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do not coalesce.
When a fat is emulsified, it often looks like milk. (Milk contains fat in an emulsified form; the fat separates, however, by standing and rises to the top to form cream.) Fats can be emulsified by several different substances. A soap solution is one of the substances that will emulsify fats. (The action of soap solution in emulsifying fat was shown in Experiment 36.)
If fats are emulsified by means of soap, one might ask where the soap comes from in the process of digestion. The soap is thought to be formed by the action of the alkali of the pancreatic juice upon some of the fatty acids formed by the splitting up of the fat. By means of the soap thus formed, fat is emulsified during digestion. During digestion, fat is broken up into fatty acids and glycerin.
FRYING AND DIGESTION.--Fat is a slowly digesting foodstuff. Not only fats, but foods coated with fat are digested slowly. Because of the longer time in the digestive tract, foods may cause digestive disturbances.
When fats are heated to a high temperature, they are decomposed and irritating substances (free fatty acids) are formed. These substances are absorbed by foods which are browned in fats.
It is well, then, to have the least possible quantity of fat soak into foods cooked in fats. It has been found that foods soak up much more fat when sauted (_i.e._ browning in a small quantity of fat) than when fried. The greatest care should be taken in frying, however, to have the fat and the food to be fried in such condition that as little fat as possible will be absorbed. The fat should be sufficiently hot (see Experiments 32 and 33), the food as dry as possible, and the browned food drained on paper.
Care should be taken not only in frying foods, but in avoiding the use of an excessive amount of fat such as butter, cream, and vegetable oils in sauces, dressings, and pastry.
CROQUETTES.--Croquettes are cooked vegetable, cereal, meat, or fish mixtures dipped in dried crumbs and eggs and browned in deep fat. These food mixtures are shaped in various ways. Rice and potato croquettes are usually cylindrical in shape, while chicken croquettes are formed into cones.
Croquettes may be dipped in melted butter or substitute or they may be "dotted" with bits of fat and browned in the oven or broiling oven instead of frying in deep fat.
Starch occurs in considerable quantity in the vegetables and cereals commonly used for croquettes. Meat and fish are usually mixed with a thick White Sauce when used for croquettes, hence croquettes invariably contain a starchy substance. If croquette ingredients are heated while mixing, it is necessary to cool them thoroughly before shaping, in order that the starch may be as stiff as possible.
1 pint mashed potatoes Celery salt 2 tablespoonfuls butter Onion juice Cayenne 1 teaspoonful chopped parsley 1 teaspoonful salt 1 egg-yolk or 1/2 egg
Mix ingredients together, shape into smooth round balls and then into cylinders. Roll in dried bread crumbs, eggs, and crumbs again (see _Fried Oysters_). Fry in deep fat until brown.
How does the temperature of fat hot enough for frying compare with that of boiling water? Why is an iron kettle preferable to one of tin or granite for heating fat (see _Caramelized Sugar_)?
What happens to foods that are cooked in fat too cool for frying (see Experiment 32)?
What is the purpose of covering with egg, mixtures that are to be fried? How should the egg be prepared for "dipping"?
How can the remaining white or half an egg be utilized in preparing Potato Croquettes?
If "left over" mashed potatoes are used for making croquettes, what ingredient in the recipe above should be omitted?
BAKING _VS._ FRYING.--Foods fried under the most ideal conditions and in the most skilful manner absorb much fat. Many foods well fried, especially doughnuts, are about 1/3 fat.
Fish Balls and croquettes, as mentioned previously, can be baked instead of fried. Baked croquettes seem somewhat more dry, however, than the fried food. If this is objectionable a sauce may be poured over them before serving.
Tomato, cheese, and brown sauces are tasty with most croquettes.
Doubtless many housekeepers who dislike the odor of hot fat and the cleaning of utensils used in frying foods, will consider the process of baking croquettes very much more satisfactory than that of frying.
RICE CUTLETS WITH CHEESE SAUCE
3/4 cupful rice 3 cupfuls boiling water 1 teaspoonful salt
Wash the rice, add the water. (If unpolished rice is used, let it soak for several hours.) Then add the salt and heat the mixture until it boils. Proceed as directed on page 85, Rice (cooked over boiling water). (Unpolished rice requires about 2 hours of cooking.) Make a White Sauce of the following ingredients:
4 tablespoonfuls flour 1 teaspoonful salt Dash pepper 3 tablespoonfuls fat 1 cupful milk
To 2/3 of the White Sauce add:
Cooked rice 1 or 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped 1 tablespoonful parsley, chopped
(Reserve the remainder of the White Sauce for the preparation of Cheese Sauce.) Shape the mixture into cutlets.
Dip in dried bread crumbs (or corn-meal) and egg as directed for Fried Oysters.
Place the cutlets on greased dripping pan. Place bits of fat on top of the cutlets, then bake in a hot oven until they are browned. Serve hot with the following sauce:
Remainder of the White Sauce 3/4 cupful milk 1/4 to 1/2 cupful cheese, cut in small pieces 1 pimento chopped
Dilute the White Sauce with the milk. Add the cheese and pimento. Heat and stir until the cheese is melted. If necessary, add seasoning. Serve hot over the cutlets.
FAT SAVING AND SOAP-MAKING.--The housekeeper who endeavors to waste no food may find that she has saved some fat which is not suitable for food. Such fat can be utilized in soap-making. By using "modern lye" soap-making is not the laborious task as was the preparation of soft soap in colonial days.
The fat for soap-making need not necessarily be decolorized. It should, however, be tried out (if it is meat fat) and clarified before using in the preparation of soap. (These processes are given above.)
Soap made at home differs somewhat from that made at a factory. When fat and lye are combined chemically, soap and glycerin are formed. A commercial soap-maker extracts the glycerin from soap, the housekeeper does not.
Homemade soap, however, usually proves very satisfactory. When the time consumed in making it is not needed for other duties or obligations, it is a saving to make soap at home.
1 can Babbit's lye 1 quart cold water 6 pounds clarified fat 2 tablespoonfuls ammonia
Turn the lye into a granite kettle, slowly add the cold water, stirring with a stick or a wooden spoon. Work most carefully to avoid getting the lye or the lye solution on the hands. When the water is added to the lye, the mixture becomes very hot. Let it stand until it is cool.
Put the fat into a large kettle or dish pan. Heat it until it melts. Then remove it from the fire. Let it cool sufficiently to bear the hands in it. Slowly add the lye solution, stirring constantly. Add the ammonia and continue stirring until the mixture becomes about the consistency of thick cream. Then turn the soap into a wooden box lined with paper or into a granite dripping pan. When the soap becomes firm, cut into pieces of suitable size.
The materials above will make about 8 1/2 pounds of soap.
NOTE.--If desired one small cake of soap may be prepared by each pupil in the classroom. The following recipe may be used:
1 teaspoonful lye 4 teaspoonfuls cold water 2 tablespoonfuls fat
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