WOMEN AND THE HOME

Cooking for Two

Helen G. Campbell June 1 1935
WOMEN AND THE HOME

Cooking for Two

Helen G. Campbell June 1 1935

Cooking for Two

Helen G. Campbell

Director

The Chatelaine Institute

IN GIVING some tips on twosome cooking, I have in mind the sweet young brides of 1935, the equally nice brides of the early nineteen-hundreds whose families have gone out into the world, and the yet-to-be-brides who share an apartment with another business girl and take turns with the meals.

The problem is much the same for all of them—how to prepare enough food for two people without waste and without monotony. It takes a bit of management to do that successfully.

For the beginner, and the experienced housekeeper for that matter, there is nothing like a well-thought-out plan designed to suit the special needs of the small menage. There are many things to consider—the budget, the food value of the day’s meals, the offerings of the particular season, the likes and dislikes of yourself and your partner and the use of left-overs. So you can see the importance of a little forethought.

First ot all, let me give you a few simple rules in menu making from a dietary angle; we eat to live, you know. The day’s meals should provide a pint of milk for each person to be used in the form of soups, sauces, desserts or beverages, two vegetables besides potatoes, two servings of fruit, an egg and meat, or a meat substitute such as fish or cheese. Don’t forget to serve some of those fruits and vegetables raw, or to give their rightful place to bread, cereals, butter and other fats. This plan brings into your menus the body-building and regulating foods, the heat and energy producers, and the “protective” group which contributes essential vitamins.

On this basis you can make any number of combinations, all of them satisfactory from the nutritional point of view and at the same time varied enough to keep up your interest. But, you can do a better job if you plan in advance; not only for one meal but for the whole day or preferably two or three days at once. It is more economical, too, for you will find you can shop to greater advantage and make better use of both foods and equipmentand save time as well.

Group your foods with a thought to harmonizing flavor and an eye for color. Provide contrast of textures in the meal, and avoid repetition of flavor in the different courses. Balance the meal for taste and appearance—the bland with the highly seasoned, the crisp with the soft, the light with the more substantial, and the colorful with the paler shades. As a rule, use clear broth and a light dessert before and after the hearty main course and contrariwise; thick soup and nutritious puddings to round out the light meal. Avoid monotony like the plague, but stick to simple dishes for the most part, both for your health’s sake and your pocketbook. Anyway, as one man puts it. you are catering to your husband’s appetite, not his curiosity.

I strongly advise you to write out your menus, not try to carry them “in your head.” Write them down, changing and revising until you have them perfect; then check the required ingredients, make a market list, and ret your order in in good time. Arrange to do as much as you can as early as possible, for the chief difficulty, with the beginner at least, is to have everything ready at once without any last-minute scramble.

Certain staples are on hand in the wellequipped kitchen, and for your guidance in stocking your shelves, the following list is suggested.

Tea.......................I lb.

Coffee.....................1 ■> lb.

Cocoa.....................12 lb.

Granulated sugar...........5 lbs.

Fruit sugar................2 lbs.

Loaf sugar.................1 lb.

Brown sugar...............2 lbs.

Molasses...................1 tin

Baking powder.............1 lb.

Baking soda................1 pkg.

Cream of tartar............1 pkg.

Vanilla....................1 bottle

Raisins....................1 lb.

Vinegar....................1 quart

Lemons....................3

Shortening.................1 lb.

Gelatine...................1 box

Chocolate..................1 cake

Salt ......................1 box or

bag

Pepper....................34lb. box

Mustard...................34-lb. box

Cinnamon.................2-oz. box

Nutmeg...................2-oz. box

Pastry flour................1 small

sack

Cake flour.................1 box

Whole grain flour...........2 to 3 lbs

Oatmeal...................1 pkg.

Cream of wheat............1 pkg.

Commeal..................2 lbs.

Cornstarch.................1 pkg.

Rice......................1 lb.

Tapioca...................1 P^K.

Macaroni..................1 P^g.

Soda biscuits...............1 pkg.

A selection of canned fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and soups.

The daily marketing will depend on your choice of menus, and here the problem may be how much to buy. Canned goods come in convenient sizes for small families, but if you have good refrigeration, you may find it to

your advantage to choose larger cans and use the left-overs later in another way. Learn the weights and measures, and compare the prices of the different cans, then you will be able to market wisely with this information in mind. The amount of fresh fruit, vegetables and other perishables will depend on the day’s requirements and storage facilities. Remember that these foods may appear in various forms with equal success—the cabbage as a hot vegetable one day and a crisp salad the next, berries as a simple dessert the first time and the remainder of the box as an ingredient in fruit cups, ice cream, jellies or other sweets.

Quantities to Buy

MEATS MUST be considered from a twosome standpoint unless you are going to be extravagant in the use of highpriced chops and steak, or unless you are willing to spend the rest of the week using up the remains of a large roast, a whole ham or a turkey. Better consider the possibilities of other cuts and methods of preparation which are well adapted for service in your circumstances. Small rib roasts or loin roasts weighing from two to three pounds are good selections, and present no weighty problems in left-overs; the shepherd’s pie, meat loaf, or meat and vegetable casserole will be eaten with as much gusto as the original dish. A gx)d substitute for the jxjpular joint is a thick slice of steak rolled, tied and roasted; and if you want it even more tasty, you may spread it before rolling with a nice bread dressing. Pot roasts are nothing to turn up your nose at, and you can cx>k a small one as well as a large, provided you give it a little extra watching.

Buy a cottage ham or a cottage roll instead of a large one. Or get a thick slice and bake it with a mustard, flour and brown-

sugar topping, with fruits or plain to serve with a raisin sauce. There will be no regrets for such a dish on the table. Additional suggestions in the meat line are:

Hamburg steak Chops—lamb, veal or pork Steaks Liver Kidneys

Sausages Sliced ham Sweetbreads Bacon Stews Round steaks

The lordly salmon may not be for you. but steaks from it or from other large varieties are quite appropriate. Little fishes are a practical suggestion, and shellfish offer themselves for many different forms of sendee. Chicken takes the place of turkey, goose and larger fowl, and even if that is too much for you, there is the canned variety to solve your problems.

When it comes to the cooking of food in small amounts, you run up against the snag of recipes planned to serve six or eight. However, it is simple arithmetic to cut the amounts in half or thirds, and in most cases the results will be equally satisfactory. Don’t forget though to divide the quantity of each ingredient to keep the proportions right. Another tip—jot down the revised figures in the margin of the page so you won’t have to do the “sum” each time you cook. If the recipe rails for one egg, you can either use a whole small one or break it, beat it and measure by spoonfuls. Then use what is left in another dish.

Certain dishes ran be made from the full recipe and used in diflerent ways to provide the necessary variety or they can be mixed and stored in the refrigerator to finish or serve as required. Pastry and cookie dough, salad dressing, pudding sauces, irait cake and steamed fruit puddings all keep well and are good things to have on hand.

The same recipe often serves for different

products w’ith some slight variation in the cooking. For instance, part of your cake batter may apjx:ar as cottage pudding, cup cakes, a loaf or layer cake, and later a trifle. Baking-powder biscuit dough may be turned into shortcake, a Swedish tea ring, a rolypoly or plain tea biscuits. Pastry can be divided into different parts and used for pies, tarts, cheese straws, top crusts for meat pies and patty shells. And different flavoring, spices, fruits and nuts can make a world of difference to the cookie dough.

Utensils should be selected with some thought as to the size of the tamily, for there is considerably more waste when you cook small amounts in large dishes. Pots and pans, casseroles, cake tins and others can be found in appropriate sizes, and individual bakers and serving dishes are excellent for many purposes.

If it seems like an “awful problem” at first,* take comfort in the thought that efficiency is a matter of careful planning. Success is just around the corner after a little practice.

Dinner Menus for Two

Tomato Soup

Roast Beef (a thick steak, rolled)

Browned Potatoes Buttered Carrots Rhubarb Betty Tea or Coffee

Lamb Stew with Vegetables Buttered Asparagus Individual Caramel Custards Drop Cookies Tea or Coffee

Pan-broiled Salmon Steaks Tartare Sauce

Creamed Potatoes Fresh Spinach

Chilled Lemon Pudding Tea or Coffee

Vegetable Soup Baked Hamburger Steak Baked Potatoes Scalloped Tomatoes Shredded Lettuce Salad Fresh Fruit Tarts or Turnovers Tea or Coffee

Supper Menus for Two

Cream of Celery Soup Cabbage and Peanut Salad Bran Muffins Fresh Pineapple Beverage

Grilled Liver or Kidneys Baked or Fried Potatoes Radishes Green Onions

Canned Fruit Cookies Beverage

Salmon or Tunafish Salad Hot Biscuits or Toasted Rolls Chocolate Junket with Toasted Almonds Beverage

Chicken Soup with Noodles Potato and Celery Salad with Hard-cooked Eggs Diced Fruits in Jelly Whipped Cream Beverage