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

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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so that the meals may always be ready for papa when he comes home, and that the performance of the duties of one hour may not be crowded into that of another. This will enhance the esteem of her domestics for herself and family, and make them more faithful and happier in her service, while her children will learn the golden rule, from practice as well as from precept, for the good that is learned in the domestic circle is never forgotten; neither can scores of years, nor the circle of the globe, obliterate it; and thus the comfort and happiness of children and domestics will be aug­mented,                                                     
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.—[Shakespeare.
It is not everybody in the world who knows what a good dinner is or deserves to have one. Some people talk about cooking as if it degraded them and seem to think that no part of them is worth nourishment but what they have the impudence to call their minds. I don't want them to read my book, because I know that there's a great connection between beef and bones, but the man who dislikes the one, really has a very small share of the other. Almost all peo­ple whose work makes the world happier or better are fond of good living. The church, the bar, the stage, the sculptor's atelier and painter's studio, all send forth their vivants of the first water. It is for dear little brisk women who I want to make happy that I write ; for generous, hospitable, kindly, home-loving fellows that I am going to cater, and I should not wonder if we find ourselves very good friends in a little while by the aid of thevprinting press. It is more de­rogatory to the dignity of human nature to convert bad material into good food than it is to convert clay into bricks, and iron into bridges. On the contrary, if the choice has to be made'between the brick and the beef, I know well enough which most decisions would se­lect. A young wife cannot do better than devise the daintiest little dishes her means will buy for her husband. A young mother cannot do better than concoct the most health-giving food for her child, and the matron of any age should feel proud and happy when men sit around her table visibly refreshed and invigorated by the food she gives them.
Good cooking is a much more common accomplishment among rich people than poor ones. If a man goes to India, to Norway or to our Western prairies for sport, he must needs cook his own din­ner or do without it, and the gourmand who desires a new flavor often tries his hand at creating it. Stewed pigeons was a favorite dish with Louis XVIIL, of France, before the Commune. You