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Article Index

 

PRESERVES 

These can never be done to perfection, without plenty of good sugar. Fruits may be kept with small quantities of sugar, but then they must boil so long that there is as much waste in the boiling away, as some more sugar added at first would have cost, and the quality of the preserve will neither be so proper for use, nor of so good an appearance, as with a larger proportion of sugar, and moderate boiling. Fruits are often put up without any sugar at all, but if they do not ferment and spoil, which is very common, they must have a good deal of sugar added to them when used, and thus the risk of spoiling seems hardly compensated by any saving. The only real economy that can be exercised in this case is, not to make any preserves at all. 

The most perfect state in which fruits in general can be taken for preserving is, just when they are full ripe. Sooner than this they have not acquired their best qualities, and if they hang long after it they begin to lose them. Some persons will delay the doing them, under an idea that the longer they hang the less sugar they require. But it is a false economy that would lose the perfection of the fruit to save some of the sugar, and probably quite unfounded in fact, as all things will naturally keep the best that are taken at their highest perfection, and hence do with as little sugar then as at any time.

PRESERVED CUCUMBERS 

Choose such as are most free from seed; some should be small to preserve whole, and others large to cut in pieces. Put them into a jar, with strong salt and water, and a cabbage leaf to keep them down, and set them in a warm place till they turn yellow. Then wash and set them over the fire in fresh water, with a little salt, and a fresh cabbage leaf over them; cover the pan close, but they must not be boiled. If not of a fine green, change the water, cover them as before, and make them hot; when of a good green, take them off the fire, and let them stand till cold. Cut the large cucumbers in quarters, and take out the seeds and pulp; put them into cold water for two days, and change the water twice each day. Place on the fire a pound of refined sugar, with half a pint of water; skim it clean, put in the rind of a lemon, and an ounce of ginger with the outside scraped off. When the syrup is pretty thick take it off, and when cold wipe the cucumbers dry, and put them in. Boil the syrup every two or three days, continuing to do so for three weeks, and make it stronger if necessary. Be sure to put the syrup to the cucumbers quite cold, cover them close, and keep them in a dry place.

PRESERVED OYSTERS 

Open the oysters carefully, so as not to cut them, except in dividing the gristle which attaches the shells. Put them into a mortar, and add about two drams of salt to a dozen oysters. Pound and then rub them through the back of a hair sieve, and put them into the mortar again, with as much well-dried flour as will make them into a paste. Roll it out several times, and at last flour and roll it out the thickness of a half crown, and divide it into pieces about an inch square. Lay them in a Dutch oven, that they may dry gently without being burnt; turn them every half hour, and when they begin to dry, crumble them. They will take about four hours to dry, then pound them fine, sift and put them into bottles, and seal them down. To make half a pint of oyster sauce, put one ounce of butter into a stewpan, with three drams of oyster powder, and six spoonfuls of milk. Set it on a slow fire, stir it till it boils, and season it with salt. This powder, if made of plump juicy natives, will abound with the flavour of the fish; and if closely corked, and kept in a dry place, will remain good for some time. It is also an agreeable substitute when oysters are out of season, and is a valuable addition to the list of fish sauces. It is equally good with boiled fowl, or rump steak; and sprinkled on bread and butter, it makes a very good sandwich.

PRESERVED WALNUTS 

Put the walnuts into cold water, let them boil five minutes, strain off the water, and change it three times. Dry the nuts in a cloth, and weigh them; to every pound of nuts allow a pound of sugar, and stick a clove in each. Put them into a jar with some rose vinegar; boil up a syrup, with a pint of water and half a pound of sugar, and pour over them. Let them stand three or four days, and boil up the syrup again. Repeat this three times, and at last give the walnuts a good scald, and let them remain in the syrup.

PRESERVATION OF BUTTER 

Butter, as it is generally cured, does not keep well for any length of time, without spoiling or becoming rancid. The following method of preserving butter, supposing it to have been previously well made, is recommended as the best at present known. Reduce separately to fine powder in a dry mortar, two pounds of the whitest common salt, one pound of saltpetre, and one pound of lump sugar. Sift these ingredients one above another, on two sheets of paper joined together, and then mix them well with the hands, or with a spatula. Preserve the whole in a covered jar, placed in a dry situation. When required to be used, one ounce of this composition is to be proportioned to every pound of butter, and the whole is to be well worked into the mass: the butter is then to be packed in casks in the usual way. Butter cured with this mixture will be of a rich marrowy consistence, and will never acquire that brittle hardness so common to salt butter. 

It has been known to keep for three years, as sweet as it was at first; but it must be observed, that butter thus cured requires to stand at least three weeks or a month before it is used. If it be opened sooner, the salts are not sufficiently blended with it, and sometimes the coolness of the nitre will then be perceived, which totally disappears afterwards. Cleanliness in this article is indispensable, but it is not generally suspected, that butter made or kept in vessels or troughs lined with lead, or put into glazed earthenware pans, is too apt to be contaminated with particles of that deleterious metal. If the butter is in the least degree rancid, this can hardly fail to take place; and it cannot be doubted, that during the decomposition of the salts, the glazing is acted upon. It is better therefore to use tinned vessels for mixing the preservative with the butter, and to pack it either in wooden vessels, or in stone jars which are vitrified throughout, and do not require any inside glazing.

PRESSED BEEF 

Salt a piece of the brisket, a thin part of the flank, or the tops of the ribs, with salt and saltpetre five days. Boil it gently till extremely tender, put it under a great weight, or in a cheesepress, and let it remain till perfectly cold. It is excellent for sandwiches, or a cold dish.

PRIMROSE VINEGAR 

Boil four pounds of moist sugar in ten quarts of water for about a quarter of an hour, and take off the scum. Then pour the liquor on six pints of primroses, add some fresh yeast before it is quite cold, and let it work all night in a warm place. When the fermentation is over, close up the barrel, and still keep it in a warm place.

PRINCE OF WALES'S PUDDING 

Put half a pound of loaf sugar, and half a pound of fresh butter, into a saucepan; set it over the fire till both are melted, stirring it well, as it is very liable to burn, but do not let it boil. Pour this into an earthen pan, grate the rind of a lemon into it, and leave it to cool. Have ready two sponge biscuits soaked in a quarter of a pint of cream, bruise them fine and stir them into the sugar and butter. Beat the yolks of ten, and the whites of five eggs well with a little salt; squeeze and strain the juice of the lemon into them, and mix these well in with the other ingredients. Lay a puff paste into the dish, strew it with pieces of candied lemon peel, put in the pudding, and bake it three quarters of an hour in a moderate oven. Sift fine sugar over it, before it is sent to the table.

PROVISIONS 

The first of all requisites for human sustenance is Bread, which with great propriety is denominated 'the staff of life.' The next to this is Meat, which though not alike essential, is of great importance in strengthening and invigorating the human frame. The former of these constituting the principal food of great numbers, and a part of the sustenance of all people, it is highly necessary to attend carefully to the ingredients of which it is composed, and to the manner in which it is prepared. A person's health must inevitably be injured by bad corn and flour, and even by what is good, when improperly prepared. The best flour is often made into bad bread by not suffering it to rise sufficiently; by not kneading it well, by not baking it enough, and by keeping it too long. Mixing other substances with the flour also injures the quality of the bread in a very high degree. These faults have a bad effect on those who generally eat such bread, but the injury is still more serious to children and weakly persons. Where the flour is corrupted, the use of it in every other article of food, will of course be as unwholesome as in that of bread. The mere exposure to the air will evaporate and deaden all flour, though the grain may never have passed through any fermentation or digestion; as in the instance of wheat flour, the strongest and the best of any other. For this reason, flour which has been ground five or six weeks, or longer, though it be kept close in sacks or barrels, will not make so sweet a loaf, nor one so moist and pleasant, as that which is newly ground. Hence all bread made in London eats drier and harsher than bread in the country, which is made within a few days after the grinding of the wheat. All grains which are ground, ought therefore to be used as soon afterwards as possible. 

But this is not the most profitable to the dealers in meal, as meal newly ground will not part so freely from the bran, nor consequently yield so much flour, as when it lies a certain time after the grinding; for this disposes the branny and floury parts to give way from each other, and thus they separate easier and more completely than when dressed immediately. The flour also then looks finer, but the bread made of such meal is not of so good a quality as that made of meal fresh ground. All sorts of grain kept entire, will remain sound and good for a long time: but flour will in a comparatively short time, corrupt, and generate worms. This therefore requires peculiar attention, or much loss and injury may be sustained. The health of mankind depends in great measure on the good or bad preparation of food, and on the purity of all sorts of provisions: and grain being the most essential article of sustenance, very much depends on the conduct of millers, bakers, and mealmen. Those who acquit themselves honestly in these vocations are entitled to a fair profit, and the goodwill of their fellow-men: but such as betray the confidence reposed in them, by corrupting or withholding it when needed, are undoubtedly amongst the worst enemies of mankind. 

So far as health is concerned, bread made with leaven is preferable to that made with yeast; the sour quality of leaven is more agreeable to the ferment of the stomach than yeast; it is also easier of digestion, and more cleansing. It opens the vessels, and gives a healthy appetite; and a little use will make it familiar and pleasant to the eater. This bread however seldom agrees with weak stomachs, especially such as are liable to acidity and heartburn. One of the best kinds of bread for sickly people, is made of wheaten flour, the coarse or husky bran being taken out, but not finely dressed; otherwise it would be dry, and obstructing to the stomach. The inner skin or branny parts of wheat contain a moisty quality, which is opening and cleansing, while the fine floury parts afford more nourishment. Bread therefore of a middling quality is the wholesomest, and the best. 

Mixing in much salt is injurious, from the change it occasions in bread of every description. Finding no matter liable to putrefaction to work on, it acts upon the best qualities of the flour, which it alters and corrupts. Hence, when bread is intended to be kept a considerable time, as biscuits for a long voyage, no salt is put into it. But bread for common use will admit of a moderate portion of salt. It may be remarked however, that bread, notwithstanding it is so excellent with meat, milk, and vegetables, is not so substantial and nourishing as flour, when prepared in porridges and other articles. 

To have good bread, it should not be baked in too close an oven, but a free passage should be left for the air. The best way is to make it into thin cakes, and bake them on a stone, which many in the northern counties use for that purpose, making a wood fire under it. This sort of bread is sweeter, of a more innocent taste, and far easier of digestion, than bread baked the common way in ovens. In the same manner cakes may be made of any kind of grain, such as rye, oats, or barley, and will be found more wholesome and nourishing, and more agreeable to nature, than bread made in the usual manner. Oat cakes are often preferred to those made of wheat flour, as they tend to open the body, and are rather warmer, to cold and weak stomachs. Barley is not so nourishing, and requires more preparation to render it digestible, than the other kinds of grain. Cakes, biscuits, muffins, buns, crumpets, and small bread, made with eggs, butter, or sugar, seldom agree with delicate persons. 

Biscuits made without leaven, yeast, butter, or sugar, are more difficult of digestion, than bread when it is fermented. Where bread is fixed to a standard weight and price, bakers are very apt to mix alum and pearlash with it, for the purpose of hastening its rising, and of encreasing its weight, by causing it to retain its moisture. If a piece of bread be soaked in water, and turns the juice of a red cabbage into a green colour, it is a proof that it contains an alkali or earthy substance, which is most probably pearlash. It is said that a compound salt is clandestinely sold in London, under the name of baker's salt, and is composed of the above ingredients. When there is reason to suspect that bread is adulterated with alum, it may be detected thus. Cut about a pound of bread into an earthen vessel, pour upon it a quart of boiling water, and let it stand till cold. Strain the liquor off gently through a piece of fine linen, boil it down to about a wine glass full, and set it by to cool. 

If there be a mixture of alum, it will form itself into crystals. The observance of the following rules may be considered as essential to the making of good bread. The corn must be sound and clean, and newly ground, and not contaminated with any extraneous mixtures. To make it easy of digestion it should be leavened, and moderately seasoned with salt. Let it rise for several hours, and be well wrought and kneaded with the hands. It must be well baked, but neither over nor under-done. If baked too little, the bread will be heavy, clammy, and unwholesome: if too much, its strength and goodness will be consumed. In general, bread should not be eaten hot; it is then more viscid, and harder of digestion. 

Bread is in its best state the first and second day after it is baked. Economical bread, or bread of an inferior quality, depraved by other mixtures, has frequently been recommended to poor people in times of scarcity; but except where absolute necessity exists, this is a kind of policy that cannot be too severely condemned. The labouring classes, whose dependence is almost entirely upon bread, ought to be provided with what is of the purest and most nutricious quality, and at a reasonable price. They might then live upon their labour, and in health and activity would feel that labour itself was sweet. If potatoes, rice, or any other ingredients are to be mixed with the bread, to lower its nutricious qualities, let it not be offered to the labourer; but if economy of this kind be required, let it be exercised by those whose eyes are standing out with fatness, and to whom a sparer diet might be beneficial.

MEAT in general, as well as all other kinds of food, is nourishing or otherwise, according to its quality, and the manner in which it is prepared. There are peculiar constitutions, or particular diseases and periods of life, when animal food is highly detrimental; and others again, when it is essentially necessary; but it is the general use of it, and not these exceptions, that will be the subject of the following observations. As a part of our habitual diet, the main points to be attended to are, the kinds of animal food, and the modes of dressing it, which are most to be recommended. A choice of meat is desirable, but if the animals subject to this choice be neither sound nor healthy, it is of little consequence which kind is preferred, for they, are alike unwholesome. It is proper therefore to avoid the flesh of all such as are fatted in confinement, or upon pernicious substances, which can never make wholesome food. Oil cakes and rank vegetables, with want of air and exercise, will produce such sort of meat as will shew immediately from its appearance, that it must be unwholesome. Animals may eat rancid fulsome food, and grow fat upon it, and yet the meat they produce may be highly offensive. 

Hunger and custom will induce the eating of revolting substances, both in the brute and human species; and growing fat is by no means a certain sign of health. On the contrary, it is frequently the symptom of a gross habit, and a tendency to disease. The distinct effects of various kinds of food upon animals, are very obvious in the instance of milch cows. Grass, hay, straw, grains, turnips, and oil cakes, produce milk of such different qualities as must be at once distinguished; and the preference to that where cows are fed upon grass or hay, and next to them straw, appears very decided. The inference would be fair, that it must be the same with respect to flesh, even if it were less obvious than it is. It is an unwise economy, in the management of cows, that withholds from them a sufficient quantity of the best and most nourishing food. 

If duly appreciated, the quality of milk is even of superior importance to that of flesh, from its general excellence and utility as an article of food. If milk was plentiful and good, the want of meat would in many instances not be felt, and in others, the consumption of it might be lessened with great advantage. To confine cows with a view to increase their supply of milk, is as injurious to the quality of it, as the confinement of animals is in other instances. The over feeding them also with a similar view, is an injurious practice. Cleanliness too is no less essential to keeping them in a wholesome state, than to animals intended to be slaughtered. It is no uncommon effect of confining and cramming animals, that they become diseased in the liver, besides acquiring a general tendency to putridity in their juices and muscular substances, from want of air and exercise, excess of feeding and bad food, and the dirt in which they live. A brute, no more than a human being, can digest above a certain quantity of food, to convert it into actual nourishment; and good chyle can only be produced from wholesome food, cleanliness, air, and exercise. To be well fleshed rather than fat, is the desirable state of animals destined for slaughter. 

There will always be with this a sufficient proportion of fat; and labouring by artificial means to produce more, is only encreasing that part of animal substance, which from its gross indigestible nature is not proper for human diet, unless in a very limited degree. Venison, which in its domestic state is never fatted like other animals; game, and every wild animal proper for food; possess superior qualities to the tame, from the total contrast in their habits, more than from the food they eat. They have an extensive range in the open air, take much exercise, and choose their own sustenance, the good effects of which are very evident in a short delicate texture of flesh found only in them. Their juices and flavour are more pure, and their fat is far more delicious than that of home-bred animals. The superiority of Welch mutton and Scotch beef is owing to a similar cause, and is still more in point than the former, as a contrast between animals of the same species under different management. The preferences just mentioned are not a mere matter of taste, which might readily be dispensed with, but are founded on more important considerations. 

A short delicate texture renders the meat more digestible, in a very high degree, than the coarse, heavy, stringy kind of substance produced by the misapplied art of man. A pure animal juice too, is something more than a luxury; for if what we use as food is not pure, neither can our blood nor our juices be so. If we would but be content with unadulterated luxuries, we have them at our command; and provided they are not indulged to excess, are of decided advantage to our health. Supposing all animal flesh to be good of its kind, there is still abundant room for selection and choice. Mutton, beef, venison, game, wild rabbits, fowls, turkies, and various small birds, are preferable to lamb, veal, pork, young pigs, ducks, geese, and tame rabbits. Beef and mutton are much easier of digestion and more nutricious than veal and lamb, especially if not slaughtered before they come to proper maturity. Nothing arrives at perfection under a stated period of growth, and till this is attained it will afford only inferior nutriment. If the flesh of mutton and lamb, beef and veal, are compared, they will be found of a different texture, and the two young meats of a more stringy indivisible nature than the others, which makes them harder of digestion. 

Neither are their juices so nourishing when digested; as any one at all in the habit of observing what is passing within and about them will readily perceive from their own experience. Lamb and veal leave a craving nausea in the stomach, not perceived after taking other kinds of animal food. Veal broth soon turns sour by standing, owing to the sugar of milk contained in the blood of a calf; and the same change takes place in a weak stomach. Persons in the habit of drinking strong liquors with their meals, cannot competently judge of such an effect; as these liquors harden all kinds of animal food, and therefore little distinction can be perceived amongst them. Pork and young pigs are liable to the same objections as lamb and veal, but in a greater degree; they are fat and luscious, but afford no nutriment. Ducks and geese are of a coarse oily nature, and only fit for very strong stomachs. Tame rabbits are of a closer heavier texture than wild ones, and hence of inferior quality. Pigeons are of a hot nature, and should therefore be used sparingly. Fowls and turkies are of a mild proper nature for food, but the fattening them in confinement is equally prejudicial, as to other animals already mentioned. If left at large, well fed with good barley, and with clean water to drink, they will be little inferior to game. 

Barley is preferable to barley meal, as retaining all the natural qualities of the grain in greater perfection than when ground; and as these birds are provided with grinders in the gizzard, the concocting their own food is more nourishing and wholesome for them. These, like other animals, should be suffered to attain their full growth, in order to have them in the best state for nutriment. Some parts of birds, and other animals, are hard and viscid, as the head, neck, feet, and tail; the parts about the wings, back, and breast of birds, are in general the most tender, and of the finest flavour. In four-footed animals, the upper part of the leg and shoulder, the back, breast, and long bones of the neck, are generally superior to the rest. The heart and other viscera are nutricious, but hard of digestion, and improper for weak stomachs. The larger an animal is of its kind, the flesh of it will be stronger, and more difficult to digest; the juices also will be more rank than those of smaller ones of the same species, supposing them to have arrived at the same maturity. 

Animals which abound with fat and oily substances are harder to digest, than those of a drier and more fleshy nature; and to persons who use but little exercise, or have weak stomachs, this kind of food is very improper. Its tendency is to weaken the tone and force of the stomach, the fat and oil being enclosed in little bladders, which are with difficulty broken and separated. Hence fat meat is not so digestible as that of well fed animals, which do not abound with fat. The flesh of very old animals is unwholesome, being hard, dry, sinewy, innutricious, and difficult to digest. Those which are the longest in coming to maturity have the coarsest juices, such as oxen, cows, and boars. These are less tender and digestible than sheep, venison, hares, rabbits, poultry, game, and other birds. In almost all cases, the strong and pungent in flavour are harder to digest than those of a milder nature. The flesh of birds is lighter, drier, and easier of digestion, than that of four-footed animals. A difference also arises from the place of pasturage, from food and exercise. Animals living in high places, refreshed with wholesome winds, and cherished with the warm beams of the sun, where there are no marshes, lakes, or standing waters, are preferable to those living in pools, as ducks and geese, and other kinds of fowl.

FISH is less nourishing than flesh, because it is gross, phlegmatic, cold, and full of watery superfluities: but under certain restrictions, it may be safely used as a part of our general diet. It is unsuitable to cold phlegmatic constitutions, but very well adapted to such as are hot and choleric. The white kinds of fish, which contain neither fat nor oil, are preferable to the rest; such as whitings, turbot, soles, skate, haddock, flounders, smelts, trout, and graylings. These are easier of digestion than salmon, mackarel, eels, lampreys, herrings, or sprats, and therefore more wholesome. Shell-fish, such as oysters, muscles, cockles, crabs, and lobsters, are very far from being easy of digestion, and are particularly improper for invalids, though too commonly imagined to be suitable in such cases. In general it may be observed, that those kinds of fish which are well grown, nourish better than the young and immature. Sea-fish are wholesomer than fresh-water fish: they are of a hotter nature, not so moist, and more approaching to flesh meat. Of all sea and river fish, those are the best which live in rocky places. Next to these, in gravelly or sandy places, in sweet, clear, running water, where there is nothing offensive. Those which live in pools, muddy lakes, marshes, or stagnant water, are bad. Whether sea or river fish, those are the best which are not too large, whose flesh is not hard and dry, but crisp and tender; which taste and smell well, and have many fins and scales. All fresh fish should be eaten hot, and less in quantity than fresh meat. Fish should not be eaten very often, and never after great labour and exercise, nor after eating other solid food. Fish and milk are not proper to be eaten at the same meal, nor should eggs be used with fish, except with salt fish, and that should be well soaked in water before it is dressed. It may be eaten with carrots or parsnips, instead of egg sauce. If salt fish be eaten too often, or without this precaution, it produces gross humours and bad juices in the body; occasions thirst, hoarseness, sharpness in the blood, and other unfavourable symptoms. It is therefore a kind of food which should be used very sparingly, and given only to persons of a strong constitution. All kinds of salted and dried fish are innutricious and unwholesome, and their injurious effects are often visible in the habits of seafaring people. Even prawns and shrimps, if eaten too freely, are known to produce surfeits, which end in St. Anthony's fire.

If proper attention be paid to health, every kind of sustenance intended for the use of man, must be provided in its SEASON; for to every thing there is both time and season, which the wisdom and goodness of providence have pointed out. Every production is the most pure in quality, and of course the most wholesome, when nature has perfected her work, and prepared it for human sustenance. To anticipate her seasons, or to prolong them, is a misapplication of labour, and a perversion of the bounties of providence into secret poisons, to indulge the wanton cravings of a depraved appetite. The properties of animal food in general seem not to restrict the use of it to any particular season, but rather to admit its common use at all times. The only period in which it is less seasonable than at any other, appears to be in hot weather, when animal substances of all kinds are very liable to taint. The profuse supply of vegetables too in the warmer months, seems to lessen the occasion for animal food. Attention should be paid however at all times to the proper season for using the different kinds of animal food, and to the various circumstances that may contribute to its being more or less wholesome. 

The killing of animals by the easiest means, and not previously abusing them by over-driving, or in any other way, materially affects their fitness for food, and ought therefore to be carefully attended to. The high flavour, or taint in meat, which so many English palates prefer, is in fact the commencement of putrefaction; and of course meat in this state is very improper for food, particularly for persons with any tendency to putrid disorders. At a time when bad fevers prevail, food of this description ought to be generally avoided, as it disposes the blood and juices to receive infection. With respect to grain, its adaptedness to keep the whole year round, evidently denotes that it was intended for constant use. But the recurrence of an annual supply seems to be the voice of nature, forbidding its being kept in ordinary cases to a longer period, especially as new corn is generally preferred to the old. All other vegetables, including fruits, seem designed only for a transient season. Roots, and a few late fruits, have indeed the property of keeping for some months, and may thus provide a store for the winter, when fresh vegetables are less plentiful. Other kinds will not keep without undergoing a culinary process, by which they are rendered less wholesome, however palatable they may be considered. 

Provisions of almost every description may be preserved from putrefaction by being partially dressed and then closely stopped down, as has been fully demonstrated by Messrs. Donkin and Gamble of Bermondsey, who by means of air-tight canisters are in the habit of preparing all kinds of meat, which will keep perfectly sweet and fresh for a considerable length of time in any climate, and are incomparably better than those preserved in the ordinary way by salting or drying. But however applicable these preserves may be to the purposes of a long voyage, or a foreign expedition, where no fresh supplies can be obtained, they are by no means to be recommended to private families, who enjoy the superior advantages of going to market for fresh provisions. Time, which devours all things, cannot fail to impair, though not immediately, the flavour and other properties of whatever is preserved, in defiance of every precaution against its influence. The appearance and flavour of such articles may not be revolting to us, but if compared with the same things when fresh and well dressed, their inferiority is sufficiently obvious. Pickled salmon is a familiar instance of this kind. It is very generally relished, and often preferred to fresh salmon; yet if brought into comparison, the substance of the one is heavy, that of the other light and elastic. The flavour of the pickled salmon is sophisticated and deadened, if not vapid; that of the other is natural, fresh, and delicate, the pure volatile spirit not being destroyed by improper cookery, or long keeping. Instances of violent surfeits often occur from eating pickled salmon, soused mackarel, and other rich preserves, not from their being in a state of decay, but from the unwholesomeness of their preparation. People acquire tastes indeed, that reconcile them to any thing; that even make them fond of corrupted flavours, such as decayed cheese, tainted meat, and other things of a similar description. Our taste therefore is very likely to betray us into error; and to guard against it, it is necessary to be able to distinguish between what is really wholesome and what is otherwise, for this is rather a matter of judgment than of taste.

A few brief remarks may very properly be added on the important article of MILK, which forms, or ought to form, an essential part of the food of every family, in one shape or another. As far as regards the general properties of milk, it is in season at all times; and by judicious management it might always be supplied in sufficient quantities to become a plentiful source of human sustenance. It is of the best quality however, five or six months after a cow has calved. When she becomes with calf again, her milk will of course fall off, both in quantity and in quality. The impatient greediness of cow-keepers would have calves and milk at the same time, and on this account they seldom allow their dairies a fair interval for keeping up a successive supply of the best milk. To keep cows in the healthiest condition, and their milk consequently in the purest state, they should not be confined in houses, nor in yards, but suffered to go at large in the open fields. They should also be well fed with wholesome provender, and have access to good water. If kept quite clean, by occasionally rubbing them down, and washing their bag, and legs and feet, their health would be promoted, and of course the nutricious quality of the milk. 

If the comfort and welfare of society were consulted, the higher classes would not slight their dairies for studs of horses, kept more for ostentation than for use. In reference to the same subject, the breaking up of small farms is deeply to be regretted, not only as ruinous to a numerous class of deserving persons, but as depriving the markets and the neighbourhoods of those articles of necessity which their industry produced. It was an object to a small farmer to make the most of his dairy and poultry yard, which to an occupier on a larger scale is regarded as a matter of indifference. The consequence is, there is neither so plentiful a supply of these things, nor are they so good in quality as formerly. The wife of a small farmer attended to her own business, her poultry was brought up at the barn door, and killed when it was sweet and wholesome, while the produce of her dairy redounded to her credit, and afforded ample satisfaction to her customers.

The most judicious choice of food however will avail but little, if the manner of preparing it is not equally judicious. The principal error in cooking lies in overdoing what is intended for the table; the qualities of the meat are then so entirely changed, that it ceases to be nourishing, and becomes hard of digestion. It is literally put into the stomach only to be pressed out of it again by some unnatural exertion, which at last throws the oppressive load into the rest of the system, from whence it will not pass off without leaving some injury behind it. This, frequently repeated, ends at last in acute or chronic diseases, no less certainly than constant friction upon a stone will at length wear it away, though it may be a long time before any impression upon it is perceived. Similar effects arise from drinking, but generally with a more rapid progress, from the extension and collapse of the vessels being more sudden and violent. Plain cookery, in the exact medium between under and over doing, is the point to be attained to render our food salutary. 

The mixture of a great variety of ingredients should be avoided, for if good in themselves separately, they are often rendered indigestible by being compounded one with another. As we must eat every day, there is opportunity enough for all things in turn, without attempting any unwholesome composition. Much seasoning with spices, contributes to make animal food indigestible. They are much safer when used just before serving up the dish, or by adding them at the time of eating it. Beef and pork long salted, and hams, bacon, tongues, and hung beef, are very indigestible, and particularly improper for weak stomachs, though they will often crave them. Boiled meat is generally preferable to roast meat, for nourishment and digestion. Boiling extracts more of the rank strong juices, and renders it lighter and more diluted. Roasting leaves it fuller of gravy, but it adds to the rigidity of the fibres. The flesh of young animals is best roasted. Fried and broiled meats are difficult to be digested, though they are very nourishing: weak stomachs had better avoid them. 

Meat pies and puddings cannot be recommended, but strong stomachs may sustain but little inconvenience from them. It is a confined mode of cookery, and the meat therefore is not at all purified of its grossness. When meat pies and puddings are used, they should be moderately seasoned. Baking meat, instead of roasting it, is a worse manner of dressing it, from the closeness of the oven, and the great variety of things often baking at the same time. Stewing is not a good way of dressing meat, unless it is done very carefully. If it is stewed till all the juices are drawn from the meat, the latter becomes quite unfit for food: and if the stewpan be kept close covered, there are the same objections to it as meat pies and puddings. Hashing is a very bad mode of cooking. It is doing over again what has already been done enough, and makes the meat vapid and hard. What would have been good nourishment in the cold meat, is thus totally lost, as the juices, which are all drawn into the gravy, are spoiled by this second cookery, which exposes them too long to the fire.