General Remarks

Weighing Machine.

The coarse and unpalatable compounds so constantly met with under the denomination of forcemeat, even at tables otherwise tolerably well served, show with how little attention they are commonly prepared.
Many very indifferent cooks pique themselves on never doing anything by rule, and the consequence of their throwing together at random (or “by guess” as they call it) the ingredients which ought to be proportioned with exceeding exactness is repeated failure in all they attempt to do. Long experience, and a very correct eye may, it is true, enable a person to dispense with weights and measures without hazarding the success of their operations; but it is an experiment which the learner will do better to avoid.

A large marble or Wedgwood mortar is indispensable in making all the finer kinds of forcemeat; and equally so indeed for many other purposes in cookery; no kitchen, therefore, should be without one;* and for whatever preparation it may be used, the pounding should be continued with patience and perseverance until not a single lump or fibre be perceptible in the mass of the articles beaten together. This particularly applies to potted meats, which should resemble the smoothest paste; as well as to several varieties of forcemeat. Of these last it should be observed, that such as are made by the French method (see quenelles) are the most appropriate for an elegant dinner, either to serve in soups or to fill boned poultry of any kind; but when their exceeding lightness, which to foreigners constitutes one of their great excellences, is objected to, it may be remedied by substituting dry crumbs of bread for the panada, and pounding a small quantity of the lean of a boiled ham, with the other ingredients: however, this should be done only for the balls.

* Two or three mortars, varying in size, should be in every household where it is expected that the cookery should be well conducted: they are often required also for many other domestic purposes, yet it is not unusual to find both these and scales, weights, and measures of every kind, altogether wanting in English kitchens.

No particular herb or spice should be allowed to predominate powerfully in these compositions; but the whole of the seasonings should be taken in such quantity only as will produce an agreeable savour when they are blended together.

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