pickled oysters, by deviled and plain hard-boiled eggs, by salads without number, by olives, cheese, and pickles. And for desserts are there not the little dishes already suggested, to say nothing of cake, cookies, ginger-snaps, apples, oranges, mandarins, bananas, pears, grapes, and other fruits? For school children there are such simple dainties as bread or rolls spread with jam, jelly, marmalade, or apple-sauce. And are not crackers and cheese always at hand, and almost always popular?

While all this may at first seem to impose additional labor upon the housekeeper, she will soon find, when the habit is once established [Pg 127] of providing regularly for the lunch, that she feels it no more of a burden than she does to cater for the other meals of the day. Let her keep on the alert for new fancies, and they will come to her more rapidly than she can utilize them.

[Pg 128]


Letter T

THESE menus for simple home lunches, given as were those for breakfasts—ten for each season—are not designed to serve as exact guides, but merely as suggestions to the housekeeper. They may easily be improved upon or altered. To some they will doubtless appear much too simple, while others may condemn them as being too elaborate. Certain selected recipes will accompany them.

Baked Cheese Omelet. Toasted Crackers.
Strawberry Jam.

Baked Cheese Omelet.—Two eggs, two cups milk, one small cup grated cheese, one small cup fine bread-crumbs, salt and Cayenne pepper to taste, one tablespoonful melted butter. Soak the crumbs in the milk, in which [Pg 129] you have dissolved a tiny pinch of soda; beat the eggs light, and add to the bread and milk; stir in the butter, the seasoning, and, last of all, the cheese. Bake in a well-greased pudding-dish, and eat at once, before it falls.

Toasted Crackers.—Split and toast Boston crackers. Butter them well on the inside, lay the two halves together, and serve them in a hot covered dish. They are not nearly so good when they are cold.

Ham Fritters. Baked Bananas.
Ginger Snaps.

Ham Fritters.—Two cups minced cold ham, one egg, half-pint good stock, saltspoonful dry mustard, teaspoonful Worcestershire sauce, tiny bit of scalded onion (chopped), half-teaspoonful minced parsley, one tablespoonful butter, one teaspoonful flour. Heat the stock to boiling, and thicken it with the butter and flour rubbed together; stir into it the ham, seasoned with the mustard, onion, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley; [Pg 130] add the beaten egg. Pour the mixture on a flat plate to cool. When cold and firm, make into flattened balls about the size of a small plum; drop each into a batter made of a cup of flour, two teaspoonfuls of melted butter, a small cup of warm water, the beaten white of an egg, and a little salt. Lay each fritter out of the batter into boiling fat. They will puff up at once, and should be of a delicate brown.

Baked Bananas.—Select large ripe bananas, and bake them in the oven as you would potatoes. When the skin begins to split at the seams they are done. Take them out, and serve one to each person, as a vegetable. They should be peeled, and eaten with butter and a little salt.

Bread-and-Butter.—Butter bread a day old on the loaf, and cut into thin slices. Double, the buttered side inward.

Ginger Snaps.—Two eggs, two cups sugar, one cup butter, two teaspoonfuls ginger, one teaspoonful cinnamon, flour to make a stiff dough. Roll into a thin sheet, cut into rounds, and sprinkle with granulated sugar [Pg 131] before baking. Watch closely or they will burn.

A Scrap Hash. Rice Bread.

A Scrap Hash.—Two cups cold beef (roast, boiled, corned, or fresh), one or two cold sausages, two or three slices cold bacon, one cup cold potato, four olives, tablespoonful Worcestershire sauce, a little cold stewed tomato (if you have it), half an onion minced fine, one cup gravy or soup stock, or one cup boiling water and a tablespoonful of butter. Heat the gravy or stock to boiling in a frying-pan; stir into it the other ingredients chopped fine; simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring constantly. You can either serve the hash soft or let it brown on the bottom. Olla-podrida though it seems, it will be savory, and will be relished by nearly every one.

Rice Bread.—Two cups milk, two cups boiled rice, one cup white corn-meal, three eggs well beaten, two tablespoonfuls butter, teaspoonful salt. Bake in a hot oven, in rather shallow pans.

[Pg 132]

Liver Toast. Rusk. Radishes.
Stewed Pie-plant.
Light Cakes.

Liver Toast.—One cupful cold boiled or stewed liver, half cupful brown gravy of any sort, enough mustard, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to season the liver highly, several squares of buttered toast. Rub the liver smooth with the back of a spoon, add the seasoning, heat to boiling with the gravy, and heap or spread upon the toast. Set in the oven two minutes before sending to table.

Rusk.—Two cups milk, two eggs, two and a half cups flour, half cup butter, one cup sugar, half a yeast-cake dissolved in warm water. Set a sponge made of the milk, the yeast, and part of the flour—enough to make a good batter. Let this rise all night. In the morning work in the beaten eggs, the sugar, butter, and the rest of the flour. Knead well, and make into balls with the hands. Set these together in the pan, let them rise until light, and bake in a steady [Pg 133] oven. Just before taking them out brush the tops with molasses and water.

Panned Oysters. Lunch Biscuit.
Stewed Prunes.
Ginger Snaps.

Panned Oysters.—Cut small rounds of toast to fit the bottom of deep, straight-sided patty-pans. Prettier than these are the little "nappies," or china fire-proof dishes, that come for this purpose. Moisten each piece of toast with a spoonful of oyster liquor, lay on it as many oysters as the pan will easily hold, sprinkle with pepper and salt, lay a small piece of butter on top, and set in the oven for a few minutes until the oysters begin to crimp. Serve in the pans.

Lunch Biscuit.—Two cups flour, half cup milk, one egg, one tablespoonful butter, one tablespoonful baking-powder, saltspoonful salt. Chop the shortening into the salted flour, pour in the beaten egg and milk, making a soft dough, roll out, cut into rounds, and bake.

[Pg 134]

Deviled Mutton. Hashed Potatoes.
Hot Loaf Bread.
Orange Marmalade.

Deviled Mutton.—Rub slices of rare mutton with a mixture made as follows: One teaspoonful Worcestershire sauce, one teaspoonful vinegar, one teaspoonful made mustard, tablespoonful melted butter. Let the meat lie in this for an hour. Then dip each slice in a frying batter made as directed in recipe for "ham fritters," and fry in deep fat. Or the deviled meat may simply be boiled over a clear fire. In either case serve very hot.

Hot Loaf Bread.—Set a loaf of French bread in the steamer for fifteen minutes, then in a hot oven for five minutes. Serve wrapped in a napkin, and cut on the table.

Caviare Toast. Cold Meat.
Baked Potatoes.
Strawberries, unhulled.

Caviare Toast.—Buy the Russian caviare, which comes in small tin cans. Cut your [Pg 135] bread into neat squares or rounds, removing the crusts; toast and butter it, spread it with the caviare, and set it in the oven five minutes before serving.

Scalloped Cod. Oatmeal Gems.
Boiled Potatoes.
Guava Jelly and Crackers.

Scalloped Cod.—Two cupfuls picked codfish, one cupful drawn butter (with an egg beaten in it), one teaspoonful minced sour pickle, one tablespoonful Worcestershire sauce, fine bread-crumbs. Have the drawn butter hot, stir the fish into it, add the pickle and sauce, pour into a buttered baking-dish, sprinkle with crumbs, dot with bits of butter, and bake.

Oatmeal Gems.—Two cups of the finest oatmeal, two cups milk, two eggs, one tablespoonful butter, one tablespoonful sugar, one saltspoonful salt.

Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus. Bread and Butter.
Cheese Biscuit.
Lettuce Salad.

[Pg 136]

Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus.—Six eggs, one tablespoonful butter, two tablespoonfuls milk, salt and pepper to taste, green tips of a bunch of asparagus boiled tender. Put the butter and the milk into a frying-pan, break the eggs into this, and stir until they begin to thicken; put in the asparagus tops, season, and remove to a hot dish.

Cheese Biscuit.—One cup grated cheese, one cup flour, one egg, pinch of salt, dash of Cayenne. Mix all together, roll into a sheet, cut into rounds, and bake to a light brown.

Lobster Croquettes. Graham Bread.
Saratoga Potatoes.
Strawberries and Cream.

Lobster Croquettes.—Meat of one large boiled lobster, half pint white sauce, two eggs, juice of a lemon, salt and Cayenne to taste. Mince the meat fine, stir it into the white sauce, add the eggs well beaten, and, last, the lemon juice. Turn out on a plate to cool. When perfectly cold, form into small croquettes with the hands, roll in beaten egg, then in fine cracker crumbs, and fry in deep fat.

[Pg 137]


Letter I

IN hot weather a comfortable room is essential to the enjoyment of a meal. The salle à manger must be cleared of food, the soiled dishes removed, all crumbs brushed up, and the flies beaten out the moment breakfast is over, if the apartment is to be pleasant at noon. If blinds and doors are kept closed, the room may be deliciously cool and fresh by lunch-time.

With such surroundings, good digestion is much more prone to wait on appetite than in a stuffy, fly-infested room, where neither heat nor light is excluded. Among the pleasantest recollections of at least one woman are those connected with the lunches she has eaten in midsummer in a certain city dining-room, where the subdued light, the daintily arranged table, the carefully prepared and seasonable food, and the noiseless [Pg 138] serving inclined one to feel that there were many worse fates than being obliged to spend the summer in town.

Anchovy Toast. Chicken Salad.
Berries and Cream.
Iced Tea.

Anchovy Toast.—Spread crustless slices of toast first with butter, then with anchovy paste. Set in the oven five minutes, and send to table.

Chicken Salad.—Cut into small neat pieces half the contents of a can of boned chicken or part of a cold boiled or roast chicken. Mix this with half as much celery, if you can get it; if not, arrange it in the midst of crisp lettuce leaves. Stir into it a French dressing of two tablespoonfuls of oil, as much vinegar, and a little pepper and salt, and pour over it a mayonnaise dressing.

Mayonnaise Dressing.—Into a bowl set in an outer vessel of cold or iced water place the yolk of an egg. Be careful that no vestige of the white gets in. Begin whipping [Pg 139] in salad oil drop by drop with a Dover egg-beater, beating for nearly a minute after each addition. After ten minutes, add two or three drops at a time, and when the dressing once begins to thicken, the quantity can be increased even more. If too thick, add a little vinegar to thin it. A pint of oil can be used to every egg. When done, season with salt and white pepper. Just before serving, stir into it the whipped white of an egg. The bowl, egg-beater, and materials must all be very cold, and the dressing when made must be kept on ice until used.

Eggs à la Crème.
Raw Tomatoes. Rice Crumpets.
Sliced Peaches.

Eggs à la Crème.—Eight eggs boiled hard, one cup white sauce, two tablespoonfuls fine crumbs, tablespoonful butter. Slice six of the eggs, and put them in a pudding-dish with the white sauce. Rub the yolks of the other two eggs through a sieve, mix them with the bread-crumbs, and sprinkle them over the top of the dish. Put bits of butter [Pg 140] here and there, garnish the dish around the sides with points of buttered toast and the extra whites of the eggs cut in rings, and set the dish in the oven until browned on top.

Rice Crumpets.—One cup rice, two cups flour, one cup milk, one tablespoonful butter, one tablespoonful sugar; quarter of a yeast-cake, dissolved in warm water; pinch of salt. Set to rise early in the morning. When light, fill muffin-pans; let them stand fifteen minutes, and bake.

Deviled Chicken.
French Rolls. Broiled Tomatoes.

Deviled Chicken.—Select a young and tender chicken, score it with a knife, rub it well with the sauce described in the last chapter (see "Deviled Mutton"), and broil over a clear fire.

Broiled Tomatoes.—Slice, but do not peel, fresh tomatoes. Broil them on a toaster over the fire; remove to a hot dish; put a little butter, pepper, and salt on each one, and let them stand a minute before serving.

[Pg 141]

Poached Eggs, with Anchovy Toast.
Boston Brown-Bread. Water-cress.
Nutmeg Melons.

Poached Eggs, with Anchovy Toast.—Prepare slices of anchovy toast as already described, and lay on each slice a poached egg. Pour over all a cup of drawn butter in which has been stirred a teaspoonful of chopped parsley.

Boston Brown-Bread.—Put a loaf of Boston brown-bread into the inner vessel of a double boiler, and boiling water in the outer vessel, and steam the bread until it is hot through.

Game Pâté. Cold Tongue, sliced.
Bread-and-Butter. Radishes.
Hot Crackers.
Cream Cheese.

Game Pâté.—Several varieties of game pâtés are put up by French and American companies, and all are admirable for summer lunches or teas.

[Pg 142]

Fried Pickerel. New Potatoes.
Celery and Radish Salad.

Fried Pickerel.—These fish are very delicious when perfectly fresh. Each fish should be rolled in flour and fried quickly in hot dripping. Take them out of the pan as soon as done.

Celery and Radish Salad.—Cut the celery into inch lengths, and toss it up with a French dressing. Heap it in a bowl, and arrange half-peeled radishes around the mound. Pour over all a mayonnaise dressing prepared according to the directions already given. The combination of the cool celery and the pungent radishes will be found very pleasing.

Jellied Tongue. Fried Bananas.
Asparagus Biscuit.
Peaches and Cream.

Jellied Tongue.—One cup of the liquor in which the tongue was cooked, two cups good [Pg 143] stock or gravy of any meat except mutton, half-box of gelatine, one gill cold water, one cup boiling water, two tablespoonfuls vinegar, one glass sherry, a cold boiled tongue, sliced. Soak the gelatine in the cold water for two hours. Pour over it the boiling water, the stock or gravy, and the tongue liquor, heated. Unless the gravy is highly seasoned, it is a good plan to boil a bay leaf, a sprig of parsley, a slice of onion, and a few sweet herbs in a cup of water, and then to strain this, and pour it over the gelatine instead of using the plain boiling water. Flavor the jelly with the vinegar, the sherry, pepper, and salt, if the last is needed. Strain all through a cloth. When the jelly begins to harden, pour a little into a brick-shaped mould or tin pan with straight sides, first wetting the mould with cold water. Arrange slices of tongue on this. Pour in more jelly, then place another layer of tongue, and continue thus until the supply of both is exhausted, making jelly the last layer. Set the mould on ice until the jelly is hard; turn it out and slice on the table. This sounds like [Pg 144] a fussy dish, but it is less trouble than appears at first.

Asparagus Biscuit.—Scoop out the inside of stale biscuit, leaving side walls and the foundation of crust. Set these hollow shells in the oven until dried. Boil asparagus tender in salted water, cut off the tops, mince and season them, and stir them into a cupful of drawn butter. Fill the hot shells with the mixture, and send to table.

Baked Chicken Omelet. Corn Croquettes.
Brown Bread.
Strawberry Short-Cake.
Iced Coffee.

Baked Chicken Omelet.—Into one cupful of white sauce, made as previously directed, stir a cupful of chicken, minced fine and seasoned to taste. Beat two eggs light, yolks and white separately. Add the yolks to the chicken mixture; last, stir in the whites lightly, pour into a buttered pudding dish, and bake in a quick oven.

Corn Croquettes.—To two cupfuls of green corn, chopped, add one well-beaten egg, a [Pg 145] teaspoonful of butter, one of sugar, salt to taste, and just enough flour to hold the ingredients together. Form into croquettes with floured hands, and fry in deep fat.

Pickled Lambs' Tongues. Egg Salad.
Boiled Corn-Bread.
Loppered Milk.

Egg Salad.—Slice hard-boiled eggs, arrange them upon crisp lettuce leaves, and pour over all a mayonnaise dressing.

Boiled Corn-Bread.—Two cups sour milk, one cup warm water, one tablespoonful lard, one tablespoonful molasses, one teaspoonful soda, one cup flour, two cups corn-meal. Mix the ingredients, beating well; pour into a Boston brown-bread mould with a tight top; set in a pot of water; boil two hours, and turn out.

Welsh Rabbit. Cold Corned Ham.
Sliced Cucumbers.
Hot Oatmeal Crackers. Cream Cheese.

Welsh Rabbit.—One egg, half-cup milk, [Pg 146] one cup grated cheese; salt, Cayenne, and made mustard to taste; squares of stale bread toasted and buttered. Heat the milk in a double boiler, melt the grated cheese in this, season, add the egg, and pour the mixture over the toast. If the rabbit seems too thin, add more cheese or a few fine bread-crumbs.

[Pg 147]


Sweetbread Pâtés. Raised Corn-meal Muffins.
Fried Potatoes.
Jelly Toast.

Sweetbread Pâtés.—Scald and blanch a pair of sweetbreads; remove bits of skin and gristle; chop rather coarsely, and stir into a cupful of white sauce; season to taste. Have ready pastry shells made hot in the oven, and fill them with the sweetbreads. Send very hot to table. A few mushrooms chopped with the sweetbreads are a pleasant addition.

Raised Corn-meal Muffins.—Two cups milk, two cups corn-meal, one tablespoonful white sugar, one tablespoonful lard, quarter yeast-cake. Heat the milk to boiling, and pour it upon the meal. While this is warm, beat in all the other ingredients except the lard. Let it rise six hours. Add the lard. [Pg 148] Fill muffin tins, and let the batter rise twenty minutes before baking.

Jelly Toast.—Cut stale bread into neat rounds or squares; fry each slice in boiling deep fat; spread it thickly with some fruit jelly, and serve very hot.

Deviled Ham. Sliced Potatoes.
Rye Biscuit.
Crackers and Cheese.

Deviled Ham.—Cut cold boiled corned or smoked ham into rather thick slices, rub well with a sauce made as described on page 134 for "Deviled Mutton," and broil the ham over a clear fire.

Sliced Potatoes.—Cut six boiled potatoes into neat slices, warm them in a steamer, transfer to a dish, and put on them a tablespoonful of butter and a teaspoonful of chopped parsley. Let them stand five minutes before serving.

Rye Biscuit.—Two cups rye flour, one cup white flour, one and a half cups milk, one tablespoonful sugar, one tablespoonful lard, one tablespoonful butter, two teaspoonfuls [Pg 149] baking-powder, saltspoonful salt. Rub the shortening into the flour after sifting the salt and baking-powder with it; add the sugar and the milk; roll the dough out quickly, and bake the biscuit in a brisk oven.

Cold Chicken Pie. Potato Salad.
Cold Bread.
Gingerbread. Cocoa.

Cold Chicken Pie.—Stew a grown chicken until tender, putting it on in cold water, and cooking very slowly; arrange the pieces in a deep pudding dish, laying in with them two hard-boiled eggs cut into slices; pour over all a cupful of the gravy, which should be well seasoned; cover the pie with a pastry crust, and bake in a moderate oven. Add to two cups of the remaining gravy a quarter-box of gelatine soaked in a little cold water, a small glassful of sherry, and a tablespoonful of vinegar; when the pie is done, pour this gravy into it through an opening which should have been left in the top. Make this [Pg 150] pie the day before it is to be eaten. It is an excellent dish for Sunday lunch or tea.

Potato Salad.—Slice cold boiled potatoes; with three cups of these mix one sliced beet, one onion braised, and three or four stalks of celery; pour over them four tablespoonfuls of salad oil and three of vinegar, with pepper and salt to taste. Let all stand in a cold place at least an hour before serving.

Gingerbread.—Two cups milk, half-cup sugar, half-cup molasses, one teaspoonful ground ginger, one teaspoonful cinnamon, one tablespoonful butter, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder; flour enough to make a good batter. Beat hard, and bake in a steady oven.

Apples and Bacon. Brown-Bread Toast.
Canned Peach Short-Cake.

Brown-Bread Toast.—Cut stale Boston brown-bread into slices, and toast, taking care not to scorch it. Butter rather liberally, and send hot to table.

Canned Peach Short-Cake.—Make a short-cake according to previous directions; cover [Pg 151] canned peaches with sugar, and stew them gently for half an hour in the syrup thus made; lay the sliced peaches between the layers of short-cake, and pour the syrup over each piece after it is split and buttered.

Broiled Blue-Fish. Baked Potatoes.
Cold Bread.
Corn-meal Griddle-Cakes.
Maple Syrup.

Corn-meal Griddle-Cakes.—Two cups corn-meal, one cup flour, one cup boiling water, one tablespoonful lard, one tablespoonful molasses, two cups sour milk, one teaspoonful soda, saltspoonful salt. Scald the corn-meal; add the shortening, the milk and soda, the molasses, and the salted flour. Beat hard.

Meat Loaf. Baked Tomatoes.
Fried Bread.
Hot Cake.

Meat Loaf.—Two pounds raw or under-done beef or veal, minced fine; quarter-pound ham, also minced; two eggs; half-cup [Pg 152] fine bread-crumbs; one tablespoonful melted butter; pepper, salt, chopped onion, and herbs for seasoning to taste. Work all the ingredients well together, and press closely into a brick-shaped tin. Cover this, set it in a pan of boiling water, and bake an hour and a half, taking care that the boiling water does not cook away. Turn out and slice when cold.

Fried Bread.—Beat one egg into a cup of milk; soak in this slices of stale bread from which the crust has been trimmed. Cook on a griddle, as you would cakes.

Hot Cake.—One cup buttermilk, two eggs, three tablespoonfuls butter, one and a half cups sugar, half teaspoonful soda, flour for a good batter (about two heaping cupfuls). Bake in a loaf, and eat warm.

Broiled Smelts. Hashed Potatoes.
Raised Muffins.
Cerealine Fritters.

Raised Muffins.—Two eggs, two cups milk, one tablespoonful butter, one tablespoonful sugar, half yeast-cake, saltspoonful [Pg 153] salt. Make a sponge in the early morning, omitting the eggs; at lunch-time add these, well beaten, and bake the muffins in a quick oven.

Cerealine Fritters.—One and a half cups cerealine, two cups milk, saltspoonful salt. Cook the cerealine in the milk, beat it up light, and set it aside to cool in a shallow pan; cut it into squares or rounds when cold, and fry in deep fat; sprinkle with powdered sugar, and put a spoonful of jelly on top of each just before sending to table.

Stewed Kidneys. Potatoes au Gratin.
Plain Muffins.
Sliced Oranges.

Stewed Kidneys.—Soak two kidneys in salt and water half an hour; take out the core, and cut the remainder into small pieces. Brown a tablespoonful of butter and one of flour together with a quarter of an onion sliced; lay the pieces of kidney in this, and let them cook five minutes. Add a cup of good gravy; or, if this is lacking, half a cup of boiling water. Let the kidneys simmer [Pg 154] in this ten minutes; take out, and serve on slices of toast, pouring the gravy over and around them.

Potatoes au Gratin.—Two cupfuls of raw potatoes cut into dice, half-cup fine bread-crumbs, two tablespoonfuls butter. Let the potato dice lie in cold water several hours, drain them, season with salt and pepper, and put them in a well-greased pan; dot them thickly with bits of butter, sprinkle them with the crumbs, and add more butter. Bake, covered, for half an hour; uncover, and brown.

Plain Muffins.—One egg, two cups milk, one tablespoonful lard, saltspoonful salt, half yeast-cake, flour for batter. Set them early in the morning, and let them rise until noon.

Toasted Bacon. Poached Eggs.
Buttered Toast.
Quick Crullers. Cream Cheese.

Quick Crullers.—One and a half cups sugar, one cup butter, four eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, flour for a stiff dough; roll [Pg 155] out, and cut into fancy shapes, and fry in deep fat.

Creamed Lobster. Thin Bread-and-Butter.
Salad of Cold Lamb.
Crackers and Cheese.

Creamed Lobster.—One cup milk, half-cup cream, meat of a large lobster, two tablespoonfuls butter, one tablespoonful flour, salt and Cayenne pepper to taste, juice of a lemon. Heat the milk to boiling, and thicken with the flour and butter. Mince the lobster with a sharp knife; never chop it. Stir it into the milk, and let it become well heated; add to it the raw cream, stir up once, and take from the fire; season, add the lemon juice, and serve in small silver or china shells.

A Fish "Left-Over." Stewed Potatoes.
Rice Cakes.
Roast Spanish Chestnuts.

A Fish "Left-Over."—The remains of any cold boiled, broiled, fried, or baked fish; three hard-boiled eggs, if you have only a half-cupful of fish (two eggs if there is more fish); [Pg 156] one cup white sauce. Flake the fish, chop the eggs, heat both in the white sauce, season to taste, and serve either on toast or without it.

Rice Cakes.—One egg, one cup flour, one and a half cups cold boiled rice, saltspoonful salt, three cups milk. If this amount of milk thins the batter too much, add more flour.

Roast Spanish Chestnuts.—Cut a bit off of each, and roast them in the oven. Peel, and eat with butter and salt.

[Pg 157]


Curried Oysters. Rice Croquettes.
Cold Slaw.
Crackers and Cheese.

Curried Oysters.—Heat to boiling the liquor from one quart of oysters; lay the oysters in it, and let them simmer just long enough to plump them. Take them out with a skimmer, put them where they will keep hot, and thicken the liquor by adding to it a tablespoonful of butter rubbed smooth with two of browned flour. Into this stir a teaspoonful of curry-powder wet up in a little cold water. Salt and pepper to taste, squeeze in the juice of a lemon, return the oysters to the sauce, and serve.

Rice Croquettes.—Two cups cold boiled rice, one well-beaten egg, one teaspoonful butter, one teaspoonful sugar, salt to taste. Work the butter, egg, salt, and sugar into the [Pg 158] rice, make into croquettes with the floured hands, and fry in deep fat.

Cold Slaw.—Shred half a fine white cabbage, and pour over it a dressing made as follows: Four tablespoonfuls vinegar, half-cup milk, one tablespoonful butter, one tablespoonful sugar, one egg, pepper and salt. Beat the egg; stir the melted butter, the milk, salt, pepper, and sugar into this. Put the vinegar boiling hot into it, a little at a time. Pour the sauce over the cabbage, and let it become ice-cold before serving.

Turkey Hash. Fried Potatoes.
Milk Toast.
Macaroons. Cocoa.

Turkey Hash.—Remove the meat from the bones of a turkey, and cut it into neat bits; stir two cups of this into two cups of white sauce; season to taste. Make the stuffing of the turkey into neat cakes, fry them, and arrange them on the dish around the hash.

Macaroons.—One and a half cups powdered sugar, whites of two eggs, six ounces almond paste. Beat the whites very stiff; [Pg 159] add the sugar and the almond paste, the latter chopped fine. Make into balls with the fingers, and bake in very well greased pans in a moderate oven. Take out when they are a delicate brown, but do not remove them from the pans until they are perfectly cold. These little cakes are so delicious and so easily made that it is strange they are not more generally manufactured at home.

Jellied Chicken. Hominy Croquettes.
Toasted Muffins.
Orange Cake.

Jellied Chicken.—Cut up a chicken as for fricassee, and stew until the meat slips from the bones. Take out the chicken, and cut it into neat pieces when it has become cold. Let the gravy simmer half an hour with an onion sliced, a small bunch of parsley, a couple of stalks of celery, and a bay-leaf. Strain it, and return it to the fire with the white and freshly broken shell of an egg. Let it boil up, and strain it again, this time through a cloth. While still hot pour three cups of this liquor upon a half-box of gelatine which has [Pg 160] soaked an hour in one cupful of cold water. Stir until the gelatine is dissolved, and add a glass of pale sherry and a couple of tablespoonfuls of vinegar. Pour part of this jelly into a wet mould, and when it begins to form lay in slices of hard-boiled egg and pieces of the chicken. More jelly follows, and more chicken, until all are used up. Turn out when the jelly is perfectly firm.

Hominy Croquettes.—Make as directed for rice croquettes, using hominy instead of rice.

Toasted Muffins.—Split and toast English muffins, and butter them on the inside.

Orange Cake.—Two cups sugar, half cup butter, four eggs, three cups flour, one cup cold water, one large or two small oranges, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder. Work the butter and sugar together; add the yolks of the eggs, the juice and grated peel of the orange, the water, the whites, and the flour with the baking-powder. Bake in small cakes. If you like, reserve one of the whites of the eggs, and make an orange icing by beating with this a cup of powdered sugar and a little orange juice.

[Pg 161]

Cold Ham. Celery Salad.
Batter Muffins.
Baked Apples with Cream.

Batter Muffins.—Two cups flour, two cups milk, two tablespoonfuls butter, three eggs, the whites and yolks beaten separately; one heaping teaspoonful baking-powder, saltspoonful salt. Put in the whites last of all, and bake the muffins in a quick oven.

Baked Sausages. Stuffed Potatoes.
Toasted Crackers. Cheese. Olives.

Baked Sausages.—Make small cakes of sausage-meat, or prick the sausages, if you use those in skins, before putting them into the baking-pan. Bake until they are of a good brown. Take them out and thicken the fat left in the pan with a tablespoonful of flour, add a small cup of milk, boil up, and pour over the sausages in the dish.

Broiled Oysters. Thin Bread-and-Butter.
Cold Chicken.
Raised Waffles.

[Pg 162]

Raised Waffles.—One egg, two cups flour, two cups milk, one tablespoonful butter, saltspoonful salt, half yeast cake. Set a sponge early in the morning, and just before baking at noon beat in the butter and egg.

Beefsteak. Baked Sweet Potatoes.
Lunch Cakes. Chocolate.

Lunch Cakes.—One cup milk, four cups flour, two tablespoonfuls butter, half-cup sugar, two eggs, two tablespoonfuls currants, one teaspoonful baking-powder. Cream the butter and sugar, and stir them into the beaten eggs and milk. Add the flour and baking-powder, and last of all the currants, washed, dried, and dredged with flour. Roll out the dough, cut into rounds, and bake in a moderate oven. Split, butter, and eat while hot.

Broiled Sardines on Toast. Omelet.
Nursery Muffins.
Sugar Cakes. Chocolate.

Broiled Sardines on Toast.—Broil the sardines on a fine wire broiler, lay two on each [Pg 163] slice of toast, and squeeze over them a few drops of lemon juice.

Nursery Muffins.—Two cups milk, two cups fine bread-crumbs, one cup flour, saltspoonful salt, one egg, one tablespoonful butter, three teaspoonfuls baking-powder. Beat the egg light, stir in the butter, the bread soaked in the milk, and the flour and baking-powder. Bake in a steady oven, greasing the muffin tins well, so that the batter may not stick to them.

Sugar Cakes.—One cup butter, one cup sugar, four cups flour, two eggs, one teaspoonful vanilla. Cream butter and sugar, mix with the beaten eggs, add the flour and the flavoring, roll out very thin, and bake in a moderate oven, sprinkling the cakes with granulated sugar just before baking.

Veal Hamburg Steaks. Light Rolls.
Apple-Sauce. Jumbles.

Veal Hamburg Steaks.—One pound lean veal, chopped fine; two teaspoonfuls onion juice; salt and pepper to taste. Mix all well, form with the hands into flattened cakes, [Pg 164] and broil over a clear fire. Lay on each a half-teaspoonful of maître d'hôtel butter, or a bit of butter the size of a hickory nut, first squeezing a few drops of lemon juice on the meat. Let them stand covered a minute before serving.

Jumbles.—Half-cup butter, three quarters of a cup of sugar, one heaping cup flour, two eggs (the yolks only), two tablespoonfuls sherry, extract of rose to taste. Beat the yolks, cream the butter and sugar; mix these, and add the flour and the flavoring. Make into round balls with the fingers, and place them on a well-buttered tin so far apart that when they flatten they may not run into each other. Stick a raisin, a slip of citron, or a blanched almond on top of each. Bake in a steady oven to a pale yellow. Do not brown. While still warm, loosen them from the pan with a sharp knife, as they become very brittle when cold.

Ham and Eggs. Baked Potatoes.
Graham Biscuit.
Stewed Prunes. Fancy Cakes.

[Pg 165]


Letter T

TWENTY or thirty years ago the late dinner was not nearly so popular as it is now. The majority of the people dined in the middle of the day, and not a few of them considered a six-o'clock dinner as an effort after fashion that was unworthy the imitation of sensible men and women. Even in large cities servants rebelled against an alteration of the time-honored custom of serving the principal meal of the day at or near noon, while in small towns the late dinner was so unusual that it was almost impossible to persuade domestics to consent to it.

A marked change has taken place in the fashion. The evening dinner has for years been steadily gaining in popularity, and promises to become even more common than it is now. Thoughtful men and women recognize the wisdom of eating lightly at midday, when they are in the full tide of [Pg 166] business, and reserving the heartiest repast for an hour when it can be discussed leisurely and digested peacefully. Mistresses have learned that there is a gain in keeping the morning free for house-work, instead of devoting most of it to the preparation of the dinner. The light lunch eaten in most homes demands much less time in cooking and eating than does a dinner, and leaves those who have partaken of it more fit for work than they would be were their stomachs burdened with the task of digesting soup, meat, vegetables, and dessert.

The late dinner is a more dignified meal than can possibly be made of a similar repast eaten at noon. The festal appearance imparted by the gleam of candles, lamps, or gas upon silver, china, and glass cannot be acquired by daylight. The pleasant reunion around the board of the members of the family, whose positions and interests have been divergent since morning, the happy consciousness that the work of the day is done, the knowledge that there is no toil waiting at the door of the dining-room, all [Pg 167] bear their share in rendering the meal cheerful and care-free. More ceremony can and should be preserved at the evening dinner than is feasible at noon. The orderly sequence of courses and careful serving have a part in adding to the dignity of the meal.

These suggestions should not frighten the housekeeper who contemplates introducing the late dinner in her household. Very little extra work is involved in bestowing the touch of state referred to, and, after all, it consists chiefly in a slight additional care in waiting and serving, and to these the mistress can readily accustom the maid.

The dinner-table should be spread with a plain white cloth, under which the sub-cover of felt or canton flannel must never be lacking. Any one who has observed the thin and sleazy appearance even handsome damask presents without this felt under it, and has noticed the noise the dishes and silver make when moved about where there is but the one thickness between them and the board, will not voluntarily be long without [Pg 168] so simple and inexpensive an addition to the elegance of her table.

It is sometimes a rather costly luxury to keep a vase of fresh flowers always ready for the table. In summer it is comparatively easy, even in the city, to get a few blossoms every day or two; but in winter, with flowers at exorbitant prices, a single spray, renewed twice a week, is an extravagance which the housewife does not always feel she can afford herself. Cheaper and quite as pretty in effect is it to have a pot of primroses, or of cyclamen, or of some other hardy house plant that will bloom for two or three weeks, and of which the first cost is but small.

In setting the table, the knife and the napkin, with a piece of bread folded in the latter, should lie at the right of the plate, the fork at the left, the spoon at right angles to both of these; between the plate and the middle of the table, the glass, butter-plate, and salt-cellar near the point of the knife, within easy reach of the right hand. An extra knife or fork may be added for each course, where either may be needed. A plate must stand [Pg 169] at each place, although it is usually removed to make room for a hot one after the family are seated and the dinner brought on.

The space in front of the hostess is left free for the soup-tureen, and before the host is spread the carving-cloth. The carving knife and fork are laid upon this. At the corner of the table stand the large salts, if these are used instead of the individual cellars, and the pepper-cruets. Near them are the tablespoons. The water-pitcher, or carafe, the ice bowl, and any relishes in the shape of jellies, pickles, etc., are all else that is put on the table at the beginning of the meal, except the soup tureen and plates.

When the latter have been removed, the principal meat dish is set in front of the carver, and a hot plate is laid for each guest. At family dinners the carver generally does the helping, although sometimes after the meat is cut it is passed, and each person allowed to help himself.

The vegetables are next passed by the waitress, and offered at the left of each person, and after them the jelly or pickles [Pg 170] are served. If, before the meat course, a fish dish or an entrée is offered, it is passed usually in the same fashion. Next comes the salad, which is always passed, after each guest has been supplied with a clean plate. This course removed, all the soiled dishes and the small silver are removed, the table is crumbed, and the dessert is brought in. If fruit succeeds this, a fresh plate and a finger-bowl are given to each one. With the fruit comes the coffee.

Of course there are many families in which the daily menu is simpler than that outlined above. In large families each added course means a perceptible increase of cost, and although the judicious manager who has a fixed allowance for household expenses may so dovetail the retrenchment of one day that it will balance the undue outlay of another, yet in most instances she will feel that if she can feed her household well and satisfy them, without providing them with five or six courses at an ordinary dinner, more than this would savor of extravagance. In some homes soup each day is considered an expensive [Pg 171] luxury. So it is when fresh meat must be purchased to make it, or even when fresh or canned vegetables have to be bought for it; but when there are bones or trimmings from raw or cooked meats, or vegetables left over—a half-can of tomatoes, a cupful or two of mashed potato, a saucer of pease, or other similar remnants—or when fish and eggs are plentiful, the soup need be but a small item in the expense, and is really economical, as, by blunting the edge of the appetite, it renders the attack upon the next course less vigorous. There is a large variety of bean, pea, lentil, and cream soups that are cheap, palatable, and nourishing.

Salad is not a frequent dish in many homes, but in warm weather it may well be substituted sometimes for soup and cost little more. Still that may be a good dinner at which neither soup nor salad is seen. The final cup of tea or coffee adds a graceful finish to a simple dessert, and is generally enjoyed by the adult members of the family.

A word concerning the dinner toilette may not be amiss. In England, donning full [Pg 172] dress for a late dinner is a matter of course. Not so in America. Our independent citizen usually thinks he honors the home meal quite enough if he washes the dust of the day from his hands and face, and brushes his hair and his coat. Yet there are few homes in which the mistress does not change her gown for dinner, or at least brighten or freshen her attire so as to make it differ decidedly from that in which she appeared at breakfast. The question involuntarily suggests itself why it is easier for a tired woman to dress than it is for a tired man, and one wonders if the husband would not find in a change of toilette the refreshment his wife experiences from a similar operation. Even without putting on full dress, a man should, at least by exchanging his office for a house coat, and assuming fresh collar, cuffs, and cravat, do his share in giving to the dinner-table the look of a pleasant social gathering, instead of a mere stopping-place for food.

[Pg 173]


Letter I

IN some homes it seems out of the question to have a late dinner. There may be several reasons for this. Possibly the mistress of the house does all her own work, and finds it easier to dispose of the bulk of her cooking in the morning than later, since she thus leaves free the afternoon hours for leisure or social duties. Or she may, if she keeps servants, live in a neighborhood where late dinners are so far the exception that she finds it impossible to induce her cook to accede to her desire to change the hour of dinner. Or, still again, it may seem expedient to dine at noon, because that hour better suits her husband and children. In any one of these cases, instead of repining over the inevitable, she should set herself to work to make the best of circumstances, and do all in her power to impart every possible charm to the midday meal.

[Pg 174]

In some parts of the South a one-o'clock dinner is almost unheard of, while the—to Northerners—singular hour of two, or half after two, or three, is chosen. This has the advantage of giving the children plenty of leisure for eating, as their schools have closed by this hour; but the same necessity for haste is laid upon the head of the house that must always prevail when a busy man is obliged to take the time for dinner out of the most active part of the day. Whenever, for any reason, the meal must be only an interlude in work, instead of coming at the close of the day's labors, it should be made a comparatively simple repast.

There is no doubt that the average American eats too rapidly. No one who has witnessed the feats of deglutition performed by commercial travellers at a railway station will cavil at this assertion. It is safe to attribute the national disease of dyspepsia to this cause fully as much as to the indigestible viands of which the ordinary citizen makes his chief diet. And this haste is not confined to the hotel dining-room or the railway [Pg 175] eating-house. In private households as astonishing and disgusting exhibitions of rapid gorging may be seen as are ever witnessed in public restaurants.

No one who had once beheld the spectacle could ever forget the fashion in which meals were conducted in a certain home where wealth and every evidence of outward refinement gave promise of better things. The father, a man of business from his sixteenth year, plainly considered eating the duty to be accomplished at the table, and quite ignored such minor considerations as the interchange of thought or observation, or any of the social features usually connected with the operation of dining. If he could not quite equal Napoleon the First, who was said to have often devoured his entire dinner in six minutes, he did not fall far behind the great warrior. Soup, meat, vegetables, dessert, were swallowed in rapid succession and in almost utter silence. The slight delay inseparable from a change of courses was endured impatiently. Almost before the last mouthful was down, the eager man would push [Pg 176] back his chair, spring to his feet, and, with a muttered word of farewell, make a rush for the street. In an instant the slam of the front door would announce that he was on his way back to his office.

His children were not backward in imitating him, and all the pleadings of their refined, care-worn mother were powerless to check the influence of the father's example. With such a rush at meal-times, elegant or even tolerably decent table manners were impossible, and the visitor in the home found eating a difficult business when accompanied by the sight of the haste and habits that often could only be described as revolting.

If the midday meal must be hurried, let it also be simple. There is no rhyme or reason in attempting to dispose of a three or four course dinner in thirty or forty minutes. If only half an hour can be allowed for the repast, let this consist of two courses only, either a soup and a meat course, a meat course and a salad, or a meat course and a dessert. These should be served promptly, but in an orderly fashion, and both the conduct of the dinner [Pg 177] and the gastric powers will be benefited by such simplicity.

Upon this point the house mother must insist. Even if her husband will not conform to her wishes in this regard, she should require from servants and children a certain amount of propriety in serving the meal and decorum in its discussion. After seeing that the dinner is punctually served, and that the courses follow one another promptly, she should herself set the example of deliberate eating, and should strive, by the introduction of interesting subjects, to encourage the pleasant chat that is a potent aid to digestion. It will cost an effort to do this when she is weary and harassed by household worries, but she will enjoy her own meal more if her mind is, by any agreeable means, distracted for a little while from her cares.

For the midday dinner the table should be laid as it is at night, and the waiting should be performed in the same fashion. The vegetables should, if possible, be served from the side, although in a family where no waitress is employed they may be set [Pg 178] upon the table. The custom of having four or five vegetables at dinner appears rather absurd. Where there are only two courses, several kinds may be desired, but as a rule two vegetables, or at the most three, are quite enough. Only a few of these should ever be served in saucers. Even at the tables of people who ought to know better it is nothing unusual to see two or three or more small sauce-plates given to each person. One will contain pease, another tomatoes, another stewed corn, another pickles or jelly. While there may be some sense in having separate little dishes for holding such semi-fluid compounds as stewed tomatoes, stewed corn, or cranberry sauce, there is no cause for using them for pease, string-beans, spinach, cauliflower, and the like. The appearance of such an array suggests a hotel table, and detracts from the home-look which should always be studied by the housekeeper.

Of course there is no possibility of dressy toilettes at midday, but cleanliness and neatness at least may be attained, and it should [Pg 179] be one of the unwritten laws of the home that no one may come to the table looking untidy, or in négligé of curl-papers and collarless wrappers for the women and shirt sleeves for the men.

Possibly it may seem strange to many people to learn that there are classes among whom it is considered no breach of etiquette for a man to come to the table not only coatless, but even without his collar, cravat, or vest; this, too, not among farmers alone, but in cities and in ranks of life much above those of the ordinary mechanic or common day laborer. Often in the same families the wives and daughters will appear well-bred, and will dress neatly and tastefully themselves, even while they seem to perceive nothing shocking in the dishabille of the men of the house. Perhaps, since those most interested do not complain, no one else has a right to criticise; and yet it does seem as though the regard for appearances and for the small sweet courtesies of life had some claims.

In most cases where one notes such carelessness, it will be found that the trouble [Pg 180] began very far back, when the boys who are now men were allowed a similar license in their parents' homes. For the sake of the families of the future, if for no other reason, the mothers of the rising generation should exact appropriate apparel at meals as well as correct behavior and careful table manners from their growing boys and girls, even if the children's fathers refuse to conform to what they deem over-niceness in dress and demeanor.

[Pg 181]


Letter T

THE "big dinner" of the week is, in most homes, eaten on Sunday. Then the men of the family are at home for the day, the children have no claims of school or play to hurry them through their meals, and there is a general impression of delightful leisure which seems favorable to the eating and digestion of an excellent and hearty dinner. This repast is usually served at midday, in order that the servants may have the afternoon and evening to themselves; and it is not uncommon for the mistress of the house to prepare the Sunday-evening tea herself.

The old-fashioned idea of always having a cold dinner on the Sabbath is almost obsolete. Some people who have been brought up in the habit clung for a long while to the compromise of serving a piece of cold meat at the Sunday dinner, although the vegetables [Pg 182] were hot; but even that is changed now, and there are few homes where as large an array of smoking viands is not spread upon

"The day that comes between
The Saturday and Monday"

as is ever offered on any non-religious holiday.

The reasons given at the beginning of this chapter are quite sufficient to account for this almost universal practice. The good housekeeper enjoys seeing her culinary handiwork appreciated, and she generally reserves any especially tempting bonnes bouches for Sunday, when she knows that those for whom she delights to cater will have the time and inclination to give her cookery its meed of attention. Without cavilling at this, one must at the same time deprecate the amount of additional work that the Sunday dinner often involves upon what should be, both physically and spiritually, a day of rest as well as of refreshment. A little thought will often enable the housekeeper to so minify the amount of work to be done on Sunday [Pg 183] that the domestic labors will be perceptibly lightened, and the dinner in no wise injured. So much of the preparation for the meal can be made the day before that the business of finally getting it ready for the table will seem comparatively light.

In one family of strong Sabbatarian principles the omission of soup from the Sunday bill of fare was evidently considered a means of grace. The tureen and ladle always enjoyed a rest upon the first day of the week, but by some curious process of ratiocination no harm was thought of having at dinner a course of salad which cost as much time to prepare, and demanded the use and washing of as many dishes as would have sufficed to serve the tabooed soup. Yet the hostess would always say, with an air of conscious virtue, "Oh, we never have soup on Sundays," as though the non-appearance of that dish upon the first day of the week was proof positive of a high order of piety.

In spite of this, the soup course may be made a very trifling affair. To say nothing of two or three excellent brands of canned [Pg 184] soups, which, with a little "doctoring" in the way of seasoning, may be rendered quite equal to those freshly made, there are many soups which can be brought on Saturday into a state of such complete readiness that all that is necessary on Sunday is to heat them for the table. Of these are chicken, mutton, and veal broths, consommé, Julienne, ox-tail, mock-turtle, black or white bean and pea soup—indeed, nearly every soup with a meat stock. Cream soups, like tomato, celery, potato, cauliflower, green pea, and corn soups, are better prepared just before using, and these may be served on week-days and yet leave a large variety of potages from which to make a choice for the Sunday dinner.

Leaving the soup, something should be said concerning the introduction of entrées, etc. They are not necessary at a repast so essentially domestic as the first-day feast. Even if they are prepared the day before, their insertion in the bill of fare compels the use and washing of another set of plates. The man-servant and maid-servant within our gates merit a little consideration upon a [Pg 185] day which should bring to them too a modicum of rest. Still, if an entrée is occasionally desired, there are those which may be made on Saturday, and will need only warming to be fit for the table, such as pâtés of various kinds. For these both pastry shells and filling may be prepared the day before, so that simply heating them and putting them together will comprise the work involved in getting them ready for the table.

When the meat course is reached it becomes less easy to shirk Sunday labor. The roast may be bound and skewered, the turkey or chickens trussed for roasting, the bread crumbed for the stuffing, on Saturday, but the stuffing must not go in until the last moment, nor must the meats, to be at their best, be put into the oven until just in time to permit their being done in season for dinner. With vegetables, too, much of the excellence depends upon brisk cooking. Few of them are, like spinach, benefited by each time of warming over. Since this heavy work cannot be avoided, all the housekeeper can do is to make the rest of the meal as easy as possible [Pg 186] for herself and her servants. At the best, there will be enough to do.

If a salad is served, the mayonnaise dressing, if this is used, is no whit injured by keeping on the ice even for two or three days. The fish, flesh, or fowl, when such enter into the composition of the salad, may be minced the day before, and kept in a cold place until needed. Or if, as is better at dinner, a simple salad of lettuce, celery, or something of the kind is used, upon which the hostess bestows an ordinary French dressing after it is brought to the table, the washing and picking over of the salad are a trifling matter.

As to desserts, it is a peculiar taste which refuses to be satisfied with some one of the many that can be made in part or entirely the day before.

The number of cold desserts is legion, and ranges all the way from ices and frozen creams through charlottes, jellies, and the like, to the simple blanc-manges and custards, to say nothing of preserved or brandied fruit. Pies of countless kinds there are which can [Pg 187] readily be heated, if a hot dessert is wished, and there are delicious cakes which are almost a dessert in themselves. Besides all these, in this favored period, there is scarcely a day in the year when an attractive dish of fresh fruit is beyond the reach of people of moderate means.

While anything approaching a desecration of the Sabbath is to be avoided, there should yet be a cheerfulness, a pleasant freedom of speech at the Sunday dinner-table that ought to render it the happiest meal of the week. It is not the season for ceremonious entertaining—a large Sunday dinner-party is not in America in the best form, even in so-called worldly society—but it is the time for making a place within the circle of the home for solitary men or women far from their own people, who have only boarding-places or restaurants at which to eat their Sunday dinner. To them even a simple meal, eaten in a private house and among friends, is a choice treat, and inviting them is a deed which may fitly be classed among the works of mercy which even the Westminster Catechism permits.

[Pg 188]


Letter T

THERE has been so much written about the giving of dinner-parties that the manager of a small household may well shrink in dismay from the labor that obedience to such rules would lay upon her. When she reads descriptions of tables spread with the most costly glass, silver, and china, of courses consisting of delicacies prepared from intricate directions, and served by three or four trained servants—her heart sinks with dismay, and she gives up then and there the attempt to entertain her friends at dinner.

Such instructions may be of value to those nouveaux riches who are at a loss how to conduct a feast where expense is no object. Even for them it seems as though it would be easier to consign a big dinner to the charge of a professional caterer than to drill their own servants into fitness for preparing and [Pg 189] serving such a repast as some of these manuals describe. But there are many women who wish to entertain gracefully, and yet who have neither the means nor the inclination to attempt doing so on a large or costly scale. Possessing plenty of pretty napery, silver, and china, having tolerably good cooks and well-trained waitresses, they feel themselves fairly equipped for giving small dinners, especially when they may order some of the most difficult dainties from outside. They need not be appalled by the list of what are to the majority of them unattainable adjuncts, that are declared by writers on the complete art of dining to be indispensable to a correct dinner. Those who are fitted by circumstances to follow these are few indeed compared with the army of the moderately well-to-do who find such elegance quite beyond their modest means. So let these pluck up heart of grace, and, instead of obeying the quite natural impulse which ensues upon the perusal of the aforesaid discouraging guide-books to entertaining and renouncing their plans of hospitality, resolve [Pg 190] rather to use their own common-sense and good judgment, and give dinners in consonance with these.

Of course there are certain rules for setting the table, directing the proper sequence of courses, and for the waiting, whose observance marks familiarity with the etiquette of dining, and whose absence denotes ignorance; but these are so simple, so universal, and so readily learned that once known it is easier to follow them than to devise new ways. Among the many advantages of practising every day the proper methods of serving and waiting is especially this, that when an emergency of this sort arises, there need be only an extension of daily customs, not a total departure from ordinary habits.

The etiquette of a small dinner is essentially the same as that of a large one. Any woman who is sure of her cuisine, and who has a waitress accustomed to her work, can give a pretty little dinner, and there is no pleasanter way of entertaining a few friends whom one especially wishes to honor. For a party of this sort, six is a good number. When [Pg 191] one goes beyond that, the necessity for a more ceremonious etiquette, a more imposing bill of fare, arises, and this the woman who gives only little dinners wishes to shun.

In setting the table, care must be taken to avoid the one extreme of over-crowding, and the other of placing the guests so far apart that tête-à-tête conversations are difficult. In as small a company as this the talk is apt to be general, but occasionally there is an opportunity for a duet if the seats are near enough together to allow two of their occupants to carry on a low-voiced chat without distracting the attention of the other guests from their own topics of discussion.

In the arrangement of dishes, knives, forks, etc., about the same rules are followed that apply for luncheon-parties. A fork and a knife for each course—the forks laid at the left of the plate, the knives at the right, the soup spoon across the top of the plate—the usual array of salt-cellar, butter-plate (the latter is often omitted at dinner), the glasses for wine and for water, the folded napkin holding a dinner roll, the card, the menu, the [Pg 192] individual flowers—all are much the same as at a luncheon. The table-cloth should be of the heaviest and handsomest damask, the centre-piece, the floral decorations, the candelabra, with their candles and silk shades, the dishes, containing hors-d'œuvres, bonbons, glacé fruits, etc., differ little from the similar array on the table at a formal luncheon. The same general plan is to be followed in serving the courses. The dinner usually begins with oysters or clams. Next comes a soup—consommé, or a cream soup of some really choice variety. A clear soup is to be preferred as being light and easily digested, and since one does not wish to begin the meal by overloading the stomach, it is better on that account than a cream soup or a purée.

Fish comes next, and this should be, as is everything else served at a dinner, either choice on account of its rarity, or because of the excellent fashion in which it is cooked. A piece of salmon or of baked halibut with a sauce hollandaise is good, or, in their season, salmon trout or any other game fish. Potatoes in some form are served with this course. [Pg 193] This is succeeded by an entrée, and that in turn by the principal meat course of the dinner, usually filet de bœuf, accompanied by one or two fine vegetables. Next comes Roman punch, then game or poultry, followed or accompanied by salad, and after that is the dessert—pastry, ices, creams, fruits, coffee, etc. As may be seen by comparing this outline with the directions given for a luncheon, the two are very much alike. The chief difference is in the kinds of food. Those served at a dinner are generally of a more solid character than those prepared for a luncheon. The latter consists chiefly of petits plats.

A small dinner should not last much more than an hour and a half. It is readily disposed of in that length of time if the cook has the courses ready promptly, and if the waitress understands her business. All the carving should be done off the table. The plates should be put in front of the guests from the right side, and removed from the left. Of course, whatever dish is passed must be offered from the left side. To prevent [Pg 194] mistakes the hostess should write out a full list of all the courses, what dishes each comprises, and from what china they are to be served, noting, too, when there is a change of silver. A copy of this schedule should be in the hands of the cook, while the butler or waitress should have a duplicate pinned up in a convenient place in the butler's pantry, to serve as a reference in case the memory of one of them should play false.

While caterers can be found who will supply almost any dish which may be suggested, a graceful touch of individuality is imparted to a dinner if certain plats are prepared at home. Only, they must be well done, or they were better omitted altogether. The ices, biscuit, and Charlottes usually come from outside, but the entrées and salads, as well as soup, and the fish, meat, and game, may be prepared in the house, and be none the worse on that account.

Coffee is sometimes served in the dining-room, but quite as often passed in the parlor. It is never in good taste to have a large assortment of wines at a small dinner. Claret [Pg 195] and champagne are quite enough, or even claret alone is sufficient.

When the hostess is ordering her dinner, she should bear in mind who her guests are to be, and arrange her bill of fare in accordance with her bill of company. The advisability of this is illustrated in the anecdote told of an English restaurateur who, on being ordered to prepare a dinner for twelve clergymen, begged respectfully to know if they were High-Church or Broad-Church, "for hif 'Igh-Church, they wants more wine; hif Broad-Church, more wittles."

It is not worth while to prepare highly spiced entremets and dishes of mushrooms and terrapin for guests who would be better suited with plainer viands; while, on the other hand, a very simple dinner is not the thing to set before a company of epicures.

[Pg 196]


Letter t

THUS far the descriptions of breakfasts, luncheons, and dinners have been given from the standpoint of the housekeeper. The outline of this, a more ceremonious meal than any before described, will be from the point of view of the guest, who regards everything as a mere spectator, and not with the eyes of the hostess, who has studied every step of the repast from its inception to its completion.

Two weeks before the dinner the guest receives his invitation, which may have been sent either by private hand or by post. The latter method in these days of "magnificent distances" is rapidly growing in favor. The invitation card, which is about three and a half inches wide by four and a half long, is engraved in a dashing script as follows:

[Pg 197]

Mr. and Mrs. Pelham Blank
request the pleasure of
Mr. —— ——'s company
at dinner on
—— —— ——
at half-past seven o'clock,
—— Gramercy Square.

The name of the guest and the date of the dinner are written in the blank spaces on the card. To this invitation he sends an immediate reply.

The guest reaches the house of his entertainers on the appointed evening at a few minutes before the dinner hour. In the coat-room he finds a man-servant in attendance, ready to assist in any trifling matters of the toilet, who hands each gentleman, on a silver tray, a tiny envelope, enclosing a card bearing the name of the lady he is to take in to dinner. Descending to the drawing-room, the name of the guest is announced at the door by a servant, who draws aside the portière to allow him to enter. His first address is, of course, to Mr. and Mrs. Blank, who stand near the door receiving. The young [Pg 198] man, Fidus by name, congratulates himself inwardly that he at least is on time, and, seeing at a glance how few of his fellow convives have arrived, marvels anew, as he has done often before, that well-bred people will be so careless of the laws that regulate good society as to arrive at a house ten, fifteen, and even twenty minutes after the hour fixed for dinner.

As Fidus has never met the young lady whose name is written on the card presented to him in the dressing-room, he promptly requests an introduction of his hostess, and chats with his fate for this evening until—all of the fourteen invited guests having arrived—a servant draws back the portières and announces by a bow that dinner is served. Mr. Blank offers his arm to the guest for whom the dinner is especially given—a charming Englishwoman—and the rest of the party follow them to the dining-room. There is no suggestion of precedence, except as the younger guests naturally give way to the elders of the company. Mrs. Blank and her attendant cavalier come last.

[Pg 199]

The dining-room, a fine large apartment, is lighted only by candles; but there are plenty of these in sconces, in candelabra, in candle-sticks of odd and pretty designs. Flowers are all about wherever their use, either singly or massed, can produce a good effect.

The places at table are marked by plain white cards, each with the name of a guest painted on it in gold. The table decorations are quiet in effect, but in excellent taste. The cloth, of pure white plain damask, is covered through the centre with a scarf of elaborate drawn-work. In place of the towering épergnes once so fashionable, the floral ornaments, candelabra, etc., are all low. Pink roses, white lilacs, and maidenhair ferns are the flowers used; and these are not arranged in set form, but are simply massed in cut-glass bowls, three in number, placed here and there through the centre of the table. The candelabra are also of cut glass, which is used wherever it is possible, in preference to silver. A corsage bouquet of the flowers mentioned above, tied with a wide pink ribbon, awaits each lady at her place, [Pg 200] while a boutonnière lies beside the name card of each man. The candles are shaded with alternate pink and white shades, and the silver and china are of the daintiest and prettiest.

At each place are two large knives and a smaller one—one of these being supposed to be for fish, although it is decidedly contre les règles to use a knife for fish—a small fork for fish, three large forks, a spoon for soup, and a small oyster fork. The knives are at the right, the forks at the left of the plate, and on the left is also the folded napkin containing the bread. The glasses for water and wine are on the right. There are generally four of the latter, for claret, sauterne, champagne, and sherry.

A plate holding raw oysters and a piece of lemon is at each place when the guests enter. When these have been eaten, soup is served, a consommé; and this is not brought to the table in the tureen, but is served from the side. Next comes the fish—a piece of salmon, with lobster sauce, it happens to be on this particular occasion—and it is followed by the [Pg 201] entrées. To save time, three of these are served at once; but Fidus declines one, deeming it unwise to overload his plate and his stomach at so early a stage in the proceedings.

After the entrées comes the roast, with one vegetable; and the sorbet or Roman punch succeeds this, and precedes the game. Salad, cheese, and bread-and-butter compose the next course, and, the table being cleared for dessert, ices make their appearance. After these are disposed of come the fruit, bonbons, etc.

Wine has, of course, flowed freely during the repast, but the drinking has been very moderate, after all, and each guest has felt at liberty to refuse any of the wines offered. Sherry has been served with the soup, sauterne with the fish, and claret with the roast, while after the first course or two champagne has had all seasons for its own. At some dinners a larger number of wines are served, but this, so far from being essential, is not considered strictly good form. Nor have there been favors given, as one would suppose, [Pg 202] from perusing books of etiquette, that this is a common custom at ceremonious dinners. Such a proceeding, while it might in one way be agreeable to the guests, would entail a heavy burden of expense upon the hosts, and might, moreover, place the recipients of these mementos under an obligation which they would not thoroughly enjoy. If favors are given, they should be pretty but inexpensive trifles.

The dessert discussed, the ladies leave the gentlemen to their own devices for a while, and retire to the drawing-room. Coffee might have been served before they quitted the table, but in this case it is sent to the ladies in the drawing-room, where they sip it leisurely, while the men enjoy theirs with their cigars in the salle à manger, and partake of the tiny glasses of cordial that is supposed to serve as an aid to digestion. When they finally leave the table two hours and a half have passed since they seated themselves, and they are quite ready to stand about the drawing-room chatting for a while after their prolonged séance.

[Pg 203]

As no music or other entertainment beyond the dinner has been arranged for the guests, they remain only about an hour after the meal is ended, and then make their acknowledgments and adieux to the host and hostess, and wend their respective ways homeward.

[Pg 204]


Lentil Soup.
Fricasseed Chicken.
Rice Croquettes. Buttered Sweet Potatoes.
Peach Brown Betty.

Lentil Soup.—One pint lentils, two quarts cold water, one onion, one tablespoonful flour, two teaspoonfuls butter, pepper and celery-salt to taste. Soak the lentils overnight in cold water; drain them the next morning, and put them over the fire with the two quarts of water and the onion; simmer for several hours until the lentils are very soft. If the water boils away too fast, replenish the amount from the tea-kettle. When the lentils are done, rub them through the colander and return them to the fire; cook the butter and flour together in a small saucepan until the mixture bubbles, and stir into the soup. Season to taste, and pour on [Pg 205] tiny squares of fried bread laid in your tureen, and serve.

Buttered Sweet Potatoes.—Boil good-sized sweet potatoes, scrape them, and slice them lengthwise; butter each piece, lay all in a pan, and set them in the oven until the butter is well melted into the potatoes.

Peach Brown Betty.—Stew a pound of evaporated peaches until tender and plump; place a layer of these in the bottom of a pudding dish, sprinkle them plentifully with sugar, and strew them quite thickly with fine bread-crumbs, scattering a little cinnamon over this; then arrange another layer of peaches, more sugar, crumbs, and spice, and so continue until the dish is full. Just before adding the last layer, which should be of crumbs, pour in as much of the liquor in which the peaches were stewed as the dish will hold without "floating" the contents. After the top stratum of crumbs is in place, dot it with bits of butter; bake it covered for half an hour in a moderate oven, uncover and brown. Eat with hard sauce.

Hard Sauce.—One tablespoonful butter, [Pg 206] one cup powdered sugar, half-teaspoonful flavoring. Cream the butter and sugar together until very light, flavor, press into a cup or small mould, turn out, and pass with the pudding.

Boiled Mutton, Sauce Soubise.
Mashed Turnips. Baked Hominy.
Apple Charlotte.

Boiled Mutton, Sauce Soubise.—In purchasing your mutton, select a fine large leg, and have it cut in two, in such a way that the knuckle and the lower part of the leg will make a good piece for boiling, leaving the upper part for roasting.

Sauce Soubise.—Four onions chopped, one tablespoonful flour, one tablespoonful butter, one cup of the liquor in which the mutton was boiled; pepper and salt to taste. Stew the onions until very tender; drain them, and rub them through a colander; put the butter and flour together in a little saucepan, cook them until they bubble; add the mutton liquor, which must have been cooled and skimmed; stir all together until thick and [Pg 207] smooth; add the pepper, salt, and the strained onions; pass with the boiled mutton. If properly made, this is a very appetizing sauce.

Baked Hominy.—To two cupfuls of cold boiled hominy add a tablespoonful of melted butter, a tablespoonful of white sugar, one egg beaten, a cupful of milk, and a little salt; beat all together until light, and bake in a buttered pudding dish. Serve as a vegetable.

Apple Charlotte.—Two eggs, two cups milk, half-cup sugar, two cups rather stiff apple-sauce. Make a boiled custard of the yolks of the eggs, the milk, and the sugar; whip the whites of the eggs very light, and beat them into the apple sauce, which should have been well sweetened while hot. Heap the sauce and whites in a dish, and pour the custard over it. Set in the ice-box, or some other cold place for half an hour before sending to the table.

Mutton and Rice Broth.
Roast Mutton.
Creamed Parsnips. Mashed Potatoes.
Sponge-Cake Trifle.

Mutton and Rice Broth.—Strain and skim [Pg 208] the liquor in which the mutton was boiled; put it over the fire with two tablespoonfuls of raw rice, and let it cook about three quarters of an hour, until the rice is soft; stir into it a cup of boiling milk which has been thickened with a tablespoonful of flour. After this is added to the broth, let it boil up once, and then serve.

Creamed Parsnips.—Boil and peel parsnips; cut them in slices, and, after spreading each slice with butter, lay in a vegetable dish, and pour over them a white sauce made of a cup of boiling milk cooked until thick with two teaspoonfuls of flour and one of butter; pepper and salt to taste.

Sponge-Cake Trifle.—Cut a stale sponge-cake into slices, and pour over each piece enough sherry to moisten it thoroughly. Spread the cake with raspberry or strawberry jam, and cover all with a pint of whipped cream, slightly sweetened.

[Pg 209]

Veal Cutlets. Baked Tomatoes.
Creamed Spaghetti.
Asparagus Salad.
Crackers and Cheese.
Light Cakes.

Baked Tomatoes.—Select fine large tomatoes, and cut a small piece out of the stem end of each. In this hole place a small lump of butter, about half the size of a hickory-nut. Bake the tomatoes slowly for half an hour; take up, and keep hot while you thicken the juice left in the pan with a teaspoonful of flour wet up in a very little cold water. Set the pan on top of the stove, and let its contents boil up once. Season to taste with pepper and salt, and pour this sauce over the tomatoes.

Creamed Spaghetti.—One half pound spaghetti boiled tender in two quarts boiling water, slightly salted; one tablespoonful butter; two teaspoonfuls flour; one cup milk; four tablespoonfuls grated cheese; pepper and salt to taste. Cook the butter [Pg 210] and flour together; add the seasoning and the cheese. Drain the spaghetti, put it in a deep dish, and pour the sauce over it.

Asparagus Salad.—Boil a bunch of asparagus until tender; drain it, and put it on the ice. When perfectly cold, pour over it a half-cupful mayonnaise dressing into which has been stirred a teaspoonful of French mustard. Canned asparagus may be used when the fresh is out of season.

Cream Corn Soup.
Stewed Pigeons.
Baked Potatoes. Fried Bananas.
Apricot Fritters.

Cream Corn Soup.—One can corn, three cups boiling water, two cups milk, one tablespoonful butter, two tablespoonfuls flour, one egg, pepper and salt to taste. Drain the liquor from the corn, and chop the latter fine; cook it in the boiling water for an hour; rub it through the colander, and return it to the fire. Have the milk hot in a farina kettle. Thicken it with the flour and butter; season, and pour a little at a time [Pg 211] upon the beaten egg. Stir this in with the hot corn purée, and serve at once.

Stewed Pigeons.—Cut pigeons in half, place a layer of salt pork cut in thin strips in the bottom of a saucepan, and lay the pigeons on this; sprinkle with a little chopped onion; pour over them enough hot water to cover them, put a closely fitting top on the pot, and cook them slowly for two hours. Take out the birds and the pork, and keep them hot while you thicken the gravy left in the pot with a little browned flour wet up in cold water; boil up once, pour over the pigeons, and serve.

Fried Bananas.—Select firm bananas, peel them, and slice them lengthwise; dip them in egg, roll them in very fine cracker-crumbs, and fry them in deep fat to a light brown. Serve on a napkin laid in a deep dish.

Apricot Fritters.—Stew evaporated apricots until tender, adding, when half done, sugar in the proportion of two tablespoonfuls to every cupful of juice. When the apricots are tender, take them out, leaving the syrup to reduce by boiling until it is [Pg 212] quite thick. Dip each piece of apricot into a frying batter made of a cup of flour, a tablespoonful of melted butter, a small cup of warm water, and the white of an egg beaten light; drop these fritters into boiling deep fat. When done, lay on a piece of brown paper in a colander for a few minutes, transfer to a hot dish, and pour the hot syrup over and around them.

Broiled Shad.
Canned French Pease. New Potatoes.
Preserved Ginger.
Fancy Cakes.

Canned French Pease.—Drain the pease, and put them in a frying-pan with a tablespoonful of melted butter smoking hot; toss the pease about in this until they are heated through and well coated with the butter; season with pepper and salt, and serve at once.

Lettuce.—Dress on the table with a plain French dressing.

[Pg 213]


Green-Pea Soup.
Roast Shoulder of Veal.
Boiled Potatoes. Asparagus with Eggs.
Cherry Dumplings.

Green-Pea Soup.—One quart shelled pease cooked until tender, one quart milk, two tablespoonfuls butter, one teaspoonful sugar, one tablespoonful flour, salt to taste. Press the pease, after they have been boiled and drained, through a colander; put them back on the fire, and stir into them the milk, boiling hot, thickened with the butter and flour and seasoned with the sugar and salt. Boil up once, and serve.

Asparagus with Eggs.—One bunch asparagus, two hard-boiled eggs, one cup white sauce. Boil the asparagus until tender; cut the stalks into inch lengths, rejecting the hard woody portions; chop the hard-boiled [Pg 214] eggs coarsely, and stir with the asparagus into the white sauce, which must be boiling hot. Serve at once.

Cherry Dumplings.—Make a biscuit crust of two cups of flour, a tablespoonful of butter rubbed into it, a little salt, a teaspoonful of baking-powder, and milk enough to make a soft dough. Roll out into a sheet a quarter of an inch thick, and cut into squares about three inches across. Stone the cherries; put a spoonful into the centre of each square of paste; sprinkle with sugar, fold the edges across, and pinch them together. Lay them with the pinched edges downward in a pan, and bake to a light brown. Eat with a hard sauce made as directed in the preceding chapter.

Fish Chowder.
Broiled Lamb Chops. Raw Tomatoes.
Young Onions Stewed.
Strawberry Méringue.

Fish Chowder.—Two pounds fresh fish, two good-sized potatoes, one cup milk, a quarter of a pound of salt pork, one onion [Pg 215] minced, one tablespoonful chopped parsley, enough boiling water to cover all the ingredients after they are in the pot. Cut up the fish, the pork, and the potatoes (which should have been peeled and parboiled) into pieces less than an inch square. Place in a pot or saucepan first a layer of pork, then one of fish strewn with onions and parsley, then one of potatoes; repeat the layers in this order until all the materials are used. Pour in the water, cover closely, and let it cook slowly a full hour. Split and butter half a dozen Boston crackers; let them soak in the cupful of milk over the fire for five minutes; take them out, and lay them in the tureen, and pour the chowder over them. Pass lemon with it.

This chowder is even better the second day than the first, although there is rarely much left over.

Strawberry Méringue.—Line a pie-dish with puff paste, bake this carefully, and then place in it a thick layer of hulled strawberries; rather small ones are best for this purpose. Sprinkle them with powdered sugar, [Pg 216] and heap over them a méringue made of the whites of four eggs whipped stiff with half a cup of powdered sugar. Just before putting it in stir lightly into it a cupful of the berries. Set the pie-plate containing the méringue in the oven long enough to brown delicately, and eat when perfectly cold.

Asparagus Soup.
Boiled Chicken. Green Pease.
Summer Squash.
Raspberry Pudding.

Asparagus Soup.—Boil a bunch of asparagus until it is very tender. When done, cut off the green tips, and put them aside, and rub the stalks in a colander, getting all of them through that you can. Heat four cups of milk in a double boiler, add the strained asparagus to this, and thicken with a tablespoonful of butter rubbed in one of flour. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the asparagus tops (which should have been kept hot), and serve.

Raspberry Pudding.—Two cups raspberries (red or black), three cups flour, three [Pg 217] eggs, two cups milk, one tablespoonful butter, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder, saltspoonful salt. Beat the eggs very light, and mix with the butter, melted, and the milk. Stir into this the flour sifted with the salt and baking-powder, taking care that the batter does not lump. Dredge the berries with flour, add them to the pudding, and boil this in a plain pudding mould, set in a pot of boiling water, for three hours. Take care that the water does not come over the top of the mould. Serve with hard sauce.

Egg Soup.
Roast Lamb. Mint Sauce.
Beets. Succotash. Green Pease.

Egg Soup.—One quart milk, four eggs, one onion sliced, one tablespoonful flour, one tablespoonful butter, salt and pepper to taste. Heat the milk to scalding in a double boiler with the onion. Thicken the milk with the flour and butter, and season to taste. Poach the eggs in boiling water, lay them in the [Pg 218] bottom of the tureen, and strain the soup upon them. Simple and nutritious.

Mint Sauce.—Four tablespoonfuls vinegar, one tablespoonful mint chopped very fine, one tablespoonful white sugar, a very little salt and pepper. Pour the vinegar upon the sugar and mint, and let them stand in a cool place a full hour before using. Add the salt and pepper just before sending to table.

For the benefit of those who are sometimes unable to procure the fresh herb, it may be stated that the dried mint sold in bottles is an excellent substitute.

Cheese Soup.
Beef à la Mode.
Fried Cucumbers. Cauliflower. Green Corn.
Fresh Fruit.

Cheese Soup.—One egg; a half-cupful grated cheese; one onion; two cups milk; two cups veal, chicken, or other white stock; one tablespoonful flour; one tablespoonful butter; pepper and salt to taste. Heat the milk and stock with the onion. Remove the latter, and thicken the liquid with the butter [Pg 219] and flour rubbed smooth together. Stir in the cheese, pour a little of the soup on the egg beaten light, add this to the soup in the pot, season, and serve immediately. It is a good plan to put a tiny pinch of soda into the milk before adding the cheese.

Beef à la Mode.—Select a good piece of beef from the round, and "plug" it thickly with beef suet or with strips of fat salt pork. Make other incisions into which to crowd a force-meat made of finely chopped salt pork mixed with twice the bulk of bread-crumbs, and seasoned with herbs, allspice, onion, and vinegar. Fasten the meat securely in shape with a stout band of cotton cloth, lay it in a pot, pour over it three cups of boiling water, cover closely, and cook slowly for three hours, or until tender. Turn the meat once. Thicken the gravy left in the pot with browned flour, and pass with the meat.

This piece of meat will be as good cold as it is hot, and makes a welcome pièce de résistance upon which to rely for lunch or tea.

Fried Cucumbers.—Peel the cucumbers; slice them lengthwise, making about four [Pg 220] slices of a cucumber of ordinary size. Lay them in salt and water for an hour, take out, drain, and dry. Dip first in beaten egg, then in cracker-crumbs, and fry as you would egg-plant.

Boiled Cod. Egg Sauce.
Lima Beans. Mashed Potatoes.
Tomatoes. Mayonnaise Dressing.
Baked Peach Pudding.

Baked Peach Pudding.—Two cups flour, one cup milk, one egg, one teaspoonful baking-powder, one tablespoonful butter, saltspoonful salt, eight medium-sized peaches, peeled and stoned. Beat the egg with the milk, stir in the butter, melted, and the flour sifted with the salt and baking-powder. Place the peaches in the bottom of a pudding dish, sprinkle them well with sugar, pour the batter over them, bake the pudding in a quick oven, and eat it before it has time to fall. Serve either hard or liquid sauce with it.

[Pg 221]


Cauliflower Soup.
Roast Beef.
Baked Tomatoes and Corn. Boiled Sweet Potatoes.
Fried Egg-Plant.
Cocoanut Custards.

Cauliflower Soup.—Cut a medium-sized cauliflower into small clusters, chop all except two bunches, and put all on the fire in four cups of boiling water with a minced onion and a couple of sprigs of parsley; cook until tender. Remove the unchopped bunches, and lay them aside, while you rub the chopped and boiled portion through a colander; return what comes through the sieve to the stove. Have ready in a double boiler a pint of scalding milk; thicken this with a tablespoonful of butter rubbed smooth with an equal quantity of flour, and then mix with the strained cauliflower. Season to taste, [Pg 222] drop in the reserved clusters cut into small bits, and serve the soup immediately.

Baked Tomatoes and Corn.—Cut a slice from the top of each of several large firm tomatoes; scoop out about two thirds of the pulp, taking care not to break the sides; fill the cavities thus left with green corn, boiled, cut from the cob, and chopped fine with a little butter, pepper, and salt; arrange the tomatoes thus stuffed in a baking-dish, put a few bits of butter here and there between them, and bake half an hour. If you have a half-cupful of good gravy, pour this over them instead of putting the butter between them.

Fried Egg-Plant.—Peel and cut the egg-plant into slices less than half an inch thick an hour before it is to be cooked; lay the slices in salted iced water, with a plate over them to keep them from floating. Just before dinner wipe each slice dry, lay it in beaten egg, and then roll it in salted and peppered cracker-crumbs. Have ready lard or really good dripping in a frying-pan, and fry the slices brown.

[Pg 223]

Cocoanut Custards.—Three eggs, three cups milk, half-cup sugar, half a cocoanut grated, one teaspoonful vanilla. Heat the milk to boiling; pour it upon the beaten eggs and sugar; return to the fire, and cook the custard until it thickens. When it reaches the right consistency take it from the stove, and when it has partially cooled stir in the vanilla and cocoanut. Fill small cups with this, set them in a pan of boiling water in the oven, and bake until set.

Veal Soup.
Stewed Lamb à la Jardinière.
Creamed Potatoes.
Sliced Peach Pie.

Veal Soup.—Two pounds lean veal from the leg (cut into small pieces), a few veal bones well broken, two quarts cold water, one onion, two stalks celery, a little parsley, two tablespoonfuls rice, salt and pepper to taste. Slice the onions, and fry them in the soup-pot to a good brown in a little dripping; put the meat in on them, and when this has browned add the veal bones, the [Pg 224] celery, the parsley, and water. Let all simmer gently for several hours. Set the soup aside with the meat in it until cool; skim, strain, and return to the pot, with the raw rice and the seasoning. Let the soup cook slowly until the rice is tender, and then serve. Pass grated cheese with this soup.

Stewed Lamb à la Jardinière.—Select a good-sized breast of lamb, and lay it in a saucepan; pour over it enough cold water to nearly cover it, and put a closely fitting lid on the pot. While it is simmering gently, parboil half a cupful of string or Lima beans, half a cupful of green pease (fresh or canned), two small carrots cut into neat, thin slices, and a few clusters of cauliflower. When the lamb is nearly done, lay these vegetables on it; put with them two tomatoes sliced, and cook about fifteen minutes. In serving this dish arrange the vegetables around the meat, and pour over them the gravy, which should be thickened with browned flour after the meat and vegetables have been taken from it.

Sliced Peach Pie.—Line a pie-plate with a good paste, and cover it with peaches, [Pg 225] sliced, but not peeled; sprinkle thickly with sugar, and bake in a steady oven. There must be no top crust, but a méringue may be added when the pie is nearly done, and lightly browned. This pie is very good.

Tomato Soup Maigre.
Baked White-Fish.
Mashed Potatoes. Fried Oyster-Plant.
Rice-and-Pear Pudding.

Tomato Soup Maigre.—Fry a sliced onion brown in butter or good dripping in the bottom of the soup-pot; pour in the chopped contents of a can of tomatoes and two cups of boiling water; stew until tender, rub through a colander, return to the fire; add a half-cupful of boiled rice; thicken with a tablespoonful of butter rubbed smooth with one of flour; boil up, and serve.

Baked White-Fish.—Select a good-sized fish, and stuff it with a dressing of bread-crumbs well seasoned and moistened with a little melted butter. Sew the fish up carefully; pour a cupful of boiling water over it after it is laid in the dripping-pan, and bake [Pg 226] (covered) for an hour, basting several times with butter. Remove the threads before sending to table.

Rice-and-Pear Pudding.—Three cups boiled rice, two eggs, one cup sugar, one cup milk, stewed or canned pears. Stir the beaten eggs, the sugar, and the milk into the rice; put a layer of this in the bottom of a pudding mould, and cover this with a stratum of pears; follow this with more rice, then more pears, and continue thus until all the materials are used; set the mould in boiling water, and boil for an hour. Eat the pudding with a hot custard sauce.

Potato Purée.
Beef's Heart, Stuffed. Stewed Sweet-Potatoes.
Scalloped Squash.
Méringued Apples.

Potato Purée.—Two cups mashed potato, one onion, four cups boiling water, one stalk celery, one cup milk, one teaspoonful butter, one tablespoonful flour, pepper and salt to taste. Cook the potato, onion, and celery in the water for half an hour; rub through a [Pg 227] colander, return to the fire; add the milk, thicken, and season.

Méringued Apples.—Eight fine large apples, peeled, cored, and quartered; two tablespoonfuls butter, juice of a large lemon, one cup white sugar, nutmeg to taste, whites of three eggs, half-cup powdered sugar. Heat the butter, sugar, lemon juice, and nutmeg in a double boiler; drop the quartered apples into this, and let them cook until tender; take them out and lay in a glass dish, cover with a méringue made of the whites of the eggs and the powdered sugar, and pass the syrup from the apples in a little pitcher, with the méringued fruit.

Julienne Soup.
Irish Stew.
Creamed Carrots. Stewed Corn.
Peach-and-Tapioca Pudding.

Peach-and-Tapioca Pudding.—One small cupful tapioca, one can peaches, half-cup sugar. Soak the tapioca overnight in three cupfuls of water; the next day arrange the canned peaches in a dish, pouring over them [Pg 228] about a cupful of the liquor from the can; sprinkle them well with sugar, pour the tapioca on them, and bake until this is clear. Eat hot with hard sauce.

Salmon Soup.
Mutton Chops.
Baked Onions. Stuffed Egg-Plant.
Cream Rice Pudding.

Salmon Soup.—One can salmon, one cup bread-crumbs, one quart water, two cups milk, one teaspoonful butter, pepper and salt to taste. Pick to pieces the contents of a can of salmon, removing the bones, bits of skin, etc.; put over the fire with the water and seasoning, and cook half an hour; stir in the butter, the milk, and the crumbs, and serve. Pass sliced lemon with this.

Stuffed Egg-Plant.—Boil an egg-plant thirty minutes, cut it in half, and scrape out the inside; mash this up with two tablespoonfuls of butter, and pepper and salt to taste; fill the two halves of the shell, sprinkle with crumbs, and brown in the oven.

[Pg 229]

Cream Rice Pudding.—Three cups milk, three tablespoonfuls rice, one cupful sugar, one teaspoonful vanilla. Wash the rice, put it with the milk, sugar, and flavoring into a pan, and bake in a slow oven for three or four hours. Every time a crust forms on top, stir it in, until just before taking it from the oven. Eat cold.

[Pg 230]


Turnip Purée.
Roast Turkey.
Fried Parsnips. Browned Onions.
Mashed Potatoes.
Orange Roly-Poly.

Turnip Purée.—Eight turnips, one onion, one stalk celery, four cups water, two cups milk, one tablespoonful butter, one tablespoonful flour, pepper and salt to taste. Peel and cut up the turnips, and put them over the fire with the onion in the four cups of water; let them cook until tender, and then rub them through the colander, and put them back on the fire. Cook the butter and flour together in a saucepan; add the milk, stir into the turnip, season to taste, and serve.

Browned Onions.—Peel rather small onions, and boil them until tender; drain off [Pg 231] the water, and pour over the onions a cupful of soup or gravy; let the onions simmer in this for ten minutes; then take them out, and keep them hot while you thicken the gravy with browned flour. Pour over the onions just before sending to the table.

Orange Roly-Poly.—Two cups flour, one and a half cups milk, one tablespoonful butter, one tablespoonful lard, two teaspoonfuls baking-powder, one saltspoonful salt, four fair-sized sweet oranges, half-cup sugar. Sift the baking-powder and the salt with the flour; rub the butter and lard into it; add the milk, and roll out the dough into a sheet about half as wide as it is long; spread this with the oranges peeled, sliced, and seeded; sprinkle these with sugar; roll up the dough with the fruit inside, pinching the ends together, that the juice may not run out; tie the pudding up in a cloth, allowing it room to swell; drop it into a pot of boiling water, and boil it steadily for an hour and a half; remove from the cloth, and lay on a hot dish. Eat with hard sauce flavored with lemon.

[Pg 232]

Turkey Soup.
Roast Pork. Apple-Sauce.
Boiled Potatoes. Stewed Tomatoes.
Chocolate Custards.

Turkey Soup.—Break up the carcass of the cold turkey after all the meat has been cut from it, and put it, with bits of skin and gristle and the stuffing, over the fire in enough water to cover it; cook gently for several hours, and then let the soup get cold on the bones; strain it off, skim it, and put it back on the fire. Have ready in a saucepan two cupfuls of milk, thickened with a tablespoonful of butter and two of flour; stir this into the turkey liquor, boil up, and serve.

Chocolate Custards.—Four cups milk, four eggs, one cup sugar, four tablespoonfuls grated chocolate, two teaspoonfuls vanilla. Put the chocolate over the fire in a double boiler with part of the milk, and let it cook until smooth; add the rest of the milk, and, when this is hot, pour it upon the sugar mixed with the beaten yolks of the eggs. Return to the stove, and cook until the custard [Pg 233] begins to thicken; when cool, pour into glasses or small cups, and heap on the top of each a méringue made of the whites of the eggs whipped stiff with a little powdered sugar.

Oyster Soup.
Broiled Steak.
Baked Cabbage. Fried Potatoes.
Cup Puddings.

Oyster Soup.—One quart oysters, two cups milk, one egg, one tablespoonful butter, pepper and salt to taste. Strain the liquor from the oysters, and bring it to the boiling-point in one vessel while the milk is heating in another; drop the oysters into the scalding liquor, and leave them there until they begin to crimp. Stir the butter into the milk, and pour this upon the beaten egg; turn this in with the oysters; cook together one minute, and serve immediately. Some persons like a pinch of ground mace added to oyster soup.

Baked Cabbage.—Wash and quarter a small cabbage; put it on in plenty of boiling water, and let it boil furiously (uncovered) [Pg 234] for twenty minutes. By doing this, and having a cup of vinegar on the stove at the same time, you do away with the disagreeable odor which usually accompanies the cooking of cabbage. Drain it when done, and chop it fine; add to it a tablespoonful of butter, one egg beaten light, a scant half cupful of milk, and pepper and salt to taste. Bake in a pudding dish to a good brown.

Cup Puddings.—One cup sugar, two tablespoonfuls butter, one cup milk, two eggs, two cups flour, two small teaspoonfuls baking-powder, one saltspoonful salt. Beat the yolks of the eggs light, and mix with the creamed butter and sugar; add the milk and the flour, mixed well with the salt and baking-powder; bake in small cups or deep patty-pans, and serve one to each person. Eat with either hard or liquid sauce.

Corned-Beef Soup.
Stewed Rabbits.
Baked Corn. Fried Sweet Potatoes.
Plain Fruit Pudding.

Corned-Beef Soup.—Heat to boiling with a [Pg 235] sliced onion three cups of the liquor in which a piece of corned-beef was boiled; just before it begins to bubble drop into it the freshly broken shell of an egg, boil up once, and strain. Put the cleared soup back on the fire, and when it boils again add to it two cups of milk in which have been dissolved two tablespoonfuls of flour; pour a little of this on a beaten egg, and return all to the fire for a minute before serving.

Baked Corn.—Two cups canned corn chopped fine, one egg, half-cupful milk, one tablespoonful butter, pepper and salt to taste. Beat the egg light, stir this and the milk into the corn, season, and bake in a buttered pudding dish until firm.

Plain Fruit Pudding.—One cup molasses, one cup milk, one and a half cups flour, quarter-cup seeded raisins, quarter-cup currants washed and dried, quarter-cup shredded citron, one cup suet, one saltspoonful salt, one small teaspoonful soda. Chop the suet into the flour, first mixing the latter with the salt and soda; add the milk and molasses, and beat thoroughly; dredge the [Pg 236] fruit and stir it into the pudding; boil in a brown-bread mould two hours and a half. Serve hard sauce with it.

Roast Duck.
Canned Green Pease. Boiled Potatoes.
Crackers and Cheese.
Lemon Tarts.

Canned Green Pease.—Turn the pease from the can into a colander; pour over them several quarts of cold water, so as to rinse the pease thoroughly from the liquor in which they were canned; after this, pour as much boiling water over them, and set the colander over a pot of boiling water, covering the pease; let them steam there until heated through, dish, and put on them a couple of teaspoonfuls of butter, and pepper and salt to taste.

Lemon Tarts.—Line small patty-pans with a good puff paste, and fill them with the following mixture: Half-cup butter, one cup granulated sugar, three eggs, juice and grated rind of a lemon, two tablespoonfuls [Pg 237] brandy, nutmeg to taste. Beat the yolks into the creamed butter and sugar; add the lemon, spice, brandy, and whites; bake in a steady oven, and eat when cold.

Black Bean Soup.
Halibut Steak.
Browned Potato. Scalloped Cauliflower.
Coffee Jelly.

Black Bean Soup.—Two cups black beans, six cups cold water, one onion, two sprays parsley, four or five cloves, one teaspoonful mixed thyme and sweet-marjoram, one quart corned-beef liquor. Pick the beans over carefully, wash them, and put them in soak in the cold water; let them stand all night, and in the morning transfer them to the soup kettle. Put with them the onion, herbs, and cloves, and simmer all together gently until the beans are soft; rub them through a colander, return to the fire, add the corned-beef liquor, and boil for an hour; pour the soup on two hard-boiled eggs, quartered, and a few thin slices of lemon, laid in the tureen.

Scalloped Cauliflower.—Boil the cauliflower [Pg 238] tender; tie it in a piece of net before putting it in the boiling water; cut the clusters apart, and arrange them, stems downward, in a pudding dish; pour a cup of drawn butter over them, season with pepper and salt, sprinkle with fine bread or cracker crumbs, and bake until of a good brown.

Coffee Jelly.—Two cups clear strong coffee, one cup sugar, one cup boiling water, half-cup cold water, half-box gelatine. Let the gelatine soak in the cold water an hour; stir the sugar into it, and pour over both the boiling water and the hot coffee; strain into a mould. When cold, turn out in a glass dish, and serve with whipped cream.

[Pg 239]


Letter T

THE cook-book of the olden time gave its recipes with a generous disregard of cost. Such items as a ham boiled in wine were not unusual, and the quantities of costly materials demanded were on a Gargantuan scale. Even in the average French culinary manuals economy can hardly be said to be conspicuous, except by its absence, although Gallic cooks have a world-wide reputation for the wonderful results they can produce by a small expenditure. Even in this day, when economy is honored and studied, in the recipes that appear in print as written by women living in some parts of the South, there is a call for what to Northern ideas seems a reckless profusion of eggs, butter, and cream. The lavishness of these demands is often quite out of keeping with the common opinion of the straitened circumstances supposed to have prevailed of late years in [Pg 240] that section of the country. The general impression these recipes give was voiced by a New England woman, who, after reading a collection of recipes from the pen of a well-known Southern writer, exclaimed, "Well, I can't afford to cook like that; but I presume she has always had plenty to do with."

In spite, however, of some instances of this kind which indicate extravagance, the general trend in culinary guide-books of the day is towards economy. Tracts, pamphlets, octavos, and quartos are published, giving directions for preparing a dinner for five persons at a cost of twenty-five cents, of fifty cents, of seventy-five cents, of a dollar. The Sunday and weekly newspapers have columns devoted to the same theme, and the countless household magazines with which the reading public is almost snowed under all spare a corner for the discussion of the same momentous topic. It may be noted, en passant, that this sudden interest in dietetics is responsible for many of the literary aspirations now current. Women who had never thought of meddling with pen and ink except [Pg 241] in their private correspondence rush into print for the purpose of describing a dinner which will cost only twenty-seven and two-thirds cents, and, encouraged by success in one or two efforts of this kind, fondly imagine themselves possessed of talents which ought to bring them in a competency.

Far be it from the woman who has herself known housekeeping cares and struggles, who has mourned over small leaks and sought diligently the best methods of "making sixpence do the work of sevenpence half-penny," as an English writer puts it, to deride any endeavors to teach housekeepers how to best use slender means with happy results. But a word of warning may not be amiss concerning certain features of most of the directions thus given. Here it is: If an appetizing dish is to be made at small cost, care in preparation must supplement cheap materials.

There has been a great deal said and written about the folly of always purchasing the best cuts of meat. Hundreds of pages have been printed demonstrating satisfactorily [Pg 242]—to their authors—that a piece of beef from the round can be so cooked as to make it equal to filet de bœuf; that lamb's or pig's liver is of as good a flavor as calf's liver, which costs twice as much; that old fowls properly treated cannot be distinguished by the taste from young broilers; and that a variety of other delightful things can be accomplished by the woman who chooses to attempt them. All this is, no doubt, true in part. The point that is seldom sufficiently emphasized is that it requires to achieve these wonders either a certain knack, which is as much a talent in its way as is a gift for music or drawing, or else a special training in this particular kind of cookery. It is easy enough for any one to be a good cook who knows how to follow a recipe, possesses a little deftness of hand, and is provided with the best materials for her work. Nowadays the cook-books seldom deal in the glittering generalities that once made their pages full of pitfalls for the unwary. Usually the directions are explicit, the quantities and proportions almost scientific in their accuracy, and [Pg 243] the successive steps in compounding and cooking so clearly defined that the wayfaring woman, although a fool, can hardly go very far wrong; that is, if—and it is a very big if, too—she does not have to use imperfect ingredients to compass a perfect achievement. Bricks may doubtless be made with stubble instead of straw, but the children of Israel found it a rather difficult process.

If, then, to change the figure, the iron be dull, one must put to it the more strength. The housekeeper who is compelled by circumstances to practise rigid economy must resolutely set herself to the study of cheap cookery. She may know already how to roast a "rib cut" of beef, how to broil a porterhouse steak, how to broil and fry tender chickens, but all this knowledge is of comparatively little value to her just now. She must learn instead how to braise, how to treat a "pot roast"; she must study stews, perfect herself in the manufacture of minces, hashes, fricassees, croquettes, fritters; she must know what vegetables and meats may be put together in utilizing "left-overs"; [Pg 244] she must acquire a thorough knowledge of soups of all sorts, and of soups maigre in particular; and she must work in this line until she is able to set as appetizing if not as elegant a table on her small means as her richer neighbor across the way can on a housekeeping allowance of a double amount.

Of course this involves a great deal of hard work and of competent vigilance. Even if a servant is kept, only in rare instances can she be trusted to undertake this kind of cookery. Simple cookery, like roasting and boiling, is seldom successful unless one has the best materials to work with. But usually the woman who must economize is wealthier in time than in anything else, and she must make it take the place of money. Above all, she must struggle against the temptation to yield to weariness or discouragement, and to satisfy herself with the custom into which so many of her sisters drift, of cooking tough, inferior pieces of meat in the easiest way, as though they were "prime cuts," and thus endangering the teeth, tempers, and digestions of her family.

[Pg 245]

A potent aid in making cheap cookery savory is the judicious use of seasoning. In some homes knowledge of these seems to be confined to an acquaintance with pepper, mustard, onion, and parsley. Little is known of the variety of even simple herbs, like thyme, sweet-marjoram, and summer-savory; and still less of Worcestershire, Harvey's, anchovy, and chilli sauces, of chutney, of curry powder, of tarragon vinegar, of bay leaves, of maître d'hôtel butter, of olives, of tomato and walnut catsups, or of the careful employment of spices in small quantities. The magical improvement wrought by the addition of a little lemon juice and a wine-glassful of California sherry (at fifty cents a quart bottle) is totally unknown.

Of course the first outlay for some of these commodities may savor of extravagance. But many of the articles are very cheap, and even the more costly ones are used in such small quantities that a supply of any one of them will last a long time. Moreover, if a woman's aim is to prepare dishes which her family will eat and enjoy, she will find [Pg 246] that the purchase of condiments pays, and the variety their occasional use gives will make a change back to simple diet more agreeable.

[Pg 247]


Letter I

IN comparatively few American homes does the custom prevail of giving the children their meals apart from their parents. Domestic arrangements would be sadly complicated were it common in the ordinary household, as it is in England, to have a separate breakfast served for the little ones in their nursery while the seniors discuss their more elaborate morning repast in their own salle à manger.

Usually, and wisely, American children eat at least two of their meals with their parents, and thus have what benefit may be derived from association with older people. It is only when the father and mother fail to guard against letting the little ones gradually assume the reins of government that affairs reach a point which makes one long to banish the babies to the nursery, or even further, [Pg 248] if by such means peace might be secured at meal-times.

Nowhere does the spoiled child appear to worse advantage, or make more of a nuisance of himself, than at the table. His incessant chatter, the constant interruption his appeals for attention make in the conversation of the older people present, his clamorous demands for any article of food which happens to strike his fancy, his loud protests when his wishes are denied him, his slovenly (often disgusting) habits of eating, make the family meal-times a pandemonium and penance to the hapless guest upon whom the youngster has no claims of affection to render his vagaries amusing or interesting.

So long as custom and necessity render it advisable to have a child at the same table with his parents, these should fix upon a plan of action, and adhere to it. Desiring to have their children looked upon as comforts and not as spoil-sports, they should enforce strict obedience, exact quiet at table, and inculcate stringently the once-honored maxim—of late years fallen sadly into disuse [Pg 249] and disrepute—that little boys and girls should be seen and not heard. Remembering how much easier it is to check a habit at the outset than to break it off after it is fully formed, the father and mother should watch their children's table manners, and repress at once the carelessness and unpleasant tricks that seem, possibly through original sin, to come naturally to most little folk. The correct handling of spoon, fork, and knife should be taught as soon as they are permitted to use these implements, and slovenliness should be rebuked and held up as a disgrace. Not least in importance is it that the father and mother should, after due consideration, establish an outline of diet for the youngsters, and allow no divergence therefrom.

By "an outline of diet" is not meant an unvarying rotation of viands as wearying and de-appetizing to the child as it would be to his elders, but a scheme of nourishment by which hurtful articles of food will be eliminated from the bill of fare, and only wholesome ones admitted. A great deal of careful thought is often necessary in the formulation [Pg 250] of such menus, for children have as many gastric idiosyncrasies as grown people, and frequently these are only disclosed little by little. In illustration of this may be cited the case of a handsome, healthy boy baby who, although a victim to colic during the first months of his life, gave no other evidences of eccentricity of digestion until he was nearly three years old. At that time the mother began to notice that his breath was often sour, and that he complained occasionally of pain in the stomach and bowels. His dietary had always been so simple that she was at first puzzled to understand what could be the disturbing cause. After sundry experiments and careful observation, she finally ascertained that the discomfort and bad breath followed any unusual eating of sweets, although it might be only such simple desserts as bread and syrup, bread and jelly, plain cookies, or home-made sponge-cake, or even an infrequent lump of sugar. She put an embargo upon sweets, and found an almost immediate improvement. Further investigation demonstrated that an [Pg 251] occasional indulgence—say once a day—produced no evil consequences, but that more frequent treats of this sort had painful sequelæ. Her course thereafter was plain and easily followed.

A child's breakfast should always begin with some cereal, but this need not invariably be oatmeal. Other preparations often agree better with the children, and a variety is preferable to the monotonous use of the one kind of porridge. Gruels or porridges of farina, corn-starch, rice-flour, corn-meal, hominy, arrowroot, wheat-germ meal, or cerealine are nearly all relished by the babies, and should be accompanied by milk in any amount, but no sugar. If the child has never been accustomed to the latter, he will eat quite as heartily without it.

If the porridge is properly prepared, the little ones will usually make their chief breakfast from it, with milk or milk-and-water as a beverage. Tea, coffee, or chocolate should be tabooed. The children are better off without any of the three, although some mild preparation of cocoa is probably the [Pg 252] least harmful drink they can have other than milk or cold—not iced—water.

As the little people grow older they may have a second course of baked or stewed potato, buttered, dry, or milk toast, a soft-boiled or poached egg, bread and butter, bread and jam, or a little fruit, either fresh or stewed. When they have once become accustomed to seeing older people eating food which is refused them, they will take the denial of certain articles as a matter of course, and rarely think of entering a protest. They will learn that hot bread and griddle-cakes are not meant for little boys and girls, and will take abstinence from meat at breakfast or in the evening, and fried foods or rich desserts at all times, as a matter of course.

At noon, which should be their dinner-time, a more varied diet is permissible. Then there may be soup and some kind of meat for the older children—chicken, rare roast beef, boiled or roast mutton, a piece of steak or a chop—stews entirely freed from grease, potatoes, sweet or white, or some other vegetable, and a plain dessert. It is very little [Pg 253] additional trouble to so regulate the bill of fare that what makes the lunch of the "grown-up" may embrace certain articles that will suit the childish stomachs; or there may be a little soup reserved from the dinner of the evening before, a dish of some carefully warmed-over vegetable, possibly a little of last night's meat prepared in a mince or stew, which will obviate the necessity of cooking fresh food for the easily pleased little ones. Often bread and apple-sauce, stewed fruit, or a small portion of fruit jelly or marmalade is as acceptable a dessert as can be provided.

Having eaten these two meals with the family, it is as well to let the younglings have their simple tea by themselves before the family dinner. A dish of soft toast, or a bowl of bread and milk, or of crackers and milk, or of rice and milk, and bread and butter, are usually all they ought to have so soon before their bedtime. They may have a side table set in the dining-room, or a tray may be carried to them in the nursery, and the repast superintended by the mother or [Pg 254] nurse. Sometimes papa will come home in time to look in upon his little folks at their final meal, and to help them to settle it afterwards by a romp. Knowing no other mode of life, the children will rarely think of questioning the judgment that sends them to bed early after their light supper, instead of permitting them to sit up to a late, heavy, and indigestible course dinner.

[Pg 255]


Letter A

A PLEASANT feature of domestic life which is done away with by the late dinner is the family tea. This meal, always an informal one, used to give play to the housekeeper's fancy in the concoction of dainty dishes with which to render the repast more appetizing to the tired and hungry master of the home. Now, to be sure, she has lunches upon which to expend her culinary ingenuity; but then the person for whom she best loves to cater, her husband, is rarely at home.

In some families it is the custom to have tea one night in the week. It may be on Saturday, when there is no school and the children can all be at home to an early dinner, or on Sunday, when many people dine in the middle of the day. Still other households prefer a noon dinner and a simple tea in summer, pleading the advantage of getting [Pg 256] the heavy cookery out of the way in the morning, instead of being obliged to stand over a cook-stove through the long blazing afternoon.

In one way or another, then, there are few families where the tea-table is not spread at least once a week, while in many homes it is a daily institution. It only ceases to be delightful when it is, through carelessness, allowed to slip into a groove, and when the suggestion of making it attractive is put aside with the excuse, "Oh, anything will do for tea!"

Some years ago a party of city people spent a charming summer in a farm-house high up among the Berkshire hills. The accommodations of the roomy old-fashioned dwelling were good, the breakfasts and dinners excellent, well cooked, and liberal in provision. But the teas! Night after night the guests gathered about a tea-table adorned with plates of cold bread, of butter, and of cake, pitchers of milk, and occasionally a dish of berries or of stewed fruit. Tea there was, as a matter of course, but never a [Pg 257] bit of meat or fish, or an egg in any form, boiled, poached, or in an omelet; not even a pat of pot-cheese or a few slices of dairy cheese. Warm biscuit, muffins, and waffles were likewise conspicuous by their absence.

It was all very well for those who ate bread and milk and were fond of cake, but for a party of ravenous young people, who had spent a long afternoon playing tennis, fishing or driving, or tramping over the hills in the hunger-provoking air, the sight of the table was not inspiriting; nor did it become more popular as the season advanced and the early frosty evenings improved appetites that had never been poor. Yet, in spite of loudly expressed hints, it never seemed to occur to the farmer's good wife that her tea-table was not supplied with every viand the most exacting eater could desire.

Naturally, when a hearty meal has been served in the middle of the day, there should be no thought of having to prepare a second dinner for the evening. But there should be, at least, some relish to vary the monotony of plain bread and butter, something to give the [Pg 258] meal an aspect other than that of a perfunctory "feed," where every one eats on the principle upon which Nicholas Nickleby "distended his stomach with a bowl of porridge" the morning after his arrival at Dotheboys Hall—not that he wanted it then, but lest he should be inconveniently hungry when there was nothing to eat.

There are many delicious supper dishes which are made with little difficulty. In winter, oysters, clams, scallops, broiled ham, fried, broiled, or stewed chicken, chicken scallop or mince, sausages, bacon and eggs, with any of the large varieties of griddle-cakes or warm breads, will make a meal to satisfy any one; while in summer, salads of eggs, fish, lobsters, chicken, cold lamb or veal, shrimp, cheese, beet leaves, lettuce, cabbage, potato, string-beans, and of many other kinds, may be relied upon. Omelets and other preparations of eggs are inexpensive, easily cooked, and generally popular, while cold meat goes well on a summer evening, especially when accompanied by bannocks, scones, butter-cakes, toasted crackers, [Pg 259] wafers, or some light bread that is easily made and not hard to digest. Then there are galantines, potted meats, jellied fish, pickled salmon, cottage-cheese, and numerous other little delicacies that are not costly and yet are good.

The table for tea should be set much as it is for breakfast, with the exception of the oatmeal sets. All the dishes may be placed upon the table at once, as they would be at lunch, and the family may do much of the passing of plates. The tea is served with the first course, and the cups and tray may be removed to make room for the dish of fruit or simple sweets that generally concludes the meal. The saucers in which these are served should stand on plates, on which each guest may lay the cake which is usually passed at the same time. Hot puddings are out of place at tea, but instead there may be, in winter, apple-sauce, stewed prunes, preserved ginger, brandied and preserved peaches, pears or plums, jams or marmalades, custards, blanc-manges, jellies, or anything of that sort; while in summer it is [Pg 260] rarely impossible to procure berries of some kind, or other fruit. A dish of "bonny-clabber"—better known, perhaps, as "loppered milk"—of junket, or of syllabub is always delicious, and is usually easily obtained where milk and cream are plentiful.

No domestic sight is pleasanter in its way than a tea-table on a cold winter night, spread with a bright cloth and set out with dainty china and shining silver, and with all the cheer-inspiring appurtenances of the tea-tray; with the plate of hot bread, the savory dish of hot meat, and the little relishes that housekeepers know well how to supply. And in summer its counterpart is seen in the table laid in the room brightened by the level sun's rays, where a crisp salad, piles of white and brown bread, and a plate of rusk or tea-biscuit, pitchers of milk, and a dish of berries with cream in abundance revive the fainting appetites and spirits of those who have borne the heat and burden of the day.

In summer a tea on the lawn is an agreeable variety to introduce occasionally. A medium-sized table may be carried out under [Pg 261] the trees, and spread with a white cloth. On this are placed the principal dishes—the bread-and-butter, which may sometimes have its place taken by sandwiches; the salad or cold meat, or both; the cake and fruit. The tea-tray and kettle may be here too, or the tea may be made in the house. Iced tea and coffee make a pleasant change once in a while.

A rug or two may be laid on the grass if any of the party have a nervous dread of colds, and a few little tables will provide a space upon which to rest a cup of tea or a glass of milk when the lap is occupied by the plate containing the more solid viands. Low chairs should stand here and there, and the whole scene will present a charmingly festal appearance at a trifling outlay of time and trouble.

A certain family who possess a delightful country place make their Sunday evening al fresco tea one of the pleasantest spots in the week. No one is present but the family and any guests who may be staying in the house. The pretty, simple meal is served out on the [Pg 262] grassy lawn, which slopes down to the water. When the eating is over, the maid comes out, gathers the dishes into a tray, and carries them back to the house, happy in the thought that there is no supper-table to be cleared and no dining-room to be brushed up.

Long after the vestiges of the feast have been removed the family sit there, chatting pleasantly, watching the sunset and the stars coming out or the moon rising. By and by some voice begins a hymn, the others take it up, and the singing goes on until the early bedtime comes, and the party turns towards the house with a restful happiness that is none the less deep and true because it is hard to describe or to analyze.

[Pg 263]


Letter A

AMONG the many English customs which have been introduced into American society there is none that sooner attained a widespread popularity than afternoon tea—a simple and easy form of entertainment, that entailed little expense and less trouble upon the hostess, and supplied a long-felt want. Soon all over the land teas were the rage, and in large cities and small villages alike cards were flying about, bearing upon them the name of the hostess, and in one corner, "Tea at five o'clock" or "Tea from four to six," as the case might be.

With the usual tendency of the citizens of this great and glorious country to impress upon the fashions borrowed from other nations the stamp of their own individuality, it was not long before the stereotyped tea, bread-and-butter, and cake, which had at first [Pg 264] made up the menu of these entertainments, began to undergo modifications. First, chocolate was added, on the plea that many people do not care for tea. Bouillon came next, and the use of this served as the basis of that absurd report, instantly accepted by foreigners, that the American young women were so fragile in constitution as to be obliged to brace themselves up with strong beef tea at their receptions, in order to enable them to perform their social duties. With bouillon came sandwiches; next appeared salad, and after that oysters, croquettes, creams, ices, and charlottes followed one another in rapid succession, until the metamorphosis of the modest tea into the reception, with its heavy party supper, was complete.

Part of this change may be attributed to the display and love of competition which are numbered among our national characteristics. But at least a portion of the blame must fall upon the participants in these entertainments, who, not understanding that a tea to be a tea must be simple, did not hesitate to grumble at the trifling nature of the [Pg 265] refreshments there offered for their delectation.

"I am sick of your afternoon teas!" grumbled one lord of creation, when informed that the family had just received cards to one of these affairs. "I like to go to a place where you get something to eat besides a cup of beef tea and a cracker, or tea and bread-and-butter. It isn't the kind of supper a hungry man wants when he comes from his business. He needs something hearty."

Ignorant and boorish though he was, he voiced the sentiment of many of his sex, who, owing to the training American society has furnished in this respect, consider no party a success unless the social enjoyments are supplemented by a big "spread." In England, where the dinner hour falls later than it usually does in this country, the light sustenance offered by afternoon tea serves as a welcome break in the long stretch which intervenes between luncheon and dinner. Here a man who has his appetite whetted for a six-o'clock repast cares little for a trifling [Pg 266] refection at five or half after five. It only serves to blunt his hunger without satisfying it.

Of course, as soon as the tea was merged into the virtual equivalent of an evening party given in the daytime, its recommendation as a cheap and convenient method of entertaining one's friends vanished. While one merely dropped in for a cup of tea on the way home from calls or shopping, a plain walking gown or visiting costume was perfectly appropriate. But with the increased formality of the tea arose the necessity for richer dress, and the afternoon kettle-drum became a kind of heterogeneous-looking assembly, where, at five o'clock in the afternoon, some of the women would appear in evening gowns, with low necks and short sleeves, and some in street suits, while the men, of course, wore morning coats; although in small towns the sight of men in dress suits before six o'clock is an anomaly too often witnessed.

Even apart from the matter of dress, other difficulties and complications arose. Persons [Pg 267] in moderate circumstances who had rejoiced at the advent of the tea, because it rendered feasible the gratification of their hospitable instincts at an outlay within their means, shrank back in dismay from this hybrid form of assembly, declaring that it was as easy to give a regular evening party, and get the credit for that, as it was to receive guests in a fashion which assumed simplicity, but cost no less than an affair that made more show.

A few women have had the courage to adhere to what was the original design of the afternoon tea, and to offer their guests only the light refreshments suitable for this form of entertaining. To such people the labor connected with thus gathering their friends about them is a trifling task. The hostess sees that her rooms are in their best looks; fills a few vases with fresh flowers, to give a festal air; sets a round-table in her drawing-room or library, or in the dining-room, if these apartments are en suite; draws up her prettiest cups and saucers and plates in battle array, and invites a few young girls or intimate [Pg 268] friends to assist her. They wear either pretty house costumes or dainty tea gowns. For refreshments are provided tea and chocolate, possibly bouillon, bread-and-butter or tiny sandwiches, and plenty of light cakes. The eating is a secondary matter, the raison d'être of the company being the desire for pleasant social intercourse in an informal fashion.

The woman who has a regular "at home" or a weekly "afternoon tea" during the season provides even less. She has tea or cocoa—rarely both—bread-and-butter or fancy biscuit, and cake. The toasted muffins or crumpets and the many tea-cakes dear to the British palate are little in vogue here, where the dinner hour is almost invariably six or half after six. Very few are the houses where daily afternoon tea is the rule.

Numberless pretty adjuncts can be procured to contribute to the attractiveness of the kettle-drum. The tall crane, with its brass, copper, or silver kettle, the daintily embroidered tea and tray cloths, the fine fringed or hem-stitched doilies, the exquisite [Pg 269] china, the quaint teapot, the cozy, the odd dishes for cake and biscuit—all afford opportunity for the display of a cultured taste or of a quick fancy. Nothing need be very costly, but everything must be pretty, and in this day the combination of beauty and cheapness is by no means difficult or unusual.

The cards for an afternoon tea bear simply the name of the hostess, and that of her daughter if the latter is "out," and in the corner is written or engraved "Tea" or "At Home," and the day and the hour of the entertainment. The card of any friend who is visiting the hostess, or who entertains with her, is enclosed in the same envelope. If the invited guest cannot be present, she sends her card, by post or by private hand, so that it may reach the hostess upon the day when she receives.

Those people who live in the country, or who are so fortunate as to possess summer places out of town, can give charming outdoor teas, which far surpass in pleasantness anything that can be devised in the city. [Pg 270] We Americans live too much in the house, and that, too, in a climate which offers great facilities for a freer mode of life. A tea on a lawn or veranda when the air is full of the perfume of flowers and the country is in its holiday trim is a delight to all those lucky enough to be invited to it. For such a kettle-drum, iced tea and lemonade or claret-cup, sandwiches, and cake may be offered, with berries or other fruits when these are in season.

[Pg 271]


Letter F

FOR a small company the high tea is an excellent form of entertainment. It is not suitable for a large assembly, but when a limited number of guests have been invited to spend the evening in some such recreation as card-playing, it is very pleasant to ask them first to high tea. Or if the latter part of the evening is to be devoted to dancing, a chosen few of the guests may be invited to tea first, and the remainder requested to come later. In that case no supper should be offered to the dancers except cake, ices, and coffee.

Should the dining-table be large enough to accommodate all the guests bidden to the high tea, it may be drawn to the requisite length, and all the company seated about it. But if, from the limited dimensions of the dining-room, or because it better suits the fancy of the hostess, small tables are preferred, [Pg 272] these may be laid so as to accommodate at each six, or four, or even two, always taking care in the last case that the right two are placed together.

If one large table is used, it may be spread with either a dinner or a tea cloth. Flowers should be in the middle upon a pretty centre-piece, and there may be small vases set about here and there. Individual bouquets are not at all necessary. The places should be arranged as usual, with small silver for each course, and the usual accompaniments of butter-plates—or of bread-and-butter plates—salt-cellars, glasses, napkins, etc. If it is warm weather, the table may be further beautified by the bowls or baskets of fresh fruits that are to make part of the dessert, and, in winter, dishes of cake, of preserved or brandied fruits, etc., may be on the table. Should the hostess prefer, however, these may be placed on the sideboard, thus allowing space for the more substantial viands, which at a tea are seldom relegated to the position on the side-table that they would take at dinner.

[Pg 273]

At the head of the table sits the hostess, with the tea-tray in front of her. It by no means follows, however, because this repast is called a tea that the Chinese herb should be en évidence. If the party is composed chiefly of young people, the chances are strongly in favor of their preference being for coffee or chocolate. They may be offered their choice of these beverages, which the hostess pours out, the servant passing them with cream and sugar, that each may add of these to suit himself. Russian tea may possibly be offered, but even this is apt to be less popular than either chocolate or coffee.

Should small tables be used, the hostess may preside over a tray placed upon one of them, or, when it seems more convenient, the cups may be filled outside, and passed to each with the cream-pitcher and sugar-bowl. It saves some delay in serving if there are a cream-pitcher and sugar-bowl on each table. These little tables may be covered with small cloths or large napkins, and need have nothing else upon them beyond the necessary furniture for each place, except, perhaps, a [Pg 274] vase of flowers. While small tables are often admirable as accommodating more people with comfort than could be seated at a large table, yet the latter gives opportunity for a prettier display of floral decoration, china, silver, etc., than is afforded by the former.

The bill of fare is easily arranged. There are no raw oysters or clams, as at a lunch or dinner; and while bouillon may be provided, it is not at all necessary. The meal may begin with oysters in some form, as fricasseed, fried, broiled, steamed, or panned, or in croquettes. With them are passed bread-and-butter (brown or graham bread cut thin is good with oysters) or rolls. The plates are then removed, and the next course brought in. This may consist of chicken—broiled or fried—or broiled birds, or French chops, and of potatoes in some form, as à la parisienne, French fried, or hashed with cream and browned. Cold tongue or ham is sometimes also passed at this time, and warm bread in some shape, as French rolls, sally-lunn, tea-biscuit, rusk, or waffles. The coffee or chocolate [Pg 275] is also served at this stage in the proceedings.

After this course comes a salad—lettuce and tomato mayonnaise, or chicken, lobster, or salmon—fresh plates being served for this, as a matter of course. Olives and some fancy cheese—Brie, Roquefort, or Gorgonzola—usually come with the salad. Cheese at this stage is strongly recommended by the epicure; but it is not essential, except to those who hold, in the words of the old doggerel, that

"A dinner (or supper) without cheese
Is like a kiss without a squeeze."

The table is now cleared, and the dessert brought in. This may be quite simple, as, say, preserved or brandied fruit with fancy cakes; or it may be more elaborate, and comprise jelly, charlotte-russe, or fresh fruit of some kind, and light cakes. Ices are not strictly en règle, although no canon of taste is seriously offended if they are offered. It is better, however, to serve them later in the evening. Still, they are not essential even then. Finger-bowls set on doilies laid on [Pg 276] pretty plates must be passed the last thing before the guests quit the table.

Of course the menu suggested above may be altered to suit the season and the taste of the entertainer. Lobster or crabs, clams or shrimps, may be substituted for the oysters. Green pease may accompany chops, or sweetbreads may be the principal meat dish of the second course. Roast duck, turkey, or chicken may be provided if broilers are out of season, or birds may be served with a lettuce or celery salad for the third course. And when one reflects upon the fancy dishes which may be prepared for dessert—the blanc-manges, the jellied fruits, the Spanish or Bavarian or Hamburg creams, the charlottes of divers kinds, the whips, custards, and syllabubs—the only difficulty that arises is where to choose.

A pretty notion is to introduce some unexpected feature into the high tea which will appeal to the imaginations of the guests as well as to their palates. A little ingenuity will suggest some novelty of this sort. The literary salad, which has become well known [Pg 277] in certain localities, may yet be unfamiliar in others. This is made by cutting a number of slips of paper, writing on each one a prose or poetic quotation, and attaching each strip to a leaf of pale green tissue-paper, cut and crimped into the fashion of a lettuce leaf. Different shades of the paper should be selected, so that the tints may blend as they do in a veritable head of lettuce. These leaves are then arranged in a bowl, and at some point in the meal, usually just before the dessert, the bowl is passed, and each guest draws out at random two or three of the leaves. The endeavor then is to guess the authorship of the different quotations, and a prize is usually offered to the one who guesses the greatest number correctly. The prize may be the bowl or dish in which the salad is served. Or, instead of quotations, conundrums may be written on the slips, and puzzling out their answers usually affords a great deal of amusement.

A bright young hostess, who was always bubbling over with new and charming ideas, hit upon the clever one of having her guests' [Pg 278] characters told by chirosophy. She obtained a specimen of the handwriting of each of those whom she had invited, and sent the samples to a specialist, who deduced from each an estimate of the characteristics of its writer. The verdicts thus obtained were enclosed each in an envelope bearing the name of the person whose peculiar bias was therein described. The envelopes were then bound with ribbons, tied, and sealed. One was laid at the place of each guest at the table, and after providing a fruitful source of wonder and comment during the early part of the meal, the seals were broken when the fruit was passed. Each read aloud the statement contained in her envelope, and it was curious and amusing to observe with what accuracy many idiosyncrasies and singular traits of disposition had been indicated.

[Pg 279]


Letter I

IN these days of theatre and opera parties the matter of late suppers assumes more importance than it possessed in the time when these amusements were less universally popular. Upon the occasions when a young man escorted his "best girl" to the play or the concert, he took her afterwards, as a natural sequence, to a restaurant, where they partook of some such light refreshment as ice-cream, cake, and coffee, this style of supper being varied sometimes by the introduction of oysters in one form or another. But when a company of young people go to the theatre nowadays, and return afterwards to the house of their chaperon or of some other member of the party, they are usually hungry with the healthy appetite that it is no longer the foolish fashion to conceal.

The members of whist clubs, of literary or [Pg 280] dramatic circles, of small dancing classes, of amateur orchestras, and of a variety of other similar social organizations, feel a like desire for food after an evening's busy occupation, while even in the family the sensible custom is gaining ground of eating something not long before retiring—a something which, if not equal in extent and weight to the late supper of our English cousins, is yet more substantial than the caramels and chocolate creams with which school-girls, and often their seniors, solace the hunger that is apt to attack them about bedtime.

When one gives only an occasional reception or evening party it is taken for granted that the refreshments will be rather elaborate in their nature. But when the meetings of a club of any sort are of weekly, fortnightly, or even monthly recurrence, the expense becomes an object. There may be some members of the body to whom the disbursement of a few dollars more or less is a matter of trivial moment, but there is very rarely any club of this sort where there are not some who would feel seriously the cost [Pg 281] of entertaining in a showy fashion. For the sake of these weak brothers or sisters, a certain amount of consideration should be shown, and no display made by the wealthy ones which would throw into the shade the simpler entertainment which is all many can afford to offer. A supper need not be poor because it is not costly, but it must make up in daintiness and unusualness for what it lacks in price.

A chief object to be sought in planning these suppers is to select something which can be made ready beforehand, so that the hostess can enjoy her evening without being handicapped in her pleasure-seeking by the thought of possible complications arising in the preparation of the supper which may require her absence from the room. Unless she has a practised cook, she should not attempt dishes of oysters, or of anything of the kind which demands careful supervision at the last moment. Instead of this, she should content herself with chocolate or coffee and bouillon for the hot items of her menu, and for the rest take her choice from [Pg 282] among the many salads and other cold dishes which are generally popular. Cold chicken or duck, jellied tongue or fowl, or a really fine galantine, or a dish of salad, and rolls or sandwiches at discretion, may be chosen. For sweets, ices are always excellent if they can be procured; or if not, there are jellies, which, with whipped cream and light cakes, coffee, or chocolate, are quite enough—indeed, more than enough in many cases. Often sandwiches, cake, and coffee are sufficient; but let the sandwiches be of something besides ham and tongue, the cake be light and delicious, and the coffee strong and clear, and served with whipped cream.

If hot dishes are indispensable, something should be selected like chicken or sweetbread pâtés, or lobster in some form, which will not be injured by warming over. Croquettes too, if properly prepared, are delicious, but they must be soft and creamy inside, not hard like sausage balls.

For the home supper the preparations are much simpler. This late repast may consist merely of a plate of crackers, or of light biscuit, [Pg 283] or of bread-and-butter, with perhaps a tin of potted meat, or a few sardines, or a piece of cheese, or a box of guava jelly, or a little fruit. Iced water, or milk and Apollinaris, or Seltzer are the best beverages to serve, or, for those who like it, a bottle of ale or beer.

In the hope of aiding housekeepers who desire to prepare something a little different from the stereotyped suppers so common at evening entertainments, and which usually consist of oysters, chicken or lobster salad, sandwiches, ice-cream, and coffee, there are appended a few recipes for dishes perhaps less commonly known than those just mentioned.

Lobster Salmi.—Two cups boiled lobster (cut, not chopped, into small pieces), three eggs (the yolks only), two tablespoonfuls butter, half a pint of cream, one wine-glassful sherry, one tablespoonful brandy, Cayenne pepper and salt to taste, one teaspoonful lemon juice. Put the lobster over the fire in a double boiler with the butter, wine, brandy, pepper, and salt; let it become smoking hot. [Pg 284] It will not injure it to stand covered at the back of the stove for some time. Just before it is to be served bring the water in the outer vessel to the boiling-point, and stir into the scalding hot lobster the beaten yolks of the eggs and the cream. Let this stand one minute longer on the fire, remove, add the lemon juice, and serve at once in small silver or china shells or in nappies.

French Fish Salad.—Select some firm white-fish (halibut is excellent for this purpose), and boil. When perfectly cold cut it into neat slices; on each slice lay a sardine, and arrange the fish upon and among crisp lettuce leaves. Prepare a mayonnaise dressing, and into a half-pint of it stir three sardines rubbed smooth with the back of a fork. Pass the sauce in a pitcher containing a spoon or small ladle, that each guest may help himself.

Lobster Mayonnaise Sandwiches.—Into half a cupful of finely minced lobster stir two tablespoonfuls of mayonnaise dressing. Season to taste with Cayenne pepper and salt, with a little lemon juice if it seems to [Pg 285] be needed. Select bread a day old for this purpose, butter it light on the loaf, and cut very thin. Spread a slice with the mixture, and lay another buttered slice upon it, face downward. Cut into small neat squares or triangles. The crust is sometimes trimmed off.

Chicken mayonnaise sandwiches may be made in the same way, rejecting all bits of skin or gristle, and omitting the lemon juice. Ham, tongue, and shrimp mayonnaise sandwiches are also good prepared in similar fashion.

Veal Galantine.—Select a breast of veal about eighteen inches long by twelve wide, and remove from it all bits of bone or gristle. Spread the inside of it with a layer of sausage meat, or of salt or corned pork finely chopped, and highly seasoned with minced onion, parsley, and sweet-herbs. Upon this lay a few thin slices of cold boiled ham and tongue and several strips of raw veal. Spread these with more of the force-meat, taking care not to bring it too near the edges, as it would then squeeze out when the galantine is rolled. Sprinkle chopped herbs and onion [Pg 286] over the inside, and roll up the piece of veal, the force-meat inside. Bind and skewer into shape, sew it up in a stout cloth, and place it in a pot containing a hock of pork or a knuckle of veal well cracked, a bouquet of herbs, a sliced onion, a sliced carrot, and two or three stalks of celery. Cover all with cold water, and let the pot, after coming gradually to a boil, simmer at the back of the stove for at least four hours. Remove the pot from the fire, and let the galantine become cold in the liquor; then take it out, tighten the bandage about it, and place under a heavy weight for several hours; uncover, and surround with aspic jelly. To make this, clear the liquor in which the galantine was cooked by bringing it to a boil with the white and crushed shell of a freshly broken egg, straining it, as soon as the scum rises to the top, through a piece of thick cotton cloth. Season a quart of the clear liquid thus left with a wineglass of sherry, two tablespoonfuls of vinegar, pepper and salt to taste. While boiling hot dissolve in it an ounce of gelatine which has been previously soaked in [Pg 287] cold water for an hour. Pour a little of the jelly into a brick-shaped mould large enough to hold the galantine, first wetting the mould with cold water, and when the jelly forms lay the galantine on this. Pour the remaining jelly over it, and let it stand in a cold place until firm. Turn all out of the mould, and serve garnished with lettuce leaves.

[Pg 288]


Letter T

THAT housekeeper must be a noteworthy exception to the majority of the members of that honorable body whose heart does not yearn to possess a goodly store of china and glass. She may begin her married life with the resolve to content herself with very little, but she will find, in this form of acquisition as in nearly every other, that appetite comes with eating, and the more she has the more she wants. Curiously enough, she learns also that although she may get along very comfortably for a long while without certain articles, she has not owned them a month without reaching a state of mind where she cannot understand how she ever managed to keep house lacking the new possessions.

In these days a bride is usually pretty well supplied with handsome china and glass by [Pg 289] the friends who send them to her as wedding presents. She receives from them at least the luxuries of table furniture, if not the necessities. Among her gifts she has almost always one or more fine cut-glass bowls or dishes, and possibly several small bonbon, pickle, or olive saucers. An ice-cream set is also a favorite gift, and the bride usually receives also a set of after-dinner coffee cups and saucers and at least a dozen fruit-plates. A few young couples are so fortunate as to number a complete dinner set among their presents; and they may deem themselves lucky indeed, for the cost of this necessary purchase makes a big hole in the sum that the bride received, or that she has laid aside for household plenishing.

Of course there are some young married people to whom money is, so to speak, no object, who have but to go to a shop and order whatever pleases their fancy. But they are few and far between. To most newly made housekeepers the filling of their china closets must be slow work, and each new addition is generally the evidence of a [Pg 290] bit of economy or good management, or else a memento of some Christmas or holiday, and all the more valued on that account. Even when the proud young manager is beginning to view with pride the accumulation of months, she is sadly liable to find their ranks lessened some woful day by one of those accidents which will happen so long as china and glass are breakable commodities. The cheese-dish, the berry-bowl, or the cake-plate has come to grief in Bridget's or Gretchen's or Dinah's hands.

"Shure, ma'am, it jist slipped out of me hands as I was a-wipin' it," or, "It came in two pieces when I put it into the wather. Feth an' it must have been cracked before."

Of course a dish will get broken occasionally. Once in a while one will go to pieces even under the careful touch of the mistress, and no hireling can be taught to handle fragile things as carefully as will their owner. A potent aid in inculcating caution is the habit of deducting from a servant's wages the price of the pieces broken. This rule should not be enforced in the case of a really [Pg 291] careful maid, but only with one who shows a decided tendency to heedlessness. Even with this penalty there will be chips and cracks that will prove almost as great a trial to the mistress as a total fracture. To the importance of these minor accidents the average serving-maid seems serenely unconscious.

"Norah, if I treated you as you deserve, I would take the value of this out of your wages," said a mistress, ruefully contemplating a Limoges chocolate pot, from the lip of which a triangular fragment had been neatly chipped.

"Indade, ma'am, an' can't ye use it as well as iver ye did?" was the surprised reply.

Without going as far as one woman, who used to declare she would rather have a piece of china completely smashed than to see it cracked, one may safely say that the good housekeeper never perceives even a trifling breakage in any piece of her table-ware without a real pang at heart. To avert these accidents she is wise if she intrusts to no hands but her own or those of an exceptionally [Pg 292] careful maid the cleansing of her most precious belongings of porcelain and crystal. Sometimes, however, a woman's other duties are so pressing that she cannot spare the time to wash the delicate dishes which she prides herself upon having in constant use, and then she must simply make up her mind to be resigned to the losses she must sustain if she permits her servants to take entire charge of these breakables.

Without using unsightly stone-ware, it is yet possible to procure for every-day service pretty crockery that is less easily broken than the delicate French china. In purchasing a dinner set which is to do steady duty, the housewife must be guided by prudential as well as artistic considerations. She can find what is known as the English Dresden and one or two other kinds of china which combine pretty designs with durability of material, and are not very expensive.

Often there are included in a dinner set a full dozen each of tea, breakfast coffee, and after-dinner coffee cups; and sometimes the set can be purchased to greater advantage by [Pg 293] taking them all. Frequently, too, the dealer will not break the set. Unless either or both of these conditions should prevail, there is little gain for the housekeeper in taking the whole set. Usually she already has a fair number of cups and saucers, and in any case she would not need as many as the set comprises. By a little search it is often practicable to pick up a broken set, consisting of a certain number of plates, vegetable and meat dishes, and in this day there is no obligation upon one to have everything to match. The principal pieces should be alike, if possible; but the fish, salad, dessert, and fruit plates may all be of different designs, and be none the worse on that account.

Her dinner dishes purchased, the young mistress may congratulate herself. There is no other equally heavy pull ahead of her in the line of china. Now she may at her leisure pick up her pretty harlequin set of cups and saucers, her dessert dishes, her large cake and bread plates, and her small bread and butter plates, her fish set, her chocolate-pot, her bouillon-cups, her nappies, her individual [Pg 294] dishes for shirred eggs, for scalloped fish, oysters, or chicken, and the dozen of other dainty fancies with which the china shops are crowded. Her accumulations will be all the dearer to her because many of them have been procured at the cost of a little personal sacrifice.

When one begins to price cut glass she is generally wofully discouraged. The cost of the plainest cut is very high if the glass is heavy, and a little experience soon teaches the housekeeper that it is very poor economy to buy the thin glass for every-day use. It will often break in washing in spite of the most careful handling, and a slight blow to it means fracture. Now that pressed glass comes in such pretty patterns, it may be made to do duty for common use, and is so attractive that no one need be ashamed to put it on her table.

"You should see my new glass dish," said a young housekeeper, gleefully. "It cost me just seventy-nine cents, and when you set it on handsome damask it looks like the real cut. Of course you can't put two cheap [Pg 295] things together, but my table-cloths are all so good that I can afford to set a few imitations on them."

The advantages of this heavy glass are seen less in the dishes, large and small, than in the goblets or tumblers that are in daily use. Here the havoc is dreadful when the glass is of the egg-shell species. Cheap though it often is, it does not pay to purchase it when its destruction is merely a question of a few days or weeks.

[Pg 296]


Letter E

EVEN at the best, securing a provision of table linen is bound to be a heavy expense. Whatever economies the housekeeper may practise by purchasing Japanese or stout English porcelain, and pressed glass, she will never find that it pays to buy cheap damask. It does not look well even at the first, and it is worse after each washing. No matter how handsome may be the china, silver, and glass put upon it, a sleazy damask will give a cheap appearance to the whole table.

On the other hand, really good linen pays by its wearing qualities for the original outlay. If it is not allowed to become so dirty before it is washed that hard rubbing is required to make it clean, it will last for years. The first tiny breaks must be carefully watched for and repaired at once. By such [Pg 297] precautions even a cloth which is in daily service may be made to last several years. Above all, no washing-soda, no bleaching preparation of any kind, must ever be used upon it. It may whiten the linen at first, but the small holes with which the damask will soon be riddled will tell more plainly than words the harm the fabric has sustained from the alkali. Should the linen become yellow, it may be whitened by being laid on the grass in the dew or rain first, and afterwards in the sunshine.

Linen should never be put away damp, as it is almost certain to mildew. These spots may sometimes be removed or lessened by boiling the stained linen in buttermilk, or by the use of Javelle water, but it is a difficult and doubtful task.

A young housekeeper does not need a large supply of table linen at the beginning of her career. Of course it is very delightful to her to feel that her sideboard drawers are so thoroughly stocked that they will not need to be replenished for years to come; and if she has had a long engagement in [Pg 298] which to make her preparations, or if she has followed the wise old-fashioned custom of beginning a linen chest while yet a young girl, she may be able to rejoice in a generous assortment of table-cloths, napkins, and doilies. Or possibly some kindly relative or friend has given her a check to be expended in this fashion; or she may have a wealthy father whose liberality relieves her from the necessity of economizing in this direction.

Taking it for granted, however, that every dollar counts, the young wife must consider seriously just what she will need. If she expects to entertain a good deal of company, she will have to lay in a large supply of linen. But if she intends to live in comparative quiet, not giving many luncheons or dinner parties, even although always ready to receive her own or her husband's friends, she will find that she can manage comfortably without a large quantity of napery. In a family where there are few children, and where ordinary care is observed, it is quite practicable, barring accidents, to get along easily with but one white table-cloth a week. [Pg 299] In this case, of course, a colored cloth must be used for breakfast and lunch or for breakfast and tea. If the bare table is used at lunch, the housekeeper may manage to make shift with one breakfast cloth, with the accompanying dozen napkins. If she can possibly afford it, however, she should buy two colored cloths and two dozen colored napkins. For dinner use she must provide two white cloths with the napkins to match. These cloths may be about two and a quarter or two and a half yards long. Besides these, she should have one handsomer white cloth a little longer, to use when she wishes to entertain several guests. There is no reason in her purchasing the long table-cloths that range from twelve to sixteen feet in length, unless she has a very large dining-room and anticipates an occasional family party, which will oblige her to use the table in its most extended form.

To buy table-cloth damask by the yard is cheaper than to purchase the cloth in one piece. The designs are often very pretty, but the separate cloth is usually more satisfactory. [Pg 300] Large flaring patterns are out of place on a small table. Such designs as the old and always pleasing snow-drop pattern, or a little block or diamond, or ivy or fern leaves, or small stars or shells, one does not weary of so soon as of something more showy. It is not worth while to purchase a cloth chiefly on account of its attractive border, for this is seldom seen. The centre figures are those which receive the most attention.

In doing up table-cloths there should always be a suspicion of starch used, but there should be none in the napkins.

With the provision of table-linen described above and a set of fruit napkins, the housekeeper will be able to manage very easily. Of course she will desire tray cloths, sideboard covers, centre-pieces, doilies, and the like, but these may be made by her own fingers. The costliness of these consists in the work bestowed upon them, and they can be made at home for half or less than half the price asked for them in the shops. By working them herself play is given to the ingenuity [Pg 301] of her fancy, and she may have the pleasure of knowing that she has something different from what every one else can buy.

The housewife can hardly have too many doilies. Not only are they useful to put under finger-bowls, and to lay on cake and bread plates, but they are admirable to place under hot dishes, to lay between a scallop-shell and the plate, under pâtés, etc. And when the home mistress has enough of these, she may set to work to provide herself with carving-cloths, corn and biscuit napkins, and the many other pretty pieces of table linen that are always in demand.

There is very seldom a bride who does not receive enough small silver, such as forks and spoons, to supply her own table. If she is not so fortunate, however, she should, if possible, try to buy solid silver, even if she can afford to get but half a dozen pieces of each kind. Should this be beyond her means, she will find plated silver in neat designs, although it will in time wear out, while the solid silver will last a lifetime or longer. It [Pg 302] never pays to buy thin silver, for this bends and dents easily.

Some people who own solid small silver lock it up except upon rare occasions, and use only plated ware when en famille, affirming that the peace of mind thus gained is worth more than the luxury of using real silver. In this matter every one must judge for herself; but if a vote were taken the chances are that those who use the solid silver would testify that its care costs them very little time or thought. The simple expedient of counting it two or three times a week is generally sufficient to insure its safety, and the duty of carrying it up-stairs at night is too trifling to deserve mention.

Those who have ever been so fortunate as to possess plated silver vegetable dishes or a soup tureen would never willingly use those of china. Not only do the silver vessels keep their contents hot, but they are not breakable, and a dent may be remedied at a small cost. They are not hard to keep clean. A plunge into clean scalding water, and a quick wiping afterwards, whenever they have [Pg 303] been used, with an occasional rubbing with a piece of flannel or chamois-skin, will generally keep them bright.

Whenever silver, solid or plated, needs a thorough cleaning, electro-silicon may be used; and after the scouring has been done with a brush dipped in the powder, the pieces should be rinsed off in scalding water containing a little ammonia, and well rubbed with flannel. Even the most tarnished silver may be brightened by this means.

[Pg 305]




PRACTICAL COOKING AND DINNER GIVING. A Treatise containing Practical Instructions in Cooking; in the Combination and Serving of Dishes, and in the Fashionable Modes of Entertaining at Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. By Mary F. Henderson. Illustrated. 12mo, Water-proof Cover, $1 50.

DIET FOR THE SICK. A Treatise on the Values of Foods, their Application to Special Conditions of Health and Disease, and on the Best Methods of their Preparation. By Mary F. Henderson. Illustrated. 12mo, Cloth, $1 50.

FAMILY LIVING ON $500 A YEAR. A Daily Reference Book for Young and Inexperienced Housewives. By Juliet Corson. 16mo, Cloth, $1 25.

WHAT TO EAT—HOW TO SERVE IT. By Christine Terhune Herrick. 16mo, Cloth, $1 00.

HOUSEKEEPING MADE EASY. By Christine Terhune Herrick. 16mo, Cloth, $1 00.

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CHOICE COOKERY. By Catherine Owen. 16mo, Cloth, $1 00.

MAN AND HIS MALADIES; or, The Way to Health. A Popular Hand-book of Physiology and Domestic Medicine in Accord with the Advance in Medical Science. By A. E. Bridger, B.A., M.D., &c. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00.

DELICATE FEASTING. By Theodore Child. Post 8vo, Cloth, $1 25.

VIRGINIA COOKERY-BOOK. By Mary Stuart Smith. 12mo, Cloth, $1 50; 4to, Paper, 25 cents.

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BEAUTY IN DRESS. By Miss Oakey. 16mo, Cloth, $1 00.

BEAUTY IN THE HOUSEHOLD. By Mrs. T. W. Dewing, Author of "Beauty in Dress." Illustrated. 16mo, Cloth, $1 00.

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Family Living on $500 a Year. A Daily Reference Book for Young and Inexperienced Housewives. By Juliet Corson. 16mo, Cloth, $1 25.

If we ever get as much as $500 a year we shall purchase this book and live like a prince.... It goes carefully through the expenses of daily living, and indicates the thousand and one ways in which a penny can be saved and another penny put where it will do most good. A book of this kind placed in the hands of those who have very limited means will show that they can live very comfortably and have quite enough to eat on a very small sum.—N. Y. Herald.

It is a helpful working book, sensible and practical, and tells how to buy, cook, and serve all sorts of food; how to can, pickle, and preserve; and how to arrange and serve luncheons, dinners, and teas, all in the most economical manner consistent with appetizing results.—Sunday-School Times, Philadelphia.

Food-economist, cook-book, and instructor in table service all in one.... The book is a capital one, and every housekeeper should feel grateful to the able and painstaking author.—N. Y. Post.

The production of a lady who understands her subject thoroughly, and who earnestly wishes to help others towards the same useful knowledge.... A book of this sort (and Miss Corson is the best able to produce it of any one we know) is a great aid, and the more it is circulated the more households will be made happy.—Churchman, N. Y.

Every housekeeper, whether coming within the scope of the author's effort or not, will find many instructive hints, a due regard for which will be conducive to the improved physical well-being and increased mental serenity of the various members of her household.—St. Louis Republican.

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Mrs. Sherwood's admirable little volume differs from ordinary works on the subject of etiquette, chiefly in the two facts that it is founded on its author's personal familiarity with the usages of really good society, and that it is inspired by good-sense and a helpful spirit.... We think Mrs. Sherwood's little book the very best and most sensible one of its kind that we ever saw.—N. Y. Commercial Advertiser.

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A sensible, comprehensive book, which has endured criticism successfully, and deserves now to be regarded the best book of its kind published in this country.... A better guide than Mrs. Sherwood's book through the paths of social usages we do not know. The book is a handsome one, as it ought to be.—Christian Intelligencer, N. Y.

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The Care of the Person, Manners, Etiquette, and Ceremonials, pp. 282. 16mo, Cloth, $1 00.

A very graceful and judicious compendium of the laws of etiquette, taking its name from the Bazar weekly, which has become an established authority with the ladies of America upon all matters of taste and refinement.—N. Y. Evening Post.


The Dwelling, the Nursery, the Bedroom, the Dining-Room, the Parlor, the Library, the Kitchen, the Sick-Room. pp. 280. 16mo, Cloth, $1 00.

A sensible book, and a most valuable one.... We consider that the wide distribution of this handy and elegant little volume would be one of the greatest benefactions, in a social and economical sense, that could be made to our countrymen and countrywomen.—Christian Intelligencer, N. Y.


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Its pages are characterized by common-sense, and the book, with its practical style and useful suggestions, will do good.—Independent, N. Y.

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