A thorough practical knowledge of the processes described in the present chapter will form a really good cook far sooner and more completely than any array of mere receipts can do, however minutely they may be explained; they should, therefore, be well studied and comprehended, before any attempt is made to compound difficult dishes; and the principles of roasting, boiling, stewing, and baking, at least, ought to be clearly understood by every servant who undertakes the duties of what is called plain cookery, which is, in fact, of more importance than any other, because it is in almost universal request in this country for families of moderate fortune; and any person who excels in it will easily become expert in what are considered the higher branches of the art.

In a vast number of English kitchens the cookery fails from the hurried manner in which it is conducted, and from the excess of heat produced by the enormous coal-fires constantly kept burning there at all seasons, without which ignorant servants imagine no dinner can be properly cooked; a mistake which cannot fail quickly to become apparent to the most inexperienced reader who will give a patient trial to the slow methods of cooking recommended in the following pages. These will be found to combine exceeding economy in the consumption of fuel, with a degree of superiority in the food prepared by them, which would scarcely be credited unless it were put to the test. In stewing, and baking in closely covered vessels, this superiority is more particularly remarkable; and we would willingly give a far larger space to so useful a subject than our limits will permit: we are, however, compelled, though with regret, to restrict ourselves to such details as we have now supplied in various parts of this volume.

    In this section