Cooking School: Lesson 1, Week 6

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 – Rescheduled for February 2nd, 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 11: Butter

“Butter of commerce is made from cream of cow’s milk.”

This section starts out with the composition of butter.

  • 93% Fat
  • .95% Mineral Matter
  • .71% Casein
  • 5.34% Water

From looking at that, you can see that butter is not as good as milk. The fat content isn’t ideal for something we put into our bodies. Accordingly, “the quality depends on the breed of cow, manner of and care in feeding.” Supposedly, Jersey and Guernsey cows yield the largest amount of butter – according to this book. Despite what we see on television and in the movies of the “old times,” butter is listed as needing to be kept in a cool place and well covered.

“Poor butter has not been as thoroughly worked during manufacture, consequently more casein remains; therefore it is more apt to become rancid.”

In other words, don’t buy the cheap stuff. Right?

It does continue to talk about other products that can be used in place of butter, if one does not have the money to buy the “real thing.” It lists: Butterine and oleomargarine. I am not sure what butterine is but margarine is still a constant in our lives today. I guess we can safely say that margarine is a cheaper version of “real” butter, yes?

The Boston Cooking School Cook Book does say that, “[b]utter which has become rancid by too long keeping may be greatly improved by melting, heating, and quickly chilling with ice-water. The butter will rise to the top, and may be easily removed.”

So, when you leave butter out too long, you can fix it by re-heating it and chilling it again. Good tip to know!

“Buttermilk is liquid remaining after butter ‘has come.'” When taken fresh, it makes a wholesome beverage. The book does not continue on this vein; however, the word “wholesome” indicates it is good for us and healthy. Something to include in our diets.

I wonder if any of my readers want to research and expand on the buttermilk idea. Let me know!

Chapter 1, Section 12: Cheese

This section starts out with the composition of cheese.

  • 31.23% Proteid
  • 30.17% Water
  • 34.39% Fat
  • 4.31% Mineral Matter

We all love cheese, right? It’s a great snack and doesn’t seem to be extremely unhealthy. Compared to butter, which has 93% fat, cheese is a low 34% fat. Something to consider when one is hungry. Instead of bread and butter, shift to some cheese and grapes. It happens to be one of my own favorite snacks. I combine it with super-UNhealthy pepperoni slices when I have them.

What? It tastes good!

“Cheese is the solid part of sweet milk obtained by heating milk and coagulating it by means of rennet or an acid.”

What is rennet? I was curious and, luckily, the book explains. “Rennet is an infusion made from prepared inner membrane of the fourth stomach of the calf. The curd is salted and subjected to pressure. Cheese is made from skim milk, milk plus cream, or cream.”

Cheese gets its name from where it is created. At the time of the writing of this book, many of the foreign cheeses had been introduced to America and enjoyed by all.

“Cheese is very valuable food; being rich in proteid, it may be used as a substitute for meat.”

The author mentions that “a small piece of rich cheese is often eaten to assist digestion.” Any wonder that most parties offer the meat and cheese tray before the main meal is served? If your digestion is working correctly, you tend to eat a better dinner. That’s my opinion, anyway.

There you have it. Milk, butter and cheese. Next, we move on to the fruits. All forms of dairy are good for us; butter being the worst with its high concentration of fats. Next time your child (or yourself, for that matter) gets hungry, grab a small glass of milk and cheese for them!

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: Milk Toast

  • 1 pint scalded milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp bread flour
  • cold water
  • 6 pieces of dry toast

“Add cold water gradually to flour to make a smooth, thin paste. Add to milk, stirring constantly until thickened, cover and cook twenty minutes; then add salt and butter in small pieces. Dip slices of toast separately in sauce; when soft, remove to serving dish. Pour remaining sauce over all.”

Recipe: Milk Toast II

“Use ingredients given in Milk Toast I., omitting cold water, and make as Thin White Sauce. Dip toast in sauce.”

I wonder what purpose milk toast would serve? As of right now, I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps more study of the Cooking School Cook Book will explain. Any ideas? I’m open to suggestions!

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

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