Friday, October 19, 2007

What You Should Know!

You really need to get yourself a copy of the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. I mean really. It's not just that it has a lot of recipes, it has a whole lot of practical advice about stocking your kitchen, basic cooking techniques, and approaching menu planning. Sure, things have changed since the 40's but I think the opening sentence that suggests you "buy high-grade pieces because they will decidedly outwear inferior articles" is still good advice. And wouldn't we all (especially GK) like menu making to "put gaiety into housekeeping?" Ok, I smirk a little as I say that last part. But it goes on to say "cooking may be as much a means of self-expression as any of the arts" and I like that very much, especially since I have the perspective that women should be valued more for fulfilling some of their traditional roles even though they shouldn't be limited to them but that's a whole different topic and probably a different blog altogether.

What does Fannie Farmer have to say about the basics of cooking? Well, let's start with the "Fifty Basic Recipes (FOR STUDENTS AND BEGINNERS)" that I mentioned briefly here. Have you mastered all of these? I sure haven't, even disregarding the ones that aren't vegetarian.
  1. White Bread
  2. Standard Rolls
  3. Baking Powder Biscuits
  4. Muffins
  5. Griddlecakes
  6. Waffles
  7. Doughnuts
  8. Canapes
  9. Brown Stock
  10. Plain Stuffing
  11. White Sauce
  12. Hollandaise
  13. Broiled Steak
  14. Roast Beef
  15. Broiled Chicken
  16. Fried Chicken
  17. Roast Chicken
  18. Chicken Stew
  19. Chicken Timbales
  20. Potato Croquettes
  21. French Dressing
  22. Mayonnaise
  23. Green Salad
  24. Molded Salads
  25. Soft Custard
  26. Steamed Puddings
  27. French Souffle
  28. Cottage Pudding
  29. Shortcake
  30. Fruit Fritters
  31. Cream Puffs
  32. Vanilla Ice Cream
  33. Hard Sauce
  34. Plain Pastry
  35. Puff Paste
  36. Chiffon Pie
  37. True Sponge Cake
  38. Butter Cake
  39. Chocolate Cake
  40. Dark Fruit Cake
  41. Boiled Frosting
  42. Butter Frosting
  43. Cream Filling
  44. Sugar Cookies
  45. Meringues
  46. Chocolate Fudge
  47. Fruit Jelly
  48. Fruit Jam
  49. Canning Fruits and Vegetables
  50. Freezing
The list seems quite heavy on desserts, but I ain't complaining. Number 49 is interesting, like, oh yeah, of course you should be able to can fruits and vegetables. I am even more afraid of canning than of the raw eggs in number 22 because I just know if I canned something everyone would get botulism. But I think canning gets at really important elements of food choices since a focus on locally produced foods would inevitably lead to some kind of preservation if we want to have access to out of season foods. For now, I'll stick to oven roasting tomatoes or making batches of sauce to freeze. Yes, I'm much more comfortable with number 50. How 'bout you?


Gretchen said...

I would like to add one to the basics list...a spring in your step!

Katherine said...

I was just thinking that I needed to learn more about canning. Why, you ask, when I rarely seem to even get it together to make dinner? My perfectly logical reasoning for this need seems to have left my brain, but I still remember that I decided it was a skill I must conquer. Maybe we'll figure it out together?

Classic cook said...

G-exactly! HH!

K-I'd love to try! Maybe that can be something on my already long list of to-do's for the winter break.