As bread is the most important article of food, one of your first attempts should be to make a few loaves of good bread and rolls, of the most simple kind. Bread rolls are very easily made. If you succeed tolerably, it will encourage you to try again. When you make cakes, begin with the simple kinds; plain jumbles or cakes that you can roll out, or crisp ginger-bread. Sponge cake is easier than those that have butter in them; I have known young persons succeed very well with it. Bread rusk is also easily made, or a few plain pies. Do not trust the baking to an ignorant person, but superintend it yourself. Sometimes baking in a stove is protracted by the dampness of the wood. Before you bake, have dry wood prepared. Watch the time; it is a good plan to have a clock near the kitchen. Do not have too many things on hand at once; but perfect yourself in the knowledge of a few important dishes. If you make good yeast you will be more certain of good bread, light cakes and rolls. To cook a steak nicely, is also important; and with a dish of potatoes well cooked, a dish of cold slaw and an apple pie, or a little stewed fruit, will make a good plain dinner.
When your family is small, you can have something nice every day, without cooking much. Veal cutlets, and mutton chops, are easy to cook, and may be prepared in a short time. If you have a fowl, and boil it, you can save the soup, and warm it over for the next day. A cold roast fowl may be hashed. On days that you have cold meat, a batter pudding, or plain rice pudding, is easily prepared.
If you wish to have an early breakfast, make every preparation that you can, over night; set the table, have the relish cut, ready to cook, or to warm over--and cold bread may be sliced, and wrapped in a cloth to keep it moist. Coffee should be ground, and dry fuel, and water at hand. With these preparations, breakfast may be ready in half an hour from the time the fire is made. If you have warm corn bread, or rolls, it will require more time; but if you have them made up over night, and put in a cool place, they will not sour, and can soon be baked. Maryland biscuit are very convenient, as they are always ready, and will keep good a week. I have found it a great advantage to set the table over night, particularly if you have a separate room to eat in; although it takes but a short time, every minute is important in the morning.
Where the mistress washes the breakfast things, and puts them in their proper places, and counts the spoons, and other articles, she can see when any thing is missing. A mop is useful for glass and china; keep a pan, or a small tub, for the purpose of holding the water, which should not be too hot. If tea things are put in very hot water, it will be apt to crack them or they will look smeared. Put a little soap in the water, wash the glass first, then the silver, then the cups and saucers, and lastly, the plates and knives and forks. If spoons have been used with eggs, put them to soak immediately, to prevent their turning dark. Have a common waiter for the pan to stand in and on it drain your tea things. Spoons when used with care, require polishing but seldom, as it wears the silver away. Dinner dishes should be washed first in moderately warm water and soap, rinsed in hot water, and drained before wiping. Put every thing in its proper place, and inspect your pantry and cellar frequently. Sometimes things are forgotten, for want of attention, until they are spoiled. Air the cellar frequently; do not let refuse vegetables accumulate, or any thing that would be likely to cause sickness.
You should provide coarse towels of different kinds, for china and glass, and for the dinner dishes, also knife cloths, have them marked and kept in their proper places. Some persons have their towels washed out every day, but it is better to save them for the weekly wash. If towels are thrown aside damp, they are liable to mildew. You should keep dusters of several kinds. Old silk handkerchiefs, are best for highly polished furniture, or an old barege veil answers a good purpose. For common purposes, a square of coarse muslin, or check is suitable. You should keep one floor cloth for chambers, and one for the kitchen. Keep brooms for different purposes; always use a soft one for carpets, as soon as they wear stiff, they will do for the kitchen, or pavements. Pouring a little hot water on a broom, softens it for carpets. You may save tea leaves, to sprinkle over your carpet, when you give a thorough sweeping, this will brighten it, and occasionally to wipe it over, with a cloth, that has been wrung out of hot water cleanses it, of course, this is only required for carpets in constant use.
It is of great importance to health, that sleeping apartments should be well aired and swept. If you sleep in an apartment, where there has been fire during the day, it should be well aired before going to bed, or if the room is close, have a little air admitted, so as not to blow on persons that are asleep. A window that will lower from the top is an advantage. Beds should be well aired before they are made, take the clothes off, and leave them at least an hour. In pleasant weather, you may keep chamber windows hoisted, for several hours, and even in cold weather, the windows may be kept up a short time, and if on any occasion, you may be obliged to have the beds made without airing, turn the clothes half way down, and leave them for several hours. Some persons have cheap calico covers, to spread over beds, while the room is swept, this is a good plan, on account of the dust. Bolster and pillow tucks wear better, if you have a check case basted on, this should be changed, washed and starched occasionally. It is a good plan also to have check covers for matresses and feather beds, but the covers should not be kept on beds that are not in use, lest they should be liable to moth. In winter a blanket should be put next a bed that is not often slept in, or for a delicate person, and be particularly careful, that sheets are dry before they are put away.
In summer it is most healthy to have your chamber floor bare, and have it washed occasionally. It is important to examine your clothes, after they come from the wash, and see that they are perfectly dry before they are put away.