Historical Cooking Books – 48 in a series – Smiley’s cook book and universal household guide (1896)
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THE following pages are the result of many years of experi ment, investigation and study. We have aimed to prepare a work for the use of housekeepers on a more thorough and comprehensive plan than has been heretofore attempted. As the book is intended for the use of the average housekeeper, there is nothing in it which cannot be easily understood by any person of ordinary intelligence, for we have taken much pains to present the results of modern scientific investigations in a clear and simple way^ avoiding, as far as possible, the use of technical terms.
Most of the household books in current use give the processes for doing things merely, with no attempt to explain the I’easons for the processes or the principles which underlie them. We also give, as clearly as possible, the most detailed directions in all our recipes, but we do not stop there, as we think any one can work more intelli gently by understanding not only how to do a certain thing, but also ivhy it is done one way rather than another, and the principles which underlie the process. For this reason, throughout the work, we systematically explain principles as well as processes. We have long felt that a sad defect in most cook books is their utter failure to explain those simple, fundamental principles which every cook should, if possible, understand.’ If these principles are once thoroughly understood the mystery and uncertainty of kitchen operations will vanish, and cooking will simply be adopting certain clearly under stood methods to produce certain definite results, and success will always follow.
For years we have been gathering material for this book, resulting in the accumulation of a great mass of recipes. These have been tested and culled, and in making selections our rule has been to choose those which were most simple and economical, because the book is primarily designed for the use of the masses, whose means are always limited, and we aim to meet their every day wants, although we present also an ample number of more elaborate recipes suitable for special occasions. Our endeavor has been to make the collection as complete and comprehensive as possible, and to give new, choice, and well-tested recipes in every department of house hold cookery.
The “Time Tables for Cooking,” and also the “Time to Cook” given with recipes throughout the book, will be very convenient and helpful to our readers and this is a feature which is lacking in most other cook books. Its preparation has cost us much labor.
In the chapter on “Cake” we have adopted a new arrangement of the recipes, and used an exceptionally large and clear type which for practical kitchen use will be found a great convenience. The type used throughout the book is large, clear and new, and the ease with which it can be read will be appreciated by busy housewives.
The colored plates and numerous illustrations with which the book is embellished have required much labor and expense, and they will make many of the subjects much clearer than any wholly verbal de scription could possibly do.
In preparing this work we have constantly had four main objects in view. (1) To secure the fullest, latest, and most reliable informa tion possible on the subjects treated. (2) To explain processes and methods for saving time and labor, for the average housewife is sadly overworked and her time and strength are of the utmost value. (3) To select the best and most economical recipes; and (4) to point out ways to prevent waste.
In the general department of household topics we present a more complete and systematic treatment of the various subjects connected with household management than can be found elsewhere, and the information therein contained will certainly be of great practical value to housekeepers.
The effort of the editor has been to produce a thoroughly reliable and a plain and practical guide to housekeeping in all its branches, which no housewife can afford to do without.
The book has not been written by any one individual, but many pens have been employed more or less in its preparation.
The book will certainly shed much needed light on the problems which confront and often harass housekeepers, explain the funda mental principles which underlie their work, and present a mass of recipes which will materially aid them in their labors.
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