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TESTO - Fish - View from the Hill
TESTO - Fish - View from the Hill
As this treatise is calculated for the improvement of the rising generation of Females in America, the Lady of fashion and fortune will not be displeased, if many hints are suggested for the more general and universal knowledge of those females in this country, who by the loss of their parents, or other unfortunate circumstances, are reduced to the necessity of going into families in the line of domestics, or taking refuge with their friends or relations, and doing those things which are really essential to the perfecting them as good wives, and useful members of society. The orphan, tho' left to the care of virtuous guardians, will find it essentially necessary to have an opinion and determination of her own. The world, and the fashion thereof, is so variable, that old people cannot accommodate themselves to the various changes and fashions which daily occur; they will adhere to the fashion of their day, and will not surrender their attachments to the good old way—while the young and the gay, bend and conform readily to the taste of the times, and fancy of the hour. By having an opinion and determination, I would not be understood to mean an obstinate perseverance in trifles, which borders on obstinacy—by no means, but only an adherence to those rules and maxims which have flood the test of ages, and will forever establish the female character, a virtuous character—altho’ they conform to the ruling taste of the age in cookery, dress, language, manners, &c.
It must ever remain a check upon the poor solitary orphan, that while those females who have parents, or brothers, or riches, to defend their indiscretions, that the orphan must depend solely upon character. How immensely important, therefore, that every action, every word, every thought, be regulated by the strictest purity, and that every movement meet the approbation of the good and wise.
The candor of the American Ladies is solicitously intreated by the Authoress, as she is circumscribed in her knowledge, this being an original work in this country. Should any future editions appear, she hopes to render it more valuable.
DIRECTIONS for CATERING, or the procuring the best VIANDS, FISH, &c.
How to choose Flesh.
BEEF. The large stall fed ox beef is the best, it has a coarse open grain, and oily smoothness; dent it with your finger and it will immediately rise again; if old, it will be rough and spungy, and the dent remain.
Cow Beef is less boned, and generally more tender and juicy than the ox, in America, which is used to labor.
Of almost every species of Animals, Birds and Fishes, the female is the tenderest, the richest flavour'd, and among poultry the soonest fattened.
Mutton, grass-fed, is good two or three years old.
Lamb, if under six months is rich, and no danger of imposition; it may be known by its size, in distinguishing either.
Veal, is soon lost—great care therefore is necessary in purchasing. Veal bro't to market in panniers, or in carriages, is to be prefered to that bro’t in bags, and flouncing on a sweaty horse.
Pork, is known by its size, and whether properly fattened by its appearance.
To make the best Bacon.
To each ham put one ounce saltpetre, one pint bay salt, one pint molasses, shake together 6 or 8 weeks, or when a large quantity is together, bast them with the liquor every day; when taken out to dry, smoke three weeks with cobs or malt fumes. To every ham may be added a cheek, if you stow away a barrel and not alter the composition, some add a shoulder. For transportation or exportation, double the period of smoaking.
Fish, how to choose the best in market.
Salmon, the noblest and richest fish taken in fresh water—the largest are the best. They are unlike almost every other fish, are ameliorated by being 3 or 4 days out of water, if kept from heat and the moon, which has much more injurious effect than the sun.
In all great fish-markets, great fish-mongers strictly examine the gills—if the bright redness is exchanged for a low brown, they are stale; but when live fish are bro't flouncing into market, you have only to elect the kind most agreeable to your palate and the season.
Shad, contrary to the generally received opinion are not so much richer flavored, as they are harder when first taken out of the water; opinions vary respecting them. I have tasted Shad thirty or forty miles from the place where caught, and really conceived that they had a richness of flavor, which did not appertain to those taken fresh and cooked immediately, and have proved both at the same table, and the truth may rest here, that a Shad 36 or 48 hours out of water, may not cook so hard and solid, and be esteemed so elegant, yet give a higher relished flavor to the taste.
Every species generally of salt water Fish, are best fresh from the water, tho' the Hannah Hill, Black Fish, Lobster, Oyster, Flounder, Bass, Cod, Haddock, and Eel, with many others, may be transported by land many miles, find a good market, and retain a good relish; but as generally, live ones are bought first, deceits are used to give them a freshness of appearance, such as peppering the gills, wetting the fins and tails, and even painting the gills, or wetting with animal blood. Experience and attention will dictate the choice of the best. Fresh gills, full bright eyes, moist fins and tails, are denotements of their being fresh caught; if they are soft, its certain they are stale, but if deceits are used, your smell must approve or denounce them, and be your safest guide.
Of all fresh water fish, there are none that require, or so well afford haste in cookery, as the Salmon Trout, they are best when caught under a fall or cateract—from what philosophical circumstance is yet unsettled, yet true it is, that at the foot of a fall the waters are much colder than at the head; Trout choose those waters; if taken from them and hurried into dress, they are genuinely good; and take rank in point of superiority of flavor, of most other fish.
Perch and Roach, are noble pan fish, the deeper the water from whence taken, the finer are their flavors; if taken from shallow water, with muddy bottoms, they are impregnated therewith, and are unsavory.
Eels, though taken from muddy bottoms, are best to jump in the pan.
Most white or soft fish are best bloated, which is done by salting, peppering, and drying in the sun, and in a chimney; after 30 or 40 hours drying, are best broiled, and moistened with butter, &c.
Poultry—how to choose.
Having before stated that the female in almost every instance, is preferable to the male, and peculiarly so in the Peacock, which, tho' beautifully plumaged, is tough, hard, stringy, and untasted, and even indelicious—while the Pea Hen is exactly otherwise, and the queen of all birds.
So also in a degree, Turkey.
Hen Turkey, is higher and richer flavor'd, easier fattened and plumper—they are no odds in market.
Dunghill Fowls, are from their frequent use, a tolerable proof of the former birds.
Chickens, of either kind are good, and the yellow leg'd the best, and their taste the sweetest.
Capons, if young are good, are known by short spurs and smooth legs.
All birds are known, whether fresh killed or stale, by a tight vent in the former, and a loose open vent if old or stale; their smell denotes their goodness; speckled rough legs denote age, while smooth legs and combs prove them young.
A Goose, if young, the bill will be yellow, and will have but few hairs, the bones will crack easily; but if old, the contrary, the bill will be red, and the pads still redder; the joints stiff and difficultly disjointed; if young, otherwise; choose one not very fleshy on the breast, but fat in the rump.
Ducks, are similar to geese.
Wild Ducks, have redder pads, and smaller than the tame ones, otherwise are like the goose or tame duck, or to be chosen by the same rules.
Wood Cocks, ought to be thick, fat and flesh firm, the nose dry, and throat clear.
Snipes, if young and fat, have full veins under the wing, and are small in the veins, otherwise like the Woodcock.
Partridges, if young, will have black bills, yellowish legs; if old, the legs look bluish; if old or stale, it may be perceived by smelling at their mouths.
Pigeons, young, have light red legs, and the flesh of a colour, and prick easily—old have red legs, blackish in parts, more hairs, plumper and loose vents—so also of grey or green Plover, Blade Birds, Thrash, Lark, and wild Fowl in general.
Hares, are white flesh'd and flexible when new and fresh kill'd; if stale, their flesh will have a blackish hue, like old pigeons, if the cleft in her lip spread much, is wide and ragged, she is old; the contrary when young.
Leveret, is like the Hare in every respect, that some are obliged to search for the knob, or small bone on the fore leg or foot, to distinguish them.
Rabbits, the wild are the best, either are good and tender; if old there will be much yellowish fat about the kidneys, the claws long, wool rough, and mixed with grey hairs; if young the reverse. As to their being fresh, judge by the scent, they soon perish, if trap’d or shot, and left in pelt or undressed; their taint is quicker than veal, and the most sickish in nature; and will not, like beef or veal, be purged by fire.
The cultivation of Rabbits would be profitable in America, if the best methods were pursued—they are a very prolific and profitable animal—they are easily cultivated if properly attended, but not otherwise.—A Rabbit’s borough, on which 3000 dollars may have been expended, might be very profitable; but on the small scale they would be well near market towns—easier bred, and more valuable.
Butter—Tight, waxy, yellow Butter is better than white or crumbly, which soon becomes rancid and frowy. Go into the centre of balls or rolls to prove and judge it; if in ferkin, the middle is to be preferred, as the sides are frequently distasted by the wood of the firkin—altho' oak and used for years. New pine tubs are ruinous to the butter. To have sweet butter in dog days, and thro’ the vegetable seasons, send stone pots to honest, neat, and trusty dairy people, and procure it pack'd down in May, and let them be brought in in the night, or cool rainy morning, covered with a clean cloth wet in cold water, and partake of no heat from the horse, and set the pots in the coldest part of your cellar, or in the ice house.—Some say that May butter thus preserved, will go into the winter use, better than fall made butter.
Cheese—The red smooth moist coated, and tight pressed, square edged Cheese, are better than white coat, hard rinded, or bilged; the inside should be yellow, and flavored to your taste. Old shelves which have only been wiped down for years, are preferable to scoured and washed shelves. Deceits are used by salt-petering the out side, or colouring with hemlock, cocumberries, or safron, infused into the milk; the taste of either supercedes every possible evasion.
Eggs—Clear, thin shell'd, longest oval and sharp ends are best; to ascertain whether new or stale—hold to the light, if the white is clear, the yolk regularly in the centre, they are good—but if otherwise, they are stale. The best possible method of ascertaining, is to put them into water, if they lye on their bilge, they are good and fresh—if they bob up an end they are stale, and if they rise they are addled, proved, and of no use.
We proceed to ROOTS and VEGETABLES—and the best cook cannot alter the first quality, they must be good, or the cook will be disappointed.
Potatoes, take rank for universal use, profit and easy acquirement. The smooth skin, known by the name of How's Potato, is the most mealy and richest flavor’d; the yellow rusticoat next best; the red, and red rusticoat are tolerable; and the yellow Spanish have their value—those cultivated from imported seed on sandy or dry loomy lands, are best for table use; tho' the red or either will produce more in rich, loomy, highly manured garden grounds; new lands and a sandy soil, afford the richest flavor'd; and most mealy Potato much depends on the ground on which they grow—more on the species of Potatoes planted—and still more from foreign seeds—and each may be known by attention to connoisseurs; for a good potato comes up in many branches of cookery, as herein after prescribed.—All potatoes should be dug before the rainy seasons in the fall, well dryed in the sun, kept from frost and dampness during the winter, in the spring removed from the cellar to a dry loft, and spread thin, and frequently stirred and dryed, or they will grow and be thereby injured for cookery.
A roast Potato is brought on with roast Beef, a Steake, a Chop, or Fricassee; good boiled with a boiled dish; make an excellent stuffing for a turkey, water or wild fowl; make a good pie, and a good starch for many uses. All potatoes run out, or depreciate in America; a fresh importation of the Spanish might restore them to table use.
It would swell this treatise too much to say every thing that is useful, to prepare a good table, but I may be pardoned by observing, that the Irish have preserved a genuine mealy rich Potato, for a century, which takes rank of any known in any other kingdom; and I have heard that they renew their seed by planting and cultivating the Seed Ball, which grows on the tine. The manner of their managing it to keep up the excellency of that root, would better suit a treatise on agriculture and gardening than this—and be inserted in a book which would be read by the farmer, instead of his amiable daughter. If no one treats on the subject, it may appear in the next edition.
Onions—The Madeira white is best in market, esteemed softer flavored, and not so fiery, but the high red, round hard onions are the best; if you consult cheapness, the largest are best; if you consult taste and softness, the very smallest are the most delicate, and used at the first tables. Onions grow in the richest, highest cultivated ground, and better and better year after year, on, the same ground.
Beets, grow on any ground, but best on loom, or light gravel grounds; the red is the richest and best approved; the white has a sickish sweetness, which is disliked by many.
Parsnips, are a valuable root, cultivated best in rich old grounds, and doubly deep plowed, late sown, they grow thrifty, and are not so prongy; they may be kept any where and any how, so that they do not grow with heat, or are nipped with frost; if frosted, let them thaw in earth; they are richer flavored when plowed out of the ground in April, having stood out during the winter, tho' they will not last long after, and commonly more sticky and hard in the centre.
Carrots, are managed as it respects plowing and rich ground, similarly to Parsnips. The yellow are better than the orange or red; middling fiz'd, that is, a foot long and two inches thick at the top end, are better than over grown ones; they are cultivated best with onions, sowed very thin, and mixed with other seeds, while young or six weeks after sown, especially if with onions on true onion ground. They are good with veal cookery, rich in soups, excellent with hash, in May and June.
Garlicks, tho' used by the French, are better adapted to the uses of medicine than cookery.
Asparagus—The mode of cultivation belongs to gardening; your business is only to cut and dress, the largest is best, the growth of a day sufficient, six inches long, and cut just above the ground; many cut below the surface, under an idea of getting tender shoots, and preserving the bed; but it enfeebles the root: dig round it and it will be wet with the juices—but if cut above ground, and just as the dew is going off, the sun will either reduce the juice, or send it back to nourish the root—its an excellent vegetable.
Parsley, of the three kinds, the thickest and branchiest is the best, is sown among onions, or in a bed by itself, may be dryed for winter use; tho' a method which I have experienced, is much better—In September I dig my roots, procure an old thin stave dry cask, bore holes an inch diameter in every stave, 6 inches asunder round the cask, and up to the top—take first a half bushel of rich garden mold and put into the cask, then run the roots through the staves, leaving the branches outside, press the earth tight about the root within, and thus continue on thro' the respective stories, till the cask is full; it being filled, run an iron bar thro' the center of the dirt in the cask and fill with water, let stand on the south and east side of a building till frosty night, then remove it, (by slinging a rope round the cask) into the cellar; where, during the winter, I clip with my scissars the fresh parsley, which my neighbors or myself have occasion for; and in the spring transplant the roots in the bed in the garden, or in any unused corner—or let stand upon the wharf, or the wash shed. Its an useful mode of cultivation, and a pleasurably tasted herb, and much used in garnishing viands.
Raddish, Salmon coloured is the best, purple next best—white—turnip—each are produced from southern seeds, annually. They grow thriftiest sown among onions. The turnip Raddish will last well through the winter.
Artichokes—The Jerusalem is best, are cultivated like potatoes, (tho' their stocks grow 7 feet high) and may be preserved like the turnip raddish, or pickled—-they like.
Horse Raddish, once in the garden, can scarcely ever be totally eradicated; plowing or digging them up with that view, seems at times rather to increase and spread them.
Cucumbers, are of many kinds; the prickly is best for pickles, but generally bitter; the white is difficult to raise and tender; choose the bright green, smooth and proper sized.
Melons—The Water Melons is cultivated on sandy soils only, above latitude 41 1/2, if a stratum of land be dug from a well, it will bring the first year good Water Melons; the red cored are highest flavored; a hard rine proves them ripe.
Muskmelons, are various, the rough skinned is best to eat; the short, round, fair skinn'd, is best for Mangoes.
Lettuce, is of various kinds; the purple spotted leaf is generally the tenderest, and free from bitter—Your taste must guide your market.
Cabbage, requires a page, they are so multifarious. Note, all Cabbages have a higher relish that grow on new unmatured grounds; if grown in an old town and on old gardens, they have a rankness, which at times, may be perceived by a fresh air traveller. This observation has been experienced for years—that Cabbages require new ground, more than Turnips.
The Low Dutch, only will do in old gardens.
The Early Yorkshire, must have rich soils, they will not answer for winter, they are easily cultivated, and frequently bro't to market in the fall, but will not last the winter.
The Green Savoy, with the richest crinkles, is fine and tender; and altho' they do not head like the Dutch or Yorkshire, yet the tenderness of the out leaves is a counterpoise, it will last thro' the winter, and are high flavored.
The Yellow Savoy, takes next rank, but will not last so long; all Cabbages will mix, and participate of other species, like Indian Corn; they are culled, best in plants; and a true gardener will, in the plant describe those which will head, and which will not. This is new, but a fact.
The gradations in the Savoy Cabbage are discerned by the leaf; the richest and most scollup'd, and crinkled, and thickest Green Savoy, falls little short of a Colliflour.
The red and redest small tight heads, are best for slaw, it will not boil well, comes out black or blue, and tinges, other things with which it is boiled.