Essentials of Cooking-Utensils for Cooking



IMPORTANCE OF UTENSILS
1.While success in cooking, as has been pointed out, depends to aconsiderable extent on the selection of materials and the proper cooking methods, as well as on an understanding of the stove and fuel employed, the importance of the utensils that are to be used must not be overlooked. As is well known, each cooking utensil is fitted to its particular use; in fact, the wrong kind of pan, dish, or other utensil will not bring about the same result as the right one. This does not mean, however, that the housewife must possess a large supply of every kind of utensil, for, really, the expert cook is known by the small number of utensils she uses. Of course, the proper handling of utensils, as well as the right selection of them, will come with experience, but before she starts to cook the beginner should endeavor to plan definitely what must be provided. She should likewise remember that the use of an unnecessary number of utensils not only will increase the labor involved in preparing a dish, but will affect considerably the amount of work required to clear them away and wash them after the cooking is done.
2.The materials of which cooking utensils are made, as well as theirshape and size, have also a great bearing on the success with which cooking may be done. As no one material is suitable for all utensils, they are made of various materials, such as wood, tin, glass, enamel, aluminum, sheet iron, and earthenware. In the purchase of a utensil, therefore, it is well to have in mind the use to which the utensil will be put, and then to select one that is made of durable material, that can be easily cleaned, and that will not affect the food that is cooked in it. Likewise, the shape of the utensil should receive consideration, for much depends on it. To be satisfactory, a utensil should be without seams or curved edges, because it is difficult to remove particles of food that collect in such places. A vessel that is hard to wash should be avoided, and one that will tip easily is not desirable, either. The size of utensils must be determined by the number of persons for whom food is to be cooked, for the amount of food to be prepared indicates whether a large or a small utensil should be selected. On the other hand, the length of time required for foods to cook depends to a large extent on the size and shape of the utensil. When food is to be cooked a long time, a deep vessel with a comparatively small surface exposed for evaporation should be chosen; but for quick cooking, use should be made of a shallow utensil that will allow a great deal of surface to be exposed, as the evaporation will be accomplished more rapidly. In furnishing a kitchen, it is well to begin with a few essential utensils of the best quality that can be obtained, and then, as needed, to add other well-selected utensils to the equipment.

MATERIALS USED FOR UTENSILS
3.ALUMINUM.--Because of the properties of aluminum, this metal is usedextensively for cooking utensils. It is more costly than most of the materials employed for this purpose, but while the first cost of aluminum pans and kettles may seem large, the extra expense is justified by the durability of the utensils. They last much longer than utensils made of many other materials, for when aluminum is hammered and rolled it becomes extremely hard. Some aluminum utensils are very thin, and since they melt and dent very easily they are suitable for only light, careful handling. Although heavier aluminum utensils are more expensive than the lighter ones on account of the metal required and the manufacturing process involved, they are harder and more durable. Cast aluminum is used for large vessels, such as those required in institutions where large quantities of food are cooked and where pots and kettles are subjected to extremely hard wear, but this is the most expensive kind, for in order to make the aluminum hard enough for casting some harder metal must be mixed with it. One of the disadvantages of aluminum is that it is not always easy to clean, but this is overbalanced by the fact that foods do not burn so readily in aluminum utensils as in other kinds, since the heat is evenly distributed by this metal.
4.ENAMEL.--Good enamel cooking utensils are desirable for some purposes and are only moderately expensive. Utensils made of enamel are not so durable as those made of metal, because excessive heat or a sharp blow will cause the enamel to chip. Enamel utensils come in various colors, and all can be kept clean easily, but the gray enamel is considered to be the best for wear.
5.IRON AND STEEL.--Utensils made of iron and steel are usuallyinexpensive, but some, especially those of iron, are heavy. These metals are used principally for such utensils as frying pans, or skillets, griddles, waffle irons, and kettles for deep-fat frying. Sheet iron makes excellent shallow pans for baking cookies and other cakes, very satisfactory bread pans, and the best kind of pans for omelet and other frying.
6.EARTHENWARE.--A certain number of fairly durable earthenware utensilsare necessary in a kitchen equipment. Mixing bowls are usually made of earthenware, as are also casseroles, which are covered dishes used for the baking of foods that require long cooking, and other baking utensils. Meat, fowl, and some vegetables, such as dried beans, are delicious when prepared in a casserole, as very little flavor or food is lost in such a dish.
7.TIN.--The cheapest metal from which cooking utensils are made is tin, but it is not generally used for utensils in which food is to be cooked, because it melts at too low a temperature. Tin is used, however, for such small articles as measures, cutters, apple corers, sieves, strainers, and other things of this kind, and it is especially desirable for them.
8.COPPER.--Before iron was known copper was the principal material forcooking utensils. The chief point in favor of copper is its durability, but utensils made of it are not practical for use in the ordinary kitchen because they are expensive, heavy, and very difficult to keep clean.
9.GLASS.--Utensils made of heavy glassware are much used for cooking.Glass utensils are especially desirable for custards and other dishes that the cook likes to watch while cooking or that are to be served in the baking dish. Glass cooking utensils possess the advantage of retaining the heat well.
10.WOOD.--Certain utensils made of wood are required in a cookingoutfit, a molding board of hardwood and a smaller wooden cutting board being particularly necessary in every kitchen. Bowls in which to chop foods, rolling pins, and mixing spoons are usually made of hardwood, and when such wood is used for them they are entirely satisfactory.

LABOR-SAVING DEVICES
11.A LABOR-SAVING DEVICE is any apparatus that will permit a certainpiece of work to be accomplished with less exertion than would be necessary to do the same thing without it. A sink and a dustpan are labor-saving devices just as truly as are a bread mixer and a vacuum cleaner, but because a sink and a dustpan are necessities as well, they are not usually thought of as true labor-saving devices. The newer appliances for saving labor are often considered to be quite unnecessary, and indeed some of them are. It is only when such apparatus will, with less labor involved and less time consumed in the process, secure results as good as or better than will another device, and when saved by using it, that it may be considered a true labor-saving device. Each housewife must decide for herself whether the expense of a so-called labor-saving device is greater than the value of the time and strength she would use without such a device.
12.COMMON LABOR-SAVING DEVICES. Every housewife does not have occasionto use all the devices that have been invented to save labor, but a number of these are in such common use, produce such good results, and save so much time and effort that they should be found in every kitchen. Among them is the rotary egg beater. This is so made that one revolution of the wheel to which the crank is attached does about five times as much work as can be done with a fork or with an egg whip, which is shown in . Another inexpensive device that is a real help is the potato ricer. This device, is really a press through which any fruit or vegetable can be put to make a puree. It is used considerably for mashing potatoes, as it makes them perfectly smooth and saves considerable time and labor. Still another useful device is the meat chopper, or grinder. Such a device clamped to the edge of a table takes the place of a chopping bowl and knife, and in addition to being more sanitary it permits the work to be done in a shorter time and with less effort. Besides the devices mentioned, there are many small labor-saving devices, such as the apple corer, the berry huller, the mayonnaise mixer, etc., the merits of which every busy housewife will do well to consider.
13.BREAD AND CAKE MIXERS. Where baking is done for only a small numberof persons, bread and cake mixers are not indispensable, but they save much labor where baking is done on a large scale. It is comparatively easy, for instance, to knead dough for three or four loaves of bread, but the process becomes rather difficult when enough dough for eight to sixteen loaves must be handled. For large quantities of bread and cake, mixers, when properly used, are labor-saving. In addition, such devices are sanitary, and for this reason they are used in many homes where the bakings are comparatively small.
14.One type of bread mixer consists of a covered tin pail a that maybe fastened to the edge of a table by the clamp . Inside of the pail is a kneading prong , in he shape of a gooseneck, that is revolved by turning the handle. The flour and other materials for the dough are put into the pail, and they are mixed and kneaded mechanically by turning the handle.
15.A cake mixer, is similar in construction to a bread mixer. Insteadof a pail, however, for the dough ingredients, it has a deep pan , and instead of one kneading prong it has several prongs, which are attached to two arms. These arms are revolved by gear-wheels that fit in a large gearwheel attached to a shaft , which is turned by means of a handle The large number of mixing prongs in a cake mixer are necessary, because cake dough must be thoroughly stirred and beaten, whereas in bread making the dough must be made to form a compact mass.
16.DISH-WASHING MACHINES.--Although machines for washing dishes are tobe had, they are most helpful where large numbers of people are served and, consequently, where great quantities of dishes are to be washed. Such machines are usually large and therefore take up more space than the ordinary kitchen can afford. Likewise the care and cleaning of them require more labor than the washing of dishes for a small family entails. Large quantities of hot water are needed to operate mechanical dish washers, and even where they are installed, the glassware, silver, and cooking utensils must, as a rule, be washed by hand.
17.FIRELESS COOKER.--A device that has proved to be really labor-savingis the fireless cooker. It consists of an insulated box a lined with metal and divided into compartments , with pans that fit into them. Hotplates, or stones, as they are sometimes called, are frequently used if the article to be cooked requires them. These stones, are supported in the compartments by metal racks and they are lifted in and out by means of wire handles. To use a fireless cooker properly, the food must be cooked for a short time on the stove; then it must be tightly covered and placed in one of the insulated compartments. If hotplates are to be used they must be heated in the same manner. The food loses its heat so gradually in the fireless cooker that the cooking proceeds slowly but effectually. When the previous heating has been sufficient, the food will be cooked and still warm when the cooker is opened hours later. Some articles of food occasionally need reheating during the process. By this method of cooking there is no loss of flavor or food value, and the food usually requires no further attention after being placed in the cooker. It also permits of economy in both fuel and time.

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