Comprising Information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and under house-maids, Lady’s-maid, Maid-of-all-work, Laundry-maid, Nurse and nurse-maid, Monthly, wet, and sick nurses, etc. etc. also, sanitary, medical, & legal memoranda; with a history of the origin, properties, and uses of all things connected with home life and comfort.
Mode.—Mix the arrowroot smoothly in a basin with the cold water, then pour on it the boiling water, stirring all the time. The water must be boiling at the time it is poured on the mixture, or it will not thicken; if mixed with hot water only, it must be put into a clean saucepan, and boiled until it thickens; but this is more trouble, and quite unnecessary if the water is boiling at first. Put the arrowroot into a tumbler, sweeten it with lump sugar, and flavour it with grated nutmeg or cinnamon, or a piece of lemon-peel, or, when allowed, 3 tablespoonfuls of port or sherry. As arrowroot is in itself flavourless and insipid, it is almost necessary to add the wine to make it palatable. Arrowroot made with milk instead of water is far nicer, but is not so easily digested. It should be mixed in the same manner, with 3 tablespoonfuls of cold water, the boiling milk then poured on it, and well stirred. When made in this manner, no wine should be added, but merely sugar, and a little grated nutmeg or lemon-peel.
Time.—If obliged to be boiled, 2 minutes. Average cost, 2d. per pint.
Sufficient to make 1/2 pint of arrowroot.
MISS NIGHTINGALE says, in her “Notes on Nursing,” that arrowroot is a grand dependence of the nurse. As a vehicle for wine, and as a restorative quickly prepared, it is all very well, but it is nothing but starch and water; flour is both more nutritive and less liable to ferment, and is preferable wherever it can be used.
Mode.—After well washing the barley, boil it in 1/2 pint of water for 1/4 hour; then pour this water away; put to the barley the quart of fresh boiling water, and let it boil until the liquid is reduced to half; then strain it off. Add the wine, sugar, and lemon-peel; simmer for 5 minutes, and put it away in a clean jug. It can be warmed from time to time, as required.
Time.—To be boiled until reduced to half. Average cost, 1s. 6d.
Sufficient with the wine to make 1–1/2 pint of gruel.
Mode.—Wash the barley in cold water; put it into a saucepan with the above proportion of cold water, and when it has boiled for about 1/4 hour, strain off the water, and add the 2 quarts of fresh boiling water. Boil it until the liquid is reduced one half; strain it, and it will be ready for use. It may be flavoured with lemon-peel, after being sweetened, or a small piece may be simmered with the barley. When the invalid may take it, a little lemon-juice gives this pleasant drink in illness a very nice flavour.
Time.—To boil until the liquid is reduced one half.
Sufficient to make 1 quart of barley-water.
Mode.—Have the meat cut without fat and bone, and choose a nice fleshy piece. Cut it into small pieces about the size of dice, and put it into a clean saucepan. Add the water cold to it; put it on the fire, and bring it to the boiling-point; then skim well. Put in the salt when the water boils, and simmer the beef tea gently from 1/2 to 3/4 hour, removing any more scum should it appear on the surface. Strain the tea through a hair sieve, and set it by in a cool place. When wanted for use, remove every particle of fat from the top; warm up as much as may be required, adding, if necessary, a little more salt. This preparation is simple beef tea, and is to be administered to those invalids to whom flavourings and seasonings are not allowed. When the patient is very low, use double the quantity of meat to the same proportion of water. Should the invalid be able to take the tea prepared in a more palatable manner, it is easy to make it so by following the directions in the next recipe, which is an admirable one for making savoury beef tea. Beef tea is always better when made the day before it is wanted, and then warmed up. It is a good plan to put the tea into a small cup or basin, and to place this basin in a saucepan of boiling water. When the tea is warm, it is ready to serve.
Time.—1/4 to 3/4 hour. Average cost, 6d. per pint.
Sufficient.—Allow 1 lb. of meat for a pint of good beef tea.
MISS NIGHTINGALE says, one of the most common errors among nurses, with respect to sick diet, is the belief that beef tea is the most nutritive of all article. She says, “Just try and boil down a lb. of beef into beef tea; evaporate your beef tea, and see what is left of your beef: you will find that there is barely a teaspoonful of solid nourishment to 1/4 pint of water in beef tea. Nevertheless, there is a certain reparative quality in it,—we do not know what,—as there is in tea; but it maybe safely given in almost any inflammatory disease, and is as little to be depended upon with the healthy or convalescent, where much nourishment is required.”
Mode.—Cut the beef into very small dice; put it into a stewpan with the butter, clove, onion, and salt; stir the meat round over the fire for a few minutes, until it produces a thin gravy; then add the water, and let it simmer gently from 1/2 to 3/4 hour, skimming off every particle of fat. When done, strain it through a sieve, and put it by in a cool place until required. The same, if wanted quite plain, is done by merely omitting the vegetables, salt, and clove; the butter cannot be objectionable, as it is taken out in skimming.
Time.—1/2 to 3/4 hour. Average cost, 8d. per pint. Sufficient.—Allow 1 lb. of beef to make 1 pint of good beef tea.
Note.—The meat loft from beef tea may be boiled a little longer, and pounded, with spices, &c., for potting. It makes a very nice breakfast dish.
DR. CHRISTISON says that “every one will be struck with the readiness with which certain classes of patients will often take diluted meat juice, or beef tea repeatedly, when they refuse all other kinds of food.” This is particularly remarkable in case of gastric fever, in which, he says, little or nothing else besides beef tea, or diluted meat juice, has been taken for weeks, or even months; and yet a pint of beef tea contains scarcely 1/4 oz. of anything but water. The result is so striking, that he asks, “What is its mode of action? Not simple nutriment; 1/4 oz. of the most nutritive material cannot nearly replace the daily wear and tear of the tissue in any circumstances.” Possibly, he says, it belongs to a new denomination of remedies.
Mode.—Cut the beef into small square pieces, after trimming off all the fat, and put it into a baking-jar, with the above proportion of water and salt; cover the jar well, place it in a warm, but not hot oven, and bake for 3 or 4 hours. When the oven is very fierce in the daytime, it is a good plan to put the jar in at night, and let it remain till the next morning, when the tea will be done. It should be strained, and put by in a cool place until wanted. It may also be flavoured with an onion, a clove, and a few sweet herbs, &c., when the stomach is sufficiently strong to take those.
Time.—3 or 4 hours, or to be left in the oven all night.
Average cost, 6d. per pint.
Sufficient.—Allow 1 lb. of meat for 1 pint of good beef tea.
Mode.—Well clean the foot, and either stew or bake it in the milk-and-water with the other ingredients from 3 to 4 hours. To enhance the flavour, an onion and a small quantity of celery may be added, if approved; 1/2 a teacupful of cream, stirred in just before serving, is also a great improvement to this dish.
Time.—3 to 4 hours. Average cost, in full season, 9d. each.
Sufficient for 1 person. Seasonable from March to October.
Mode.—Stew the foot in the water, with the lemon-peel, very gently, until the liquid is half wasted, removing any scum, should it rise to the surface. Set it by in a basin until quite cold, then take off every particle of fat. Warm up about 1/2 pint of the broth, adding the butter, sugar, and a very small quantity of grated nutmeg; take it off the fire for a minute or two, then add the beaten yolk of the egg; keep stirring over the fire until the mixture thickens, but do not allow it to boil again after the egg is added, or it will curdle, and the broth will be spoiled.
Time.—To be boiled until the liquid is reduced one half.
Average cost, in full season, 9d. each.
Sufficient to make 1–1/4 pint of broth.
Seasonable from March to October.
Mode.—An old fowl not suitable for eating may be converted into very good broth, or, if a young one be used, the inferior joints may be put in the broth, and the best pieces reserved for dressing in some other manner. Put the fowl into a saucepan, with all the ingredients, and simmer gently for 1–1/2 hour, carefully skimming the broth well. When done, strain, and put by in a cool place until wanted; then take all the fat off the top, warm up as much as may be required, and serve. This broth is, of course, only for those invalids whose stomachs are strong enough to digest it, with a flavouring of herbs, &c. It may be made in the same manner as beef tea, with water and salt only; but the preparation will be but tasteless and insipid. When the invalid cannot digest this chicken broth with the flavouring, we would recommend plain beef tea in preference to plain chicken tea, which it would be without the addition of herbs, onions, &c.
Sufficient to make rather more than 1 pint of broth.
Mode.—Let the coffee be freshly ground; put it into a saucepan, with the milk, which should be made nearly boiling before the coffee is put in, and boil both together for 3 minutes; clear it by pouring some of it into a cup, and then back again, and leave it on the hob for a few minutes to settle thoroughly. This coffee may be made still more nutritious by the addition of an egg well beaten, and put into the coffee-cup.
Time.—5 minutes to boil, 5 minutes to settle.
Sufficient to make 1 large breakfast-cupful of coffee.
Our great nurse Miss Nightingale remarks, that “a great deal too much against tea is said by wise people, and a great deal too much of tea is given to the sick by foolish people. When you see the natural and almost universal craving in English sick for their ‘tea,’ you cannot but feel that Nature knows what she is about. But a little tea or coffee restores them quite as much as a great deal; and a great deal of tea, and especially of coffee, impairs the little power of digestion they have. Yet a nurse, because she sees how one or two cups of tea or coffee restore her patient, thinks that three or four cups will do twice as much. This is not the case at all; it is, however, certain that there is nothing yet discovered which is a substitute to the English patient for his cup of tea; he can take it when he can take nothing else, and he often can’t take anything else, if he has it not. Coffee is a better restorative than tea, but a greater impairer of the digestion. In making coffee, it is absolutely necessary to buy it in the berry, and grind it at home; otherwise, you may reckon upon its containing a certain amount of chicory, at least. This is not a question of the taste, or of the wholesomeness of chicory; it is, that chicory has nothing at all of the properties for which you give coffee, and, therefore, you may as well not give it.”
Mode.—Have the cutlet cut from a very nice loin or neck of mutton; take off all the fat; put it into a stewpan, with the other ingredients; stew very gently indeed for nearly 2 hours, and skim off every particle of fat that may rise to the surface from time to time. The celery should be cut into thin slices before it is added to the meat, and care must be taken not to put in too much of this ingredient, or the dish will not be good. If the water is allowed to boil fast, the cutlet will be hard.
Time.—2 hours’ very gentle stewing. Average cost, 6d.
Sufficient for 1 person. Seasonable at any time.
Mode.—After having cleaned and skinned the eel, cut it into small pieces, and put it into a stewpan, with the other ingredients; simmer gently until the liquid is reduced nearly half, carefully removing the scum as it rises. Strain it through a hair sieve; put it by in a cool place, and, when wanted, take off all the fat from the top, warm up as much as is required, and serve with sippets of toasted bread. This is a very nutritious broth, and easy of digestion.
Time.—To be simmered until the liquor is reduced to half.
Average cost, 6d.
Sufficient to make 1–1/2 pint of broth.
Seasonable from June to March.
Mode.—Beat the egg, mixing with it a tablespoonful of cold water; make the wine-and-water hot, but not boiling; pour it on the egg, stirring all the time. Add sufficient lump sugar to sweeten the mixture, and a little grated nutmeg; put all into a very clean saucepan, set it on a gentle fire, and stir the contents one way until they thicken, but do not allow them to boil. Serve in a glass with sippets of toasted bread or plain crisp biscuits. When the egg is not warmed, the mixture will be found easier of digestion, but it is not so pleasant a drink.
Sufficient for 1 person.
Mode.—Mix the prepared groats smoothly with the cold water in a basin; pour over them the boiling water, stirring it all the time. Put it into a very clean saucepan; boil the gruel for 10 minutes, keeping it well stirred; sweeten to taste, and serve. It may be flavoured with a small piece of lemon-peel, by boiling it in the gruel, or a little grated nutmeg may be put in; but in these matters the taste of the patient should be consulted. Pour the gruel in a tumbler and serve. When wine is allowed to the invalid, 2 tablespoonfuls of sherry or port make this preparation very nice. In cases of colds, the same quantity of spirits is sometimes added instead of wine.
Sufficient to make a pint of gruel.
Mode.—Soak the shanks in plenty of water for some hours, and scrub them well; put them, with the beef and other ingredients, into a saucepan with the water, and let them simmer very gently for 5 hours. Strain the broth, and, when cold, take off all the fat. It may be eaten either warmed up or cold as a jelly.
Time.—5 hours. Average cost, 1s.
Sufficient to make from 1–1/2 to 2 pints of jelly.
Seasonable at any time.
Mode.—Pare off the rind of the lemon thinly; cut the lemon into 2 or 3 thick slices, and remove as much as possible of the white outside pith, and all the pips. Put the slices of lemon, the peel, and lump sugar into a jug; pour over the boiling water; cover it closely, and in 2 hours it will be fit to drink. It should either be strained or poured off from the sediment.
Time.—2 hours. Average cost, 2d.
Sufficient to make 1 pint of lemonade. Seasonable at any time.
Mode.—Pare off the lemon-rind thinly, put it into a jug with the sugar, and pour over the boiling water. Let it cool, then strain it; add the wine, lemon-juice, and eggs, previously well beaten, and also strained, and the beverage will be ready for use. If thought desirable, the quantity of sherry and water could be lessened, and milk substituted for them. To obtain the flavour of the lemon-rind properly, a few lumps of the sugar should be rubbed over it, until some of the yellow is absorbed.
Time.—Altogether 1 hour to make it. Average cost, 1s. 8d.
Sufficient to make 2–1/2 pints of lemonade. Seasonable at any time.
Mode.—Put the mutton into a stewpan; pour over the water cold and add the other ingredients. When it boils, skim it very carefully, cover the pan closely, and let it simmer very gently for an hour; strain it, let it cool, take off all the fat from the surface, and warm up as much as may be required, adding, if the patient be allowed to take it, a teaspoonful of minced parsley which has been previously scalded. Pearl barley or rice are very nice additions to mutton broth, and should be boiled as long as the other ingredients. When either of these is added, the broth must not be strained, but merely thoroughly skimmed. Plain mutton broth without seasoning is made by merely boiling the mutton, water, and salt together, straining it, letting the broth cool, skimming all the fat off, and warming up as much as is required. This preparation would be very tasteless and insipid, but likely to agree with very delicate stomachs, whereas the least addition of other ingredients would have the contrary effect.
Time.—1 hour. Average cost, 7d.
Sufficient to make from 1–1/2 to 2 pints of broth.
Seasonable at any time.
Note.—Veal broth may be made in the same manner; the knuckle of a leg or shoulder is the part usually used for this purpose. It is very good with the addition of the inferior joints of a fowl, or a few shank-bones.
Mode.—Cut the meat into small pieces, put it into a saucepan with the bones, but no skin or fat; add the other ingredients; cover the saucepan, and bring the water quickly to boil. Take the lid off, and continue the rapid boiling for 20 minutes, skimming it well during the process; strain the broth into a basin; if there should be any fat left on the surface, remove it by laying a piece of thin paper on the top: the greasy particles will adhere to the paper, and so free the preparation from them. To an invalid nothing is more disagreeable than broth served with a quantity of fat floating on the top; to avoid this, it is always better to allow it to get thoroughly cool, the fat can then be so easily removed.
Time.—20 minutes after the water boils. Average cost, 5d.
Sufficient to make 1/2 pint of broth. Seasonable at any time.
Mode.—Mix the flour very smoothly with 4 tablespoonfuls of the milk, and when this is well mixed, add the remainder. Cut up the rabbits into joints, put them into a stewpan, with the milk and other ingredients, and simmer them very gently until quite tender. Stir the contents from time to time, to keep the milk smooth and prevent it from burning. 1/2 hour will be sufficient for the cooking of this dish.
Time.—1/2 hour. Average cost, from 1s. to 1s. 6d. each.
Sufficient for 3 or 4 meals. Seasonable from September to February.
Mode.—Well wash the rice, put it into a saucepan with the milk, and simmer gently until the rice is tender, stirring it from time to time to prevent the milk from burning; sweeten it, add a little grated nutmeg, and serve. This dish is also very suitable and wholesome for children; it may be flavoured with a little lemon-peel, and a little finely-minced suet may be boiled with it, which renders it more strengthening and more wholesome. Tapioca, semolina, vermicelli, and macaroni, may all be dressed in the same manner.
Time.—From 3/4 to 1 hour. Seasonable at any time.
Mode.—Cut a slice from a stale loaf (a piece of hard crust is better than anything else for the purpose), toast it of a nice brown on every side, but do not allow it to burn or blacken. Put it into a jug, pour the boiling water over it, cover it closely, and let it remain until cold. When strained, it will be ready for use. Toast-and-water should always be made a short time before it is required, to enable it to get cold: if drunk in a tepid or lukewarm state, it is an exceedingly disagreeable beverage. If, as is sometimes the case, this drink is wanted in a hurry, put the toasted bread into a jug, and only just cover it with the boiling water; when this is cool, cold water may be added in the proportion required,—the toast-and-water strained; it will then be ready for use, and is more expeditiously prepared than by the above method.
Mode.—Place a very thin piece of cold toast between 2 slices of thin bread-and-butter in the form of a sandwich, adding a seasoning of pepper and salt. This sandwich may be varied by adding a little pulled meat, or very fine slices of cold meat, to the toast, and in any of these forms will be found very tempting to the appetite of an invalid.
1878. Besides the recipes contained in this chapter, there are, in the previous chapters on cookery, many others suitable for invalids, which it would be useless to repeat here. Recipes for fish simply dressed, light soups, plain roast meat, well-dressed vegetables, poultry, simple puddings, jelly, stewed fruits, &c. &c., all of which dishes may be partaken of by invalids and convalescents, will be found in preceding chapters.