12 General Principles of Cooking ~1866


12 General Principles of Cooking ~1866

(Make sure you read #12.)

  1. The object of cooking is to make food healthful, and palatable; the secrete (sic) is therefore, how to combine elements and flavors, so as to produce the best results.
  2. The best meat requires the simplest preparation.
  3. A cardinal principle in cooking is cleanliness; a dirty cook cannot be a good cook, because all her dishes, no matter how distinct in quality, or costly in material, will taste as if, to use a common expression, they were “cooked in one pot”.
  4. As a general rule, to which there are very few exceptions, cook long and slowly, to cook well, and let the heat reach every part as evenly as possible.
  5. Fresh meats, and fish are better than corned, pickled, or smoked provisions; and the flesh of grown animals, (beef or mutton), is to be preferred to young beasts, such as veal or lamb.
  6. The natural order in cooking meats or fish, excepting oysters, is first to broil, second to boil, third to roast, fourth to stew, fifth to bake, and sixth to fry; and never to fry, as long as there is another method left.
  7. To retain the juices in boiled meat, keep it in mass and plunge it in boiling water; this coagulates the outer coating and prevents the escape of the juices, or soluble matter. To extract the juices for soup, cut it up in small pieces, and put it in cold water; this draws out all the strength, making good soup, but poor meat.
  8. Air should have access to roasting meat, hence spit roasting before a fire, is found much better than roasting in a closed oven.
  9. Always retain as much as possible of the the distinctive flavor of every article of food used; mixtures which make all dishes taste alike, are dyspepsia breeding, as well as appetite killing.
  10. Carefully avoid placing articles in contact, which have no affinity, such as fish and meat, etc. It is sufficient for people to do that in their stomachs.
  11. A light hand in making, a quick step in baking, maketh a good conscience for eating bread, puddings, and pies.
  12. Food for the well, is better than physic for the sick. Bad cooking is a crime; it is the cause of dyspepsia, and a host of other evils. A woman convicted of it ought to be arranged for manslaughter.

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Source: Jennie June’s American cookery book, 1866

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