Cooking School: Lesson 1, Week 4

***With my apologies, I accidentally blew away Week 3. I will try, this week, to rewrite it and get it reposted. The original is gone so I have no way of reposting. I must rewrite it.***

We are still covering the first chapter of this book: Food. The dates listed are the dates for the lessons. Any section not covered with a date will be included on the date given after that section. This way, I can condense the sections and get through this quickly but efficiently, skipping nothing. This entire lesson will take 6 weeks versus the 10 weeks as originally taught. When we are finished, I am hoping we all have a good understanding (including myself) of food and its uses so we can continue on with the meat of the class: cooking good food!

As a reminder, the sections (and dates) are:

  1. Food w/recipe Breakfast Cereal (Saturday, December 29th, 2012)
  2. Correct Proportions of Food
  3. Water w/recipe Baked Apples (Saturday, January 5th, 2013)
  4. Salts
  5. Starch
  6. Sugar w/recipe Creamed Chicken (Saturday, January 12th, 2013)
  7. Gum, Pectose and Cellulose
  8. Fats and Oils w/recipe Boiled Potatoes (Saturday, January 19th, 2013)
  9. Milk
  10. Milk for the Sick w/recipe Dry Toast (Saturday, January 26th, 2013)
  11. Butter
  12. Cheese w/recipe Milk Toast (Saturday, February 2nd, 2013)
  13. Fruits
  14. Vegetable Acids, and Where Found
  15. Condiments
  16. Flavoring Extracts w/recipe Boiled Coffee (Saturday, February 9th, 2013)

Chapter 1, Section 7: Gum, Pectose and Cellulose

“These compounds found in food are closely allied to the carbohydrates, but are neither starchy, saccharine, nor oily.”

Gum exists in the stems, branches and fruits of most plants. Examples given are: Gum Arabic, gum tragacanth, and mucilage. It gives no information on what exactly gum is used for. Pectose is in the fleshy pulp of “unripe” fruit. The book talks about pectose changing to pectin acid when the fruit ripens or by cooking. When cold, it forms a jelly substance. Since we use pectin in our jams and jellies, it makes sense to use an item that will help create the “jelly-like” state of our jams and jellies. Cellulose “constitutes the cell-walls of vegetable life.” The book discusses the young vegetables “can be acted upon by the digestive ferments” but in older vegetables it becomes “woody and indigestible.” Is this why we throw away the cucumbers when they are hard and rubbery? Unfortunately, not a lot of information is given about these items found in our foods.

Chapter 1, Section 8: Fats and Oils

“Fats are solid; oils are liquid;”

Animals and vegetables contain fats and oils. Both may be converted to a liquid when cooked. Three different substances make up fats and oils. They are as follows:

  1. Stearin (solid)
  2. Olein (liquid)
  3. Palmitin (semi-solid)

Three foods with different pieces of oil in excess:

  • Suet – excess stearin
  • Lard – excess olein
  • Butter – excess palmitin

The book states that margarin (margarine?) is a mix of stearin and palmitin. Fatty acids are created when all three are mixed and glycerine is added as a “base.”

“Among animal fats cream and butter are of first importance as foods, on account of their easy assimilation.”

Oils are separated into two “classes”: Essential and Fixed.

Essential Oils:

  • Clove
  • Rose
  • Nutmet
  • Violet

Fixed Oils:

  • Nuts
  • Corn-meal
  • Mustard
  • Glycerine

You typically cannot boil a fat and it can withstand high temperatures. If it boils, it is a mark of having water added.

There was not a lot of information about these substances. I just did a lot of copying to give information, not teach. Next week, we get interesting information about milk! Stay tuned!

naia signature

*All quotes (noted or not) are from The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book c1904, my own personal copy, unless otherwise noted.

** All opinions stated here are my own, not medically backed, unless otherwise stated.

Recipe: Boiled Potatoes

Select potatoes of uniform size. Wash, pare, and drop at once in cold water to prevent discoloration; soak one half-hour in the fall, and one to two hours in winter and spring. Cook in boiling salted water until soft, which is easily determined by piercing with a skewer. For seven potatoes allow one tablespoon salt, and boiling water to cover. Drain from water, and keep uncovered in warm place until serving time. Avoid sending to table in a covered vegetable dish. In boiling large potatoes, it often happens that outside is soft, while centre is under-done. To finish cooking without potatoes breaking apart, add one pint cold water, which drives heat to centre, thus accomplishing the cooking.

NOTE: I have never boiled potatoes before. I have seen my mother do it as a young child but never learned how to do it myself. We don’t typically eat potatoes in my home but I think I will have to buy some and try it. It does look rather simple enough to add to the recipe repertoire I have. Also, this recipe could make the potatoes that you could then mash up and serve with butter. Something worth trying! Watch the blog for my attempts later this week.

Categories: Basics of Cooking, Cooking School | Leave a comment

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