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

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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soups And broths,                             43
The chief cook in the Pliny days of Roman voluptuousness had a salary of about $4,000 a year, and Mark Antony made a pres­ent of a city to the cook who prepared a supper that pleased Cleopatra. It will always occur, particularly in large families, that either on the dish or on the plates the refuse bones and fragments of meat are left. Every fragment of these should be gathered up. Nothing in the way of animal food should be thrown away—such as heads, necks and feet of poultry, trimmings of nice meat, etc.; vegetables, slices of stale bread, etc. If these are not called for in the household, they can be used in making soup for the sick and poor, who will, in the majority of cases, be thankful for this token of thoughtfulness on the part of the propri­etress of the house. Beside this, the skimmings of meat should be saved, and sometimes the boilings, which should be well seasoned; may prove very grateful to the family, and the bones, scraps, vegeta­bles can be added to it. This liquor, when boiled down to a proper consistency, will form a good foundation for many kinds of gravies, as well as soups. In order to extract all the juices from the bones, it is best to boil them first, then strain off into a soup kettle, and if any portion of meat remains on the bones cut off the bits and add whatever else you have with them into the kettle. Then stew or boil slowly from 3 to 4, or even 6 hours. It is best to do this the day before you wish to use it. It can be easily warmed over, or brought to a boil, when it will be ready for the table.
Cloves were but little known to the ancients. Pliny appears to be the only writer who mentions them ; and he says vaguely that some were brought to Rome very similar to grains of pepper, but somewhat larger; that they were only to be found in India, in a wood consecrated to the gods, and that they served in the manufac­ture of perfumes. The clove is the unexpanded flower of the coryophillus aromaticus, a handsome branching tree, a native of the Malacca Islands. The clove has a considerable resemblance to a nail, whence they take their name from the Latin clovus, or the French clou, both meaning a nail. As in the case of the nutmeg, to secure a monopoly of the cloves and that the cultivation of them might be confined to Amboya, their chief island, the Dutch bribed the surrounding chiefs to cut down all the trees found elsewhere, and thus keep the means of supply wholly to themselves, by eradicating it from every other island; but it has now become naturalized in both the Indies, as well as in many of the South Sea Islands and all warm countries.