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Appears in

The Picayune's Creole Cook Book

By The Times Picayune Publishing Company

Published 1901

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Frying among the Creoles is done in several ways. The first and the method most generally adopted in households is to put a tablespoonful of lard or an ounce, as the quantity of Meat to cook may seem to require, into a frying pan. When the lard has reached the boiling point lay in the Meat and cook first on one side then on the other to a nice brown. The second method is that in use among the Creole chefs, restaurateurs, in the homes of the wealthier classes; the Meat is completely immersed in the boiling lard as in frying fish or doughnuts. The intense heat quickly closes up the pores of the Meat, and a brown crust is formed; the heat of the lard should be such that a piece of bread dropped into it becomes brown instantly. The lard should never be smoking. This ruins the Meat and gives a burnt flavor. As soon as it begins to smoke remove the frying pan to the side of the stove, but still keep it at the boiling point. The half-frying method mentioned above is, however, the one most generally in use, and if followed properly excellent results are obtained; indeed, many Creole chefs prefer it. There is another method that is very generally used and which imparts a flavor similar to that of Broiled Meat. This is to lay the Meat in a thick-bottomed frying pan with a tablespoonful of butter. Brown the Meat quickly first on one side and then on the other; lay in a hot platter and season as you would Broiled Meat.

In large families where there is a great deal of cooking required, the economical housewife will carefully save all the drippings and the fat remnants of Beef, Mutton and Pork. She will occasionally get a pound or two of suet from the market. These drippings or skimmings may be clarified by boiling them in hot water about twice a week. When the fat is thoroughly melted, strain it with the water and set aside to cool. After a while the hard fat that has been formed on top of the water, may be lifted out just as you would a cake of anything; then scrape off all the dark particles from the bottom and melt the fat over again. While it is still very hot strain it into a clean stone jar or tin pail, and it is ready for use in cooking. Refined cotton seed oil and butter oil are now being adopted by many professional cooks and in households for culinary purposes. Olive oil has always been in use for this purpose among the Creoles, and is held as a very delicate medium for frying. But many prefer the Beef fat or suet for frying, considering it both wholesome and digestible, and more delicate than olive oil or the fat of Pork. But the careful housekeeper will always preserve all odds and ends of fat of Beef, Mutton or Pork, and the drippings after frying anything. Set this aside until the fat settles and cools, then pour off carefully so as to clear from the sediment that always settles at the bottom and clarify as above.