Soups may be divided into two classes, soup made with stock, and with milk. As soup should form part of the regular daily diet, and may be made from the cheaper materials, it is absolutely necessary that every housekeeper should understand the art of making it properly.
In the first place it is well to know what may be used in the process of soup making. The first and most important step is to prepare the stock. For this purpose have a large earthen bowl or "catch all," as some teachers call it. Into this put all the bones, trimmings, bits of steak or chop and gravy which has been left over. Keep in a cold place. When needed, cover with cold water and simmer 4 or 5 hours; strain and set away to cool. When cold, remove the fat which will have formed a solid coating on the top. The stock is now ready for use. By saving the remains of vegetables cooked for the table, the outer stocks of celery, a hard boiled egg, etc., a very palatable and nutritious soup may be made at a trifling cost. In families where large quantities of meat are used, there should be sufficient material without buying meat for soup. It is not necessary to have all the ingredients mentioned in some recipes in order to secure satisfactory results. It will, however, be necessary to understand soup flavorings, so as to know which ones may be left out. Stock made from the shin of beef, or from the cheaper pieces which contain the coarser fibre and gristle, require long, slow cooking.
Never soak meat in water before cooking in any form. Wipe carefully with a damp cloth before cutting or preparing for use. For soup break or saw the bones into small pieces, and for each pound of meat and bone allow 1 qt. of cold water. Cover the kettle closely and let it heat slowly until it reaches the simmering point, when it should be moved back and kept at that degree for several hours. Soup should never be allowed to boil hard. The scum which rises to the surface is the albumen and juices of the meat, and should not be skimmed off. If the kettle is clean, and all impurities removed from the meat, there will not be anything objectionable in the scum. Stock must always be allowed to remain until cold, so that the fat may be removed before using. A strong, greasy soup is rarely relished, and is one of the principal reasons why so many people dislike this valuable article of diet. Do not add salt to the meat which is being prepared for stock until a few minutes before removing from the fire. Salt hardens the water if added at first and makes the tissues more difficult to dissolve. Stock may be kept for several days by occasionally bringing it to the boiling point. This is not necessary in winter if it is kept in a cold place.