Practical Cookery 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. Illustrated. By Mrs. Mary F. Henderson. Harper & Brothers. Pp. 376. Price, $1.50.
Notwithstanding the multitude of books, good, bad, and indifferent, that treat of cooking and eating in all their aspects, the subject is yet far enough from being exhausted—the plenitude of its literature serving chiefly to convince us of the importance of the subject. But there is evidently an awakening in the culinary world, and a growing sense that, although it may have rained cook-books for a century, the work of reforming the kitchen and dining-room, and bringing them into some rational method of management, remains still to be accomplished. The dissatisfaction with bad cooking and barbarous eating is steadily spreading, cooking-schools are multiplying, and many are asking anxiously what can be done to amend our imperfect and evil ways in the preparation and serving of food.
Mrs. Henderson has therefore chosen a fitting time to put forth the results of her study, observation, and experience, on these important matters, and her volume, we think, will be widely welcomed and appreciated, as an excellent contribution to the literature of domestic economy, at the present time. It is comprehensive and practical, and meets the general wants of families in a satisfactory way. It contains much information in regard to culinary implements, processes of cooking, and the methodical operations of the kitchen, which if made available will be certain in most cases to improve that branch of the domestic establishment. It is the merit of Mrs. Henderson's book that it is something more than a compilation; it has grown out of her own practical interest in kitchen-work, much observation and correspondence, and an enthusiasm for housekeeping which ought to be more frequent among ladies. She gives an excellent array of selected receipts, many tested by herself, and others by competent friends, while the choice seems to have been made with discrimination, such only being offered as have "stood the test of time and experience."
An important portion of Mrs. Henderson's book, and which will meet a want in many families, is the prominent attention she gives to the art of serving meals. She says, in her preface: "Care has been taken to show how it is possible with moderate means to keep a hospitable table, leaving each reader for herself to consider the manifold advantages of making home, so far as good living is concerned, comfortable and happy." Mrs. Henderson expatiates on "the fashionable modes of entertaining at breakfast, luncheon, and dinner," but insists that, in this case, fashion is not the equivalent of folly. There is a general impression that the genteel mode of doing the thing is expensive and extravagant. This would, of course, be so in many cases where ostentation is the object, but according to Mrs. Henderson it is not necessarily so. "Fortunately," she says, "the fashionable mode is the one calculated to give the least anxiety and trouble to a hostess." People will no doubt continue to dispense breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, on a scale proportioned to their means, but the author of this book aims to point out how a family can live well and in good style, and at the same time with reasonable economy. The book is written in a simple, direct, and common-sense manner, that leaves nothing wanting in the way of clearness.
A Course of Practical Instruction in Elementary Biology. By T. H. Huxley, LL. D., etc., assisted by H. N. Martin, B. A., etc. Macmillan & Co., 1876. Second edition, revised.
Prof. Huxley has made himself remarkable among the leading scientific lights of the day, quite as much by the ease and assiduity with which he has simplified and expounded to the unlearned the mysteries of natural history as by the mental acumen and power which have enabled him to discover so many of those mysteries. He is known better, perhaps, in England to-day as a teacher than as an investigator; hence it is not surprising that he has undertaken to sketch out and supervise the little book, costing only two dollars, of elementary biological lessons, which has been written by Prof. Martin, his former assistant and now Professor of Zoölogy at Hopkins University in Baltimore. It has grown out of Prof. Huxley's own experience as a teacher, and hence