Monday, December 1, 2008

Kitchen Talk (2)

Subject: Soup Making (Year 1910)

The principle in soup-making is to extract all nourishment from the meat or bones, which are the "stock," otherwise the basis of the dish.If we knew how to make better soups and practiced what we knew, they would soon become as essential, a part of our daily fare as they are in other civilized countries. So much of what passes in private houses and in country hotels as soup is little better than seasoned dish-water.Watery, mottled with big globules of grease, with a thin residuum of rice or barley, or, perchance, of peas and cubes of carrots, that give it a local habitation and a name among edibles.

"Soup, Sir?" said the waitress to the well-to-do farmer. "Mutton, tomato or chicken soup?"

"Neither, if you please." uttered the independent citizen. "When I eat I want something that has some substance into it!" So say we all of us! The initial step in our lesson is to learn how to put the "substance into" the soup. A good soup stock is made by cutting into small cubes a pound of lean beef and the same quantity of lean veal, adding to these a beef bone full of marrow and well cracked, that the "substance" may be extracted from the heart of the bone.

Prepare half a cupful of carrots, cut into squares: a turnip, likewise cut into small bits; an onion minced fine and a stalk of celery, cut into half-inch lengths. Lay these in cold water for an hour and then drain. Put into a pot of boiling water and cook one minute to take away the rank earthy taste that clings to raw vegetables which have grown underground. Drain the chopped vegetables; add them to the meat and bones, cover deep with cold water and put over the fire. A gallon of water in none too much for the quantities of meat and bones of which I have spoken. Cover the pot closely and set where it will not reach the boiling point under an hour, yet will be heating steadily. After it begins to simmer and sing, hold the heat steady, still, for another hour. Increase then until the simmer is the gentlest of bubblings. To boil soup stock fast and hard is to ruin it. The practiced ear of the cook who understands her business detects in an instant the accelerated motion of the bubblings and arrests it. After the stock has boiled for twenty minutes the pot, covered by a closely fitting lid, is set within the cooker and the upper lid is sealed fast. At the end of six, seven or ten hours the contents will be piping hot still and cooked to perfection. In the summer it is safest to season the soup before it goes into the cooker. Lift the cover for a moment; stir in enough salt and pepper to keep it from spoiling if left in the cooker overnight; bring again to the boil (with the cover clamped fast) and set in the cooker.

Stock that is cooked over the fire is better left unseasoned until you are ready to take it from the range. Add then plenty of salt and pepper, and do not forget two teaspoonfuls of kitchen bouquet. Set away, covered, to cool. When perfectly cold the fat will be formed upon the surface in a solid cake. Take this off, not a particle of fat should be left upon a well-made soup. Strain the skimmed stock through a colander. What you should have left to you is a rich jelly, holding all the nutritious elements of meat and vegetables and capable of numberless variations under many names. Should you wish to have a clear soup, dip out a pint or so of the jellied stock and bring it quickly to a boil.

Source: The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) September 18, 1910 Page: 18.


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