IN THE light of what we now know regarding the relationship of food to fitness, good cooking has been given an entirely new definition. Reputations are made today not by elaborate dishes and fancy “fixin’s” but by ability to select the right food and to prepare it in such a way that the nutritive value is conserved and fine natural flavors developed.
To do a good job of feeding our families we must not only adjust our menus to wartime conditions and dietary requirements, but in many cases we must revise our technique of handling and cooking the food we pay for. Some of our old methods and ideas have been proved wrong by scientific discoveries of the nature of those vitamins and minerals which are so important to health.
We know now, for instance, that it’s poor practice to buy up a lot of perishable fruits and vegetables too far in advance. Freshness is an even more desirable quality than we thought, as vitamins perish at a lamentable rate if the food is kept at room temperature for any length of time. On this account it’s best to shop for such foods frequently and store them covered in the refrigerator as soon as they come to our kitchen.
We have to do a turnabout in other respects too. So here are some pointers that will help you to be a good cook according to the modern standard.
Don’t drown vegetables. If you
do, much of the food value may be
lost down the sink. Cook them instead in as little liquid as possible and save any that remains to use in soups, stews, sauces and gravy.
Peeling and letting vegetables stand in water for some time is “out” —decidedly—because of the solubility of certain minerals and vitamins. The thing is to get them ready at the last minute, put them in boiling water and start them cooking at once. Whenever possible cook them in their jackets to retain the most nourishment.
Cook quickly. Slow cooking takes a heavy toll of color, flavor and food value. Start them in boiling water, cover closely and let nature takes its course. Don’t lift the lid and poke or stir any more than you can possibly help, for oxidation particularly at high temperature is an enemy of the vitamins.
Overcooking is the ruination of texture, flavor and nourishment.
Don’t use soda in cooking greens or other varieties because it bedevils the precious vitamins. Don’t add soda when making tomato soup, for the same reason. The trick to prevent curdling is to stir the hot tomatoes gradually into the hot milk, not vice versa.
Serve at once. Don’t let the vitamins go up in steam before you get them to the table. One on the plate is better than a hundred in the atmosphere. For this reason, too, vegetables served whole are more nutritious than when mashed or riced.
Cook only what you need.
Leftover vegetables haven’t much to offer by way of minerals or vitamins. So be a good calculator and come out even as often as you can.
Use the liquid from canned vegetables. It’s rich in food value and flavor. If you don’t want it with your vegetables, store, covered, in the refrigerator, and add it to gravy, soups or stews.
Buy the right size. Canned foods retain the fine quality of the fresh product and leftovers may be stored in the can at low temperature. Use them up within a day or two to prevent vitamin loss. This goes for
fruits, vegetables, tomato and other juices.
Quick frozen vegetables have vitamins too but don’t thaw them before cooking or oxidation will prove fatal to some of them.
Store greens uncut until you’re ready to mix your salad. Wash them, cover and keep in the refrigerator, then at the last minute snip and add the dressing. If you cut them up ahead of time the oxygen in the air has a better chance to get in its dirty work on the vitamins.
Don’t cut them too fine. The more surfaces you expose to the air the
higher the death rate among the vitamins.
Don’t toss too much. This coaxes air into your salad. So mix only enough to blend your greens and dressing nicely. And use a wooden spoon and fork so as not to bruise the greens any more than you can help.
Mineral oil isn’t so good—even though it does cut down on calories. The nigger in that woodpile is that it picks up the Vitamin A from the greens, holds it in solution and prevents you reaping the full benefit.
Get up a little earlier to prepare your bowl of porridge. It’s not such a good idea to start it the night before and reheat it in the morning. There’s less loss of Vitamin I) when cereal is cooked all at the one time.
Squeeze your orange juice just before serving. When you do it the night before there’s a loss of vitamin —from ten per cent or thereabout, if stored in the refrigerator, up to as much as fifty per cent if you leave it at room temperature uncovered. Tomato juice or tomatoes fresh from the can have more vitamin potency than when left standing. For economy’s sake buy the largest size practicable but plan to use it up within a day or two after it has been opened.
For a roast of maximum flavor and minimum shrinkage set the oven at a low temperature—around 325-350 deg. Fahr. Use an uncovered roaster and have no water in the pan.
For cheaper cuts, which are just as nutritious as the more expensive ; ones, the thing is long slow cooking in moist heat. Cook closely covered and simmer—don’t boil.
The best way to boil an egg is not to boil it! Lower it gently into hot water and let it simmer. Put a cold egg in cold water, bring to simmer i point.
Did you know that beef and pork liver are as rich in vitamins as calves’ liver . . . that skimmed milk supplies as much calcium as whole milk . . . that brown and white eggs have the same food value and should be cooked slowly to he at their best . . . that the outer leaves of cabbage are about the cheapest source of Vitamin A . . . that potatoes are excellent and inexpensive providers of Vitamin C?
Of course you know that no loyal citizen hoards food and that patriotic housekeepers buy only enough for current needs, emphasizing Canadian products in their menus and making the most of them by wise shopping and good cooking.
Wash lettuce and young spinach leaves and put to crisp. Just before serving dry well, then, using the scissors, cut them into fair sized pieces. Add some chopped parsley and blend together in a large howl. Add French dressing and toss lightly to coat each piece with the dressing. Turn into a salad bowl and top with thin slices of radish, fingers of raw carrot and green onions.
3 Tablespoon 1’uls of butter 1 Tablespoonfuls of chopped onion
1 Can of peas (2 cupfuls)
% Cupful of shredded lettuce
2 Tablespoonfuls of milk
Melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until browned. Add the peas and the lettuce and cook for five minutes over strong heat. Add the milk and serve at once. Six servings.
Vegetable Scallop With Cheese Biscuit Crust
2 Tablespoonfuls of butter
0 Tablespoonfuls of flour
1 Teaspoonful of salt
V2 Teaspoonful of celery salt
Vi Teaspoonful of paprika
3 Cupfuls of milk
16 Small white onions or 3 large onions, cooked.
1 Cupful of cooked peas
3 Cooked carrots sliced V inch thick
1 Cupful of leftover vegetables, diced (turnips, parsnips, celery, beans)
Melt the butter, add the flour and stir until well blended. Add the seasonings, then add the milk slowly, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add the vegetables and pour the mixture into a large baking dish. Top with a baking powder biscuit dough to which grated cheese has been added—one half to two thirds of a cup. Bake in a hot oven (425 deg. Fahr.) for about twenty minutes. Eight servings.
% Pound of salt pork diced
1 Medium onion,’sliced thin 1 >2 Cupfuls of parsnips, sliced
2 Cupfuls of potatoes, sliced
3 Cupfuls of boiling water
2 Teaspoonfuls of salt
>4 Teaspoonful of pepper
1 Quart of hot milk
2 Tablespoonfuls of butter
4 Medium sized soda biscuits
Fry the pork until crisp, then remove the pieces and fry the onions in the fat for five minutes. Add the potatoes, parsnips and salt and pepper, and pour boiling water over all. Simmer until the vegetables are tender (about fifteen minutes). Add the hot milk and the butter. Break the biscuits into a hot serving dish and pour the chowder over them. Eight to ten servings.
Canadian Hot Pot
1 Pound of lamb flank, beef
round, or any cheap cut
2 Small onions chopped 7 to 8 Carrots
1 Tin of vegetable soup
1 Tin of water
Butter or grease a casserole or roasting pan well. Put in a layer of peeled and thinly sliced potatoes then a layer of meat cut in pieces the size of chops and with most of the fat removed. Dip the meat in seasoned flour and lay on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle this with onion chopped. Repeat layers hut leave room for a double layer of potatoes on top. Before adding the last layer
of potatoes, add one tin of vegetable ! soup, one tin of water, and small ! fingers of carrot. Cook in a moderate j oven 350 deg. Fahr, for two hours, j
1 Pound of sausages 1 V> Cupfuls of flour
2}\ Teaspoonfuls of baking powder
li Teaspoonful of salt 4'4' Tablespoonfuls of butter
% Cupful of milk (approximately)
2 Medium sized apples
Partially cook the sausages in a frying pan. Mix and sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter with two knives then add the milk, mixing just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. Spread in a I buttered shallow baking dish. Peel the apples and cut in thin wedgeshaped pieces. Place the sausages in an even row on top of the dough and press in the apple slices between the I sausages. Brush the apples with ; sausage fat and hake in a hot oven ¡ (400 deg. Fahr.) for thirty to thirtyj five minutes or until the crust is j brown and the apples tender.
Pears in Chocolate Syrup
2 Squares of sweet chocolate
1 Cupful of syrup from canned pears
4 Canned pear halves
Melt the chocolate in the syrup, | heat until well blended and pour over the canned pear halves. Four servings.
Apples Cooked With Jelly
1 Cupful of tart red jelly (strawberry, raspberry, currant)
1 Cupful of boiling water 6 Apples
Combine the jelly and the boiling water, place over low heat and stir until the jelly is dissolved. Add the apples which have been pared, cored and quartered, and cook slowly until the apples are tender but not broken. Cool, pour into a serving dish and serve well chilled. Six servings.
(1) Cook carrots and small onions separately. Serve together with melted butter or a cream sauce.
(2) Add hot green peas to hot diced turnips and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
(3) Combine string beans, diced celery and carrots and serve hot ! with a little melted butter.
(4) Serve cooked onions and string ; beans together with a little minced garlic.
(5) Dip slices of egg plant and : tomato in egg and crumbs or i crushed cornflakes. Pan fry in dripping and arrange the platter ! with alternate slices.
(6) Add a little diced onion and chopped mint to potato salad. If you don’t like mint, try parsley.
(7) Pour condensed asparagus soup (heated; over fresh cooked car! rots or cauliflower.
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