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Title: Ten Dollars Enough - Keeping House Well on Ten Dollars a Week; How It Has Been - Done; How It May Be Done Again
Author: Owen, Catherine
Language: English
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TEN DOLLARS ENOUGH

    KEEPING HOUSE WELL ON TEN DOLLARS
    A WEEK; HOW IT HAS BEEN DONE;
    HOW IT MAY BE DONE AGAIN


    BY
    CATHERINE OWEN

[Illustration]

    BOSTON AND NEW YORK
    HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
    The Riverside Press, Cambridge
    1888



    Copyright, 1886,
    BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.

    _All rights reserved._


    SEVENTH EDITION.


    _The Riverside Press, Cambridge_:
    Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co.



PREFACE.


The success of “Ten Dollars Enough,” as it appeared serially in the
pages of “Good Housekeeping,” and the numerous letters received by the
editor of that magazine asking for it in more convenient shape, has led
to its publication in its present form.

It is very pleasant to learn from these same letters that the writers
have tried Molly’s recipes with such success, there being, I am assured
by the same gentleman, but two exceptions (and one of these candidly
says the fault might be her own) among the large number who expressed
satisfaction.

This testimony is especially gratifying, showing, as it does, how
earnest and faithful my readers have been; for, although the directions
were minutely given and every effort made to meet difficulties, all
_my_ care would not have sufficed to produce success, had there not
been faithful coöperation on the part of those who followed them. I
take this opportunity to make clear two matters which, I found early in
the course of the story, were lost sight of by two or three readers,
perhaps others.

I allude to the prices of provisions and the amount of cooking
accomplished in a given time.

To those who questioned the cost of articles I would say: they forgot,
reading in _December_, when they were doubtless paying higher prices,
that the prices quoted were for _September_. To another who quotes the
high price _she_ has to pay for certain things, I only say: Molly was
keeping house with some luxury, on the same amount of table-money as
many require to live very plainly. This could not be done except by
buying everything only in its season; if beyond a certain price, she
waited for it to get lower.

This brings me to what is after all the gist of the matter. “Ten
Dollars Enough” was intended for readers in widely different parts of
the country. It would have readers where the meat and poultry prices
would seem very high, and the groceries equally low. I therefore
decided to take average New York retail prices and not to go below them.

There may be cities and suburbs where the prices are higher than in New
York, but in my experience these are few compared with the many where
they are lower.

As to the question of time, Molly is not represented as an
inexperienced young wife, but as a graduate of cooking-schools, who
could herself have joined the corps of culinary teachers had it been
necessary.

Her expertness had not come without many failures, and the readers of
“Ten Dollars Enough” were invited to profit by the finished result of
her failures and experiments. Because she had often failed before she
succeeded, she was able to avert failure from Marta or others.

Bearing in mind, then, that Molly knew precisely what to do and how to
do it, it will be readily seen that her most elaborate dinner was very
simple indeed, compared with the _ménu_ prepared by one lady and her
assistant at any first-rate cooking demonstration, in the same space of
time.

                                                     CATHERINE OWEN.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.

  Mr. and Mrs. Bishop try the Experiment                          1


  CHAPTER II.

  At Home                                                         7


  CHAPTER III.

  Molly’s First Bill of Fare                                     19


  CHAPTER IV.

  Bread-Making—Breakfast—Baked Potatoes—Corn Muffins—Breaded
      Chops—How to fry                                           30


  CHAPTER V.

  How to manage the Fat that has been used for frying—Cup
      Cake                                                       37


  CHAPTER VI.

  What “Simmering” means                                         40


  CHAPTER VII.

  Molly and Mrs. Lennox—Economical Buying makes Good Living      52


  CHAPTER VIII.

  Beef Pot-Pie—Leg of Mutton—Two Roasts—Several Wholesome
      Economical Dishes                                          58


  CHAPTER IX.

  Veal Cutlets, Breaded                                          63


  CHAPTER X.

  Details of Molly’s Management—Recipes                          70


  CHAPTER XI.

  What to do with a Soup-Bone                                    79


  CHAPTER XII.

  Molly and Mrs. Lennox on the Ruffle Question—Fricassee of
      Mutton—Cabbage again                                       86


  CHAPTER XIII.

  Preparing to save Work—Brown Thickening—White
      Thickening—Caramel                                         93


  CHAPTER XIV.

  Marketing—Apple Pudding—Liver and Bacon—Braised
      Beef—Boiling Puddings                                      95


  CHAPTER XV.

  Rolls—Baked Liver—Croquettes—What was the Matter with
      them—Hotch-Potch                                          100


  CHAPTER XVI.

  Rye Bread—Oyster Patties—Knuckle of Veal, à la Maître
      d’Hôtel—A Savory Dish                                     106


  CHAPTER XVII.

  Mr. and Mrs. Bishop become Members of a Dramatic
      Club—Croquettes over again—Where the Mistake
      lay—White Soup                                            111


  CHAPTER XVIII.

  Broiled Lamb’s Kidneys—Mrs. Lennox startled—Corn-Beef
      Hash                                                      117

  CHAPTER XIX.

  Summary—Lamb’s Heart—Flounders—Corned Beef—Cannelon of
      Beef                                                      124


  CHAPTER XX.

  Preparing a Chicken—Giblets—Spoilt Bread                      130


  CHAPTER XXI.

  To make a Fowl Tender as Spring Chicken                       136


  CHAPTER XXII.

  Dollars and Cents                                             138


  CHAPTER XXIII.

  Chiefly Social—Mrs. Framley’s Opinions                        145


  CHAPTER XXIV.

  A very Plain Pudding—How to cook Odds and Ends—Bills of
      Fare for a Week                                           149


  CHAPTER XXV.

  Marta’s Noodles—Braised Beef—How to adapt one’s
      Materials—Polka Pudding and Sauce                         154


  CHAPTER XXVI.

  Fried Potatoes—Polka Sauce—Clearing Gravy of Fat—A Variety
      of Cakes from One Recipe                                  161


  CHAPTER XXVII.

  Candied Lemon-Peel—To whip Cream Solid—Iced Cream
      Coffee—Madeleine Cake—Potato Balls                        166


  CHAPTER XXVIII.

  Fricasseed Chicken—Lemon Honey—French Icing to keep           172

  CHAPTER XXIX.

  Boiled Custard—Frozen Bananas—Uses of French
      Icing—Scalloped Potatoes—Hollandaise Sauce—Roast
      Oysters—Unexpected Visitors                               176


  CHAPTER XXX.

  Hominy Muffins—Fish Balls—Royal Custard—“Consommé à la
      Royale”—Fricassee Sweetbreads—Vanilla Soufflé             189


  CHAPTER XXXI.

  A Surprise—A Boiled Dinner—Dresden Patties—Oysters and
      Brown Butter—“Old English” Fritters                       196


  CHAPTER XXXII.

  Veal and Ham Pie—Beefsteak Pudding—Trifle                     205


  CHAPTER XXXIII.

  Town versus Country—The Servant Question                      214


  CHAPTER XXXIV.

  Ox-Tail Soup—Grisini—Stewed Lamb and Peas—Méringues with
      Cream                                                     219


  CHAPTER XXXV.

  Macaroons—Jumbles—Genoese Tablettes—Irish Stew                225


  CHAPTER XXXVI.

  To boil and prepare Lobsters—Sandwiches—Clearing
      Soup—Omelet Soufflé                                       234


  CHAPTER XXXVII.

  Gâteau de Riz—French Rice Cake—Preparing Calf’s
      Head—Mock-Turtle Soup—More Noodles—Pigeon Pie             241


  CHAPTER XXXVIII.

  One More Use for Soup Meat—Stewed Calf’s Tongue—Brains,
      au Beurre Noir (Brown Butter)—Calf’s Head—Hollandaise
      Sauce—Calf’s Head en Tortue                               248

  CHAPTER XXXIX.

  Ideas and Suggestions on several Subjects                     252


  CHAPTER XL.

  English Muffins and Crumpets—Pickling and curing—Roast
      Beef-Heart—Soused Mackerel                                259


  CHAPTER XLI.

  The Baby—Conclusion                                           269



TEN DOLLARS ENOUGH.



CHAPTER I.

MR. AND MRS. BISHOP TRY THE EXPERIMENT.


“BEEF steak, cod steak, mutton chop, and hash!”

This bill of fare, glibly rattled off by a neat waitress, promised
a very satisfying breakfast, supplemented as it was by abundant
cream-of-tartar biscuit and potatoes. Yet Mrs. Bishop thought this
morning, as she had done for three hundred out of the three hundred and
sixty-five mornings she had heard it, she would gladly have exchanged
all for a cup of really fine coffee, a fresh egg, and some good
home-made bread and butter. Needless to say, Mr. and Mrs. Bishop were
boarding, and doing so at a very good house, for the money they were
able to pay,—$20 per week for the two. Yet to this couple, reared with
luxury and refinement, the very abundance was nauseating.

“You ate no breakfast again, Puss. What am I to do with you?”

“Oh, I shall do very well. I am sure one has nothing to complain of,
and if Mrs. Jones were to cater to _our_ tastes she would not satisfy
her other boarders.”

“Yes, there is a coarse substantial abundance about it, that always
strikes me with wonder as to how it is done for the money”—

“And yet, Harry, wouldn’t you enjoy a nice little breakfast for our two
selves? Oh, if we could only keep house!”

“My darling, I wish to keep house just as much as you do, but with my
income such housekeeping would be very different from what you think.
You would have to limit the clean table-cloths and napkins, and stint
yourself in everything, to make both ends meet.”

“I wish I could convince you, Harry, that it need not be so. You don’t
know what a good manager I should be.”

“Dear little woman, I couldn’t have you make a drudge of yourself,
and believe me, you don’t realize the difference between practice and
theory. I know several men who have good, self-denying wives, and just
my income, but I could not look forward to the narrowness of such
houses as theirs, nor wish to see you in one. While we are boarding we
can’t pretend to have a home; there is no temptation to ask a friend to
a meal, no shame if one comes and it isn’t good.”

Mrs. Bishop turned a smiling face on her husband.

“That is the secret, Harry. You are afraid of being ashamed of my
housekeeping. Shall I promise you that you shall never dread to bring
a friend home for fear of a soiled table-cloth, and a too economical
dinner? I assure you I haven’t been to cooking-schools for nothing.”

“You dear enthusiast! If it were not for your own sake I’d let you try.”

Mrs. Bishop executed a little dance of joy.

“Oh, Harry, you can’t go back on that, you mustn’t! Do let us go
through this winter in our own house.”

Mr. Bishop only said, taking out his watch—

“By Jove! I have only time to catch the car. Goodbye, dear.” Pressing a
hearty kiss on her soft cheek, he rushed down the stairs and out of the
house.

There was quite a little romance about this young couple, which I will
relate here, that those who may follow the young wife’s trials and
triumphs may understand some that she had to fear. Harry Bishop was the
son of a prosperous merchant, who, as is the fashion in this America
of ours, lived almost like a prince on the profits of his business,
but, as his family was large, and his wife ambitious and extravagant,
it was not very certain that he would be able to provide a fortune for
each of his children. For this reason he and Mrs. Bishop were anxious
that those children should marry money.

When Harry declared his intention of marrying, instead of the rich Miss
Vanderpool his mother had looked out for him, pretty, penniless Molly
Marsh, the anger and disappointment at home had been very great, and
although it is not the fashion in this country to cast off the sons and
daughters who make rash marriages, they did the next thing to it,—they
disapproved so strongly that Molly rarely visited the grand home Harry
had given up to marry her, and Harry’s father in his anger had said:

“Do you remember, sir, that your paltry salary wouldn’t pay the rent of
a house in a decent location? and you propose to keep a wife on it! One
thing you may be sure, ‘as you make your bed so you must lie,’ and when
you have a mass of unpaid bills, you mustn’t look to _me_ to pay ’em.”

“I never will, sir. I am sorry for Molly’s sake you take it like this,
but I hope in time you will see that I am right to choose happiness
instead of riches.”

And then Harry’s mother had pictured the sordid home kept on $100 a
month, and derisively asked if he supposed he would be happy after
the honeymoon was over, eating common coarse food in a shabby little
dining-room.

“The idea of it! You are the last person, Harry, to content yourself in
that way. Why, you criticise even my cook; how will you do with no cook
at all?”

“I shouldn’t criticise, dear mother, if you did the cooking.”

They had been married a year now, and Molly and Harry paid rare visits
to his father’s house, and she, poor young wife, was made to feel how
much her husband had sacrificed for her, and she knew, good as Harry
was, he would be rather exacting in his own home; that, though for love
of her he might not express himself, small deficiencies would jar on
him, and that in beginning to keep house she would be undertaking a
great deal.

“But that will be my share. If by devoting time to my housekeeping, I
can make Harry’s money go half as far again as it would otherwise do, I
shall do as much as if I earned half as much as he.”

And so during that year of boarding and leisure, Molly had attended
cooking-classes, with a married friend, and had gone home with her and
they had practiced together. She had read, too, everything she could
find about housekeeping, and Harry laughed, sometimes, till the tears
ran down his cheeks at what he called her “paper housekeeping.”

Yet her pictures of that ideal home they were to have were very
alluring to him too, and this particular morning, when their
boarding-house life had lasted just one year, her words had taken
deeper hold than ever before. That evening he returned with a very
mysterious look on his face.

“What is the matter, Harry?” asked Molly, merrily. “What plot are you
brewing?”

“How would you like to pass a winter in the country?”

“I shouldn’t mind. Why do you ask?”

“Because we can put your longed-for experiment to the test. John
Winfield is going to take his wife to Europe on the first of September,
and wants to let his cottage furnished for the bare rent he pays: $20
per month.”

“Oh, Harry! and we will take it? It is such a cozy little place.”

“Yes, dear, I think we may venture on this experiment. If it happens
that we tire of housekeeping in a few months, we shall not be burdened
with furniture that we don’t want, and if you are as happy as you
think, we can take a little house and furnish it.”

Mrs. Bishop looked the joy she felt, and all that evening they were
discussing plans and prospects.

Many of my readers will wonder, perhaps, why this young couple looked
upon beginning housekeeping on Harry’s income as such a tremendous
experiment, when so many live and bring up families on much less.
But there was no disguising the fact that Harry’s bringing-up in his
father’s luxurious house had made him fastidious, and he shrank from
the too frugal table that he associated with such means, and, even
more, the necessity of foregoing in his own house the refinement he
had been accustomed to. This lack being in the house of another person
irked him less.

Molly’s dread was mixed with a trembling desire to show her husband
what sort of a wife he had married.

“I feel just a doll while boarding, with nothing to think of but my
clothes. You don’t know whether I am fit to be a helpmeet or not,”
she had often said, and he had replied, “My darling, I take it all on
faith; you are too good for me, even if you could not sew on a button.”

But Molly’s trembling did not come from fear of facing life in a
cottage. She knew herself, but she did think that Harry might grow to
repent the step. She feared also the criticism of his mother, ever
watchful for a trip on her part.

Ah! what agony it would be to her, if her husband should ever regret
the sacrifice he had made! But from such thoughts as these, that kept
her awake far into the night while Harry slept soundly at her side, she
would turn to a vision of herself as a triumphant little matron.

“I cannot fail! My time and ingenuity will certainly supply the
deficiency of money.”

Molly had kept house for an invalid mother, who, for economy’s sake,
had lived in a small French town, and after her mother’s death she had
found herself forced to earn her living as governess, for her mother’s
income died with her.

Thus, although she had often told Harry she could keep house, he
had smiled, pinched her cheek, and told her she did not realize the
difference between keeping house in France and doing so in America,
with a newly imported Bridget for _aide de cuisine_, and as Molly did
not like to boast, she had to let him keep his own opinion. But oh, how
she longed to show him what unknown resources lay within her! And now
the chance was hers.

After the first joyful hour, she behaved very soberly. She would take
as a matter of course all Harry’s misgivings as to the commissariat
department, for I am sorry to say Harry Bishop, although a Harvard
graduate, and a fairly intellectual young man, did think a great deal
of the enjoyment of life consisted in a good table, by which he meant
not good food only, but good cooking and dainty service, and how they
were to have this on $100 per month he could not see, unless his income
were all spent for servants and food. When he told this to Molly she
said:

“No, I propose that we keep house, and spend exactly what we do for
this one room and our board; that is, $80 per month. It must be divided
in this way: $20 for rent (we must never go beyond that), $12 for
servant, and $10 a week for housekeeping; that is, $77 a month. The
three remaining dollars, with the four or five we now spend for car
fare, will buy your commutation ticket.”

“$10 a week for housekeeping! I am afraid you’ll find that will make
a poor show, little wife,” he said caressingly. “I shall think we
are happy and fortunate, if the $20 we now allow for our clothes and
outside expenses will cover the deficit at the end of the month.”

“You’ll see $10 is enough.”

He laughed good-humoredly.

“I guess, Pussy, we shall both see things grow ‘small by degrees and
beautifully less,’ toward the end of each month.”

“We’ll hope not,” said Molly meekly, for now that she hoped her hour of
trial and triumph was coming, she could afford to let him anticipate
evil.



CHAPTER II.

AT HOME.


ON the 1st of September our young couple took possession of their new
house.

It was a small house, or rather cottage, in the fashionable New Jersey
town of Greenfield, and contained a dining-room, sitting-room and
kitchen on the first floor, and four rooms above arranged as bed-room,
guest-room, servants’ room and sewing-room. It was as slightly built as
a house could be, probably, yet in better taste than most houses of its
class, and Mrs. Winfield’s taste in furnishing was excellent, so that
even Harry’s fastidious eye was satisfied.

As for Molly, she spent her first hour in the house promenading from
room to room, such a luxurious idea of freedom and space did that small
house give her.

“Think, Harry! We can actually change rooms when we like.”

“Poor little Molly, I did not know that you had hated boarding so, or I
should not have refused to try this experiment long ago. I did it for
your sake.”

“Never mind, we’ll have such a good time now, that we won’t think of
anything else.”

“What time is your Gretchen to arrive?”

“Not Gretchen, but Marta. She came an hour ago, while you were seeing
to the baggage, and is busy down stairs, where I must go to her if we
are to have any lunch, while you put your books in order.”

“Oh, lunch! Never mind lunch to-day, bread and cheese will do”—

“Oh, no!” said Molly, shaking her head and laughing, “I’ve brought you
from the land of abundance; I must take care that you are not made to
suffer the first day.”

Marta, Molly’s servant, was a newly arrived German girl whom she had
had the courage to take from Castle Garden.

“She will be as green as grass, Molly,” Harry had said.

“Yes, I know, but at least it is better she should know nothing than
know how to do things badly; it is easier to teach than to unteach.”

“All right, my dear, we will go to Castle Garden, then, and interview a
new arrival from Germany.”

They did so, and found a thick, short, strong, but stupid-looking girl
was the only one whom it seemed possible to take into the house. Molly
was a little crestfallen, so far did Marta seem from what she had hoped
to meet with. Yet she asked only $10 per month.

“That is $2.00 to the good,” thought Molly, “and by promising her $12
when she can do my work as I wish, she will have something to work
for. I believe that is where people make a mistake in our country. The
incompetent girls, if they have only impudence enough to ask it, get as
good wages as the competent.”

Marta had arrived with two very large trunks, each of them no doubt the
Thuringian equivalent for a Saratoga, at which excess of baggage Molly
had marveled. Molly had taken her to her room, and told her to go down
when ready and begin taking things out of the kitchen closets. This she
had heard her doing when Harry had asked when she was to arrive.

Molly found Marta attired in what seemed a green baize skirt, very
short; worked zephyr slippers with thick soles, quite new and very
large, over gray knitted worsted stockings, also apparently new. Over
the skirt she wore a clean cotton camisole or sacque. Evidently Marta
was dressed with strict attention to her début in a new place, and was
satisfied that her slippers were as attractive as they were no doubt
comfortable.

Molly wanted to know exactly what was in the kitchen closets, so that
she might see what she had to work with, therefore she had set Marta
to clean them out, although Mrs. Winfield had left everything in such
excellent order that it was not absolutely necessary this first day.

It was eleven o’clock, and Molly, although she had laughed at Harry’s
anxiety to eat bread and cheese, had decided that it would be best
to have a luncheon that would be as little trouble as possible, yet
one that should not seem at all a makeshift, so sensitive was she to
Harry’s good-natured criticism.

She ordered in the morning what she thought might be a month’s supplies
of groceries, and for the day’s use:

    2 heads of lettuce,                $ .06
    1 melon,                             .10
    2 quarts peaches,                    .12
    1 can of boned chicken,              .50
    Forequarter of lamb, 8 pounds,      1.12
    2 pounds of butter,                  .50
    2 dozen eggs,                        .50
                                         ———
            Total,                     $2.90

Milk had been left at the house by Mrs. Winfield’s man, and ice also,
and bread by the baker.

She intended to have for lunch to-day chicken salad, omelette and drop
biscuit and coffee, all of which could, she knew, be prepared in three
quarters of an hour, so she helped Marta dust and replace the utensils
in their places, and made notes of what was lacking for her use,
although, as economy was her object, she decided to do with as little
addition to what was in the house as possible.

She called Marta’s attention as they replaced each article, telling her
its English name, and bidding her remember its place and keep it there.

Marta spoke no English, but Molly spoke fair German, and she managed to
make her understand. As the clock struck twelve, Molly took her into
the dining-room to lay the luncheon cloth; she showed her how it must
be done, that the fold must be just in the centre, the salt-cellars
always neat and smooth, a soiled knife never put on, and as she went
through these necessary instructions, the thought crossed her mind,
how frivolous and useless these little niceties must seem to a girl to
whom perhaps even a table-cloth had hitherto been an unknown luxury.
What wonder that it was in these small things so difficult to train one?

When the table was ready, Molly ran into the little garden, and
gathered a few red geranium flowers and their leaves, and arranged them
in a glass for the centre of the table.

“This is one of the charms of the country; even in a tiny garden like
this, one can always have a spray of flowers for the table,” thought
Molly.

It was now a quarter past twelve, and one thing that Marta must be
taught was punctuality. At one o’clock lunch was to be, and as Molly
would prepare it to-day, it should not be a minute behind.

“Come, Marta, I want to show you how to make biscuit; but first we must
look to the fire.”

Molly had made it herself before Marta arrived, and knew it was good
and the oven hot, but she wanted to impress on her handmaiden the
necessity of assuring herself that it was good, before beginning to
cook.

“I set the damper this way, so that the oven would heat as soon as the
fire is burning well, Marta. You see it is hot, and also,” taking off
the stove lid, “that there is fire enough to last; always make sure of
that, so that you will not find yourself with a poor fire in the middle
of cooking.”

This Molly managed to convey by words and actions, and Marta nodded
comprehension.

“Now then, as we are such a small family, I take a pint of flour only,
and a scant dessert-spoonful of butter, and rub it in the flour this
way, do you see? until it is just like sand. Now I add a salt-spoonful
of salt, two tea-spoonfuls of sugar, and a small tea-spoonful of
baking-powder; be very careful of the proportions, for it is just by
doing this that you are sure never to have days when things turn out
wrong; they cannot do that, if _you_ are exact and right.

“Now mix all thoroughly, and you see I take this scant half pint of
milk; I make a hole in the flour and pour it partly in, stirring as
I do it, and if I see it needs more in order to keep it the stiffest
kind of batter or the softest kind of dough, I add it; it takes all the
half pint, you see, but with flour you can’t be quite sure of the exact
quantity, and a tea-spoonful too much would make it too thin. Now, you
see, it is so very thick I can hardly stir it, yet it is far from being
stiff enough to knead. Butter that tin pan and give it to me.”

Marta understood the order, but began slowly to spread butter from the
end of a knife. Molly took a bit of white paper, and taking the pan
from her quickly, for the biscuit had now to be got into the oven as
soon as possible, she rubbed a bit of butter over it.

“Too many cooks spoil the broth, Marta. If I had been working quite
alone I should have greased my pan before beginning; it is very bad
management to leave it.” As she spoke she was taking the paste on the
end of her spoon, and dropping it in little oblong mounds on the pan,
about two inches apart. In another minute they were in the oven, which
was very hot.

“My mother used to pride herself on these biscuits, and gave herself
fifteen minutes to make and bake them. Now for the salad.”

Molly quickly opened the can of chicken she had bought, and cut the
contents in half; one portion she turned out on a dish, and set the
other aside to go into the ice-box. Then she set Marta to open olives
and salad oil, while she herself cut the chicken into small pieces,
removing every bit of skin that was on it. When the olives were open,
she took a small, sharp, knife and calling Marta’s attention to an
olive, she cut into it till the edge of the knife touched the stone,
and then began to peel that stone, as it were, being careful not to
break the peel, and keeping close to the stone. When the knife had
passed all around, the stone was in her left thumb and finger, the peel
or stoned olive in her right. The stone was bare except at the ends,
and the olive peel curled back into its old form, minus those ends.

“Now, Marta, see if you can stone six olives as I did that. Never mind
if you break the first.”

Molly saw Marta start right, then she poured out a table-spoonful of
oil and a half one of vinegar, a salt-spoonful of salt, and a scant
half one of pepper. These she mixed thoroughly and poured over the
chicken, taking care that it should go well through it. Then she looked
into the oven. The biscuits had been in five minutes; they had puffed
up and were nearly done.

When first the groceries had come, Molly, mindful of her mayonnaise,
had put an egg, bowl, and spoon in the ice-box, and, had the day been
hot, she would have put the oil there too. She went for them now, and
knew that the minute it took her to get them had sufficed to give the
biscuit just the tint she wanted, a pale golden brown; she took them
out and set them in the warming-closet of the range, and returned to
her salad. She wanted Marta to wash the lettuce, but having set her to
stone olives was careful not to take her from that task.

“My bad management,” she thought. “I ought to have set her to wash the
lettuce, and leave it drying in a cloth while she did the olives.”

Marta had managed to cut three or four olives into small pieces, but
had evidently not seized the idea. Molly stoned another one for her,
and then Marta once more began.

“Now, Marta, I want you to stone those and then to wash the lettuce,
putting each leaf on a clean cloth as you do it. I am going to make a
mayonnaise sauce, which I must show you another day.”

She broke the egg, putting the white into a cup, the yolk into her
ice-cold bowl, and began to stir it. This she did for a few seconds,
and then added a few drops of oil, stirred just long enough for it
to disappear in the yolk, then added a very little more, and so on,
stirring steadily, waiting till the last oil was blended before adding
more. When it had once assumed the pale opaque yellow that told her the
mayonnaise had “come,” she added oil in rather larger quantities. Five
minutes after this point the mayonnaise was as thick as butter in warm
weather; a little more oil and it could no longer be stirred, for it
clung to the spoon.

“Now, Marta, you see when it gets like this I add a few drops of
vinegar, which changes the color,—whitens it,—but stirring a few
seconds blends the vinegar, and it now is like very thick cream. I can
go on adding oil now till it is very thick again.”

When it had again reached the unmanageable point Molly put to it,
gradually, a half dessert-spoonful of vinegar (which she had ordered
to be very strong), a salt-spoonful of salt, and a very little white
pepper; she then tasted it and found it would stand a few drops more
vinegar for Harry’s taste, as he liked it rather sharp.

Marta had finished the olives fairly well, and had the lettuce drying
on the cloth.

“Grind two table-spoonfuls of coffee, Marta. Wait, I’ll tighten the
screw of the mill, while you put that French coffee-pot on the back of
the stove to get warm.”

Molly placed the dry end of the cloth over the lettuce leaves and
patted them, resolving that a salad-basket must be an immediate
purchase. She took the leaves, now free from water, and laid them over
the salad-dish, reserving the whitest for the border; then she placed
the chicken in the centre, mixing with it the pieces of olive Marta had
broken in her first attempts, and smoothing it with a knife

The mayonnaise would have been all the better if it could have stood
in the ice-box half an hour; and, another time, she would have it made
early on the day it was wanted; however, it was thick enough to mask
the chicken, only less would have answered the purpose had it been ice
cold. She spread it with a knife evenly, then laid the stoned olives
around at intervals—and the salad was ready.

The coffee being ground, she gave the salad to Marta to take to the
ice-box for the twenty minutes that would elapse before lunch-time,
while she broke three eggs and separated them, and when Marta returned
gave her the whites to beat to a high froth. While she was doing
that, Molly got the frying-pan, put a table-spoonful of butter in it,
and set both to get hot; then she poured boiling water through the
coffee-pot (in case it might not have been used lately), threw it out,
and put two full table-spoonfuls of coffee (ground much finer than
the grocer does it, being, in fact, about like coarse corn meal) into
the fine strainer, replaced the coarse one over it, and then took
a tin pint measure, filled it with boiling water, and poured half
into the coffee-pot; the other half she set on the stove to keep at
boiling-point, while the first dripped through; then she put half a
pint of milk to boil, and, seeing the butter was melted, she drew back
the frying-pan that it might not burn till the omelette was ready.

Marta had not yet reached the point of snow with the whites of eggs,
and Molly took them from her to finish herself.

“Now, Marta, put that little fringed napkin on the dish, and with a
fork take up those biscuits.”

She watched her while she performed her task, dropping two or three
on the floor, of course, but that did not ruffle Molly’s good temper,
for she knew the girl could not have been accustomed to doing things
daintily,—that if she followed her instinct, it would no doubt be to
tumble them all out pell-mell together.

“Now take those to the table, set them on the mat I showed you, and
come back at once.”

The eggs were now ready, and as the omelette was to be the very last
thing cooked, she poured the rest of the water on the coffee, told
Marta to get the waiter ready, and then pour the boiling milk into the
pitcher and set it on it.

“Now, Marta, take the chicken salad into the dining-room, and at the
same time take the melon from the ice-box and bring it here as you come
back.”

The coffee had now all dripped through; she took a cup and poured it
full of coffee, and then poured it back to run through again,—then she
directed Marta to cut the melon in half, remove the seeds, and lay the
halves in a dish with a piece of ice in each half. Knowing Marta would
not understand cracking ice, Molly had put some ready, when she had
gone for the bowl and egg for mayonnaise.

“Now, Marta, I will run up stairs and get ready for lunch; while I am
gone take the melon into the dining-room and put it on the table at the
side opposite the biscuit. Remember, at _luncheon_ everything may go on
the table at once. The butter is ready on a dish in the ice-box; place
that, and by that time I will be down.”

Molly had worn a homespun walking-dress, and it had been the custom
of herself and friend, Mrs. Welles, to try and emulate the neatness
of the teacher at the cooking-school they had attended, who dressed
handsomely, wore no apron, and left her class spotless. They had
attained to great neatness, but Molly found herself more comfortable in
a large apron. She did not yet remove it, but put on a clean collar,
arranged a stray curl, and washed her face and hands, then ran down
to finish her omelette. She put the frying-pan back to a hot place,
stirred the yolks of eggs with a good pinch of salt and a little
pepper, and mixed them gently with the whites, and poured both into
the pan, which she turned about that the mixture might run into every
part; and when it was “set” underneath, she lifted one side, tilted
the pan and allowed the uncooked custard to run into its place; this
she kept on doing, always turning the cooked part toward the centre,
until in three minutes it was a light custard-like mass; then, with a
cake-turner, she folded one side over and slipped the doubled omelette
on to a hot dish, where it lay, a delicate golden-brown mound.

“Now, Marta, take in the coffee and milk.”

She heard Harry coming down stairs, and looking at the clock saw it was
three minutes past one.

“Going up to dress did that,” she thought, “but it is not so bad, yet I
am sorry Marta has the bad example.”

“Odors of Araby the blest!” quoted Harry, as Molly, divested of her
apron, the omelette in hand, followed him into the dining-room. “I
smell coffee!—real aromatic coffee!”

He stood and surveyed the pretty lunch table, looked at the
Delmonico-like salad, the Frenchy omelette, and then at Molly.

“Humph, is this all cooking-school, or is it part caterer,—if there is
such a being in Greenfield?”

“It is part cooking-school, and a tiny bit Molly,” said the young wife.
“No, indeed, I have no acquaintance with caterers.”

“This omelette should not palpitate its excellence away; shall I help
you, dear?”

“No; I devote myself to salad”—then to Marta, who was waiting,
uncertain what to do:

“Marta, go into the kitchen and wash up, in quite hot water, the soiled
pans and dishes.”

“Molly, this omelette is perfect; you have put forth your strength,
indeed; but, my dear little girl, I am not going to have you spend all
your time in the kitchen.”

“I don’t mean to, but I can give a couple of hours each day, and it
will do me good.”

“But this luncheon is quite elaborate. Oh, I’ve heard of chicken salad
and its intricacy, before now.”

Molly smiled; she had known it too. “I will take some of it if you
please.”

“Ah, Molly, I believe it’s worth while to give up boarding and to live
on cold meat, to have such coffee as this, and such biscuit!”

“I think it is, although I don’t intend to live on cold meat; I don’t
like it.”

“But I suppose we must do a good deal of that, or eat quantities of
hash, for we can’t afford to throw our cold meat away.”

“Ah, Harry, what would be the good of my devotion to cooking-schools if
I couldn’t do better than that?”

“If you learned to make chicken salad there, I swear by them forever.”

“You’ll forswear your ridicule, I hope.”

“I will, indeed, if only for the sake of this salad; there’s a tang, a
something about it, that outdoes my previous conception of the dish.
Now, Molly, eliminate yourself from the cooking-schools, and tell me
which was the ‘tiny bit of Molly.’”

“Ah, Molly was the ‘something’ in the salad—and also what made it a
very easy instead of a difficult dish to prepare. You have eaten,
before, salad made of boiled or roast chicken. I made this of canned
chicken, which saves all trouble of preparing, and is besides of far
better flavor, for the jelly and all the goodness is sealed up in the
can, instead of escaping into the water. I don’t like boughten canned
things, usually, but the chicken is a success.”

“The salad was, at any rate. Now I’m going to smoke; shall we survey
our domain?”

“Yes, I’ll be out in one minute, when I have shown Marta how to clear
away.”

Harry left the room and Marta answered the bell.

“Now, Marta, bring your tray, set it on that table and put these things
on it.”

Molly, as she spoke, smoothed over the salt-cellars with a spoon, then
put them away; also the napkins, while Marta removed the dishes, etc.

“Now, Marta, never take off the cloth to shake it, but do as you see me
do now.”

Molly had taken a folded napkin, and brushed the crumbs lightly into
the crumb-pan.

“At dinner do this after the meat is removed. Now take the cloth by
this centre fold, lift it from the table, lay it back double, and
then fold again in the old creases, till it is just as it left the
laundress. At dinner you shall do it yourself under my direction.”

Molly then went out to join Harry in the little garden. She had her
trunks to unpack, and contents to arrange in the bureau drawers, but
she meant to devote half an hour to her husband, on this first day of
their home life.

“Well, Molly, my dear, I begin to think I like housekeeping.”

“I knew you would, Harry, but remember we have only just begun, and
hitches will come sometimes, but even at the worst that need be, with
moderate care, I think you would not go back to our one room again, and
the routine meals.”

“No; I begin to feel some of the aspirations of proprietorship, and to
wish this little place were mine.”

“I am so glad, Harry, because if you go on thinking so, in spring we
can get a similar place of our own.”

When they had walked and talked till Harry said he was going in to
write letters, Molly returned to the house, and found Marta in grand
confusion washing glasses, silver, and greasy dishes all together.

“Oh, Marta! I must show you a better way than that. Take those things
out of the dish-pan. Get clean hot water and a little soap, so.
Now take glasses first; roll them round and put them in this empty
dish-pan. Now the silver. Put the greasy dishes in, and leave them
while you pour nearly boiling water over the silver and glass. Now
bring the waiter and wipe each article as it comes out of that hot
water. You see it takes only a minute; being hot they hardly dampen the
cloth.

“Now set those dry things on a tray, and wash the greasy dishes, using
more soap if the water does not lather; slip each dish into this hot
water, and wipe them out of it directly; don’t drain them, and then
wipe them half cold.”

When she had thus straightened Marta out, and set her to make up the
fire and sweep the kitchen, she went up to her unpacking and other
arrangements.



CHAPTER III.

MOLLY’S FIRST BILL OF FARE.

               _Lamb and Mint Sauce._
  _Browned Potatoes._       _Boiled Cabbage._
    _Italian Macaroni._    _Tomato Salad._
               _Peaches and Cream._


MRS. WINFIELD had given Molly some useful information about her
neighbors, and one item was that she could get cream from one, and
salad and fresh vegetables from another. She had resolved to have a
very simple dinner for to-day, although she knew it would be more
expensive than a better-seeming one, where she could make good cooking
count for half the money.

She had ordered, on her way to the house, a fore-quarter of lamb
weighing eight pounds, and at four o’clock she went down to see to
the fire. Before going up-stairs she had put on coals and closed all
dampers; now she showed Marta how to rake it, and how to arrange
the dampers so that the fire would draw, and the oven get hot; then
she left the kitchen, telling Marta, as she had everything tidy
down-stairs, she could go to her room and put some of her belongings in
place.

Molly was now feeling glad of rest, for her unpacking and unwonted
standing had tired her, and, thinking she might indulge herself, she
took a book and lay down on the sofa. Half an hour she lay thus,
enjoying the repose and her book far more than when she had had
unlimited opportunity for both.

“Ha, ha! what magic is this? Our new housekeeper finds time on ‘moving
day’ to lie down and improve her mind,” cried Harry, as he came into
the room and sat down by her side.

“I could have found plenty to do, although coming into a
ready-furnished house, left in such perfect order as this was, really
leaves one little, the first day, but to shake down into place and plan
what one can do to-morrow. I have unpacked, put our own knick-knacks
about up-stairs, and then I felt tired enough to lie down, and thought
it wise to do so before I was over-tired.”

“Of course it was. I have been looking about me out-of-doors, ordered a
paper to be sent, and priced a brood of chickens.”

“Oh, no, no, not yet, Harry! we’ll see about chickens when we are
settled, unless, indeed, you want them badly.”

“I? No, indeed! I thought of you.”

“Then I would rather wait. I see some cabbages down at the end of the
garden. I have longed to taste nice cabbage for months.”

“You vulgar little person!”

“You won’t say so when you eat it.”

“No, but I shan’t eat it, my dear. I’ve too much respect for my
digestion.”

“What a pity!”

Notwithstanding Harry’s determination, Molly went for a cabbage, and
told Marta to put it in water. Then Molly took the fore-quarter of
lamb, and with a sharp knife she made a deep incision, just where the
neck ends and the shoulder begins, carrying the knife round nearly in
a circle, always cutting as deeply as possible until the shoulder was
free from the quarter. She had now before her the breast and rack,
or ribs, the scrag, and the shoulder,—a nice, neat joint. All she
had allowed the butcher to do to the quarter was to joint the chops
and crack the breast across in the usual way, _but not to touch the
shoulder_.

Molly had seen this process of removing the shoulder so often in Europe
(where it is a very choice joint), that she had felt sure she could
manage it. She knew that the great thing was to have the shoulder as
_thick_ as possible, therefore the knife must cut to the rib bones,
and yet that the circle traced by the knife should go only within three
inches of the edge on the rib side or back, and follow the line of the
breast on the front, so that there remained five or six rib chops with
the fat upon them, and several from under the shoulder up to the scrag,
which would be excellent “French chops,” ready trimmed,—she would only
have to scrape the bone.

[Illustration]

To-day, however, she only separated the breast and cut off three rib
chops, and trimmed them ready for breakfast, then put them away with
the meat, leaving the shoulder out for dinner. It weighed about three
and a half pounds, and would take, being lamb, which must be so well
done, an hour and a quarter to cook. She set Marta to peel half a dozen
potatoes of medium size, while she set the shoulder on a wire stand in
a dripping-pan, then shook a _little_ flour over it and rubbed a little
salt on the skin. Molly had profited too well by her cooking-school
lessons to think of putting salt on the flesh of meat before cooking,
when it would draw out the gravy. When the potatoes were peeled and
washed, she put them in the dripping-pan under the meat, and for fear
enough fat should not drop from the joint to prevent the potatoes from
becoming hard and dry before they browned, she laid the scraps of
fat she had cut from the breakfast chops upon them. It was both young
and fat lamb,—had it not been, Molly would not have risked the strong
taste of lamb that is nearly mutton, on potatoes, nor the hard, whitish
dryness of those cooked under lean meat.

The potatoes were well sprinkled with salt and the pan set in the oven.
Molly had only intended having the lamb, and cut-up peaches and cream
for dessert, yet, seeing she had time, for it was just a quarter to
five now, and only the cloth for Marta to lay, and the cabbage to cook,
she thought she would give Harry some of his beloved macaroni as a
course. She therefore broke a few pipes of macaroni into pieces about
six inches long, taking a dozen of them, and set them on to boil in
water and a little salt till tender. While this was in process, she had
sent Marta for some tomatoes from the vine, and when they came, showed
her how to scald them, and herself squeezed the pulp from two large
ones through a strainer, and set it in a small thick saucepan with a
table-spoonful of butter, a salt-spoonful of salt, and a little pepper,
and put it on the stove where it would slowly cook.

Marta had scalded half a dozen tomatoes and dropped them, as she
skinned them, on some cracked ice. Molly took them when they were cold
and firm, and with a sharp knife cut them into slices and set them in
the ice-box.

“Now, Marta, come with me to set the dinner-table. I will show you,
to-night, and expect you to remember afterwards. You first remove the
cover and fold it, but leave on this white baize.”

Molly watched to see if the girl had remembered her instructions at
lunch, but found she had not retained one idea.

“No, Marta, the middle fold, lengthwise, and exactly in the centre; now
the flowers, now a plate to each person, the napkin to the left with a
piece of bread in it, a large and a small knife, two forks and a spoon
to each person; above these the glasses and a butter-plate.[1] Now put
this carving-napkin in front of Mr. Bishop, lay the large table-mat
there, and when you bring in the meat set the dish upon it. Now count
the dishes and set a mat for each, one salt-cellar and pepper-caster at
each right-hand corner, two table-spoons at the same place. Now that is
all, and you can come and peel peaches.”

Molly heard the meat in the oven sputtering and hissing, and found it
browning nicely. She basted it, turning the potatoes over, and closed
the oven. It was twenty minutes past five.

“Marta, I want you to pay attention to everything I do, because the
next time we have this dinner I shall expect you to cook it alone, and
when you have learnt to roast one piece of meat properly, you will be
able to roast any other. Remember the rules,—your oven must be quite
hot when the meat goes in; if, after a while, you find danger of its
burning, cool it, but meat can’t get brown too quickly to retain the
juices. You must put no water in the pan, for that steams it. If your
meat is so very lean that it will be dry, it is of such poor quality
that you should not try to roast it (and that sort of meat you will
not have to cook for me), or it is a part unsuitable for roasting, and
should be cooked some other way. Baste often, and when meat is half
done,—that is, brown and crisp on top,—turn it over, as I shall do
that lamb in a few minutes. Above all things, meat must be _brown_ if
roasted.”

Marta had peeled the eight peaches Molly had given her, and the latter
now told her to three parts fill a gallon saucepan with water from the
kettle, which she had taken care to see full when she set the oven to
heat, and which was now boiling.

“Put it in the hottest spot, Marta; we want it to boil quickly. Now
that cabbage: it is only a small head, so you can cut it in four, and
remove the outer leaves,—also cut away the core; wash it thoroughly in
two waters; now hold the colander in your left hand, and as you wash
the cabbage through the second water lay it in it; then pour the water
out of the pan and set the colander in it, so that all water may run
off the cabbage; the thing we want is to check the boiling water as
little as possible, which the cabbage, filled with cold water, would
do. Now I am going to turn the meat over, so that the under side will
brown, while you pour the water off that macaroni; it is just tender
but not breaking.”

The lamb was brown and crisp on the top when Molly turned the under
side up, so that it might become equally so. Marta brought the macaroni
back to the stove, and Molly poured over it the tomato juice she had
put to reduce. There was enough to moisten the macaroni and yet leave a
little in the saucepan. She put it at the back of the stove, where it
would keep about boiling-point, but not burn.

“Now the cabbage, Marta. You see this water is boiling _very fast_;
put it in gently, so that if there is too much in the saucepan you may
dip some out before it overflows,—no, it all goes in, and the water
covers it well; now put in one table-spoonful of salt and one _scant_
salt-spoonful of baking soda. Remember, Marta, cabbage must never be
allowed to remain long in hot water before it boils up; it must boil
_very fast_; for that reason it must always be in the hottest part of
the stove, and there must be _abundance_ of water and the saucepan
always large. As soon as it comes back to the boiling-point, take
off the cover, and leave it off all the while, and push the cabbage
down under the water from time to time. The whole secret of boiling
cabbage _without filling the house with a bad odor_ and sending to
table a vulgar, yellow, wilted vegetable, full of dyspepsia, is to
remember—_rapid boiling, plenty of water, plenty of room, and the cover
off_.”

She took off the stove-lid as she spoke, and brightened the top of the
fire, and in another minute the cabbage was “galloping.”

“Twenty-five minutes from now it will be done. Now, Marta, I want you
to run to that white house across the lot, and ask for half a pint of
cream.”

The peaches were cut up, and Molly put them in a bowl and set it _on_
the ice. When she came back she grated a small piece of cheese, about
as big as her thumb, and shook it into the macaroni, shaking the
saucepan about, so that it would mix without breaking the pipes, and
set it back to keep hot.

There was nothing to be done now till the cabbage was cooked.

Suddenly Molly remembered something she had forgotten, and stopped
short, very much vexed.

“I have no cake to eat with the peaches, and Harry is so fond of cake!
I’ve just time to make a ‘fifteen minutes’ cake,’ and I will. No, _I
wont_! it will make getting dinner on time a scramble; I shall go in
flushed and heated, and Harry will think I am killing myself, and Marta
will think she may scramble ever after. We will do without cake.”

Marta returned with the cream, which was put in the ice-box, and she
was then set at chopping the leaves of some mint for mint sauce. Molly
had found, on walking around Greenfield the first day they visited the
house, a quantity of mint growing near, and had pulled a few roots and
replanted them in the garden. When it was chopped quite fine, she took
one table-spoonful, an equal quantity of sugar, and as the vinegar was
very strong, she used one table-spoonful of it and one of water, poured
them over the mint and stirred it till the sugar was dissolved.

Marta, meantime, had put the plates and dishes to warm, and Molly sent
the mint sauce to the table.

“Marta, you will need, to dress the cabbage, a little milk, a
table-spoonful of butter, and a large tea-spoonful of flour. Make the
flour and butter to a paste with the end of a knife. When I take up the
meat, you pour the cabbage, which I see will be done in a few minutes,
into the colander; the leaves are like marrow now, but the stalk is
a little hard; when it is in the colander, press it with a plate to
get every drop of water out, and put it back into the pot, with butter
and flour, a scant salt-spoonful of salt, a little white pepper, and
half a _tea-cupful_ of milk. You must remember, too, that when I am
not here to help you dish the dinner, you must put your meat in the
oven five minutes sooner; it can be taken up before the vegetables,
but on no account must you take up vegetables first, and let _them_
wait. Never put them on too soon. Now put the warm dishes on the table
in the order in which they will be needed; the meat-platter first, the
vegetable-dishes next. The macaroni you will bring in after I ring
for you to take out the meat,—I mean, you will take away the meat and
vegetables, then bring in the macaroni and fresh plates, and after
that, the tomatoes, as a salad; and, last of all, the fruit and tea.
Now go and put the cracked ice on the table, the pitcher of water, and
the butter with a piece of ice on it, and come quickly back.”

Molly looked again at the macaroni, found a little liquid still at the
bottom of the saucepan, and set it nearer the fire to cook away, and
now left the cover off.

“Marta, the cabbage is done; pour off the water.”

At the same time Molly took the meat out of the oven, and set it in
the pan on the stove; she removed the crisp brown shoulder to the
platter, put the potatoes round it, and then poured the fat from the
corner of the dripping-pan into a jar very gently and carefully, to
prevent the small quantity of brown sediment there was from leaving it
too, for that was the gravy; when she could get no more fat from one
corner, without letting the gravy go too, she changed to another, till
it was free from it; she set the pan on the stove and poured in a cup
of water and a pinch of salt; with a spoon she rubbed the pan in every
direction, to get off the clinging glaze or dried gravy, and then she
let the water boil fast while she looked after Marta and the cabbage
which she was stirring.

“Take a knife, Marta, and cut the cabbage across several times, and
then, when the milk forms a creamy dressing and it all bubbles
together, turn it out into the dish.”

The gravy had in two minutes boiled down enough,—there was very little
from such a small joint; it was poured through a strainer and, with the
meat, put to keep warm while Molly made tea.

“Turn the cabbage out now, Marta; put the cover on the dish and take it
to the dining-room; then take the meat and bring in the macaroni when I
ask you for it, but you can put it in the dish ready, and keep it hot.
When all is ready, put on a white apron, which I hung for you behind
the door, and tell Mr. Bishop, whom I see in the garden, that dinner is
ready.”

Molly had dressed herself in the afternoon and only needed to run
up-stairs to remove traces of her work. As the clock struck six she
heard Marta carrying in dinner, and got down herself in time to tell
Harry it was served.

“What joint may this be, my dear?” Harry asked when seated.

“Ah! that is the English delicacy, a ‘shoulder of lamb.’ Don’t you
remember Sam Weller’s ‘shoulder of mutton and trimmings’ at the
‘Swarry?’ There is a particular way to carve it, which my mother used
to be very particular about. I can only describe it by saying, you cut
it like a leg, and there is the same reason for beginning at the right
side,—on one side you can cut only a shallow gash and a meagre slice,
on the other a deep one,—therefore, till you are familiar with the
joint, prod for the bone with your fork and make one deep cut to the
centre on the side where the meat is thickest.”

Harry did “prod,” and then, planting his fork, stood the joint on its
side and made one cut, and the joint yawned as if a wedge had been cut
out.

“There is a mythical anecdote about a lady starving herself to death on
shoulder of mutton.”

“How so?”

“Why, she chose that joint every day and merely made that cut, so that
when it left the table it looked as if a meal had been eaten from it,
and no one commented on her abstinence from food. Thank you, I will
take the dish gravy.”

“I approve of shoulder of lamb decidedly,” said Harry, during dinner.

“I am glad, for, though our English cousins look on it as far more
choice than the leg, and pay more for it, it is sold here at a much
lower price.”

“But what vegetable may this be?” he asked, looking curiously at the
pale green, appetizing cabbage. “Cauliflower, I suppose, that has met
with disasters?”

“No, it is cabbage, and I want you to eat and see if it is not good.”

“You don’t mean to tell me cabbage has been cooked in this house
to-day?”

“You see it.”

“And we are not choked! Molly, I surrender; you are a magician!”

In short, Molly’s dinner was a success, and Harry no longer looked on
cabbage as unfit for a “cultured palate.”

While Harry smoked his pipe on the piazza, after dinner, Molly went
over her accounts. Her grocer’s bill, for what she supposed would be a
month’s stores, was as follows:—

     2 pounds loaf sugar,            $0.20
    10 pounds granulated sugar,        .80
    25 pounds of the best flour,      1.00
     5 gallons kerosene,              1.00
     2 pecks of potatoes,              .40
     1 bottle (small) of olives,       .30
     4 pounds corn meal,               .10
     5 pounds lard,                    .70
       White pepper,                   .10
       Salt,                           .15
     1 gallon vinegar,                 .30
     4 pounds Java coffee,            1.20
     1 pound tea,                      .75
       Common soap,                    .25
       Toilet-soap,                    .10
       Starch,                         .08
       Bluing,                         .15
       Mustard,                        .20
       Olive oil (large bottle),       .95
       Cracker meal,                   .15
     1 pound cheese,                   .18
     1 bottle Worcestershire sauce,    .30
       Cooking-wine (1 bottle),        .50
                                       ———
           Total,                    $9.86

There were several things, such as soap, starch, flour, and sugar,
Molly would have liked to buy in large quantities, but she wanted first
to see her expenditure; she reckoned that what she had ordered of each
article would last a month, and a few things, such as vinegar, bluing,
sauce, wine, etc., much longer. “But I must wait till the end of the
week before I can really know. The first week or month is always more
expensive in housekeeping. I must add, too, to my expenditure, to-day,
ten cents for cream, which will make it $3, but I have meat in the
house, and if I allow one-fourth of the grocery bill for this week I
have left $4.50.”

Molly was not without her anxieties that she might be wrong on her
estimates, often as she had gone over them on paper. Suddenly she
looked up. “I forgot the yeast, and I want to make bread!”

FOOTNOTE:

[1] Butter is no longer thought indispensable to the dinner-table, and
butter-plates are consequently a matter of taste.



CHAPTER IV.

BREAD-MAKING—BREAKFAST—BAKED POTATOES—CORN MUFFINS—BREADED CHOPS—HOW TO
FRY.


WHEN Molly made the humiliating discovery that she had forgotten the
yeast, Harry, who was smoking and reading, looked up.

“What shall I do, that baker’s bread is so sour?”

“I’ll tell you, let’s sally forth and get it! It’s a lovely night!”

“Would you?” exclaimed Molly, brightly.

“Why not? You don’t suppose you are going to monopolize all the merits
and reap all the glory of this housekeeping, do you? Why, I should not
be able to have one of the little jokes other married men seem to enjoy
at their wife’s expense.”

“I hate such jokes,” said Molly; “they are so cheap, and generally
unjust.”

“Then I promise I won’t make them. I’ll never boast of the servant
girls I escort out from New York, nor of the baskets I carry, nor the”—

“You’ll have no chance if you respect the truth,” said Molly, laughing.
“Now if we are going, I’ll put on my things.”

The little town of Greenfield was just venturing on electric lights,
and, with the band of its skating-rink making music, had quite a
dissipated appearance, as the young couple strolled around in search of
a grocer, and Molly, at the same time, found out a few other facts she
was anxious to know, and had not yet had time to discover.

As they walked home, Harry said, hesitating, “My dear, I don’t want
to interfere with your housekeeping, and I feel my own insignificance
in approaching such a subject, but I would diffidently suggest that
our family is at present very small, and neither you nor I like stale
bread. Do you think Marta can be induced to consume all the ‘left over’
loaves?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Then don’t you think we had better try another baker who doesn’t make
sour bread, or”—this was said very slowly, as if it would be a sad
necessity—“I might bring it out from New York.”

Molly laughed merrily.

“I think I see you! Surely then you could joke about your martyrdom.
No, my dear boy, you’re going to have no such toothsome morsel as that
for a joke, but I see you are afraid of stale bread.”

“The truth is, I have a lively recollection of living in the country
and eating bread a week old, and older still sometimes, when the
general appetite failed, and I don’t believe I’m up to that sort of
thing now.”

“I don’t think you are, so you will not be tested. Now-a-days one
doesn’t fear baking as one used to do. It is no more trouble to make
bread three times a week than to boil potatoes.”

“I’m delighted to hear it. I’m learning every hour my own benighted
ignorance.”

When they reached home Molly went into the kitchen and put one quarter
of the yeast cake in a pint of warm water, which she made Marta, who
was to make the next bread, feel was just about as warm as milk from
the cow, then she put a heaped quart of flour in the mixing-bowl and
set it in the oven with the door open, telling Marta to stir it in a
few minutes that it might get evenly warm through.

“I am doing this, Marta, because I do not know this flour. It may be
very new or damp; by drying it I shall be on the safe side. In cold
weather you must warm it always, so that the water, yeast, and flour
are all about the same temperature.”

When the yeast was quite dissolved by stirring, she put into the
water one tea-spoonful of salt and two of sugar, made a hole in the
flour and poured the liquid in, and the whole made a soft dough which
slightly stuck to her hands.

“If it is necessary just shake in a little flour from the dredger;
never throw it in by the handful, as the less flour you work with the
better.” As Molly spoke she steadied the bowl with one hand and with
the other worked the dough with her fist from the side to the middle,
so that in five minutes what had been the under part was all brought
over to the top, and the whole was smooth and very elastic to the touch.

Marta watched with interest and, as Molly could see, surprise.

“My mother always made her bread thin at night, and put in more flour
in the morning.”

“Yes, but your mother and mine had no certainty that the yeast was
good, and it was better to ‘prove it’ by using part of the flour for a
sponge than to waste the whole, but now we use compressed yeast, which
we are _sure_ is good if fresh.”

Marta did not look convinced. She doubtless fancied it was some
new-fangled notion of Molly’s.

The bread was left, covered with a clean cloth, on the table free from
draught, for it was a mild night and she knew it would be risen well in
the morning without going into a warm spot.

The next morning, as it was Marta’s first, Molly was up and down-stairs
a few minutes after her, and found she had taken away the ashes and
was struggling with the fire; with Molly’s help, however, it was soon
burning in the stove.

“Now brush off the stove quickly before it gets hot, and do so every
morning, and on Saturday it needs thorough cleaning.” Molly looked at
the bread as she spoke.

“Fill the kettle now, after you pour out the water left in it, set it
in the hole of the stove, and then look at the bread before I touch it
that you may see how it should be. It is quite light, as you see, more
than double the size it was last night; now while you go and dust the
dining-room, brushing up any crumbs there may be first, I will work
the bread over, then you can come here and sweep your kitchen and the
piazzas. Molly worked the bread over faithfully for five minutes,—had
the quantity been larger, of course the time would have been in
proportion,—and then she set it in a warm spot back of the range, and
went herself into the parlor to arrange it, knowing Marta would not be
so quick this first morning as she hoped she might become later. At
seven o’clock the work was done, and Molly told Marta she must do every
morning exactly as this morning.

“Now we will begin to get breakfast, but I shall let you do it, because
you will see that you have ample time without my help, and it must
always be on the table at eight o’clock. Bring the chops I prepared
yesterday, two eggs, and three potatoes.”

Molly looked at the fire, found it bright and the oven hot; she put a
shovelful more of coals each side of the fire, and then showed Marta
how to brush the potatoes with a little new brush she had brought for
the purpose.

“See the difference, Marta? Wash them ever so carefully, you can’t make
the skins so clean that the minute you put the brush to them they do
not look several shades lighter.”

They were put into the oven.

“Now, Marta, bring that packet of cracker meal I pointed out yesterday,
and pour at least half on a dish; now a saucer and the pepper and salt.
Break one egg, and put the yolk into the saucer, the white into a cup;
if there were more chops we would use both white and yolk,—as there are
so few, for economy’s sake we will use only the yolk; put to it two
teaspoonfuls of cold water and beat it with a fork. Now season those
chops with salt and pepper, remembering never to do so before cooking
if they are to be broiled or cooked without breading.”

Marta was rather clumsy, but still Molly repressed her own itching
fingers, knowing the girl would do better in future if let alone now.

“Now lay a chop in the egg,—take care it moistens every part,—lift
it out with the left hand, let it drain an instant and lay it on the
cracker meal; now with your dry _right_ hand send the meal all over it
till every bit of the meat is covered with the white dust, then lay it
aside. Now do the others in the same way.”

Molly looked at the clock; it was nearly half past seven.

“Hurry, Marta, get the can of lard, and, as that spider is not deep,
I am going to fry in this agate saucepan; it is just about broad
enough for a chop. Put in it at least a pound of lard, set it where
it will get hot, yet not boil till you are ready. Now you can grease
the muffin-pans, leaving a teaspoonful of lard in one, and then make
the muffins. We need only a dozen, so you can take half a cup of corn
meal, half a cup of flour, and a teaspoon of baking-powder and half one
of salt. Mix them quickly. Now a scant table-spoonful of sugar, and
milk to make a thick batter, break in an egg, and beat it all steadily
three minutes by the clock,—no, beat just as if you were beating eggs,
quickly, till it froths. Now pour the lard from the muffin-pan in it,
stir well, and fill the pans nearly full; set them in the oven,—they
will bake in fifteen minutes. Go now and set the table, and do it
quickly.”

On second thought Molly went with her and helped, because she could
not easily find things. She found she had remembered fairly well the
directions about the cloth.

“Put the cups and saucers at my left, and that mat for the meat before
Mr. Bishop; the potatoes, on a folded napkin, you will place on one
side, the muffins exactly opposite them on the other, butter within
easy reach of both. Put this tile for the coffee at my right hand, the
sugar and the milk-pitcher in front, those geraniums in the centre,
a knife and fork and small plate to each; and now come out into the
kitchen, set the plates to warm, and a platter. I’ll put the lard now
on the hottest part of the stove, and a cover over it, so that the
smell of hot grease may be as little as possible, and while it gets
hot you can grind the coffee. You remember how to make it? Put a pint
of milk on to boil, and set the other pint away. Now try the fat, and
remember that what I am now going to teach you with these chops applies
_to all kinds_ of frying. The way you crumbed those chops is the way
you must crumb cutlets, fish, oysters, or croquettes. They are better
crumbed a little while before they are fried, as they have time to dry.”

Molly had cut, as she spoke, some little cubes of bread.

“Come and watch, Marta. This fat is very hot, but I doubt if it is hot
enough, although it begins to smoke.”

She dropped in one bit of bread, it sizzled, but after waiting a few
seconds remained white.

“It is not hot enough or that bread would have colored. Get the
colander, set it on the stove with this sheet of grocer’s paper in it.
When you take any fried article out of the fat, lay it first on the
paper, then on a hot dish. Now let us try the fat again.”

Another bit of bread was dropped into the fat, and this time it colored
in a few seconds.

“Remember, if I had six chops instead of three I should let the fat
get hotter yet, because they would cool it so much. Now drop each chop
gently in,—that’s the way. If they were very thick, as soon as they
were brown I would draw back the fat, and leave them longer; as it
is, two minutes will brown them beautifully, and they will be cooked
through.”

“Two minutes!” murmured Marta, in expostulating tones. She could hardly
be expected to credit that.

“Yes; you forget this fat is far hotter than any oven would be, and
they are completely immersed in it. You can take up the potatoes if
they are done, wipe them and lay them on the plate, and I will take up
the muffins. The two minutes are up; look at the chops: you see they
are most beautifully brown all over alike!”

Marta exclaimed, “_Schön!_” and stolidly attentive as she had been to
all else, the golden chops evidently appealed to some hidden well of
enthusiasm. They were taken up, laid first on the paper, then on the
dish, and put to keep hot while the breakfast was taken to the table.

When the chops were going in, Molly said, “When we are settled, I shall
want you always to put a little parsley on the dish with fried things.”

The muffins were light and crisp, the potatoes looked far more tempting
in their pale-yellow, well-brushed skins than they usually do, and
altogether the breakfast was as dainty a meal as heart could sigh for.



CHAPTER V.

HOW TO MANAGE THE FAT THAT HAS BEEN USED FOR FRYING—CUP CAKE.


WHEN breakfast was on the table, Molly directed Marta to go up-stairs
with pail and cloth and to bring down the soiled water, fill the ewer
with fresh, etc. As Harry rose to put on his coat, Molly ran up-stairs
and put on her hat and gloves. “I am going to the depot with you,
Harry,” she said, when she reappeared ready for walking, “and I shall
do my marketing as I return.”

“That is a good idea, Molly; the walk will be good for you.”

Before leaving the house, Molly passed through the kitchen, and told
Marta, after she had finished her breakfast, to wash the breakfast
things, but to leave the fat (that she had herself removed from the
stove and covered, so that the fumes might not fill the house, before
she went in to breakfast) till she returned. “After you have washed up,
if I am not here, fill the lamps and clean the chimneys.”

This Marta was doing when she got back, and while she finished, Molly
took off her outdoor clothes and donned her apron. “Now, Marta, I will
show you about this fat, and I want you to remember to do just as you
see me do, every time you use it. This is a piece of cheese-cloth; the
fat is still quite hot (Molly had left it on the iron shelf over the
range), but not scalding; I put the cloth over this empty lard-pail,
and without shaking the fat, pour it through the cloth. You see all
this fine black sediment that remains on the cloth and in the saucepan?
That, if it were not strained out, would discolor whatever you fried
in it. When it is strained each time, you can use it a dozen times; so
you see it is not extravagant to fry in deep fat. Now you have a very
greasy cloth and saucepan, but pour a quart of _boiling_ water and a
piece of washing-soda as big as a walnut on them, stir them, and you
see you have no more _grease_, only some nice _soapy_ water and a clean
saucepan!”

Marta’s interest had been all alive since she had seen the chops, and
she explained how often she had seen cooks in Germany bread cutlets,
and they came out of the pan only breaded here and there. Never had she
seen them all over alike, except at a restaurant where she had been
dish-washer, and where there was a man cook.

“The crumbs come off for one of two reasons,—either they were too large
(when I use bread instead of cracker I sift them), or the fat had not
been hot enough; two or three large crumbs would spoil the whole, for
they would fall off, bring others with them, and leave bare pale spots.”

As she made the explanation she had worked over the bread, which had
risen to twice its first bulk, and put it into a tin pan, and set it to
rise again. “That will only make one nice loaf, but it is as much as we
shall eat while fresh. Now, while my hands are in flour, I will make a
plain cake, and while it is baking, Marta, you and I will go up-stairs
to the bedrooms. But first look well at the bread in the pan; you see
it is barely half full; I worked it thoroughly, so that it has again
to rise; when it is twice the size it now is it will be ready for the
oven.”

She got for her cake two eggs, half a cup of butter, one of sugar, and
a cup and a half of flour, a lemon, a nutmeg, and a tea-spoonful of
baking-powder. Remembering she would need them, she had brought half a
dozen of lemons and an ounce of nutmegs in with her. She set Marta to
cream the butter and sugar, while she separated the yolks of the eggs
and beat the whites till they were quite firm.

“This is only a plain ‘one, two, three, four’ cake, Marta, but it will
be made nicer by the flavoring. When you know how to make this cake,
always remember to vary the flavor, and the cake will seem much better
than ordinary cup cake; sometimes you can add, the last thing, a cup
of candied lemon and orange peel, cut fine,—I will show you how to
candy them when we have collected enough,—or a cup of currants; either
of these must be made warm, flour shaken through them, and the cake
stirred only just enough, after they are in, to mix them, or they will
all go to the bottom. This cake we will flavor with lemon and nutmeg.
Mix the two yolks now with the butter and sugar, grate half the nutmeg,
beginning at the blossom end or there will be a hole all through it;
when you see that, always turn the nutmeg, begin at the other end, and
there will be no hole; then grate the peel of the lemon to them, add a
quarter tea-spoonful of salt, and mix all together; now sift in part of
the flour with the baking-powder, then part of this cup of milk, now
more flour, and the rest of the milk; the batter is rather stiff as
yet, but the whites of the eggs will thin it enough,—they are the last
to go in.”

Molly buttered a cake-pan, and the mixture, a thickish batter, was
poured in, and then powdered sugar was sifted over and the cake put in
the oven.

“The oven is nice and hot. I like to cover a cake the first half hour,
so I will put this pie-pan over the top; another time I will have a
piece of card-board ready and keep it for the purpose. Remember, if you
want to make this cake when we are short of butter, you can use half
lard. Now look at the bread; it will be ready in about twenty minutes,
and the oven will be just nice for it. Meanwhile we will go upstairs.”



CHAPTER VI.

         _Oysters on the Half Shell._
  _Porterhouse Steak._       _Ragout of Lamb._
    _Stuffed Potatoes._    _Lima Beans._
               _Cheese Canapées._
                 _Lemon Pie._

WHAT “SIMMERING” MEANS.


MOLLY congratulated herself on her unusual good fortune in securing
such a girl as Marta, when she saw, in initiating her into the bedroom
work, how well she did it. But she was not to be without her trials,
even with this treasure, any more than every other housekeeper. When
she knew, by the time, that the bread was ready, being deep in the
draping of some chintz she had had in their city room, she told Marta
to run down and put it in the oven, and to take the cover off the cake,
but on no account to _move_ or _shake_ it, as the bread would go in on
the other side of it.

Marta ran down, if the term can be applied to the lumbering movement
with which she hurled herself down-stairs. Molly heard her carrying out
her order, and then she heard a sound that elicited an exclamation of
annoyance. It was the sound of the oven door closing with a tremendous
bang.

“My poor cake! how vexatious!” For a moment vexation impelled her to
scold Marta, but if Molly was one thing more than another, she was
reasonable. Her blame was for herself more than for the girl. “How
could she know? I must give her a general caution; I suppose the cake
is gone utterly.”

It was. She met Marta returning to her up-stairs work smiling serenely.

“Marta, I want you to come and look at the result of banging the oven
door in that way when cake is in the oven,—and you must remember, too,
never to set a pot heavily on the range; when a cake has once risen,
until quite done, any sudden jar will cause it to settle down. Look at
this; you see the cake is all sunken.”

Marta stood, the picture of concern, her teeth pressed tight over her
under lip.

“Never mind, we’ll look on the cake as a lesson; to-morrow you must
make another as you saw me do this. Go and finish up-stairs, and I
think, as we have no cake to-day, I will make a pie for dinner. When
you come down you will see me make the paste, as everything I do I hope
you will do later.”

When Marta came down Molly weighed out six ounces of butter and eight
ounces of flour—the butter was straight from the ice-box and very firm;
these she put together in a chopping-bowl with a pinch of salt, opened
the window to let in the cool air, and then chopped butter and flour
together, but not very fine, the butter still remaining in well-defined
bits, some as large as white beans, when she left off. Making a hole
in the centre, she poured in a _small_ half cup of ice-water, and made
it, with as little pressure as possible, into a firm dough. A few bits
of butter and flour fell from it, but she did not stay to work them
in smoothly, explaining to Marta, as she turned all out on to the
pastry-board, that they would roll in smooth, and the less handling the
pastry had the better. She rolled it out half an inch thick, folded
it in three, putting any little flakes of butter that might be on the
board upon it, and rolled it out again. (This was done as quickly as
possible, so that the warm air of the kitchen might not soften the
butter.) She dredged very little flour on it, and folded it again in
three, rolled it again, and then once more folded and rolled it, making
three times in all.

“Now, if I were in a hurry, I should use the pastry at once, as it is
ready, but it will be so much lighter and better by being put on the
ice that I shall leave it till I come out to see to the dinner. I will
have cold lamb and salad for my lunch,—you know how to prepare the
lettuce.” And Molly left the kitchen, knowing she had now some hours in
which she could attend to getting things into place, etc.

Hardly was her luncheon cleared away, however, when Marta brought in a
card, saying a lady had given it to her, but she didn’t know what she
wanted. It bore the name of Mrs. Merit, and realizing that the visitor
was left standing at the front door, Molly hurried out to receive her.
She apologized for Marta’s keeping her there.

“Don’t mention it. This is a very early call; but coming into a
furnished house is so different from an empty one,—you get settled
in a few hours; besides, I knew this was your first experience of
housekeeping, and if one wants to be of real use it is of no use to
leave it till your difficulties are over.”

The lady had followed Molly into the parlor as she spoke, and seated
herself in the rocking-chair.

“You are very kind,” said Molly, thinking how very friendly it was.

“I mean to be kind, my dear. I know the difficulties of inexperienced
young housekeepers, and I want you to know that your nearest neighbor
is ready to run right in any time you want, and if there’s anything I
can tell you, why, you know where to come.”

“Thank you very much indeed,” said Molly gratefully; “I shall not
forget.”

The conversation now drifted off into talk about Greenfield, and Molly
learned the names of most of her near neighbors, and, it must be
confessed, more of their peculiarities than she cared to hear.

“I’m your nearest neighbor on this side the street, but there’s poor
Mrs. Lennox right opposite, poor thing! I’m glad she’s got some one to
take Mrs. Winfield’s place to her. She was a real good neighbor, and
when one’s life’s as hard as hers, a friendly neighbor is a good deal.”

Molly did not ask why Mrs. Lennox was qualified by the adjective “poor”
nor why her life was hard. She began to recognize in Mrs. Merit a type
of good-hearted women given over-much to interesting themselves in
other people’s affairs. Mrs. Merit rocked serenely on, however, and
proceeded to question Molly on her knowledge of housekeeping and to
give some strong hints on economy.

“You see, my dear, young people start off with an idea of style, and
it takes them some time to find out the best and cheapest way of doing
things, and there’s receipts I’ve got that I’ve altered and changed
so’s they don’t cost half, and taste, to my thinking, just as well, and
no danger of dyspepsia, and I’d be glad to send you over my written
book.”

Again Molly thanked her, and promised to avail herself of the book.

“Yes, and you’ll find your money goes a deal further; my receipts don’t
call for eggs and butter as if they grew out on the bushes.”

“Well, you see,” said Molly timidly, “we need so little of anything
that even a recipe which calls for what seems many eggs or much butter
can generally be divided by four for us, and the four eggs or half
pound of butter become only one egg and two ounces of butter; so we can
have the good things and still spend little.”

“But then you have so little of it, and it wastes time to make things
in small quantities.”

“Yes, but my time is not valuable, and besides it would be no economy
for me to make things too plain, for we might not eat them at all; and
the same would happen if I made much at a time of anything,—it would
not be eaten up. Mr. Bishop likes variety.”

“Well, _I_ believe in husbands’ liking food that’s according to their
means, and not in young women wearing their lives out cooking for them.
Mr. Merit was always satisfied with a plain, wholesome dinner, and that
I took care he had.”

Mrs. Merit’s words were verging on the unpleasant, but her manner was
so unconscious that Molly felt sure only kindness was meant; she was
simply instructing the young and inexperienced wife.

“Now there’s poor Mrs. Lennox, she’s got four children, and her
husband is as poor as a church mouse, and as pernickety about his
eating—nothing she can get is good enough for him; and the way she
manages to make both ends meet, and to dress them children as nice
as any, is a wonder to every one, though, poor thing, she is wearing
herself out.”

Shortly after, finding Molly was not curious about Mr. and Mrs. Lennox,
Mrs. Merit protested that she was paying an unwarrantably long visit,
rose and left, saying, as she did so, “You won’t be lonely long, you
are not like strangers; being such friends of Mrs. Winfield, every one
will make a point of calling very soon.”

Molly noticed, as she returned to the parlor, that Mrs. Merit was
standing at the door of the house she had pointed out as Mrs. Lennox’s;
doubtless she had gone to report her visit.

Molly went from her visitor to the kitchen. She had ordered in the
morning a porterhouse steak and a dozen oysters on the half shell. As
the butcher was also fishmonger, he had no objection to send so few,
and she had impressed on him that both were to be sent after five, and
the oysters opened at the house. She now told Marta, when they should
come, to put the oysters into the ice-box at once, and went to assure
herself that the fire was made up and would be ready by five o’clock
to cook. She found, as she had feared, that Marta had forgotten, and
the fire was at that stage of intense brightness which gives place to a
mass of dead white ash a little later, but would quickly burn up with
fresh fuel.

“How fortunate I came out, Marta; red as this fire is, in half an hour
it would have been near out. Put a little coal on; when it is lighted
well, not before, you can rake out the ashes and put on more coal, but
not too much.” As she spoke she opened all the drafts.

She meant to have a ragout of the rougher part of the lamb—the neck
piece—as a second dish; if Harry did not care for it at dinner, it
would make a very savory one for breakfast. She cut it up into neat
pieces; there was about a pound and a half of meat, very lean, and,
properly treated, the tenderest in the whole sheep.

“If I had to pay the same for this part of the lamb as for the loin,
I should still prefer it for boiling and stewing,” she said to Marta,
“but so few people will believe it. Get me one onion and a carrot, and
prepare them. I wish I had some canned peas, they would be such an
addition; but I have not half the little things in store yet that I
need.”

Molly was making this ragout, not that it was needed for dinner so
much, although it made variety and a better-seeming table, but her
chief thought was for the breakfast. Having the vegetables prepared,
and the range being by this time hot on the top, she put a spider,
containing a table-spoonful of butter and one of flour, on the stove,
and told Marta to stir slowly till the flour and butter were pale
brown, while she tied six sprigs of parsley and half a bay leaf
together. When the flour and butter formed a smooth brownish paste,
or _roux_, as the cooking-books call it, the carrots and onions, cut
small, and the meat were added, with a half salt-spoonful of pepper,
three level salt-spoonfuls of salt, and a tea-spoonful of vinegar.
These were all stirred round, and a close cover put on.

“Now these have to be stirred every minute or so, to prevent burning,
till brown, and while the ragout is cooking I will make a lemon pie. I
have written the recipe, Marta, as I shall do all for the future, and
you will keep the book in the kitchen. I will read it over to you.”

The recipe was, of course, written in German. Molly had not been able
to do it without help from the dictionary, but she remembered that she
was improving her German, which, indeed, was one of her reasons for
taking a German girl, the compulsory practice would be so good for
herself.

“Half a cup of fine bread crumbs, just enough milk to swell them, two
eggs, three table-spoonfuls of sugar, two of butter, the juice of one
lemon, the grated rinds of two. Beat sugar and butter to a cream, then
the eggs and lemon juice, and last the bread and milk. You can make the
mixture while I roll the paste and get the pie ready, but first I’m
going to knock a few holes in this tin pie-plate, so that the crust may
be light at the bottom.”

She took a small nail and hammer, and with it perforated the pie-plate
till it looked like a colander. The paste was firm and hard, and Molly
rolled it out with perfect ease, the third of an inch thick, without
its once sticking to the board, which was lightly floured. She laid the
pie-plate on it, and cut a circle a little larger than the tin to allow
for the depth. Every touch she made was quick and light, just as if the
paste were tulle or white satin. She turned the plate over, laid the
paste on it, and pressed it _only on the bottom_, never touching the
edges. She cut a little piece and put it in the oven to try it. Then
she cut two long strips of paste, about an inch wide, and laid them
lightly around the pie, so as to make the edge twice the thickness of
the bottom; she gently pressed the _lower_ edge of this strip to make
it adhere to the pie, and then poured in the lemon mixture.

“Mr. Bishop doesn’t like meringue, or I would have kept out the two
whites of eggs, to make it,” said Molly, as she took out the little
“trier” she had in the oven.

It had risen a full inch, and “the separate flakes could be counted!”
Marta exclaimed, as she saw it. Her intelligence only seemed to rouse
when she saw something out of the ordinary routine of cooking, because,
as Molly afterwards found, her ideal of cooking was what the man cook
at the restaurant in Germany could do; she never expected to see a lady
do them, and he had made puff paste just like this, and it seemed magic
to her.

“And if she had never lived at the restaurant she would not have had
intelligence enough to know what to admire. It is the old story,—to
those who know nothing of art, a gay chromo is better than a fine
painting,” said Molly, when she told Harry, who broke into good-natured
laughter.

“Oh, my dear Molly, you are too delicious in your enthusiasm! What
would our artists say to such a comparison?”

Molly joined in the laugh. “It sounds absurd, but the principle is the
same. The poor girls who have no experience of good cooking or refined
living can’t be expected to appreciate it.”

But this was in the evening, and we are digressing from the dinner.

By the time the pie was in the oven, the lamb had been twenty minutes
in the spider,—Marta occasionally stirring it about. Two thirds of a
pint of hot water was now added (it left plenty of gravy around the
meat, yet _did not cover it_), the parsley was put in, and the spider
closely covered and set where it would _just simmer_, as the success of
the dish depended on its simmering, and _not_ boiling. Molly waited to
see it come to the boiling-point.

“Now, Marta, remember that _to simmer_ means this,” she said, pointing
out the gentlest little sizzling round the edge of the pan. “Perhaps
you hardly think it is cooking at all, but that scarcely perceptible
motion is what I mean when I say, ‘let it simmer;’ faster than that
would be boiling. You must understand these distinctions if ever you
hope to make a good cook. We are going to have Lima beans, and stuffed
potatoes, and cheese canapées—to use up the baker’s bread—and, as I do
not mean to be in the kitchen to-night except just as you broil the
steak, I will get everything ready now.”

So saying, she cut slices of bread half an inch thick, then, with a
large round cutter, cut circles; these she cut in half—they were not
the true crescent shape that canapées should be, but they would answer;
then she put a table-spoonful of butter in a small saucepan (using a
saucepan, because to fry, or rather sauter, so little, the butter
required would be twice as much if it had to go over the large space
of a frying-pan), and then she fried four of the canapées a very light
brown. When done she took them up, and grated about an ounce of cheese,
and setting the canapées on a small tin ready for the oven, she heaped
the grated cheese on them, then sprinkled on them a little pepper and
salt.

“Marta, those are ready, but need not go into the oven till I tell you.
At five you wash four large potatoes and put them into the oven; at
a quarter past you can put the Lima beans into a saucepan of boiling
water, with two tea-spoonfuls of salt and one of sugar; let them come
quickly to the boil again.”

Molly took the pie out of the oven. It was beautifully brown, and the
edge, half an inch thick when it went into the oven, was now more than
double, and more flaky than real puff paste, as generally made.

“Now, Marta, I’ll leave you to set the table quite alone to-night, and
to do everything by yourself, except broil the steak, which I have not
yet shown you how to do, and to dress the vegetables. Chop ready for me
two table-spoonfuls of parsley and one slice of onion very fine.”

Molly had to congratulate herself on having gotten so far forward with
the dinner, for just as she was leaving the kitchen Mrs. Lennox came.

“Mrs. Merit told me you were settled and ready to see your neighbors,
so I would not delay coming over. I have not the same good excuse as
she has for so early a visit, for, beyond good feeling, I cannot be of
any use to any one, my hands are so completely tied with my family; but
you are Mrs. Winfield’s friend, and you seem no stranger to me.”

“But no excuse is needed,” said Molly. “I think it exceedingly kind.”

Mrs. Lennox was a very nervous-looking woman, who had once been very
pretty, and was still young enough to be so. When they had talked a
little while, it proved that one of Molly’s dear friends had been a
school-fellow of Mrs. Lennox. This made them quite intimate in a few
minutes, and Molly found herself talking freely of her hopes and plans.

“Oh! but how could you have the courage to keep house, when you had no
family to make boarding impossible?”

“But it needed more courage to go on boarding, I think,” laughed Molly.

“Oh! wait a bit, till your servant goes off at a moment’s notice, just
as you have company to dinner; or till your husband begins to criticise
the food, or—if you are too newly married for that—till you see him
look at the table in despair, and sit down and eat as if it were all
chaff,—those are the things that will make you long to give it all up.”

“But,” said Molly gravely, for that bitter phrase, “if you are too
newly married for that,” shocked her, “I don’t think, if girls served
me so half a dozen times a year, it would be more than a temporary
annoyance, while to board is a daily and hourly discomfort; as for my
husband, I shall try at least to give him as good food as we had while
boarding.”

“Yes, as good food, but it is the variety; on small means it is
impossible to have it. You smile! it is all smooth sailing for you yet,
but I assure you the first time you find yourself without a girl you’ll
realize what I mean; but it is beautiful to see your enthusiasm, and
recalls my own early married life.”

She sighed; Molly pretended not to hear her, although she was full of
sympathy for her weary looks; she laughed lightly and said, “Well, I
don’t believe I should be in despair to find myself without a maid! It
would worry Mr. Bishop for my sake, but not me.”

“That’s all very well in theory, but when it comes to having the
breakfast to get, the fires to light, and you find the bread won’t
rise, and nothing goes as it ought to go, you’ll be inclined to sit
down and cry.”

“But I think things would go better than that. I am so fond of cooking
that I shall practice a good deal, so that, if I find myself deserted,
we shall not feel the loss beyond less leisure for me.”

“You are fond of cooking—that’s different! I hate it, but then that’s
because I have it to do, I suppose, for, though I sympathized with you
in advance in case you are left without, I never have a servant; and as
I have four children, and make all their clothes and my own, you may
suppose I have no time to spend over the fire. We are obliged to live
very plainly, and if I can manage to get the food on the table in an
eatable form, that’s all I try for. I tell you this now because, if, as
I hope, we should become more than formal acquaintances, you will know
what to expect at my house.”

There was a pained look in the weary face, as if the saying had not
been pleasant, and Molly’s heart ached at the sad picture of toil her
words conjured up. And yet, after she had left, Molly remembered the
dress of cheap material, but trimmed to excess, and thought of the
weary hours it had taken to make, and wondered why she did it.

Molly, when again alone, hesitated what to do. She knew of several bits
of sewing she had to do for the house, but she was a little tired; and
besides, after a week or two Marta would not need her so much in the
kitchen—or, at least, she hoped not; meanwhile, the new “Century” was
on the table, and she took it up to read till it became necessary for
her to go and direct Marta.

Molly had had a hint or two from her two visitors that they considered
she would be making rather a slave of herself, but she had no such
intention; she did not think it harder work to be in the kitchen than
at the sewing-machine. At half past five she went to see if the table
was neatly laid, and made a few changes, calling Marta’s attention
to them; then went into the kitchen, and found the parsley and onion
not nearly fine enough; these she chopped over, and by that time the
potatoes and Lima beans were done.

“Pour the water off the beans, Marta, then dress them just as you did
the cabbage last night; stir them well around, and move them to a part
of the range where they will just simmer. When you have done it, you
can put the oysters on the table, six on each plate, the points to the
centre, with a quarter of a lemon in the middle of each.”

While she was speaking, Molly had put a little milk on to boil, and cut
the tops from the potatoes, and holding them in a cloth, scooped out
the inside with a spoon, into a bowl which she had made hot, without
breaking the skin; when the potato was all out, she added to it a
table-spoonful of butter and the parsley and onion, moistening the
whole with hot milk, and then with a fork she beat it rapidly back and
forth till very white and light; then she seasoned with salt and pepper
to taste, and filled the skins, which she had put to keep hot again,
and set them in the oven. The milk being boiling and the process quick,
they had not had time to cool much.

“Now, Marta, heat the gridiron and put your dishes to get hot; then put
the steak on, open all the drafts that the smoke may go up.”

The fire was clear and not too high, and she watched while Marta
broiled it, directing her to turn the steak frequently.

“Keep the gridiron tilted from you, so that the grease runs to the back
of the stove, and don’t be frightened at its flaring; better it should
flare than smoke; it is the smoke, not the flame, that blackens the
steak.”

When it had broiled eight minutes it was to be laid on a hot dish, with
a lump of butter on it, and liberally seasoned with pepper and salt.
But as Molly heard Harry come in, she left the butter and seasoning
ready and went to him, trusting Marta to bring the dinner to table,
telling her, as she left the kitchen, to put the cheese canapées in
the oven, on the upper shelf. They would be brown by the time they had
finished the meat.



CHAPTER VII.

MOLLY AND MRS. LENNOX—ECONOMICAL BUYING MAKES GOOD LIVING.


A WEEK passed, and Molly found her ten dollars left a narrow margin,
as will be seen from the account she triumphantly showed to Harry,
and the week’s bills of fare, which she wrote out neatly, appending
every recipe, and which, for the benefit of those who may wish to do
likewise, I will give in its place; but before that week was over,
Molly was resolving other problems. She had seen Mrs. Lennox again, and
Harry was delighted with Mr. Lennox, who traveled on the same train
with him, and in answer to Molly’s remarks on the hard life his wife
led, he maintained that his pity was for the husband.

“I can picture to myself that household, Molly, and the scrambling
meals that man gets. Why, he was astounded when I told him we lived
just as well as I want to live, and what we had to live on. Yes, dear,
I fear I did boast to the poor fellow of the charming little dinners
you got up, and asked if he knew any one who could beat that? He said:—

“‘Well, I wish Mrs. Bishop would teach my wife how to put some flavor
into what we eat. Our means are narrow, but I do know that if Letty
knew how to cook, we should all be better, and she herself. We can’t
expect fancy dishes—our family is too large and our means too small for
that—but even Irish stew may taste of something besides onions and hot
water.’

“I should think it could; nothing I enjoy better than Irish stew.
However, I didn’t crow any more over poor Lennox, but you needn’t give
all your pity to Mrs. Lennox.”

Already Molly had decided in her own mind that Mrs. Lennox was making
a great mistake in the way she had chosen for doing her duty to her
family, and that the weary days spent at the sewing-machine might be
partly spent in the kitchen with advantage to her own health and her
children’s. She longed to help her, but dared not take the liberty. But
the day came when Mrs. Lennox herself gave the opening. They met in the
street on Saturday, and Molly mentioned that she was on her way to the
butcher’s.

“I see you go every morning down town, but it is rare for me, for I
can’t spare the time, so I have to trust to what the butcher sends. You
see we live so plainly that we haven’t much choice—it’s just steak and
chops and roast beef. Mr. Lennox can’t bear cold mutton, so we never
get a joint of it.”

“But don’t you think the morning walk would do you good? I believe it
will me; and then I have some satisfaction in seeing my meat before I
buy it, although we buy very little.”

Molly was terribly afraid of seeming didactic, and spoke in a rather
apologetic way.

“Yes, but you haven’t four children, my dear; however, as I am out, I
will go with you. How I wish you would tell me what to get in place of
chops for to-day and a roast for to-morrow! We all hate them, but we
can’t afford poultry.”

“I hardly like to suggest, for I don’t know your tastes; but if I
wanted to live cheaply,—forgive me, you have given me reason to suppose
that you have to be economical”—

“Economy isn’t the word,—we can barely make ends meet, and I work
myself to death to avoid spending an unnecessary dime.”

“I know you do, and for that reason I would like to tell you a few
things I learnt in France, where they make a franc go as far as we
would a dollar, and yet live well.”

“Tell it me; but for goodness’ sake don’t tell me that lentils are as
good as meat—we abhor lentils—or that peas and beans are nitrogenous;
I’ve read that sort of thing till I’m sick; if you haven’t the appetite
of a ploughman you can’t eat things because they contain nitrogen any
more than you can live on medicine.”

“I’m a little of your opinion, but I mean really good living that, if
you didn’t know the cost, would seem almost luxurious. It is simply
buying, and using what you buy, judiciously.”

Mrs. Lennox smiled a little incredulously, but said, courteously, “I am
quite open to conviction.”

“What do you propose to pay for your roast of beef?”

“It will be at least $2, for it is of no use getting less than eight
pounds; and chops for to-day will be about 35 cents.”

“And how long will the roast last?”

“It has to last till Tuesday, though out of an eight-pound roast there
isn’t much but bone and fat the third day.”

“And you have then something extra to get for breakfast?”

She laughed a little. “To tell the truth, our breakfast is slim; I
can’t afford meat, and Mr. Lennox usually has an egg or two; he never
cares, fortunately, for a heavy breakfast, but prefers knick-knacks.”

“This is the sort of housekeeping Harry dreaded,” thought Molly, but
she said aloud, “Then you would really spend $2.35 this morning for
meat to last till Tuesday?”

“At the very least, but more likely $2.75, for they could hardly cut me
exactly eight pounds.”

“Then I would suggest you get, instead of the roast, either a leg of
mutton at 15 cents a pound, or a piece of beef at the same price for
_à la mode_ beef; and if you choose the mutton, then you will have a
really nice pot-pie to-night in place of chops. You will find that you
will buy ten pounds of meat for $1.50, and then you can get some of the
knick-knacks Mr. Lennox likes for breakfast.”

“But he won’t look at cold mutton, or Irish stew made of it.”

“No; Irish stew needs fresh meat, and cold mutton is not appetizing;
but I propose your having hot mutton each meal.”

“But that will make so much cooking, and I am alone to do it!”

“I know,” said Molly, gently, “but I am sure that sewing-machine is
half killing you; can’t you give it up for an hour or two each day?”

“My dear, by the time I get through my housework it is near noon; then
there’s the children’s dinner to get and clear, and I don’t get to
sewing till after one. Then the afternoon and evening I have to give
to it; if I could go and buy new material I need not have half the
work, but it is the cutting down, making over, ripping, altering, and
planning that wears one out.”

“Then I will help you,” said Molly. “I have time, and if you’ll promise
to give one hour to the kitchen, I’ll sew an hour with you and cook an
hour. I am so sure the change of work will brighten you up.”

“Heaven knows I need brightening! I feel a perfect hag, and I’m only
twenty-eight.”

“Then you accept?”

“Yes,” hesitating; “yet I don’t know why I can allow you to”—

“Oh, don’t say one word! I love it.”

They had slackened pace in their earnest talk, but now they had reached
the butcher’s.

“You are to order just what you like,” said Mrs. Lennox.

“I will.”

Molly chose a good-sized leg of mutton, weighing eight pounds, and told
the butcher to cut it nearly in half, leaving the large part for the
loin end; and a pound and half of round steak. She ordered also half
a pound of beef suet; then, turning to Mrs. Lennox, she asked if Mr.
Lennox was fond of kidneys for breakfast?

“I believe he is.”

Then a beef kidney was added, and the amount spent was:—

    Leg of mutton,           $1.20
    Suet,                      .06
    Kidney,                    .10
    Steak,                     .24
                               ———
                 Total,      $1.60

“Well, I count myself nearly a dollar in pocket so far,” said Mrs.
Lennox, “but I have tried buying economical meats before, though in the
end it was no economy, for we did not eat it.”

“I will forgive you if you don’t eat this,” said Molly, laughing; “but
I must hurry home; I have a chicken pie to make for to-morrow’s dinner,
but I will see you later in the day. I am responsible, you know, for
the meat I have bought.”

Molly’s own dinner being soup, veal cutlets, potato croquettes, Lima
beans, and apple pudding, and the soup ready, all but heating it, she
meant to make the pudding and prepare the croquettes, and leave Marta
to her own resources for the vegetables and breading cutlets,—she,
herself, would be back in time to see the actual cooking of her own
meat. But of her own cooking I will speak in the next chapter.

At three o’clock, then, Molly went over to Mrs. Lennox, whom she found
busy feather-stitching several yards of navy blue cashmere ruffling
with red crewel.

“This is for Milly’s fall frock; it was first my dress, then Lily’s,
now it comes to Milly, and the red will make a change.”

“You have far more patience than I,” said Molly.

“Yes, I don’t know what I should do without it. Must the cooking begin
now? I hate to lose daylight.”

“Yes, the pot-pie will take long, slow cooking to be good, but you can
come back in half an hour.”

“Oh! suppose we have that steak fried—just for to-day; well pounded it
will be tender enough. I hate to leave this.”

“I will go down, then, if you will let one of the little girls show me
where you keep things.”

“Oh, no; I can’t let you!” said Mrs. Lennox. “But that is just it;
don’t you see yourself I have no time to cook?”

Molly longed to say that it seemed as important to her that the food
should be well prepared as that the flounce should be feather-stitched,
but of course, she said nothing, and the next minute they were down in
Mrs. Lennox’s neat kitchen.

“This pot-pie I propose making is an English dish my father was very
fond of, and it is a little different from our dish of that name.”

“This is very kind of you, Mrs. Bishop. I only fear you will see what
an up-hill business it is to make a family live well on very little
money.”

“What do you call little?” asked Molly, busily cutting the steak into
finger-lengths.

“$80 a month to keep six people, and out of it $20 for rent; that
leaves sixty for everything else.”

Molly thought that was not too little to insure a plain, solid comfort,
but she must gain Mrs. Lennox’s confidence in her ability and good-will
before telling her so, and she went on quietly preparing for the
pot-pie.



CHAPTER VIII.

BEEF POT-PIE—LEG OF MUTTON—TWO ROASTS—SEVERAL WHOLESOME ECONOMICAL
DISHES.


WHEN Molly had cut the steak into finger-lengths, she floured the
pieces lightly, and put an iron saucepan that held about three quarts
on the stove, and, when it was hot, dropped in the fat of the steak,
then the meat, and left them to fry at the bottom of the saucepan.

“I should think that would burn,” said Mrs. Lennox.

“No, because the meat fat is there; but it has to brown very quickly,
or the meat will be hard; that is why I let the saucepan get so hot.
Now I want a carrot, an onion, and a turnip—all of medium size.”

“I have only small onions.”

“Two of those, then.”

Molly washed and then began to peel them—the turnip thick, the carrot
very thin.

“What can _I_ do?” asked Mrs. Lennox.

“You can chop that suet very fine, taking away all skin and veins.”

Molly cut the vegetables into slices a quarter of an inch thick, made
piles of half a dozen slices of carrot, then cut across them at even
distances; it was more quickly done than the usual hit or miss way,
and they looked far better; the turnip she did the same, and then she
stirred the meat round, which was sending a savory odor through the
house. The peeled onion she dropped into water, and then, with hands
still in the water, cut it across at equal distances all the way
through, then across again.

“What are you doing that in water for?”

“It prevents the odor clinging so much to the hands, and also
mitigates its power to make me weep.” As she spoke she took all the
vegetables to the saucepan, dropped them in and stirred them quickly
round, then poured two kitchen cups of boiling water on the whole, and
seasoned it with a tea-spoonful of salt and a quarter one of pepper.

“I want to watch that come to the boil, and then put it where it will
just simmer.”

She had covered the saucepan close, and then turned to Mrs. Lennox.
The suet in her unaccustomed hands was still far from being chopped
fine, and the warmth of the kitchen had made it clog together. Molly
said, “If suet gets soft while being chopped, shake a little flour
into it, also flour the chopping-knife. When chopping it in winter
for mincemeat, I let it get well frozen.” She chopped vigorously as
she spoke, and it was soon so fine as to look like tapioca. She then
turned to the saucepan, which had reached the boiling-point, and drew
it aside, carefully changing the position until it just simmered. She
then pointed out to Mrs. Lennox the little sizzling round the edge of
the saucepan, barely perceptible, and told her that it should cook no
faster.

“But that doesn’t appear to be cooking at all.”

“Oh, yes! and meat stewed so will always be tender. If you like we can
go to the sewing now, as it is too soon to make the crust.”

She went upstairs and sewed till five o’clock, chatting the while, Mrs.
Lennox expatiating on the privations of the whole family; and Molly
could well understand how it came about, with a poor, weary mother
sewing strenuously to make the children look well, and understanding so
little of domestic economy that she did not see that, by a different
mode of living, she would save enough in the month either to buy new
clothes or to lessen her own incessant labor by getting help. Nor could
Molly at this time make any suggestion.

At five o’clock Molly took a cup of the suet, and a scant two cups
of flour, with a level tea-spoonful of salt, tossed all together in
a bowl, then made a hole in the centre, and poured in half a cup of
cold water, _quickly_ and _lightly_ made it into a dough with a knife,
adding a few drops of water to bind the crumbs; there was no pressure,
no attempt at kneading, and the dough was soft, but not sticky; then
she turned it on the floured pastry-board, and rolled it quickly; it
formed a fairly good round shape, an inch thick, and somewhat larger
than the top of the saucepan. She laid it on the top of the meat and
vegetables, after tasting the gravy to see if it was seasoned enough.

“You see it forms a sort of lid to the stew, which must now be put
forward, as the cold crust has cooled it, till it boils again, or the
crust will be heavy.” She placed it in the hottest spot as she spoke.

“But do you mean to say that crust will be light without baking powder?”

“Yes, quite light; if it is made quickly, rolled only once—just as
you would biscuit dough, only not so soft—brought quickly to the
boiling-point when in the saucepan, and then _kept gently simmering_
an hour, not allowed to soak in the gravy without cooking. But if you
choose you can add baking-powder; it makes a much more crumbly crust.
Made as I have made it, it is considered very wholesome and nourishing,
as beef fat and wheaten flour are two of the best kinds of food; lard
and flour and baking-powder are by no means so wholesome a combination.
When dishing it, cut the top crust pie-fashion, and lay it round the
meat.”

“Well, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating,’ and if it is fairly
good I shall be so glad to have some dish that is a change from our
routine, and it is, after all, easy enough,” said Mrs. Lennox, washing
potatoes for the oven.

“Oh, quite! It only needs strict attention to the _little_ points,
the slow simmering and the seasoning; the browning at first is not
necessary, although it is better looking and better flavored by taking
that little trouble.”

“Ah, my dear, it is the _little_ trouble, that seems nothing to you,
that makes so much difference to a busy woman like me.”

“If you like this dish, I have several others that I think you may find
both very cheap and very nice, and I shall be very glad at any time to
come over and give you a helping hand in the kitchen. And, by and bye,
this suet crust is the foundation for several good puddings,—rolled out
and spread with jam, and boiled one hour and a half as a roly-poly, it
is excellent; with a cup of currants added, before wetting the flour
and suet, it makes the ‘spotted Dick’ dear to English children; or, in
place of currants, the juice of a lemon and the grated rind of two,
with half a cup of sugar, makes a nice plain lemon pudding, but long,
steady boiling is absolutely necessary to lightness. Excuse my telling
you all this, but you know I am so fond of cooking, I can’t help it.”

“I am much obliged. I like to hear all about it, even if I can’t make
the things.”

“Now about that leg of mutton: I propose you roast the loin end
to-morrow, and there will be a little left cold, which you will not use
on Monday, but cook the other half—have it boiled, with caper sauce, or
roasted.”

“I will boil it, for that is a dish we all like; only what to do with
cold _boiled_ mutton I don’t know; that is why, though we like it, we
never have it.”

“Tuesday, you will have the remains of the Sunday roast and the remains
of Monday’s boiled mutton, and I will run in and show you how to make a
nice dish of them; but be sure to boil the half leg in only just enough
water, and _very slowly_, and keep the broth; if you boil a turnip and
onion with it, it will be all the better for broth and meat.”

“Thank you; that sounds like a great improvement on hot meat Sunday and
cold Monday and Tuesday. What about that kidney? I haven’t an idea how
to cook it.”

“Soak it in salt and water an hour; cut it in pieces half an inch
thick, leaving out the core; flour them; put them in a saucepan with
half a table-spoonful of butter and a thin slice of onion, unless it is
disliked; let them fry five minutes, then add half a tea-cup of boiling
water, and stand the saucepan where it will just simmer ten minutes—if
you leave it longer the kidney will be hard. I like to have it served
on toast, but that is optional; only be sure it is served as soon as
cooked, and with quite hot plates.”

“Thank you ever so much. Mr. Lennox will enjoy his breakfast, I’ve no
doubt.”

“I hope you will, too,” said Molly.

“I dare say I shall, thanks to you.”

Molly hurried home, for she had her own dinner to attend to; and
to-night she was going to look over her accounts and convince Harry
that “Ten Dollars” is “Enough” to pay all the weekly expenses they
would be likely to incur.



CHAPTER IX.

VEAL CUTLETS, BREADED.


WHEN Molly reached home it was nearly six. Marta had followed
directions fairly well, but Molly had taken the precaution to do
everything she could before leaving home. She had herself cut half the
veal cutlets into neat pieces, the size of a large oyster, leaving the
rest for her pie, pounded each, squeezed on it a few drops of lemon
juice, and piled one upon the other, and told Marta to leave them
so an hour or two, then bread them exactly as she had done the lamb
chops. She had also cut some _thin_ slices of breakfast bacon, taken
off the rind and dark inner skin very thinly; and now, having let the
frying-pan get quite hot, she put the bacon in it. As soon as it looked
clear she turned it; it curled up, and when it had been in the pan
about three minutes she took it out and laid in the cutlets; the half a
dozen pieces left room to turn them about comfortably.

“You see, Marta, I don’t drop these into deep fat, because veal is a
meat that requires long cooking, and is one of the few things I think
better fried, or rather ‘_sauté_,’ in this way, with only enough fat to
cook them, but it is much more trouble to do than the frying in boiling
fat.”

The cutlets took nearly ten minutes to fry a nice brown on one side,
because, although the pan was kept at a good heat, she had to guard
against burning. Then each piece was turned, and, when quite brown (it
took nearly ten minutes more to get so), taken up and put on the dish,
and the bacon round it. Molly took the pan to the table, poured off the
fat, which was dark, and put in the pan a dessert-spoonful of butter
and a scant one of flour, set them on the stove and let them melt and
brown a little; then she drew the pan aside, and poured a small cup of
the hot soup they were going to have for dinner into it, and stirred
till smooth, mashing all the brown clinging gravy with the back of her
spoon. She explained to Marta that, if the soup had not been at hand,
water and pepper and salt would have been used; or, if there was oyster
liquor in the house, she should have used that and water in equal parts.

“Now take in the soup, Marta,—and while that is on the table, let this
gravy boil a few seconds, then pour it through the strainer into the
dish with the cutlets; don’t let it boil longer, or it will get too
thick.”

After dinner, Harry told Molly that one of the gentlemen on the cars,
a friend of the Winfields’, had spoken to him about joining a dramatic
reading-club, of which he was president, and said his wife was coming
to invite Molly. “But I don’t think we can afford it, dear.”

“Would you like it?” asked Molly quickly.

“Oh, I don’t know! Yes, I think it might brighten the winter a bit.”

“Well, we will see after my accounts are audited. First, I want to ask
you how you consider you have fared this week?”

“Admirably,—so well that I’m afraid of the accounts.”

“You need not be. Now I want you to listen while I read over the bills
of fare for the week.”

Harry nodded in amused good humor, and smoked on comfortably.

“On MONDAY we had chicken salad, etc., for lunch. _Dinner_—Roast
shoulder of lamb, potatoes, cabbage, macaroni, tomato salad, and
peaches and cream.

“TUESDAY. _Breakfast_—Breaded chops, baked potatoes, corn muffins.”

Harry nodded assent to each item as Molly turned her bright eyes on him
to make sure he was giving attention.

“TUESDAY. _Dinner_—Oysters, steak, ragout of lamb, stuffed potatoes,
Lima beans, cheese canapées, and lemon pie.

“WEDNESDAY. _Breakfast_—Hashed lamb, poached eggs, and soufflé bread.
_Dinner_—Tomato cream soup, roast breast of lamb, chicken croquettes,
stewed onions and potatoes, peach pudding.

“THURSDAY. _Breakfast_—Lamb chops broiled, eggs, tomato salad, stewed
potatoes, muffins. _Dinner_—Fried smelts, beef _à la mode_, cones of
carrots and turnips, mashed potatoes, lettuce salad, cheese fritters,
amber pudding.

“FRIDAY. _Breakfast_—Brown hash, poached eggs, corn bread, baked
potatoes. _Dinner_—Bisque of clams, beef _au gratin_, chicken rissoles,
cauliflower, potatoes, tomato salad, custard pie.

“SATURDAY. _Breakfast_—Scalloped clams, cauliflower, omelet, pop-overs,
stewed potatoes. _Dinner_—Clear soup, veal cutlets, mashed potatoes,
cabbage, macaroni, apple pudding.

“And to-morrow’s breakfast and dinner, though not eaten, is paid for,
so I add that.

“SUNDAY. _Breakfast_—Broiled bacon, poached eggs, muffins.
_Dinner_—Clear soup, chicken pie, mashed potatoes, creamed onions,
tomato salad, peach compote, and custard.”

Molly concluded her list with rather a triumphant air, as one who knows
she has achieved what she set out to do.

“Yes, Molly, we have had all those good breakfasts and dinners, and I’m
afraid to think of the work you have had to cook all that. Let me look
at your poor little hands.”

She held them towards him. They were white and soft as ever.

“Nevertheless,” he said, pressing them between his own, “I feel such a
selfish brute to let you do it.”

“Nonsense! I like it. Why, didn’t I always go to Mrs. Welles’ house
after each cooking-lesson, and repeat the whole lesson, when I hadn’t
the satisfaction of seeing you share the good things I made, because
we were boarding? And didn’t she and I repeat every failure until we
got it right? Those were the days when I had backaches and headaches,
because I was so anxious to succeed and failed so often; but _now_
it is all at my fingers’ ends, and no more trouble than the simplest
cooking—far less, indeed; it takes a little more time and makes more
washing-up for Marta; and if we had a large family and I had other
duties, I could not give so much time; nor would it be right to
overwork one girl to cater to our tastes; but in a tiny house like
this, with two or even four people, there’s no question of overwork for
either mistress or maid.”

“But even your time, dear, oughtn’t to be sacrificed to give me good
dinners.”

“No, nor will it be; but what is my time good for, except to make your
income go as far as it will? I get all the time to read I want; I am
not fond of plain sewing; and as clothes ready made can now be bought
so good and cheap, I don’t mean to do more than keep the buttons sewed
on,”—here she smiled as she thought of the favorite grievance,—“the
stockings well darned, and everything mended; so; you’ll never have the
satisfaction of seeing me stitch long white seams, nor wear a shirt
made by me.”

“Thank heaven!” ejaculated Harry.

“No, nowadays _that_ I consider real waste of time. And then I’ve no
gift for fancy work, pretty as the modern version of it is, so I’d like
to know what I should do with the whole day if I didn’t do something in
the kitchen? I expect, when Marta is trained, never to spend more than
an hour and a half each day there, and an hour besides for the other
little household duties; that leaves a margin for visiting, reading,
and the sewing I may have.”

“Very well, Molly dear; that programme sounds very easy, but whether it
works in practice I don’t know.”

“Everything depends on Marta,—if she shows intelligence and cares to
learn, things will go as I have planned after the first month; but
supposing she actually never proves capable of doing the cooking
alone, I shall simply make up my mind to spend the hour between five
and six every day in the kitchen. I shan’t like to do it, because it
ought not to be necessary, but one has to accept some shortcoming with
any servant, and I would sooner this than some others; but to make
it worth while to keep her under those circumstances, she must be
very good in other things. There! I’m talking instead of attending to
business,” said Molly; “here is an account of our expenditure.”

       Monday—Meat and sundries             $2.90
               Cream                          .10
               Yeast                          .02
      Tuesday—Oysters                         .12
               Steak                          .30
               Lima Beans                     .05
    Wednesday—Extra milk for soup             .04
     Thursday—Smelts                          .10
               3 pounds beef                  .35
               Pork                           .10
               Lettuce                        .05
       Friday—Cauliflower                     .10
               Milk for soup                  .04
               Clams                          .15
               Soup bone                      .15
     Saturday—Veal cutlets, 1½ pounds         .27
               Chicken                        .50
               Bacon                          .14
               Extra butter                   .25
               Milk for week                  .56
               Ice, 100 pounds                .40
               Fuel                           .50
                                              ———
                                            $7.19

Molly had added to the supplies she had ordered for the month, which,
it will be remembered, amounted to $9.86, the following articles:

    Macaroni                    $0.20
    Nutmegs                       .10
    Lemons                        .20
    Carrots, turnips, onions      .36
    Apples                        .40
    Parsley                       .05
    Thyme                         .05
                                  ———
                                $1.36

which brought the amount to $11.22; one fourth of which, $2.80, added
to $7.19, made the week’s expenditure $9.99.

“Now, although that amount has been spent this week, you must remember
that of several of the articles bought, a little is left, and I have
not to begin this week without a scrap in the house as I had the last,”
explained Molly. “We need ice only a week or two longer, but when that
need ceases we shall require more fuel; but I think a dollar a week
_all the year round_ will average ice and fuel, so I shall allow that.
We shall use $2 a week for a few weeks, but barely 50 cents the rest of
the year.”

Molly laid the accounts before her husband as she finished, and he
gravely looked them over.

“And if, this month, I come out even five cents ahead, we may count
ourselves safe, for buying in the very small quantities I am now
doing is an extravagant way. But I wanted to make sure my ‘paper
housekeeping’ would work in practice.”

There was rather an anxious look in Harry’s eyes as he read over the
accounts. He was afraid Molly had sadly miscalculated, and he hated to
prove her at fault, although he loved to poke fun at her.

“What’s the matter?” asked his wife, starting up and looking over his
shoulder.

“Only, dear, if you remember, we had chicken in one form or other
several times this week, but there is only one chicken counted, and
that is to-day. Also lamb chops we have had several times.” He glanced
up at her deprecatingly, for he felt such criticism ungracious, yet
necessary; but Molly was quite serene.

“The box of chicken in Monday’s bill was all I’ve used; the chops
also were from Monday. There’s one thing, though, I will call your
attention to, and that is, that the most expensive meal we have had
was the steak, yet people who use steak every day are supposed to live
_plainly_ and _economically_.”

“Then we come out wonderfully, I acknowledge.”

“This week, of course, Marta has simply seen how I want things done;
next week I want her to actually do the cooking from recipes. Do you
think you can stand last week’s dinners all over again?”

“Of course, my dear; why not?”

“That’s well, because if I teach her new things before she has learnt
these thoroughly, she will get confused. I want to feel that there are
a few things I can absolutely trust her to do. Then I can go on to
fresh fields, so you may have things that are difficult to cook rather
oftener than I like, till Marta is capable.”

“I shall not object to aid in Marta’s education so far,” said Harry.



CHAPTER X.

DETAILS OF MOLLY’S MANAGEMENT—RECIPES.


MOLLY had not entered so fully into matters with Harry as she would
have done had he been a woman; but as this story is to tell, not only
what Molly did, but how she did it, I must be a little more explicit.

She found herself on Wednesday with a breast of lamb, eight chops, half
a box of boned chicken, and a small piece of steak. The chops were good
for two breakfasts; the chicken, prepared as for croquettes, would make
either eight of those, or three croquettes, three rissoles, and some
fritters. Now, as eight croquettes for two people would be waste, since
they were only an _entrée_, the main dinner being something else, she
had no idea of that, but rissoles, fritters and croquettes being all
prepared alike, and keeping better in that way, she made the mixture,
and used enough for the three croquettes, leaving the rest in the
ice-box for use another day. Part of the chops she would not want to
use till the end of the week, and keeping them quite sweet she made
all the fat that had come from the lamb (dripping and trimmings, etc.)
boiling hot, then laid the chops in it—_seethed_ them, as it were—for
one minute, then put them away with the coat of fat on them, to be
scraped off when they were to be cooked.

For the clam soup a pint and a half was all that was needed, and the
liquor, with half the clams, was all that she used; the rest she
scalloped for breakfast.

It was in making no more of each dish than they could eat (but allowing
_plenty_ for kitchen as well as dining-room) that Molly was able
to have what seemed a surprising table,—that and one other thing,
allowing _nothing whatever_ to be wasted. The piece of steak left from
Tuesday’s dinner was fag end; it was put away, and when the hash was
made for Friday morning from the remains of _à la mode_ beef, the steak
was just the thing to add to it.

For lunch there had always been enough in the house from dinner
the night before. As it was her plan to put Marta more on her own
responsibility the following week, she had prepared for that purpose
the recipes of the principal things; and as Marta’s mistakes and
difficulties might occur to others, the working of them out in her
hands will be more instructive than recounting Molly’s certain success.

The recipes were as follows:—

HASHED LAMB.—The remains of ragout of lamb, freed from bone, chopped
with the vegetables, the gravy, and a tea-spoonful of butter and one of
Worcestershire sauce added; the whole made boiling hot, and served on
fried bread.

SOUFFLÉ BREAD.—Two eggs, two table-spoonfuls of flour, in which
half a tea-spoonful of baking-powder is sifted; beat yolks and a
table-spoonful of butter, melted, together, then add flour and _just_
milk enough to make a _very thick_ batter; add a pinch of salt and
a tea-spoonful of sugar; whip whites of eggs to a firm froth, and
stir gently in. Have ready a small iron spider (or earthen pan is
still better), made hot, with a dessert-spoonful of butter also hot,
but not so hot as for frying; pour the mixture, which should be like
sponge-cake batter, into the pan, cover with a lid or tin plate, and
set it back of the stove if the fire is good—if slow, it may be quite
forward. When well risen, almost like omelet soufflé, set it in the
oven five minutes to brown the top; if the oven is cool, you may very
carefully turn it, so as not to deaden it; serve when done, under side
uppermost. It should be a fine golden brown.

Soufflé bread may be _baked_ in a thick tin, with rather more butter
than enough to grease it, but the oven must be very hot indeed, and it
should be covered till thoroughly puffed up, then allowed to brown.

TOMATO CREAM SOUP.—Put six ripe tomatoes on to stew; when done, boil
one pint of milk in a double boiler, mix two tea-spoonfuls (large) of
flour with very little milk till smooth, then stir it into the boiling
milk; cook ten minutes. To the tomato put a salt-spoonful, _scant_, of
soda, stir well, then rub through a strainer fine enough to keep back
seeds; add a dessert-spoonful of butter to the milk, stirring well,
then the tomato, and serve immediately.

BREAST OF LAMB ROASTED.—Take out the bones with a small, sharp knife;
put them on to boil with a piece of carrot and a slice of onion, a pint
of water and a bay leaf; boil for two hours till reduced to less than
half. Roll the breast (it may be seasoned with pepper, salt and chopped
parsley before rolling) and skewer it, then brush it over with egg and
roll in cracker crumbs; bake in a good oven an hour and a half, basting
often. It should be very well browned, but not burnt. When done take
it up, put a dessert-spoonful of butter in the pan, which set on the
stove, then add a scant one of flour; let them brown together, stirring
the while; strain to it the gravy from the bones, stirring quickly to
prevent lumps, season to taste, add a tea-spoonful of lemon juice or
vinegar, and pour round the meat.

CHICKEN CROQUETTES.—Half a box of boned chicken, or half a chicken;
chop it fine, flavor with a few mushrooms, or a little oyster liquor,
or oysters chopped, or a very little ham, or simply a piece of onion
as large as a hazel-nut, scalded and chopped _very_ fine, and a
tea-spoonful of _finely_ chopped parsley. In flavoring this (and other
dishes) take advantage of what may be in the house suitable. Put a
table-spoonful of butter in a small saucepan with a table-spoonful
of flour, stir till they bubble, then put into a half-pint measure a
gill of strong stock made from bones (Molly had bruised up the bones
from the shoulder of lamb and boiled them down) and, if you have it, a
gill of cream or milk (unless you have oyster or mushroom liquor, when
_half_ a gill of cream), and fill up with either of them (the liquid,
of whatever kind, must be just half a pint to this quantity); pour
this on the butter and flour, and stir till it forms a _thick_, smooth
sauce; boil five minutes, season highly, and then mix the chicken with
it; stir together, and pour it out on a plate, and put it to get quite
cold and firm. If no stock is used, an egg must be stirred into the
sauce, moving it a few seconds from the fire before adding it, or it
will curdle. When it is cold and stiff, put plenty of cracker meal on
a board, beat an egg with a table-spoonful of water, cut the chicken
mixture into strips, roll it between the hands into shapes like wine
corks, _no larger_, put each one into the egg, then into the cracker
meal, taking care the egg has covered every part and the meal coats it
thoroughly. As each is done, lay it on a plate of cracker meal. They
may be prepared an hour or two before they are needed. To fry them, the
fat must be so hot that bread dropped into it will color well in thirty
seconds; arrange a few at a time in a frying basket, set it in the hot
fat; two minutes will make them golden brown; if left longer, or made
too large, they will burst.

RISSOLES.—Take a little fine paste,—any trimmings will do,—roll it as
_thin as paper_, cut it into squares three inches by four, lay on each
a strip as thick as your finger of the chicken mixture, and roll up,
wetting the edges of the paste and pressing together, so that there
will be no oozing out; egg and crumb the same as croquettes, and fry
_four_ minutes.

CHICKEN FRITTERS.—Make some good batter thus: a cup of flour sifted;
melt a table-spoonful of butter in a scant cup of _warm_ water, which
pour by degrees to the flour, making a batter thick enough to mask the
back of a spoon dipped in it; salt to taste; add, the last thing, the
white of an egg well beaten. Make the chicken mixture into balls the
size of small walnuts, flatten a little, dip into the batter, and drop
from the spoon into _very hot_ fat, the same as croquettes.

PEACH PUDDING.—A cup of flour, one tea-spoonful of baking-powder
sifted in it; make into a very thick batter with three parts of a
cup of milk, beat two eggs very light with a quarter cup of sugar,
add a pinch of salt, mix, and then stir in as many cut-up peaches as
you can; butter a bowl thoroughly, nearly fill with the mixture, tie
a cloth over it, and plunge into _fast_ boiling water; boil one hour,
taking care that ebullition _never ceases_ while the pudding is in the
saucepan, or it will be soggy. Serve with cream, or soft custard, or
hard sauce.

PEACH FRITTERS are made by the same recipe, but dropped by the spoonful
in boiling lard.

FRIED SMELTS.—Cleanse and dry them, then dip them in milk, then in
flour; shake off superfluous flour, and then egg and crumb them the
same as chops, laying each fish when done on a bed of cracker meal.
Make the lard as hot as for croquettes, and drop them in five or six at
a time. If the lard is hot enough they will brown in two minutes.

BEEF À LA MODE.—Three pounds of the vein or any coarse part of beef
that is solid meat, and half a pound of fat pork. Pierce the meat in
several places with a knife, and into each hole thus made put a strip
of pork; lay the beef in an earthen pan, with a bay leaf, a sprig
of thyme, four sprigs of parsley, two onions, medium size, with a
clove stuck in each, half a blade of mace, half a carrot and turnip,
a wine-glass of cooking-sherry, and a gallon of water, with half a
salt-spoonful of pepper. The pan should not be much larger than the
meat. Cover closely, using a common flour and water paste round the
edges to prevent the steam escaping, and set in a good oven three
hours. The wine may be omitted, and a wine-glass more water added, with
a table-spoonful of Worcestershire sauce and half one of vinegar. When
done, take up the meat carefully, strain the gravy, skim and season,
and pour it over the meat. Don’t add the salt till the gravy is done,
as pork varies so much that you may get it too salt with very little
added; you must go by taste.

CONES OF CARROTS AND TURNIPS.—Boil them separately in quarters,
using white turnips; chop each fine in a chopping-bowl, put a
dessert-spoonful of butter with them, season with _white_ pepper and
salt, then press them into a cone shape—a wine-glass will answer—and
stand them in alternate cones of the yellow carrot and white turnips
round the beef _à la mode_ or corned beef.

CHEESE FRITTERS.—Grate two ounces of cheese with two dessert-spoonfuls
of bread crumbs, a half tea-spoonful of dry mustard, a dessert-spoonful
of butter, a speck of cayenne, and the yolk of an egg; pound with a
potato-masher till smooth and well mixed, then proceed as for chicken
fritters.

AMBER PUDDING.—Two eggs, their weight in sugar, butter, flour, and the
juice and grated peel of one lemon. Beat the yolks, with the sugar,
lemon juice, and butter softened, till very light; sift in the flour
and grated peel, butter a small bowl or mould, pour the mixture in and
boil two hours.

BISQUE OF CLAMS.—For one pint and a half of soup take a dozen large
clams; stew them fifteen minutes in their own liquor, to which water
is added to make three gills. Boil three gills of milk; stir one
dessert-spoonful of butter and one of flour in a small saucepan till
they bubble; then pour the boiling milk quickly on them, stirring all
the while; stand it aside. Squeeze each clam with a lemon-squeezer, and
you will find little but an empty skin remains; strain the clams and
liquor to the thick white sauce already made, pressing as much juice
out as possible; then stir well, bring all to a boil, and remove from
the fire while you beat the yolk of an egg with two table-spoonfuls of
the soup; stir it to the rest and season to taste. Take care the soup
is boiling hot, yet does not boil after the egg is added, or it will
curdle.

SCALLOPED CLAMS.—Take a _small_ cup of the bisque of clams, before the
egg is added, and save it for the scallop. Scald ten or a dozen clams,
cut out the hard part, chop the rest fine. Butter tin scallop shells
or little saucers thickly, strew them with bread crumbs, put a layer
of clams with pepper, a layer of crumbs, and enough of the soup to
moisten them; then more clams, more pepper, and crumbs over the top,
and then a _thin_ covering of the soup, and bake a rich brown. Serve a
cut lemon with them. Be careful not to get too much soup on them,—they
should be moist, not wet, and be served very hot. Add a little salt if
the clams are not salt enough, but it is seldom necessary.

CAULIFLOWER OMELET.—Two eggs, a half cup of cold cauliflower with the
sauce; mash the cauliflower and sauce, beat the yolks of eggs with it,
then beat the whites till they will not slip from the dish, and stir
them gently in; add pepper and salt, and fry as any other omelet.

As Molly had given minute directions to Marta for frying omelet
already, she did not repeat them in her recipes. When Molly had made
the brown hash for breakfast, she had laid aside some of the nicest
slices of the cold _à la mode_ beef and the gravy for

BEEF AU GRATIN.—Put a layer of bread crumbs in a small dish, then a
layer of fat pork cut thin as a wafer, then a layer of beef, on which
strew a very little chopped onion and parsley, pepper and salt; then
another layer of the shaved pork, more beef, and cover the top with
bread crumbs; over all pour gravy enough to moisten it well, and bake
slowly one hour.

CUSTARD PIE.—Line the dish with light paste (Molly used what was
left after making the lemon pie,—puff paste will keep a week in
the ice-box), beat one egg, mix with a small cup of milk and one
table-spoonful of sugar, pour it into the pie, grate nutmeg over, and
bake in an oven that is very hot on the bottom.

CLEAR SOUP.—Three pounds of soup-meat, or a soup-bone weighing that;
gash the meat well and put to it three quarts of cold water and three
tea-spoonfuls of salt, half one of pepper, one small carrot, one
turnip, one large onion—each must weigh three ounces _after peeling_;
stick one clove in the onion, cut the vegetables, and when the meat has
slowly boiled two hours, add the vegetables and cook three hours more.
By _slow boiling_ is meant just an occasional bubble in the centre of
the pot. Skim just as the meat comes to the boil, then throw in half a
cup of cold water; take off the scum that will now rise rapidly, adding
a little cold water again when it begins to boil. Skim again after
the vegetables are in, and when done, strain. When cold, take off the
fat; don’t shake the soup, but pour through a clean cloth, all but the
sediment, which keep to make gravy. It must never boil fast, or it will
be cloudy and taste poor. There will be two quarts and a pint of fine,
clear soup, if the boiling has been so slow as to waste very little.

CHICKEN PIE.—Put the neck, gizzard, and feet, scalded, of a chicken
in nearly a pint of water with a small spoonful of salt and a slice
of onion and a piece of carrot as big as your thumb. Let them stew
_slowly_ till there is not more than a gill of liquid, which strain and
put aside; when cold it will be hard jelly. Lay in the bottom of a deep
oval dish that holds rather more than three quarts, about half a pound
of veal cutlet (or beefsteak if you prefer) finely chopped across, yet
not made into sausage-meat; sprinkle on it a scant salt-spoonful of
salt and a little pepper, shave nice sweet salt pork and put a thin
layer of that; then put in the chicken, neatly divided into small
joints, sprinkling each with a little salt and pepper, and always pile
toward the centre; when full add forcemeat balls made thus: Chop _very
finely_ a heaped tea-spoonful of parsley, rub a scant salt-spoonful of
thyme leaves to fine powder (this is easily done if they are put to
stand in a hot place a few minutes before rubbing, taking care they
do not burn), add to them a tea-cup of fine bread crumbs and just
one grate of nutmeg, the nutmeg drawn sharply _once_ up and down the
grater; chop into this a good tea-spoonful of butter, and wet all with
the yolk of an egg; now add a little salt and pepper, tasting to see
when there is enough; make into little round balls and drop into the
pie wherever there is a chink, and pour over all half a cup of water.
Now roll out some rough puff paste (made as for lemon pie), cut strips
half an inch thick and two broad, wet the edges of the dish and lay
this round lightly. If the chicken is packed in the shape of a dome
it will slope from the sides, and the paste can be pressed round the
_inside_ edge to make it adhere to the dish; wet it slightly, then roll
the paste for a cover half an inch thick; lay it on, press, with your
forefinger laid flat to form a groove between the chicken and the dish,
so that the inner edge of the under paste adheres to the upper one;
don’t press the _outer_ edge at all; trim round with a sharp knife,
make a good-sized hole in the centre and ornament with twisted paste,
or as you choose; brush all over with white of egg (not the edges, or
they will not rise) and bake an hour and a quarter in a good steady
oven. Before it is cold, pour the gravy made from giblets through the
hole in the top, using a funnel for the purpose. This pie is excellent
cold, but if made the day before using, when made hot it will take
quite half an hour to heat through. Lay a paper over to protect the
crust.



CHAPTER XI.

WHAT TO DO WITH A SOUP-BONE.


“I DON’T think there is any more painful fact connected with a small
income than one’s inability to do anything for the distress one hears
of,” said Harry as he chipped an egg at breakfast on Sunday morning.

“I feel that too, very keenly; but are you thinking of any special
instance?”

“Yes, a poor fellow was killed a few weeks ago on the track here, and
he left a delicate wife and three little children. They were taking up
a collection in the cars for her yesterday. I contributed my mite, of
course; but what are a few dollars in a case like that? They say he had
been out of work for weeks before he got the employment that led to his
death, and that if some more permanent help does not reach them, they
will be near starvation this winter.”

“Oh, surely not, certainly not, if people only know of the distress;
each one will do a little, and so very little will keep hunger from
them,” said Molly confidently.

“Well, I hope so, but unfortunately times are very hard, and these
people are strangers, while all Greenfield charity is needed for the
well-known poor.”

“Well, I believe in each one doing the duty that lies before him
without waiting to see if others do theirs. We are strangers here, too;
so perhaps we have the best right to help those like ourselves.”

“But, my dear Molly,” expostulated Harry, “we can but just meet our own
expenses.”

“I know, but if there is any real need we _must_ do our part; not as
I should like to do it, for to a needy family I would _like_ to give
beefsteak and comforts as well as necessities, but that we can’t do.
What we can we will. Can we spare a dollar a month, do you think, from
our twenty dollars margin?”

“Why, of course, if you say so.”

“I do, if necessary. I will see the woman and judge if the need is very
pressing, and then, perhaps, some of our neighbors will do something.”

“You’re a brick, Molly, my dear, but what you may be thinking of I
don’t know.”

“If the necessity is great I can do something; if it is not, the woman
may despise what I _can_ do.”

No more was said, but next morning, on her way back from the depot,
after seeing Harry off, she went to a row of tiny tenements, built on
the street through which the railroad passed, evidently the homes of
the very poor, and in one of which she was told Mrs. Gibbs was to be
found.

In the very poorest of the very poor little group, she found the widow
and her fatherless children, the oldest only five, the youngest not
six weeks old. The mother looked so frail and white that Molly’s heart
ached to think that what _she_ could do was hardly the sort of help
this poor soul needed. Surely beef tea, and milk and eggs, and every
nourishing thing was required to build up that fragile frame. And
all she would be sure of giving was bread and occasionally, perhaps,
a savory meal. How she wished she knew more people whom she might
influence for the right kind of help!

She talked to Mrs. Gibbs, and learned that her poor husband had been in
work only a fortnight, after being months idle from sickness, when the
accident happened, and that the baby was only three days old when its
father died.

“At first every one was good; they came and helped me and did a great
deal; but there are so many needing help. I could not expect it all to
be given to me, and I did think I might get a little sewing when I was
out of bed, but I have no machine, and so I can only earn a few cents a
week. What I should have done I don’t know, if a kind gentleman hadn’t
made a collection in his car for me, and brought me on Saturday $12,
which is owing for two months’ rent.”

“And you will have it _all_ to pay away?” cried Molly.

“Yes, ma’am, I must, but oh, I’m so thankful to have it. The dread of
losing the roof over us is worse than hunger or anything.”

“But surely you have not needed food?”

The tears came to the woman’s eyes.

“I’m never hungry, but the children are, and yet I think if I could get
good food for a week or two, I should get strong and could do work.”

“That food she must have,” thought Molly. “At all events, for a few
days she shall have half a pound of steak or a chop. I believe her.
That delicate look is semi-starvation.”

Molly bought at the butcher’s that morning one pound of the tender side
of the round steak. It cost sixteen cents, and she intended Mrs. Gibbs
to have one third for three days.

“Then when she has one nourishing solid meal a day she can make up on
other things, and the dollar we have squeezed out for her must be made
to go as far as possible.”

When Molly had made her clear soup on Saturday she had looked
regretfully at the couple of pounds of meat and vegetables that were
strained from it, wishing she knew to whom to give it, as her own
family was not large enough to need it, and hoping some one might
ask for food at the door. She had kept it, also about a cup of the
soup that was thick at the bottom (the richest part, although for
appearance’ sake it must not be used with _clear_ soup).

She had a use for it now: it would make a savory hash, not nourishing
enough for an invalid like Mrs. Gibbs to depend on, but good for her
children and herself, in addition to the steak.

Marta was busy washing; so, soon after eleven, Molly chopped the meat
and vegetables quite fine, added about a third the quantity of cold
mashed potato to it, a tea-spoonful of Worcestershire sauce, and a
table-spoonful of flour. This she moistened with a half cup of the soup
and seasoned it with pepper and salt. Then she greased a deep yellow
pie-plate, put the hash in it and set it in the oven.

Having some kind of hot bread every morning, Molly used but very little
bread. She had made a loaf on Saturday which was more than half left.
She must give that, and make a few quick rolls for their own dinner.

While the hash was getting brown she put a pint of flour to dry and
warm, and the third of a cake of compressed yeast to dissolve in a cup
of warm milk, into which, when well mixed, she stirred a table-spoonful
of butter till it got soft, and then the beaten yolk of an egg, two
tea-spoonfuls of sugar and one half of salt.

She made a hole in the flour, poured in the milk, etc., and stirred
them together, adding a little more warm milk till it was a thick
paste, too stiff for batter, yet not stiff enough for dough,—_just
as stiff as it would be stirred with a spoon_. She beat it for five
minutes, and then set it, covered with a cloth, in a warm place.

The hash was now quite brown; and, as Molly had no one to send to-day,
she put on her bonnet and took it and the bread and piece of steak to
Mrs. Gibbs, begging her to cook and eat the latter for herself.

“I will for baby’s sake. Thank you! Oh, thank you!”

At two o’clock the rolls Molly had set had risen to the top of the
bowl, which had been half full. She beat them down with a spoon
thoroughly, covered them again and put them to rise, and in an hour
they were again light. The dough was beaten down, a dozen gem-pans
were greased, and a scant table-spoonful of the paste put into each;
the paste was so thick and ropy that it was difficult to take up with
a spoon, and a floured knife helped the performance. There was a small
cupful left, and to this Molly put a tea-spoonful more sugar, and put
it into a small round tin pan, that had once evidently been a dipper;
this was for breakfast. They were all now put to rise, and in half an
hour they looked like little balloons rising out of the pans. They were
brushed lightly over with warm milk and put in the oven; the rolls took
fifteen minutes, the breakfast-cake twenty-five, to bake.

The chicken pie Molly had made for Sunday had only been half eaten,
as there had been three quarters of a pound of veal in it as well as
the chicken,—the drumsticks of which, by the way, she had reserved for
Monday morning’s breakfast, prepared in the following way:

The sinews were taken out, when the feet were cut off, in this way: the
yellow skin only was cut, the sinews were drawn out, the bones removed
and their places filled with a forcemeat made of veal chopped very
fine, with an equal proportion of salt pork. Molly had bought enough
veal on Saturday for dinner and the pie, and she took a very small
piece of that cooked in the latter, for her forcemeat, of which there
was needed only two scant table-spoonfuls altogether, and just enough
of the jelly to moisten it. She seasoned the forcemeat rather highly,
then filled the place of the removed bones with it, taking care not to
pack it too tight, sewed up the opening (having left a good piece of
the skin of the thigh on the legs when removing them), wrapped each in
a very thin slice of pork, tied them round, floured them, and baked
them in a sharp oven twenty-five minutes, and they were brown and crisp
when taken up.

To make the pie presentable for dinner at small expense she had ordered
a dozen large oysters; the oyster liquor was strained, a table-spoonful
of butter and half one of flour put in a saucepan, stirred till they
bubbled, then the cold pie, all but the pastry, added to it, with
part of the oyster liquor and the oysters. The pastry was cut into
neat pieces, and put into the oven to get hot, while Molly chopped a
table-spoonful of parsley very fine.

When the fricassee came to the boiling-point, it was carefully stirred
round and the parsley sprinkled in, and then the oysters were left
five minutes to plump. While doing this she directed Marta to prepare
a _fondue_, telling her to put a table-spoonful of butter and one of
flour in a small saucepan, stir them till they bubbled, and then to add
a gill of milk to them.

“That is really thick white sauce, you see, Marta; you will soon know
of how many things a good white sauce is the foundation. Stir to
prevent burning. Now add to it the two ounces of cheese I told you to
grate, and a level salt-spoonful of salt, and as much pepper as will
go on the end of the salt-spoon. Now you can take it off the fire, and
turn it into a bowl; beat the yolks of two eggs light, and stir them to
it. While you dish and dress the cabbage, and take up the potatoes and
fricassee, I will beat the whites of three eggs solid.”

Molly wanted to see if Marta remembered how the cabbage was dressed the
last time, and left her to it.

When the vegetables were ready the fricassee was taken up, the chicken
and veal laid in the centre of the dish, the oysters round it, and the
strips of pastry at the four corners.

Now the whites of eggs were stirred into the _fondue_ gently; it was
poured into a small buttered dish, which it only half filled, and was
put to bake while the first part of the dinner was eaten.

“This will be done as soon as it is golden brown, and you must bring it
to table _at once_, as it will fall if left standing.”

Molly meant to have dinners that were as little trouble as possible on
Monday, feeling that as it was washing day Marta should have less to
do; therefore the bill of fare was only

         _Chicken and Oyster Fricassee._
    _Cabbage._                    _Potatoes._
        _Fondue._    _Peaches and Cream._

She had also bought again a forequarter of lamb, so that she might see
how far Marta had profited by her instructions. She would vary the
cooking somewhat, but the cutting and arrangement of the joint would
be the same. She noted in her account-book that evening:

    Lamb,                    $1.10
    Cream,                     .10
    Oysters,                   .15
    Butter, 3 lbs.,            .75
    Eggs, 2 dozen,             .50
    Peaches, 4 quarts,         .20
                               ———
          Total,             $2.80

She had learnt that the last week she had ordered too little butter and
needed three pounds instead of two.



CHAPTER XII.

MOLLY AND MRS. LENNOX ON THE RUFFLE QUESTION—FRICASSEE OF
MUTTON—CABBAGE AGAIN.


MARTA, unpromising as her appearance was, had shown considerable
aptitude for cooking, but about the house generally she was rather
hopeless. She had succeeded already in breaking two of the pretty
ornaments Molly had on her bureau, and therefore the latter had decided
to trust her to touch nothing that required careful handling. She was
hopelessly mixed, too, about laying the table. The breakfast was laid
as for dinner, and _vice versa_, and the result was that Molly did not
depend on her to do either, it being easier to do them herself. When
she had kept house a few years longer she learnt that to do things
herself was, in spite of the proverb, the way _not_ to get them done
well by any one else. But the trouble was so slight she did not think
it worth while to struggle against it.

She meant to have exactly the same dinner as last Tuesday, only she had
shoulder of lamb roasted instead of breast. She stood by while Marta
cut the shoulder out, and then read over the recipe for tomato soup,
and lemon pie, pastry for which was left from the chicken pie made on
Saturday, and then left her to cook the dinner alone, while she went to
Mrs. Lennox according to her promise.

She found that lady busy ironing. She looked white and exhausted,
and yet there was a large pile of little clothes all trimmed by the
mother’s industrious fingers, and, alas, trimmed so much.

Yet who could not understand a mother’s desire to see her children
dressed prettily, when it cost only a few hours more time, a little
more fatigue to make them so? and how few are able to blend beauty
and strict simplicity, although when it is blended the result is more
charming than any dictate of fashion?

“Let me help you iron for an hour. We need not begin cooking just yet,
if you saved the mutton broth, as there is no gravy to make.”

“Yes, I saved it, but you mustn’t think of ironing,—please don’t.”

“I’d like it. I am not expert, but every little helps, and your
instruction will do me good. Let me go on with that ruffle, while you
get something I can’t do. My Marta is ironing to-day, but by the look
of things I’m afraid I shall have to learn, myself, in order to teach
her, if she proves teachable.”

“Ironing I have learned to do pretty well from necessity. I only wish
I had been brought up to do everything, it would all have come so much
easier to me.”

“But it seems to me you can do so many things well,” said Molly. “You
sew so beautifully, and this ironing would shame most people who have
been brought up to do it.”

“Yes, I can do anything I make up my mind to do; so can most people, I
think.”

“Yes, and that is why if an educated woman is forced into unaccustomed
fields of work she does it better than those who are professedly
working-women,—better in every case where sinew is not the chief
desideratum.”

“Only,” rejoined Mrs. Lennox, “she works with brains and hands too,
and that is why the work tires her so much more than those who work
mechanically.”

“I suppose so. I am a strong young woman and have never known a day’s
sickness, yet I am tired to death after a couple of hours in the
kitchen, while Marta, who has been doing the hard work and has been
on her feet hours longer, is fresh, and has to go on working while
I can rest. Yet that thought makes me very tolerant of a servant’s
shortcomings, seeing my own limitations.”

Molly was busy ironing the ruffle of a child’s petticoat as she spoke,
and Mrs. Lennox said, partly in explanation perhaps: “I dare say you
think I’m foolish to trim my children’s clothes and make myself so
much work; but if you use cheap materials they look really quite mean
without it. Mr. Lennox constantly quotes the beauty of simplicity,
and points to the pictures of English children, as if I couldn’t
see the beauty as well as he. But simplicity is costly or dowdy. A
shilling calico or crossbar made ‘Kate Greenaway’ fashion would look
a poverty-stricken effort, while in linen or fine nainsook or India
muslin they are charming. Flimsy materials won’t hang well unless they
are trimmed; at the same time I do think I am wearing myself out for
the sake of appearance, and often resolve that I will never make or
iron another ruffle.”

Molly had no experience as a mother of a family to offer poor strenuous
Mrs. Lennox, whom she found a much brighter and more sensible woman
than she had at first supposed. Yet she felt that the ruffle question
was a very serious one.

“I hardly dare say anything about the matter, because I have so little
experience, but I do feel that you are not strong enough to do such
ironing as this; and yet, as you say, poor material plainly made looks
mean. How would it be to give up wash goods for every-day use and wear
dark blue flannel for a while? Even wealthy people do that at the
seaside, and one flannel frock will cost no more than the four calico
ones that take its place.”

“I have thought of it, and I do believe I will make an effort another
summer; but when you’ve so many children the frocks come down from
one to another, and the only one I have ever to get _new_ for is the
eldest, but next year I’ll get her a flannel frock and see how it
works; but though light flannel is really cool, she will fancy she’s
hot if she sees her sisters in cotton.”

“Now, if you’ll tell me where your cold meat is, I will show you how
the cold mutton may be made a very nice dish.”

The meat and broth were soon before her, and by her direction Mrs.
Lennox peeled and sliced two large onions and put them on to boil.

“What vegetables did you intend having?”

“I’ve been so busy ironing that I did not think of anything but
potatoes, though Mr. Lennox does like a second one.”

“I see you have cabbage in the garden, and corn.”

“Yes, but the corn is too old, and the cabbage there is no time for;
besides, we have it so seldom, because I have to cook it in the morning
so that the terrible smell may be out of the house before Mr. Lennox
comes home, he is so fastidious; though, I must say, the smell of
cabbage is something any one not fastidious might object to.”

“How long do you boil it?”

“Oh, two hours, sometimes more.”

“Do you mind my boiling it to-night?”

Mrs. Lennox stared. She had some confidence in Molly, yet cabbage for
dinner—and it was now after five—was something absurd.

“But it won’t be done.”

“Oh yes, I see the kettle is full and boils. I am quite sure you
won’t believe me unless I show you; but I do assure you there is no
unpleasant odor about, cabbage boiled as the English boil it, and in
Europe it is considered the most wholesome of vegetables.”

Mrs. Lennox listened politely.

“I will get a cabbage, of course.” She left the kitchen for the
purpose, and Molly smiled. She knew Mrs. Lennox was thinking what
others less polite had said to her, “but _we_ like our cabbage very
well done,” as if Molly must prefer it half raw.

Molly had cut from the bones of roast and boiled mutton quite a large
dish of meat, and the onions being tender she poured off the water from
them, put to them a table-spoonful of butter and one of flour, with
salt and pepper. As she was stirring them about, Mrs. Lennox brought
in the cabbage, and cutting away leaves and part of core as Molly
directed, laid it in water, and half filled a good-sized pot with
boiling water and set it on the range.

“For your six-o’clock dinner it must be well drained and go into that
water at half past five.”

“I obey unquestioningly, but I confess to strong doubts as to whether
we mean the same thing by boiled cabbage”—laughing.

“I know we don’t,” said Molly maliciously. “Will you look at this? I am
going to pour in a half pint of the broth, which I find you did flavor
with vegetables.”

“Yes, I’m not so ungrateful as to neglect your instructions, after the
success of our Saturday night’s dinner.” (It should be mentioned that
on Sunday Mrs. Lennox had come to tell Molly how good it was, and how
much enjoyed.) “There was some left, very little, and a little kidney
from yesterday’s breakfast; the children did not take any of that.
This morning I warmed both together with a very little of that broth,
and they made another good breakfast, and I felt that I had achieved
something.”

“That was a splendid idea; so few people think what two or three
odds and ends put together will do, though each may be so little as
to be almost worthless alone. Real economical management lies in
this _dovetailing_ one thing with another. This is what English and
Americans know so little, and the French so well.”

“I see that sauce is now like onion sauce, but less white.”

“It is onion sauce, made with broth instead of milk. Now we will lay
the meat in and leave it to steep in this sauce at the back of the
range, where it will keep at boiling-point but not boil. The last
thing, add a tea-spoonful of vinegar or a few capers.”

Now the cabbage.

“Yes, I’m waiting for that miracle,” said Mrs. Lennox, coming with it
in the colander, after shaking the water well out. “I shall lay the
blame on your shoulders if Mr. Lennox’s olfactories are offended; he
will forgive you anything, since through you we have lived better and
spent a dollar less in three days. There is nothing truer than that the
way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

“Then we must take that path,” said Molly merrily. “The cabbage needs a
table-spoonful of salt added to the water and a scant half tea-spoonful
of soda.”

“I shall wait and see the success of the cabbage,” added Molly,
laughing, when she had seen it boiling furiously, “although the meat is
done, so I may iron another piece or two.”

Both took up their irons, and after a few minutes Mrs. Lennox
exclaimed:—

“It is positively true!”

“What is?”

“That cabbage has no disagreeable smell.”

“No, but it would have if you left it on the stove to cook slowly for
an hour or two. It is the long _slow_ cooking in _little_ water that
ruins it and all green vegetables.”

Mrs. Lennox now prepared to lay the cloth, and when she returned to the
kitchen Molly had taken up the cabbage and pressed it. It was bright
pale green, streaked, where the heart was, with creamy white.

“Is that the cabbage? and is it done?”

“Try for yourself. You see it is far more tender than when slowly
boiled, and is marrowy as spinach.”

“So it is; but how did you find it out?”

“I didn’t. I was told by an English lady. I had noticed that all
English cooking-books gave twenty minutes to half an hour to boil
cabbage, while ours always say two hours. And I noticed, too, it
was never alluded to as a coarse, rank vegetable, and I asked an
explanation from her, and she also told me she dared not eat cabbage
here, for fear of indigestion; but I never yet found any one who
believed me when I told them cabbage should only be boiled twenty-five
minutes, nor can I induce them to try it. They all think that I prefer
half-raw cabbage. Now I leave you to dress it as you like, for I must
run home.”

“I shall just put pepper, salt, and butter on it, it looks so
pretty,—and to think there is only a pleasant odor!”

When Molly reached home she found Marta looking very scared.

“What is wrong?” asked Molly, sure that some disaster had occurred.

Marta silently pointed to the soup, which looked like pink curds
and whey; then, turning rather sulkily to the stewed tomatoes, she
evidently expected to be scolded.

Molly said nothing for the moment, but opened the oven and found the
shoulder of lamb beautifully brown, and other things doing well; she
was heartily glad there was something to praise.

“You’ve made a mistake with the soup, Marta; but everything else looks
very nice. That meat is done as well as I could do it. Now, in the
first place, you were in too great a hurry. The milk and tomato were
only to go together the last thing, but that hasn’t caused the milk to
curdle. You cannot have read your recipe over as you made it, and have
forgotten the soda?”

“No, I put the soda in.”

Molly felt she could not be speaking the truth, but when she tasted the
soup, found she was.

“Well, I don’t understand this. Tell me exactly how you did it.”

Marta rehearsed her movements and then it turned out she had put the
soda in _last_, _after_ the tomato, and of course it had curdled before
that. She explained this, told her to strain the soup, and then went to
prepare the table quickly, for Harry would be home in a minute.

On the whole, although the soup was a failure, Molly was satisfied
with Marta’s first unaided efforts. The lemon pie, in spite of her own
admonition to handle the paste very little, she had pressed with her
thumb round the edge, to make it _smooth_, no doubt. The consequence
was, the paste was nice and short, but bore no resemblance to puff
paste, either in appearance or in eating, but Molly had not expected
anything better, and reserved comments until the next time, when she
would again show her how to use pastry.



CHAPTER XIII.

PREPARING TO SAVE WORK—BROWN THICKENING—WHITE THICKENING—CARAMEL.


MOLLY had resolved to take the first opportunity to prepare two or
three articles for her storeroom which would simplify work for Marta,
and indeed she herself had felt the lack already of these very articles.

Brown thickening saves a great deal of standing over the fire and
stirring of butter and flour together, when it is ready, and if
thickening of soup or stew is intrusted to inexperienced hands, it
often results in something very different from what it should be, while
with ready-prepared thickening (_roux_, the French call it) a blunder
is less possible. The ironing being out of the way then on Wednesday,
she resolved to make that and several other things, or rather to
superintend while Marta carried out her orders.

“Marta, put half a pound of butter in a small saucepan or bowl to melt,
and while it is doing so, weigh and sift half a pound of flour. Skim
the butter; now pour it off carefully from the milk that has settled
at the bottom into another small thick saucepan, and stir it into the
flour. Keep on stirring till it is bright brown. Watch carefully that
it doesn’t burn; that is almost dark enough. In saying ‘bright brown’ I
mean a rich, pale golden brown, not dark like coffee. Now put it into
this little marmalade jar, and when it is cold lay a piece of paper on
the top and put it away for use. It will keep for months, and when I
tell you to thicken any brown gravy, use this for the purpose instead
of fresh butter and flour. The flavor is richer than any hastily made
thickening.

“Now we will make some white thickening. Wash out the saucepan, melt
the butter, half a pound, just in the same way. Now stir in it half a
pound of flour; keep on stirring as long as you can, before it begins
to change color. It must _not be at all brown_, yet the flour must be
well cooked. Therefore stir it in a cooler spot than the other. When
the flour no longer smells _raw_, put it into a small bowl. Cover as
you did the other and put it away. This is for white thickening, for
fricassee or to dress vegetables, etc.

“Now wash the saucepan again, and we will make some caramel for
coloring. Put in it a cup of sugar and a quarter cup of water. Let them
boil till the syrup begins to change color, then watch it carefully.
Tilt the saucepan from all sides so that it may get equally brown. The
moment it is all nearly black, but before it chars in the least, put
to it a cup of boiling water; take care of yourself, for it sputters a
good deal. Now let it boil till it is all dissolved and like very dark
syrup. A tea-spoonful of this, or less, will give a fine color to gravy
or soup if not dark enough in itself. It will also color icing for cake
or custard, and in fact is always very useful.”



CHAPTER XIV.

MARKETING—APPLE PUDDING—LIVER AND BACON—BRAISED BEEF—BOILING PUDDINGS.


WHEN Molly reached her butcher’s next morning, Wednesday, she was
surprised to find Mrs. Lennox there, and by the way she hastened to the
door to greet her it was evident she was waiting for her.

“I knew you would come here, and I am going to enlist under your
banner, so you must tell me what to buy and how to cook it.”

“Oh dear me!” cried Molly in consternation.

“Do you mind? I beg your pardon, I ought”—

“Oh, it is not that, but it’s such a responsibility. Suppose I advise
something you don’t like?”

“If you did it wouldn’t be very dreadful, but I don’t believe you will.
I only know we’ve enjoyed every meal since Saturday, and I’m nearly a
dollar in pocket.”

“If that is really so I shall have something to suggest in colder
weather. You see I know nothing of your tastes.”

“I believe we like a good many things we don’t have, but anything
outside of steak and chops will be a welcome change.”

“What do you say to liver and bacon, and, as it is so inexpensive, have
a nice apple pie or pudding with it. Do you like liver?”

“Yes, but Mr. Lennox protests I do not cook it right.”

“Suppose we take one—a lamb’s liver”—

“Lamb’s? I always get calf’s.”

“I think you will find this quite as nice and less expensive,—and I
believe I will take one myself. Harry used to anathematize the liver
at breakfast in the boarding-house so vigorously, for being cooked in
thick slices like steak and whitey-brown in color, that I think he will
enjoy it now.”

“I am afraid that is the way mine generally is. Now what shall I get
for to-morrow?”

“If you had not had mutton so lately, I would suggest Irish stew; but
what do you say to a pot-roast of beef,—or, to be finer, we will call
it ‘braised beef’?”

“My dear, we have nothing but mutton and beef, so an Irish stew will be
very good; and I certainly want to know how to make it well.”

“Still, I advise the small pot-roast to-morrow and an Irish stew later.”

“Very well, either will be good. Now what meat shall I get for it?”

“Three pounds of _thick_ flank—of beef.”

The butcher handed out a thin piece nearly all fat.

“No, no, that is not the part; have you not the flank with a broad
piece of lean running through it?” asked Molly.

The butcher now produced a piece of meat about four inches thick, three
of which were lean.

“That is it.”

It was ten cents a pound. By Molly’s direction Mrs. Lennox got also
half a pound of fat bacon, and her expenditure was:—

    Lamb’s liver      .10
    Bacon             .07
    Beef              .30
                       ——
                      .47

“Now we have meat for two days, for about what I have always paid for
one.”

“And you’ll have something for breakfast, you’ll find.”

“The great thing will be the variation of our old routine, and the
money-saving; but can’t you just _tell_ me how they should be cooked,
instead of coming yourself?”

“Yes, I will write out the recipes and send Marta with them.”

“And the apple pudding.”

“Ah, yes, you have suet in the house? Well, make a crust exactly as
you did for the pot-pie; roll it out half an inch thick. Grease a bowl
well and lay the paste in it, letting what is to spare hang over the
sides; fill it with pared and cored apples cut small, and put over them
two table-spoonfuls of sugar and a little water. Wet the border of the
paste and gather up the overhanging sides, pinching them all together,
so that there is no chance for juice to escape. Then dip the centre of
a cloth in boiling water, flour it and put it over the pudding, tie it
firmly with string just under the flare of the bowl, so that it will
not slip up; bring the four corners of the cloth up over the top of the
pudding and tie them.

“Before you begin to make the pudding, set a pot, that is large enough
to boil it in, on the stove, half full of water; when it is fast
boiling, put the pudding in and let it boil up quickly again, and boil
for an hour and a half without stopping.”

“But I suppose the water must not cover over the top of it.”

“Oh, indeed, yes; so long as the water _boils_ there is no danger of
its getting into the pudding. As soon as it stops it begins to soak;
that is why so many boiled puddings are heavy and soggy.”

“Well, I never knew that. I knew they were often heavy, but not why. I
rather supposed it was because they were boiled in too much water, and
so it got into them.”

They had talked along the quiet village streets, until Molly’s door was
reached, and half an hour afterwards Marta ran across the road with the
two following recipes:—

POT-ROAST OR BRAISED BEEF.—Remove the skin and some of the fat from
the flank of beef (put both in the oven with half a pint of water to
“try out”), sprinkle the beef with two level tea-spoonfuls of salt and
half a salt-spoonful of pepper, a table-spoonful of finely-chopped
parsley, if you have it, and a scant tea-spoonful of thyme, also, if
you have it. Roll up the beef tightly with these flavorings inside,
flour the meat and put in a thick saucepan or pot with a wine-glass
of vinegar and two cloves. Cover very closely, and if the lid of the
saucepan does not fit well put a clean cloth over it. Let it so remain
till nearly browned, turning it about occasionally. Have ready a carrot
and half an onion sliced, and when the meat has been _slowly_ cooking
nearly two hours, put them to it with half a pint of boiling water and
a dessert-spoonful of Worcestershire or any nice table sauce, _if you
have it_, and simmer very slowly two hours longer; then take up the
meat, remove the strings, carefully skim all fat from the gravy which
pour over it.

In summer put a pint of young peas into the gravy; fried potatoes are
very good with this dish.

N. B. You will observe I have said with regard to some of the
flavorings “_if you have it_.” I mean by that they are not _necessary_,
but a great improvement; and, as they cost very little, if you want
plain dishes made savory it is economical to have them always in the
house.

LIVER AND BACON.—Wash the liver, dry it, cut it with a sharp knife into
slices the third of an inch thick. Dip each slice in flour. Cut some
bacon in thin slices, remove the rind and fry it crisp but don’t burn
it; then lay in the liver, only enough to cover the bottom of the pan;
when nicely brown turn each slice; brown the other side and take it up
on a hot dish with the bacon around it. Now if the fat is not burned
(and to prevent that, it should be fried where the fire is good but not
too fierce) stir into it a scant dessert-spoonful of flour, mashing
all the brown bits and lumps with the back of a spoon; when it is all
a _fine brown_, have a cup of boiling water ready, and pour it quickly
into the pan. Stir till smooth. Let it boil down till thick as good
cream, season with pepper and salt and a tea-spoonful of vinegar or
Worcestershire sauce, and pour it over the liver.

If by chance the fat was burned pour it out of the pan, for it would
make a _bitter_, _black_ gravy, and spoil the whole. Put into the pan a
dessert-spoonful of butter and one of flour, let them get _quite brown_
stirring the while, when proceed with water as before.

If you have ready-browned flour in the house it saves standing over the
fire waiting for it to brown in the fat or butter, and as you may like
to prepare some I send directions. Of course whitey-brown gravy is very
disagreeable.

BROWN FLOUR, for thickening gravy quickly. Sift half a pound of flour
into a dripping-pan and set it in a hot oven. Look at it occasionally
and stir it well, taking care it does not burn; when it is the color
of coffee that is half milk, or pale _café au lait_ color, take it out
and put it in a tin for use. You will require a third more of this to
thicken than of raw flour.



CHAPTER XV.

ROLLS—BAKED LIVER—CROQUETTES—WHAT WAS THE MATTER WITH THEM—HOTCH-POTCH.


MARTA had twice made bread very satisfactorily, and Molly thought she
might now show her how to make plain rolls; therefore she had told her
to save out a piece of her bread dough, about a pint bowl full, and
when she returned from taking the recipes to Mrs. Lennox, Molly was
ready to show her how to make them.

It was ten o’clock, and Molly reckoned they would be warm for dinner if
made now.

“These are going to be quite plain rolls; when you succeed in these we
will try finer ones. Get a good table-spoonful of butter,—lard would
do, but I use it as little as possible for health’s sake—put it near
the fire to warm a very little; add to the dough two tea-spoonfuls
of sugar; now the butter is pliable, work it in; it will take five
minutes’ constant kneading to make the butter and dough quite smooth.
Now you see it is softer than bread dough; if a crisp crust is wanted,
work in gradually a little more flour, almost a table-spoonful,—if the
weather is cold have it warm; if a soft crust is preferred leave it as
it is. Put the dough to rise in a warm place behind the stove, but not
too hot, or it may sour; in from two to three hours it will have risen
again very light; work it over thoroughly for three or four minutes
till it is again as small as now, and set it to rise again, and when
light come and tell me.

“This evening we shall have bisque of oysters, baked liver, and
croquettes, and you can make a peach pudding by your recipe, but I want
you to use cold lamb for croquettes; I will prepare it before I go out
of the kitchen so that it will be ready whenever you are, and remember
if you forget anything to come to me.”

Molly cut the meat from the cold shoulder of lamb, removed every bit of
skin and gristle, and then chopped it very fine; she had not left that
to Marta because she might not be careful enough. She also flavored the
meat by using a bit of onion as large as a dime chopped till as fine
as sand, and a tea-spoonful of parsley, also chopped fine, and a pinch
of thyme; these were mixed with the lamb, and Marta was told to do the
rest as if making croquettes of chicken.

Molly intended asking her friend, Mrs. Welles, to come and stay a week
with her soon, and as that would entail a little extra expense, she
meant to economize somewhat for a week or two; therefore she omitted
some little items from her bill of fare, and substituted others that
would be cheaper. This interfered very slightly with her plan of
letting Marta do alone nearly all that she herself had done the last
week.

The girl would be able to make croquettes with one meat as easily as
another, and although for the sake of practice she meant to repeat the
dishes, she did not care to have them in the same order. The bisque
of oysters she would have in place of clams for the sake of variety
and of showing Marta that the principle was the same in both, and that
another time she might substitute lobster instead of either, and yet
the process would not change. Another thing she had in mind was that as
the breast of lamb she had for Thursday would be a rather slim dinner,
the oyster patties, of which Harry was extravagantly fond, would make
up.

Soon after one o’clock Marta came to say that the rolls had risen, been
worked down, and were now light enough, she thought, to _push_ down.

When she went into the kitchen she found the dough just about as light
as bread should be.

“No, Marta, this is not light enough. Rolls should rise a great deal
lighter than bread. They will need to rise another half hour—but as
I see the oysters are here, I will use some of them for patties for
to-morrow’s dinner.”

Molly took a third of the pint of oysters, and then half a gill of the
liquid, and scalded both for a minute; then, taking out the oysters,
added an equal quantity of milk to the liquor, and in another small
saucepan put two tea-spoonfuls of butter, the same of flour; and,
stirring them together till they bubbled, she poured milk and oyster
liquid to them, stirring till they were quite smooth. She seasoned this
sauce and then dropped the oysters, each one cut in four, into it. She
did not mean to use them to-day, but the oysters kept raw would not be
good; cooked in this way they would be as good as when fresh.

The rolls being now light Molly stuck her fingers two or three times
downward into the light mass, and it sank under them.

“This is what you are to do, Marta, when I tell you to ‘push the rolls
down;’ do this twice or three times after they have been _twice_
thoroughly worked over—take notice, only lightly stick your fingers in,
to let out air; don’t knead them at all, nor try to make them smooth;
leave them just so; they come up again very rapidly after the first
time, and this is the secret of having rolls of a close, exceedingly
light texture, that will have no doughy inside.”

An hour later the rolls had risen and been pushed down three times, and
Molly, after working them all over again, took a little piece of butter
on her hand, broke off bits of the dough as big as an English walnut,
and rolled them between her buttered palms, and then dropped each on to
a greased tin two inches apart. They were set to rise till they would
be like small balloons—each quite double the size it was when first
made. They would perhaps take three quarters of an hour to rise, but
Molly cautioned Marta that she could not go by time in bread-making,
for that differed so constantly; in summer it would be less, and in
winter more; the degree of heat in the kitchen would make the greatest
difference; also, some kinds of flour rose more quickly than others.

It must not be supposed Molly had forgotten Mrs. Gibbs; she had her and
her family in mind when she ordered the liver. The neck end of her lamb
this week she was going to make into a nourishing Scotch broth, and out
of the dollar, of which she had spent only fifteen cents as yet, she
bought ten pounds of rye flour and five of white.

This would provide bread for a month, and as the poor woman was yet so
weak, Molly meant to have it made at her own house for the present.

When the rolls were light enough to bake, they were brushed over with
white of egg. The chicken pie on Saturday, it will be remembered, had
only taken part of the white left from the forcemeat balls; the rest
was beaten with a tea-spoonful of water and set in the ice-box for just
such an occasion as this, and was now used to brush over the rolls.

While the rolls baked, Molly prepared the liver for the dinner, and
told Marta to make the Scotch hotch-potch for the Gibbs family.

“Cut the meat up in pieces; put it in a saucepan with two onions, half
a small cup of Scotch barley, a carrot and a turnip, a quart and pint
of water, and a tea-spoonful and a half of salt; in an hour shred up a
quarter of a cabbage and add it. Let it all simmer for two hours and a
half, or until the barley is very soft.”

Molly, while Marta was doing this, washed and dried the liver, cut
about a dozen strips of fat pork as thick as her little finger, and
with a narrow knife made many incisions through the liver and then
inserted the pork. When all was done she floured it, sprinkled a little
salt over it and it was ready for the oven.

When the liver was cooked—it took just half an hour in a hot oven—it
was taken up, put on a hot dish, and a half cup of boiling water poured
into it; round the pan was a great deal of thick glaze; this was all
rubbed off and dissolved in the gravy; a tea-spoonful of Worcestershire
sauce was added and a pinch of salt, and then the gravy was poured over
the liver.

The dish was a great success. Harry, without an idea that it had cost
but ten cents, cut it in slices a quarter of an inch thick, which,
where mottled with the pork and the rich brown gravy, gave quite an
air to the homely viand. The bisque of oysters Marta had managed very
nicely, and also the peach pudding, all but the foaming sauce, which
Molly had shown her how to make; it was a good sauce, but did not foam;
the only real fault was with the croquettes, which were like sausage
meat and not at all creamy. Molly made no comments at the time, knowing
that a much more experienced cook often made no better, but next
morning she meant to find out where the mistake was.

“Did you notice, Marta, that the croquettes last night were not quite
right?”

“Yes, they were harder, but I went exactly by the directions.”

“I want you to tell me just what you did, and then we will see where
the mistake came in. You managed everything else so nicely.”

Marta repeated the recipe correctly and Molly was puzzled.

“Are you sure you did just as you say?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Then show me how you measured half a pint.”

“Ah, there it is; you have really only a little more than a gill. Did
you measure like that yesterday?”

Marta confessed that she had, and the puzzle was solved, and more
understandable still when Molly saw what she called a table-spoonful
of flour; it was really near two, for she had used the large kitchen
basting-spoon, and used it heaped.

“Now, Marta, I want to tell you something. You are anxious to cook like
the man cook you once knew; that is, you want everything you do to
turn out always right, and they will only do that by your being very
exact about measuring and weighing. A tea-spoonful more or less seems
a trifle, and yet it will spoil many things. Remember, if you have a
recipe that calls for a table-spoonful, it means just that, if the
recipe is good for anything, and half a pint is exactly that measure
_full_, not partly full.

“Gouffé, the celebrated French cook, who wrote a remarkable book for
other cooks, was so particular that he explains exactly how much he
means by weight when he says ‘a pinch of salt,’ and he directs one to
weigh each carrot and turnip for soup till one’s eye is accustomed to
the sizes.”



CHAPTER XVI.

RYE BREAD—OYSTER PATTIES—KNUCKLE OF VEAL, À LA MAÎTRE D’HÔTEL—A SAVORY
DISH.


MOLLY knew the virtues of rye bread; and in perfection, as had she
eaten it once in her life, she had enjoyed it much,—it had been so
sweet, so light, and seemed to have the quality of never getting
stale. She knew that to some people rye bread represented a loaf that
cut like liver, that was sweet in flavor, but in wheaten bread would
have been called heavy; and to others it was a sour, dark bread, much
approved by Germans. But that rye bread need be neither of these she
knew well, but she had no recipe. Then she remembered Mrs. Merit and
her experience; perhaps she could help her with rye bread, as she was a
famous economist.

She therefore paid a visit to her neighbor, and after a respectable
amount of small talk broached her subject.

“Rye bread! laws yes—when my family was large we had it, because it
don’t cost more than half as much as wheat flour does, and it’s as
easy to make as mush. You just make a thick batter of one third white
flour, two thirds rye; stir into each quart two tea-spoonfuls of
baking-powder—and bake.”

This was a new recipe to Molly, and she meant to try it some day; but
for the Gibbs family, she was satisfied that a properly yeast-leavened
bread would be more wholesome, and she therefore resolved to see what
she could do. She had quite a library of cook-books, but rye bread
for general use did not seem to be in them. On thinking it over she
couldn’t see why rye bread should not be made in the same way as
white. Finally she went to work to make it exactly as white bread,
making a sponge with a pint of white flour and half a cake of yeast,
dissolved in a pint of warm water, a table-spoonful of sugar and two
tea-spoonfuls of salt. When this was as full of holes as honeycomb, she
put to it two pints of rye flour and used as much warm water as would
make all into a _soft_ dough. She kneaded it, but began to understand
why it was usually stirred, for it stuck to her hands like bird-lime,
and to use flour enough to free them would, she knew, spoil her bread.
She worked on, regardless of stickiness, and when it was mixed divided
the dough in three, put it in tins to rise, and when each was double
the first size, they were baked in a very moderate oven one hour.

When they were done Molly saw she had attained the secret of her
friend’s bread, for it was sweet, spongy, and with a tender crust. She
kept one loaf for her own use and sent the rest to Mrs. Gibbs, with
the remains of the liver made into savory collops, as follows: It was
chopped fine, and an equal quantity of bread crumbs added, a quarter
tea-spoonful of powdered marjoram, half one of thyme and pepper and
salt; to these were put a few scraps of cold fried bacon and a little
cold ham left from Wednesday morning’s breakfast, both chopped fine.
The mince was just moistened with broth (from boiling down lamb bones
with an onion), and a table-spoonful of flour stirred with it. Molly
then made it into three good-sized balls, put them into a small, deep
pan, poured in the rest of the broth, and put them to bake in the hot
oven for half an hour.

It may be thought Molly was taking great trouble for Mrs. Gibbs. She
knew that, and had she had it in her power to give money enough to be
of substantial service to a destitute family, would not have done it.
In this case, as with her husband’s income, she looked on her time as
money, since by it she could make a little money go far. A dollar given
to Mrs. Gibbs would have done little—bought bread for a week, perhaps,
and a meal or two besides; the liver sent round to her cold would have
been eaten so, and been miserable and insufficient for a dinner; the
neck of lamb the same; but by the time, not an hour after all, she had
double the value of what she could give, and the bread she would make
from the flour would last three times as long as baker’s bread. In
addition to this she went to the house where she bought her cream and
asked what they did with their skimmed milk, and was told they made
it into pot-cheese when they had much, but half the time they gave it
away; she then obtained a promise that they would give Mrs. Gibbs two
quarts a day if she sent for it. Being sure of milk, Molly felt that
the best thing she could do now was to buy ten pounds of corn meal
and send it to them for mush. This exhausted the dollar, and beyond
making the bread and sending an occasional meal, to be concocted out of
something that would not much enlarge her own expenses, she knew that
she could do nothing, but did not despair of interesting others.

Molly did not want to let her little lecture on croquettes grow cold
in Marta’s mind, and therefore meant to have them again very soon.
To that end she made a tour of the butcher-shops in Greenfield, of
which there were several, in order to find, if she could, a knuckle of
veal. This would kill two or three birds with one stone. Veal is not
plentiful in September, yet is sometimes in market, and for the knuckle
she knew she would have to pay very little, for in this country it is
looked upon as only good for stock, while in Europe it is very choice.
She was fortunate enough to get one; it was quite large, that is, the
meat was not cut too far down, and because of this extra size she
paid twenty cents for it instead of the usual fifteen cents. She also
bought a piece of salt pork (very sweet, which she could tell by the
pinkish fat) for twenty cents, and four lamb’s kidneys for breakfast
for five cents. So surprised was the Greenfield butcher at her wanting
them that at first he had seemed to think they were hardly worth a
price; evidently he did not know that they were quite a dainty in the
fashionable markets of New York, and as Harry would not eat beef
kidney, but was very fond of others, she made up her mind to have them
often.

The knuckle of veal was to be boiled the next day very gently, in just
water enough to cover it, for two hours, with a small turnip, a bay
leaf, and a carrot, an onion, and a bouquet of sweet herbs. The pork
was to be cooked in the same water, and served to eat with the veal,
which would have a rich parsley sauce poured over it, fried potatoes
and fried smelts.

Molly thought it a good plan to have fried fish, instead of soups, or
boiled fish, every day when the rest of the dinner was boiled.

From the veal there would be the stock for soup, and, as there would be
more meat than would be eaten, what was left would make croquettes. She
did not mean to have them for dinner so soon again, but for breakfast.
The practice for Marta was what she wanted.

Molly had some “rough puff paste” which she intended to use for the
oyster patties. She rolled it out half an inch thick, then with a
biscuit-cutter cut several rounds; these she put one on another three
deep, and on each pressed a smaller biscuit-cutter half way through.
She had cut twelve rounds of paste, which made four patties (three
rounds or layers to the patty), and each had a circle (cut with a small
cutter) on the top layer. These were put on a baking-tin and brushed
over with a feather dipped in white of egg, and put in the oven, which
was very hot, yet not likely to scorch. To try the heat Molly put in
her hand and began to count seconds; when she had counted twenty she
was forced to take out her hand, and knew the oven was right.

While she waited for them to bake, she proceeded to finish the oysters
for filling, first telling Marta to beat up the remaining white of egg
with a little water, and put it away for use.

The yolk was just what was needed for the oysters. She strained them
from the sauce, which she put on to boil; then when quite boiling and
smooth she dropped the oysters in (it will be remembered they had been
not more than scalded yesterday), and in about two minutes they were
firm, yet not shrunken. She took them from the fire and stirred in
the yolk of an egg, already whipped, with a tea-spoonful of the cold
sauce. They were thick before, but immediately became thicker as the
heat cooked the egg, and the sauce was now about the consistency of the
cream filling used for cream cakes or éclairs.

By this time the patties were baked. They were more than three inches
high, and after they had been out of the oven a short time, Molly
carefully removed the centre of the top layer marked out with the small
cutter, and laid it aside, for it was the cover of the patty; then with
a small coffee-spoon she scooped out the half-cooked paste from the
centre, and then replaced the top. They were now ready to be filled,
but as they would have to be made hot for dinner she did not fill
them, as the paste would be burnt up before the inside would be warm;
she therefore directed Marta to stand the oysters in boiling water a
few minutes before serving them, and keep them stirred, and to put
the patty-cases in the oven at the same time; let them get thoroughly
heated, and when both were hot, put the oyster filling in them with a
spoon. Molly gave these directions for the moral effect, but, having
strong suspicions that Marta would be unequal to such neat-handed work
and might cover the outside of the patties with the filling, saw to
that part herself before going to the table.



CHAPTER XVII.

MR. AND MRS. BISHOP BECOME MEMBERS OF A DRAMATIC CLUB—CROQUETTES OVER
AGAIN—WHERE THE MISTAKE LAY—WHITE SOUP.


HARRY and Molly had talked over the matter of the dramatic club, and
whether they could afford to join it. Molly was old enough, not being
a school-girl bride—did I ever mention that she was twenty-four?—and
had seen enough of the world to know that, although a woman’s ideal
of married life may be to sew in the evening, while her husband reads
to her, or, if he is weary, to read to him while he rests, a man very
often prefers something more exhilarating. Although Harry had never
seemed bored by a tête-a-tête evening, she remembered that he had
never yet been subjected to the long uninterrupted quiet of country
winter nights, and she wanted to run no risk of him finding their life
humdrum. He was not a reader in the true sense of the word,—that is
to say, he read for amusement’s sake. If the book he read was not to
his mind, he threw it aside, or fell asleep over it, and he was not
so fond of reading aloud as Molly could have wished. However, this
was one of the little disappointments most women, and some men, have
to put up with, and she was thankful there was nothing worse. It is
true that, finding Harry cared less for reading than herself, she had
devoted herself to chess, of which he was very fond, and their evenings
seldom passed without having the men out; but Harry was too much in
sympathy with his wife not to know that chess, to her, was a sort of
loving pleasure, and had often pretended disinclination; therefore the
prospect of a weekly social meeting and the many little entertainments
that would grow out of it was, for Harry’s sake, a pleasant one.

“What are the actual expenses?” she had asked.

“I don’t know, but from what Framley said, I imagine these are merely
nominal, outside the entertaining of the club, which falls to every
one’s share once in the season.”

“Yet as we are so limited in money matters, we can run no risks; what
would be nominal to people with double our income may be serious for
us. I think I had better wait and see Mrs. Framley.”

That lady called before Molly had been quite two weeks in Greenfield;
she was very handsomely dressed, but of rather formal manners, which
Molly came to know were natural to her, and rather a distress to
herself. After the usual chat of a morning call Mrs. Framley said:—

“I believe Mr. Framley spoke to Mr. Bishop about our reading-society.
Mr. and Mrs. Winfield were members, and as we limit the club to fifteen
couples we thought it would be very pleasant if you and Mr. Bishop
would take their places.”

Molly colored a little, hesitated, then said:—

“Will you please tell me the exact conditions and expenses?”

“Well, there are no particular conditions, except that no member is
admitted that is not acceptable to all. Your names were proposed by Mr.
Winfield and warmly welcomed; the expenses are nominal.”

Molly smiled. She had braced herself to be quite frank.

“But what is nominal? I may as well tell you our income is little more
than sufficient for our needs, and we cannot risk incurring expense
that may be quite beyond us.”

“But there are several of our members who are in the same position,
and for that reason we made a few rules at the start so that our club
should not break up, as so many have done, on the rock of emulous
hospitality. The actual expenses have never exceeded $2 each person
for the winter, and have oftener been under a dollar and a half. This
is outside the cost of entertaining. Every member having a house is
supposed to have the meeting once in the season, and as all our members
are householders, and some very hospitable, when anything occurs to
make such reception inconvenient it is gladly taken by some one else;
but as some are much wealthier than others, a rule was made that no
ice-cream, oysters or bought cakes were to be allowed, only sandwiches,
tea, coffee and home-made cake, and I am glad to say one lady, one of
the most wealthy, has nothing but home-made wafers and coffee.”

“Then I think Mr. Bishop and myself can accept the membership with an
easy conscience, although I hardly see what acquisition I can be, for I
cannot act. I don’t know whether my husband has any talent that way.”

“I think you may have hidden your light,” said Mrs. Framley, politely,
“but at least half of the members are honorary and only give us the
pleasure of their presence; in fact, I myself am only an onlooker.”

“Then I will have courage. When is the next meeting?”

“Next Wednesday, at my house, and I am pleased to think your first
evening will be there.”

Molly thanked her, and soon after Mrs. Framley rose to go.

“I hope we shall see much of each other, Mrs. Bishop. Mrs. Winfield
told me we should have a great deal in common, being both devoted to
cooking-school.”

Molly responded suitably and Mrs. Framley left.

Molly had made some mixture for croquettes early in the morning, going
minutely over every detail with Marta, using cold veal with a slice
of the boiled pork, chopped together very fine, in place of chicken.
Some of the stock in which the veal was boiled, which was now a firm
jelly, was used, and as there was no cream, Molly used half a gill of
milk to the gill of stock, and an egg beaten; the milk and stock were
stirred to the butter and flour (see recipe for chicken croquettes) and
boiled till thick and smooth, the meat and seasoning then added, and
when it was all hot, the beaten egg. After this was in, the mixture was
only stirred one minute, and then taken off the fire, the object being
to bring the whole to boiling-point, but not to curdle the egg. The
mixture was put out on a dish and set to get cold and firm, and Marta
told to make it into croquettes according to her recipe.

As Molly was very anxious that Marta should thoroughly master the art
of making croquettes, she had intended to oversee the forming and
frying of these, which were for her lunch; but Mrs. Framley’s visit had
interfered, and when she went to the kitchen she found Marta had one
croquette on paper in the colander and was fishing in the hot fat with
her skimmer.

“What is the matter, Marta?” asked Molly, although she could guess what
had happened.

Marta pointed to the top of the fat, which was covered with crumbs of
meat, and lifted two empty shells of croquettes from it.

“I see what has happened, Marta, but don’t be discouraged. You have
some mixture left, and you must do this over again for breakfast
to-morrow. I can tell you the reason of this accident, and once we
know the cause of a failure, it can easily be set right. Had it not
been for that one perfect croquette I should have said that the fat
might not have been hot enough; that is a frequent cause of croquettes
bursting,—they have time to melt inside before the crust is formed, but
in this case the fault has been in the size. You must have made them
too large. Don’t you think that one, which is perfect, was smaller than
the others?”

“Yes, it was. I was afraid that one was too small.”

“It was just right, you see, and after this I think you’ll know.
Before you put that croquette mixture away, Marta, keep out a large
tea-spoonful, and after luncheon I will come and make some balls for
soup.”

The veal stock Molly had carefully skimmed and strained in the morning,
and intended to have a white soup for dinner. There was about a quart
of strong jelly. One pint she put aside. It was so valuable that she
did not mean to use a tea-spoonful more than necessary; the pint, with
half a pint of milk, would be all that was required for soup; but as
she had neither asparagus tops nor mushrooms nor celery to put in it,
and veal soup is apt to be a little insipid without, she decided on
forcemeat balls, made in the following way: To a large tea-spoonful
of croquette mixture she added one of finely chopped parsley, as much
thyme as would go on the end of a penknife, and a dessert-spoonful of
bread crumbs; she beat an egg, and used enough only to make the whole
into a soft paste; this she seasoned rather highly with pepper and
salt, and made into little balls not larger than marbles, and they were
set away till wanted.

As the soup was one Marta could not be expected to make, Molly went
into the kitchen herself, half an hour before dinner, to do it; indeed,
although she had left the cooking to Marta pretty much, she could not
risk Harry’s comfort by waiting for the dinner to straggle in as Marta
would have had it. This seemed her chief failing, an inability to see
the necessity of dishing up quickly. After she had cooked a thing well,
she ran the risk of spoiling it by her slowness in getting it on the
table. No mishap had yet occurred, because Molly was on hand to rescue;
but white sauce was left in the saucepan with risk of burning, and
vegetables, after they were dressed, the same; but Molly hoped that, in
a few weeks, seeing the importance she herself attached to time might
have its effect on Marta.

The pint of veal stock, flavored, it will be remembered, with the
vegetables boiled in it the day before, was put on to boil, and in a
small saucepan she put a table-spoonful of butter and a scant one of
flour, and stirred them together till they bubbled. She allowed them to
cook together _for a minute_, stirring all the time, and called Marta’s
attention to the fact.

“The white sauce you made last, Marta, although very smooth, had a
little raw taste; this was because you added the milk before the flour
was cooked sufficiently in the butter,—you put it in as soon as it
bubbled.”

“I was afraid it would burn.”

“Of course you must not let it do that, but you see, once it bubbles,
I draw the saucepan to a cooler part and stir till the flour is on the
point of changing color, then I quickly add the milk or broth. The
sauce will be an ivory white instead of the rather dead white that even
fairly good sauce often is.”

She poured the stock to the flour and butter and stirred till smooth,
and then added half a pint of milk,—“and, as I have no cream, Marta,
I kept the egg left from the forcemeat balls—I used very little of
it—to add to this soup the last thing, just as you do for the bisque of
clams.” While the soup was all coming again to the boiling-point at the
back of the range, Molly dropped the tiny forcemeat balls into boiling
water, let them simmer half a minute, then strained them out and added
them to the soup; then, with a caution to Marta not to let the egg
curdle, she went to add a few touches to her toilette before Harry came
home.



CHAPTER XVIII.

BROILED LAMB’S KIDNEYS—MRS. LENNOX STARTLED—CORN-BEEF HASH.


WHEN Molly had said Marta was to make croquettes for breakfast, she had
forgotten that she had kidneys in the house; but, remembering it before
she went to bed, she told Marta she would come down and broil them
herself, which she accordingly did, knowing kidneys are very easily
spoiled by bad cooking.

She split each kidney down the back, or thick side, but did not
sever the core or membrane, so that when opened they lay flat, but
still in one. Then she ran a long skewer through the centre bit of
fat and brought it out again, in such a manner that the kidney lay
open flat _under_ the skewer, which was attached to it only by that
stitch through the middle; then a second kidney was run on in the same
way till they were all threaded, the skewer lying across them all;
but nowhere did it pierce the flesh of the kidney. This arrangement
prevents the kidneys’ curling up in unsightly fashion and secures their
being equally cooked.

They were laid on a hot gridiron, and a dish and plates made very
hot to receive and serve them on; and while Molly cooked them, Marta
carried in breakfast, for kidneys are things that are spoiled by
waiting.

She turned them often for about four minutes. During the process she
had put in the little dish that was to receive them a piece of butter
the size of a butternut, a level salt-spoonful of salt, a little
pepper, and a tea-spoonful of Worcestershire sauce. When the kidneys
were done they were removed from the skewer, and each well rolled in
the hot butter and seasoning. They were just enough cooked in that
four minutes for the gravy to start when the fork pricked them; if
over-cooked they become tough.

“Kidneys!” cried Harry, as Molly removed the heated
vegetable-dish-cover she had used to send them unchilled to table.
“Dear Molly, where do you scare up these metropolitan dainties in the
wilds of Jersey?”

“Nothing so easy; actually, the butcher throws them in with his tallow,
and seemed surprised that I wanted them.”

“I’m afraid such ignorance can’t last,” said Harry “and when he
finds lamb’s kidneys are really very desirable, he will value them
accordingly.”

“No, not until he has customers who do; and I suspect, although the man
I buy from sells good meat, that he is not the fashionable butcher of
Greenfield.”

“They are cooked to a turn, Molly.”

“I am glad. I should have had them on toast in the orthodox way, but
knew you preferred fresh bread.”

In the afternoon Mrs. Lennox came with her work-basket to sew, while
she paid Molly a visit.

“I want to have a little talk with you, but can only spare the time if
I bring some darning with me, so you will excuse me.”

“I am glad, for I also have my sewing,” she said, and she colored a
little as she displayed a dainty little garment.

“I am so glad,” said Mrs. Lennox; and there was congratulation in the
tone, although she said no more. “You have done me so much good since
I have known you, Mrs. Bishop, that I feel I may trouble you a little
further about my affairs without exhausting your patience.”

“You certainly may, if I can do anything.”

“I must seem a perfect ignoramus to you, and yet I’m an old married
woman and you’re a young one; but the fact is, I was married directly
after I left school. I knew nothing of housekeeping, for my mother had
been such an invalid that we always boarded at that time. Mr. Lennox
was full of hope that he would rise to great things,—all young writers
are,—but, unluckily, the hard times of ’73 came, and the magazine of
which he was sub-editor, and which he hoped to edit, succumbed, and
ever since then he has been forced to plod on, at what insures us
bread. He has never dared to try for better things, and I know he frets
at seeing me so overworked, and has been telling me for years if I
would sew less, and cook more, I should be better; but first one must
‘know how’ to cook, and I don’t. There is one thing, however, I _do_
see now, that I never did before; and that is, that if I give my time
to preparing the food, I can save enough to get the sewing I cannot
do done for me. I never realized this before, but now I do. This is
Friday, and we have lived nicely—I mean we have had food we enjoyed,
and I have spent $2 less; and the sewing I should have done in the time
I have cooked would not have amounted to one full day’s work, which I
can get done for a dollar.”

“I am glad you see it so. I was sure of it, and I am sure that the
effort to do so much sewing and the housework, too, is far more wearing
than double the quantity of either alone would be.”

“Yes, because I dread to lose a minute, and the cooking always seemed
such a loss.”

“I wonder you have not thought it cheaper to keep a servant.”

Mrs. Lennox dropped her work in her lap, and looked at Molly in
astonishment.

“Cheaper! why, I should feel I was ruined at once.”

“Let us talk it over a bit, and see if my idea is right or yours. You
pay a woman to wash?”

“Yes, I spend $8 a month in getting help, a dollar a week for washing,
and the other dollar I divide between the heavy ironing and roughest
cleaning; the rest I do myself.”

“And the ironing that is left is quite a day’s work?”

“Well, it takes all my spare time on Tuesday; and I have been running
down so much lately, that I am afraid I cannot do it through next
summer.”

Molly looked at her. She did, indeed, look as if she were worn out. She
could understand that doing all the work for her family, washing, even,
included, was nothing extraordinary for some women; but for this one,
with her ambition to dress her children prettily, not to _look_ poor as
well as _be_ poor, her fastidious husband, and her bringing-up,—it was
an effort that was wearing her out.

“Now this is the way I reckon,” said Molly. “You can get a strong,
newly landed girl, for six or eight dollars a month. She may have
nothing but health and industry, although I have known girls as capable
as those who ask more, but more self-distrustful. Will not such a girl
do more to help you for $8 the month than you get now for that money?”

“Oh dear, yes. It seems to me if I had only some one to wash dishes
every day I should be easy; but you forget the food.”

“No, I do not; but, really, if you have time to give your own attention
to that, and you would have then, your food would cost less, even with
one extra to feed than now. It would not be so if you had to get an
extra large steak or chops each day for that one, but with the varied
cooking you could then practice, you would find it make only such
difference as you can easily make up in some other way; for instance,
you use baker’s bread; make it at home, and the difference in cost will
be more than your girl will eat of it; then, as all children like rye
bread, use it once or twice a week. You will make your expensive flour
go much farther. Then if rye is not liked, or they get tired, use one
week Indian and wheat bread, another, rice bread. I don’t think your
husband or children would consider these breads anything but a treat,
or know they came cheaper, and I should say nothing on that point till
you found out their real tastes. One thing I don’t want to advise; and
that is, the providing of any unpalatable or unwelcome food, be it ever
so wholesome or cheap. Food eaten without relish is _not_ wholesome;
and that is why, unless _time_ is given to cooking, the coarser parts
of meat are not economical, because they require careful cooking. A
hurried, slap-dash way of preparing any part of meat spoils it. Only
the finest steaks or chops are eatable, when so abused; but it requires
all their excellence to make them so.”

“I am taking in all you say. You have startled me wonderfully about the
girl; and the way you put it makes it seem as if it would be almost
cheaper.”

“It would be as cheap, and your health would be better. You may not be
lucky enough to meet with a good girl at first; but we all run that
risk, and I am sure of one thing: if you should give double the wages
you would be equally exposed to it, and I am in favor of taking girls
who have nothing to unlearn. I went on that plan with my Marta; and,
although she is not all I could wish, I don’t think I should have done
better by taking one who professed to know.”

“I don’t think you could; but she seems to me an exceptional girl.”

“Fortunately for me, she has a fondness for cooking, and seems
thoroughly respectable; but, if I had more work in my house, I should
not be able to keep her; so I am hoping you may be able to find one
equally good and a little quicker, if you resolve to make the trial.”

“I would like, but I am afraid. I have always heard that a servant
increases the expenses out of all proportion to what she eats.”

“Of course, if servants are left to themselves in their inexperience,
they waste far more than they consume; but you will oversee everything.”

“And then I shall get the reputation of being dreadfully stingy.”

“What matter? You might be wasteful, and still be called so by those
who wish to do it; but economy is not stint. I am sure you will never
look more keenly after odds and ends than I do.”

Mrs. Lennox looked incredulous.

“It is true. If there is _one_ potato left I have it put away; _one_
spoonful of rice, a fag end of beefsteak. Although I am new to keeping
house in this country, I am an old housekeeper; for my mother left
everything to me, and, our means being small, and she fastidious (by
which I mean only that she could do without anything, better than have
it second rate), I had to set my wits to work; and I’ve too often known
the time when _one_ potato was just the thing to finish, or make her a
little dish, to despise it.”

“But how?”

Molly laughed. “Impossible to say, for one never knows what may happen;
but I can tell you what it once did. My mother and I lived alone,
and so rarely had joints of meat that we seldom had much more than
enough in the house for our needs, in the way of fresh meats, but
potted dainties we always had. However, one wet, chilly evening, a
visitor arrived unexpectedly, an American traveling, and he had come
considerably out of his way to see us for a half an hour. I was at my
wits’ end, for our solitary maid had her holiday, and we were about to
sit down to a cozy cup of tea and toast, with some anchovy paste and a
little fruit. All we had in the house was a few slices of corned beef,
not presentable, for they had been cut off for tea the night before.
Now I knew our friend expected no dinner; and to give him as good a one
as a French cook could send up would be no treat, for he was leading
a hotel life. The only thing he would really enjoy would be some real
American dish. There was little time, for he had to catch a train in an
hour. I flew down-stairs in despair. I must have something hot to set
before him. I looked at the safe; there were about a cup of cold mush,
a solitary potato of good size, and a few half-dried scraps of corned
beef. I took them all into the kitchen, blessing the French charcoal
stoves, which are always ready, and, arranging the oven for baking, I
chopped my beef, then the potato, not too fine. When done there were a
cup of beef and rather less of potato. I put some beef-dripping into a
pan, and set it to get hot; and into a saucepan put the beef and potato
mixed, and a little salt and pepper, and stirred them round; and then
I added a small half cup of thick cream. While this was heating, I cut
the mush in slices, floured each, and when the dripping was smoking hot
I laid them in; I tasted the hash, and found it just right. There was
no time to brown it; but I left it long enough for the cream to dry
sufficiently away, while I beat the yolks of four eggs and the whites
to a stiff froth, then added to the yolks a little salt and three
table-spoonfuls of milk, stirred the whites to them gently, and then
took up the hash. The mush, which I had turned, was now pale brown;
and I laid it round the dish on which was the hash, then poured the
fat from the saucepan, put a bit of butter in it, and when it melted,
which, as the pan was already very hot, it did in a moment, I poured in
the eggs. Happily, the table was ready, and my mother always made tea
on it; so I waited only to split a few pickled gherkins to garnish the
hash, and then my omelet being half set I put it, pan and all, in the
oven, while I carried my Yankee dish to table. I had been absent only
twenty minutes; everything was ready, and, while the traveller’s tea
was being poured out, I ran down and doubled my omelet over and turned
it out. I am quite sure nothing short of canvas-back ducks, or New
England turkey and cranberry sauce, could have been such a success as
that hash.”

“‘Dear Mrs. Holmes,’ our friend said to my mother, ‘I assure you I have
dreamed of corned-beef hash and fried mush, and longed for them many
times when the table has been groaning with every French dainty, and
believed I could not hope to eat them on this side of the Atlantic.’

“Since that time I never think anything too small to save; it comes in
when least expected; and, had my cooked potato not been there, I could
have made no hash.”



CHAPTER XIX.

SUMMARY—LAMB’S HEART—FLOUNDERS—CORNED BEEF—CANNELON OF BEEF.


IT has been said that Molly was providing for visitors by economizing
slightly in her table. She was always economical, but it made some
difference whether the fish she bought was the inexpensive flounder,
made by the art of good cooking into the aristocratic _filet de sole_,
or what passes for such where veritable sole is not to be bought for
money, or a more expensive sort; whether she used veal instead of
chicken, or clams in place of oysters, and tomato or potato salad for
lettuce. On Saturday, after Sunday’s marketing was done, her account
stood thus:—

       Monday—Sundries                 $2.80
      Tuesday—Sweet corn and milk        .10
    Wednesday—Oysters                    .15
               Liver                     .10
               Knuckle of veal           .20
               Pork                      .20
     Thursday—Kidneys                    .05
               Yeast                     .02
               Sweet corn                .06
               Friday—Beets              .05
               Corned beef               .40
               One flounder              .12
               Soup meat                 .15
     Saturday—Steak                      .16
               Chicken                   .50
               Ice                       .40
               Fuel                      .50
               Milk                      .56
                                         ———
                                       $6.52

This made the week’s expenditure 23 cents less than the last week.

It will be remembered that Monday’s dinner was formed, with the
addition of oysters, from what was left on Sunday; and therefore the
lamb bought on Monday did not come into use till Tuesday, when three
chops were used for breakfast, and the shoulder for the evening dinner.

Substituting, then, the lamb for the steak of the Tuesday before, and
on Wednesday using lamb’s liver in place of the roast breast which was
used on Thursday, the bills of fare were substantially the same as
those of the preceding week, until Friday, when stuffed lamb’s heart
for breakfast, and corned beef and flounders and beets for dinner, were
new items, as was also the steak for Saturday, in place of the cutlets.
Dessert and puddings of the first week were repeated.

Twice Molly had found in market green corn young enough for their
taste, and had bought half a dozen ears. The beets, also, were moderate
enough in price now to come within Molly’s purse. Needless to say,
all articles which were expensive, only because too early or too late
in season, had to be eschewed; but in autumn, in the country, where
vegetables are rarely so plentiful as in New York, the market needs
watching. One grocer may have a stray basket of string beans, quite
young, or a few dozen of sweet corn, long after they have disappeared
generally; and these are often quite cheap.

Molly had chosen a cheap part of corned beef—the plate—in preference to
the round, at double the price: properly boiled, she liked it better. A
small piece of four or five pounds of round of beef is very dry, even
if the careful boiling prevents its being hard; therefore she got four
pounds and a half at eight cents. She knew, from her cooking-school
experience, the New York price was seven cents; but she had learned
that most things were a little dearer in Greenfield. As she wrote down
the recipes for cooking the heart, the corned beef, the flounders, and
steak, I give them in that form.

LAMB’S HEART BAKED.—The heart, which came with the lamb’s liver,
instead of being cut up and fried in dry rings, as it is usually done,
was cleansed of blood, the gristle (or “deaf ear”) cut away, and a
veal stuffing made of a heaped table-spoonful of bread crumbs, a small
tea-spoonful of parsley chopped very fine, and a pinch, between thumb
and finger, of thyme, pepper and salt. Make this into a paste with
butter by working a piece the size of a walnut into it, then fill the
cavity in the heart with it; cut two thin slices of fat pork, wrap the
heart in them, flour it and put it in a hot oven, in a small dish. Bake
it twenty minutes, turning often so that it will be quite brown. Take
it up, pour into the dish a _very little_ boiling water or gravy (Molly
had some of her veal stock), season nicely; if water is used, add a
few drops of sauce or catsup; stir it well round the little dish to
remove dried gravy, then serve with the heart, which thus makes a very
appetizing dish.

The corned beef was washed, and, as the butcher had told Molly it was
only moderately salt, she did not soak it.

BOILED CORNED BEEF.—Although it was quite a small piece, Molly intended
it to come so very slowly to the boil that she had it put on the stove
in cold water at two o’clock. The water was only at the boiling-point
at three, and it was kept till six so slowly cooking that one had to
look carefully in order to see that there was any movement in the water
at all. At six it was taken up, and the bones drawn out, the rough
edges trimmed off, carrot and turnip cones set round it, and boiled
cabbage served with it. After dinner, it was put between two dishes,
and two heavy flatirons set on it, and it was allowed to get cold under
pressure, in order that it might cut in neat slices.

YOUNG BEETS BOILED.—The beets to be carefully washed, the roots _not
cut off_ at all, and the tops left an inch long; the idea is to prevent
the skin being broken in any way. Put them in boiling water, and, if
they are of average size, one hour will boil them tender. Try, without
a fork, by pressing in a cloth; then pour the water off, and peel and
slice them (or they can be left whole if preferred), and make the
following sauce: A dessert-spoonful of butter, a scant one of flour;
let them bubble one minute, put to them a scant half-pint of water;
let it boil, season with pepper and salt, and then put in a large
tea-spoonful more butter; stir till mixed, and add the juice of half a
lemon; put the beets in this sauce, and let all come to a gentle boil
together.

TO BONE FLOUNDERS, and prepare as _filet de sole_. Take a flounder
weighing as near two pounds as possible,—if too small they will make
poor filets,—have the head removed, lay it on the board before you, and
with a sharp knife make a cut right down the middle of the back, from
neck to tail, letting the knife touch the bone all the way; then run
the knife carefully between the flesh and the bones, working always
towards the edge or fin, and keeping close to the bone; you have now
detached one quarter of the flesh. Do the other side in the same way,
and when the side uppermost is thus entirely loose from the bone, turn
the fish over, and do the same with the other part. You will now find
you can remove the bone whole from the fish. You have now two halves of
the fish; cut away the fins, and you have four quarters of solid flesh,
or filets. Lay each one, skin downward, in front of you; hold the end
of the filet firmly, and with the knife cut the filet from the skin by
pressing the edge of the knife downward _on the skin_, which you hold
firmly with thumb and finger, and _pushing_, as it were, the flesh
up from it. You will find the skin and flesh will separate without
destroying the shape of the filet. Now bread them; have either a good
supply of bread crumbs dried in the oven and _sifted_, or cracker meal;
beat an egg with a table-spoonful of water, lay each filet in it, both
sides, then lift it out and lay it in the crumbs; turn it over that
both may be well covered, and press gently; then lay it aside, and do
the other three. Have enough fat in a deep pan to cover them; let it
get very hot, trying it with a bit of bread. If it brown _at once_, put
the filets in, two at a time; have brown paper ready, and lay them on
it when they are a fine golden brown, and serve on a hot dish.

STEWED CANNELON OF BEEF, OR ROLLED STEAK.—Take a piece of the upper
side of the round of beef, cut broad and thick. Make a veal stuffing in
the following way: A cup of fine bread crumbs, a scant table-spoonful
of finely chopped parsley, and a very scant tea-spoonful of thyme and
marjoram mixed (if any one objects to either of these herbs, leave
it out), a very little nutmeg, a half tea-spoonful of salt, and a
half salt-spoonful of pepper; chop or mix all together with a good
table-spoonful of butter; lay the steak on a board, and with a large
knife hack it _closely_ across and across, all over on one side only,
then along the centre of the hacked side lay the stuffing; roll the
meat over and fasten it with toothpicks to keep it, while you envelop
it in thin slices of fat pork, round which you wind twine. When neat
and compact, lay it in a saucepan with a pint of water, and a piece of
carrot and onion cut fine, a salt-spoonful of salt, and a tea-spoonful
of vinegar. Let this _simmer_ very gently for three hours, closely
covered, then take it up, lay it in a baking-pan, remove the strings
and toothpicks very carefully, dredge it all over very thinly with
flour, and set it in a very hot oven to brown quickly. If the saucepan
was kept closely covered, and the simmering slow, there will be at
least half a pint of thick, rich gravy in it; which strain, and skim
free from fat (a table-spoonful of cold water thrown in will make it
easier to skim). When the meat is brown, pour this gravy round it,
and serve. If the gravy should have dried away too much, a little
boiling water may be put into the saucepan, and well stirred, before
straining,—but a _little rich_ gravy is better than much and poor.

This dish Molly prepared herself, and it was a great success. Harry
pronounced it better than _filet de bœuf_.

“Yes, it is either a very good dish, or a wofully bad one,—hard and dry
and altogether unsatisfactory.”

But Molly knew it depended so entirely on great care, that the meat
should be hacked thoroughly, yet not anywhere cut through, and then
so very slowly simmered, so quickly browned, that she thought it one
of those dishes she would always have to cook herself. She was not
expecting too much from Marta. If she profited by her instructions
sufficiently to know the rules of cooking, and abide by them so far
that she might be trusted not to spoil a dish if left to watch it,
and be able to cook _a few things well_, so that she could do when
necessary unaided,—that was all Molly looked for.



CHAPTER XX.

PREPARING A CHICKEN—GIBLETS—SPOILT BREAD.


WHILE the beefsteak, on Saturday, was being converted into such a
savory dish, Molly, who wished to oversee the simmering, took that time
to prepare the chicken. The one used for the pie, last Sunday, she had
prepared, while Marta was busy elsewhere; this week she wanted to show
her how it was to be neatly done.

She had ordered the chicken (or rather, yearling fowl; for it weighed
over three pounds, and Molly was not paying the price of chicken in
September) to be sent home _with the feet on_, for two reasons: first,
because the butcher usually chops them off at the joint, or above it,
when they should be taken off just below, else when roasted the flesh
shrinks up, and they display an unsightly bare bone; and, secondly,
because the feet, properly prepared, are too valuable, for gravy, to
lose.

Molly began by picking over the bird to remove a few stray feathers;
then she took off the stove-lid, put some paper in the fire, and
quickly moved the bird over the flame, taking care not to blacken the
skin.

“Now, Marta, if you are ready, I want you to pay great attention,
because if you can clean a fowl you can also clean a duck, goose, or
turkey; the process is the same, and either, improperly done, though
you may remove everything that ought not to remain in it, will never
taste the same. If the entrails are broken, it imparts the odor of the
barnyard to the whole.

“You see I cut the neck off close to the body, leaving as little of
it on as I can; but, before beginning to cut, push the skin well down
toward the body, so that there will be plenty of skin to cover the
place where the neck has been. Cut off the feet just _below_ the joint;
then cut the skin at the back of the neck, an inch or so down, and with
your forefinger loosen the crop all round, and take it out without
breaking or emptying it. Next cut a slit right under the rump, large
enough to run two fingers in. If this were a goose or turkey, you would
need it large enough to admit your whole hand into the body. Before
attempting to draw out the entrails, loosen with your finger all the
tiny strings that attach them to the body. Be certain your fingers
can pass between the contents of the stomach and the body in _every_
direction without obstruction; then bend your hand or fingers round the
mass, and draw it forward; this will bring the whole out in a ball. Be
careful not to drag it by any particular part, or you will break the
entrails, and the whole process be an unclean one; or you may spoil
the fowl by breaking the gall, the bitter of which cannot be washed
away. Cut off the vent, which will free the main entrail. If properly
managed, the bird will be quite clean inside, and need only wiping with
a wet cloth; if not clean, pour lukewarm water through it.”

Molly worked while she talked, suiting the action to the word when
possible; and when the entrails of the fowl lay on the table, quite
unbroken, she showed Marta the clean inside.

“You see this needs washing neither inside nor out; and that is the
great object,—to prevent the contents of the entrails getting on the
bird; for if they do, to my mind, no amount of washing will cleanse it.”

“Now I lay the bird aside, and prepare the giblets, which make gravy.
You see this small, dark-green bladder attached to the liver? That is
the gall. I cut it off, but am careful to leave a bit of the liver
with it to avoid breaking. Put the liver in cold water. This hard,
silvery-blue lump is the gizzard; it must be freed from all skin and
strings; and by cutting it carefully on the _wide_ side, without
penetrating the inner skin, it can be peeled off, leaving the inside
whole, thus avoiding the usual mess. This outer flesh throw into the
water with the liver. Now for the feet.”

Molly put them in a quart bowl, and poured water from the kettle—which
she was careful to see was _actually boiling_—upon them, covering them
all over.

“Now, Marta, if you do this yourself, never attempt to scald with
water that is not boiling, however near the point it may be; and do
not put them in hot water and set them on the stove to come to the
boiling-point. Either of these methods will so _set_ the skin that it
will not come off without the flesh, while these, you see, will peel
easily enough.” She had taken, as she spoke, a clean cloth in one
hand, and with a fork lifted one of the feet out of the hot water,
then quickly rubbed the thin, yellow skin, which came off as readily
as the skin from a ripe, scalded tomato; then she bent back each nail
and that, too, came off, leaving the foot delicate, white, and clean.
The rest were done in the same way. “The only thing necessary is great
quickness; the skin gets ‘set’ as the water cools.

“You can put the fowl away now till to-morrow, Marta, but the giblets
I will put on to stew for gravy. Here are the feet, the heart, the
neck, gizzard, and liver, all well cleaned. They need a pint of water,
a slice of onion, a piece of carrot, as big as your thumb, cut in it,
half a tea-spoonful of salt, and a sprig of parsley. Now if I had not
these vegetables in the house, I should do without; but having them,
the gravy will be much better. Let these giblets stew down very slowly,
till only half remains; then strain, and you will find it is a solid
jelly, when cold.

“Ah, Marta, what is the matter with the bread? and how comes it so late
to-day?”

Marta was just taking from the oven the one loaf which formed the
tri-weekly baking, and at a glance Molly knew it was a failure. It was
a peculiar color,—a drab tone, instead of the bright, yellow brown it
should have been,—and it looked flat.

“That I don’t understand,” said Marta; “it seemed to-day as if it would
never rise.”

It must here be said that after Molly showed Marta bread-making, her
bread had been very good. She had made it three times so well that
Molly thought that part of her teaching was over. This was the fourth
time, and it was evidently a failure.

She thought of all she had heard from experienced housekeepers,—how
thankless a task it was to teach servants, for when they attain
perfection, they lack the ambition to keep to the mark; they “run
down,” as it were. For a moment Molly was appalled at the prospect
of working so hard and faithfully with Marta, if it was to end thus;
and then she remembered, if it should prove so in this case, it could
not be possible that some girl would not be wise enough to see the
advantage to herself of keeping up to a standard.

“Even if I have to change several times, at last I certainly shall
find one who repays me; then I shall have a year or two of peace and
comfort.”

But she did not make up her mind to the worst about Marta from this
failure. It had been gradually becoming clear to her that Marta had
some good qualities and many faults. Whether the qualities balanced the
faults was something she had seriously to consider when she had had
longer trial; and which would depend much on whether, once knowing a
thing thoroughly, she could be trusted to do it.

“Marta, nothing of this sort can happen without a cause; try to think
what it can be.” Molly studiously refrained from showing her vexation,
for she really wanted to find out whether Marta had erred through
carelessness or ignorance; and the only way to get at the facts was,
not to frighten her into deception by seeming angry.

“I cannot think, unless the yeast was not good; I was very careful.”

“Get me the rest of the cake of yeast.”

When she brought it, Molly broke it. It broke off short, and smelt
quite good; had it been stale it would have pulled like dough, or smelt
bad.

“No, the yeast is good, and in proof of it I must make something else
with it. But I think you must have put it in too hot water.” As she
spoke she had cut the loaf. “This looks just like bread made with
scalded yeast, or that had risen too slowly from having too little
yeast.”

“No, ma’am, I am sure the water was not too hot.”

“And it could not have been chilled when you set it to rise, I know.
Ah, there’s one thing, Marta! perhaps you forgot to stir the yeast
after you dropped it in the water, or did not do it sufficiently, and
it remained at the bottom and never went into the bread at all.”

This seemed the certain solution, if what Marta said about the water
was true; but the girl shook her head.

“No, I am sure I stirred it, and it all went into the flour.”

Molly looked at her,—could she be telling the truth? If she had not
known the bread had had long enough to rise, she would have thought it
had been put into the oven directly the dough was in the pan, without
being allowed to rise; but that she knew could not be, for she had seen
it rising, and wondered why it should be so late. She wished now she
had asked before it was baked; but Marta had been out of the way, and
when she returned to the kitchen the matter had slipped from her mind.

“I have told you to warm the flour. I suppose you didn’t make it very
hot.”

“No; I did everything just as you showed me.”

Molly said nothing. Marta must be untruthful; this was a more
unpleasant thing to discover than the failure of the bread.

“Well, we must have bread; it is four o’clock, and Saturday. I will
make a rye loaf, because it needs to rise only once after it is mixed,
and by seven o’clock it will be ready to bake.”

Molly measured the flour and set it to warm (she meant to make this
bread herself, because she was much quicker than Marta). As she poured
the hot water into the cold, to make the right temperature for the
yeast, a thought struck her;—she always dissolved the yeast in the tin
pint measure, and Marta did the same.

“Marta, after you put the yeast in the water, did you set it on the
stove?”

“Yes, ma’am, the water was a little cool, and I set it there to
dissolve; but I did not let it get a bit hot, and it was quite back of
the stove.”

“That is the mystery then!” Molly had remembered hearing a lady speak
of having done the same thing herself; and though it was back of the
stove, and the water could not get hotter, the yeast, being at the
bottom in contact with the hot iron, had baked or scalded. Of one
thing she was very glad; Marta had immediately owned the fact, and the
failure had not come from her neglect of any of the rules Molly had
laid down,—only from not understanding cause and effect.



CHAPTER XXI.

TO MAKE A FOWL TENDER AS SPRING-CHICKEN.


AS I have said, the fowl was a yearling, and Molly meant to try with
it an experiment she had seen practiced in France, by which fowls,
not quite young, were made very tender, without being converted into
fricassee or pot-pie. On Sunday morning, before going to church, she
had taken a large sheet of soft paper, and, after twisting the wings
over on the back, and forcing the legs up against the body snugly,
securing them there with skewer and twine, and fastening the skin of
the neck neatly on the back with a toothpick, she seasoned it and
wrapped it entirely in the paper, which was large enough to cover it
twice. She then tied it up with twine.

“Marta, put this chicken in the oven at half past eleven; that is, half
an hour earlier than if it were a young chicken. Let the oven be hot,
and, at a quarter past twelve, remove the paper. Take care to let all
the grease that may be in it run into the pan; flour the fowl a little,
and set it back in the oven and roast it. Take care to turn it often,
and let it get well browned; when you take it up, remove skewer and
string, pour the gravy from the giblets, with the liver and gizzard
chopped very fine, into the dripping-pan; set it over the stove,
season, and, if it should not look a nice rich brown, put about two
drops of caramel in it. Send the gravy to table in a sauce-boat.”

Marta promised to follow directions carefully, and Molly left the
kitchen; and then, remembering a mistake Marta might make, hastened
back.

“I told you _to flour it_, but I mean only to shake a very little over
it from the dredger; if it is at all thick there will be a white, pasty
coating on the outside, instead of a crisp, brown one.”

After church Molly went to the kitchen to see if everything was going
right, and saw on the table a cupful of pretty yellow balls. “What are
these?” she asked, taking one up, but found it collapsed between her
fingers. It was simply a wind ball, and the outside as thin as paper.

“They are German noodles for soup,” said Marta, her face beaming with
pride.

“They are very pretty; and, though I know several sorts of noodles, I
have never seen these.”

At dinner the clear soup, with the addition of Marta’s noodles, was
excellent, and she found that steaming the fowl in paper, before
baking, agreed just as well with the American bird as a French one; the
limbs fell from under the knife, as Harry carved, and the oft despised
yearling might have rivalled the youngest and juiciest spring chicken.



CHAPTER XXII.

DOLLARS AND CENTS.


MOLLY reached the end of her first month’s housekeeping, and now could
see exactly where she stood, and could plan for the coming month to
advantage. Referring to her note-book, she found she had spent 53 cents
less the second week than the first, 75 cents less the third, and 60
cents less the fourth. She had, therefore, in hand nearly $2, and
provisions in the house for a couple of days. She had also salad-oil,
olives, Worcestershire sauce, cooking-wine, pepper, salt, mustard,
corn meal, and vinegar, to last a month at least. There was also over
a pound of coffee left; and she would need only three pounds of lard
in place of five, as there was nearly half left, and two instead of
four pounds of coffee. She had, therefore, that much to deduct from
her second month’s grocery bill, and several additions to make to it,
for she had so far done without many articles she liked to have in the
house; she found, too, that the twelve pounds of sugar she had allowed
must be increased to fifteen, twelve granulated, three cut loaf.

Her order for the grocer stood for the second month thus:—

    Three pounds loaf sugar             $0.30
    Twelve pounds granulated sugar        .96
    Flour                                1.00
    Kerosene                             1.00
    Potatoes                              .40
    Lard                                  .36
    Coffee                                .60
    Tea                                   .75
    Soap                                  .25
    Toilet soap                           .10
    Starch                                .08
    Cracker meal                          .15
    Cheese                                .18
    Capers (small bottle)                 .30
    Two pounds of currants                .20
    One pound of Valencia raisins         .14
    One pound of Sultana raisins          .18
    One half pound of citron              .15
    One half pound of shelled almonds     .23
    Gelatine                              .18
    Hominy                                .10
    Extract of vanilla                    .25
    Alcohol                               .10
    Extract of rose                       .10
    Oil bitter almonds                    .10
    Pickled gherkins                      .35
    Two cans of peas (American)           .30
    Graham flour                          .16
    Lemons                                .20
    Carrots, turnips, onions              .40
    Apples                                .40
    Parsley                               .05

Molly had carefully saved the peels of all lemons used in the past
month, which had not been grated. As they were squeezed, the pulp was
scraped out, and then they were dropped into a gem-jar of salt and
water, a handful of salt to the quart. She meant to do the same with
oranges, through the winter, and to candy them. A cup of candied lemon
or orange peel is a great addition to a fruit cake or to many puddings;
and, as the only cost was the sugar used in candying it, she would
always keep a good supply in her store-closet. The alcohol was to make
lemon flavoring; and, as soon as it came, she took a fresh lemon with
a coarse rind, and with a sharp knife carefully pared off the yellow
as thin as possible; this, cut into small pieces, she put into the
alcohol, then corked it tightly. In two or three weeks this would be
very fragrant extract of lemon, growing stronger the longer it was
kept. The extract of rose, of vanilla, and of almond, she bought of the
druggist; they were much stronger than those put up in bottles, and of
course very much cheaper, and the ten cents’ worth would last months.
The extract of rose was to take the place of rose-water in flavoring
cakes or icing; a very few drops would suffice.

“Now,” thought Molly, as she surveyed her new stock of provisions, “I
can have some variety in dessert and cakes, and these little bottles
will work wonders in my commissariat. Charlotte and I will have a real
good time when she comes.”

“Charlotte” was Mrs. Welles; and she was to come the second week in
October, when the hills would be in the full glory of autumn color; and
Molly was full of anticipation of pleasure in having her old friend in
her own house.

“That alone pays for all the extra care and work of housekeeping,” she
had said to Harry,—“the pleasure of asking your friends to your own
house instead of some one else’s.”

“Oh, it’s a paying thing in every way,” said Harry. “I confess I’m
completely converted.”

Harry had kept up his little jokes about their housekeeping; had
laughed gently over her weekly savings, and still more when she told
him it was to meet the extra expense of visitors.

“But, Harry,” she had said earnestly, “we must do that, you know, or
else get just as much behind as I am now before-hand. Of course, if
we were a large family keeping a bountiful house, one more or less
would not need providing for; but when just two are living as well as
they know how, on a certain sum, that amount will not stretch to take
in extra. Every one who _manages_ has to calculate so; only perhaps I
need not have spoken of it. Many things are all right until they are
spoken, and then they do, I confess, _sound_ very small. Of course, if
we cooked a large roast to-day, ate it cold two or three days, baked
once a week several loaves, and had large pots of weak coffee, half to
be thrown away, we should not need to provide very much for a visitor;
but we aim to live differently; and it is only by making one thing fit
in with another that we can live quite within our means, and be able to
welcome a visitor without anxiety.”

Molly was flushed, and her eyes sparkled; for she was a little wounded.

“My dearest little woman, you mistook me; I wasn’t laughing at the
planning at all; I was laughing in admiration at the way you steered
your little bark so very near the wind, and trimmed so very neatly.
And to think, too, how clever you were to cut down the table-expenses
after the first week without my guessing it. I declare, I thought I was
living quite like a prince. I am lost in admiration, Molly, and feel
ashamed to be so much better off than most fellows.”

He spoke in a sort of jesting earnest, and pressed Molly to him. She
understood him well; the slight cloud lifted, and, with his arm about
her, they went over the month’s accounts together.

“Now do you regret the experiment of housekeeping?” she asked, when he
had congratulated her.

“No, indeed, I don’t. No more boarding for me if I know it.”

“I am so thankful to hear you say that.”

“Now, my dear, you’ve had your little innings, listen to mine. I have
$20 a month, remember, to give an account of. You know we set out,
when we married, with the brave purpose of reserving $10 a month for
emergencies. But with board and laundress coming to nearly $90, and
the numberless trifling expenses, car fares, etc., in New York, in the
whole twelve months we did not save $10.”

“I know, and it worried me very much; to live right up to one’s income
seems terrible.”

“Not so terrible in our case, because I’m sure of a steadily increasing
salary; and I propose we do not increase our expenses for some years to
come.”

“Oh, no indeed! Whatever the increase, it must be saved so long as we
have health.”

“Well, I find by living in the country that drain of small expenses is
avoided; and I actually have $12 in hand.”

“Oh, I am so thankful, but”—anxiously—“you have not been going without
lunch?”

“By no means; but I find fruit or a sandwich and glass of milk makes me
as good a lunch as I want, and averages ten cents a day.”

Harry’s commutation ticket was $6 a month, $3 only of which had to come
from the margin of $20. (It will be remembered that the amount they
allowed for their rent, servants, and table was $77. The $3 saved from
their old boarding-house expense of $80 partly paid the commutation
ticket.) Harry had therefore limited his personal expenses to $5 for
lunch and newspapers, tobacco, etc. Molly was very proud each time she
remembered how freely he had spent money before their marriage, and
how cheerfully he had resigned the cigars and expensive luxuries that
were almost second nature, for her sake. How could she grudge any pains
that should make his house a little like the one he had been accustomed
to? They had both decided to be very economical in dress; and it is
astonishing how very little will keep up a wardrobe once well supplied,
provided one does not easily tire of the same garments. Altogether
Molly thought the outlook was bright enough; and, after thus summing
up, they spent a long, happy evening laying plans.

“Oh, what is your conclusion about our light-handed Phyllis; will you
keep her?”

“Oh yes; she certainly is rather exasperating sometimes, and I have
thought it over seriously whether I should take the trouble to go on
with her or change; but she has some very good qualities; she is very
clean, and very saving, and really about cooking very intelligent.
Outside of the kitchen I can’t say much for her; but another might be
stupid there, too, so I think I’ll bear the ills I know.”

Marta’s wages were but $10; but Molly had found it absolutely necessary
to hire a woman for two days, that Marta might see how washing and
ironing was to be accomplished in this country, which Molly herself
knew little about. She knew what the result should be, but how to
attain it she did not know. When the woman came, she was careful to
profit, herself. She watched the process, and asked the woman a dozen
questions.

“It seems to me that Marta rubs enough and works hard enough, but
nothing looks just right,” she had said, as she watched the apparently
easy movements of Mrs. Hall, who was considered an excellent laundress.

“Lor bless you, ma’am, it ain’t the rubbin’ with clothes like your’n,
it’s the rinsin’, and the washin’ in plenty of water—many ov ’em stuff
the tub just full of clothes as they can pack, and then puddle them all
through in a little water one side the tub, when it’s just as easy to
have a few bits in at a time. Then when they’re a bilin’, the biler’s
chuck full, and no room for ’em to scald; and they’re put right out
of the bilin’ suds into the blue rinse water, ’stead ov bein’ suddled
first.”

“What is suddled?”

“Well, just being put into a tub ov clear or near clear water, an’
gettin’ the soap out of ’em; then they kin be tossed into the rinse.”

“You think, then, it’s not the labor, but the water?”

“Stan’s to reason, if the cloes come out of thick water,—I don’t
mean dirty; _your_ cloes wouldn’t make dirty water if you was to
try,—they’ll look thick.”

This was a great thing for Molly to know. She saw the principle of it,
and she knew Marta grudged no work; it was only that she did not expend
it in the right direction. Less rubbing, but more water, then, was no
doubt the secret.

With ironing she learned less, Mrs. Hall’s views on the matter being
of the Bunsby kind. Molly had been reading all she could find in books
about it, but she believed a few words from a practical laundress would
enlighten her more than much reading. She had only one clear idea
herself; and that was that the most beautiful laundry-work she had ever
seen, she had been told, was due to long boiling of the starch.

“I boil it till it runs off the spoon like melted silver,” the woman
who did it told her.

“What do you think about starch? Ought it to be long boiled?” she asked
Mrs. Hall.

“Oh, I don’t know. Some says so, some says not, but I never makes no
differ; if I’m not ready the starch biles, if I am, it don’t. It’s all
in the ironin’, I say; if you kin iron, you kin.”

“But surely sometimes starch sticks.”

“Yes, if you don’t understand it.”

Molly gave up; but she found Marta so far improved by what she had
seen, that the money was well expended.

But to return to the dollar and cent question. Her grocery bill for the
coming month was $10.02 against $11.22 for the last (see Chapter IX.),
and the weekly proportion of that would be $2.50½. Of several articles,
such as flour and potatoes, she had renewed the supply; not because
they were really exhausted, but would be in a few days; all of which
small “lap-overs,” however, would make a little difference to one who
watched her expenses so closely as Molly.



CHAPTER XXIII.

CHIEFLY SOCIAL—MRS. FRAMLEY’S OPINIONS.


MOLLY during the month had become acquainted with all Mr. and Mrs.
Winfield’s friends; they had gone to the “readings” each week, and,
not being hypocritical young people, but very ready to be amused,
had enjoyed themselves much. The “readings,” she found, were really
modified theatricals; and as happily no great tragedies or legitimate
dramas were attempted, but bright comedies or farces, they were usually
well done; and where they were not the fun was greater.

Molly was glad they had found so many pleasant people in Greenfield; it
made the ordeal of a winter in the country for Harry far less trying.
She was expressing an idea of this sort to Mrs. Framley, who said:—

“But you don’t seem to think the ordeal is as great for you, who are in
the country all day. I’m afraid you spoil Mr. Bishop.”

“Oh dear, no,” laughed Molly; “but I do think it right to make life
just as pleasant to him as I can.”

“My dear, don’t you think women do too much of that? Isn’t it just as
much a man’s business to see that his wife enjoys herself as hers to
cater to _his_ amusement? You told me the other day you don’t care for
chess; yet you make a point of playing it. Why shouldn’t Mr. Bishop
make a point of doing something you like?”

“I don’t know; but I don’t believe he would think of it; if he did, no
doubt he would try to amuse me.”

“That’s just it! You are so self-effacing that it doesn’t occur to
him. I am no woman’s rights woman; I don’t want to vote; but I do not
believe in catering to a husband’s taste any more than he caters to
mine.”

“I haven’t thought much about it,” said Molly slowly. “It just comes
natural to me to do what I can to please Harry, but I don’t know that
it is any credit to me, for I enjoy it just as much as he does; perhaps
if I didn’t I might not do it.”

“Well, you are newly married, but later you will find you have made
him thoroughly selfish; at least, he is a remarkable young man if he
doesn’t get so. Look at Jane Carlyle!”

Molly laughed. “I love Mrs. Carlyle, and I am always surprised at
the tone of commiseration adopted toward her. I think she thoroughly
enjoyed ministering to her husband—why shouldn’t she? She loved and
admired him, and it was her life work; and I think I understand such a
woman well enough to feel sure she was happier drudging for him than
she would have been with some smaller man drudging for her. All her
letters, for the first twenty-five years of her married life, show that
she rather gloried in overcoming her difficulties. I dare say she would
have pitied some other woman doing the same things; but we all leave
out, in thinking of others, the personal affection which makes the
things we do and suffer for those we love a pleasure.”

“My dear Mrs. Bishop,” cried Mrs. Framley, laughing, “I had no idea you
could be so eloquent. I think, at one of our meetings, instead of a
reading, we will have a lecture from Mrs. Bishop, entitled _The labor
that we love physics pain_. You haven’t convinced me, though, because
my opinions are founded on principle, and the conviction that women
ought, out of self-respect and for the sake of other women, to expect
that a husband should sacrifice his tastes and pleasure, and consider
it his duty to amuse and entertain his wife as much as she does him,
and not consider his duty done if he provides for her and treats her as
well as he would a favorite horse.”

“I can understand if people, man and wife, or brother and sister,
begin to draw the line as to what is to be conceded and what
expected, and what they do for those they love becomes a _conscious_
self-abnegation,—that life under such circumstances may be looked upon
as one of self-denial; but I fancy few really are denying themselves
while pleasing a loved one.”

Mrs. Framley smiled. “You are the last person I should have thought
romantic, but I see you are; talk to me ten years from now, my dear,
and I’ll listen respectfully.”

Molly thought the matter over when she was alone. Was she really in
danger of spoiling Harry? She certainly had known husbands who took
all the comfort of their homes just as their right, and never seemed
to think they need do anything toward the family pleasure beyond
paying the bills. Molly was devoted to her husband; but she was not so
blinded by her love as not to see that Harry was in no way a perfect
man. He was pleasure-loving only in the sense of seizing life’s
enjoyments,—even his generous impulses were part of them,—and he was
too fastidious for a poor man; and Molly could quite realize that he
might not be a loving husband to some women just as good as she was,
and yet she knew his faults were faults of temperament. How could he
help it, if he liked brightness and gaiety and rather shirked the
dreary side of life? She sympathized so much with him that she had no
dread of the future; she had no wish to make him over to her standard.
(Herein lies the secret of half the “incompatibility” in marriage,
if Molly had but known it; but she was not, consciously, a social
philosopher.)

“Well, I can’t help it; I don’t believe Harry will be more spoiled
by being made happy in his own way than if I try to make him make
me happy in mine; and if he does I can’t help it. It all depends, I
suppose, whether one loves a man well enough to enjoy his pleasure
and find one’s own in it; and I can’t help thinking Mrs. Carlyle was
just as happy as those who pity her, until she got ill and morbid; the
sacrifices she seemed to make of her own comfort were not so, for her
pleasure was in promoting that of her great husband.”

On the whole, Mrs. Framley’s warning had done no good or harm. While
boarding, although Molly had been as reserved as politeness permitted,
and limited her intercourse with the ladies to formal acquaintance,
it had been impossible for her to escape many such warnings, uttered
good-naturedly, often by the way of joking a young wife; but she knew
then, as now, she could lay no deliberate plans to secure her husband’s
love and attention; if she gave more than she received, she could not
help it—she loved to give. “If it is really necessary to measure one’s
devotion in order to secure happy married life, then those women who
love least have most chance of happiness; but it cannot be.”



CHAPTER XXIV.

A VERY PLAIN PUDDING—HOW TO COOK ODDS AND ENDS—BILLS OF FARE FOR A WEEK.


MOLLY’S enlarged circle of acquaintances enabled her to ask aid for
poor Mrs. Gibbs; and several had subscribed small sums, which, put
together, bought the poor soul fuel for a couple of months; and
others who regretted inability to give money—having so many calls
already—gladly sent to Molly odds and ends of food, fag ends of steak,
the tops of mutton chops, etc., which, long and softly stewed and left
till cold,—when the fat came off in a cake which made nice dripping for
Mrs. Gibbs to fry mush or potatoes in,—then stewed again with onions
and potatoes at some times, vegetables and barley at others, made a
very appetizing dish; thus with a very little of Molly’s time and what
would have been thrown away by one or two families, savory, nourishing
food was provided for the destitute woman and children. Had the meat
and vegetables been sent to Mrs. Gibbs herself, they would have done
comparatively little good; they would have been fried, and the fat
probably thrown away, and the tough meat eaten without relish. A large
bread pudding, too, was made once a week; and, as it cost so little and
was so good, Mrs. Lennox asked Molly for the recipe:—

PLAIN BREAD PUDDING.—Soak stale bread, crust and crumbs, in skimmed
milk till soft; press out the milk, and beat the bread fine; add a
table-spoonful of molasses, a tea-spoonful of ginger, and the third
of a nutmeg to each quart of beaten bread; sweeten to taste; pare the
yellow rind of an orange or lemon, or both, chop them fine, and add
them with one or two cups of currants, according to the size of the
pudding; put the whole into a pan, smooth it over the top, and strew it
thickly with nice beef dripping or butter. Bake a three-quart pudding
_slowly four hours_. Better cold than hot.

This pudding, if care is taken with the flavoring, will by no means
taste poor. It is especially nice cut in slices and fried, or—in hot
weather—eaten cold with milk or cream and sugar.

Mrs. Gibbs was getting now strong enough to do sewing, and one lady
lent her a sewing-machine she was not using; Molly felt there was now
some hope of her getting work enough to partly support her family.

Mrs. Lennox and Molly had often talked again over the advisability of
the former getting help in her house, or not; Molly was strongly of
the opinion that, as her health was before everything, it certainly
was advisable and truly economical, but she did not venture to urge
it, because she knew everything would depend on the kind of girl they
would get; yet it seemed that any one with but two good qualities,
willingness and strength, must be a great gain to a woman situated as
her friend was.

“I do dread green girls, they generally are so stupid.”

“I confess they often are; so are those not green, only they conceal
their stupidity better, and often add conceit to it; but it seems to
me what you are in urgent need of is a pair of strong arms; if you get
those, you can do without the brains, or supply them; you never stop to
ask if the woman you hire to wash and iron is stupid or not, she simply
does the work set for her; and if one pays a girl low wages, and she
does just the work you show her, like a machine, every day instead of
two days a week, won’t you be better off?”

“Yes. When I think of the matter like that, I see I should, even if I
have to follow her round for a month or so.”

“Yes, you will be saving your muscles.”

“And I might then get time to think of my children’s minds as well as
their bodies; my life is so sordid, I never read a line; and when Mr.
Lennox reads to me I am sorry to say I am too pre-occupied to listen.
It is a frightful waste of life.”

She sighed, and on the last of these conversations said: “Mrs. Bishop,
I’ve resolved to try the experiment. I am not so afraid of the
increased butcher bills since I have so many of your recipes.”

“I don’t believe you need be; but you can easily get an idea of what
you will spend. I think it a good plan to write out a sort of list
every week; it saves thinking each day what to have for dinner, and, of
course, can be modified according to market prices. I limit myself to
certain prices: and, if I find some articles dear one day, I can easily
change; for instance, cauliflowers have been wonderfully cheap this
fall, and twice I have got a small one—large enough for us two—for 10
cents; to-day I meant to have fried cauliflower, and found a very small
one was 20 cents; of course I did not get it. You might draw up some
sort of a list of provisions for a certain time, allowing for the extra
person, and get a close idea of your probable expenses.”

“I wish you would help me.”

“I will, gladly.”

Later in the day, Mrs. Lennox came in much excited. “My dear! Mrs.
Framley’s chambermaid has a sister expected to arrive from Ireland this
very week, and she is trying to get a place for her; and I am tempted
to try her. She is sixteen, and the sister says for the first three
months she will let her live with nice people for very little.”

“I would by all means engage her if Mrs. Framley thinks well of the
sister.”

“Yes. She says she is respectable and clean.”

“That’s about all one can hope for, and I think it is a fortunate
chance.”

“I shall decide. Oh, think of my having another pair of working hands
in my house: such a weight will be off my shoulders, and this saves me
going to Castle Garden.”

Molly had decided to write her own bills of fare for the week, as it
would save her thinking each day, and she could manage better, knowing
beforehand all she would need. Accordingly, on the first of the month,
she wrote out the following as her programme for the week’s dining. The
breakfasts so often came out of the dinner that she did not need to
make special arrangement:—


BILLS OF FARE.

                     _Noodle Soup._
         _Braised Beef._     _Cabbage à la Crême._
                 _Fried Potatoes._
           _Beets._      _Cheese Omelette._
              _Polka Pudding and Sauce._
                        ———
        _Filets de Sole with Béchamel Sauce._
                   _Miroton of Beef._
       _Green Peas._               _Potato Balls._
               _Iced Cream Coffee._
          _Cake._                _Fruit._
                        ———
                  _Black Bean Soup._
                 _Chicken Fricassee._
        _Potato Croquettes._          _Peas._
              _King William’s Pudding._
                      _Fruit._
                        ———
            _Cod, with Hollandaise Sauce._
                   _Roast Mutton._
    _Stewed Onions._          _Scalloped Potatoes._
        _Frozen Bananas._           _Cake._
                        ———
            _Clear Soup with Royal Custard._
  _Fried Fowl (French fashion)._          _Sweet Bread._
    _Tomatoes, au gratin._        _Stuffed Potatoes._
          _Vanilla Soufflé Pudding, Hard Sauce._
                        ———
                   _German Soup._
       _Boiled Mutton._       _Stewed Onions._
                    _Potatoes._
            _Macaroni._        _Cheese._
         _Spoonful Pudding, Almond Sauce._
                      _Fruit._
                        ———
                   _Raw Oysters._
  _Mutton, Re served._          _Stewed Onions._
      _Dresden Patties._          _Potatoes._
              _Old English Fritters._
                     _Fruit._



CHAPTER XXV.

MARTA’S NOODLES—BRAISED BEEF—HOW TO ADAPT ONE’S MATERIALS—POLKA PUDDING
AND SAUCE.


I HAVE said before that Molly had repeated, as often as she could, the
dishes she had first taught Marta, so that she might not get confused,
and might know thoroughly a few things. She hoped by this means to
be able to depend upon her for certain dishes. At the beginning of
this new month Marta seemed to have learned thoroughly how to make
clear soup, white sauce, bread, and to fry; and to Molly this did not
seem a bad result. In knowing how to make clear soup, she knew the
principle of soup-making, and could make any other meat soup,—also in
learning this she had learned what _slow boiling_ really meant, and
could therefore boil meat well. To make white sauce perfectly meant
to do many other things of which that, or its modifications, are the
foundation. Whether Marta’s intelligence was quick enough to show
her the value of the key she held, that good white sauce meant good
béchamel sauce, good celery sauce, lobster sauce, poulette and all
the long list of sauces with high-sounding French names, that seem so
hopelessly unattainable to ordinary cooks, as well as all kinds of
white soups, and many sweet dishes,—that she would see and apply all
this was a great deal too much to hope; but if she would only keep her
execution of what she could do up to the mark, Molly would feel that
her efforts were far from wasted.

“If she will only not be content with having accomplished these things
a few times, and will _not_ become careless as she gets familiar, I
must be very thankful;” but this was just what Molly did fear. The
bread, although light and good, was never twice alike, unless Molly
superintended the making; which assured her that Marta had taken to
“guessing” or, what was as bad, to measuring carelessly. Carefully
she explained to her that a pint of flour did _not_ mean all that
could be taken up on a pint measure, or that a pint of water did not
mean the larger half of a quart measure; but the bread still came to
table, sometimes coarse-grained, sometimes very close, showing it was
sometimes made very wet, at others stiff, but always light and sweet
so far; but she feared this lack of exactness might run into other
things. If so, it could not be helped. Molly knew that many very good
cooks, who turned out excellent dishes, never measured, could never
tell how they did it, or give an intelligible recipe. Such cases had
been often quoted to her as a reason why the precision of scientific
cooking, as taught in cooking-schools, was nonsense; but she knew that
those who cooked thus, although they might produce excellent results
four times out of five, the fifth time might make a failure; they are
always subject to good and bad “luck” with their cooking; and she
knew, too, there are a certain few who are gifted with such a correct
eye for quantity that they could calculate the weight of a thing to a
quarter of an ounce,—she herself had this gift to a certain extent,
but she never trusted to it,—yet she understood that a cook with that
exceptional gift might do as well without weighing as with it; the only
misfortune was that the generality were not so gifted, but believed
themselves to be so, and the result is the frequent uncertainty with
which one so often awaits the appearance of Dinah’s or Delia’s efforts,
that result depending on their “good” or “bad luck.”

However, Molly was convinced that she had done her part with Marta,
and that if she failed in the things she knew, it would not be because
she did not thoroughly understand; and she could now try to teach her
several new dishes.

The bill of fare for the day was noodle soup, braised beef, cabbage
with white sauce, fried potatoes, and polka pudding.

About a pint of clear soup was on hand, and Molly had many times
intended to let Marta show her how to make the German noodles that had
so pleased her when she first saw them; but on days when clear soup
was made or used, something had always called her attention; and even
to-day was ironing-day, but she helped Marta through with her work, so
that there might be half an hour to spare without putting the ironing
back, and then while Marta was finishing she prepared the dessert.

She had a recipe for polka pudding which she had often heard praised,
and now, as she had the materials, would try. I say she had the
materials; but Molly was very clever in “cutting her coat according to
the cloth.” The recipe called for bitter almonds as well as sweet; she
knew by flavoring a portion of the sweet almonds with the extract of
bitter she would have the same effect. Rose-water also was called for;
she poured a few drops of the extract of rose into a table-spoonful of
water, and she had it, or at least the effect.

The recipe was as follows:—

POLKA PUDDING.—One pint of milk, boiling hot, two table-spoonfuls of
corn starch mixed smooth in a _little_ cold milk; then pour the boiling
milk on it and stir all the time; thicken over the fire and mix, when
cooked, with a table-spoonful of rose water, a table-spoonful and a
half of thick cream; or stir in one and a half of butter, one ounce of
bitter almonds and one of sweet ones blanched, and beaten with a little
white of egg to prevent oiling; beat the yolk and the rest of the white
with another whole egg very light. Mix all together, let it come to the
boiling-point, put it into an oiled mould, and set in ice.

There were one or two peculiarities about this pudding; it was
unsweetened, except by the sauce, which might make it a pleasant change
from sweeter dessert, and it was to be served ice cold on hot plates
with hot sauce.

The first thing was to blanch the almonds, which she did by putting
them in a bowl and pouring water over them, which she was careful to
have quite boiling; when they had stood two minutes, she took them out
of the water with a fork, laid them on a coarse cloth, and pressed
them between her thumb and finger, when they slipped easily out of
their skins. She dropped them as they were done into cold water to
keep them white. When all were finished, she dried and weighed them
(two ounces of almonds _blanched_ being very different from the same
weight in their skins), and then, as she had no mortar, she took the
chopping-bowl, assured herself it bore no odor or trace of herbs, and
first chopped them fine; then with the potato-masher, which she never
used for its legitimate purpose, pounded them.[2] One-half of these she
flavored strongly with bitter almond and the rest of the recipe she
followed exactly, using cream instead of butter, as she had it, having
saved it from dessert the day before for this purpose.

She measured the table-spoonfuls of corn starch very carefully, for
nothing is more disagreeable than too much, and she boiled it in a
saucepan set in another of water, so that the starch might be long
cooked without burning. She removed it from the range to the table,
and allowed it to go slightly off the boil before stirring in the
eggs; then returned it to the range and stirred till it came to the
boiling-point again.

When all was mixed, she poured it into an oiled mould and set it in
the ice; and then prepared to watch Marta, who was delighted with her
accomplishment, and to see it so much appreciated. Her face fairly
beamed as she found herself giving instead of taking instruction. She
said very little, but Molly stood by and noted what she did.

She beat one egg till it frothed, put to it a pinch of salt, and
then worked in as much flour as it would take, _about_ three
table-spoonfuls; she kneaded it till it was a smooth and firm, yet
elastic, paste. This she rolled out on the pastry-board (very slightly
flouring it) till it was as thin as writing-paper. So far, this was
exactly the recipe for home-made vermicelli noodles, which was familiar
to Molly. When the paste was as thin as she could get it on the board,
Marta lifted the sheet of yellow paste, laid a cloth folded on the
board, and then the paste on that; this enabled her to roll it still
thinner; then she removed the cloth and folded one-half the paste,
and asked Molly for her thimble. Molly washed it and gave it to her,
and Marta stamped a couple of dozen little disks out of the _double_
paste. They were so closely stuck together that they looked like little
circles of yellow card. Marta now took a little pint iron saucepan,
put into it two large table-spoonfuls of lard, and set it to get
smoking hot. While this was reaching the point of heat required, she
took the little sheet of paste she had not used, and which was still
single and had got very slightly dry, while the disks were being made,
which she explained it was necessary for it to do. She then rolled up
the thin sheet closely, and cut it at intervals of the third of an
inch; the paste now looked like so much yellow tape; and these, she
informed Molly, were either to be dried near the fire on a sieve and
kept for soups, or to be boiled in water and dressed with butter. As
she spoke, she tossed the shreds up lightly with a fork for some little
time. The fat was now hot; as hot, Molly remarked, as for croquettes,
proved by the fact that the little disks when dropped into it (they
became balls the minute they were in the fat) took a pale, golden hue;
one-half minute colored them all alike; they were then lifted out with
a skimmer, and Marta laid them on a clean cloth. Molly said nothing,
because she did not want at this time to interfere with what was
Marta’s specialty, but in doing them herself would use paper to drain
them instead of greasing a cloth.

“I am ever so much obliged, Marta; these are a real novelty. Now we
will have the others boiled for luncheon and some day you can make them
for dinner. Mr. Bishop is so fond of anything of the sort. I want to
see you cook them.”

It was time for them to be cooked now, Marta declared, and she put on
water to boil with a tea-spoonful of salt in it; then she grated about
a table-spoonful of cheese, and when the water was fast boiling dropped
the “noodles” into it. She knew no other name than this for both the
balls and the ribbons. They were to boil a quarter of an hour, she
said, and every now and then she carefully stirred them up with a fork
_not so as to break them_, but to keep them separate. She put a large
table-spoonful of butter in a little saucepan and set it to get hot.
When the noodles were strained off, the grated cheese was sprinkled
over them with a little pepper and salt, then the butter was put to
get _boiling hot_, and immediately poured over them. They were again
stirred up with the fork, and, when the butter was well through them,
Marta pronounced them ready; it was of course quite a small dish, but
Molly told Marta if it proved half as good as it was pretty, she would
be called on to make it very often.

It did not belie its appearance. “Marta, this is quite a discovery! I
wonder if you can make any more German dainties?”

Marta smilingly said she knew only one or two really nice things.

“Then you shall make them; but don’t you see, you silly girl, that when
you knew how to fry those little balls you knew how to fry many other
things?”

“I see it now, but I did not before. I thought everything else had to
be done in a different way in a flat pan.”

“Well, when you make these ribbon noodles again, you will have to
take the whole of the paste made from the egg, and double the butter
dressing; for I’m sure Mr. Bishop will be delighted with them.”

In the afternoon, as the irons were on the stove, Molly put the beef in
the oven and made what Soyer calls a “roast-braise.” She took a small
earthen crock or pan and put into it a large onion, a small carrot and
turnip, two sprigs of parsley and a bay leaf; on these she laid some
fat pork shaved, and on that the meat beef neatly skewered and tied.
Over this meat she put a thin layer of fat pork, and over all a cup of
water and a flour and water paste, so that the steam could not escape.
This was to be left in the oven, which was not allowed to get very hot
for the first two and a half hours,—just hot enough to keep the roast
simmering.

FOOTNOTE:

[2] An equal weight of almond paste may be used.



CHAPTER XXVI.

FRIED POTATOES—POLKA SAUCE—CLEARING GRAVY OF FAT—A VARIETY OF CAKES
FROM ONE RECIPE.


MOLLY had intended showing Marta how to fry potatoes, so as to have
them crisp. If she gave directions merely, the girl would naturally
think, being so much smaller than other things, they would be cooked
as soon, and the result would be brown and flabby. She had waited to
do this until some other dish needed her in the kitchen till the last
minute before dinner, and to-day, as the sauce for the pudding had to
be made, she could direct the one while she made the other, and she was
anxious, too, to see to the taking up of the beef and making the gravy.
She went to the kitchen in good time to attend to this. Half an hour
before the meat was to come out, the oven was allowed to get very hot.
When the paste was removed from the crock, the savory steam filled the
air. The beef was lifted from the crock, put in the dripping-pan and
set on the top shelf of the oven, now quite sharp, for half an hour,
to brown, while Marta prepared the cabbage. The potatoes, peeled and
cut into thin slices, had been lying in ice-water since morning. They
were now drained and dried _thoroughly_, and the kettle of lard was put
on the range to heat. Then Molly skimmed the fat from the gravy in the
crock and poured it through a strainer into a small saucepan, and she
then set Marta to rub as much of the vegetables through as possible.

“Marta, you need not chop the cabbage to-night; for a change you will
press all the water you possibly can from it, cut it across pie-fashion
when it is in the dish, and make a gill of nice white sauce, using,
remember, _half_ a table-spoonful of butter, _half_ one of flour and a
gill of milk.”

Molly was draining the cold water from the cabbage as she spoke, and
put it into the boiling water; then, as it was too soon to make the
sauce, she went to arrange the dining-table—which was something she
found quite impossible to teach Marta.

When she returned Marta had rubbed the greater part of the vegetables
through. Molly put a cup of boiling water into the crock, stirred
it well round the sides, then poured it through the remains of the
vegetables in the strainer into the saucepan, and then set it on the
range to boil fast; it was still thick with fat.

“Marta, when that boils throw in a little _cold_ water, then skim it;
do that three or four times till it is quite clear of fat, then set it
where it will boil rapidly, to get rid of the water you have thrown in.
When the grease is entirely off it, you can stir in a dessert-spoonful
of brown thickening.”

Molly needed for the polka sauce one table-spoonful of butter, well
washed to remove salt, two large table-spoonfuls of powdered sugar, and
a glass of wine, and the directions were as follows:

“Beat sugar and butter till very light and white, make the sherry quite
hot, add it gradually to the butter and sugar, beating all the time,
stand it in a saucepan of boiling water, and do not cease beating till
all are at the boiling-point.”

Molly had to content herself with beating the sugar and butter to a
very light cream and measuring the wine; she must trust Marta to finish
it while they were at dinner, as it was evidently a sauce that could
not stand.

When Marta had thickened the gravy for the meat, Molly seasoned it with
pepper and salt, let it boil fast till very rich, then took it from the
range and left it to stand for a few minutes. Marta had the soup on,
and the noodles in the bottom of the tureen.

“Now, Marta, try the fat, and put in the potatoes if it is as hot
as for your noodles. You must leave them till the fat recovers the
heat—it is of course chilled by the cold potatoes going into it. If you
were frying for a large family you would only put in part at a time,
but for our little dish you may safely put in all.”

In about one minute they were drawn away from the intense heat.

“That is because they take at least eight minutes to cook. They will
be tender before, but not crisp, and if they were kept in the hottest
part they would be dark in color long before ten minutes. Understand,
you must _not_ put them where they will cook _slowly_, but where they
will cook _more slowly_ than right on the fire, and you can safely make
your white sauce while they cook. As I am here I’ll take up the meat,
but I want you to notice that the gravy has still a little fat which
has formed on it like a skin, and can be lifted with a fork. One way of
clearing very greasy stock or gravy is to boil it fast, let it stand,
then remove the skin that forms, repeating this process several times
if necessary. Where there is time, this is really the best way, for
there is no need to watch it; simply put it on the fire and remove it
as you go about your other work.

“Now those potatoes are done—lift them out with the skimmer, lay them
on that brown paper I have put ready, sprinkle salt on them and then
turn them into a dish. The beef is brown now—you can take it up, pour
part of the gravy round it and put the rest in a sauceboat. Now I’ll
leave the rest to you.”

The polka pudding Harry pronounced delicious, and exactly to his taste,
but Molly thought she would have preferred it slightly sweetened; but
the combination of hot and cold, eccentric as it seemed, was very
pleasant.

After dinner Mrs. Lennox came in for a chat, as she occasionally did,
leaving Mr. Lennox at home with the children. She wanted to tell Molly
that she expected her new maid by the next Inman steamer. Her sister
was going to meet her on its arrival and bring her right out.

“Make up your mind to possess yourself in patience for the first few
days,” said Molly, “for you will no doubt need it, and then you may
have real comfort.”

“Oh yes, I think I am patient. To-morrow I am going to make a cake; can
you give me a good recipe? Better than the one I have, I mean.”

“That depends on what it is. Do you want a cup cake?”

“Yes, the one I have is what they call feather cake, and very light
and nice, but I would like a change, I confess. The recipe is one
table-spoonful of butter, one cup of sugar, one cup and a half of
flour, half a cup of milk, one quarter tea-spoonful of soda, half one
of cream of tartar, two eggs and a pinch of salt. Then I stir butter,
sugar and eggs together, beating them hard, then add flour in which the
cream of tartar is mixed and milk by degrees, and I dissolve the soda
in the least drop of boiling water, and bake it in a good steady oven.
I use the same recipe for jelly cake.”

“I know that cake,” said Molly; “it is an old favorite, and for a quite
plain one it is very good indeed, and for children or where it is
quickly eaten up I should use it; but I have to make a richer cup cake,
using very much more butter or butter and lard, because for one thing
I like a cake that is more like pound than sponge, and, for another,
I want it to keep fresh. One loaf made with a cup and a half of flour
lasts us a fortnight, and by using nearly half as much butter as flour
it is better the last day than the first.”

“I thought so much butter would make it heavy.”

“No, if properly made you may use equal quantities of butter and flour
as in pound cake, or half a pound of butter to one of flour as in queen
cake; but a cake with much butter needs more care in baking, and it
takes longer than one with less—pound cake takes from two to three
hours.”

“I am fond of pound cake, but I never aspire to make one.”

“It is easy enough to make, but not so easy to bake; While eggs and
butter keep fairly cheap, I think I shall make one to keep, so that
it will be always on hand, for the minute eggs and butter get more
expensive I shall use as few as possible and make only fruit cake.”

“Why don’t you get eggs now while they are cheap? I get eggs from a
farmer at twenty-two cents, but he tells me they will be twenty-five by
the end of the month.”

“I pay that now at the store, but if I can get a few dozen at
twenty-two cents, it will be an economy to take them. I will put them
down in lime.”

“That is what I have wanted to do, but I tried once, and put ten dozen
down when they were fifteen cents, and they did not keep at all.”

“We’ll do them together if you like; but to return to the cake, I don’t
believe you can improve on feather cake for your purpose, but you can
vary it _ad infinitum_. By leaving out a good table-spoonful flour and
adding grated chocolate and flavoring with vanilla you have a very nice
chocolate cake, or by stirring in it a cup of grated cocoanut or one of
walnut meats it is delicious, or even by grating the peel of an orange
and part of the juice, or lemon-peel. If you add fruit you need more
butter, say two table-spoonfuls, or it will be crumbly and dry.”

“Thank you; I never thought of chocolate cake. I shall try it
to-morrow.”



CHAPTER XXVII.

CANDIED LEMON-PEEL—TO WHIP CREAM SOLID—ICED CREAM COFFEE—MADELEINE
CAKE—POTATO BALLS.


THE next day not being a very busy one for Marta, Molly proposed to
candy the lemon-peels, that had been lying in brine until enough had
been collected. There were now the peels of nearly a dozen. These
were put on in cold water, and when they had boiled an hour this was
thrown away and fresh cold water put on them, the object being simply
to freshen them. When they began to get tender Molly tasted them to
see if any salt remained in them, but she found them quite fresh; had
they not been, she would have changed the water once more. When they
were tender enough to run a straw through them, which was when they had
boiled nearly three hours, they were poured off, and a pint and a half
of water and a pound and a half of sugar were put to boil to syrup,
while Molly and Marta cut the peels into chips less than an inch long
and a quarter inch wide. To accomplish this quickly Molly told Marta to
cut each half lemon-peel into three equal sizes, then to lay one on the
other, and cut across all three; the chips were about the right size
thus cut.

When the syrup boiled the chips were dropped in; it was allowed to
boil again, and to keep boiling slowly till the peels were clear, then
more rapidly till there was so little liquid that they were in danger
of burning; then they were drawn to the back of the range for the
remaining syrup to dry away without burning. When they were at this
point Molly sprinkled half a pound of sugar through them and spread
them out on plates, telling Marta to put them in the oven with the
door open, and let them remain all night to dry.

She explained to Marta, if ever she tried to do them alone, to remember
there must be always enough syrup to cover the peels at first, made in
the proportion of a pound of sugar to a pint of water.

Of course, although the process was a long one, the only attention
required was to prevent the peels burning toward the last.

Molly knew she would be in the kitchen a good deal this week, for she
did not expect Marta to be able to do much alone. The day on which she
candied lemon-peels she planned to make iced cream coffee, a cake, and
show Marta about the dinner.

Mrs. Winfield’s freezer was very small, the cylinder holding only a
quart. Molly had not tried it hitherto, but home-made ices were so
economical that she was anxious to become familiar with it. After
breakfast a cup of black coffee was made by pouring half a pint of
water through two table-spoonfuls of finely-ground coffee, in the same
way as their usual breakfast coffee was made, only of double strength.
To this was added a gill of thick cream and half a pint of boiled milk,
and four table-spoonfuls of sugar. This was poured into the cylinder
and frozen. Molly had ordered half a pint of cream to be kept for her
the day before, so that she would be sure of having it from twenty-four
to thirty-six hours old, and the other gill was left in the ice till it
was thoroughly chilled. Buying cream in such small quantity she could
not afford to have the usual milky residuum, and knew the only way to
whip it _solid_ without one tea-spoonful of waste, was to have it _at
least twenty-four hours old_, and _thoroughly chilled_, then to beat
it steadily, without taking the beater out till it was as solid as
the white of egg. This usually happens in ten minutes with a pint of
cream, but if the kitchen is warm and it does not “come” in that time,
it is often an economy of time to set it in the ice, just as it is,
to get chilled again; there is no occasion to remove the froth as it
rises,—the whip will be finer and firmer without.

Marta made the Madeleine cake, while Molly stood by, recipe in hand.

“This cake, Marta, has no milk, and therefore requires no
baking-powder; neither queen cake, sponge cake, pound cake, in fact
none of the finer cakes have milk, and they are raised entirely with
eggs. But several very good imitations of these cakes are made with
baking-powder; the saving is not great, and a cake made without
chemicals keeps fresh much longer.

“MADELEINE CAKE.—For Madeleine cake you must weigh four ounces of
butter, half a pound of sugar, half a pound of flour twice sifted; then
grate the rind of half a lemon into the sugar, separate the yolks from
the whites of three large or four small eggs, put two table-spoonfuls
of wine in this cup, and, before you begin to make the cake, butter a
small cake-pan. Now beat the whites of the eggs till you can turn the
bowl without their slipping, cream the butter well, then beat the yolks
of eggs into it, then add the sugar and wine; beat _well_ again, and
then add flour and whites of eggs alternately, and when all is well
mixed, pour it into the pan, and bake it in a rather slow oven for an
hour.

“I am having only half the recipe made, so the cake is not very
large; but we are such small cake-eaters that we get tired of a large
one. Another time, if you make this cake, you may put rose-water or
peach-water instead of the wine, and chopped candied lemon-peel instead
of the grated peel. You see the batter is much thicker than for the
cup cake you made, but if at any time you use flour that absorbs more
moisture, you must add another egg; this is, as it should be, as
thick as pound-cake batter,—which means, as thick as can be stirred.
It is more a paste than a batter. Will you remember that, when you
have a recipe which says ‘thick as pound-cake batter’? Any cake with
baking-powder made as thick as this would be spoiled. It would be
tough, with great holes here and there, so you must be very careful not
to confuse the two rules,—_moderately thick_ batter for plain cakes,
with milk and baking-powder; very thick batter for the richer ones,
made without. Yet, of course, they must be stirred with a spoon; if
too stiff for that, your flour is very absorbent, and you need another
egg. Remember there is _never_ any harm in adding an egg; it will never
spoil your cake as too much milk would do.

“All cakes without baking-powder or its equivalents, soda and cream of
tartar, require a much slower oven than those with them. A slow oven
ruins a plain cake, a quick one spoils a rich cake, and you must be
especially careful to turn it very gently, and, in taking this or _any_
cake with much butter in it from the oven, to put it on the table very
gently. I have known a cake to come from the oven perfect, yet, from
being dropped hastily on the table, to collapse with a puff of steam
issuing from it. The same thing may happen from taking it from the pan
while quite hot, or from its not being quite cooked through; cakes
require to ‘soak’ a few minutes even after a broom straw comes out
clean. Lack of knowledge on these small points is one of the reasons
why many people who make excellent plain cakes—by which I mean all the
variety of cakes with baking-powder and little butter—do not succeed
with richer ones, and why so many look upon pound cake as so very
difficult, while it is really as easy as any other.”

Marta had twice succeeded admirably with the cup cake, which her
unfortunate bang of the oven door had spoiled the first time.

Instead of frying the _filet de sole_ for dinner, Molly intended to
have what is called by cooks _turbans of sole_, with béchamel. She put
the bones and fins left from boning a flounder (see directions, Chapter
XIX.) into a pint of water, and let them stew slowly at the back of the
range; then she rolled up the filets and fastened each with a wooden
toothpick, and set them to keep cool until she was ready to cook them.

For the miroton of beef she cut from the braised beef of the night
before some very delicate slices and laid them in an oval dish; then
she put a large table-spoonful of butter in a small saucepan, and let
it get very hot, and poured into it a cup of rice, which had been
boiled till just dry and tender, but not broken; this was fried, with
frequent stirring, till pale brown, when it was poured over the beef,
making a cover. The cold gravy, which was a solid jelly and rather too
highly flavored for the purpose, was diluted with an equal quantity of
hot water and a pinch of salt; a tea-spoonful of brown thickening was
stirred into it, and enough poured over the rice to moisten the whole,
but not make it “sloppy;” the dish was then put into the oven to remain
for half an hour.

Marta had put on the potatoes early, and when they were boiled she
mashed them (keeping them quite hot) with a fork, beating it rapidly
back and forth till they were white and light; then Molly took them
herself, and told her to strain the bones from the fish broth or stock,
to put a salt-spoonful of salt in it, and set it to boil again; then to
chop some parsley _very fine_, to cut a thin slice of blood-red pickled
beet, and cut from it with a thimble (in the absence of the proper
tube) little disks the size of a dime.

Molly seasoned the potatoes highly, putting to them (there was a scant
pint) a dessert-spoonful of butter, salt, pepper, a grate of nutmeg,
and a little parsley. Then she beat an egg and added part of it,
keeping out only enough to brush over the balls when made. She formed
each about the size of a small orange, and brushed them over with the
egg. They were placed on a buttered tin and put in the oven to brown.

The turbans of fish were now put in the boiling stock, and boiled
till they were milky-white instead of clear—about eight minutes; then
Molly took them up with a skimmer, and in a small saucepan stirred a
dessert-spoonful of butter and one of flour together, letting them
bubble a few seconds, and then poured a gill of the fish stock and half
one of milk to it, stirring all the time (in fact, making white sauce,
but using part fish stock instead of all milk, which makes béchamel for
fish; made with veal or chicken stock it is béchamel for meat). When
seasoned with a little pepper, the little rolled filets were placed
standing up in a small dish, and the sauce poured all over them to mask
them entirely; then Molly took a little parsley on the end of a knife
and carefully sprinkled it over the same, which, being thick, allowed
it to rest upon it; then a disk of the blood-red beet was laid deftly
on the top of each turban, and a very pretty dish was the result.

“Now, Marta, I leave you to bring the dinner in as soon as Mr. Bishop
is ready. I have left the iced coffee packed ready; all you have to do
is to wipe every spot of ice and salt from the outside, and then fill
two cups from it. Pile each cup very high with the whipped cream, and
bring in the cake at the same time.”



CHAPTER XXVIII.

FRICASSEED CHICKEN—LEMON HONEY—FRENCH ICING TO KEEP.


THE next day Molly, while showing Marta how to cook the dinner, added
two other articles to those she liked to have always ready. Cake, as
she said, was so little eaten by Harry and herself that a loaf lasted a
week, even with Marta’s help, for she, like most of her countrywomen,
lived largely on soups, and salad, and vegetables, and cared little for
sweets. She did not care to have the same cake, over and over again,
and had she had preserves in the house, would have found it easy to
convert it into something more attractive. Had she been keeping house
long enough, jams and jellies would have been in her store-room;
peaches were now the only available fruit, and by the time Molly was
settled enough to think of doing them up, they were both poor and dear,
and in the boarding-house they had been rather surfeited with canned
peaches, therefore she had let them go. She had lately been unearthing
several old recipes of her mother’s and grandmother’s, and some of
them she meant to try. There was one called “lemon honey.” It was of
more modern date than the others, and as her mother had written under
it “nice change from preserves for cake,” she decided to make it. She
required for it half a pound of sugar, the rind and juice of a large
fresh lemon, the yolks of three eggs and white of one, and three ounces
of sweet butter.

She followed directions, which were to put the butter and sugar
together in a saucepan. (As the butter was rather salt she took the
precaution of washing it first.) While these melted, she beat the eggs
thoroughly, grated off the lemon peel into them, taking care to remove
all the yellow, which contains the flavor of lemon, yet not to grate
deeply enough to remove any of the white, pithy rind, and then mixed
all together over the fire until as thick as honey, taking care it did
not scorch. When done it was thick, smooth, yellow, and semi-opaque.
She poured it into two small jelly-glasses, and put it away.

While she was doing this, Marta had been picking over a scant half pint
of black beans for soup, which when washed she put over the fire in a
quart of cold water, in which she also put one small onion, two cloves,
a tiny pinch of marjoram, one slightly larger of thyme, and two sprigs
of parsley. These were to simmer slowly, until the beans could be
rubbed through a strainer, and then a pint of strong beef stock, which
had been making all morning, was to be added, and all boiled together
for an hour.

When the soup was on, Marta prepared a fowl as Molly had shown her, and
when it was done she directed her how to cut it into neat joints for
fricassee, without mangling it. While Marta was doing this Molly put a
pound of sugar and a small cup of water into a small iron saucepan that
she assured herself was beautifully clean, and set it over the fire.
While the syrup came to the boiling-point she turned her attention to
the fricassee, and told Marta to lay the pieces in a saucepan with
boiling water to just cover them, to cut an onion and half a medium
carrot and put it to them, with a level tea-spoonful of salt and the
sixth of one of pepper. These were to simmer very slowly until the fowl
was tender,—about two hours,—then the fowl to be taken up, the gravy
strained and put to boil very fast, till there was less than half a
pint, while in another saucepan, half a pint of thick, white sauce was
made (a good table-spoonful of butter and a full one of flour to half a
pint of milk). This was added to the chicken gravy; they were stirred
smooth together, and the chicken returned to it and allowed to simmer
in it a few minutes.

When Molly had seen the fricassee prepared and slowly stewing, she
turned to the sugar, which was now boiling fast. She removed a little
bluish scum, very carefully, not to stir the syrup. When it had boiled
a quarter of an hour, she began to try it, dipping the fork into it,
and when all the drops had run off, watching if a long thread remained.
At first the drops ran off quickly, and she waited a minute before
trying again, when she dipped in the fork. Drops came now slow and
thick, and after the last one a short thick end remained, and she knew
the point had nearly come. The next dip left a long, floating hair, and
Molly took it from the fire and put it to get cool while she prepared
the pudding, for which she used the following recipe: Two apples,
finely chopped, two ounces of grated bread, two of sugar, two of
currants, two eggs and the rind of a lemon, grated with just enough of
the juice to give a perceptible acid, about a third of a pinch of salt,
and the third of a small nutmeg, grated. Stir all together and pour
into a small, buttered bowl that it will just fill.

Molly followed the recipe, tied a cloth over the top (see directions
for boiled puddings, Chapter XIV.) and put it into fast-boiling water
to boil continually an hour and a half.

Lemon sauce was prescribed for this pudding, but as she had used eggs
freely lately and it required two, she substituted hard sauce.

The boiled sugar was now about blood-warm, and a thin crust like ice
had formed over it. This she was vexed to see, but she picked it off.
Underneath, it was as thick as very thick molasses. She stirred it with
a spoon, which was rather hard work, and in about five minutes it began
to look milky; this by continual beating changed to a texture like
lard. Now she could use the spoon no longer, and worked it like dough
in her hands. When it was a compact, smooth mass she pressed it into a
tumbler and covered it with oiled paper.

Marta had been looking on with wondering eyes to see simple sugar
change from a crystal-clear syrup to cream, and then to a paste, and
now asked what it was for.

“That is for icing cakes, and as it will keep just so for months, it
is always ready. I should have called your attention to the boiling,
only there was too much on hand, and there are such delicate degrees
in boiling sugar that you would need your whole attention; some time
you may take sugar and experiment; there can be no waste—unless you
burn it, but that will not be likely—for it can be boiled over and
over again. When it is _perfectly_ boiled, that thin crust is not upon
it, only a jelly-like skin; but when it does form, if you find it is
only on the surface, you can take it off and keep it to sweeten other
things, but should it be _grainy_ all through, you must put water to it
again, and boil it back to the ‘thread’; on the other hand, if you take
it from the fire an instant too soon, you will find that, instead of
forming a paste that you can handle, it will remain thick cream. This
would do for icing, as the cake absorbs some of the moisture, but it
would not do to keep, nor could you add much flavoring or coloring, so
it is always better to boil it to a higher degree. To-morrow I’ll show
you how it is to be used. Now I think you understand the principle of
frying well enough to make the potato croquettes if I read the recipe
to you. This is it: Two cups of potato, mashed very smooth without
milk, a dessert-spoonful of butter, salt to taste, a pinch of white
pepper and a very little nutmeg (rub the nutmeg across the grater
twice), and the yolk of an egg. Mix all together; and for economy’s
sake I am going to use only the white of the egg for crumbing; beat it
with two tea-spoonfuls of water. Make the potatoes into the shape of
small pears, roll each in the white of egg, then into cracker meal, and
fry just as you do the other croquettes, in very hot fat. When they are
done, stick the end of a sprig of parsley into the end of each one to
simulate the stalk.”



CHAPTER XXIX.

BOILED CUSTARD—FROZEN BANANAS—USES OF FRENCH ICING—SCALLOPED
POTATOES—HOLLANDAISE SAUCE—ROAST OYSTERS—UNEXPECTED VISITORS.


FOR next day’s dinner Molly bought a piece of cod about three inches
thick, and a leg of mutton (the cod weighed three pounds, the mutton
six and a half, which she directed the butcher to cut in half), and
half a dozen bananas.

As soon as she reached home she made a boiled custard with two eggs and
a pint of milk, in the following way: The eggs were whipped while the
milk came near to the boiling-point. When that was reached, two heaped
table-spoonfuls of sugar were added to the milk, and when dissolved it
was poured to the eggs, stirring all the time. Both were then returned
to the saucepan—which was set over the fire in a vessel or saucepan
containing boiling water—and stirred. When the water in the under
saucepan boiled round it, the custard was removed a few seconds, the
stirring continuing all the time, and then it was returned. This was
repeated till it was like thick cream. The object of removing it was
this: The eggs must not boil or they will curdle; they must be _cooked_
or they will not thicken; if left in the boiling water they would boil;
by removing every minute for a few seconds, you keep the custard at the
boiling-point till it thickens, without running risk of its curdling.
Frequently, in the fear of custard’s curdling, it is taken off the fire
just at the boiling-point, and it remains thin, unless corn-starch has
been first boiled with the milk; in the proportion of two eggs to the
pint, corn-starch is not needed for moderately thick custards. When it
was done it was set to get cold, and two bananas were cut into small
pieces. While the cooking was going on, Molly got out the Madeleine
cake, cut side slices from it the third of an inch thick, cut the dark
crust off as thin as possible, and spread three of the slices with the
lemon paste she had made yesterday. The other three she laid on these,
sandwich-fashion.

“Now, Marta, I’ll show you what I am going to do with my _fondant_
icing.” As she spoke she put a table-spoonful of it in a cup which she
set in boiling water over the fire. “You see I stir this, because, if I
simply left it to melt, it would go back to clear syrup; by stirring,
it keeps opaque like cream. I do not let this get too hot, only just
warm enough to run easily.” When it had reached the point of being like
_double cream_ or molasses, she put the saucepan and cup on the table
and added to it a few drops of vanilla and stirred it; then with a
tea-spoon she iced each slice, pouring the _fondant_ on and spreading
it, allowing it to run over the sides.

“You see this icing cools as you do it, and it may happen in cold
weather that it will cool before you finish (and if the candy has been
boiled rather high, the same thing may happen any time); then you
must dip a knife in boiling water, shake off the drops quickly and
smooth with that; then you use the knife. Now if I had cochineal in
the house I should have melted only half the quantity in this cup and
half in another, and flavored one with rose, and added a very little
coloring,—three or four drops,—and used it for half of these cakes; but
as it is, I leave them all white.”

Molly worked as she spoke; the three slices were iced, then she held a
sharp knife on the range till it was quite warm, wiped it, and cut the
cake into neat tablets an inch wide and the width of the cake,—about
two inches. Each slice made four, so she had a dozen small fancy cakes.

“You can see, Marta, how easy it is, if your icing is always ready
and you have preserves, to have a plate of very pretty cakes in a
few minutes. You may make a dozen and a half, or more; then half a
dozen may be white with lemon between; half a dozen with red currant
jelly, and icing colored with a small piece of unsweetened chocolate
melted in a saucer on the stove and then stirred to the icing; and the
others with peach, and pink icing flavored very slightly with bitter
almond; and for very ornamental purposes, a dozen almonds, blanched and
chopped to size of rice and sprinkled over the pink and white while
the icing is still warm, make a very pretty change; in fact, very many
varieties can be made once you have got the idea, and remember never
to mix flavors badly. Vanilla and chocolate always agree; so you can
use the same icing for the white and chocolate by doing the white
cakes first, then putting the melted chocolate—and just a drop or
two of water from the end of your finger or a spoon—to it. Chocolate
stiffens so much that you are more likely than not to require a knife
dipped in boiling water to spread it. When all are done you may mix
your pink and chocolate candy together, if the flavors agree (vanilla
and chocolate and rose go exceedingly well, but almond or lemon not),
work it together with hand or spoon, and the result will be a lovely
ashes-of-roses color. You may put it away so flavored and colored for
future use, or you may use it at once for other cake, which is better,
as color fades if kept too long; but remember one thing: this icing,
having been made hot, will be stiffer than when you began, and to be
melted over again will need perhaps a dozen drops of water mixed with
it; if it has become sugary and rough, you can’t use it; but if on
taking a pinch between your finger and thumb it will spread smoothly
like putty or dough, it is as good as ever, which it is almost certain
to be if you have worked quickly.

“The only art in this French icing is to have everything ready before
you begin coloring and flavoring, to have almonds, if you use them,
blanched and chopped,—in short, have to leave off for nothing; then
you can work quickly, and the icing is not allowed to cool, and will
not need reheating once or twice before you have finished. At first
such quickness may not be easy, and if the icing chills, you will find
it unmanageable; all you have to do is to return it in the water to
the fire, and melt as at first; it will usually stand melting two or
three times before getting grainy. Stir, while melting, only enough to
mix the melted and unmelted together. Of course it is always easier
to melt a quantity of icing in a bowl, and do a number of cakes, than
a table-spoonful as I have done, because it holds the heat better,
and you have abundance to work from; but I don’t want to destroy the
delicacy of what I put away by melting all up. You see I have a little
ball left.”

She had gathered the icing from the cups and spoon and worked it
between her hands into a little shining ball, simply to show Marta what
could be done if more had been left. “This is not worth putting away,
but several little marbles like these if dipped into melted chocolate
would make chocolate creams. You see how one thing leads to another in
cooking.”

The custard was now cold, the bananas were stirred into it and they
were put into the freezer, and ice and salt in the proportion of one
third salt were packed round it. After it had stood a few minutes,
Marta turned it for a quarter of an hour, when it was frozen.

Just as Molly was about to begin to write directions for the scalloped
potatoes, concluding she herself would need to make only the
Hollandaise sauce, and could leave the dinner to Marta, a hack drove up
to the door, and Molly saw Harry’s mother and father in it.

To say she did not tremble would not be correct; for an instant her
heart sank; if she had only known they were coming! She wondered if
everything was as nice as she would wish it in the little sitting-room.
She generally had it, not trim, or oppressively tidy, but with only
the pleasant disorder of a room that is lived in; but Marta had a
way sometimes of leaving her brush or dustpan—sometimes a kitchen
cloth—where it ought not to be. Molly looked at herself, but she was
neat, and no one had a right to expect a housewife at eleven in the
morning to be ready for company. While Marta went to the door she
removed her apron and washed her hands, and when she reëntered the
kitchen just waited to say:—

“Marta, make some of your nice noodles at once; leave your up-stairs
sweeping till later, and I’ll let you know what to get for lunch.” She
passed into the parlor, having in the short interval recovered her
composure, and welcomed her unexpected visitors as if their coming were
a pleasant surprise, and not an embarrassment.

“Will you come up-stairs and take off your things?” asked Molly,
thankful that in consequence of her wanting to show Marta how to make
custard and use French icing, the sweeping was not begun and the whole
place topsy-turvy and draped in sweeping-sheets.

“Well, I don’t know about staying; we just thought we would run out and
see what sort of a place you had here, and take the next train back.”

“Oh, you would not do that?” cried Molly, all her hospitable instincts
revolting. “What would Harry say? You must stay till he comes home, and
he can perhaps induce you to stay all night.”

“Oh dear, no—no, thank you; Mr. Bishop rarely stays anywhere from home
at night.”

“No, no, my dear,” echoed her father-in-law, “I am as old-fogyish as a
bachelor, and I like to be at home.”

“Well, at least you must stay the day.”

“Well, if we shall not put you out, we will remain an hour or two.”

“Come up-stairs, then; you will rest better when your cloak is off.”

Molly had never felt as if her house was a bandbox till now. Mr. and
Mrs. Bishop seemed literally to fill the parlor, yet they were not
very large. Harry was much taller than his father, but they both
had a ponderous way with them. Mrs. Bishop’s voice, too, was a deep
contralto, which she used in a manner which, had it been affected,
would have been haughty, but, natural as it had become, yet seemed to
impress people against their will with a sense of her importance.

“And so this is your little cottage? Do you find room in it?”

“Oh, yes,” said Molly, smiling, “plenty;” but as she followed her
mother-in-law up the narrow stairs, which had never seemed so narrow
till she saw the rich dress and velvet-clad shoulders fill the whole
space, she could see how very tiny it might seem to one accustomed to
large rooms and broad spaces.

Mrs. Bishop glanced around the pretty bed-room.

“And Harry and you really are contented here?” she asked.

“Indeed, we are more than contented; I’m as happy as the day is long.”

“Well, it’s very strange for Harry; he was always the most fastidious
boy; but happiness is everything, I suppose.”

“We think so.”

Molly helped Mrs. Bishop off with her cloak, which was so handsome as
to look strangely out of place in that simple cottage room, and then
said, “If you will excuse me, I will send you up some hot water and
give orders for luncheon.”

“Thank you, thank you; don’t let me keep you; and please don’t make any
preparation.”

“No, I will not; I must only see that sufficient for three persons
instead of one is on the table.”

She ran down-stairs, took Marta’s rolling-pin out of her hand, told her
to take a pitcher of water up-stairs, and rolled the noodle-paste till
she returned.

“Marta, directly your noodles are made, go to Mrs. Framley’s and ask
her to please telephone to the fishmonger for a quarter of a hundred
oysters in the deep shell, to be sent here for one o’clock. Be as quick
as you can, and when you come back you will find on the dining-room
table full written instructions for what you are to do.”

Molly went to the parlor and found Mr. Bishop reading his paper.

“Go on reading for a minute, please; I will write a line. I know if you
have not got through the morning news you will be glad to do it.”

“I just glanced at the money market at breakfast, and I’ve too much
respect for my eyes to read in the cars.”

Molly went to the davenport and wrote Marta’s instructions. Her first
impulse had been to use her materials for dinner, to have the frozen
bananas for dessert; but on second thought she resolved to give just
what she meant to have for her own lunch, with oysters to make enough;
the bread was fresh and very good; therefore she wrote the following:—

“Make the cold bean soup boiling hot, boil one egg hard and cut it in
quarters lengthwise, then across; lay it in the soup-tureen and pour
the soup on it. Cut four thin slices of lemon and drop them in as it
comes to table. When the oysters come, set them, in their shells, in a
dripping-pan; put on each a bit of butter, size of a hazel-nut; pepper
them and set them over the fire till the liquor in the shells bubbles;
watch till the butter melts, then they are done; take them off the fire
immediately. Use a cloth to put them on a hot dish; take care you do
not spill the gravy. Serve with hot plates.

“Cut the cold pudding in finger-lengths, make a batter of two
table-spoonfuls of flour, a pinch of salt, and milk to make it as thick
as thick cream; dip each piece into the batter, and fry in deep fat
till brown; sift sugar over it, and serve with hard sauce.”

As Molly wrote the last words she heard Mrs. Bishop coming down-stairs,
and wondered much what she could do to entertain her. She had actually
never been with her without Harry before, but the matter solved itself,
for the elder lady questioned her as to her mode of life, what she did
with her time, how Harry and she spent the evenings, and when told as
simply as Molly knew how, she laughed, with a sort of good-natured
sarcasm.

“Quite idyllic, I declare; so Harry reads aloud while you sew,—or else
you both play chess.”

“Yes; of course we are almost strangers in Greenfield. When we are
better known no doubt we may go out more, but all our neighbors are
very pleasant.”

“Now that is one thing I wanted to caution you about; one of the
penalties of living in a place like this is that you must know every
one, and are apt to make intimates that you can not shake off easily
when you go away.”

“But,” said Molly, with some dignity, “I shall make no intimacies I
should ever want to shake off; people good enough to be my friends now
will be good enough at all times.”

“My dear, I think when I was your age I had just such ideas, but I
found as I grew older I had to do as others do.”

The time did not pass very gayly, and Molly wondered how she would get
through the afternoon if they should stay, for she believed that she
and her mother-in-law had nothing in common.

When the time came, Molly excused herself and went in to help Marta lay
the cloth. The silver and glass were always bright, so there was no
hasty rubbing and polishing at the last minute. That morning Harry had
brought in from the tiny flower-bed a handful of geranium and coleus,
saying: “We have to take them as they are ready; frost may come at any
time now.”

And they were now ready for the centre, arranged in a deep glass dish,
the rich coleus round the edge, the geraniums in the middle. They gave
the little table an air of brightness that nothing but flowers could
have done.

Molly did not want to be many minutes from the parlor, as she knew Mrs.
Bishop would think great preparations were being made, and she would
rather have given them bread and cheese than that, but she thought she
would trust Marta to follow her written directions, as the only things,
except the oysters, to cook were those she was very familiar with. The
result justified her. It is true the soup had the eggs cut in slices
instead of as directed, but that mattered little.

When they were seated and Mr. Bishop, who was a _gourmet_ if not a
_gourmand_, exclaimed: “Capital soup! capital! why don’t we have it at
home?”—Molly felt a good deal relieved and a little triumphant, for
Mrs. Bishop was very proud of her cook.

“Why, my dear George! I did not know you cared for bean soup!”

“I don’t, unless it’s first rate.”

When soup was removed and Marta entered with the large dish of oysters,
Molly gave one hasty glance,—would they be shriveled into leather,
or flabby and half cooked? But the error had been on the best side;
more than half were perfectly cooked, the others barely hot through.
Poor Marta had followed instructions, but had not thought to turn the
pan. However, Molly was only too thankful to have so little wrong, and
helped the best to her visitors. They were still almost boiling in the
shell; and after this came a pretty dish of noodles that Marta had
arranged round a mound of grated cheese.

After the luncheon Mrs. Bishop said with a tone of approval which Molly
was determined not to think patronizing, “I declare, Molly, you keep
house very nicely.”

“You must have a remarkable good cook, by Jove!” broke in Mr. Bishop.

“I am glad you think so,” said Molly, smiling.

“Where did you get her?”

“Castle Garden.”

Mrs. Bishop almost screamed when she heard it, and then Molly found the
right conversational key was struck, for her mother-in-law had a great
deal to say about her own troubles with servants, and the troubles of
her friends; and when the “hour of digestion” had passed, she asked if
they would like to go out and see some of the beauties of Greenfield.

“Well, that depends on what train we take.”

“I hoped you would stay and see Harry.”

Mrs. Bishop looked inquiringly at her husband, who said:

“Oh, we must stay and see Harry, I suppose.”

Molly smiled inwardly, as she thought that his luncheon had reassured
him as to his dinner. They all went out for an hour; there was not much
to see but some pretty, well-kept Queen Anne houses, and Mrs. Bishop
let drop the remark that she had little expected ever to see a son of
hers living in the second-rate neighborhood of a country town, which
remark Molly prudently ignored.

When they returned to the house, Mrs. Bishop, at Molly’s suggestion,
went to lie down, and her husband stretched himself on the sofa, and
Molly slipped from the room, for she could see he too was drowsy. She
went to the kitchen, told Marta how well she thought she had managed
the lunch, and then gave directions for the dinner in writing, for she
wanted to attend to her guests as much as possible. What she wrote was
as follows:

“At five o’clock, put the mutton in the oven as usual, and the fish
into salt and water. At a quarter past, put white onions on to boil
in boiling water; and potatoes. When the potatoes are just done, cut
them in slices thick as a dollar. Have ready a pint of white sauce,
remembering to use _two_ table-spoonfuls of flour and _two_ of butter
to the pint of milk. Chop a dessert-spoonful of parsley very fine, lay
the potatoes in a dish, sprinkle a little parsley, pepper and salt
among them, pour white sauce over them enough to moisten without making
them sloppy, and strew grated bread crumbs over all; put them in the
oven to brown. Keep the rest of the white sauce for the onions, which
must be boiled very tender, poured dry immediately after they are done,
and then put into the white sauce, and allowed to stew a few minutes.

“As soon as you have the potatoes ready for the oven, put the fish,
which you have nicely wiped, on a plate, lay that on a napkin and set
both in a saucepan of boiling water, with two tea-spoonfuls of salt and
two of vinegar. It will take twenty minutes to boil.”

Molly had told Marta to take the peg out of the freezer and let off
the water, at luncheon. She now went to see if the frozen banana
custard was in good condition, and found it all right; then she took
out the paddle, worked the custard down from the sides, and covered it,
packing in more salt and ice.

“How glad I am we happened to have cold dessert,” she thought; “it will
save Marta so much at the last moment.”

She read over the written instructions, although there was nothing
new but the manner of cooking the potatoes, assured herself Marta
understood everything, and told her she would come out herself and make
the fish sauce.

It was after four o’clock, and she laid the table just as she wanted
it, went up-stairs and put on one of her prettiest dresses, and then
returned to the parlor. Mrs. Bishop was just rousing as she passed her
door, but did not descend for some few minutes, which Molly took to
glance over the paper.

All the time she was talking with his mother and father, Molly pictured
Harry’s surprise at finding them, and knew it would also be a pleasure.
She did not know what to augur from this visit, whether it was simply
curiosity, or meant any return of the old parental tenderness for him;
Harry would know, for he knew their ways better than she did.

At last she heard his steps on the plank walk; she flew to the door.

“What’s up, little woman? you look like an exclamation point in person.”

The next moment he caught sight of his visitors.

“Mother! father! why, this is a good surprise.”

Molly slipped out of the room while Harry was hearing all about their
arrival, whipped on her apron and made the Hollandaise sauce. She
put into a little iron saucepan a large table-spoonful of butter, a
dessert-spoonful of flour, and let them cook one minute; then she
poured to them two thirds of half a pint of boiling water, stirred
till smooth, then added, gradually, the yolks of three beaten eggs;
when she put the eggs in she stood the saucepan in another of boiling
water, and stirred it well; after the eggs had thickened she put two
tea-spoonfuls of lemon juice, salt, and as much cayenne as would go on
the end of a penknife, and it was done. Marta had taken up the fish,
and Molly directed the sauce to be poured entirely over it, herself
seeing that there was not a drop of water from the fish in the dish.
A sprig or two of parsley was laid at each end of the dish, and lemon
in slices round it; then casting her eye round to see that Marta had
everything ready but the meat, she told her to bring the fish in when
she should hear Mr. Bishop come down.

The dinner was very nice, although, as Molly was glad to think, simpler
than they often had when alone, and it was eaten without comment until
the ice came on, when Mrs. Bishop expressed surprise at their getting
such things in the country.

“Oh, we can, I believe, get excellent ice-creams here, but this is
home-made.”

“Indeed!”

After dinner Mr. Bishop declared they must catch the eight o’clock
train. Harry urged them in vain to stay, and then it was decided that
Molly and Harry would go to the depot with them.

As they parted Mrs. Bishop said: “Harry, you and Molly must come home
to spend Christmas, and had better spend a week with us.”

Harry promised to do so if they could.

“Why, of course you can;—why not?”

“Oh,” laughed Harry, “we are family people now, with the responsibility
of a house on our shoulders.”

“A house! a match-box, you mean.”

With this shot they parted. Harry’s real hesitation was doubt as to
what Molly might feel inclined to do; there was no denying she had been
badly treated, snubbed and looked down upon.

“Well, if this isn’t the strangest turn; I don’t think I ever knew my
father to leave business for a day before.”

“What does it mean, Harry?” Molly asked anxiously, for it had been a
grief to her to feel she was the cause of estrangement.

“It must mean that my father, or mother, or both, are beginning to see
they’ve been in fault.”

“Oh Harry, I should be so glad if you were once more all you used to
be—to them.”

“I shall never be that, for I shall never go back to the sort of
semi-dependence I was in,—but shall we go at Christmas?”

“Oh, certainly.”

“I’m afraid _you_ may not have a very good time.”

“Oh, yes, I shall.”

“Then we accept. I tell you what, little Molly, if my father and mother
had not been favorably impressed,—had they found us living as they
expected, they would not have said a word about our going there.”

“Oh Harry, I hope so; surely, the less comfortable you were the more
you would need them.”

“No, they look on it this way: as I made my bed so I must lie on it.
Had the bed been a bad one, they would have said, ‘serve him right;’ as
it seems much better than they thought it would be, they are inclined
to think themselves wrong.”

Harry loved his parents, but he knew their pride, and that they would
not have openly forgiven the blow to it; but he knew, small as the
house was, Molly had shown them as refined a home as their own, and
they saw that, after all, their daughter-in-law would grace any station
Harry might ever attain to.



CHAPTER XXX.

HOMINY MUFFINS—FISH BALLS—ROYAL CUSTARD—“CONSOMMÉ À LA
ROYALE”—FRICASSEE SWEETBREADS—VANILLA SOUFFLÉ.


THE next morning, bright and early, Molly came down-stairs. She was
going to help get breakfast, as she always did whenever she had any
dish new to Marta. Two or three times a week the breakfast came out
of the dinner of the day before, and the stock she generally had on
hand made such warmed-over dishes very different from the flavorless
ones they too often are. For this reason alone she would have
considered it cheap to buy a small soup-bone once a week, even if she
had needed no soup, but every little drop—even half a gill—of soup
that might be left was saved, and here Marta’s German training came
in. Whatever she lacked in other ways, she had none of the disdain
of economy, confounding it with stinginess, so common with untrained
servants. Every bit of fat was put aside to try out once a week, every
tea-spoonful of gravy or soup saved, and all bones put in one crock to
be twice a week boiled down.

When there was not likely to be much left from dinner, Molly fell back
on kidneys or ham and eggs for breakfast; once a week there was always
fish in some form. This morning there was a little mutton on the bone,
just enough for mince or fritters; there was, also, quite a piece of
fish. She had bought it with that calculation, so the mutton was left
for another day. Harry did not like codfish balls of salt cod, but
delighted in them from fresh, and, as once boiled, it would keep a
week, she had intended to have them twice. Her visitors, however, had
changed that programme, but she had more than enough for breakfast.
As she herself was in the kitchen, too, she decided to make hominy
muffins, there being a cup of cold hominy.

As the frying fat would take half an hour to get hot enough, Marta had
been told to put it on the range (covered to keep in the fumes) soon
after the fire should be lighted. Molly drew it forward that it might
be ready by the time she herself was so. She set Marta to mash the
hominy fine with a fork, then to add to one cup of it a cup of corn
meal, half a cup of milk, and two tea-spoonfuls of melted butter, two
tea-spoonfuls of sugar, one egg, and one tea-spoonful of baking-powder,
and when beaten long and hard, to put it into gempans and bake fifteen
minutes.

While Marta was doing this, she herself flaked the cold fish quite fine
and called Marta’s attention to the fact that she used the remaining
sauce to moisten it.

“If I had not this sauce, I should make just enough stiff white sauce
to moisten the whole; but this is even better, and as there is egg in
it I need use only one more.”

To a cup of flaked fish and sauce, of which there were two good
table-spoonfuls, she put one beaten egg; this made it into a stiff
batter or mush that would not _run_, but _drop_ from a spoon. She
seasoned it with pepper, a very little salt, and then dipping a
table-spoon in flour, dropped large spoonfuls of it in the fat, which
was hot enough for croquettes. In two minutes they were round and light
as puffs, and beautifully brown. Knowing Marta might have to make them
some time without having any sauce, Molly wrote the recipe and gave it
to her.

One cup of flaked fish, one table-spoonful of butter, one small one
of flour, and one _gill_ of milk; melt butter and flour together, let
them cook a few seconds, pour to them a gill of boiling milk, stir well
over the fire till the mixture leaves the sides of the saucepan; then
it is done. Mix the fish with it, add two well-beaten eggs, and fry in
spoonfuls in boiling lard.

Harry called these glorified fish balls. “In fact, Molly, they deserve
some much more high-toned name.”

“Yes, but people who like the usual codfish balls, and they are the
large majority, would not like these.”

“Another reason for not calling them fish balls, but I am one of the
minority who do not like our Columbian dainty in its orthodox form; but
even minorities have tastes and some right to have them considered.
We’ll dub these ‘minority fish balls’ if you will have no more fanciful
name.” (And “minority fish balls” they have become in that family.)

For dinner there was to be clear soup with royal custard, the stock for
which had been made for bean soup, and only a pint used. Molly usually
made two quarts at a time from a three-pound soup-bone, which served
twice for soup and left a pint for gravies, sauce, etc. A pint and a
half at each meal was ample, as neither Harry or herself took half a
pint, and half usually found its way out to Marta, who straightway made
it thick with bread and any vegetables there were; she did not approve
of straining it.

To make a change, Molly intended to have in it royal custard, which
would make it _Consommé à la Royale_.

“Marta, we are coming to the end of our eggs. I must have extra ones.
Mrs. Lennox’s man comes to-day; you run over and ask her to please send
him to me.”

When Marta returned she told her to beat one egg, then mix it with
_half a gill_ of the cold stock, and, as as there was no gill measure
(something Molly had resolved to get, but had forgotten, though she
could have better done without the half-pint), and the quantity must
be so exact, she measured half a pint of water, and divided it in
four, put the fourth part in a glass and marked it, then threw out
the water, and filled up to the mark with stock. It made about _four
table-spoonfuls_. Molly looked about for something smaller than a cup,
and found a little Liebig’s “extract of meat” jar; this she buttered.
The beaten egg and half gill of soup, with a pinch of salt, were mixed
and poured into it, then a piece of paper was tied over it, a small
saucepan of water put over the fire, and when it was quite boiling the
jar was placed in it, the water reaching to the height of the custard,
but without danger of boiling into it. The saucepan was then drawn
aside so that the water might only _simmer_; if it should boil the
custard would be spoilt. It was left for twelve minutes, and when taken
out was quite firm. When cold the custard was cut into diamonds.

“When you have the soup hot, to-night, throw these diamonds into it,
Marta.”

“I don’t suppose,” thought Molly, “any one ever made quite so small a
quantity of savory custard before, yet more would be waste; we should
not need it.”

At market she found a fine pair of sweetbreads, one of the dainties her
butcher was not fashionable enough to charge a fancy price for, and
indeed she found thirty cents a pair an outside price in Greenfield;
these were twenty-five, however, and had they been as small as they
sometimes are, she would not have bought them; but they were large and
white.

As soon as they came they were put into salt and water and an hour
later into boiling water, and parboiled for fifteen minutes, and cold
water poured over them. All gristle and skin was now removed, and one
cut into small pieces.

An hour before dinner the remains of the fricasseed fowl were brought
out. Less than half had been eaten. There remained a wing, part of the
breast, a leg, and the back and side bones. Molly cut the drumstick
off, laid it with the side bones for a grill for breakfast,—it would
help out the minced mutton; the rest, which were nice joints, she laid,
covered with sauce as they were, in a plate, and told Marta to beat an
egg, dip them in it, taking care every part was covered; then to lay
them in abundance of cracker crumbs, pat them gently, and fry them just
like breaded chops.

Meantime she had gathered the sauce from the chicken, which, by her
direction, had been poured over it when the dish was changed, and put
it into a small saucepan with a gill of stock, then the pieces of
sweetbread, and put the saucepan where it would simmer. She then cut
circles from slices of stale bread, half an inch thick, each circle cut
in half to form canapées; she dipped each in milk, and then laid it in
flour, covered it well with flour, and left it so.

“Marta, when you fry the chicken, drop these pieces of bread in the
pot. Be sure to shake off all superfluous flour; handle them gently for
fear of breaking, and let them fry pale brown. Be careful for the first
minute after they are in; they will sputter, as they are wet. Lay them
round the sweetbreads when you take them up.”

Marta had already sliced some tomatoes; these were laid in a dish, and
bread crumbs, bits of butter, and pepper and salt sprinkled over each
layer, on the top more crumbs and tiny bits of butter thickly strewed;
then the dish was put to bake for half an hour.

“Marta, a few minutes before taking up the sweetbreads, stir into the
gravy a small tea-spoonful of white thickening. I see it will not
be thick enough with the fricassee sauce. Now you have potatoes on,
tomatoes in the oven, your frying-kettle back of the stove, soup ready
to heat up five minutes before dinner, chicken ready crumbed, and I
will make a vanilla soufflé.”

Gouffe’s recipe for vanilla soufflé was as follows, Molly using only a
third of the original, which calls for a quart of milk:

“One third of a quart of milk (not quite three gills), two
table-spoonfuls of flour, two of sugar, a tea-spoonful of vanilla
extract, a pinch of salt. Mix the flour with part of milk, set the rest
to boil; when it boils, mix both together as you would corn starch;
if by chance it is not smooth, strain it, return to fire, stirring
well. Take it off when it boils, put to it the yolks of two eggs, and
beat very well; then add the whites, _beaten till you can turn the
dish over without their slipping_. The whites must be stirred in with
greatest gentleness,—any quick stirring will cause them to liquefy and
spoil your soufflé; when the whites are blended, bake in a buttered
dish twenty minutes.”

Molly prepared it and told Marta to put it in the oven when she put the
soup on to get hot, that they might have about finished dinner when it
was done; but it was better for them to wait for the soufflé than the
soufflé for them, for waiting means spoiling it. Molly made some hard
sauce, which she flavored with wine, and then left the dinner to Marta.

When Harry came home his face showed he had something pleasant to say.

“Well, dear,” he said as soon as he was ready for dinner, “you’ve done
it, and no mistake.”

“Done what?” She would have been alarmed if his face had not looked so
very happy.

“You’ve captured my father.”

“Oh Harry, what do you mean?”

“He came into my office to-day, and told me he had enjoyed himself
out here very much, and he was good enough to add that his opinion of
me had not changed in the least, that I had been as wrong-headed as
possible, and that if I had chanced to pick up a pearl instead of a
pebble, no thanks to my own wisdom. I couldn’t agree, and told him I
knew all along you were a jewel, but he had the best of me, for he said,

“‘Rubbish, sir! You didn’t know that she could boil an egg or sew a
button on; no boy in love ever asks that! and you might have been a
pretty miserable pair!’

“And it’s quite true, Molly. If you could not have mended your own
clothes, and I knew it, I should have married you just the same; but
I’m glad to have a fortune _in_ my wife, and so I told the dad.”

“Well, is that all he said?” asked Molly, her cheeks flushed with
pleasure, her eyes dancing.

“Oh, dear, no, he didn’t begin that way. He began by asking me how I
expected to meet my quarter’s bills. I told him there would be none.
At first he could not believe me, and I really believe he had come to
give me a check to get us out of the need he thought we were likely
to be in; but when I told him all, and showed him your first month’s
accounts—stop a minute” (Molly made a dart forward to her desk)—“I
abstracted that first month’s figuring, my dear, and have it in my
pocket, and it will remain there; that is my property, my trophy. Well,
when I showed that, and told him that I, with my little income, lived
just as well as he did, he was conquered.

“‘How does she do it?’ he asked; and then I had to tell him that you
put your time and thought to the little money and doubled its value.”

“Oh, Harry, how could you exaggerate so?” But Molly’s head was turned
away and her eyes running over with happy tears. How well was she
repaid for the work she had taken such pleasure in! Every tone of her
husband’s voice revealed his pride in her, and his appreciation, veiled
though it was by his gay, bantering manners, and she was grateful for
the training that had made it all so easy to her.



CHAPTER XXXI.

A SURPRISE—A BOILED DINNER—DRESDEN PATTIES—OYSTERS AND BROWN
BUTTER—“OLD ENGLISH” FRITTERS.


WHEN Molly returned from her walk to the dépôt with Harry, she found on
the back stoop a barrel and a packing-case that had come by express.
The barrel she quickly saw contained apples; the packing-case was as
yet a mystery, but it did not long remain so. Molly was not frightened
at a hammer, and between her and Marta the top was soon wrenched off;
and then she saw it was full of treasures. A dozen pots of raspberry
jam, the same of currant jelly, English pickled walnuts and French
canned peas and mushrooms, and boned chicken enough to last her the
winter, a jar of Canton ginger and one of French plums, met Molly’s
wondering eyes. What luxuries for a young housekeeper! Of course they
could come only from Harry’s parents.

Had they sent her a present for herself she would have resented
it, considering how they had looked down on her, but this gift she
could take pleasure in, for it was as much for Harry as for her, and
only such things as would be very pleasant and useful, but were not
necessaries. Her housewifely mind was already reveling in the thought
of a well stocked store-room.

She had found a letter from Mrs. Welles, at the post-office, which she
had waited to read till she could do so at home and enjoy it, for her
friend was a clever and voluminous correspondent.

“Next Monday, dear Molly, if convenient, I shall leave New York for
Greenfield. Mr. Welles says you are doing a rash thing to invite me,
that I am primed and double-loaded and warranted to go off at any
moment, for he has heard me the last month saying of every new thing
(‘thing’ always being ‘dish’ with me), ‘Molly and I will do that
together when I get there.’ If you can, imagine how I ache to get away
from this hotel and into a house of my own, with a kitchen and a range.
Never, never again will I consent to be a homeless hotel waif. However,
in two weeks our house will be our own again,” etc., etc.

Molly smiled over her friend’s letter, she knew her so well. How
pleasant it would be to have her in her own house!

Charlotte Welles was an English woman five years older than Molly, who
had known her long before her marriage to the rich banker, Mr. Welles.

When Molly and her mother were living in London in very economical
lodgings at South Kensington, they had become acquainted with Mrs.
Morris and her handsome daughter, whom at first they took to be an
art-student at South Kensington. Charlotte had laughed merrily at the
mistake.

“No, indeed, I’m a cooking-student.”

Then she had told Molly and her mother how it was that being certain
she would have to earn her living, and, though generally clever, having
no special talent for anything, she had chosen her career. “As for
being a governess, I have neither patience nor meekness nor ability
enough, and as cooking is just now coming to be a recognized profession
for women who are not of the working-class, I decided on that. I don’t
find many _ladies_ among the thorough-going students like myself, but I
do see that no profession offers greater rewards to a _lady_,—perhaps
for that very reason; so I am qualifying myself to be a teacher.”

Molly’s mother, invalid as she was, had taught her daughter more than
most girls know of housekeeping, and her own taste leaned that way,
but no doubt her acquaintance with Charlotte Morris confirmed it; she
went with her sometimes to the demonstrations and worked with her at
home. When the latter left the school a medallist and went to Liverpool
to lecture, Molly and her mother had gone to the south of France for
the health of the latter, and there they heard of Charlotte’s success,
how her grace and culture (and perhaps her beauty) made her much in
request at ladies’ colleges and schools, and of the public lectures
she gave. But her career was cut short, before it was well begun, by
her engagement to an American banker of wealth,—an engagement speedily
followed by marriage; and it was through Mrs. Welles that, after her
mother’s death, on returning to her native country, Molly found the
position as governess she had held up to her marriage with Harry
Bishop. Several months before Molly came to Greenfield Mr. and Mrs.
Welles had let their house and gone to England for a trip, but returned
two months before the tenant’s term was up and had been living at one
of the best hotels since.

True to her old instincts, Mrs. Welles attended all the best
cooking-lectures in whatever city she might be, and after Molly’s
marriage they had gone together to cooking-school and practiced at
her house, which had been of incalculable service to Molly. Since her
return to America they had not met. It is needless to say she looked
forward to her visit with heartfelt pleasure, for she felt that to her
acquaintance she owed very much.

And how these good things had come just in time!

To-day they were to have a regular boiled dinner, German soup made from
the half leg of mutton boiled, and an egg beaten in it, the same that
she had shown Mrs. Lennox how to make, and the mutton with caper sauce,
mashed turnips and moulded potatoes, macaroni cheese, and pudding.

This dinner Marta could cook with written instructions, all but the
pudding, and Molly, now she had jam, meant this to be an old-fashioned
English jam roly-poly.

The written instructions were as follows:

At five o’clock put the half leg of mutton into boiling water, only
enough to cover it; put with it one carrot cut, one turnip, one onion,
and when it has boiled _very slowly_ half an hour, put in a very scant
tea-spoonful of salt. Put some macaroni to boil. Put the turnips, cut
into strips, on the fire in boiling water at half-past five, also the
potatoes. Let the turnips boil fast, the potatoes slowly.

Make three gills of white sauce instead of half a pint, never
forgetting when you increase the milk also to increase butter and flour
in same proportion; then when the macaroni is tender put a layer of
it in a small dish, pour over it a table-spoonful of white sauce and
the same of grated cheese with pepper and salt, then another layer of
macaroni, more white sauce, cheese and seasoning, and over all strew
bread crumbs and bits of butter, and bake till brown.

The turnips strain when tender and let them stew five minutes in some
of the white sauce made for the macaroni, reserving the rest for caper
sauce. To make it, add capers in proportion of one good tea-spoonful
of capers to the half pint, and just as it goes to table stir in a
tea-spoonful of caper vinegar; if it stands after this it will be apt
to curdle.

Take up the mutton, put it to keep hot, skim and strain the broth and
let it boil down fast till there is enough for dinner and no more;
beat an egg, mix a very little of the broth with it, and put both into
the tureen, with a tea-spoonful of parsley chopped fine. Let the broth
remain off the fire one minute, then pour it to the egg, stirring
quickly, then serve it.

Molly had a busy morning arranging her store-room, and making a list of
what it contained. This list she nailed behind the door, with a pencil
attached, so that when anything was used a mark was made against it.
In this way, when any article was nearly out she would be reminded to
replace it. It was not so necessary, perhaps, with a girl as careful
as Marta, or in her small family as in a larger one, but it had been
her mother’s way, and she followed it. She could then keep track of
everything at a glance.

One hour and a half before dinner Molly put on a saucepan of water to
boil, and then chopped six ounces of beef-kidney suet very fine, which
she mixed with half a pound of flour and a pinch of salt. She made a
hole in the centre of the mixture, and poured in enough cold water
to make a stiff firm paste (not so stiff as to be hard to roll out);
it was handled as little as possible, only worked enough to keep it
together. It was rolled out _once_ to a sheet half an inch thick, then
spread with raspberry jam, which was not allowed to come within an inch
of the edge all round; the edge was wetted, the paste rolled up and the
ends pinched closely to prevent the jam coming out, as was also the
flap along the centre. A pudding-cloth was scalded and floured, the
roly-poly laid on one side of it and rolled up; each end was tied close
to the paste, and the centre _pinned_. No string was passed round the
centre, as Molly had sometimes seen done, for as the pudding swells the
string cuts into it. When finished the cloth was not very loose on the
pudding, nor tight, but what may be called an easy fit. When it would
leave the water, after an hour and quarter _constant_ boiling, it would
be swelled and plump.

Molly saw that the water boiled fast when it was dropped in, and that
there was plenty of it.

“Marta, take care that the pudding never ceases to boil, and once in
a while look that it floats round, so that it may not stick to the
bottom.”

The next day Molly had to make Dresden patties, and some fritters the
recipe for which she had unearthed from the old last-century book; it
was written in the quaint language and indefinite fashion common to
cooking-books of that date. Molly had often thought, in reading them,
that housekeepers’ wits must have been much more brilliant in those
days, or the books could have done little good.

But she had thought out the matter, and her knowledge of old cook-books
told her that a “handful” probably meant a man’s hand full, as the book
was written by a man cook; that when you were told to “beat and search
your sugar” it was because they had not latter-day improvements and
probably no powdered sugar was sold. Reduced to present-day terms and
small dimensions, the recipe was as follows:

The yolks of two eggs and a tea-spoonful of flour, and a scant half
pint of milk or cream, a pinch of salt, a quarter of a small nutmeg
and a table-spoonful of sugar. The flour and yolks of eggs to be well
beaten with a little of the milk, the rest to be added warm, and all
beaten very well together with the sugar and salt and nutmeg. This
will make a custard, to be baked in a shallow round dish till firm,
then put to get cold. Make a batter of a gill of milk (half cream, the
recipe called for), one whole egg and enough flour to make it thick
enough to quite mask the back of a spoon without running off,—two
level table-spoonfuls are about enough; beat one of the whites of eggs
left from the custard till it will not slip from the dish; put to the
batter, which must be quite smooth, the grated rind of half a lemon,
a pinch of salt, and then add the beaten white of egg, stirring very
slowly after this is in. Cut the custard into six pieces, pie-fashion,
and dip each piece into the batter, and drop it into boiling lard.

The recipe sounded very well to Molly, and her mind went over all
sorts of improvements in flavoring, from simply adding vanilla to the
introduction of chopped citron or crumbled macaroons into the custard;
but she would make the recipe as given, or as nearly as she could
interpret it, first.

Although the fritters would be much better hot, perhaps, the book
gave no clew to that; she knew they must be good warmed over, or even
cold, and as she did not want to leave the dinner-table to attend to
the frying,—being an experiment,—she felt she must do it herself.
She decided to cook them at once; the custard required very careful
handling while it was being dipped in the batter, and she found the
safest plan to prevent breaking was to pour the batter into a saucer,
and take up the fritter, when dipped, on a broad knife. The batter
completely hid the custard, and when dropped into the fat, which was
very hot, it puffed up outside and doubled the size.

They took two minutes to get pale brown, and then they were laid on
paper to drain; and after the sugar was sifted on them they certainly
were pretty to look at, and at dinner were found to bear out their good
appearance, and Molly added them to her special recipes.

The Dresden patties she wanted Marta to understand making, because
they were so easy, so useful, and so pretty. With a view to making
them, Molly had kept half a stale loaf that was as light as baker’s
bread,—too light, she thought, for the table; from it she cut two
slices two inches thick and from them she cut, with a medium sized
biscuit-cutter, three rounds; the cutter was simply a circle of tin
with a handle over it, so that the cutter went right through the bread;
had it had a top to prevent it going through, she would have cut them
with a half-pound baking-powder box. On the top of each round of bread
she cut a smaller circle as for pastry patties; now she beat an egg,
added half a pint of milk with a pinch of salt, and stood the three
patties in it, telling Marta to let them stay so at least an hour,
turning them about, but being careful not to break them, the idea being
to let the egg and milk soak well into them, and to make them as moist
as possible without breaking. It will be remembered that one sweetbread
only was cooked two days ago; the other was now cut into dice, two
tea-spoonfuls of flour and butter and a gill of stock made into
béchamel sauce, and the sweetbreads put to it with a table-spoonful
of oyster liquor (as she happened to have it). This thinned the sauce
sufficiently to let the sweetbreads cook in it without burning. By the
time they were done the sauce would be reduced again and very thick
(or, if it should not be, the sweetbreads would be taken out, and the
sauce boiled fast and stirred till very thick).

Marta had the lard ready, very hot indeed, when Molly came out to
show her how to fry the patties. She put them to drain, using a
cake-turner, for they would not bear handling.

“At some times these are rolled in flour, at others in egg and crumbs,
and I think they are prettier for crumbing; but it is not necessary,
and I will save an egg. Now I am going to drop them into the fat,
which is as hot as it can be without burning. Stand aside, for it
will splutter very much.” Each one was dropped from the end of the
cake-turner, and, as Molly said, they “spluttered.”

“I leave them on the very hottest part of the fire, because they are
filled with cold custard, which will keep the temperature about right
for five minutes; then draw them a little aside if they are brown,
and let them remain two minutes.” When taken up they were a bright
brown, looking almost like a doughnut that had been shaped like a
small Charlotte Russe. The centre was then scooped out, leaving about
half an inch of crust all round, which was filled with the fricasseed
sweetbreads piled in the centre.

“The beauty of these patties is that they can be made early and heated
in the oven, and that they are suitable for dessert with preserves, or
are excellent filled with any kind of rich minced meat or oysters.”

Molly had long wanted to make an experiment with oysters; she believed
simply panned and served with brown butter they would be delicious.
She had never heard of “oysters _au beurre noir_,” but, knowing they
must be good, resolved to try the experiment. She waited, however, till
Harry was in the house, for they would spoil by standing.

She made the sauce first, because the oysters must not wait. She put
a good table-spoonful of butter into a little saucepan and watched it
till it got golden _brown_, but did not burn; then she put it aside to
cool a little, and heated a tea-spoonful of vinegar in a cup, Marta
meantime draining the oysters. They were put in a stewpan with pepper
and salt, covered tightly and set over the fire and tossed round once
or twice, the heated (but _not boiled_) vinegar was put to the brown
butter, they were made very hot together, and when the oysters were
plumped in their own steam, they were drained off and turned into a hot
dish, with the brown butter over them, and served at once. They were
such a success that this became a favorite oyster dish with the Bishop
family.



CHAPTER XXXII.

VEAL AND HAM PIE—BEEFSTEAK PUDDING—TRIFLE.


MOLLY’S expense-book at the end of the first week of her second month
(October) stood as follows:

    3 lbs. butter           $0.75
    Eggs                      .50
    Milk                      .60
    Tea                       .40
    Fuel                      .50
    Suet                      .08
    Soup meat                 .20
    Beef (flank), 3 lbs       .36
    Beets                     .05
    Bacon                     .15
    Cream                     .10
    Flounder                  .15
    Beans                     .04
    Fowl                      .45
    Oysters                   .40
    Mutton (leg)              .75
    Bananas                   .25
    Codfish                   .24
    Sweetbread                .25
    Corn starch               .02
                              ———
                            $6.34

In addition to the usual week’s supplies, she had bought extra:

    Eggs                    $0.25
    Ice                       .10
    Milk, 3 pints             .12
                              ———
                            $1.47

The groceries for the month came to $10.02, against $11.22 for last
month. The week’s proportion was therefore $2.56, making a total of
$9.32.

Molly had not been specially economizing this last week, and had had
some little extra expenses. She was rejoiced to see that, even so,
she had a margin. Of course, towards the end of October would come an
increase in the price of butter and eggs. This she proposed to avoid
to some extent by ordering at once a pail of fine October butter at
twenty-five cents, which would last for cooking through the winter,
even if it should not continue sweet enough for such fastidious
butter-eaters as herself and Harry to use at table. Of eggs, too, she
had ordered a gross from a farmer at twenty-five cents. This would give
one dozen a week for cooking through the twelve weeks when they were
dearest, and within this dozen for cooking she meant to keep; as soon
as they should be dearer, she would make fewer things that required
eggs, and avoid their use whenever she could do without them. And,
so far as she could, she would supply herself with everything that
would keep during winter and grow dearer as the months passed; but as
the margin she now had reassured her against any little accidental
expenses, she might safely reckon it would not grow less, unless she
knowingly increased her expenditure for any purpose, and she would have
always a little reserve to meet contingencies without touching anything
outside the ten dollars a week.

On Monday of the second week in October, Mrs. Welles was to arrive.
Molly did not lay herself out in great preparations for her, for she
knew her friend would be happiest in being allowed to help her, and do
exactly as if she were in her own home. She knew she could give her no
greater pleasure than by so ordering her table as to be as different
as possible from anything that money alone could buy; and simple,
old-fashioned dishes, that no hotel would supply in perfection, she
would have during her stay. She did want to arrange, however, so that
she need not even think of luncheon for a day or two, and would have
something in the house. Happily, in doing this, she could gratify Mrs.
Welles’s English taste, for she would make one of the veal and ham
pies so dear to English palates, so rarely to be found in perfection
out of England. Molly had been taught by Mrs. Welles herself to make
them.

On Saturday, Molly had ordered two pounds of breast of veal and a pound
of very fine ham, cut thin; she would not need much of it, but the rest
would be nice for breakfast. The breast of veal was cut up into pieces
two inches long and about an inch wide, and put on in boiling water to
simmer _very gently_ one hour, the bones with it. The water being just
enough to cover the meat, no salt was added, for the meat should retain
its juices. When done, the meat was removed from the broth, the bones
left in it, and all gristly parts and bones that could not easily be
removed when raw cut from it and thrown back into the saucepan; the
meat was then put aside, and a salt-spoonful of salt, a quarter one
of pepper, and half a bay leaf, with a small pinch of thyme, one of
savory, and two sprigs of parsley, were put to the broth and bones,
and it was left to cook gently two hours longer; then it was allowed
to reduce to half a pint by boiling faster with the cover off, then
strained and put away. Molly, at the same time, made some rough puff
paste (see recipe, Chapter VI.), and left it on the ice till Monday.

This morning, therefore, she had nothing to do but put the pie
together, which she did in the following way:

The ham she cut in very thin strips, using about a quarter of a pound.
These she poured cold water upon, and put where they would come slowly
to the boiling-point. Had she had any cold boiled ham, she would have
used it in preference; but she could remove any strong taste by this
parboiling. While it was doing, she made forcemeat balls thus:

Half a cup of fine bread crumbs, a tea-spoonful of finely chopped
parsley, the eighth of a tea-spoonful each of powdered thyme and
marjoram, one squeeze of lemon juice; flavor with nutmeg by just
rubbing it once across the grater, a suspicion of lemon peel, a scant
salt-spoonful of salt, a quarter one of pepper. Chop into this a good
table-spoonful of butter (or finely chopped suet, she would sometimes
have used); the whole made into a stiff paste, with an egg well beaten
with a table-spoonful of water. It did not take all the egg; about a
table-spoonful was left, which Molly reserved to glaze the pie. In
making the forcemeat into paste, she was careful to handle lightly, not
to _squeeze_ or _knead_ it, and when it was well mixed she sprinkled
flour on her hands, took a tea-spoonful of forcemeat, and made it into
a ball. She used the remainder in the same way.

Then she took a deep oval dish, and put at the bottom a layer of the
ham, then one of veal, and four forcemeat balls (one at each corner),
a little salt and pepper, and a few more bits of ham, another layer
of veal, and half a dozen forcemeat balls. The dish was now full.
She piled more meat and a little ham towards the centre till it was
dome-shaped, and then filled every crevice with the strong jelly formed
from the meat and bones.

Now she rolled out the paste, and cut a long strip the third of an inch
thick and an inch wide. She wetted the lip of the dish, laid the paste
round, and pressed it close on the _inner_ side, so that the gravy
could not boil up under it. Then she moistened the upper surface, laid
the sheet of paste over the pie, and with both hands gently pressed the
paste into the groove formed between the dome shape of the meat and
the dish; then, with a sharp knife, she cut off the overlapping paste,
so as not to drag it in the least; and then, with the back of her
forefinger, laid on the top of the border, pressed the upper and under
paste gently, _but closely_, together, but was very careful to leave
the _edges_ untouched.

She cut a hole in the centre to let out steam, rolled a piece of paste
very thin, cut from it four diamonds two inches long from point to
point, laid the four, with the points to the centre, round the hole;
and, rolling another bit of paste as thin as paper, dusted it with
flour, folded it up several times, then turned the four corners of the
little many-folded square to form a little ball as large as an olive,
and cut a cross deeply, and with a sharp knife, across the top; then
turned back the corners as if she were opening a pond-lily bud; and
there was a rough imitation of a flower. This she inserted in the hole
in the pie, which it was large enough to cover, without closing up too
much for the steam to get out. With a feather she now brushed the pie
over with the yolk of an egg, not leaving a spot untouched, _except the
edge_, which was not glazed. Molly explained to Marta, who asked the
reason for the omission as she passed on her way to the boiler, for she
was washing.

“If I washed the edges with egg, the paste could not rise so well; for
the leaves would be glued together, as it were. This is the rule in all
use of pastry: _Leave the edges quite untouched_; do not even smooth
them with your finger. Smoothing them and pressing them with your
thumb, which I have told you _not_ to do, is the reason why your pies,
even if I make the paste, are never as handsome as mine. You smooth the
life out of the paste and squeeze all the air from between the leaves
which one is at such trouble to make; and it is the air that causes the
flakes.”

Molly put the pie in the oven, which was about the right heat for
bread,—that is to say, she could count twenty-five while her hand was
held in it. In an hour, it was pale brown all over. It was taken out
of the oven, and left a few minutes on the table till the contents had
ceased to boil; and then what remained of the jelly was warmed, the
pastry “rose” was lifted gently from the centre, a funnel inserted in
the hole, and the jelly, warmed, was poured carefully through it into
the pie. Molly watched, while pouring slowly, that the last disappeared
before adding more, for fear the pie might overflow; then the “rose”
was replaced.

This pie is good hot, but in England is always eaten cold, and cold
she knew Mrs. Welles would prefer it. The great thing to be desired in
these cold pies is plenty of savory jelly in between the meat, and very
light crust.

While the pie was baking, Molly had set the pastry back on the ice,
while she made the filling for some cheese cakes.

Properly they should be made of _sweet_ curd, dried and crumbled, hence
the name. But Molly had eaten excellent ones in which ground rice,
boiled to thick mush, was the foundation; others in which bread crumbs
were substituted, the object being to get a body of some plain material
other than flour, with which the rich ones could be incorporated; but
her own favorite way was to use rolled cracker. She put two heaped
table-spoonfuls in a bowl, and three table-spoonfuls of sugar. She beat
two table-spoonfuls of butter, from which the salt had been washed,
till it creamed, added the yolks of two eggs, and the juice of half
a lemon, and the peel of one, grated. Then she blanched and chopped
fine as possible two table-spoonfuls of almonds, and added to them a
few drops of bitter almond; then all were put together, and a large
table-spoonful of wine was added.

Molly tasted to see if the bitter almond was pleasantly perceptible,
and then rolled out the paste and lined patty-pans with it, taking care
to press only the centre to make it adhere, _not the edges_; then a
large tea-spoonful was put into each (the patty-pans were small), and
they were put in the oven and baked a beautiful pale brown. They needed
watching closely, as the filling would easily burn.

The dinner was to be a homely English one, which would not necessitate
her being in the kitchen at all after her friend arrived, as it would
consist of:—

               _Clear Soup._
             _Beefsteak Pudding._
    _Stewed Onions._    _Fried Potatoes._
                  _Trifle._

The soup, for which the stock was made on Saturday, could be left to
Marta; also the vegetables. The pudding required three hours’ constant
boiling, and therefore could be made and be cooking before Charlotte
arrived. The trifle, also, could be ready.

She had bought in the morning half a dozen small sponge cakes and a
dozen macaroons. She now made some very thick custard with the yolks of
two eggs, a small tea-spoonful of corn starch and half a pint of milk,
and sugar to taste.

The milk was put on to boil, the corn starch mixed with a very little
of it, cold, and stirred into the hot milk. Both were boiled together
five minutes; then it was allowed to cool very little, and the beaten
yolks and sugar added. The object of boiling the corn starch is to
_cook_ it, as, after the eggs are in, the custard must not boil, but
only be kept at boiling-point till they thicken. (See directions for
boiling custard, Chapter XXIX.)

When the custard was made, it was flavored with almond, set to cool,
and Molly laid the sponge cakes in a glass dish, about two inches deep.
She poured a glass of wine over them, moistening them thoroughly, and
sprinkled them with sugar thickly. Over this she spread a layer of
raspberry jam half an inch thick; then the macaroons were laid over it.
Then she poured the cold custard on it. While it had been getting cold,
she whipped half a pint of cream, sweetened and flavored with vanilla.
This was now piled high over the custard, and it was put in the ice-box
to get very cold. At the last it was to be decorated with little knobs
of red currant jelly and blanched almonds cut in strips.

Now there was the pudding to make. She was getting all done early,
because she was going to meet Mrs. Welles; but the pudding would not be
injured by standing half an hour before it went into the water, which
it should do at three o’clock.

She had a pound and a half of very fine, juicy round steak. This she
cut into pieces an inch or so square, rejecting all gristle and skin,
but using a very little of the fat. This meat she seasoned highly with
pepper and salt, stirring it up among the pieces. Then she made a
suet crust (see recipe, Chapter XIII.) and greased very well a quart
bowl. When the crust was rolled to an even half inch thick, she laid
the sheet in the bowl, pressing it gently all round. Into this she put
the meat, and, when the bowl was _full_, poured in a half cup of water;
then she gathered up the overlapping paste, and pinched it together to
form a cover, _leaving no cracks_ through which the gravy could get
out. A floured cloth was now put over the pudding, and a string passed
twice round the flaring parts and tied securely. The four ends of the
cloth were brought over the top and tied. The pudding could be lifted
by these knotted ends as if it were a basket or bundle.

Marta had now done washing and cleared up, and was able to attend to
Molly’s directions.

“Marta, I shall see this pudding in the pot before I go to the train,
and watch it come to the boiling-point quickly again; but you must
remember it must never cease boiling, or it will be heavy. When you go
to take it up, remove the cloth and string; then run a thin knife round
close to the bowl, and turn it out gently on a hot dish, trying not to
break the pudding in doing so.”

Molly had the water on in a pot, that it might be ready boiling by
three; and, although she had warned Marta to keep it boiling, she did
not mean to trust entirely to her for it, but would come herself to
look at it every half hour or so.

Early in the morning the eggs had come, and Molly had waiting ready
a keg half filled with lime-water, made by dissolving one pound of
quicklime in a gallon of water, allowed to stand all day and then
poured clear from the sediment. The sediment was rather more than the
mere sprinkling it should have been, and she feared it might be too
strong, and added more water and again let it settle, when it nearly
all dissolved; the rule being to put in as much lime as will just
dissolve, leaving only sediment enough to show that this point is
reached. She then very carefully put in the eggs, washing every soiled
one, and warned Marta never to stir them, and, when taking them out,
to be very careful, as one broken or cracked would spoil the whole; if
this occurs, fresh lime-water must be used.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

TOWN VERSUS COUNTRY—THE SERVANT QUESTION.


IT was with a heart full of happy content that Molly started to meet
Mrs. Welles, and when the train slowed into the depot, she saw a
well-known head, with bright chestnut hair, leaning out of the window.

The next moment they were exchanging greetings like two gay
school-girls, for they were both warm-hearted, impetuous women, and apt
to be rather regardless of bystanders and appearances.

“Dear girl, you look so well,” said her friend, holding her off a
minute to look at her. “I see Harry is not killing you with kindness,
as I used to predict he would.”

“And you, too, look well, notwithstanding the hotel life you abhor so.
Where is your trunk?”

“I had it expressed to your house from the hotel. It saves all bother,
and I knew you and I would enjoy the walk home together, as you are so
near the station.”

And enjoy it they did, as only women who have known each other in
girlhood and made plans and dreamed dreams together can. The village
street was as prosy as any other Jersey village; but to these two, who
recalled London days, as they went through it, it was poetical enough;
and as they left the little stores and faced the country in all its
autumn glory of color, and the sweet fall odors of ripening fruit met
them, Mrs. Welles drew a deep breath.

“How lovely this is! No wonder you look well. What a waste it is, after
all, to live in the city!”

“There is something to say on both sides, Harry thinks. We gain all
that nature gives in the country, but we lose art and many things that
brighten one’s wits. But people who have a very narrow income can
enjoy very few of the advantages of city life, even if they live in it;
so, for them, the country is undoubted gain.”

When they reached the house, Mrs. Welles was delighted with it and
everything about it, and made Molly tell her all about her housekeeping
and how she managed. When she had given her a sketch of her daily life,
Mrs. Welles said, thoughtfully:

“That is all very nice, Molly; but it seems to me you must have a good
deal to do, or else your Marta is a treasure.”

“Well, I have a good deal to do, and Marta is in one sense a treasure,
though, at the same time, I can see that many people would not get
along with her. Her good qualities seem to be cleanliness (although
she is not tidy), and an ambition to be a good cook; but for general
work she needs constant watching and telling. Still, annoying as that
is, I do not know that one can expect more in a girl like her than
willingness to do the work laid out for her. If I were paying for
trained service, I should be dissatisfied; but there are few trained
girls who will undertake general work.”

“That seems to me a matter of course. A girl who is anxious to rise is
one who will try to learn how to do it, and it would be hard if one
expected her to remain always in an inferior position. If we do that,
I think we remove the strongest incentive to good work—the ambition to
better herself. I think it is the general lack of such ambition among
girls, the non-recognition of it as one of the conditions of service by
ladies, that makes the great difference between our English servants
and those here.”

“I am sure you are right,” said Molly; “and that seems to me the true
solution of the servant difficulty. Young girls must learn that high
wages and lighter work are to be attained by proficiency; that they can
look on first places, where low wages only ought to be expected, as
apprenticeships, and every succeeding one to be a step higher toward
the comfortable and well-paid position an accomplished servant of
any branch ought to be able to command. But this is something that
depends on the ladies themselves. So long as they pay the competent
and incompetent nearly alike, and do not insist on testimonials, not
only as to respectability and temper, but _proficiency_ in duties
undertaken, there is not much encouragement to an ambitious girl, or
at least she sees she can get along without making special effort, and
that, if she does make it, she will meet with the discouraging fact
that she is in competition with those who have made no effort.”

“Still, one would think that is a thing that would cure itself. Every
one would rather pay competent servants than incompetent.”

“Of course, if they know it. But when two girls come well recommended,
how can you or I tell which is the really competent one, if, as is
often the case, a good-natured lady has taken her servant’s good
qualities, her amiability and willingness, more into account than the
efficient discharge of her duties? I have kept my eyes wide open on
this subject, and find that a neat-looking, willing girl will nearly
always keep a place, even if not competent for its duties, and be well
recommended when she leaves; not, as justice demands, recommended for
the qualities she actually has, but also for general competence.”

Mrs. Welles looked slyly at Molly.

“And what character would you give Marta?”

“Now, that is hardly fair. I see the evil. I don’t say I can do
anything to remedy it; that has to be a general movement. When I am in
Rome, I suppose I should do as the Romans do; yet I would try to be
very specific. But it would do no good. If Marta leaves me and applies
for a place as first-class cook she will get it. Some few ladies will
need some more corroboration than her word and my letter, testifying to
general good conduct; but many will readily take her, and she will stay
a month or two, if not longer, get large wages enough to make it as
profitable to wait for another well-paid place if she does not readily
find it. A girl recommended as clean and willing will get a place as
cook if she has the hardihood to assert her ability; yet who would
employ a carpenter simply for his amiability?”

“Then you would have apprenticeship among servants as among artisans?”

“Of course, if it could be, I would; in other countries there
is practical apprenticeship without bonds, that ensures, to the
painstaking employer who does her best for a girl, not losing her
the moment she has learnt the first rudiments of housework, and her
apprentice year would be at low wages; she would have the option of
advancing her year by year, or of letting her go and taking a fresh
‘prentice’ hand.”

“I pity the woman.”

“So do I, yet it is just what we all do more or less without any
distinct benefit. Of course no reasonable person would expect a girl to
remain at the low wages when she became worth more.”

“That’s just what I was thinking, Molly. You will make Marta worth a
good deal more than $10 a month as wages go.”

“I know it, but I shall be content to give her $12 when she can do my
work with only superintendence on my part, and later on I shall expect
her to ask me $14; and I shall have to decide to give it, or take some
one else; yet, if she does her best till then I shall not feel ill
used, things being as they are. We can’t expect a young woman like
Marta to be better than her times.”

“Still, this comes back to the same point; _you_ have a good deal to
do.”

“Yes, but what better employment can I have? We live about as
comfortably as if we kept two servants, because I do much of the
lighter work; I have no drudgery. Marta does that. I have very few
social duties. I have plenty of time to read and do my little sewing
and we live as I like to live; I should not be so happy any other way.
When I have children I shall have less time, but I expect Marta will
be able to go on pretty well with an hour of my time in the kitchen.”

“But suppose Marta wants to leave?”

“I don’t think she will. She seems to have the European horror of
changing and, I think, believes herself part of the family. If I am
mistaken I shall be unfortunate, but my altering my policy now would
not change matters. I made up my mind to expect very little beyond hand
work from one servant; that I have got.”

They chatted till Harry came home, Mrs. Welles unable to make up her
mind whether Molly’s ideas were wise or foolish; as _ideas_ they were
good, of course, but how would they work in practice? Mrs. Welles was
too English to understand why a woman should make up her mind to put
up with half service, and she had been too well off since she had been
married to have learnt by experience.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

OX-TAIL SOUP—GRISINI—STEWED LAMB AND PEAS—MÉRINGUES WITH CREAM.


MRS. WELLES’S trunk arrived the next morning and Molly found her friend
had come as she said, “prepared and loaded for a kitchen campaign.”
Several little things not easily obtained in a country town she had
brought, and last of all she handed out a paper package.

“There, Molly, I thought, perhaps, you had none, and I have two or
three recipes needing the stuff, so I made sure and brought it with me.”

Molly had meanwhile cut the strings and saw in the paper a thick roll
of something wrapped in waxed paper.

“Ah, almond paste! I wished when I was chopping almonds the other day
that I had some.”

The almond paste was a substance that looked, in color and appearance,
like very heavy bread: it was almonds ground by machinery, and saved
infinite time in preparing almonds for macaroons, cake, etc.

“There, Mistress Molly, you see we are going to make goodies while I am
here.”

“I shall be glad to do my part and sit at your feet again.”

“Nonsense, Molly, I have nothing to teach you. You were too intelligent
not to see, when you had the key to a few things, that the rest was a
matter of experiment and practice; but while I was in London I had some
recipes given to me, vaguely written, as amateur recipes usually are,
but I want to try to get them right.”

Molly, mindful of her guest’s English tastes, had asked her butcher to
save her two ox-tails, as they were very cheap things, and she prepared
them for soup while Mrs. Welles finished her unpacking.

First, she cut up the tails into joints and each joint of the root of
it into three, then put them on the fire, in cold water, let it come to
the boiling-point, drained them off and pumped cold water on them. This
was the process called “blanching,” so often directed in cooking-books
without further explanation. They were then dried in a cloth, dusted
with flour, put in a pot with a table-spoonful of butter, and fried a
bright brown and frequently stirred round, to color them evenly; then
she cut up a carrot, a turnip, and an onion, and put them into it,
then added a bay leaf, three sprigs of parsley, half a salt-spoonful
of thyme and marjoram, two cloves, a tea-spoonful and a half of salt,
and half a salt-spoonful of pepper and two quarts of water. This was to
simmer four hours; at the end of the second hour a few of the nicest
joints of the tail were taken out to serve in the soup, the others
left to boil down with it. Half an hour before dinner the soup was
strained and a table-spoonful of brown thickening (recipe in Chapter
XIII.) stirred into it to make it the consistency of very thin cream.
As it boiled down it would grow thicker; then it was put to boil fast,
without a cover, and every few minutes skimmed. When quite clear of
fat, the joints of the tail were put in, a glass of wine added,[3] and
the soup was ready to serve.

Mr. and Mrs. Bishop’s turn was near to receive the reading-club, and
Molly had thought it would be pleasant to have it the week Charlotte
was with her. The lady entertaining could, of course, invite any of her
friends, and Molly asked Mr. and Mrs. Lennox. Mrs. Welles was delighted
to help, and the afternoon was given to a discussion of what should be
provided.

“We are wisely limited as to what is to constitute the refreshment.
There must be no oysters or ice cream, only cakes and sandwiches and
coffee and tea, or chocolate.”

“No _bouillon_?”

“Yes, that has been admitted in place of one of the other beverages,
as so many can’t take coffee or tea at night.”

“Let’s say coffee and _bouillon_, then, and sandwiches. Are you limited
to one kind?”

“No. Mrs. Framley, last week, had tongue, cheese and chicken.”

“Well, have chicken and lobster then. How many guests shall you expect?”

“About thirty-four.”

I suppose it is not necessary to go further into figures at this day to
show that Molly was likely to do all she had undertaken to do on her
allowance of ten dollars a week, but as her evening was a great success
and cost very little, I will give the details to show how it was done
and what the actual cost was. The flavorings formed part of Molly’s
stores and the almond paste was given to her, yet I add the price here,
for those who may wish to go and do likewise may not be so fortunate.
Although the list of articles were ordered, they were not all used.

    One dozen eggs               $0.25
    One lobster, 3 pounds          .36
    One can of boned chicken       .50
    One pound of almond paste      .30
    One pound of butter            .25
    Leg of beef                    .50
    Half pound of coffee           .15
    Milk                           .12
    Sugar                          .24
    Bread                          .20
                                   ———
                                 $2.87

The first thing was to make four loaves of nice bread; this Molly did,
using two quarts of water and one cake of yeast (see recipe for bread,
Chapter XV.). To save trouble of cutting, Mrs. Welles suggested pipe
bread (_grisini_) to eat with the _bouillon_, and before the bread
was put to rise a piece was broken from the dough of the size of a
large orange; to this was added the white of an egg, whipped a little,
a tea-spoonful of powdered sugar and a good tea-spoonful of butter
softened. When it was all well incorporated, flour, warmed and sifted,
was added to bring it to the consistency of stiffish bread-dough.
It was kneaded long and well and set to rise. It took longer than
the bread, because it was a little stiffer and also the bread and
additional flour weakened the yeast. When it had swelled well, however,
Mrs. Welles and Molly sat down together to roll it, while Marta
attended to the dinner, which was to consist of soup, stewed lamb and
peas, stuffed potatoes and _méringues_, with whipped cream.

The _méringues_ had been made in the morning and the cream whipped. The
stewed lamb was something so simple that it could be left to Marta,
although in leaving any stewing or boiling to Marta, now or any other
time, Molly never omitted an occasional glance to see that it neither
left off _simmering_ and that the simmering had not become _boiling_.

“The rolling out of _grisini_ is a very tedious task,” said Mrs.
Welles, “but the compensation is that they keep as well as crackers,
once made.”

“You will have to direct me, Charlotte, as I have never made these
before.”

“All you have to do is to roll a small piece of dough under your hands
on the board, so, till it is no thicker than a pencil. If the dough is
too soft—it should be stiffer than bread-dough, yet quite elastic—you
can add a very little flour.” As she spoke she laid her two hands over
a bit of dough as large as a hickory nut and began rolling, pressing
pretty hard as she rolled.

“If they do not roll smooth, wet your palm with milk slightly.”

Molly followed directions. As each pipe was made it was laid on a
baking-pan. They were irregular in length, but generally about nine or
ten inches long.

It took them half an hour to roll them, for it was difficult at first
for Molly to get hers of fairly even thickness all the way down, but
practice brought facility. The dough made about three dozen, and they
were put in a warm place to swell till as thick as a medium-sized
cigar. Then they were to be baked in a _cool_ oven _half an hour_. They
were to be very lightly colored, when done, about like pilot biscuits,
and should snap short; hence the slow oven, as they must dry as well as
cook.

The bread had not been set till early in the morning, so that it might
bake late in the day, for Molly’s reception was to be on Friday—this
was Wednesday—and she wanted the bread to be as near as possible two
days old, for sandwiches, yet not at all stale. The _bouillon_ and
cakes would be made Thursday, and there would be nothing but the
sandwiches to cut and coffee to make on the day itself. Molly was
anxious to get all done before that, so as to be quite fresh for her
friends.

Before leaving the kitchen she went over the recipes she had written
for Marta’s guidance, emphasizing all important points. For the stewed
lamb there were some lean chops from under the shoulder (see Chapter
III.); these were floured and laid in a stewpan with a little butter
and fried brown, an onion cut up and a piece of carrot (half a small
one), and enough hot water barely to cover them was poured on them
with half a tea-spoonful of salt. They were to stew very slowly for
two hours, then taken up and kept hot while the gravy was skimmed and
allowed to boil down to half a pint, a large teaspoonful of brown
thickening was put into it and a can of peas, and seasoned to taste,
then the meat was returned and allowed to stew very gently a quarter of
an hour more.

Harry had been told laughingly he was to expect a very plain dinner.

“And is that the result of having two expert cooks in the house? Mrs.
Welles, I’ve been petting my digestion for the last month in order to
cope with the culinary productions of the pair of you, and this is the
result. I’ve heard before that too many cooks spoil the broth, but I
didn’t know it extended to the whole dinner.”

Although Molly had made the _méringues_ herself, she had written the
recipe, which is as follows:

Beat the white of two eggs as stiff as possible, that is to say, till
it will not slip out of the bowl, then stir into it _very gently_ three
ounces of powdered sugar, remembering the rule that anything to be
mixed with white of egg must be done with a light _lifting_ motion of
the spoon, rather than _stirring_, which may liquefy the eggs. Fill
a table-spoon with the mixture and turn on to a sheet of white paper
placed on a board which has been made a little damp; the moulds should
be oval, like half an egg. Put them in a very cool oven for fifteen or
twenty minutes, then open the door and leave them ten minutes longer;
the idea is to make the crust as thick as possible, which is done by
the long slow drying; if firm enough remove them from the paper, take
out the moist centre very carefully, and when cold fill them with
cream, flavored, sweetened, and whipped solid (recipe Chapter XXVIII.),
then put two together; they should be _over_ full, and the cream show
considerably between the two sides.

FOOTNOTE:

[3] The wine is optional.



CHAPTER XXXV.

MACAROONS—JUMBLES—GENOESE TABLETTES—IRISH STEW.


THE next day Mrs. Welles and Molly were in the kitchen bright and
early. She had ordered the day before all she would need for dinner,
and did not require to leave the house. They had planned to make
macaroons and fancy cakes. For the macaroons, half a pound of almond
paste and three quarters of a pound of powdered sugar were weighed
carefully, then three large eggs were separated and beaten. Mrs. Welles
put the almond paste in the chopping-bowl, and chopped it into fine
crumbs (which saves a good deal of mashing with a fork), while Molly
beat eggs and added the sugar, making icing, in fact; then the crumbled
almond paste was put to it and mashed with the back of a fork into the
icing, till it was all smooth and perfectly blended; some sheets of
thin paper were rubbed with suet and cut to fit the dripping-pan, on
which they were to be baked; half a tea-spoonful was dropped on a bit
of paper, and put in to try the oven, and meanwhile a dozen or so of
almonds were blanched and each split into six.

The macaroon, when looked at, had flattened down, as it should do,
but just a shade more than was just right, and a tea-spoonful more
powdered sugar was stirred in. Then the mixture was taken up on the end
of a tea-spoon, and bits as large as small nutmegs were dropped on the
greased paper,—about two inches apart,—and then on each of them three
or four bits of almond were put irregularly. The oven was moderate,—not
too cool, nor yet hot enough to color them till they had been in it ten
minutes.

“While you bake those, I’ll make some Genoese pastry,” said Mrs. Welles.

“That is a novelty to me; at least, I have heard of it, but not tried
it. If I remember rightly you told me you had once tried it, but found
it very unsatisfactory.”

“Yes, it was too sticky while warm to cut, and too brittle when cold,
but I have now another recipe which I want to try, and if it is good it
will be just the thing for your fancy cakes. This is the recipe:

“GENOESE PASTRY.—Four ounces of flour, three of butter, four of almond
paste, and five eggs. Melt the butter in a bowl, taking care it does
not get very hot. Break the eggs into a bowl, add the sugar to them,
stand the bowl in a saucepan of boiling water, and whip eggs and
sugar for twenty minutes, but they must not get very hot; take the
bowl from the water, add the almond paste, crumbled fine, to it, beat
till smooth, then add the butter, and last of all slip in the flour,
stirring lightly all the time; bake, in a round jelly-cake-pan lined
with buttered paper very neatly fitted and standing an inch above the
edge, in a rather quick oven for half an hour. When it is done, no mark
should remain on it when pressed with the finger.”

“Has any one you know tried the recipe?”

“Oh, yes; and I have eaten the cake, and found it excellent.”

Molly now opened the oven to look at the macaroons, and found they
could be put for one minute at the top, to take a deeper tint, and
another pan which she had ready could be put in the bottom of the oven.

Then she prepared one more sheet, after taking the first from the oven.
These she left on the pan to cool a few minutes before touching them;
then she lifted the paper from it, replaced it by a fresh one, and did
not attempt to take the macaroons from the paper till they were nearly
cold. She handled them after they were baked, and until cold, as if
they were egg shells.

Marta, who had now finished her morning’s work, was told to put on the
_bouillon_.

“You must take the largest pot, Marta; that shin weighs eight pounds.
It is cut in three, but gash it well, take out the marrow, and put on
eight quarts of cold water; when it is near the boiling-point, skim
it,—take care the scum does not break. After it is off, throw in a
wine-glass of cold water and wait; when it is once again near boiling,
skim again; repeat the cold water and skimming twice, then leave it to
boil four hours very slowly.”

When separating the yolks of eggs from the whites, for the macaroons,
they had been at once beaten with a tea-spoonful of cold water to
prevent hardening,—which they are apt to do when waiting even a very
short time, if not beaten,—and set aside for jumbles, which Molly made
while Mrs. Welles made the Genoese pastry. She used for them six ounces
of butter, six ounces of sugar, and half a pound of flour, with the
yolks of the three eggs. The butter was beaten to a cream and then the
sugar and eggs added, the flour sifted in, a table-spoonful of wine
put in, and when all was well mixed a few drops of extract of rose
was added, Molly tasting the paste to judge the quantity. It needed
to be perceptible, as it goes off in baking. Then she rolled it into
little balls about the size of a hickory nut, and on some stuck half a
blanched almond, on others a little bit of green citron, and on others
a strip of candied lemon peel.

Rolling them thus was much less trouble than cutting them into rings
and shaping them in sugar, and quite as sightly, for the balls melt
down in the oven into round cakes. They require a moderate oven; if too
slow they melt too much, if too quick they burn before they are done.

To keep the oven just right this morning when a steady, moderate heat
was required, Molly attended to the fire herself. Having seen that it
was solid at first, she kept it so by adding a very few coals _before_
it had shown any signs of going down. As soon as the jumbles were firm
and the bright yellow had changed to the palest pine color, they were
taken out, without waiting for them to _brown_ at all.

The Genoese pastry was now done; it looked like a thick jelly-cake, and
when cool was to be cut and jelly laid between it sandwich-fashion, and
some pieces iced plain.

When the macaroons were taken off the papers, there were found to be
between seventy and eighty, but as in two pans there were two or three
that had sunken somewhat and were less handsome than the rest, those
were laid aside. There were also nearly four dozen jumbles, and there
would be about three dozen _tablettes_ from the Genoese pastry.

It was getting near luncheon time and they were both rather tired;
therefore they gave up till after they had eaten and rested.

“I hope, Molly, you take care of yourself in this way,” said her friend
as they sat down to a comfortable lunch. “I remember how you used to
horrify me in London by going without food for hours, or only eating
cake or pastry, if you had anything on hand to interest you.”

“Yes, nowadays I do, whether I feel hungry or not: I sit down and force
myself to eat, and I do it leisurely also, for if I finish eating in
ten minutes I take a book or newspaper and spend the full hour resting,
then I go to work fresh again; although I confess I do it often in
spite of my nerves, which urge me to finish. But I do it, and I know
that eating nothing at all or a mere snack in a hurry, at noon, and
then keeping on with the sewing, or preserving, or shopping, is what
wears out half us American women. I used to get tired and faint about
three o’clock, after doing very little, and was almost ashamed that I,
a healthy young girl, should do so when I saw elderly women keep on
from morning till night. You and your mother first awakened me to the
fact that it was lack of food. My own dear mother had been like myself
all her life, neglecting her noon meal, simply because she never felt
hungry. _Now_ I get a meal of some substantial kind, and I make Marta
do the same, for she also is inclined to take a standing lunch,—just a
bit of bread and cheese, she likes best.”

“Well, I don’t believe people can work well if they do not eat
sensibly. I can eat three meals comfortably, but I agree with Dr.
Richardson: we could do without both the others better than the mid-day
meal. I suppose if you and I had kept on for a couple of hours longer
we should have been a pair of wilted beings.”

“Yes, there is nothing like leaving off and resting _before_ one is
really tired, if one wants to get through a great deal without feeling
it; but it is a very difficult thing to do.”

“I know it; especially difficult to those who need it most,—the
nervous, energetic women; to the phlegmatic ones it comes easy enough,
and they seldom overwork.”

“I have eaten the last of your ‘weal and hammer,’ my dear, and I agree
with Silas Wegg: ‘it mellars the organ,’—and now I am ready for work.
The next thing is to ice those cakes, I suppose, and I will put on the
sugar to boil.”

“No, I have French icing ready, but I forgot until this minute to make
some coloring; I bought the cochineal yesterday.”

“Well, there’s plenty of time; it will only take a few minutes; I’ll
put it to boil and we will both get the Genoese cakes ready while it
does so.”

Molly handed to her a packet containing an ounce of cochineal and one
of cream of tartar, mixed; this was put to boil in half a pint of
water, and was to reduce to half. While this was going on Molly got out
some raspberry jam and the lemon paste she had made.

“I wonder what I should have done if these good things had not come so
apropos!”—alluding to her mother-in-law’s gift.

“Done, my dear? You would not have felt the lack of them; you would
just have made your jumbles and some cocoanut macaroons and cones; made
some sponge drop-cakes, which you would have iced, and would have
forgotten to wish even that you had not the other things; I know you,
Molly.”

Molly laughed. “To tell the truth, I had thought the matter over, and
decided to make some orange paste, for which I have a very old recipe,
and as two oranges are enough, it would not have been very costly.”

“Before I go away I want to try it, if oranges are to be got yet, out
here.”

“I saw a few pale things, but Harry can bring some early Floridas.”

As they talked they worked. The bread-board was put between them, and
the Genoese cake was split carefully into four even layers. The rounded
sides were trimmed off wide enough to cut into odd-shaped pieces to be
dipped into icing.

The cochineal had now boiled fast about ten minutes uncovered, and by
the rim round the little saucepan showed it had diminished to one-half.

“Now if one can avoid getting one’s fingers in it, and looking like an
executioner for a day or two, it will be very nice; where’s the alum,
Molly?”

Molly handed the tiny packet containing two drachms of alum to Mrs.
Welles. It was put into the cochineal, stirred, and then a small
strainer was put on a cup, a piece of muslin laid in it, and the
coloring poured through it; then the ends of the muslin were gathered
together and the sediment gently pressed with a spoon and then thrown
away.

Molly, meanwhile, had been spreading one of the layers of cake with
the lemon paste, very thinly, and laid another on top of it,—this was
one cake; the other layer was spread with raspberry jam, and on that
also a slice was laid. I have said that the rounded sides were cut off,
leaving the centre square. These sides were cut into three-cornered
pieces; there were, consequently, a number of these corner pieces,
and two square cakes,—one with raspberry jam, one with lemon. Molly
had brought out the French or _fondant_ icing, the vanilla flavoring,
the bitter almond, and the caramel coloring. She divided the icing,
putting one part into a small bowl which she set in a saucepan of
boiling water, stirring it till it was creamy. Mrs. Welles had laid
a sheet of confectioner’s paper on the board, and when the icing was
melted, Molly brought it to the table and put to it a very small half
tea-spoonful of vanilla, and stirred it; then she dipped a table-spoon
in the boiling water, shook the water from it and then took it full of
the icing from the bowl and poured it on the layers of cake containing
the lemon, and spread it, using more icing as she needed it, smoothing
it with a knife dipped into boiling water and shaken.

When it was done, Mrs. Welles warmed a knife and cut the cake into neat
_tablettes_ an inch wide and two inches long, while Molly put the same
icing over the fire, stirred it slowly till the water under it was
boiling, and the icing creamy. She took it to the table, colored it a
beautiful creamy coffee color with a few drops of caramel, and then
dropped the corner pieces, one by one, as fast as she could, into it,
taking them out as soon as they were covered, and laying them on the
waxed paper with a fork. Before half were done the icing got stiff,
and she had to put it on the fire once more; and this time, as each
heating up made the icing a degree higher candy, she put in a few drops
of water from the end of a spoon,—a dozen drops perhaps in all,—then
the icing became creamy again. She finished dipping the cakes, all but
three or four, for which the icing fell short. Now the other portion
of icing was put in a bowl, melted to cream in boiling water, a few
drops of cochineal added to it, and a few drops (very few) of almond
flavoring. The cochineal made it a beautiful pale pink. This was laid
on the _tablette_ of cake in which was raspberry jam, in the same way
as the white, and it also was cut into _tablettes_ while Molly dipped
the rest of her three-cornered pieces of cake into the pink icing.

There was now a plate of pink, almond-iced _tablettes_ with raspberry
jam; one of white, vanilla-iced _tablettes_ with lemon filling, and on
the sheet of waxed paper lay several that looked like large, oblong,
French candies, pink and pale coffee-colored,—being completely covered
with icing, no one could tell they were cake.

“Now the cakes are all made, are they not?” asked Mrs. Welles.

“Yes; but I’m sadly afraid people will think they have cost much more
than is usually spent at these meetings; but I know they have not. Mrs.
Framley had sponge cake only, yet the eggs alone for the five loaves
she made would cost more than these cakes.”

“Well, it can’t be helped,” said Mrs. Welles.

“No,” laughed Molly; “I meant only to have the iced jelly cakes, and
though Genoese is so delicious I don’t know that that difference will
be understood, but your bringing the almond paste tempted me into the
macaroons, and then to make use of the yolks; of course they led to the
jumbles.”

“Yes, but they would pass; it is the ‘Frenchy’ look of the iced cakes
that will seem costly, but you can tell your friends what the cost
really is.”

“I know, only I hate to seem to lay myself out; yet when things can be
made so pretty one can’t resist doing it.”

“You can’t, because you love the work as others love Kensington stitch
and can’t resist adding to the beauty of their surroundings in that
way. You and I resist that temptation very well, but this makes one
understand it. All work is pleasure if you love it and _know how_ to do
it.”

“Now I’ll see the dinner on and we’ll adjourn and leave Marta in
possession,” said Molly.

Molly looked at the _bouillon_, which had been simmering four hours;
and Marta asked if she should put in the vegetables.

“No; this is to be extra strong, in fact _consommé_,—which means
_bouillon_ very much reduced,—so this can simmer two hours more; then
strain the meat from it, and to-morrow you can take off all fat; and
then put to it two carrots cut up small, two turnips, two onions, and
let them boil in it two hours; this will reduce it enough; then it can
be strained and cleared.”

Molly had arranged to have for dinner just such things as Marta could
cook, but the substantial part of it was to be Irish stew, that good
old savory dish. Excellent as it is when well made, there is nothing
more “poverty seeming” than the same thing carelessly done; therefore
she meant to see it all on to cook before leaving the kitchen.

IRISH STEW.—Half a dozen lean chops from the neck were floured and put
in a saucepan with two onions and a tea-spoonful of butter, and quickly
browned; but the onion was not allowed to burn, and therefore it was
all kept moving about. A pint of cold water was then put to it, and the
fat that this brought to the surface skimmed off and a tea-spoonful of
salt and one third of a tea-spoonful of pepper added. It was put where
it would simmer _very gently_ for an hour and a half, when it was to be
again skimmed, and a tea-spoonful of Worcestershire sauce put to it;
the gravy tasted to see if salt enough, and half a dozen large potatoes
(or more if small) cut in half; then it was to be closely covered and
was to simmer for another hour. Molly cautioned Marta against adding
more water.

“When you put the potatoes in, never mind if the gravy does not cover
them; they are to stew over the meat; sufficient good gravy to serve is
all that is necessary, if you cover the potatoes with liquid as often
is done, you get a good deal of broth, but no gravy.”



CHAPTER XXXVI.

TO BOIL AND PREPARE LOBSTER—SANDWICHES—CLEARING SOUP—OMELET SOUFFLÉ.


THE next morning the lobster which Molly had ordered was sent; it was
quite a large one, and it was put on _head downward_ into boiling water
in which there were four table-spoonfuls of salt to the gallon. Marta
was told to let it boil gently half an hour, then to take it out, as
if it boils too long the meat becomes tough and stringy; but, although
Marta had that order and Molly left the kitchen to go through her usual
morning duties up-stairs, Mrs. Welles noticed that when the half hour
was up Molly herself went to see that Marta had not forgotten.

“My dear Molly, a Marta would be the death of me, or I of her, if I had
one.”

“Why?”

“She requires such endless looking after. Why don’t you get a more
experienced girl?”

“Because perhaps the experienced girl would be the ‘death of me.’ I
mean it is unlikely the experience would exactly fit my needs, and if
it did not, it would be in the way of her learning my ways.”

“Does Marta learn?”

“Indeed she does—slowly; but remember, she is so newly arrived.”

“Oh, it is not her accomplishments I disparage, but that you cannot
trust her to carry out such a simple order as to take a thing out of
water at a certain time. What made you give the order if you did not
expect to have it remembered?”

“Moral effect, I suppose,” laughed Molly. “I always pretend to leave
things to Marta, but as a matter of fact, it was the very simplicity
of this thing that made me careful; Marta is impressed, I find, with
large appearances; if I tell her to do something that is to have some
very choice result, although I expect her to blunder, she generally
surprises me by carrying out the order well, because she is impressed,
and all her attention on the alert. She can do three or four things now
she is proud of; one is frying, because she has completely mastered
the art, and the results are so showy; then she has lived in Germany
as scullion, where she has heard fine cooking spoken of with respect,
and knows it is worth doing well. The difficulty lies generally in the
fact that half our servants don’t know that there is such a thing as
standard cooking; anything beyond their ken is ‘new-fangled,’ and is a
mystery not worth knowing.”

“Well, well, I admire your patience; I never could emulate it.”

“Oh, yes, you would, if it were only necessary; but with you it is not;
you have several servants, and can import your cooks specially trained.”

“Molly, I could do without servants easily; I would, rather than watch
and follow as you do Marta.”

“We’ll talk over this another time. I’m sure you would not, for long,
like to do without a pair of willing, if clumsy hands; a dirty servant,
I grant, you are better without,—but I must go down.”

“And I too. What shall I do?”

“Make mayonnaise for the sandwiches.

“Put on the soup, Marta, and the vegetables in it as I told you
yesterday.”

The lobster was now cool, and Molly began to prepare it. She took off
the claws, split it down the back, then called Marta to watch as she
removed the entrail that runs through the tail. “In the head is found
a small bladder or bag which must be taken out; it is sometimes called
the ‘lady;’ and along each side, under the shell, will be found bits
of a drab-colored spongy substance called the ‘lady’s fingers;’ they
are at the root of the small claws; when these are removed, all the
rest of the lobster is good. This soft, greenish fat might seem to you
should be thrown away, but it is, many think, the best part of the
lobster.”

The claws were then cracked and the meat taken out. Molly then made a
pint of white sauce and divided it into two parts. Into one she put
the meat of the lobster chopped fine, and seasoned it very highly with
pepper and salt, and enough lemon juice to give a perceptible acid or
piquant taste, and two tea-spoonfuls of very finely chopped pickled
cucumber.

To the other sauce she stirred the contents of a box of chicken also
chopped fine, and a large table-spoonful of the mayonnaise, which was
made rather more tart than usual, and this also was seasoned highly
and a tea-spoonful of capers stirred through it. Both the lobster and
chicken were put away till time to cut sandwiches.

The dinner was to be oysters on the half shell and stewed steak, as
being easy and _British_.

The recipe was given to Marta, who, with a little looking after, could
prepare it. It was as follows:—

Put a table-spoonful of butter in a stew-pan; when hot lay in a pound
and a half of the tender side of round steak floured, having removed
nearly all fat. Let it quickly brown with one onion, cut in slices;
then put to it a pint of boiling water. Draw it to the side of the
fire, where it will just simmer for two hours and a half; then take the
meat up on a hot dish, and skim the gravy clear of fat; stir into it a
dessert-spoonful of brown thickening (see recipe, Chapter XIII.), and a
half can of mushrooms, with the liquor. Let this boil fast till there
is about half a pint; season with pepper and salt, take off the little
skin of grease that fast boiling has sent to the surface, draw it back
from the fire, and lay the steak in again; let it all just _keep at the
boiling-point_, not boil, for a quarter of an hour.

Harry was to come home at five to get dinner over, and by way of a
sweet dish they were to have omelette soufflé, or as Harry called it,
_hot_ ice cream; it was quickly made and required no sauce. After
luncheon, as there was nothing more to be done till the _consommé_ was
ready to clear, Molly and her friend went out to walk. At half a mile
distance there was a spot where Molly had remarked the lovely ferns and
moss; they took a basket to bring some home to dress the rooms, and
as there were few flowers, they gathered the white plumes of the wild
carrot.

“I think we will resist the golden-rod, graceful as it is; every room
in Greenfield has a bunch of it, no doubt.”

When in the house two ginger-jars were filled with the ferns and tall
white blossoms; from one, long sprays of honeysuckle from their own
piazza were trailing, and this was put on the little stand in the hall.
The other jar was put in the fireplace in the parlor. About the rooms
tufts of bright red geraniums were set in specimen glasses.

“I think that looks quite festive,” said Mrs. Welles, surveying the
effect. “Will you have autumn leaves for the buffet?”

“I confess I don’t like them in rooms, beautiful as they are on trees;
I thought of filling those tall jars with these ferns and putting
single sprays of them in tall champagne glasses between the dishes of
sandwiches.”

“That will be prettier.”

Molly had decided, as Marta would be a shy and possibly awkward
waitress, to have everything except soup and coffee arranged prettily
on the sideboard, and every gentleman could help himself and a lady.
The coffee and _consommé_ would be sent round, and a small table had a
tea-equipage arranged on it. Mrs. Welles would steer Marta to safety,
when she should start with the waiter. It was a matter for discussion
whether Marta should be called upon at all, and she was admitted to
service simply as a pleasure to herself; Molly knew she would be
greatly disappointed if she were not allowed to take some active part
in the proceedings.

“You are a curious girl, Molly,” Mrs. Welles had said when she heard
Molly’s reason. “It would not have occurred to me.”

“Nor to me, perhaps, if I had not remembered that this girl has no
acquaintances about here, and to the festive German nature to sit in a
quiet kitchen, and hear voices and laughter, must be infinitely more
dull than making herself useful and seeing the faces of those who laugh
and talk. I can see she is quite excited by the thought of numbers of
people.”

The sideboard was moved into the pantry off the dining-room; two Albert
biscuit boxes were put, one at each end of it, a small board (one of
a set of hanging book-shelves removed for the occasion) was placed on
them and then covered with a fine white napkin; at each end a vase of
ferns, and along it, disposed so that the colors would show to best
advantage, were the iced cakes and macaroons. On the sideboard itself
another long white napkin was laid, and here were to be the dishes
of sandwiches; the arrangement of this beforehand freed Molly from
anxiety, and when the door of the pantry was closed it was not seen;
yet with it open the sideboard was so placed that it and nothing else
was visible from the room. A bracket lamp was to be fastened so as
to light it up as much as the interior of the dining-room. When the
arrangements were all made, Mrs. Welles and Molly repaired to the
kitchen. The dinner was quietly cooking and Marta had just got through
her work.

“I will clear the soup first, because I want you to see it, Marta.”
Molly took the two whites of eggs and their shells left from the
mayonnaise and two more; then she beat up shells and all to a froth,
mixed a small cup of the cold soup with them, and poured the whole into
the soup, beating all the while till it was at boiling-point again;
then she drew it back from the fire and left it ten minutes. While
it settled, she put a large mixing-bowl on the table, and a colander
in that; then an old napkin, that she had dipped into boiling water
and wrung out, was laid over the colander. In ten minutes the egg was
hanging in the soup like white curds and the soup itself looked quite
clear.

It was poured through the cloth and allowed to drip. Molly lifted
the colander, and when the soup had run through removed it _without
squeezing_. The soup lay in the bowl like clear weak tea. Molly added
a few drops of caramel (see Chapter XIII.), and then tasted it for
seasoning. The caramel only made it a shade darker than it was, just
a bright straw color. The boiling with the vegetables had reduced it
to about five quarts. Intending it to be so reduced had caused Molly
to omit part of the salt; if salted for _eight_ quarts and reduced to
_five_ it would be too salt to use, as _salt never evaporates_.

The soup was now put into a marbleized preserving-pan, which would give
no more taste than a china bowl, and be ready to boil up when required.

Mrs. Welles had, meanwhile, been cutting sandwiches, and already had
quite a pile of thin slices of bread, which Molly now spread thinly
with mayonnaise. When two loaves were cut up, Mrs. Welles put a thin
layer of the chicken mixture on some of the slices Molly had spread
with mayonnaise; then put another slice over it, and when a good many
were done, the crust was cut off all round and each slice cut from
corner to corner, thus making four little three-cornered sandwiches.
When there were enough of these done, they treated the lobster in the
same way, and when all were cut and arranged on dishes a _damp_ cloth
was laid over them, and they were put in a cool place till just before
they were needed. Everything was now ready. Mrs. Winfield’s reserve
cups and saucers had all been got out and dusted; Mrs. Lennox had sent
over a dozen. These were put in readiness, with piles of small plates,
napkins, etc., on a large tray to be brought in and placed by the
sideboard when the time came.

OMELET SOUFFLÉ.—Molly beat four whites of eggs till they would not slip
from the bowl, just before dinner, and then the yolks of two she beat
four minutes with three table-spoonfuls of powdered sugar and one
tea-spoonful of vanilla extract.

When Marta was ready to put the dinner on the table, Molly turned the
whites of the eggs on the yolks, and mixed them very gently, _lifting_
the yolks as it were _over_ the whites with the spoon, not stirring
them; any quick movement with whites of eggs tends to liquefy them;
then she buttered an oval dish and heaped the mixture lightly on it, a
table-spoonful at a time, piling always towards the middle; then she
sifted powdered sugar over it, and just before she went in to dinner
she put it in the oven, which was moderately hot.

“It will take about ten minutes to get a golden brown, Marta, and when
you look at it be careful not to fully open the door, for the least
draught may cause it to fall; and when it is nicely brown bring it in
without waiting for anything. I will have the table ready for you.”



CHAPTER XXXVII.

GÂTEAU DE RIZ—FRENCH RICE CAKE—PREPARING CALF’S HEAD—MOCK-TURTLE
SOUP—MORE NOODLES—PIGEON PIE.


OF course Molly’s supper was a success, and of course there were many
who thought it must have cost a great deal more than the amount usually
expended; but when there was a comparison of expenses there was nothing
to be said, for Molly was well within the lowest, and then every one
wanted to know how it was done, and especially how the sandwiches were
made, such a pleasant change were they from the usual thing, good as
it is. Molly was not experienced in quantities needed, and had feared
something might fall short, but there were both _consommé_ and cakes
left.

“Shall we have to live on ‘stale party’ the rest of the week, Molly?”
Harry had asked.

“You’ll have ‘stale party’ soup a couple of times, but no other
reminiscence shall be served up.”

And to give Marta an opportunity of showing her way of making noodles
to Mrs. Welles, Molly decided to have noodle soup and roast beef for
dinner.

They all three set to work to remove the traces of the night before.
While Marta swept, Molly and her friend washed up dishes and returned
them to their places. When all was done, Molly said, “What can I make
with the spare yolks of eggs from yesterday?”

“How many are there?”

“Four,—two from the omelette soufflé and two from clearing the soup.”

“Then make a French rice cake for dinner.”

“You make it, for I don’t know how. And now you are here, I want to
cook a calf’s head. You are fond of it, I know, and one is too much for
us alone; besides, there are so many English ways of cooking it. I only
know one.”

“Get the head, and I will show you half a dozen dishes from it. Do you
want mock-turtle soup?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Then we will use half for that purpose, and the other we will do
various things with.”

Molly had already ordered her butcher to get one for her one day this
week. He had sent word it would be ready this morning, and she was
expecting it.

Calf’s head, although a fashionable dish, either as mock-turtle or
any of the several ways in which it is served, is, like some other
things with an awe-inspiring name, a very economical one, especially in
country places, where calves’ heads have few buyers. For this reason
Molly wanted to perfect herself in preparing it. By the time Mrs.
Welles had put a small cup of rice on to boil in a pint and a half of
milk, the head came. She watched the rice come to the boil, then put it
where it would simmer slowly, and turned her attention to the head. It
was a very good one, for Molly had said if it were not fat she would
not care to have it. She had also directed it to be split. He had asked
her if she wanted it skinned.

“No, indeed; only scalded and the hair scraped off.”

“I only asked, because some folks like them skinned.”

Molly was relating this to Mrs. Welles and preparing her to see the
head either skinned in spite of her order, or else sent with the hair
half on when it came, but it was really very well dressed.

“I’m going to let you prepare it, Charlotte, and look on, for I have
only seen it done once at a cooking-demonstration.”

“Very well, you attend to the rice, then, and keep it from burning. It
must stew slowly, with the cover tight on it, till it will mash into a
paste, and more milk added if required.”

Mrs. Welles laid the head open on a meat-board, and then removed the
tongue and brains, being very careful not to injure them. She laid
them in a dish of water, in which was a small cup of vinegar, until
they were needed for use; then she took out the membrane of the nasal
passages and washed the head in salt and water. This done, she put the
head in a pot and covered it with six quarts of cold water. It was to
boil very slowly two hours. Into the water she put a large carrot, a
turnip, and an onion, with six sprigs of parsley, two bay leaves, half
a tea-spoonful of marjoram and the same of thyme (these herbs were tied
up in a bit of muslin), and a small table-spoonful of salt, with half a
tea-spoonful of pepper.

By the time this was done the rice was cooked thoroughly, and it was
as stiff as could be stirred and turned out into a bowl, when it was
sweetened, a tiny pinch of salt put into it, a large tea-spoonful of
vanilla extract, and the grated rind of a lemon; and when a little
cool, the beaten yolks of eggs, and all was stirred together. It was
now about the consistence of stiff mush. A square shallow pan was
thickly buttered, and strewed with bread crumbs, and the rice put into
it. The pan used was a small-sized dripping-pan, and the rice formed a
layer an inch and a half deep. It was made very smooth over the top,
and then a little butter was oiled and poured on it; the pan was then
so moved that the butter ran over the rice in every direction; sugar
was then sifted all over it a quarter of an inch deep, and the whole
was put in the oven to bake till a fine brown.

“If you want that to be extra fine, Molly, at any time, chop a cup of
almonds quite fine, and strew them over with the sugar. When it is
baked, let it get cold in the pan, then turn it out and cut it into
strips or tablets an inch broad and two or three in length. They should
be put on a dish in the ice-box before serving, to be ice cold.”

When the calf’s head had been boiling very slowly two hours, it was
taken carefully from the water and one half of it was laid aside; the
other half was to be for dinner. This was wiped, the inside bones
carefully taken out, and it was closely scored through the outer skin;
then it was washed over with a beaten egg and thickly covered with fine
bread crumbs, in a cup of which half a tea-spoonful of salt, half a
salt-spoonful of pepper, a tea-spoonful of finely-chopped parsley, and
the third of one of thyme or savory, had been thoroughly mixed. This
was to be basted with butter melted in a cup until all the crumbs were
moistened, and then baked till brown. If the crumbed surface looked dry
in the oven, it must be again basted. This was to be garnished with
little rolls of bacon, made by cutting thinnest slices, trimmed from
rind and smoke, rolled round the finger, and laid on a tin in a quick
oven till clear and crisp, but not overdone.

Mrs. Welles got everything ready early, put the half head on the
dish ready to go into the oven at five o’clock, cut the bacon, and
told Molly what the gravy was to be, so that she might make it while
she herself went on with mock-turtle soup, which was for next day’s
(Sunday) dinner.

“You can have almost any sauce; English sauce piquante is very nice, or
brown mushroom sauce.”

“What is English sauce piquante?”

“I call it so, although the old-fashioned name for it is _Wow Wow_
sauce.”

“Let’s try it, if you like it.”

“I do. This is the recipe: Chop fine a dessert-spoonful of capers,
the same of parsley, and one large pickled walnut or two small. Put a
table-spoonful of flour and one of butter to get brown together in a
saucepan; put to them, stirring all the time, half a pint of stock or
the broth you have—that in which the head was boiled will do; when it
boils, mix a tea-spoonful of dry mustard with a table-spoonful of wine,
half one of vinegar, and a tea-spoonful of red currant or cranberry
jelly, and one of Worcestershire sauce. Let all simmer till of a creamy
thickness, season to taste, and last add the capers and pickles. It
is a convenient sauce, because you can vary the flavor as you like,
putting pickled cucumber instead of walnut or capers, any other store
sauce instead of Worcestershire, and cider in place of wine, and if you
have no jelly, a lump of sugar. The characteristic of the sauce is to
be a very little sour, a very little sweet, and a little hot, with an
agreeable flavor beside.”

The bones that had been taken from the part of the head that was to
bake were put back in the pot, the meat was cut from the other half in
neat pieces and laid between two dishes to keep it flat, and all the
liquor that ran from it, with the rest of the bones, was put back to
boil with the liquor till it was reduced to three quarts.

“Now, Molly, as it is impossible to tell how strong or weak dried herbs
are, and mock-turtle is a highly flavored soup, I am going to adopt the
plan of making essence of the herbs and use just enough.”

So saying, she put into a little saucepan two tea-spoonfuls of chopped
parsley, three quarters of one of marjoram, three quarters of one of
savory and the same of lemon thyme, and a bay leaf and a half.

“Now I’ll put these to boil, closely covered, in half a pint of water
for twenty minutes, then squeeze out as much of the goodness as I can,
and add this herb juice to the soup, little by little, till we get the
right flavor.”

As the soup was more than sufficient to serve for two dinners, it was
decided to flavor it all, then divide it, and have one half thick
mock-turtle, the other clear. The thick was for Sunday’s dinner, as Mr.
Welles, who was coming to dinner, was particularly fond of it. While
the soup was boiling down Mrs. Welles prepared egg balls to serve with
it, Molly made some rough puff paste (see Chapter VI.) for pigeon pie,
and when that was done Marta was ready to make noodles.

The egg balls were made as follows: Two eggs boiled hard, the yolks
pounded with a half tea-spoonful of finely chopped parsley, half a
salt-spoonful of salt, a scant quarter one of _white_ pepper, made
into stiff paste with raw yolk of egg, and moulded into balls, size of
marbles. Each ball was rolled in white of egg beaten a little; when
well coated they were dipped in flour and dropped into boiling water
for two minutes. These were part to be served in the thick soup next
day, the rest left for the clear mock-turtle.

Marta used one egg for the noodles, a pinch of salt, and flour enough
to make part of it into a smooth paste about as large as a small egg;
this she worked smooth and laid aside; to the rest she added more
flour, and did _not work into a smooth paste_, but into a rough,
crumbly sort of ball; this, she explained, was for the quickest made
and most generally used noodles, in the part of Germany she came from.
She took a coarse grater and grated the rough ball into coarse crumbs
that looked like yellow tapioca; these could be dried carefully in a
very cool oven, and used whenever wanted. Then she took the smooth ball
she had made, and asked Molly whether she would like her to make the
ribbon noodles as before (see recipe, Chapter XXV.), or another sort.

“Oh, another, by all means!”

She then grated on the smooth ball of paste just a suspicion of nutmeg,
put the least bit of butter on her hand,—a bit as large as a small
hazel nut,—and rolled the ball and worked it over till the nutmeg and
butter were in it; then she cut the paste into pieces as large as a
hazel nut, made each into olive shapes, and they were finished.

“Thank you, Marta, we will have those in our soup to-night. I think I
remember eating them in Germany.”

Molly had already prepared a pair of pigeons. She now put on to stew
very slowly, with half a pint of water, a pound of juicy round steak,
for the pigeon pie, which she intended to make next day. When the steak
had simmered an hour and a half, it was taken up and put away. The
calf’s tongue was parboiled, to be used on Monday.

The next morning Molly made the pie directly after breakfast. Laying
the steak, cut into finger-lengths, at the bottom of a deep oval
dish, the birds were divided into halves, and both steak and pigeons
seasoned highly with pepper and salt. The birds were laid over the
steak, placing them so that the pie would be dome-shaped when covered;
two eggs were hard boiled and cut in four and the pieces laid among
the meat; then a _small_ half cup of water was poured in; the gravy
from the steak was left to pour in hot when the pie was cooked. The
pie was then finished in the same way as the veal and ham pie (see
recipe Chapter XXXII.), except that the feet of the two birds were put
in boiling water for a moment, the skin rubbed off them, leaving them
a bright crimson, and a slit was made at each end of the groove that
went round the pie, and two of the little feet put in each, the claws
outwards.

Mrs. Welles gave Marta the pieces of calf’s head that were to go into
the soup, told her to put them in half an hour before dinner, let them
simmer, and just before serving she was to put into the quart, which
was all that was to be made hot, a table-spoonful of brown thickening,
a glass of wine, and the juice of half a lemon, with half the egg
balls. The pigeon pie would need an hour to bake, and was to be kept in
a very cold place until twelve.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

ONE MORE USE FOR SOUP MEAT—STEWED CALF’S TONGUE—BRAINS, AU BEURRE NOIR
(BROWN BUTTER)—CALF’S HEAD—HOLLANDAISE SAUCE—CALF’S HEAD EN TORTUE.


“MOLLY, what are you going to do with all that beef from _consommé_?”
asked Mrs. Welles, on the Monday after the reception.

“I have usually made hash of it and given it to a family who need all
the help they can get; but there is so much, I am inclined to try an
experiment. Would not part do to make an imitation of that mock brawn
that is so good in London? What is the recipe?”

“That is made with new beef and pork, but if the jelly can be supplied,
it would be very nice and savory treated exactly as if it were new
meat.”

“So I thought, and I got from the butcher the day I bought the beef two
hocks of pork. It’s early for pork, but he assured me this was killed
right on a farm here, and I could see it was really good, although I
must say I think November early enough, as a rule, for pork.”

“It’s a little different when you buy it in that way. What are you
going to do with the feet, or ‘hocks’ as you call them?”

“They have been cleaned and laid in salt; to-morrow they will be salt
enough. I think of boiling them till the bones slip out, cutting the
flesh in small bits, and putting the bones back into the water and
boiling till there is no more goodness in them; but as the beef is
over-cooked, I don’t want the pork to be so; then strain the liquor,
which will be solid jelly when cold. I think two quarts and a pint of
water may be put on the hocks,—that will leave rather less than two
quarts when boiled slowly for three hours with the lid on,—then I shall
choose the firmest pieces of the beef, cut them into large dice, and
put them into the liquor with the pork; but I want you to give me the
seasoning of the regular recipe, if you brought it.”

“Yes; as you wrote you wanted some English pickling and curing recipes,
I brought my little book; but I advise you to remember the difference
in climate.”

“Yes, I do; but I know a family who have the most delicious bacon and
ham, and they use old country recipes in curing.”

“Very well, then, I came supplied.” She took from her pocket
a note-book. “The seasoning for mock brawn is as follows: Two
tea-spoonfuls of salt, one of ground allspice, one of black pepper, one
of sugar, half a tea-spoonful of marjoram dried and rubbed fine, half
one of thyme.”

“I think I’ll use sage instead of thyme, and I fancy it will prove a
very savory dish to eat cold.”

Of the calf’s head there was still the tongue, the brains, nearly two
quarts of clear mock-turtle soup, a small platter of the pieces of the
head boiled, and some of the baked head.

“It’s rather an absurd joint to buy for such a small family as ours,
unless one is prepared to eat it in every form for three days.”

“Well, it will keep a few days, but the brains and tongue must be used
soon, as they spoil easily. Suppose you have stewed tongue for dinner
to-day, with brains and brown butter? The rest of the head and soup can
be left for a day or two this weather, and I will prepare them at once.”

They went to the kitchen together, and Mrs. Welles began by taking the
skin off the tongue, which had been parboiled on Saturday; then she
trimmed it neatly and cut little strips of salt pork, parallel with the
rind, as thick as a match, and larded it; then she put into a small
stone pot that had a cover two slices of fat pork, a tea-spoonful of
chopped parsley, half an onion, a bay leaf, a salt-spoonful of salt,
half one of pepper, and half a tea-spoonful of thyme. She sprinkled
the tongue with salt and pepper, laid it in the jar, and round it cut
a carrot in slices; over this she poured a cup of soup and covered it
close. It was to bake three hours and a half. When done it was to be
taken up and the gravy strained and skimmed; the tongue was to be laid
in a dish, with green peas round it, and the gravy poured over it.

She also cleaned the calf’s brains, carefully removing all the slime
and fibrous skin, but without breaking them; then she told Marta to put
them, half an hour before dinner, into well-salted water in which was
a small bunch of parsley and a bay leaf, to boil for twenty minutes;
then she was to have ready some fried circles of bread, the size of a
tea-cup and half an inch thick. (See _frying_, Chapter IV.) When the
brains were done they were to be taken up and divided, and a neat piece
put on each round of bread, and on the centre of each a small piece of
pickled gherkin or red beet, and then they were to have poured over
them brown butter, made as follows: One table-spoonful of butter melted
in a little saucepan till it was a pale brown (not the least burnt),
then a tea-spoonful of lemon juice and the same of finely chopped
parsley was to be put in it. She warned her if the butter should get
the least bit too dark it would be spoilt, and it would darken even in
carrying from the range to the table, therefore to remove it as soon as
the color _began_ to change.

The following were the ways in which the remains of the head were
disposed of. Though Molly was tired of it by the time it was gone,
Harry was not, and she could not but recommend it to Mrs. Lennox as an
economical dish to have for a large family, provided she bought only a
large fleshy head; a bony one is not worth the trouble of cooking.

The pieces already boiled in the soup made two small _entrées_ for
Wednesday and Thursday; the first was simply some pieces simmered half
an hour in a very little of the soup, then taken up and a Hollandaise
sauce poured over it. (See recipe, Chapter XXIX.) The second was the
quite celebrated one.

CALF’S HEAD EN TORTUE, made as follows: A table-spoonful of butter
was melted in a saucepan, a table-spoonful of flour mixed with it
and allowed to bubble; then a cup of the clear soup reserved for the
purpose was put to it and stirred, to make a thick, smooth sauce; the
juice of a large tomato (Molly used a little pulp of canned tomato, as
the season was over) was strained to it, and the liquor from half a can
of mushrooms and a dozen of the mushrooms; the pieces of meat were laid
in this sauce and stewed for twenty minutes very gently, with great
care that they might not burn. While this was cooking, a small saucepan
was put on, half full of fat, and made _very hot_; then one egg for
each person was broken into separate cups; these were dropped one at a
time into the smoking fat, just as if it were water, and they were to
be poached; one minute was enough to brown each one, and _only one was
done at a time_, or while one was taken out the other would harden in
the intense heat of the fat. The eggs were perfectly round and brown.
They were laid round the dish of meat, and between them tiny green
gherkins.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS ON SEVERAL SUBJECTS.


MRS. LENNOX came in to call on Mrs. Welles later the same day. Her
Maggie had been with her now several days, and she could judge how far
she was likely to be of use to her. Molly had been anxious to know
the result of the experiment, for she felt deeply interested in her
neighbor, and that if Maggie should prove more a trial than comfort she
might perhaps have contributed by her advice to that result. After a
little conversation about Mrs. Welles’s visit and her long acquaintance
with Molly, the latter asked how she got on with the new inmate.

“For the first three or four days it seemed a failure, but I am hopeful
now of better things; she is strong, seems willing, and I think is
trying to do. At all events I almost think if she never gets beyond
the point of washing dishes, taking up ashes, making fires, preparing
vegetables and washing I shall be the gainer, for that drudgery left me
no time for the lighter work to be properly done.”

“Oh, but if she does those things willingly, and as you tell her, she
will not stop there, I think; Mrs. Framley was speaking of her sister,
and says she is of thoroughly good stock, and that is a great deal.
The good-for-nothing girls one meets with usually come from thriftless
stock.”

“Well, I’m going to hope for the best, and as I’m not expecting too
many of the cardinal virtues for a few dollars a month, perhaps I may
not be disappointed; and now, my dear Mrs. Bishop, I am going to ask
you to give me a few recipes of economical dishes for a family like
ours. Until I talked with you, I only knew of pot-pie and Irish stew,
both badly made, and though I have a cookery-book which you tell me is
excellent, I never made anything come quite right out of it.”

“In justice to the cooking-book, and indeed to latter day cooking-books
in general, I think, perhaps, if you’ll forgive me, that may have been
because you did not know enough of the elements of cooking.”

“I certainly did not, and although I know little now, I feel so very
much wiser than I did a month ago that I look back in wonder. There’s
another reason why I could not use my cookery-book,—it always wanted
something I had not in the house by way of flavoring; then I shut up
the book and cooked in my own old way.”

“One of your American worthies, ‘Josiah Allen’s wife,’ I think, says:
‘It’s the flavorin’ as does it,’” said Mrs. Welles; “and I think fifty
cents expended in flavorings a very good investment, from an economical
point of view.”

“Yes, if one lives in New York one can buy all sorts of sweet herbs,
and dry them. At the same time I don’t think Mr. Lennox likes them.”

“I have known many people who thought they did not like them because
they had never had them properly used, or at least when properly used
they enjoyed the dish without knowing that it contained herbs at all;
in the same way I have known people who used Worcestershire sauce in
everything, and who would even ruin clear soup by pouring it in, vow
and protest they could never touch anything that had the faintest
suspicion of garlic; Worcestershire sauce has more than a suspicion of
garlic. I know others who will eat no pickles but Crosse & Blackwell’s,
which likewise owe the subtle difference between them and all others
equally to the effect of garlic; so carefully used however that only by
making pickles with and without that suspicion of the malodorous herb
can you see why many other pickles lack ‘just something.’”

“Well—I’m willing to be instructed, so willing that if I’d time
and money I would go to New York and go through a course at a
cooking-school.”

“Ah! If every young wife did that, what years of work and vexation she
would save herself; it is such up-hill work teaching one’s self from
books; it’s like trying to play a piece of music without having learned
to count time; after months, if you knew the notes, you might, by your
ear, make something out of it; but think of the toil! So it is with
recipes,—without the key, how can any one cook? to be told what goes
into a pot, and to ‘stew it gently’ so long, and you don’t know what
gentle stewing is! You are told to put your meat in the oven and bake
it ‘beautifully brown,’ and you don’t know that to brown beautifully
your oven must be just so hot when it goes in, and that if you have
water in your pan, it will steam, not bake; and so on.”

Molly smiled; Mrs. Welles was on her hobby.

“Yes, that’s all true, and I only wish I had the first year of my
married life to go over again, before a family came in the way of my
doing what I would like.”

“To revert to the question of flavorings,” put in Molly. “I found all
I wanted at the grocery; they put up sweet herbs of all kinds now very
nicely, in paper boxes, a box of thyme _leaves_ (be sure and get the
_leaves_ rather than the powdered herb) or marjoram leaves cost but
five cents each. Now while parsley is so plentiful and cheap I shall
buy ten cents’ worth and dry it for winter.”

“I did not know parsley would dry and retain its flavor.”

“It will not if done as we dry other herbs; it must be quickly done by
heat; if put in a cool oven with the door open, or in a plate-warmer,
it will dry in a few hours; then it can be rubbed fine and put in a
tin box. I think a box of lemon thyme, one of savory, one of marjoram,
one of sage, with five cents’ worth of bay leaves,—twenty cents in
all,—will give you all the herb flavorings generally called for, and
last a year if you like them as sparingly used as I should use them.
Spices most people have, I would almost say ‘unluckily,’ remembering
how sadly too much spice mars much of our American cooking; but I will
give you several recipes, and if you have difficulty with them let me
know. I think perhaps when the cold weather comes in we might do a
little economy together.”

“How?”

“By buying meat in large quantities, beef by the quarter, mutton by the
half sheep; my family is too small to make such a way of buying wise,
but you have several mouths to feed, and none would go to waste.”

Mrs. Lennox looked dubious and said:

“I used to think about it. Mr. Lennox suggested he should buy a quarter
of beef, as he knew some one who did so all through the winter and
found it profitable, but a lady who had also tried the plan told me
there was no profit in it, for there was so much waste,—so much coarse
meat that she could make no use of.”

“In that case there would be no real economy, but there need be no
waste, and should be none, and no one need eat coarse food. I mean,
properly prepared no part of beef need be coarse; if a piece of brisket
or flank were served up as a roast, or the leg broiled, that would
indeed be coarse; but each cooked in its appropriate way, they would be
far from being so.”

“But the fat,—there is so much of it!”

“But what more useful than beef fat, or more wholesome? It is next to
butter, I think.”

“That is true; but my friend, I know, could not use it, and said she
was so thankful to see the last of that beef.”

“The only objection usually urged against it, and I think a very
reasonable one, is that the family must eat beef or mutton, whichever
is in the house, constantly till it is gone; but I do not see even that
necessity, for in cold weather the meat will keep so well that some
change can be had, and then in winter, even for my small use, I would
not fear to buy half a sheep; I could make it keep a month, unless
the weather broke; then I would manage to preserve it; but if _I_ had
mutton and you had beef, we could certainly change sometimes; though
half a sheep used during a month would not necessitate monotony, for
one could have many things between.”

“What would you do with mutton fat?”

“That, I grant, is not so available; but there is less of it, and I
should try it out and make soup. The actual saving is considerable,
especially in mutton. It is rare to get chops under twenty cents a
pound; leg fourteen, if you buy them separately, which is the frequent
way, while the half sheep can be bought in Washington Market for ten or
eleven cents a pound; the latter is an outside price (a butcher would
buy for less) for prime mutton, while beef hind quarter would be for
buyers like ourselves thirteen or fourteen cents a pound, unless there
is some temporary rise in the market, when of course one need not buy;
but that is the average price in New York.”

“How do you know all this?” asked Mrs. Lennox in amazement. “I mean,
how do you know what the prices are now?”

Molly laughed. “In this particular instance I made special inquiry or
asked Mrs. Welles to do so; but I keep pretty well up in such matters
by the Saturday editions of some of the evening papers, although I
usually add a couple of cents a pound to the quotations for prime meats
to allow for any difference there may be. I do it, however, only from
curiosity, for I could not buy my own meat so, even if my family were
large, for Mr. Bishop is not experienced enough to buy and send it out.”

“Nor is Mr. Lennox, but he has a friend who has bought so for years,
and who also, when game and poultry are cheap, and I believe they often
are as cheap as meat, sends that home to his wife too; and Mr. Lennox
enjoys going with him, and once in a while has sent us home turkeys
when they have been very low in price.”

“Then I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll write out several recipes to use
up the parts of the beef that you will not broil or roast, so that you
will not be forced to eat beef exclusively in order to get rid of it
before it spoils. I will do the same with the mutton.”

“But, my dear Mrs. Bishop, how can I possibly trouble you so far? What
can I do for you in return?”

“I know something you can easily do. Let me have part of your beef or
mutton when you get it; we’ll take turns about the prime parts,—I have
as much use for coarse ones sometimes; and ask Mr. Lennox once in a
while when he is buying meat with his friend and game is cheap, to send
me out some. In New York prairie hens and partridges are sometimes a
dollar a pair; then they are cheaper than meat to those fond of them as
we are. Yet Mrs. Framley says she never knew them less than two dollars
a pair here. Then the writing will not be much trouble to me, for while
Mrs. Welles is here I intend to get some recipes from her; the one copy
will do for both of us.”

“I’m afraid I’m getting all the good of that arrangement.”

“No, it’s a case of give and take between us. You learn cooking from
me, I learn something as valuable from you.”

“You are kind enough to say so.”

After Mrs. Lennox had gone, Mrs. Welles asked what Molly meant by
saying she was learning something just as valuable.

“Mrs. Lennox has the best-trained children I ever knew. They are full
of fun and frolic, yet cheerfully obedient to her, and as the subject
is likely to interest me, I have observed them very closely, and
asked her whether they were unusually amiable or whether it was due
to training. She told me she did not do much training, nor were the
children specially amiable; and it is true there seems less _small_
restriction in her family than in most others where the children are
‘regular pickles.’”

“How does she manage them?”

“I hardly think she knows herself. She says she makes few rules, and
those the children hardly know of; they only know there are a few
things they dare not do; but I notice they never ask her for a thing
twice, and that is because she says she never denied anything she knew
she might be induced to grant; so they know pleading or worrying is
thrown away, and four happier children you never saw. I asked her once
if her babies were as good as they are when older. She said two were no
trouble; her first was a restless one for the first three months and
the last was sick; but she will not believe that well babies would be
cross or restless if properly managed, and she gave me her experience
with the first one. Of course I know nothing from experience; I can
only observe and read and think, and I, too, hope to have a good baby
if it is a well one.”

“Dear me! I should not have thought Mrs. Lennox was a woman to have
strongly-formed ideas on the subject.”

“No, I don’t believe she thinks so herself. I don’t even know that she
has formulated her ideas. She may have acted only on instinct, but the
result is charming; if you were to see her children you would say so.”



CHAPTER XL.

ENGLISH MUFFINS AND CRUMPETS—PICKLING AND CURING—ROAST
BEEF-HEART—SOUSED MACKEREL.


MRS. WELLES’S visit was to have been a week only; but at the end of it
it seemed as if they had but just got to the point of enjoying each
other, and Mr. Welles was induced to spare her for a few days longer.

“I declare, Molly, when I came here I expected to do so much, both for
you and myself, and I’ve done nothing.”

“Oh, yes; just consider my entertainment, what you did to help me in
that; but there’s one thing I want this very day, that is, English
muffins and crumpets. I have tried once or twice from recipes in my
English cook-books, but they always give the quantities for a bakery,—a
peck of flour, sometimes a bushel,—and it is difficult to reduce to my
small needs; besides, I know success depends on consistency, and there
is very little guidance given. ‘Water to make a soft dough’ is only
stated; _how_ soft is not hinted, and the so-called English muffins in
our books are very good as muffins, only they don’t happen to be the
thing at all.”

“I know it is really only a question of consistency. I will make some
this very day, if you have yeast in the house.”

“Yes, I am especially anxious to have them, because they are as good
two days old as one, and in a little family like ours that is a great
thing.”

It was Monday, and by the time the muffins had risen, washing would be
over and the top of the fire free.

“We’ll go out and set them now.”

The setting was very simple, being only the making of a stiff
bread-sponge. Half a cake of yeast was dissolved in a pint and a half
of warm milk, into which a scant tea-spoonful of salt, two of sugar
and one large one of butter warmed, were stirred. Into this as much
dry, sifted flour was mixed (_about_ three pints) as would make an
exceedingly stiff batter, in fact “stiffer than batter, softer than
dough” may serve as an indication of the consistency, or “_almost_ too
stiff to stir, _quite_ too soft to knead.” When this was beaten long
and hard, one third was put into another bowl and this was thinned
down with warm milk to a batter that would pour slowly. This was for
crumpets, the only difference between the two being in consistency.
They were covered and put behind the range to rise.

“Now let me have your book, Charlotte; I have the time, and will copy
out what I want; but first give me a recipe for cooking beef heart.
I remember what a good dish it was, and they are only ten or fifteen
cents each, and there must be at least two pounds of solid meat in one.”

“There is; the only objection is the quickness with which heart chills,
and the taste of cold suet is very disagreeable. This may be obviated
by careful preparation, however; here is the recipe:

“Cut off the gristle and the ‘deaf ear,’ as the tough red lobe at the
top is called, if the butcher has not done it, and trim off all the fat
as closely as possible; then lay the heart in boiling water for half
an hour, keeping it just simmering. When thus parboiled, dry it well
and fill the three holes with nice stuffing, either sage, onion and
bread crumbs made with equal proportions of boiled onions and crumbs,
and chopped with ten large sage leaves to the pint, which must be dried
till they powder, or highly seasoned veal-stuffing made as follows:

“VEAL-STUFFING.—Two ounces of beef suet, chopped very fine, four ounces
of bread crumbs, one table-spoonful of chopped parsley, and half one
each of thyme and marjoram, and the juice of half a lemon, half a
tea-spoonful of salt, a pinch of pepper and a suspicion of nutmeg.

“Fill the heart full of whichever of these stuffings is preferred, but
do not press it in tight. Skewer over the top several thin slices of
fat pork, dredge it with flour, and bake it one hour and a half in a
good oven. Make gravy of a cup of good soup or broth, poured into the
pan in which the heart was baked, and thickened with a tea-spoonful
of brown thickening. Many people like red currant jelly made hot and
served with it as sauce. The platter and plates must be very hot and
the heart covered as it goes to table.

“The next day it can be warmed over by cutting it into slices and
gently stewing it in a rich gravy. It is nicer than venison thus
prepared.”

When Molly had this written in her book she opened the one Mrs. Welles
handed to her and, to select from the many there, read, before copying,
the recipes that would be most useful to herself and Mrs. Lennox.

“I see you have preliminary remarks which will be valuable.”

“Yes, my mother’s experience, not my own; but she was a
North-of-England woman and thought the London cured meat not worth
eating.”

Under the head of _general rules_ Molly read:

Avoid salting meat in hot weather; from October to April is the right
season. If forced to do it, however, cut it up and sprinkle it with
salt before the animal heat leaves it. If hung even for an hour, there
is danger from flies.

In cool weather, meat should hang three or four days to get tender
before eating, but be very careful it does not become frost-bitten. In
very cold weather, make the salt hot before using it.

The great art in salting meat is to turn it every day carefully,
rubbing salt under every flap or double part, and filling all holes
with salt wherever a kernel has been cut out, or a skewer has been in.

Use as little salt as will preserve the meat, as it will leave it more
juicy and tender. Two ounces of bay salt, two of coarse sugar, and
three quarters of a pound of common salt is a good proportion, and is
enough for ten or twelve pounds of meat. Do not put on all the salt
at once; have it rolled and dried, and use half the first day, and
the remainder two or three days after. Then the blood from the first
salting must be drained off. Sugar preserves meat as well as salt;
hence its use, for it renders less salt necessary, and meat is more
tender with it. Saltpetre is only useful for reddening meat, but is apt
to harden it; if wanted red, however, take half an ounce of saltpetre
and one of coarse sugar; this must be rubbed in the third day after the
first slight salting; the common and bay salt the next day.

A small piece—eight or ten pounds—of pork or beef will require six or
seven days; a large piece may be allowed a fortnight.

PICKLING MEAT.—Many prefer to boil the meat in water, instead of
rubbing dry salt in. The proportions of this pickle are, two gallons of
water, three pounds of salt, half a pound of coarse brown sugar, two
ounces of saltpetre. Boil together and skim very well while boiling.
Let it become quite cold before putting in the meat, which must be
carefully wiped from slime or blood and any pipes or kernels removed.

All meat, while salting, should be kept closely covered.

DUTCH BEEF.—Get a fine piece of round of beef; rub it well with one
pound of coarse sugar. Do this twice a day for three days, using same
sugar. When the sugar has thoroughly penetrated the meat, wipe dry,
and salt with the following mixture: Common and bay salt, of each four
ounces; saltpetre and sal prunel, of each two ounces; black pepper
and allspice, of each one ounce. Rub well and continue to do so for a
fortnight, then roll the beef tight in a cloth, sew it up, and it is
ready for smoking. The smoking should be long enough to thoroughly and
slowly dry the meat, but not long enough for the covering to separate.

This beef may be cut and boiled as wanted. It should be pressed with
a weight till cold. This will keep two or three months after it is
boiled, if it is rubbed all over with hot fat (lard or suet melted),
and a layer of fat put over a fresh-cut surface. This is delicious if a
piece is cut off, put to dry slowly, and grated for sandwiches.

MUTTON HAMS.—Coarse sugar, bay salt, and common salt, equal parts, and
to each pound of this mixture add, of saltpetre and sal prunel, one
ounce each, of black pepper, allspice, juniper berries, and coriander
seeds, all bruised, half an ounce each. Dry them all before the fire,
and rub into the meat while hot. This is an excellent pickle for
tongues. Smoke as any other ham. Mutton hams are usually fried or
broiled in rashers, or _thin_ slices as you would pork ham.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUSAGES.—These are made entirely of beef. Choose a
fine, juicy round steak; chop it extremely fine. Allow two parts lean,
one part fat, and one part bread crumbs; season pretty high with pepper
and salt (and allspice if liked). Allow to each pound eight sage
leaves, dried and rubbed fine, with half a salt-spoonful of knotted
marjoram. Put them in skins if you can, and cook as any other sausage.

RED BEEF FOR SLICING COLD.—The best part for this purpose is the thin
flank. Take off the skinny inside, and salt the meat for a week or ten
days with the following mixture rubbed in and turned morning and night:
Common salt, one pound; saltpetre and bay salt, each one ounce; coarse
brown sugar, a quarter of a pound. Pound and mix, using of the mixture
more or less according to the size of the meat. When salt enough, wipe
the meat dry; sprinkle over it black pepper, a little powdered mace and
cloves, an onion chopped fine and some parsley. Roll it up, bind it
tight with a strip of muslin, and boil it slowly three hours, or longer
if large. Press with a heavy weight without removing the band. When
cold remove the band and cut in very thin slices as required.

“Well, I think now if Mrs. Lennox and I get meat in large quantities
this winter, we shall not need to let any of it spoil for lack of ways
to keep it,” said Molly, as she prepared to copy the recipes she had
read.

“No; but remember that mutton will keep for six weeks in cold, dry
weather, even when not frozen, if it is well floured and a little
ginger is put in the crevices. If it freezes and then thaws, it will
generally need cooking, but the longer you can keep it the better it
will be, so that it does not taint. The outer skin may even get mouldy,
but you will only scrape the skin and trim it. If very mouldy and
likely to give a taste, plunge it, after scraping, into boiling water;
dry it thoroughly and bake in a very sharp oven. But all meat for
keeping must _hang_, not _lie_, and hang in a current of _pure_ air.”

“Thank you for the hint. What is this? Soused mackerel?” She had turned
to the end of the note-book as she spoke. “I remember eating them at
your house, and how good they were; that recipe also is going down in
my book.”

SOUSED MACKEREL.—Clean, but do not split, four or six fresh mackerel;
boil them in water just to cover, in which are one clove, three
allspice, one tea-spoonful of salt and a quarter one of pepper to each
fish. Take the fish out as soon as done, and before they break lay
them in a deep dish. Boil the water in which they were cooked down to
half; put to it an equal quantity of vinegar (unless the latter is very
strong, when one-third will do), and pour it over the fish.

SOUSED MACKEREL ANOTHER WAY—“and that is the way I like best,” said
Mrs. Welles, and Molly read: Put three or four mackerel in an earthen
dish, sprinkle over each mackerel a small tea-spoonful of salt, a sixth
of pepper, and allow to each two allspice and half a blade of mace and
half a bay leaf; mix vinegar and water in equal proportion, and pour
enough over to cover the fish; put them in a very slow oven for three
or four hours. By that time the liquor will have diminished until there
is only enough to serve with the fish. These fish will keep for several
weeks in cold weather. If the vinegar is very strong, use less in
proportion.

After luncheon, Mrs. Welles went to look at her muffins. They were
hardly light, but the crumpets were so nearly ready that she put on the
griddle.

“You happen to have a soap-stone griddle! that is the very thing needed
for muffins, though one can manage to bake on an iron one.”

“Yes, I am promising myself inodorous buckwheat cakes this winter with
that.”

It took the griddle half an hour to get thoroughly hot.

“Of course you have no crumpet-rings?”

“No; but if these are a success I shall get a few made; meanwhile,
won’t muffin rings do? They are the large, old-fashioned sort.”

“We must make them do; but I can’t bear anything not to look _just_
right. I never fancy they eat well if they do not.” Molly handed out
a bundle of large old rings which Mrs. Welles greased and laid on the
griddle; then, when they were hot, she poured into each batter to the
depth of a quarter of an inch, drawing the griddle a little back as
she did so. She did not attempt to turn them until the top was full of
holes and the batter had dried; then they were turned for about three
minutes; except that they were more slowly cooked, the baking was the
same as for what are usually called raised muffins, and they appeared
the same, but not quite so thick. They should not be more than half an
inch thick when cooked. When they were done the muffins were ready to
bake; the paste was like honeycomb.

“Now the whole difficulty with these is shaping them, and it requires
practice. I don’t know that I shall manage it; for it is years since I
made them.”

The pastry-board was put on the table, a good deal of flour spread on
it, and the paste turned out very gently.

“You see, Molly, that the griddle is hot, yet not too hot.”

As she spoke she lightly cut off bits of the soft dough about the size
of a duck’s egg. She could not touch them easily, for they were too
soft, but they were rolled about in the flour (taking care not to press
them), which was not worked into them, and they were left in a sort of
bed of it. When half a dozen were done, she took one up very gingerly,
tossing it gently back and forth between her floured hands, to get
rid of the superfluous flour, and also because she could not let them
remain in one position for fear of their sticking to her hands, yet
so carefully as not to press the lightness out. When she reached the
griddle she lightly dropped the muffin in as round a form as possible
on it. When half a dozen were put on in the same way, they were left to
swell and get round and dry-looking, before the griddle was put forward
to give them a slight browning. When the top looked no longer raw, they
were gently turned and left five minutes the other side. The baking
took about twenty minutes, and they were over an inch thick when done.

“I know one thing,—if _I_ make these, I will have rings made four
inches in diameter expressly for English muffins, although I know the
real ones are baked without rings. It can’t make much difference to the
quality, and will save much trouble to unpracticed hands.”

“I think so too.”

There were a great many more muffins and crumpets than were likely to
be used in their small family, and Molly said she should send some to
Mrs. Lennox.

“Then pray send the directions how to eat them, or they will simply put
them in the oven, and they will be like leather. When some people have
offered me real English muffins, bought at Pursell’s, with the crust
like leather, I have been astonished that they could like them, and
thought how they would enjoy them prepared in real English fashion.”

Molly penned a little note of directions as follows:

    DEAR MRS. LENNOX:—I send you some English muffins and
    crumpets made by Mrs. Welles, who is anxious that _you_
    at least should eat them as they are eaten in her
    country. She scouts the idea of their being simply made
    hot in the oven, and is only surprised that, eaten
    that way, they should be as much in favor as they are.
    Both are to be toasted, and are better the day after
    they are made. The crumpets are toasted both sides
    until hot through, slightly browner and _crisp_; then
    butter, very little salted, must be plentifully laid in
    little bits on each one as it is toasted; then put it
    in the oven while you toast the other. When the second
    is done, the butter on the first will be soft enough
    to spread without pressure. When all are buttered, cut
    once through the middle.

    The muffins are also toasted. They must be broken all
    round the edge as if you were going to split them, then
    toasted on _both_ sides until the crust will crack
    under the thumb nail. Rip them open quickly, put a
    bountiful supply of butter, in small pieces, on the
    inside of each half; close it and put it in the oven
    while another is being toasted. When it comes out the
    butter will be melted. Never attempt to spread them
    first, or they will be heavy. If the butter has not
    spread all over, you may gently use a knife to make it
    even, but _without pressure_. When each muffin is put
    together again, spread a little butter on the outer
    crust, and cut them through the middle.

    The essentials are that they should be well toasted,
    so as to be _hot_ through and crisp outside, then so
    quickly buttered as not to get cold, and to be served
    very hot. There is a covered dish on purpose, called
    a muffineer, but lacking that, a hot bowl should be
    turned over them to keep them hot.

    It is English fashion, for tea, to serve both muffins
    and crumpets. They are handed round together, a plate
    of each, some preferring one, some the other. At
    breakfast, muffins alone are usual. I just say the last
    to round up the matter, not that I suppose you will
    care one bit what the English mode of _serving_ is, but
    I do think, for the sake of our digestion, we should
    either eat them toasted or let them alone. I send you
    over my receipt-book, in which I have copied some
    things that may be useful to both of us. You tell me
    Mr. Lennox writes out such things for you, and you can
    keep the book until he has leisure.

                                Yours sincerely,
                                         MOLLY BISHOP.

The pork hocks had been put on early for the mock brawn, and taken out
and boned. The stock was now made, and Molly seasoned and prepared it
in accordance with her plan. The pieces of pork, the seasoning, and
the best of the beef, cut into pieces about two inches square, and of
which there was about twice as much as there was pork, were put into
the liquor, heated once together, and then poured into a pan. It looked
rather like head cheese. When cold, it turned out in a slab. Part was
sent to Mrs. Lennox with an explanation of what it was; part to Mrs.
Gibbs, with the rest of the meat made into the usual hash for her; and
the remainder was kept for home purposes, for both Mrs. Welles and
Marta found it very relishing.



CHAPTER XLI.

THE BABY—CONCLUSION.


IT is July, nearly a year after Mr. and Mrs. Bishop began the
experiment of keeping house in Mrs. Winfield’s cottage, which has
become very dear to them both, although in three months they are to
leave it and go into one of their own. So charmed had Mr. Bishop,
senior, become with Harry’s home that he had been a frequent visitor
during the summer, and sometimes Mrs. Bishop, too, came; but society
engagements took her time, and when May came, she fled with her
daughters to a fashionable watering-place, and Mr. Bishop, instead of
staying as usual in his city house, came out to stay with his son,
and went in with him to business daily. The result was that Harry
was reinstated in his father’s favor, and it seemed as if the elder
gentleman was going to make amends for his past mistake; for he told
Harry he would now do what he always had meant to do until he found he
was bent on making a fool of himself.

“Not that your luck is anything to your credit,” he persisted; “it’s a
mere fluke your getting such a wife as Molly; but you’ll come into the
firm as junior at Christmas.”

This was what Harry had been brought up to expect, and the prospect
that he had to give up on marrying Molly. He was grateful to his
father, for after all, pleasant as life was for him even with his
narrow income, it was likely to be a great deal pleasanter when he
would not have to count every cent so closely.

“Yes, yes, you are one who has the luck to ‘eat his cake and have it
too,’” said the old gentleman irritably; “but I’m doing it just as much
for Molly and the baby as for you.”

Yes, there was a baby,—a baby just thirty-six hours old when Mr. Bishop
announced his intention to the young father; and Harry carried back to
Molly that evening a very glad heart. The baby was a girl, and Molly’s
only shadow was that Harry did not seem to admire it so much as she
thought it deserved.

“You mean to say you don’t think it’s pretty, Harry?” she had asked
when she exhibited the little red, squirming thing in its nest of
flannel.

Harry shook his head doubtfully. “I may see some beauty later when,
when it gets into some sort of shape, and its head is screwed tighter;
at present I don’t admire it, but, as Mark Twain says, ‘I’ve a certain
respect for it, for its father’s sake.’”

“Oh, Harry!”

This was in the morning before he left home, and when he returned at
night he went up to Molly’s room and kissed her. He thought she must
certainly see the good news in his face, so accustomed was he to her
reading his countenance.

“Well, Molly, don’t you want to know the news?”

“But you haven’t asked after the baby;—don’t you want to kiss it?”

“My dear Molly, your serenity told me how the baby was,—and—and I
wouldn’t disturb it to kiss it.”

“You never saw such a sleeper as she is; she won’t wake, and _I’ve_
hardly seen her eyes yet!”

“I hope she’ll continue such good habits; but now, Molly, I have great
news—news I expected some time, of course, but not quite so soon.”

Then he told the news, and Molly responded only by a closer pressure of
his hand.

“And that is not all; my father has decided to buy the Framley cottage
and rent it to us, and says he meant to give my wife a check as a
wedding present, had I married Miss Vanderpool, and now he sends it to
you.”

“Oh, Harry, how good of him! how much is it? That sounds greedy; but if
it is enough we can furnish with it.”

Harry opened his pocketbook and took out a check for $1,000. “You
must lay this by, Molly, for yourself; you know I have $3,000 which
we agreed never to touch except for some emergency; but now that my
prospects are assured I prefer to furnish for you, Molly, rather than
you for me.”

“What will be your income, Harry?”

“Oh, nothing very splendid, for I am only junior with a fifth interest,
but it is the certainty of the future that delights me.”

“Yes, and the proof of your father’s affection.”

“Yes, certainly.”

“You remember, Harry, what we promised each other,—that even with a
better income our expenses were not to be increased?”

“Not while I was on a salary, dear; but I am quite contented with the
last year of our life; I want nothing grander or better, but I do want
to see you in your own house furnished with your own taste, and replete
with all the conveniences that will make the housekeeping you love,
easy to you; and I shall insist on providing you with such assistance
as will save your health and strength. But I am not anxious for style
or show, and we will waste no money upon it.”

Nor did they.

Mr. Framley had built one of the handsomest houses in Greenfield, and
the charming Queen Anne cottage they had hitherto lived in had been for
sale. Molly had often pointed it out to her father-in-law and admired
its beautiful lawn and expatiated on the fruits and kitchen garden,
little supposing it would soon be her own home.

The only crumple in Molly’s rose leaves was Mrs. Bishop, senior’s,
views with regard to the baby. Molly had had no babies: her
mother-in-law had had eight, five of whom had lived and flourished. But
Molly had known other people’s babies, and had made their experience
her own, so far as observation enabled her to do it, and she had read
all the good writing there was on the baby question, and, as may be
expected, had her views and naturally wished to carry them out in the
person of her own baby. If a woman can’t do what she likes with her
_own_ baby, when is she to do it?

But, strange to say, the dowager, Mrs. Bishop, seemed to feel the new
comer was even more Harry’s baby and her own grandchild than Molly’s
child, and being her first “posterity,” she was very much interested in
it, and she and Mr. Bishop had come to the Greenfield hotel in order to
be at hand.

Very soon Molly, with her latter-day views of baby training, and Mrs.
Bishop, with her experience of eight, clashed. For days the struggle
was silent, for she was Harry’s mother; and all the directions for
giving anise-seed tea and gin and water, and paregoric, were quietly
disregarded,—but the tug of war came when Molly refused to nurse it
before the appointed hour.

“And you mean to say you will not feed that little creature till the
time _you_ think it needs it? Can _you_ judge of a baby’s hunger?”

“Mamma, I asked the doctor to guide me, and all the best writers say”—

“There it is!” cried Mrs. Bishop, triumphantly. “You are such a
theorist, Molly; but you can’t bring up a child by books, and it may
cost you this one’s life or health to find that out. I am surprised
a woman of your sense should not see that you can’t set up your book
experience against the practical knowledge of a mother of eight.”

Molly made no reply: she could not be cruel enough to hint that three
of the eight had died.

Happily for Molly and the carrying out of her views, Mrs. Lennox, who
had become a very dear friend, was with her very much, and it was her
nurse, an intelligent woman, who was in attendance; and between them
they had been able to save Molly much anxiety. She knew that her own
orders, and no one’s else, would be carried out; this otherwise would
have been a terrible anxiety; for her doctor had said to her, in one
of her talks with him before the birth of the child, “Half the babies’
stomachs are ruined in the first month, and the poor baby becomes a
victim to colic and indigestion through that month’s mistakes. Some
babies are born to it, but these are few compared with the many that
are made to suffer by bad habits.”

Mrs. Bishop, senior, disapproved of the nurse, and openly derided the
doctor, and audibly scorned the idea of putting a baby a fortnight old
in “training” and freely told her daughter that Molly was not fit to be
a mother; that she ought to have remained single and become a doctress,
or screeched for woman’s rights from a platform.

The excitement of the contention on Molly had to be stopped, and,
unknown to his wife, Harry, instigated by Mrs. Lennox, had to warn
his mother that she must leave Molly to her own ideas, even if they
were mistaken; and Mrs. Bishop had contented herself afterwards with
expressing her opinions and her fears. But when, in spite of all,
the baby flourished and grew fat, and seemed freer from the ills of
babyhood than the average, she averred it was owing to the cast-iron
constitution it had inherited from its father. She declared that “to
point to Molly’s child as a proof that the new ideas of bringing up
babies are better than the old is as reasonable as to point to the
health and strength of the Germans as a proof that babies ought to be
swaddled and bound on to boards for the first months of their lives, in
order to become so strong and straight. One forgets the number who die
under the process, and it is only the very strong who survive.”

And this, strangely enough, was exactly what Molly also said to herself
when she heard that Harry “actually owed his life to soothing syrup,”
which had enabled him to survive his teething troubles.

And so with a beautiful, healthy baby (whom, by the bye, Harry now
dandles with great pride), a new house, and the delightful task of
furnishing it, in these days of pretty furniture and dainty devices, we
leave Molly with as bright a future before her as a loving husband,
good health, good prospects and a resolve to be a good, true wife and
mother could give to any woman.

Of Marta there are a few words to be said. Those of Molly’s friends who
are not very often at the house consider Mrs. Bishop a very fortunate
woman in having such a treasure. Molly herself thinks so; but I doubt
if half those who so speak would have been satisfied with Marta’s
moderate gifts. She was a treasure because she was true and faithful in
everything. Her service was not better than that of any clean, strong,
willing girl, under the eye of an intelligent mistress.

“But Marta was such a wonderful cook!” some would say. Marta would
never be a good cook unguided; it was not in her; she had had the
exceptional advantage of training under a woman who, if she had needed
it, had qualified herself to teach cooking professionally; who cooked
scientifically from precise rules, and who herself had very little
to learn when she began with Marta, and who had patience as well as
knowledge.

How few girls have such a chance! We send girls to a cooking-school to
take twelve or twenty-four lessons, and we know that if they are of
the right material (and if not we should hardly send them), they leave
the school vastly improved, with quite different ideas from those who
have been through no such training; and Marta had been at such a school
daily for many months, yet, at the end of them, her accomplishments
were not many. She could fry, stew, roast, and make soup to perfection.
She could not be trusted to do anything that depended on _flavor_ or
_taste_; she never seemed to learn that one clove may be pleasant, half
a dozen detestable; that herbs should only lend a vague savoriness,
never be so strong as to make one feel they were partaking of marjoram
soup or parsley stew. But Molly knew her limitations and knew—take her
all in all—she was not likely to better herself by changing. A girl
of quicker wits might have been less faithful, or, if so bright as to
learn all Molly could teach, she would naturally and rightly wish to
take a place as professed cook, with her thirty or forty dollars a
month wages, and no washing. So Marta remained, a very devoted servant;
very exasperating sometimes, but at all times valuable.

Mrs. Lennox has only one thing to say; she does not regret taking
Maggie; she is no worse off in her pocket, and is better off in nerves
and muscles; the tired, overworked look is no longer conspicuous. She
is still overworked and overworried, but she has a strong pair of arms
to call upon, and they are willing to do the appointed task which Mrs.
Lennox always remembers she must otherwise have done herself. Maggie
needed watching at every turn the first few months; she now knows the
ways and does the work fairly well. She is no paragon, and if Mrs.
Lennox had no children she would rather be without her, but when she
gets out of patience she looks back and remembers how she had not even
time “to think” before she came; when she did sit down her muscles
ached and tingled so that even rest was a dull void, simply cessation
from exertion. Mrs. Lennox now does the cooking and the sewing; Maggie
does the work. She will never do more in the cooking way than boil
potatoes, make mush and bread (the latter well, for she knows only one
way and that is the way she does it), and burn or smoke a beefsteak.
But Mrs. Lennox will soon have either to pay her more, or take another
new arrival; that is inevitable.

It must not be thought that all Molly’s neighbors were as fond of her
as Mrs. Lennox. No one can live up to a higher ideal than the average
(even when the ideal is only cooking), without hurting some one’s
corns. Several ladies disapproved of her, thought she set a very bad
example by making men expect too much of their wives, and those who
lived very badly on double Harry’s income felt personally injured.

But all this Molly did not know; she did not suspect that her affairs
were known or discussed, but before leaving Greenfield Mrs. Winfield
had spoken, with the best intentions in the world, of this young
couple’s romantic marriage, and the bravery required of a young wife
to face life on $100 a month, with a husband brought up, as Harry had
been, in such splendor and luxury. This was naturally discussed till
the story became public property, unknown to the heroine of it, who had
no thought of setting an example, good or bad, or of shining brightly
by comparison with less clever or energetic women; indeed, she was
rather conscious of shortcomings of her own. She looked hopelessly on
the piles of sewing some of her friends got through, with very many
calls on their time besides, and could only comfort herself with the
thought that her abilities did not lie in that direction, and that she
could only do the best that was in her.

Another pleasure in store for Molly is that Mrs. Welles is soon to be
her neighbor; for Mr. Welles had promised to build a house near them,
in consequence of which Harry predicts that Greenfield will soon have a
rival to Soyer’s celebrated symposium.



INDEX.


    Bacon and liver, 98.
    Bananas, frozen, 179.
    Beans, Lima, 48.
    Bean soup, 173, 182.
    Beef à la mode, 74.
    Beef au gratin, 76.
    Beef, braised, 97.
    Beef, boiled corned, 126.
    Beef, corned, hash, 122.
    Beef, Dutch, 262.
    Beef-heart, roast, 260.
    Beef, miroton of, 169.
    Beef pot-pie, 58.
    Beef, red, for slicing cold, 263.
    Beef, Soyer’s roast-braise, 159.
    Beefsteak, broiled, 51.
    Beefsteak pudding, 211.
    Beefsteak, rolled, 128.
    Beefsteak, stewed, 236.
    Beef, stewed cannelon of, 128.
    Beets, boiled, 126.
    Biscuit, 10.
    Bisque of clams, 102.
    Bisque of oysters, 102.
    Bouillon, 227.
    Bouillon, to clear, 238.
    Bread, 31, 32.
    Bread, rye, 106.
    Brown thickening, 93.
    Butter thickening, 203.

    Cabbage, 24.
    Cake, cup, 38.
    Cake, iced tablets, 231.
    Cake, Madeleine, 168.
    Cakes, various, 164.
    Calf’s brains, 250.
    Calf’s head, 242.
    Calf’s head en tortue, 251.
    Calf’s head with Hollandaise sauce, 251.
    Calf’s tongue, stewed, 249.
    Caper sauce, 199.
    Caramel, 94.
    Carrots, cones of, 74.
    Cheese cakes, 210.
    Cheese canapées, 47.
    Cheese fondue, 84.
    Cheese fritters, 75.
    Cheese macaroni, 199.
    Chicken, cleansing and preparing, 131.
    Chicken croquettes, 72.
    Chicken drumsticks, 83.
    Chicken, fricasseed, 173.
    Chicken, fried fricasseed, 192.
    Chicken fritters, 73.
    Chicken giblets, 131.
    Chicken pie, 77, 83.
    Chicken salad, 13.
    Chicken sandwiches, 239.
    Chops, breaded, 33.
    Clams, bisque of, 102.
    Clams, scalloped, 75.
    Cochineal coloring, 229.
    Codfish, boiled, 185.
    Coffee, 14.
    Coffee, iced cream, 167.
    Consommé, 232.
    Consommé à la royale, 191.
    Corn muffins, 34.
    Corned beef, boiled, 126.
    Cream, whipped, 167.
    Croquettes, chicken, 72.
    Croquettes, lamb, 101.
    Croquettes, potato, 175.
    Croquettes, veal, 113.
    Crumpets, English, 259.
    Custard, boiled, 176.
    Custard pie, 76.
    Custard, royal, for soup, 191.

    Dresden patties, 202.

    Egg balls, 245.
    Eggs, to preserve, in lime, 212.

    Fish balls, 190.
    Flounders, filet de sole, 127.
    Flour thickening, 99.
    Forcemeat balls, 208.
    Fowl, fried fricasseed, 192.
    Fowl, to make tender, 136.
    French icing, 173, 177.
    Fritters, cheese, 75.
    Fritters, chicken, 73.
    Fritters, Old English, 201.
    Fritters, peach, 74.
    Frying, instructions for, 35.

    Gravy, 25.
    Grisini, or pipe bread, 222.

    Hash, corned beef, 122.
    Heart, baked, 260.
    Heart, lamb’s, baked, 125.
    Hollandaise sauce, 186.
    Hominy muffins, 190.
    Honey, lemon, 172.
    Hotch-potch, 103.

    Iced cream coffee, 167.
    Icing, French, 173, 177.
    Irish stew, 233.

    Jumbles, 227.

    Kidneys, broiled, 117.
    Kidneys, stewed, 62.

    Lamb, breast of, roasted, 72.
    Lamb chops, 33.
    Lamb, hashed, 71.
    Lamb’s heart, baked, 125.
    Lamb ragout, 45.
    Lamb, roast shoulder, 21-23.
    Lamb, stewed, with peas, 223.
    Lamb, to divide the fore-quarter, 20.
    Lemon honey, 172.
    Lemon-peel, candied, 166.
    Lima beans, 48.
    Liver and bacon, 98.
    Liver, baked, 103.
    Lobster, to boil and prepare, 234-236.

    Macaroni, cheese, 199.
    Macaroni, Italian mode, 22.
    Macaroons, 225.
    Mackerel, soused, 264.
    Méringues, 224.
    Mayonnaise, 12.
    Mint sauce, 25.
    Mock brawn of soup meat, 248.
    Muffins, corn, 34.
    Muffins, English, 259.
    Muffins, hominy, 190.
    Mutton, boiled leg of, 198.
    Mutton, cold fricassee of, 89.
    Mutton hams, 263.

    Olives, to stone, 11.
    Omelet, cauliflower, 76.
    Omelet, plain, 15.
    Omelet soufflé, 239.
    Onions, boiled, 185.
    Oysters, bisque of, 102.
    Oysters cooked in the shell, 182.
    Oyster patties, 79.
    Oysters, roast, 182.
    Oysters, with brown butter, 203.

    Pastry, 41.
    Pastry, Genoese, 226.
    Patties, Dresden, 202.
    Patties, oyster, 109.
    Peach fritters, 74.
    Pickling meat, 262.
    Pie, chicken, 77, 83.
    Pie, custard, 76.
    Pie, lemon, 46.
    Pie, pigeon, 246.
    Pie, veal and ham, 207.
    Pigeon pie, 246.
    Potato balls, 170.
    Potatoes browned under meat, 21.
    Potatoes, fried, 162.
    Potatoes, scalloped, 185.
    Potatoes, stuffed, 51.
    Pot-roast, 97.
    Pudding, amber, 75.
    Pudding, apple, 97.
    Pudding, beefsteak, 211.
    Pudding, jam roly-poly, 200.
    Pudding, King William’s, 174, 182.
    Pudding, peach, 73.
    Pudding, plain bread, 149.
    Pudding, polka, 156.
    Pudding, trifle, 211.
    Pudding, vanilla soufflé, 193.

    Rice cake, French, 242.
    Rissoles, 73.
    Rolls, 82, 100.

    Salad, chicken, 13.
    Salting meat, rules for, 261.
    Sandwiches, chicken, 239.
    Sausages, Worcestershire, 263.
    Sauce, caper, 199.
    Sauce, English or Wow Wow, 244.
    Sauce, Hollandaise, 186.
    Sauce, mint, 25.
    Sauce, polka, 162.
    Simmering, instructions for, 47.
    Smelts, fried, 74.
    Soufflé, bread, 71.
    Soufflé, omelet, 239.
    Soufflé, vanilla, 193.
    Soup, bean, 173, 182.
    Soup, bisque of clams, 75.
    Soup, bisque of oysters, 102.
    Soup, bouillon, 227.
    Soup, clear, 76.
    Soup, consommé, 232.
    Soup, German, 198.
    Soup, mock-turtle, 245.
    Soup, ox-tail, 220.
    Soup, tomato cream, 72.
    Soup, white, 115.
    Soup, to clear, 238.
    Soup-meat hash, 81.
    Stew, Irish, 233.
    Stewing, instructions for, 59.
    Suet crust, 59, 200.
    Sweetbreads, 192.

    Thickening, 93, 94, 99, 203.
    Trifle, 211.
    Turbans of sole, 169.
    Turnips, cones of, 74.

    Veal and ham pie, 207.
    Veal cutlets, breaded, 64.
    Veal, knuckle of, 109.
    Veal stuffing, 260.

    White thickening, 94.
    Wow Wow, or English sauce, 244.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 52, “revolving” changed to “resolving” (Molly was resolving other)

Page 74, “throughly” changed to “thoroughly” (Butter a bowl thoroughly)

Page 94, “Pnt” changed to “Put” (Put in it a cup)

Page 170, “than” changed to “then” (then to chop some)

Page 217, “if” changed to “is” (if, as is often the case)

Page 217, repeated word “she” removed from text (when she can do my)

Page 262, “throughly” changed to “thoroughly” (has thoroughly
penetrated)





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