Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/780

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
758
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of rubbing a useless waste of power. And now, as the latest and most important addition to the resources of the house-keeper, we have a device which, going under the name of the "Warren Cooker," accomplishes an even greater reduction in the labor, expense, and care of the culinary department of the household.

This implement was but recently introduced into this country, and, though widely commended, is comparatively unknown; we cannot, therefore, do our readers a better service than to give them a brief account of its advantages. The article is an application of the principle that cooking is best done at a low, uniform heat, or a heat that, in the case of meats, will neither coagulate their juices nor harden their fibre. By Warren's plan both meat and vegetables are cooked at the same time, though in separate compartments and in different ways. When the "Cooker" is in operation, the meat is enclosed in a tight chamber, the bottom of which rests in boiling water, while a large portion of the sides is surrounded by steam, the remaining or upper portion of the sides being exposed to the outer air. No water or steam is permitted to enter the chamber, which, by the above-described arrangement, is kept at a uniform temperature of about 210° Fahr. The juices of the meat, and consequently its flavor, are thus wholly retained without dilution or impairment, and at the end of the process both fibre and juices are left in a condition most favorable to the work of digestion, none of the hardness or stringiness of baked or roasted meats being in the least degree perceptible.

Vegetables are cooked by steam, which in its exit is made to traverse a chamber divided into compartments for the reception of different sorts. Dumplings, or any thing else permitting the direct contact of steam, may also be cooked in this part of the apparatus.

We have had the implement in almost daily use for upward of six months, cooking with it the meat, fish, and poultry, ordinarily employed for the table, and its general performance has been in the highest degree satisfactory. It saves all round, and might very appropriately have been named the "Economical Cooker." Compact and simple in arrangement, it is easily and quickly got into operation. Unable to go wrong when once properly started, it does away with the worry and care incident to ordinary cooking. Run by any contrivance that will boil water, it makes possible a great saving of fuel. Cooking the meat in a closed pot, without access of either water or steam, it saves over the old way a large percentage of material; and, always turning out an evenly-cooked, juicy, and never overdone joint, it above all saves the feelings of the entire family.

To this strong indorsement of the implement, it is our duty to add a word of caution, for the benefit of those who are just commencing its use. The circulars of the manufacturer state the time per pound required for cooking various meats. Rigidly adhering to these directions when we first began to use the "Cooker," underdone dinners were the frequent result; and it was soon learned that from three to five minutes additional per pound were required to make the process complete.

Not the least of the advantages that will follow the general adoption of this mode of cooking will be, the encouragement of simplicity in the preparation of food; for, inasmuch as the contrivance preserves the natural flavor of the articles cooked in it, there will be no need of adding all sorts of rich and indigestible sauces to replace the losses which occur in cooking by the methods now commonly employed.

 

Venomous Spiders in New Zealand.—Until recently it was supposed that New Zealand contained no venomous reptiles or noxious animals of any kind, and it was only so late as the year 1856 that the first scientific notice appeared of a poisonous spider, a native of that country. This notice was communicated to the British Linnæan society by Dr. Ralph, and contained a brief description of the katipo (night-stinger), giving an account of its nesting habits and of the potency of its sting. A writer in the Field, who has closely studied this animal in its native habitat, cites numerous instances showing that the katipo's bite is occasionally fatal, and invariably very painful. Like many other venomous creatures, the katipo is not aggressive, and stings only when he is molested and greatly