What I know; or, Hints on the daily duties of a housekeeper

Oct 21, 2012 by

What I know; or, Hints on the daily duties of a housekeeper Comprising Nearly Five Hundred receipts for Cooking Preserving, Pickling, Washing, Ironing, Gardening, Plain and Fancy Needle-Work, Putting up of Winter Store, and Numerous other receipts useful and needful in every well regulated household!  Yes – that’s the entire title of this amazing book originally published by Elizabeth Nicholson in 1856.

If you really want to feel grateful for all our modern conveniences, just pick up this book and read a chapter or two Here are a few paragraphs to get you started:

“The delicate and proper blending of savours is the chief art of good soup-making. Be sure and skim the grease off the soup when it first boils, or it will not become clear. Throw in a little salt to bring up the scum. Remove all the grease, This may be best done by boiling the soup the day previous, and then the grease all comes off in a cake. To do so is often more convenient if you have bones, &c., which may not keep uncooked.]1 quart water to 1 lb. meat is a pretty good rule. If it boils away — soup should not boil hard — add boiling water. The water in which poultry, or fresh meat has been boiled, should be saved for gravies or soup next day. If you do not need it, the poor do. And in connection with this remark I would say it is much better for all families to “seek out” some worthy poor in their own neighbourhood, to whom all their food, not presentable again on their own tables, shall be sent before it has become fit for the slop ; and to insist that the cook shall take or send it thither. By this means nearly every poor family could count on at least 1 meal a day : and that nuisance in our courts and alleys — street begging — be abated. The proper way to make soup is to use a soup- digester : the flavour of the meat being retained almost entirely. They may be had at Murphy & YarnalPs, 262 Chestnut street.

To Cure Butter that will keep for a length of time. Reduce separately to a fine powder 2 lbs. of the best fine salt, 1 lb. of loaf- sugar and 1/2 lb. saltpetre. Sift these ingredients one above another, on a large sized sheet of paper, then mix them well together ; keep this mixture covered up close in a nice jar, and placed in a dry closet. When your butter is worked and salted in the usual way, and ready to put in the jars, use one ounce of this composition to every pound of but- ter ; work it well into the mass. Butter cured in this way (it is said), will keep good for several years. I have never kept it longer than from the fall until late in the spring : it was then very sweet and good. It will not do to use for a month, because earlier, the salts will not be sufficiently blended with it. It should be kept in wooden vessels, or nice stone jars. Earthenware jars are not suitable for butter, as during the decomposition of the salts, they corrode the glazing, and the butter becomes rancid and unhealthy.”

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