Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Cooking Eggs in 19C America

Godey’s Lady’s Book, October, 1889
Household Department: A Chapter on Eggs
Edited By Mrs. I.D. Hope, Teacher of Cookery in the Public Schools of New York.

Eggs are very nutritious and contain about as much flesh-forming and heat-giving substances as an equal weight of beef. They contain all the elements necessary for animal life, the young chick being developed from them—although in this case the shell is also used, the mineral matter, which is chiefly carbonate of lime, being absorbed.

The shell is porous, the air being conveyed in this way to the young bird during the process of hatching. It is this, also, which causes the egg to spoil, and anything which will seal up the pores and so prevent the air from entering, will effectually, preserve the egg—provided, it is applied while the egg is perfectly fresh.

The albumen of the egg is enclosed in layers of thin-walled cells, that break up during the process of beating, and this albumen, owing to its glutinous nature, catches and holds the air and increases very largely in bulk. It is this property of holding the air which causes eggs to make cake and pastry light.

Eggs, to be wholesome, should be fresh. To tell a stale egg from a fresh one, drop them carefully in a basin of cold water, those which lie on the side are good; those which stand on end are stale, or hold them upright between the thumb and finger of the right-hand before a lighted candle, and with the left-hand shade the eye, if the white looks clear, and the yolk is distinct, the egg is good; if stale, it will look clouded, and the outline of the yolk will not be distinct.

The shepherds of Egypt cooked eggs without the aid of fire. They placed them in a sling and turned it so rapidly that the friction of the air heated them sufficiently.

Have ready a sauce-pan of boiling water; put the eggs into it with a spoon, letting the spoon touch the bottom of the sauce-pan before it is withdrawn to prevent breaking; let them stand where the water will keep hot but not boil, from six to ten minutes. The white will be soft and creamy and the yolk soft but not liquid. In boiling eggs do not cook more than six at a time as more will lower the temperature of the water too much. The eggs should be well covered,and the lid of the sauce-pan fit closely.

Hard-Boiled Eggs.
Cook them in water just below the boiling point, one-half hour. Eggs cooked in this way are dry, mealy and easily digested. Cooked, as many cook them, ten minutes in boiling water they are tough, leathery and almost perfectly indigestible.

Poached Eggs.
Have a deep pan half full of boiling salted water. Allow one teaspoonful of salt and one tablespoonful of vinegar to every quart of water.Eggs to poach well should be at least twenty-four hours old. Break each egg separately in a saucer and slip it carefully into the water and keep it gently simmering until the white is set and a white film has formed over the yolk. Take up carefully with a skimmer and serve on toasted bread, or on slices of ham or bacon. When the egg is slipped into the water the white should be gathered together to keep it in a round shape or a cup may be turned over it for half a minute.

Poached Eggs A La Creme.
Poach as above. Prepare a cream sauce with one tablespoonful of butter, one of flour, one cup of milk and seasoning to taste. Pour it over the eggs and toast; sprinkle a little finely chopped parsley over the dish and serve immediately.

Baked Eggs.
Butter an earthen dish and break in as many eggs as will cover the bottom of the dish; put a small piece of butter on each egg, dust lightly with salt and pepper, and bake in the oven until the whites are set.

Four eggs, two tablespoonfuls of milk, on spoonful of salt, a dash of pepper. Beat the yolks until light-colored and thick, add the milk,salt and pepper, mix thoroughly, then stir in lightly the whites which have been beaten stiff and dry. Put a large teaspoonful of butter in a clean frying-pan and when it bubbles all over,pour in the omelet. Slip a broad bladed knife under to keep it from burning in the middle.Lift the pan from the hottest part of the fire, and when lightly browned underneath, put it on the oven grate to dry the top. When a knife put in the center will come out clean, run the knife around the edge, fold carefully and turn out on a hot platter. Serve at once. Add a half-cupful of chopped veal or chicken, stewed tomatoes, or sliced raw tomatoes, oysters which have been parboiled and drained or clams chopped fine,may be spread on the omelet before folding, making a fancy omelet and taking the name of the added ingredient.

Jelly Omelet.
Allow an even tablespoonful of powdered sugar to each egg and omit the pepper. When ready to fold put three tablespoonfuls of any fruit, jam or jelly, fold and sprinkle with sugar.

Orange Omelet.
Three eggs, three even tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar, the grated rind and half the juice of an orange. Beat the yolks, add the sugar, rind and juice. Stir in lightly the beaten whites and cook as in preceding recipes. Fold,turn out on a hot platter, dredge thickly with powdered sugar and score across both ways—forming squares, with a clean red-hot poker. The burnt sugar gives a fine flavor. For a change,cut the orange in small pieces, removing the tough skin and seeds, sprinkle with sugar, fold,dredge sugar over the top and serve.

Omelet Soufflé.
Beat the yolks of two eggs until smooth and thick, add two rounded tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar, and one-half teaspoonful of vanilla. Beat the whites of four eggs until stiff and dry,and stir them lightly into the yolks. Pour lightly into a well-buttered baking-dish, dredge with powdered sugar, and cook in a moderate oven till well puffed-up and a straw comes out clean.It will take ten or twelve minutes. Serve at once or it will fall.

Plain Omelet.
Beat two eggs lightly-enough to break them up. Add one spoonful of salt, a dash of pepper, and one tablespoonful of milk. Pour in a hot-buttered pan and cook, as in omelet number one.

Creamy Omelet.
Pour one-half cupful of boiling milk over one cupful of bread crumbs, and let stand until cool.Beat the yolks of three eggs, add the soaked bread, season with salt and pepper. Add the beaten whites, pour into a hot pan, in which a large teaspoonful of butter has been melted,cook slowly until a delicate brown, dry the top in the oven turn out on a hot platter and serve.This omelet will not fall but is delicate and tender when cold.

Pickled Eggs.
Remove the shells from hard boiled eggs and put them carefully in a jar. Pour over them boiling vinegar which has been well seasoned with salt, pepper-corn, cayenne, mustard-seed, allspice and mace. When cold seal up. They will be fit for use in two weeks, but will be better if allowed to stand a month.

Scrambled Eggs.
Beat two eggs slightly, add three tablespoonfuls of milk, salt and pepper to taste. Turn into a hot-buttered pan and cook quickly, stirring all the time until like custard. Serve on toast. If cooked too long or allowed to stand a moment without stirring it will be tough and dry.

Fried Eggs.
Have a small frying pan with enough clear hot fat in it to cover an egg. Drop each egg carefully into the fat, dip the fat with a spoon and pour it over the eggs until a white coating forms. Serve with bacon or ham. The fat in which the bacon or ham has been cooked is best for frying eggs.

Macaroni With Eggs.
Break half a pound of macaroni into small pieces and cook for twenty minutes in salted boiling water; drain, put into an earthen dish and pour over it a cupful of white sauce into which has been stirred three heaping tablespoonfuls of grated cheese, two well-beaten eggs, salt and pepper to taste. Cut one large tablespoonful of butter into small bits and mix with the macaroni. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and brown in a hot oven.

Deviled Eggs.
Six eggs, one slightly rounded teaspoonful of French mustard, two tablespoonfuls of boiled ham or tongue, one-half tablespoonful of olive oil, salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Boil the eggs hard, and throw them in cold water for twenty minutes. Remove the shells and cut them in half lengthwise. Take out the yolks carefully. Rub the yolks to a smooth paste with the mustard and oil, then add the finely chopped ham or tongue and seasoning. Fill the whites with this mixture and serve on a bed of lettuce.

Coddled Eggs.
One cup of scalded milk, four eggs, two tablespoonfuls of butter, salt and pepper to taste.Beat the eggs slightly, add milk, butter, salt and pepper. Set the pan containing the mixture in boiling water and stir constantly until quite thick. Serve on rice or toast.