( Originally Published 1922 )
It was a revelation to me when reading "The Science of Eating" to learn that I had been throwing the best part of my vegetables down the sink. I, like most of you, had peeled my potatoes, carrots, turnips, et al.; boiled all the precious minerals out and thrown the water away. Many a time I had eaten spinach for the sole purpose of its mineral benefit and had lost the best part of it. I did not know.
The water in which spinach, onions, cauliflower, asparagus, etc., are cooked should form the basis for soups.
Vegetable juices can also be used in sauces as follows:
Cook the vegetables in a small amount of water. When cooked till tender there should be just enough water to serve as sauce for the vegetable. Prepare as follows:
Drain vegetable,. saving juice. Have at hand a sufficient amount of butter for seasoning and whole meal for thickening. Melt the butter, rub in the flour until smooth. Put the vegetable juice into the saucepan, stir in the mixture, stir until thick and smooth. Into this put the drained vegetable, heat and serve.
The beaten yolk of an egg will greatly improve the above sauce.
Some people find it easier to make the above sauce as follows:
Drain- vegetable, saving the juice. Stir into this a small amount of flour which has been moistened with a little water. Stir until thick. Add butter and seasoning. Put the drained vegetables back into the sauce, heat and serve.
Put a pint of milk into the double boiler to scald. Melt two tablespoonfuls of butter, rub into it two tablespoonfuls of flour. Stir until smooth. Pour this slowly into the heated milk, stirring until thick and smooth. Season with salt.
This sauce can be kept on hand in the refrigerator and thinned with a little milk as needed.
For scalloped dishes a well-beaten egg is added to above. For fish sauce twice as much butter should be used.
All vegetables after preparing should stand in cold water at least one-half hour before cooking.
Vegetables should not be overcooked nor water-soaked. Learn to "time" your cooking so that everything will be done together, always allowing yourself five to ten minutes for preparing sauces and serving.
The Mineral element in all vegetables can be conserved very easily if we will discard the old and form new habits of cooking.
The value of this mineral element cannot be overestimated. It serves as a balance for meat or other acid-forming foods thus keeping down the acidity of our blood. The following methods of cooking conserve all the minerals. Don't forget that these minerals are needed by the blood to keep the tissues in a state of health.
Young, tender carrots are sweet and delicate. They do not possess the strong flavor of the larger (winter) tuber which has been off the stem for a long time. They are rich in vitamins and mineral salts and should appear very frequently on our menus.
They should be scraped, cut lengthwise into quarters or eighths and may be plainly served in three ways:
1st. Cooked in a casserole with a very little water (just enough to keep from burning), a very little (or no) salt and a generous dab of butter.
2nd. Steamed and served with butter or white sauce. 3rd. If boiled they should be served in their own juice.
The best way to serve the older carrots in the winter is steamed and served with white sauce thinned with milk.
Young, white turnips should be peeled and' cut in thin slices. They may be-
1st. Cooked in a casserole with 1 or 2 tablespoonfuls of water, salt, pepper and butter.
2nd. Steamed and mashed with plenty of butter. 3rd. Steamed and creamed with white sauce.
Rutabagas are best sliced thin, steamed and mashed. This is also true of white turnips when older.
Parsnips are a winter vegetable. They are rich in minerals--especially calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
They also should come back into greater popularity and appear on our menus once or twice a week.
1st. They are most delicious served with stews and fricassees. When served this way they may be cut into slices lengthwise, boiled and their juices used for the gravy of the meat.
2nd. Cut into slices lengthwise, steamed and turned over in browning butter (not fried), but deliciously seasoned this way.
3rd. Steamed and served with white sauce.
4th. Diced and creamed. For this they may be boiled and served in their own juice prepared as for carrots with some milk or cream added, but never boiled.
The richest of all the tubers in minerals. Boiled it loses its minerals in the water and becomes an acid food because of the great amount of starch. Baked, the minerals predominate and more than neutralize the acid of the starch.
Couldn't we go back to our childhood habits and "Let's pretend" there is only one way of cooking potatoes? If the family tires of his brown coat let him disappear from the table. entirely for two or three days. He will be very welcome when he comes back.
For variety, however, potatoes may be served in any of the following ways :
1st. Baked (thoroughly scrubbed first) and served immediately when done. Standing makes them soggy.
2nd. Stuffed. For this bake as above. When done cut in two (or cut a slice off lengthwise), scoop out the inside, mash, season with salt, butter and milk. Return this to the skins, pin together with toothpicks and bake in moderate oven for five to ten minutes.
3rd. Steamed in their jackets. They must be removed from steamer the moment they are cooked, otherwise they are soggy. They may then be peeled (remove the brown skin only) and served plain or mashed. New potatoes are delicious turned over and over whole in butter browning in a frying pan.
4th Scalloped. Sliced into a -casserole with plenty of milk and seasoned with butter, pepper and salt.
5th. Au gratin. Same- as 4th with generous layers of grated cheese. Steam them first—in skins.
6th. Lyonnaise. Same as 4th with layers of thinly sliced raw onions.
The last three ways are not so good as the first because the potatoes are peeled. However, their juices are not entirely lost.
Onions are rich in sulphur, iron and other minerals and vitamins. Our grandmothers pinned their faith to the curative value of "Onion Syrup" in colds—and with good reason.
Try to have onions -in some form once or twice a week. Besides the minerals and vitamins which they contain they are a splendid body regulator. They are really a leafy vegetable but you may alternate them with your tubers. There is probably no vegetable of greater value than the humble onion.
Chopped and used as seasoning they are well appreciated, but as a vegetable in their own right they are not half so popular as they should be. They may be served:
1st. Baked in their skins. (They require about as much time 'as potatoes.) Then peeled and served with butter. They are delicious.
2nd. Steamed and served with butter or white sauce.
3rd. Boiled—the water saved for soup—and served with butter or they may be served in their own sauce (prepared as for carrots) to which is added the beaten yolk of an egg and a little cream.
4th. Cooked in a casserole with milk butter and seasoning.
Cabbage is very rich in sulphur and hydrogen. Its food value is greatest served raw in salads. It is sometimes made very indigestible by wrong cooking or over cooking. It should not be boiled with greasy meats. Instead it should be prepared, quartered and soaked in cold water for at least an hour before cooking, then-
1st. Steamed one hour or until tender, placed in shallow dish, cut fine and served with salt, pepper and butter or with white sauce thinned with cream.
It will cook quicker if cut into coarse shreds.
It also seems more delicate this way.
2nd. Boiled about three-quarters of an hour in an uncovered kettle the liquid used for soup stock and served same as above or creamed.
If you are not making soup stock try cream of cabbage soup or else steam the cabbage.
3rd. Cooked in a casserole (1 hour) with a little water, butter, pepper and salt. Never use vinegar on cabbage.
Savoy (Curly Cabbage)
This cabbage is very delicate and digestible. It should be prepared and served the same as cabbage. It takes less time to cook, 20 to 30 minutes being sufficient.
The most delicate of all the cabbage family. To pre. pare, remove the loose outer leaves, let stand in cold water 30 minutes. Steam / of an hour (until tender), and serve same as cabbage. They may also be cooked in a casserole the same as cabbage.
Separate into flowerets and let stand in cold water one hour, then-
1st. Steam and serve with butter sauce or white sauce.
2nd. Boil about 20 minutes. Use the juice and about
of the flowerets for cream soup and serve cauliflower same as above.
3rd. Au gratin first cook the cauliflower, then place in casserole, pour over it some white sauce thinned with cream. sprinkle grated cheese over top and brown.
4th. Au casserole with milk, butter, pepper and salt.
The outer stalks which are not fit for the table are appetizing and beneficial when cut into pieces, stwed and served in their own sauce. The same should be thickened with meal and flavored with butter and the beaten yolk of an egg added.
Rich in mineral value. Boiled, the water makes a most delicious cream soup. The simple ways of serving are: The entire stalk on toast or cut into inch lengths and served with butter or cream or white sauce.
There are many fancy asparagus dishes, but always save the liquid for soup, or else steam the asparagus or cook in a casserole.
Rich in mineral value, especially potassium, iron and iodine. Like all of the green vegetables it should appear on the menu often. It may be:
1st. Cut fine or put through the meat chopper (to reduce its bulk) and cooked in a casserole without water, seasoned with salt, pepper and butter (about 20 minutes.)
2nd. Boiled the water used for cream soup and served with salt, pepper and butter. The hard boiled yolks of eggs may be sliced and arranged on top.
3rd. Spinach may also be cooked directly over the fire without water: (This, however, requires watching to keep from burning). It may then be creamed by adding a little milk, butter and seasoning.
There are several fancy ways of preparing spinach, all of which are good provided the juice is not wasted.
Beet top and other greens are cooked in the same way as spinach and the water used for soup stock.
(Never use vinegar on greens.)
String beans or butter beans may be steamed or cooked in a casserole and served with butter or white sauce.
Almost every good cook gives you explicit directions as to how to remove the outer skin of the bean. Dismiss these directions from your mind. The outer skin like the bran of the wheat has its definite value. Do not remove it.
To stew fresh lima beans, cook directly over fire about 20 minutes letting water boil well down, then transfer to a double boiler and let simmer about 30 minutes. Add butter, salt and pepper and serve. (Add milk or cream also if desired.)
Dried lima beans should be soaked overnight. In the morning do not drain add sufficient water, bring to boiling point, turn down fire and allow to simmer 3 or 4 hours. They should be served in their own juice which, when sufficiently cooked, should be quite thick. Flavor generously with butter. The flavor is improved by boiling with them for the last half hour a small bag of sweet Marjoram and thyme. French people like to cook with them the left over bone of roast lamb for flavor.
Dried White Beans, Peas and Lentils
Prepare the same as lima beans whether they are to be used as soup, served plain or baked. They need several hours cooking.
The fireless cooker is ideal for the above.
Brown rice is so rich in nutriment that it is wise to contrive as many ways as possible to serve it appetizingly. Following are some suggestions:
1st. It may be served as a vegetable instead of potatoes with butter, pepper and salt. It is delicious with fricassee of chicken (or other fricassee) arranged around the platter in mounds and served with plenty of gravy, or Boil 1 cup of rice and while rice is cooking make a dressing as follows: Put 1 tablespoonful of butter into a sauce-pan, melt, and rub into it 1 tablespoonful of flour; into this stir slowly 1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock (or milk or water) ; season to taste; pour over the rice and serve with poached eggs.
The dressing for above may be varied by using tomato juice instead of the stock (rub canned tomatoes through a sieve), or a mixture of tomato juice and chopped mushrooms and onions. The latter is delicious.
Boil rice until tender, salt it. Arrange a layer of rice and a layer of grated cheese, another layer of rice and so on—having cheese on top. Moisten very well with milk and bake until brown.
Brown rice may be substituted for macaroni or spaghetti in any of your recipes for the latter.
Brown rice fritters are delicious.