Pieces People Ask For/Lessons in Cookery
LESSONS IN COOKERY.
Miss Cicely Jones is just home from boarding-school, and engaged to be married; and, as she knows nothing about cooking or housework, is going to take a few lessons in culinary art to fit her for the new station in life which she is expected to adorn with housewifely grace. She certainly makes a charming picture as she stands in the kitchen-door, draped in a chintz apron prettily trimmed with bows of ribbon, her bangs hidden under a Dolly-Varden cap, old kid gloves, while she sways to and fro on her dainty French-kid heels, like some graceful wind-blown flower.
"Mamma," she lisped prettily, "please introduce me to your assistant."
Whereupon, mamma says, "Bridget, this is your young lady, Miss Cicely, who wants to learn the name and use of every thing in the kitchen, and how to make cocoanut rusks and angels' food, before she goes to housekeeping for herself."
Bridget gives a snort of disfavor; but, as she looks at the young lady, relents, and says, "I'll throy."
"And now, Bridget dear," says Miss Cicely, when they were alone, "tell me every thing. You see, I don't know any thing, except what they did at school; and isn't this old kitchen lovely? What makes this ceiling such a beautiful bronze color, Bridget?"
"Shmoke," answers Bridget shortly; "and me ould eyes are put out with that same."
"Shmoke—I must remember that; and, Bridget, what are those shiny things on the wall?"
"Kivers?—tin kivers for pots and kittles."
"Kivers?—oh, yes; I must look for the derivation of that word. Bridget, what are those round things in the basket?"
"Praties! (For the Lord's sake where hez ye lived niver to hear of praties?) Why, them's the principal mate of Ireland, where I kim from."
"Oh! but we have corrupted the name into potatoes; such a shame not to keep the idiom of a language! Bridget—do you mind if I call you Biddie? It is more euphonious, and modernizes the old classic appellation. What is this liquid in the pan here?"
"Och, murder! Where wuz ye raised? That's millick, fresh from the cow."
"Millick? That is the vernacular, I suppose, of milk; and that thick, yellow coating?"
"Is crame. (Lord, such ignorance!)"
"Crame! Now, Biddie, dear, I must get to work. I'm going to make a cake all out of my own head for Henry—he's my lover, Biddie—to eat when he comes to-night."
Bridget [aside]: "It's dead he is, sure, if he ates it!"
"I've got it all down here, Biddie, on my tablet: A pound of butter, twenty eggs, two pounds of sugar, salt to your taste. No, that's a mistake. Oh, here it is! Now, Biddie, the eggs first. It says to beat them well; but won't that break the shells?"
"Well, I'd break thim this time if I were you, Miss Cicely; they might not set well on Mister Henry's stummack if ye didn't," said Bridget pleasantly.
"Oh! I suppose the shells are used separately. There! I've broken all the eggs into the flour. I don't think I'll use the shells, Biddie; give them to some poor people. Now, what next? Oh, I'm so tired! Isn't housework dreadful hard? But I'm glad I've learned to make cake. Now, what shall I do next, Biddie?"
"Excuse me, Miss Cicely, but you might give it to the pigs. It's meself can't see any other use for it," said Bridget, very crustily.
"Pigs! O Biddie! you don't mean to say that you have some dear, cunning little white pigs! Oh, do bring the little darlings in and let me feed them! I'm just dying to have one for a pet! I saw some canton-flannel ones once at a fair, and they were too awfully sweet for any thing."
Just then the bell rang, and Bridget returned to announce Mr. Henry; and Cicely told Bridget she would take another lesson the next day: and then she went up-stairs in her chintz apron and mob-cap, with a little dab of flour on her tip-lifted nose, and told Henry she was learning to cook; and he told her she must not be overheated, or worried out, for he didn't care whether she could cook or not: he should never want to eat when he could talk to her, and it was only sordid souls that cared for cooking.
And, meanwhile, poor Bridget was just slamming things in the kitchen, and talking to herself in her own sweet idiom about "idgits turning things upside down for her inconvaniencing."
Detroit Free Press.