The Jewish Manual/Introduction
The receipts we have given are capable of being varied and modified by an intelligent pains-taking cook, to suit the tastes of her employers.
Where one receipt has been thought sufficient to convey the necessary instruction for several dishes, &c., &c., it has not been repeated for each respectively, which plan will tend to facilitate her task. We might, had we been inclined, have increased our collection considerably by so doing, but have decided, from our own experience, that it is preferable to give a limited number clearly and fully explained, as these will always serve as guides and models for others of the same kind.
The cook must remember it is not enough to have ascertained the ingredients and quantities requisite, but great care and attention must be paid to the manner of mixing them, and in watching their progress when mixed and submitted to the fire.
The management of the oven and the fire deserve attention, and cannot be regulated properly without practice and observation.
The art of seasoning is difficult and important.
Great judgment is required in blending the different spices or other condiments, so that a fine flavour is produced without the undue preponderance of either. It is only in coarse cooking that the flavour of onions, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, and eschalot is permitted to prevail. As a general rule, salt should be used in moderation.
Sugar is an improvement in nearly all soups, sauces, and gravies; also with stewed vegetables, but of course must be used with discretion.
Ketchups, Soy, Harvey's sauce, &c., are used too indiscrimately by inferior cooks; it is better to leave them to be added at table by those who approve of their flavour.
Any thing that is required to be warmed up a second time, should be set in a basin placed in a bain-marie, or saucepan, filled with boiling water, but which must not be allowed to boil; or the article will become hardened and the sauce dried up.
To remove every particle of fat from the gravies of stews, &c., a piece of white blotting-paper should be laid on the surface, and the fat will adhere to it; this should be repeated two or three times. It is important to keep saucepans well skimmed; the best prepared dish will be spoiled by neglect on this point.
The difference between good and bad cookery is particularly discernible in the preparation of forcemeats. A common cook is satistified if she chops or minces the ingredients and moistens them with an egg scarcely beaten, but this is a very crude and imperfect method; they should be pounded together in a mortar until not a lump or fibre is perceptible. Further directions will be given in the proper place, but this is a rule which must be strictly attended to by those who wish to attain any excellence in this branch of their art.
Eggs for forcemeats, and for every description of sweet dishes, should be thoroughly beaten, and for the finer kinds should be passed through a sieve.
A trustworthy zealous servant must keep in mind, that waste and extravagance are no proofs of skill. On the contrary. Good Cookery is by no means expensive, as it makes the most of every thing, and furnishes out of simple and economical materials, dishes which are at once palatable and elegant.