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Marketing

Upon the amount of practical knowledge of marketing that the housekeeper has, the comfort and expense of the family are in a great measure dependent; therefore, every head of a household should acquire as much of this knowledge as is practicable, and the best way is to go into the market. Then such information as is gained by reading becomes of real value. Many think the market not a pleasant or proper place for ladies. The idea is erroneous. My experience has been that there are as many gentlemen among marketmen as are to be found engaged in any other business. One should have a regular place at which to trade, as time is saved and disappointment obviated. If not a judge of meat, it is advisable, when purchasing, to tell the dealer so, and rely upon him to do well by you. He will probably give you a nicer piece than you could have chosen. If a housekeeper makes a practice of going to the market herself, she is able to supply her table with a better variety than she is by ordering at the door or by note, for she sees many good and fresh articles that would not have been thought of at home. In a book like this it is possible to treat at length only of such things as meat, fish and vegetables, which always form a large item of expense.

Spice

It is well to keep on hand all kinds of spice, both whole and ground. They should not be in large quantities, as a good cook will use them very sparingly, and a good house-keeper will have too much regard for the health of her family and the delicacy of her food to have them used lavishly. For soups and sauces the whole spice is best, as it gives a delicate flavor, and does not color. A small wooden or tin box should be partly filled with whole mace, cloves, allspice and cinnamon, and a smaller paste-board box, full of pepper-corns, should be placed in it. By this plan you will have all your spices together when you season a soup or sauce.

Soda, Cream of Tartar, Baking Powder

There should not be so much of these articles used as to require that they be purchased in large quantities. Cream of tartar is expensive, soda cheap. If one prefers to use baking powders there will be no need of cream of tartar, but the soda will still be required for gingerbread and brown bread, and to use with sour milk, etc. The advantage of baking powder is that it is prepared by chemists who know just the proportion of soda to use with the acid (which should be cream of tartar), and the result will be invariable if the cook is exact in measuring the other ingredients. When an inexperienced cook uses the soda and cream of tartar there is apt to be a little too much of one or the other. Just now, with the failure of the grape crops in France, from which a greater part of the crystals in use come, cream of tarter is extremely high, and substitutes, such as phosphates, are being used.

To be Always Kept on Hand

Besides the things already mentioned, housekeepers should always have a supply of rice, pearl barley, dried beans, split peas, tapioca, macaroni, vermicilli, tea, coffee, chocolate, corn-starch, molasses, vinegar, mustard, pepper, salt, capers, canned tomato, and any other canned vegetables of which a quantity is used. Of the many kind of molasses, Porto Rico is the best for cooking purposes. It is well to have a few such condiments as curry powder (a small bottle will last for years), Halford sauce, essence of anchovies and mushroom ketchup. These give variety to the flavoring, and, if used carefully, will not be an expensive addition, so little is needed for a dish.

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Source

Miss Parloa's New Cook Book.


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