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Title: An Ideal Kitchen - Miss Parloa's Kitchen Companion A Guide for All Who Would - be Good Housekeepers
Author: Parloa, Maria
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Transcriber's Note: Bold text is surrounded by =equal signs= and italic
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_Mind your Ps & Qs_

And the three best Ps to mind are

    PARLOA’S Kitchen Companion.= 1 vol., crown
        8vo, cloth or waterproof binding, $2.50.

It is thoroughly practical; it is perfectly reliable; it is
marvellously comprehensive; it is copiously illustrated; it is in
short overflowing with good qualities, and is just the book that all
housekeepers need to guide them.

    PARLOA’S New Cook Book and Marketing
       Guide.= 1 vol., 12mo, cloth, $1.50.

This is one of the most popular Cook Books ever printed, containing
1,724 receipts and items of instruction. The directions are clear and
concise, and the chapters on marketing and kitchen furnishing very

    PARLOA’S Camp Cookery. How to Live in
       a Camp.= 1 vol., 18mo, cloth, 50 cents.

A most comprehensive little manual. Every one who intends camping out
during the coming summer should have it right at hand for constant

_For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid by_

    ESTES AND LAURIAT, Boston, Mass.









    _Copyright, 1887_,

    University Press:


How few people who build houses give proper attention to the plan and
construction of the kitchen! Pains may be taken to have the exterior
of the building attractive, the halls broad, the parlors spacious and
finely finished, the dining-room bright and inviting, the chambers airy
and sunny, but the plan of the kitchen generally receives much less
thought than its importance deserves, if one be seeking to make the
house as nearly perfect as is practicable. The trouble is not wholly
due to unwillingness to expend more money than may have been at first
appropriated. A little extra thought alone is needed to effect many
improvements on the average kitchen when a house is in process of
construction, but this extra thought usually is missing. Of course, in
order to have a model kitchen, one must be willing to pay a good price
for it; yet the price will not be so high that one will ever regret the
expenditure; indeed, most persons will promptly admit that the money
has been used as profitably as that used for any other part of the
house. The object of this chapter is to show how a model kitchen may
be arranged; and although few people may adopt the recommendations as
a whole, it is hoped that every reader may find some suggestions of
value, to be followed whether the house be already built or yet to be


The first matter to be considered is the size of the room. While it is
important to have ample space for range, sink, dresser, tables, and
chairs, and for free movements, it also is important to avoid having
the room so large as to oblige one to take many steps to and from
range, sink, table, and pantry. A good size is 16 × 16 or 15 × 17 feet.

Be particular to have the ventilation as good as possible; for the
comfort of not only those who have duties in the kitchen, but of the
entire household, is in a measure dependent upon it. If the ventilation
be poor, the strength of those who work in the room will needlessly
become exhausted, and they are likely to get irritated easily.
Moreover, odors of cooking will escape to other parts of the house
instead of passing to the open air. The room should be high, and have
large windows that can be raised or dropped easily. If the kitchen
be located in a one-story extension, almost perfect ventilation may
be secured by means of a ventilator in the roof or by a skylight; or
it may be found easy to have a ventilator placed in the chimney. If
expense be no obstacle, it will be well to have a separate chimney for
the kitchen, as this is one of the surest ways of preventing odors of
food from reaching other rooms. Although the room may be admirably
arranged and finished, it will not be a model apartment unless there
be good ventilation and an abundance of light. Most kitchens have some
dark corners, but there should be none.

Excepting the ceilings, every part of the room, as well as of the
pantry and the adjoining closets, should be finished in a way that
permits of washing. A hard-wood floor is desirable. Avoid spruce. Hard
pine, if carefully selected, makes a good floor; but the best wood is
maple or birch, in strips not more than three inches wide. If soft wood
be used, splinters will in time get torn up. Oil-cloth often is used
for covering the floor. It may look bright and clean, but is too cold,
and frequently causes rheumatism. Lignum, which somewhat resembles
oil-cloth, but is thicker and warmer, is as good a covering as can be
found. It is clean and durable. Tiles are sometimes recommended for
the floor of a kitchen; they can be kept clean and will wear well, but
they tire the feet, and for that reason should not be used.

It is well to have the woodwork in a kitchen oiled. A wainscot is
desirable. Have the walls painted a rather light color. If one can
afford it, the walls about the range and sink should be tiled. At the
outset tiles may appear costly, but after experience one finds it is
really a saving to use them. They can easily be kept perfectly clean,
and will last as long as the house itself. English or Dutch tiles
should be used, and there is nothing more appropriate than the blue and
white. The price for furnishing and setting such tiles is from seventy
cents to a dollar per square foot. Probably the time will come when
nobody will think of finishing a house without them.

Do not be satisfied with a small sink. Have one of good size, and of
iron, with a sloping and grooved shelf at one end, on which to drain
dishes after washing them. Let the sink rest on iron legs. The space
under it should not be enclosed, as every dark place is a source of
temptation to a slovenly domestic.

One caution in regard to the sink: have the strainer screwed down firm.
Anything that will not pass through the strainer should not go into the
pipes. The hinged or loose strainer gives but little protection, as
the temptation to lift it and let sediment pass through is very great.
With an immovable strainer and the use, once a fortnight, of the hot
solution of soda described in the chapter on “Care of Utensils,” there
will be no trouble with pipes, unless it be caused by wear or freezing.
After using the hot soda, flush the pipes with cold water. This plan
has been followed in the care of the plumbing of a large house for many
years, with the most satisfactory results. Put hooks under the sink,
for dish-cloths, dish-pans, etc. Unless there be tiles above, below,
and at the sides of the sink, all this space should be finished in hard
wood. If tiles be used, have a broad capping of hard wood extend across
the upper edge of the top row, in which to place brass hooks for the
various small utensils in frequent use at the sink.


Between the doors leading to the china closet and the hall have a
dresser. Here can be kept the kitchen table-ware and some utensils.
Near the back part of each shelf have a groove, so that plates and
platters may be placed on edge without danger of their falling.
There also should be two drawers, and below the drawers two closets
containing shelves. The doors of the upper part of the dresser should
be made in part of glass, and instead of swinging on hinges they should
slide one in front of the other.

Allow enough room for the tables, so as to avoid crowding and
confusion when a meal is being prepared or served. Swinging tables
are convenient, as they occupy no space when not in use. At one end
of the sink have a table, about 2½ × 3½ feet, containing one drawer
for knives, forks, and spoons, and one for towels. This table should
be placed on castors, so that it can easily be moved to the centre
of the room. There should be a small table, about the height of the
range, for use as a resting-place for utensils when omelets, waffles,
griddle-cakes, etc., are made. Its top should be covered with zinc.
When not in use this table may be moved to some other part of the room.
There should be one more table in the kitchen, between two windows if
the space will permit,—a settle table, which serves as a seat when not
in use for ironing or some other purpose. Above the table have two
shelves,—one for a clock, and the other for cook-books, the grocer’s
and marketman’s order-books, etc. It is a good idea to have the corners
of all the tables rounded, so that nobody shall be hurt by striking
against them.

[Illustration: —Kitchen View—]

Have broad window-seats, in order to keep a few pots of flowers, herbs,
or other plants in the room. Flowers brighten a kitchen wonderfully,
and seem to grow better there than in any other part of the house.
One other point about the windows; they should be supplied with wire
screens in summer. Swarms of flies will get in unless this precaution
be taken. The same barrier is needed at the outside door as much as at
the windows.

[Illustration: —Kitchen View—]

The most important piece of furniture is the range. Many housekeepers
find it difficult to decide which is better, a set or a portable range.
Each has merits. Less room is required for set ranges; broiling and
roasting can be done before the fire, and a constant supply of hot
water is insured. But set ranges are rather slow to respond to draughts
and checks; they consume a great deal of coal; the hearth becomes hot,
and uncomfortable to stand on; and there is but one side of the range
to approach, which necessitates the frequent lifting and moving of
heavy utensils.

Now, a portable range can be so placed as to permit of one’s walking
almost around it; it can be used as advantageously as a set range,
with about half the same quantity of coal; there is a prompt response
to the opening or closing of a draught; one’s feet do not get heated
by standing near it; there are no dark corners; the need of moving
utensils is to a large extent avoided, and it can be so managed that
there shall be a hot oven at any time of the day. But roasting must be
done in the oven, and broiling over the coals, and the supply of hot
water is limited.

With a set range there must be a broad hearth of tiles, slate, or best
face-brick. If a portable range be used, only a large piece of zinc
will be required under it.


And now the pantry. It should be about 12 × 8 feet. The window
should have a wire screen, and inside folding blinds will be found
a great convenience,—indeed, they are a necessity. A large, strong
table, containing two drawers, should be placed at this window. There
should be hooks at the ends of the table, from which to suspend the
pastry-board, the board on which cold meats are cut, and that on which
bread and cake are cut. In one drawer the rolling-pin, knives, pastry
and cake cutters, and a few other utensils may be kept; and in the
other drawer, spices, flavoring extracts, etc.

At one end of the room the wall should be covered with hooks on which
to hang saucepans. At the same end, about a foot from the floor, there
should be a broad shelf on which to keep heavy pots and kettles, turned
upside down to keep out dust. Two feet above this shelf there should
be a narrow one for the covers of the utensils just mentioned. By
following this plan one can keep all these articles together and always
in sight, and no time need be lost in searching for any of them.

There will be space in this end of the room for small shelves for the
glass jars in which to keep materials used frequently, such as tapioca,
barley, rice, baking-powder, soda, cream-of-tartar, ginger, split peas,
etc. Here, also, may be kept small pasteboard boxes containing herbs.

In the window-frame put brass hooks, on which to hang the egg-beater,
spoons, graded measuring-cups, a whisk, etc.

At the lower end of the pantry have a strong rack, a few inches from
the floor, on which to place flour-barrels. This plan insures the
circulation of air under the barrels, keeping their contents sweet.
About a foot above the barrels have a wall closet, with shelves
about twenty inches wide. This should be supplied with a lock, as it
is designed for keeping cooked food and such groceries as raisins,
currants, and citron, in glass jars, besides fresh fruit. The door or
doors should be made partly of wire.


Extending the length of one side of the room have a tier of shelves,
beginning about a foot from the floor and running as high as the top
of the wall closet. Tin cans of meal and sugar, stone jars of salt,
and jugs of molasses and vinegar may be kept on the lower shelves; and
mixing-bowls, mixing-pans, stone-china measuring-cups, etc.,—indeed,
all utensils for which no other place has been provided,—may be kept on
the upper shelves.

In some place near the door of the pantry have a hook or a roller for a
towel, in order to avoid taking steps across the kitchen whenever the
hands require wiping.

Now, if a kitchen and pantry be built or reconstructed on this plan,
the cooking can be done with comfort, and the washing of dishes will
not seem so burdensome as it does in the ordinary kitchen. Even if
one find it impracticable to follow all or many of the suggestions
made, pains ought to be taken—whatever the plan of the kitchen be—to
concentrate the work, obtain good light, good ventilation, and ample
table-room; and all measures which are calculated to insure cleanliness
and to make the kitchen an attractive place should be adopted. There
must be a closet near by for brooms, brushes, dusters, etc.; and there
should be a cold room near the kitchen, in which to keep most of the
perishable stores. In case there be no room of this kind, it will be
well to keep the refrigerator in the pantry.


A storeroom well arranged and properly managed is a source of economy,
security, and comfort to a housekeeper. It should be kept locked except
when stores are being put in or taken out. Light should be furnished by
a small window. For a household of moderate size a room 7 × 5 feet will
suffice. In the ground-plan given on page 10 no provision is made for
such a room on the first floor, but there would be space for one if the
china closet were made smaller and there were no closets in the back

Broad shelves should run all round the room, and there should be a
movable set of broad, firm steps—say two or three steps—for use in
reaching the upper shelves. The floor and shelves should be planed
smooth, that there may be no grooves nor defective places where any
substance which may be spilled will lodge, giving a disagreeable odor
to the room. The shelves must be made strong, so that no danger shall
arise from putting a great weight of stores on them. A tier of three
shelves will be enough. Have a space of about twenty inches between
the shelves. Do not have any of the woodwork painted. The walls may be
plastered or sheathed. If plastered, they may be whitened each spring,
if necessary. This will freshen and sweeten the room. The shelves and
floor may be cleaned once a month, and the other woodwork washed twice
a year. Care must be taken not to use much water. The room should be
kept dry, as well as clean, cool, and dark.

Use the lower shelves for such supplies as are frequently drawn upon,
and the upper ones for those stores which are used the least. On the
upper shelves there may also be kept such kitchen utensils as may be
required to replace those which become worthless,—such as bowls and
cups, saucepans, etc., which a wise housekeeper will always keep in

If flour be kept in a barrel in the storeroom, there should be a strong
rack, a few inches from the floor (as recommended for the pantry), on
which to place the barrel; the idea being to get a free circulation of
air under the barrel and prevent dampness. Such groceries as molasses,
granulated sugar, vinegar, wine, cider, washing-soda, etc., may be kept
on the floor. A strip of wood into which are screwed half a dozen or
more hooks, may be fastened on one side of the room, and on it can be
hung the brushes, brooms, etc., required to replace those which become
worn out.

Following is a list of supplies which should be kept in the storeroom.
In sections of the country where such articles as shrimp and lobster
can always be found fresh it will not be necessary to use canned goods.
Again, in those places where fish and oysters are never found fresh, it
is well, on account of the saving in cost, to buy them by the quantity,
as one would buy canned peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. In some
parts of the country the people depend almost wholly upon condensed
milk rather than upon the fresh fluid. If canned milk must be used, a
considerable saving can be made by buying a large quantity at one time.
Then, too, if one be so placed that it would not be possible to obtain
an extra quantity of milk in an emergency, it will be well to keep a
few cans of condensed milk on hand.

Time and money will be saved by purchasing by the dozen such canned
goods as peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, peaches, apricots, as well as
gelatine, etc. Soap and Sapolio, candles and starch, all should be
bought by the box. It is well to have peas of two qualities,—the small
French peas for use as a vegetable, and the larger and cheaper kind
for making soups and purées. Truffles, caviare, sardines, anchovies
in various forms, and a few other things, are luxuries in which many
housekeepers never indulge; and in any case a small can or bottle is
all that one will require in a storeroom, provided one lives in or near
a large city where such articles can be obtained.

In the list of supplies which follows these remarks are mentioned many
things not actually essential, but which are very useful in giving
variety to the fare. It may surprise some readers that dried or smoked
fish, ham, bacon, salt pork, brown soap, and some other articles are
not included in the list. The reason is, that they have moisture or a
strong odor, two things to be avoided in a storeroom where delicate
groceries are kept. A cold room where there is a free circulation of
air is a better place for them.

Experience has proved that tin boxes are the best receptacles for
all kinds of food that would attract mice or weevils. Tin boxes are,
to be sure, much more expensive than wooden buckets; but as they are
lasting and perfectly secure, it is, in the end, economical to buy
them. Each box should be labelled; and if they be made to order, it
will be well to have the labels painted on them at the time. Such
boxes as cracker-manufacturers use will answer for this purpose, and a
housekeeper may obtain them through her grocer if no more convenient
way presents itself. When made to order, tin boxes are expensive.

_First Shelf._—Graham, corn meal, both white and yellow, oatmeal, rye
meal, hominy, buckwheat, rice, soda, cream-of-tartar, tapioca, powdered
and block sugar, dried peas, beans, barley, picked raisins, currants
that have been cleaned, eggs, cheese, gelatine, tea, coffee, chocolate,
starch, bluing, candles; all the articles, except the last three and
the gelatine, to be kept in tin boxes.

_Second Shelf._—Olive oil, vanilla, lemon, orange, and almond extracts,
Santa Cruz rum, eau-de-vie de Dantzic, maraschino, brandy, white wine,
tarragon vinegar, olives, capers, liquid rennet; table salt, macaroni,
spaghetti, vermicelli, crackers, lime-water, stove-polish, Sapolio,
Castile soap, toilet soap, chloride of lime.

Preserved ginger, pickles, anchovy paste, chutney sauce, extract of
meat in small jars, arrowroot, cornstarch, potted ham, tongue, and
chicken, French paste for coloring soups and sauces, devilled ham,
anchovies in oil and in salt, Russian caviare, sardines, orange
marmalade, jellies, canned and preserved fruits, almonds, citron,
candied lemon and orange peel, tomato, walnut, and mushroom ketchup,
essence of anchovy, curry-powder, white and red pepper, essence of
shrimp, Worcestershire or Leicestershire sauce, and these whole
spices,-nutmegs, cloves, cinnamon, mace, allspice, pepper-corns, and
ginger; these ground spices,—mace, cinnamon, clove, allspice, ginger;
these whole herbs,—sage, savory, thyme, parsley, sweet-marjoram, summer
savory, tarragon; these ground herbs,—sage, summer savory, thyme,
parsley, sweet-marjoram.

_Third Shelf._—These canned vegetables,—button onions, cauliflower,
peas, string beans, shelled beans, mixed vegetables, tomatoes, and
corn; also, canned cèpes, mushrooms, truffles, salmon, lobster, shrimp,
chicken and tongue, and dessert biscuit, prunes, twine, chamois skin,
whiting, household ammonia, clothes-pins.

_Floor._—Molasses, cider, vinegar, granulated sugar, wine, coarse salt
for freezing, washing-soda for the plumbing.


This room should be on the north side of the house, and should have
two small windows, on two sides of the room, if possible. A broad
beam should extend across one end of the room, at least one foot from
the wall. Strong meat-hooks should be fastened in this beam, on which
to hang ham, bacon, smoked tongue, smoked salmon, and fresh meat or
poultry that is to be kept a day or more. At the other end of the room
there should be broad, strong shelves on which to put the tubs or jars
in which pork, lard, pickles, etc., are kept. All the things which
should be kept very cold, such as fruits, vegetables, preserves, etc.,
may be stored in this room.

If one have a good light cellar, the cold storeroom may be arranged
there. The entrance should be near the kitchen stairs. In most modern
cellars the furnace gives so much heat that a separate place is
required for storage purposes. If one be about to build a house, it
will be well to take this matter under consideration. Have a separate
cellar under the kitchen, and keep it for vegetables and a storeroom.
In the larger cellar have the furnace, fuel-bins, and a workshop, if
one be needed. If the cellar extend the entire length of the house, a
cold room may be made by building a brick partition at the end of the
cellar farthest from the furnace. The room, whether on the ground floor
or downstairs, should be so arranged that it can be made light when
necessary. The windows should have inside blinds.

In most households the cellar will be found to be the most desirable
place for a cold room, because the temperature will be more even than
in a place above ground. Dry atmosphere, light, and ventilation are the
special points to keep in mind. Even in an old house, where the light
is insufficient, large windows may be put in, and the trouble thus
easily remedied. Perfect cleanliness and frequent airing are necessary
for the preservation of food in this room.

Of course, it is desirable to have the room divided into two
parts,—a thin partition will suffice,—that the milk and butter in
one compartment shall not absorb the flavor of meats, fish, fruits,
or vegetables kept in the other. If there be no refrigerator in the
pantry, have one in this room. Ice will not melt so quickly here as in
other parts of the house.

A writer who has given considerable thought to the subject of
ventilation says that “a great mistake is sometimes made in ventilating
cellars and milk-houses. The object of ventilation is to keep the
cellars cool and dry, but this object often fails of being accomplished
by a common mistake, and instead the cellar is made both warm and damp.
A cool place should never be ventilated unless the air admitted is
cooler than the air within, or is at least as cool as that, or only
a very little warmer. The warmer the air the more moisture it holds
in suspension. Necessarily, the cooler the air the more this moisture
is condensed and precipitated. When a cool cellar is aired on a warm
day, the entering air being in motion appears cool; but as it fills
the cellar the cooler air with which it becomes mixed chills it, the
moisture is condensed, and dew is deposited on the cold walls, and may
often be seen running down them in streams. Then the cellar is damp,
and soon becomes mouldy. To avoid this, the windows should only be
opened at night, and late,—the last thing before retiring. There is no
need to fear that the night air is unhealthful; it is as pure as the
air of midday, and is really drier. The cool air enters the apartment
during the night and circulates through it. The windows should be
closed before sunrise in the morning, and kept closed and shaded
through the day. If the air of the cellar be damp, it may be thoroughly
dried by placing in it a peck of fresh lime in an open box. A peck of
lime will absorb about seven pounds, or more than three quarts, of
water; and in this way a cellar or milkroom may soon be dried, even in
the hottest weather.”


Between the kitchen and dining-room there should be a closet where
the dining-room dishes (except rare glass and china) can be kept,
and where the glassware, silver, and delicate china—if not all the
china—can be washed. A window is needed in this room. Have the floor
made of hard wood, unless it is to be covered. If covered, use lignum.
A woollen carpet never should be laid in a china closet. The walls may
be sheathed, or plastered and painted. Everything considered, sheathing
with well-finished hard wood is the best plan.

On one side of the room have closets about three feet high, beginning
at the floor. Above the closets have broad shelves. These should have
deep grooves, so that meat dishes may be placed on edge and inclined
against the wall. On the opposite side of the room have a similar tier
of shelves, with drawers, instead of closets, under the lowest. If the
room be planned like that in the design given, there will be space
between the two tiers of shelves already mentioned for still another
tier, although it will be better to save this space for the steps
needed for reaching the high shelves. These steps should be broad, as a
precaution against accidents to anybody and damage to dishes.


The shelves should be made of smooth hard wood, which is easily kept
clean. It adds considerably to the cost of the room, but also
considerably to the convenience, to have sliding glass doors in front
of the shelves. They will exclude a great deal of the dust which
otherwise would collect.

At one end of the room, near the window, have a sink for washing
dishes,—not such a sink as that in the kitchen, but a rather small
basin, say of copper, about eighteen inches long, twelve wide, and
eight or nine deep. Copper is especially recommended because it wears
better than zinc. A soapstone sink or a porcelain-lined pan would be
desirable but for the greater liability of breaking dishes. It is a
good idea to have a small cedar tub—they are made with brass hoops,
and look very neat—for the washing of the most delicate china and
glassware, which is likely to get marred or broken if crowded into a
pan with other heavier articles.

On each side of the sink have a swinging table, on which to place
dishes. The tables will at times be convenient when making salads and
other similar dishes. Above the table nearest the kitchen have a slide
in the wall, that dishes may be passed to and from the kitchen. This
small space will not admit odors or the hot air as the door would if
kept open. In case there be two or more servants in the household, the
door from the closet to the kitchen need not be opened at all while a
meal is served, all dishes being passed through the slide.

The small closets in the room are for the sugar, tea, condiments,
and the cake, bread, and cracker boxes. There should be one small
closet for the articles used in cleaning the table-ware, such as soap,
whiting, alcohol, ammonia, brushes, chamois skin, etc. The drawers
under the shelves are intended for the table linen, clean dish-towels,

A towel-rack that can be fastened to the window-casing is a necessity.
In case the walls be plastered or tiled, a broad moulding of wood
should be placed just above the sink. Brass hooks screwed into this
moulding will prove to be a great convenience.

This room is often called the butler’s pantry.


    Miss Parloa’s Cook Books

    Can be procured from any bookseller in the United

    Her name in connection with cooking is a household word.

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Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.