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Cooking For Health - Meat Cooking

( Originally Published 1927 )

Stewing: Select lean meat, cut into pieces, and put into plain, unsalted water. Simmer, that is, cook at a temperature of about 180 degrees Fahrenheit until tender. Add no salt until almost ready to remove from fire; or let each individual season his portion at the table.

At sea level water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and then boiling is indicated by vigorous agitation of the water.

Simmering heat is a moderate temperature where bubbles form on the bottom of the vessel, rise upward and break without causing violent motion of the water. This takes place at 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meat and vegetable stew: Cut up lean meat and cook as directed under stewing. Cook vegetables in plain water in separate vessel. When the meat and the vegetables are done, mix and serve hot.

Cooking meats and vegetables together makes both the meats and the vegetables in-digestible. The fat particles affect the starch in the vegetables. Salting while cooking toughens the meat.

High temperature in stewing coagulates the albumin so that the meat becomes very tough. This is the reason for stewing at moderate temperature—simmering heat.

Boiling meats: Take a large piece of lean meat, plunge into boiling water and let it boil violently about ten minutes. Then lower the temperature and let it simmer until done.

The meats to be boiled should never be soaked in cold water, for even cold water removes a part of the nutriment. The boiling coagulates the outside of the meat, which helps to keep the natural juices within. If the meat is boiled a long time at high temperature, it becomes tough throughout and hard to digest.

Ordinary lean meat has to be boiled 20 to 25 minutes per pound of weight. A five pound piece would therefore require about an hour and forty minutes of cooking.

Chicken needs to be boiled from forty minutes to one and one-half hours, depending upon size and age.

Tough meats should not be boiled. They should be cooked in steamer, pressure cooker or fireless cooker.

Do no salting until the meat is almost ready to be removed from the fire, or let each one salt his own portion when served.

Meat broths: Select lean meat and chop up fine or grind. Cook in plain water, as directed for stewing, skimming off any fat that may appear on surface. When done, strain and press out the juices left in meat particles; put away to cool, and skim off the fat. Then heat and serve.

One pound of lean meat makes a quart of fairly strong broth. Regulate strength by using more or less water.

Broths are easy to digest, but are not valuable foods. Broths should always be cooked on a slow fire. Simmering is best.

Baking meats: Place the piece of meat in a very hot oven, about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and keep it at this temperature for about ten minutes. Then lower to a moderate heat, about 260 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake until it suits taste. Baste the meat with its own juice every ten or twelve minutes, adding some water to the liquid in the pan if necessary. A few minutes before removing from oven sprinkle a small amount of salt on the meat.

Because some wish their meat rare and others want it well done, no specified time for baking can be given, except that the larger the piece of meat the longer it requires.

The high heat in the beginning coagulates the outside of meat and helps to keep the juices within. However, if the oven is kept too hot, the whole piece becomes tough.

Roasting meats: We seldom have roasted meats now, the so-called roasts being baked meats. The original meaning of roasting was to take a large piece of meat and place it before an open fire, turning from time to time. (You have seen old pictures of the process.)

Broiling meats: Cut meat desired thickness. Place near a hot fire, and turn from time to time. Only experience will teach how long to broil, for it depends on thickness of meat and whether it is to be well done, medium or rare.

Steaming meats: Put the plain, unseasoned meat in individual receptacle and put into steamer, leaving until it is done.

This is one of the best ways to cook not only meat, but nearly every kind of food. It is fine for tough joints and old birds. No food value to speak of is lost.

Steam cooking makes the food easy to digest.

Fireless cooking of meats: Put unseasoned meat in receptacle, place in the cooker, following directions that go with the cooker. How ever, do not season heavily.

This is a good way to cook, for it leaves the foods tender and easy to digest.

Pressure cooking of meats: Prepare meat exactly as for steaming, and follow the directions that come with the cooker, but it is not necessary to season much.

This is a form of steam cooking, but much quicker than steaming. For those who must prepare meals in a short time presure cooking is the best method.

Frying meat: Those who cook for health do no greasy cooking. Frying causes the fats to penetrate and toughen the muscle fibers so that they become difficult or impossible to digest.

Gravies: Use only the natural gravies, not gravies made with brown flour or other thickening. Natural gravies are the meat juices that escape during cooking, sometimes mixed with water. The liquid in which meats are boiled contains some of the nourishment, so it should be used, perhaps for soup.

Seasoning meats: Season them with a little salt a few minutes before removing from the heat; let each individual add seasoning at the table if he so desires. A moderate amount of salt is all the seasoning needed. Mustard, pepper and sharp sauces should be used sparingly.

These directions apply to all kinds of meat.

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