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Care of Utensils

A very essential thing in doing nice cooking is to have clean utensils. The pans of a careless cook are encrusted outside and frequently inside with dry, hard grease, which ordinary washing will not remove; the broilers are black with burned grease, and the ovens are in the same state. If one sees this condition of things, or finds a woman putting a saucepan on the hot coals, one needs no further commentary on her work. The saying "You can judge a workman by his tools" is very true in this case. No good cook will abuse her utensils, or expect to get well-flavored sauces from saucepans which are not immaculately clean. To keep utensils clean, it is necessary to wash them thoroughly, after they are used, with soda to cut the grease, and with sapolio to scour off any blackened spots. Sand or ashes may be used on the outside of iron pots. The outside as well as the inside of every utensil should be clean, and never be allowed to approach that state where only scraping will clean them. When utensils do reach that unwholesome condition, the coat of burned and blackened grease can be removed only by boiling in a strong solution of sal soda for an hour or more, using a large boiler which will hold enough water to entirely cover them. After the grease is softened, it can be scraped off, the articles then scoured with sand, ashes, or sapolio. It can also be easily removed by soaking in a solution of Babbitt's lye (one tablespoonful to several gallons of water). This is a good day's work for a charwoman, which will change the aspect of things in the kitchen, and may awaken a pride for cleanliness where it has not before existed.

Tins, Sieves, Woodenware

Tins should be well dried before being put away, or they will rust. Sieves should not be washed with soap, but cleaned with a brush, using soda if necessary. Wooden ware should not be put near the fire to dry, or it will warp or crack.

Arrangement of Utensils in Closet

An orderly arrangement of utensils in the kitchen closet will greatly facilitate quick work. Everything of the same class should be in the same group: Saucepans and gridirons hung on hooks, measuring-cups, iron spoons, and strainers also hung in a place very convenient to hand. Molds and baking tins should be placed where they will not get bent or jammed. Practise strictly the system of a place for everything and everything in its place.


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The Century Cook Book (1901).

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