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Copyright, Kellscraft Studio
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There is an old saying to the effect that "all may eat, but ladies and gentlemen dine." The difference lies more in the preparation and manner of serving than in the food itself, and whether her evening meal is a banquet or a repast of the lunch-counter sort rests wholly with the housewife.
We pause long enough to pay our disrespects to that barbarous institution known in America as the Sunday Dinner. On six days in the week, the average business man eats a light luncheon or none at all. On the seventh day, at an unaccustomed hour, he eats a heavy meal, goes to sleep shortly afterward, and wonders why Monday is a "blue day."
Our uncivilized Sundays are responsible for our Monday morning headaches and for the gloom which, in many a household, does not wear off until Tuesday morning. If Sunday were a day of fasting instead of a day of feasting, Monday might be radiant occasionally instead of riotous or revolutionary.
We make Sunday a hard day for the women of the household, especially the servants, and the imperial liver appertaining to the Head of the Establishment balks sometimes at the strain. The American Sunday Dinner is one cause of the American Servant Problem — and everybody knows what that is.
In more than one household, a twelve or one o'clock breakfast has proved both hygienic and satisfactory. Coffee and rolls are served to those who want them at eight or nine o'clock, if they come into the dining-room. At noon the family sits down to a simple breakfast — fruit, broiled chicken, creamed potatoes, hot bread and coffee, for example. The maid has few dishes to wash, is not too tired to enjoy her afternoon off, and gets away two or three hours earlier than her less fortunate sisters. Also she remains where she is hired — which has its advantages. Only a light lunch is needed in the evening which the mistress may serve, leaving the dishes to be washed in the morning.
Owing to the aforesaid American Servant Problem an increasing number of women do their own housework — not from choice, but from stern necessity. This book is intended for the woman in a small house or apartment, who is her own cook, who earnestly desires to do her duty by her family, yet be something more than a wearied and soul-sickened drudge; who has to look after her dimes and nickels, if not her pennies, and who wants more than the weekly "afternoon off" accorded to the stronger women who undertake domestic tasks.
Simplicity — and, as a general rule, economy — has been the standard by which each recipe has been judged. All are within the capabilities of the most inexperienced cook, who is willing to follow directions, and, in the case of such variable materials as flour and eggs, trust, now and then, to her own judgment.