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Cooking Cereals

( Originally Published 1904 )


These are to be cooked in a small quantity of water. For this reason, and also because they are glutinous and sticky, they are very likely to burn. Hence it is necessary to stir them constantly, when cooked in one vessel over the fire, to prevent them from burning. But this necessity of stirring can be done away with if the double boiler is used. The heat of the inner vessel, which is surrounded by boiling water, is lower than that of the water; and so it takes a long time to cook. The great advantage of slow boiling is that the flavor of the food is retained and the substance is not lost.

In cooking oatmeal for gruel we use a great quantity of water. Some of the water goes to moisten and swell up the dry meal.

When oatmeal is made into porridge the water used should be about three or four times the bulk of meal used.

When flour is to be mixed with water we use a little cold water first, because the grains of flour are so fine that they will not separate in hot or boiling water. - It is not so in the case . of oatmeal. The grains are coarse, and hot -water may be used at once. Cold water would draw out the starch from the meal and the mixture would be sticky, and when the meal was cooked it would be tasteless and pasty. So the oatmeal is mixed directly with boiling water. About a half teaspoonful of salt is added, be-cause salt is wanting in sufficient quantities in the grain of the oat. It takes from forty minutes to one hour for oatmeal to cook properly: for it is necessary to moisten the gluten thoroughly. If it is cooked rapidly at first for about ten- minutes, the starch grains of the meal will burst open. Then the porridge is to cook gradually for the .rest of the period.

Rice may be cooked in a similar manner, but water to only twice the bulk of rice should be used.


1 1/4 cupfuls boiling water, or 1 cupfui water, if cooked only fifteen minutes; 1/2 teaspoonful salt; 1/2 cupful Rolled Oats or Avena.

Put the salt and water into the top of a double boiler. Remove any black specks found in the oatmeal, and stir the grains into ,the water. Cover, and steam from fifteen minutes to one hour. Serve with milk or cream, and sugar. Baked or steamed apples and other fruits are sometimes served with oatmeal.


5 cupfuls boiling water; 1 teaspoonful salt; 1 cupful coarse oatmeal.

Pick over the oatmeal and put it with the salt and water into a two-quart covered boiler or pail. Set it on a stand in a large kettle of boiling water, and let -it boil slowly all day or all night. This makes a jelly-like mass with a rich flavor. Do not stir it, since stirring makes it ropy.


1 1/2 cups boiling water; 1/3 teaspoonful salt; 1/2 cup rice.

Look the rice over carefully, and pick out the specks, husks, or pebbles. Wash and scrub with the hands, in two or three waters,- to make it white. Put it with the water and salt into the top of a double boiler and steam from forty-five minutes to one hour. Try it by pinching grains of the rice between the thumb and finger. If any gritty spots are found, cook it until perfectly soft. If it becomes very dry in cooking, add 1-tablespoonful hot water occasionally, until it is moist enough. A few raisins, seeded, cut into small pieces, and cooked with the rice, are an improvement. If the rice is cooked in milk instead of water, 1 cupfuls hot milk to J/2 cup rice will be a good proportion. When the rice is done, press it into small cups, let it cool two or three minutes, and turn the shapes out on a pretty dish. Serve hot with sugar and milk, or with a soft custard poured around it.


1 cupful hot milk; 1 sprinkle salt; 1 table-spoonful sugar; 1 egg; I/4 teaspoonful liquid flavoring, or 1 sprinkle spice.

Heat the milk in a double boiler, or in a dish or pan set into boiling water. If nutmeg or any spice is used, put it into the milk. Beat the egg, slightly, add the sugar and salt, and pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, stirring it well. Put it all into the double boiler and steam it, stirring it constantly until it thickens. If it, curdles, set the pan containing the custard into cold water, and beat with an egg-beater, or a fork, until smooth. Put the custard into a china or glass dish, to cool. When the steam has passed off the custard, the liquid flavoring may be stirred in. Serve cold, poured around boiled rice, as a sauce.


Wipe and core the apples. Pare them, if desired, Put them on a plate, and set the plate on a stand, or on some nails, in a tin steamer, over a kettle of boiling water. 'Steam until soft, or from fifteen to thirty minutes. Serve with oatmeal, or separately with sugar and milk, or cream.


1 pint boiling water; 1 cupful corn meal; 1/, teaspoonful salt; 1/2 tablespoonful flour; 1 cupful cold milk.

Put the water on to boil.. Mix the corn meal, salt, and flour; add the milk gradually to make a smooth paste. Pour it into the boiling water, stir. well, and boil, stirring often, thirty or forty minutes. Serve hot with milk or cream. When cold, cut it in 1/2-inch slices, and 'brown both sides in a little hot fat. Serve with syrup on the table. This mixture is delicious, if cooked two or three hours in a double boiler.


1 cupful rhubarb; 1-3 cup sugar.

Wash the rhubarb and cut it into inch pieces without removing the skin, as this gives a pretty pink color to the juice. Put it in an agate double boiler without water, sprinkle the sugar over it and steam one-half hour, or until soft. Do not stir it, as it breaks the pieces.

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