|DUTIES OF THE COOK, THE KITCHEN AND THE SCULLERY MAIDS|
|INTRODUCTION TO COOKERY||DUTIES OF COOK||HINTS TO THE COOK|
|Duties of Chef||Duties of Second Cook||Duties of Kitchen Maid|
|Duties of Second Kitchen Maid or Scullery Maid|
|HOUSEHOLD OF SIX SERVANTS||THE LARDER|
ARRANGEMENT AND ECONOMY OF THE KITCHEN.
"THE DISTRIBUTION OF A KITCHEN," says Count Rumford, the celebrated philosopher and physician, who wrote so learnedly on all subjects connected with domestic economy and architecture, "must always depend so much on local circumstances, that general rules can hardly be given respecting it; the principles, however, on which this distribution ought, in all cases, to be made, are simple and easy to be understood," and, in his estimation, these resolve themselves into symmetry of proportion in the building and convenience to the cook. The requisites of a good kitchen, however, demand something more special than is here pointed out. It must be remembered that it is the great laboratory of every household, and that much of the "weal or woe," as far as regards bodily health, depends upon the nature of the preparations concocted within its walls. A good kitchen, therefore, should be erected with a view to the following particulars.
ALTHOUGH IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE COOK, the housekeeper does not generally much interfere, yet it is necessary that she should possess a good knowledge of the culinary art, as in many instances, it may be requisite for her to take the superintendence of the kitchen. As a rule, it may be stated, that the housekeeper, in those establishments where there is no house steward or man cook, undertakes the preparation of the confectionary, attends to the preserving and pickling of fruits and vegetables; and, in a general way to the more difficult branches of the art of cookery.
Much of these arrangements will depend, however, on the qualifications of the cook; for instance, if she be an able artiste, there will be but little necessity for the housekeeper to interfere, except in the already noticed articles of confectionary, etc. On the contrary, if the cook be not so clever and adept in her art, then it will be requisite for the housekeeper to give more of her attention to the business of the kitchen, than in the former case. It will be one of the duties of the housekeeper to attend to the marketing, in the absence of either a house steward or man cook.
A man cook is now more rarely to be found in private service than formerly, women having found it expedient to bring their knowledge of the culinary art more to the level of the chef; while in many cases those who have graduated at one of the schools for cookery have risen superior to him both in the way they flavour and serve the various dishes that call for skill and taste.
INTRODUCTION TO COOKERY
AS IN THE FINE ARTS, the progress of mankind from barbarism to civilization is marked by a gradual succession of triumphs over the rude materialities of nature, so in the art of cookery is the progress gradual from the earliest and simplest modes, to those of the most complicated and refined. Plain or rudely-carved stones, tumuli, or mounds of earth, are the monuments by which barbarous tribes denote the events of their history, to be succeeded, only in the long course of a series of ages, by beautifully-proportioned columns, gracefully-sculptured statues, triumphal arches, coins, medals, and the higher efforts of the pencil and the pen, as man advances by culture and observation to the perfection of his facilities. So is it with the art of cookery. Man, in his primitive state, lives upon roots and the fruits of the earth, until, by degrees, he is driven to seek for new means, by which his wants may be supplied and enlarged. He then becomes a hunter and a fisher. As his species increases, greater necessities come upon him, when he gradually abandons the roving life of the savage for the more stationary pursuits of the herdsman. These beget still more settled habits, when he begins the practice of agriculture, forms ideas of the rights of property, and has his own, both defined and secured. The forest, the stream, and the sea are now no longer his only resources for food. He sows and he reaps, pastures and breeds cattle, lives on the cultivated produce of his fields, and revels in the luxuries of the dairy; raises flocks for clothing, and assumes, to all intents and purposes, the habits of permanent life and the comfortable condition of a farmer. This is the fourth stage of social progress, up to which the useful or mechanical arts have been incidentally developing themselves, when trade and commerce begin. Through these various phases, only to live has been the great object of mankind; but, by-and-by, comforts are multiplied, and accumulating riches create new wants. The object, then, is not only to "live", but to live economically, agreeably, tastefully, and well. Accordingly, the art of cookery commences; and although the fruits of the earth, the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field, and the fish of the sea, are still the only food of mankind, yet these are so prepared, improved, and dressed by skill and ingenuity, that they are the means of immeasurably extending the boundaries of human enjoyments. Everything that is edible, and passes under the hands of the cook, is more or less changed, and assumes new forms. Hence the influence of that functionary is immense upon the happiness of a household.
In order that the duties of the Cook may be properly performed, and that he may be able to reproduce esteemed dishes with certainty, all terms of indecision should be banished from his art. Accordingly, what is known only to him, will, in these pages, be made known to others. In them all those indecisive terms expressed by a bit of this, some of that, a small piece of that, and a handful of the other, shall never be made use of, but all quantities be precisely and explicitly stated. With a desire, also, that all ignorance on this most essential part of the culinary art should disappear, and that a uniform system of weights and measures should be adopted, we give an account of the weights which answer to certain measures.
EXCELLENCE IN THE ART OF COOKERY, as in all other things, is only attainable by practice and experience. In proportion, therefore, to the opportunities which a cook has had of these, so will be his excellence in the art. It is in the large establishments of princes, noblemen, and very affluent families alone, that the man cook is found in this country. He, also, superintends the kitchens of large hotels, clubs, and public institutions, where he, usually, makes out the bills of fare, which are generally submitted to the principal for approval. To be able to do this, therefore, it is absolutely necessary that he should be a judge of the season of every dish, as well as know perfectly the state of every article he undertakes to prepare. He must also be a judge of every article he buys; for no skill, however great it may be, will enable him to, make that good which is really bad. On him rests the responsibility of the cooking generally, whilst a speciality of his department, is to prepare the rich soups, stews, ragouts, and such dishes as enter into the more refined and complicated portions of his art, and such as are not usually understood by ordinary professors. He, therefore, holds a high position in a household, being inferior in rank, as already shown, only to the house steward, the valet, and the butler.
Go to Kitchen Contents
DUTIES OF THE COOK, THE KITCHEN AND THE SCULLERY MAIDS,
are so intimately associated, that they can hardly be treated of separately. The cook, however, is at the head of the kitchen; and in proportion to her possession of the qualities of cleanliness, neatness, order, regularity, and celerity of action, so will her influence appear in the conduct of those who are under her; as it is upon her that the whole responsibility of the business of the kitchen rests, whilst the others must lend her, both a ready and a willing assistance, and be especially tidy in their appearance, and active, in their movements.
IF, AS WE HAVE SAID, THE QUALITY OF EARLY RISING be of the first importance to the mistress, what must it be to the servant! Let it, therefore, be taken as a long-proved truism, that without it, in every domestic, the effect of all things else, so far as "work" is concerned, may, in a great measure, be neutralized. In a cook, this quality is most essential; for an hour lost in the morning, will keep her toiling, absolutely toiling, all day, to overtake that which might otherwise have been achieved with ease. In large establishments, six is a good hour to rise in the summer, and seven in the winter.
HER FIRST DUTY, in large establishments and where it is requisite, should be to set her dough for the breakfast rolls, provided this has not been done on the previous night, and then to engage herself with those numerous little preliminary occupations which may not inappropriately be termed laying out her duties for the day. This will bring in the breakfast hour of eight, after which, directions must be given, and preparations made, for the different dinners of the household and family.
IN THOSE NUMEROUS HOUSEHOLDS where a cook and housemaid are only kept, the general custom is, that the cook should have the charge of the dining-room. The hall, the lamps and the doorstep are also committed to her care, and any other work there may be on the outside of the house. In establishments of this kind, the cook will, after having lighted her kitchen fire, carefully brushed the range, and cleaned the hearth, proceed to prepare for breakfast. She will thoroughly rinse the kettle, and, filling it with fresh water, will put it on the fire to boil. She will then go to the breakfast-room, or parlour, and there make all things ready for the breakfast of the family. Her attention will next be directed to the hall, which she will sweep and wipe; the kitchen stairs, if there be any, will now be swept; and the hall mats, which have been removed and shaken, will be again put in their places.
The cleaning of the kitchen, pantry, passages, and kitchen stairs must always be over before breakfast, so that it may not interfere with the other business of the day. Everything should be ready, and the whole house should wear a comfortable aspect when the heads of the house and members of the family make their appearance. Nothing, it may be depended on, will so please the mistress of an establishment, as to notice that, although she has not been present to see that the work was done, attention to smaller matters has been carefully paid, with a view to giving her satisfaction and increasing her comfort.
BY THE TIME THAT THE COOK has performed the duties mentioned above, and well swept, brushed, and dusted her kitchen, the breakfast-bell will most likely summon her to the parlour, to "bring in" the breakfast. It is the cook's department, generally, in the smaller establishments, to wait at breakfast, as the housemaid, by this time, has gone upstairs into the bedrooms, and has there applied herself to her various duties. The cook usually answers the bells and single knocks at the door in the early part of the morning, as the tradesmen, with whom it is her more special business to speak, call at these hours.
IT IS IN HER PREPARATION OF THE DINNER that the cook begins to feel the weight and responsibility of her situation, as she must take upon herself all the dressing and the serving of the principal dishes, which her skill and ingenuity have mostly prepared. Whilst these, however, are cooking, she must be busy with her pastry, soups, gravies, ragouts, etc. Stock, or what the French call consomme, being the basis of most made dishes, must be always at hand, in conjunction with her sweet herbs and spices for seasoning. "A place for everything, and everything in its place," must be her rule, in order that time may not be wasted in looking for things when they are wanted, and in order that the whole apparatus of cooking may move with the regularity and precision of a well-adjusted machine; all must go on simultaneously. The vegetables and sauces must be ready with the dishes they are to accompany, and in order that they may be suitable, the smallest oversight must not be made in their preparation. When the dinner-hour has arrived, it is the duty of the cook to dish-up such dishes as may, without injury, stand, for some time, covered on the hot plate or in the hot closet; but such as are of a more important or recherche kind, must be delayed until the order "to serve" is given from the drawing-room. Then comes haste; but there must be no hurry, all must work with order. The cook takes charge of the fish, soups, and poultry; and the kitchen-maid of the vegetables, sauces, and gravies. These she puts into their appropriate dishes, whilst the scullery-maid waits on and assists the cook. Everything must be timed so as to prevent its getting cold, whilst great care should be taken, that, between the first and second courses, no more time is allowed to elapse than is necessary, for fear that the company in the dining-room lose all relish for what has yet to come of the dinner. When the dinner has been served, the most important feature in the daily life of the cook is at an end. She must, however, now begin to look to the contents of her larder, taking care to keep everything sweet and clean, so that no disagreeable smells may arise from the gravies, milk, or meat that may be there. These are the principal duties of a cook in a first-rate establishment.
In smaller establishments, the housekeeper often conducts the higher department of cooking, and the cook, with the assistance of a scullery-maid, performs some of the subordinate duties of the kitchen-maid.
When circumstances render it necessary, the cook engages to perform the whole of the work of the kitchen, and, in some places, a portion of the house-work also.
WHILST THE COOK IS ENGAGED WITH HER MORNING DUTIES, the kitchen-maid is also occupied with hers. Her first duty, after the fire is lighted, is to sweep and clean the kitchen, and the various offices belonging to it. This she does every morning, besides cleaning the stone steps at the entrance of the house, the halls, the passages, and the stairs which lead to the kitchen. Her general duties, besides these, are to wash and scour all these places twice a week, with the tables, shelves, and cupboards. She has also to dress the nursery and servants'-hall dinners, to prepare all fish, poultry, and vegetables, trim meat joints and cutlets, and do all such duties as may be considered to enter into the cook's department in a subordinate degree.
THE DUTIES OF THE SCULLERY-MAID are to assist the cook; to keep the scullery clean, and all the metallic as well as earthenware kitchen utensils.
The position of scullery-maid is not, of course, one of high rank, nor is the payment for her services large. But if she be fortunate enough to have over her a good kitchen-maid and clever cook, she may very soon learn to perform various little duties connected with cooking operations, which may be of considerable service in fitting her for a more responsible place. Now, it will be doubtless thought by the majority of our readers, that the fascinations connected with the position of the scullery-maid, are not so great as to induce many people to leave a comfortable home in order to work in a scullery. But we are acquainted with one instance in which the desire, on the part of a young girl, was so strong to become connected with the kitchen and cookery, that she absolutely left her parents, and engaged herself as a scullery-maid in a gentleman's house. Here she showed herself so active and intelligent, that she very quickly rose to the rank of kitchen-maid; and from this, so great was her gastronomical genius, she became, in a short space of time, one of the best women-cooks in England. After this, we think, it must be allowed, that a cook, like a poet, nascitur, non fit. (is born, not made.)
IT HAS BEEN ASSERTED, that English cookery is, nationally speaking, far from being the best in the world. More than this, we have been frequently told by brilliant foreign writers, half philosophers, half chefs, that we are the worst cooks on the face of the earth, and that the proverb which alludes to the divine origin of food, and the precisely opposite origin of its preparers, is peculiarly applicable to us islanders. Not, however, to the inhabitants of the whole island; for, it is stated in a work which treats of culinary operations, north of the Tweed, that the "broth" of Scotland claims, for excellence and wholesomeness, a very close second place to the bouillon, or common soup of France. "Three hot meals of broth and meat, for about the price of ONE roasting joint," our Scottish brothers and sisters get, they say; and we hasten to assent to what we think is now a very well-ascertained fact. We are glad to note, however, that soups of vegetables, fish, meat, and game, are now very frequently found in the homes of the English middle classes, as well as in the mansions of the wealthier and more aristocratic; and we take this to be one evidence, that we are on the right road to an improvement in our system of cookery. One great cause of many of the spoilt dishes and badly-cooked meats which are brought to our tables, arises, we think, and most will agree with us, from a non-acquaintance with "common, every-day things." Entertaining this view, we intend to preface the chapters of this work with a simple scientific resume of all those causes and circumstances which relate to the food we have to prepare, and the theory and chemistry of the various culinary operations.
DUTIES OF COOK
She should be in the kitchen early - by six o'clock - and prepare for the servants' breakfast at seven. After breakfast she should prepare and send up the family breakfast. Later she should tell the housekeeper what is wanted for the day, prepare pies, puddings, or ices for luncheon and dinner, see that the kitchen maid has vegetables and that the meat and pudding are attended to for the servants' dinner at twelve-thirty. After this dinner she prepares and sends up the family lunch. After lunch she sees that all vegetables, game, etc., required for the family dinner, are prepared, and makes cake or anything required for afternoon tea. She should always have a list of what is required from the grocer, etc., ready for the housekeeper, should see that the kitchen maid does her work well and is clean, meat house, etc., are in good order. In fact, she takes entire charge of the kitchen under the housekeeper, and she should personally supervise the cleaning of the kitchen and cooking utensils, ice-boxes, etc.
The cook, if cooking only is expected and a kitchen maid is kept, is supposed to take entire charge of the family cooking. She prepares and cooks all game such as canvasback and redhead duck, etc., and all entrees.
If she is privileged to go out alternate Sundays, she should have everything prepared and ready for the kitchen maid to cook.
In smaller establishments the cook is expected to clean the hall and passage, as well as the kitchen, scullery, etc. When the morning's dirty work is done, she should carefully wash her hands and visit the larder. Here she should look to everything. See if the hanging meat or game requires cooking. Wipe out and air the bread-box. Clean and scrub the larder at least twice a week. Receive her mistress's orders attentively, and if she cannot trust her memory, write them on a slate. She should examine the meat sent by the butcher, and if it is not right, refuse to accept it. She should also weigh the meat and ask the butcher for a paper of weight.
Clean up as you go.
A chef has the entire charge of his kitchen, and, as a rule, two assistants, who are called second cook and kitchen maid. The chef does all ordering for the kitchen in the way of marketing. Utensils, etc., are ordered by the housekeeper. He makes up the menu, and cooks for the family table, and arranges all the meals for the servants' table.Go to Kitchen Contents
The second cook helps the chef with all cooking for the family, and is expected to cook for the servants' table. In addition to this the second cook makes all hot bread, and helps prepare vegetables. She cleans all store-room closets and drawers once a week, and supervises ice-boxes. The second cook is sometimes called first kitchen maid. Go to Kitchen Contents
She should be in the kitchen not later than six o'clock; start the cook's fire; sweep the kitchen and dining hall; and set the table for servants. She puts over the fire oatmeal, or whatever cereal is in use, grinds the coffee, and has the pots and pans ready for the cook. After breakfast is over she washes dishes, and then helps the cook in sending up the family breakfast; she prepares vegetables for the servants' dinner, sets the table, and serves the servants' dinner at twelve o'clock, waiting upon the table. After dinner she washes the dishes, and helps the cook where she needs help for the family luncheon. She serves servants' supper or tea at five-thirty, washes the dishes, and helps the cook for family dinner, carrying dishes to the lift as cook has them ready, etc. She washes pots and pans and tidies up the kitchen, and before going to bed sees to the fastening up of all windows and doors on kitchen floor. She cleans out refrigerators one day, china closet another day, pot closet another day. She takes care of the lower floor, scrubbing kitchen, basement, and stairs. Where only one housemaid is kept, she is expected to attend to the servants' bedrooms, back halls, and staircase.
She generally washes all kitchen towels, roller towels, and servants' table linen, and answers the basement bell.
Duties of Second Kitchen Maid or Scullery Maid
She washes dishes, prepares vegetables, washes towels, helps keep the kitchen clean, cleans ice-boxes, etc., and kindles fire in the morning where there is no watchman.
RECOGNIZED DUTIES IN THE AVERAGE WELL-APPOINTED HOUSEHOLD OF SIX SERVANTS.
Duties of Cook
The cook rises and is downstairs at six o'clock, and opens the door for the furnace or useful man. She makes her fire and cleans her range, and cooks and serves at seven o'clock the servants' breakfast. After this breakfast she cooks the breakfast for the family, which is usually at eight o'clock. While the family is at breakfast she washes up her kitchen dishes and saucepans, and tidies up her kitchen. Later she puts on a clean white apron, and goes to her mistress's room for orders for the day. The servants have their lunch at twelve o'clock, the family at one. The family dinner is at seven or eight, and the servants have theirs afterward.
The cook has every other Sunday from three o'clock until ten-thirty, the laundress cooking the dinner. She has also one evening in the week after she cooks and serves her dinner, the laundress washing up for her. The cook takes care of her own kitchen, ice-boxes, closets, windows, and cellar stairs.
We will now run lightly through the ordinary daily duties of a cook, finishing up with that greatest of events in the everyday life of an Englishman - his dinner. Of course, the cook must consider herself responsible for the larder and its contents, and should consequently be careful not' to allow bloaters, haddocks, lobsters, crabs, etc., or any strong-smelling thing of a similar description, to remain among the cold meat, butter, etc. Again, care should be taken to keep the larder scrupulously clean, and the shelves, especially if of wood, should from time to time be scrubbed. Let me here also warn servants generally against that too common practice of putting meat on the wooden shelf instead of on a dish or slab. For instance, the butcher sends, perhaps, a couple of pounds of gravy beef, and a careless cook, in hot weather, places this piece of raw meat on a wooden shelf, the result being that the blood adheres to the shelf, and becomes a fruitful cause of contaminating the whole larder.
The atmosphere of the larder must be dry, cool, and airy, if the meat that is hung in it is to be kept in good condition. The best meat will go wrong if kept in a damp, ill-ventilated spot. It is obvious, therefore, that the larder must not face the sun, and that it should not be near enough the kitchen to be influenced by the heat of the kitchen fire. It should have wire-gauze in the window frame instead of glass. Perfect ventilation may be ensured by having ventilators at opposite sides of the room, such as over the window and over the door; or the panels of the door as well as the window may be made of wire-gauze.
Stone-work should be used wherever possible in the fittings of the larder, and the floor should be of asphalt or of concrete. The shelves should be covered with paper, such as old newspapers. Plenty of strong iron hooks should be fixed into the ceiling, from which to suspend hams, joints of meat, poultry, and game. An icebox is an indispensable adjunct of tlie larder, especially in hot weather. By keeping perishable articles in good condition it soon pays for itself. Earthenware jars, fitted with lids, and labelled with the names of their respective contents, should also find a place in the larder. Old biscuit canisters can also be utilised for a variety of purposes, and a good supply of wire meat covers, to keep flies from meat, fish, etc., should be provided. Various measures are necessary in the larder, in order that the exact quantities necessary for the dishes to be cooked may be used -- no more and no less. The tablespoons, dessert-spoons, and teaspoons used for the purpose should be of the regulation size, and the cup should be the regulation kitchen cup, holding half a pint. In measuring dry materials, we may here remark, a spoonful means that whatever is measured should round as much above the spoon as the spoon rounds underneath. When a level or a heaped spoonful is required, it is so stated in the recipe. A spoonful of liquid is the spoon full to the brim; half a teaspoonful should be measured lengthways of the spoon --not across.
It need hardly be added that a set of weights and scales should form part of the equipment of every larder, and that nothing should be received from the tradespeople without checking the weight of the goods. Many unpleasant disputes would be prevented if this were universally done.