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- The American Woman's Home - 60/80 -
_The care of the Kitchen, Cellar, and Store-room is necessarily the foundation of all proper housekeeping._
If parents wish their daughters to grow up with good domestic habits, they should have, as one means of securing this result, a neat and cheerful kitchen. A kitchen should always, if possible, be entirely above-ground, and well lighted. It should have a large sink, with a drain running under-ground, so that all the premises may be kept sweet and clean. If flowers and shrubs be cultivated around the doors and windows, and the yard near them be kept well turfed, it will add very much to their agreeable appearance. The walls should often be cleaned and white-washed, to promote a neat look and pure air. The floor of a kitchen should be painted, or, what is better, covered with an oilcloth. To procure a kitchen oilcloth as cheaply as possible, buy cheap tow cloth, and fit it to the size and shape of the kitchen. Then have it stretched, and nailed to the south side of the barn, and, with a brush, cover it with a coat of thin rye paste. When this is dry, put on a coat of yellow paint, and let it dry for a fortnight. It is safest to first try the paint, and see if it dries well, as some paint never will dry. Then put on a second coat, and at the end of another fortnight, a third coat. Then let it hang two months, and it will last, uninjured, for many years. The longer the paint is left to dry, the better. If varnished, it will last much longer.
A sink should be scalded out every day, and occasionally with hot lye. On nails, over the sink, should be hung three good dish-cloths, hemmed, and furnished with loops; one for dishes not greasy, one for greasy dishes, and one for washing greasy pots and kettles. These should be put in the wash every week. The lady who insists upon this will not be annoyed by having her dishes washed with dark, musty and greasy rags, as is too frequently the case.
Under the sink should be kept a slop-pail; and, on a shelf by it, a soap-dish and two water-pails. A large boiler of warm soft water should always be kept over the fire, well covered, and a hearth-broom and bellows be hung near the fire. A clock is a very important article in the kitchen, in order to secure regularity at meals.
No item of domestic labor is so frequently done in a negligent manner, by domestics, as this. A full supply of conveniences will do much toward the remedy of this evil. A swab, made of strips of linen tied to a stick, is useful to wash nice dishes, especially small, deep articles. Two or three towels, and three dish-cloths should be used. Two large tin tubs, painted on the outside, should be provided; one for washing, and one for rinsing; also, a large old waiter, on which to drain the dishes. A soap-dish, with hard soap, and a fork, with which to use it, a slop-pail, and two pails for water, should also be furnished. The following rules for washing dishes will aid in promoting the desired care and neatness:
1. Scrape the dishes, putting away any food which may remain on them, and which it may be proper to save for future use. Put grease into the grease-pot, and whatever else may be on the plates into the slop-pail. Save tea-leaves for sweeping. Set all the dishes, when scraped, in regular piles, the smallest at the top.
2. Put the nicest articles in the wash-dish, and wash them in hot suds with the swab or nicest dish-cloth. Wipe all metal articles as soon as they are washed. Put all the rest into the rinsing-dish, which should be filled with hot water. When they are taken out, lay them to drain on the waiter. Then rinse the dish-cloth, and hang it up, wipe the articles washed, and put them in their places.
3. Pour in more hot water, wash the greasy dishes with the dish-cloth made for them, rinse them, and set them to drain. Wipe them, and set them away. Wash the knives and forks, _being careful that the handles are never put in water_; wipe them, and then lay them in a knife-dish, to be scoured.
4. Take a fresh supply of clean suds, in which wash the milk-pans, buckets, and tins. Then rinse and hang up this dish-cloth, and take the other, with which, wash the roaster, gridiron, pots, and kettles. Then wash and rinse the dish-cloth, and hang it up. Empty the slop-bucket, and scald it. Dry metal teapots and tins before the fire. Then put the fire-place in order, and sweep and dust the kitchen.
Some persons keep a deep and narrow vessel, in which to wash knives with a swab, so that a careless servant _can not_ lay them in the water while washing them. This article can be carried into the eating-room, to receive the knives and forks when they are taken from the table.
_Crockery_.--Brown earthen pans are said to be best for milk and for cooking. Tin pans are lighter, and more convenient, but are too cold for many purposes. Tall earthen jars, with covers, are good to hold butter, salt, lard, etc. Acids should never be put into the red earthen ware, as there is a poisonous ingredient in the glazing which the acid takes off. Stone ware is better and stronger, and safer every way than any other kind.
_Iron Ware_.--Many kitchens are very imperfectly supplied with the requisite conveniences for cooking. When a person has sufficient means, the following articles are all desirable: A nest of iron pots, of different sizes, (they should be slowly heated when new,) a long iron fork, to take out articles from boiling water; an iron hook, with a handle, to lift pots from the crane; a large and small gridiron, with grooved bars, and a trench to catch the grease; a Dutch oven, called also a bake-pan; two skillets, of different sizes, and a spider, or flat skillet, for frying; a griddle, a waffle-iron, tin and iron bake and bread pans; two ladles, of different sizes; a skimmer; iron skewers; a toasting-iron; two teakettles, one small and one large one; two brass kettles, of different sizes, for soap-boiling, etc. Iron kettles, lined with porcelain, are better for preserves. The German are the best. Too hot a fire will crack them, but with care in this respect, they will last for many years.
Portable charcoal furnaces, of iron or clay, are very useful in summer, in washing, ironing, and stewing, or making preserves. If used in the house, a strong draught must be made, to prevent the deleterious effects of the charcoal. A box and mill, for spice, pepper, and coffee, are needful to those who use these articles. Strong knives and forks, a sharp carving-knife, an iron cleaver and board, a fine saw, steelyards, chopping-tray and knife, an apple-parer, steel for sharpening knives, sugar-nippers, a dozen iron spoons, also a large iron one with a long handle, six or eight flat-irons, one of them very small, two iron-stands, a ruffle-iron, a crimping-iron, are also desirable.
_Tin Ware_.--Bread-pans; large and small patty-pans; cake-pans, with a centre tube to insure their baking well; pie-dishes, (of block-tin;) a covered butter-kettle; covered kettles to hold berries; two sauce-pans; a large oil-can; (with a cock;) a lamp-filler; a lantern; broad bottomed candlesticks for the kitchen; a candle-box; a funnel; a reflector for baking warm cakes; an oven or tin-kitchen; an apple-corer; an apple-roaster; an egg-boiler; two sugar-scoops, and flour and meal-scoop; a set of mugs; three dippers; a pint, quart, and gallon measure; a set of scales and weights; three or four pails, painted on the outside; a slop-bucket with a tight cover, painted on the outside; a milk-strainer; a gravy-strainer; a colander; a dredging-box; a pepper-box; a large and small grater; a cheese-box; also a large box for cake, and a still larger one for bread, with tight covers. Bread, cake, and cheese, shut up in this way, will not grow dry as in the open air.
_Wooden Ware_.--A nest of tubs; a set of pails and bowls; a large and small sieve; a beetle for mashing potatoes; a spade or stick for stirring butter and sugar; a bread-board, for moulding bread and making pie-crust; a coffee-stick; a clothes-stick; a mush-stick; a meat-beetle, to pound tough meat; an egg-beater; a ladle, for working butter; a bread-trough, (for a large family;) flour-buckets, with lids, to hold sifted flour and Indian meal; salt-boxes; sugar-boxes; starch and indigo-boxes; spice-boxes; a bosom-board; a skirt-board; a large ironing-board; two or three clothes-frames; and six dozen clothes-pins.
_Basket Ware_.--Baskets of all sizes, for eggs, fruit, marketing, clothes, etc.; also chip-baskets. When often used, they should be washed in hot suds.
_Other Articles_.--Every kitchen needs a box containing balls of brown thread and twine, a large and small darning needle, rolls of waste paper and old linen and cotton, and a supply of common holders. There should also be another box, containing a hammer, carpet-tacks, and nails of all sizes, a carpet-claw, screws and a screw-driver, pincers, gimlets of several sizes, a bed-screw, a small saw, two chisels, (one to use for button-holes in broadcloth,) two awls and two files.
In a drawer or cupboard should be placed cotton table-cloths for kitchen use; nice crash towels for tumblers, marked T T; coarser towels for dishes marked T; six large roller-towels; a dozen hand-towels, marked H T; and a dozen hemmed dish-cloths with loops. Also two thick linen pudding or dumpling-cloths, a jelly-bag made of white flannel, to strain jelly, a starch-strainer, and a bag for boiling clothes.
In a closet should be kept, arranged in order, the following articles: the dust-pan, dust-brush, and dusting-cloths, old flannel and cotton for scouring and rubbing, large sponges for washing windows and looking-glasses, a long brush for cobwebs, and another for washing the outside of windows, whisk-brooms, common brooms, a coat-broom or brush, a whitewash-brush, a stove-brush, shoe-brushes and blacking, articles for cleaning tin and silver, leather for cleaning metals, bottles containing stain-mixtures and other articles used in cleansing.
CARE OF THE CELLAR.
A cellar should often be whitewashed, to keep it sweet. It should have a drain to keep it perfectly dry, as standing water in a cellar is a sure cause of disease in a family. It is very dangerous to leave decayed vegetables in a cellar. Many a fever has been caused by the poisonous miasm thus generated. The following articles are desirable in a cellar: a safe, or movable closet, with sides of wire or perforated tin, in which cold meats, cream, and other articles should be kept; (if ants be troublesome, set the legs in tin cups of water;) a refrigerator, or a large wooden-box, on feet, with a lining of tin or zinc, and a space between the tin and wood filled with powdered charcoal, having at the bottom a place for ice, a drain to carry off the water, and also movable shelves and partitions. In this, articles are kept cool. It should be cleaned once a week. Filtering jars to purify water should also be kept in the cellar. Fish and cabbages in a cellar are apt to scent a house, and give a bad taste to other articles.
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