The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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treacherous as the ocean wave, believing that all is well, and they sink with the first billow that surges them. When these misfortunes come there is always treachery, or extravagance, or indolence, want of en­ergy somewhere, and these misfortunes are then entailed often on several generations, till some one among them throws off the fetters that bind him or her and rises superior to circumstances, which often causes a shaking among the dry bones of the whole family compact; each rises in full armor to contend with stern fortune and overcomes, yet not without many noble and honorable scars, of which they are not ashamed, standing on the pinacle of worldly wealth. Yet this remains seldom longer than with the third generation. But this will be discussed in another and proper place. To return again to the culinary receipts. I know that it is hard to prevail on cooks to follow the written directions of a receipt, and think that by simply using the ingredients without any proper proportions, that is all that is requisite, and hence the many failures in good cooking. For bad cooking is the most extravagant thing in the world, you lose your material, your fuel, the hire and sustenance of your cook, and then there is great outlay of bad temper on the part of the mistress, unless exceedingly good and amiable, and possess­ing a large share of that important, cardinal Christian virtue which "suffereth long and is kind." Bad temper makes inroads on health. The husband is disappointed in his meal and leaves, if in a city, for some place in which he can get something to suit his appetite, then the cigar and social glass must needs follow, his home in a measure given up, the spirit of himself and wife both wounded, which the wise man asks " who can bear? " Now this is extravagance again, but his forsaking his home may not stop here, it may lead to the gambling table, and other vices which will surely follow in its train. For extravagance opens the door for every evil, whether social, moral or intellectual, and which is so often entailed on his helpless ones. But there is a remedy for many of these ills. So, my sisters, let you and inexperienced housekeepers come, let us reason together for a while on this subject. Should you be a novice in house­keeping, and the important matter of conferring and retaining the hap­piness of your household, just take your cooking book, commit the receipt to memory if not too long, get all the proportions in your head and adjust everything in your mind as you wish it to be, then make up the dish in your pantry or kitchen yourself before your girl or Johnny (for all cooks in this country are either colored girls, or girls from the "Emerald'Isle," or "Johnnies" from the Celestial country, no matter how long in service), let them see how easy it is to be done, go at it "right manfully," for the moment your cook sees that he or she knows more than you do, you cease to be mistress. If you do not succeed entirely to your satisfaction, prepare the dish