A huge part of the life of a homemaker involves getting a meal on the table and washing dishes afterwards. Other homemaking tasks can usually be put off for a couple of days or a week but meals are daily. Because these tasks are vital to the running of a home, it’s important to pay attention to the process.
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Getting a Meal
Getting Ready to Cook.
- Put on clean apron. Wash hands and make sure nails are clean. Arrange hair neatly so it won’t need attention while cooking.
- See that stove is in good condition and ready to use. (Includes details on how to light stove burners and oven.)
- Note materials and utensils needed to measure, mix, and cook the food. Place them all on worktable or near stove.
- For measuring you will need measuring spoons (1/4 t., 1/2 t., 1 t., 1 T.) and measuring cups (1/4 C., 1/3 C., 1/2 C., and 1 C.). While experienced cooks may be able to measure pretty accurately with their eye, beginners need to measure. And regardless of experience, accurate measurement of all ingredients is necessary for such things as cakes.
Measurements and Their Equivalents.
It is often necessary to convert one type of measurement into the equivalent of another measure. It is important to learn the following by heart:
- 3 teaspoons (t.) = 1 tablespoon (tb. or T.)
- 16 tablespoons (tb. or T.) = 1 cup
- 2 cups (C.) = 1 pint (pt.)
- 2 pints (pt.) = 1 quart (qt.)
- 4 quarts (qt.) = 1 gallon (gal.)
- 8 quarts (qt.) = 1 peck (pk)
Getting a Meal.
Putting a meal on the table requires forethought in order to have everything ready and hot when time to serve.
- Follow dependable recipes.
- Decide whether you will cook the amount in the recipe or if you need to adjust the quantities.
- Have the food materials that will be needed to cook the meal at hand.
- Know how long it will take to mix or prepare food for cooking.
- Decide in what order you will prepare the foods.
- Decide which foods may be cooked on top of the stove and what in the oven.
- Decide when you will set the table.
- Keep the work table, sink, and other equipment in as good order as possible as you work.
It take practice to be able to prepare a meal in which every food is served in the right condition, hot or cold, at the proper time.
Breakfast Short Cuts.
If a cereal requires long cooking time, consider cooking it the night before. A tight-fitting lid will prevent a crust from forming and the cereal can then be reheated just prior to serving.
Fruits may be cooked the evening before. Be sure to keep them covered.
To make a quick bread, measure all ingredients the evening before. Mix the dry materials and the moist ingredients separately and do not combine until morning.
Muffins or yeast rolls previously baked may be reheated for breakfast. To prevent a hard crust, dip them quickly in water or milk and bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 10-15 minutes.
Planning and Serving a Breakfast Menu.
This section is a brief discussion about planning a breakfast to cook and serve at school (in Home Ec class).
- Include only a few foods in your menu.
- Select foods that may be cooked and eaten, and dishes washed in a class period.
- If you share a work table or unit kitchen with other pupils, be a good neighbor. Do your full share of the work.
Scientific research shows that colds and other diseases which are transmitted through the secretions of the nose and mouth account for 30-40% of the total sickness of our population. When you consider that the secretions of the mouth are left on dishes it becomes apparent how important it is to wash dishes so as to destroy germs left on them. Improper dishwashing methods do not destroy disease germs and can cause the spread of colds and influenza.
It has been proved that washing dishes used by a family of four once a day instead of three times and letting them air dry after scalding rather than drying with a towel, saves 587 motions and 7 minutes 6 seconds of time.
Suggestions for Washing Dishes.
Scrape dishes, use a dishpan of suitable size, and wash the least soiled dishes first.
Pile like kinds together.
Consider height of sink and if too low, raise dishpan by placing on a bowl or something similar. If there is not a drainboard on the left side of the sink, provide a place for dish draining. Place soiled dishes on the right-hand drainboard, and the washed dishes on the left-hand.
Either wash dishes as soon after soiling as possible, or soak dishes, especially cooking utensils.
Soak in cold water – dishes which have held eggs, milk, ands uncooked starchy materials.
Soak in hot water – dishes which contained syrups and most cooked foods.
Wipe greasy dishes with paper before soaking. While washing dishes once a day is efficient, this does require more dishes, as well as a place in which to store unwashed dishes.
A dish that looks clean may not be. Disease germs are invisible to the naked eye and care must be taken to destroy them.
- Use hot, soapy water.
- Rinse in scalding water.
Dishes which are not harmed by scalding water should be rinsed in boiling water. More delicate items can be rinsed in hot, but not scalding water.
If a family member has a contagious disease, their dishes require special care. Put all food left on the dishes in paper and burn it. Place dishes in a pan kept for this purpose, cover with water and boil for 15 minutes, counting from the time the water reaches the boiling point. These dishes may then be washed with the family dishes.
Suggestions for Drying Dishes.
If washed dishes are placed in a drainer and scalded, very little towel drying is needed. A towel should be used in drying table glassware and silver but not for most china. Whether or not dishes are dried with a towel, scalding is advised. This not only makes dishes sanitarily clean but it makes towel drying quicker and easier.
To dry woodenware, place it where the air can get to all parts in order to avoid mildew.
Use clean dish towels. Scientific investigation of a number of households has shown that dish towels may have from 75,000 to 1,000,000 bacteria on a square yard. Dish towels and cloths need frequent scalding. After washing, hand the towels and cloths neatly on the towel bar.
Caring for the Sink
Avoid course scouting powder on the sink for it will gradually scratch the surface making it rough and more difficult to clean. It is better to wash with plain soap and water.
- Close the faucet
- With a rubber scraper or your hand, push any water standing in the sink down the drain pipe.
- Wring out the cloth as dry as possible, holding it over the drain pipe. Apply soap to the cloth and wash the sink. If necessary, wring out cloth again and apply more soap.
- Turn on the water and rinse the sink and cloth.
Points to Investigate and Consider
A couple of the questions following this chapter:
- Aside from improving one’s appearance, why should aprons that are worn when cooking be clean?
- Explain how an ice-cream soda glass may be the means of spreading disease germs.
Being able to put a meal on the table requires planning and some practice. This chapter provides a number of helpful hints.
Dishwashing is a vital component of kitchen work and there are several important aspects to consider, especially as regards efficiency and cleanliness.
THIS BLOG SERIES IS BASED ON THE 1949 EDITION OF YOUR HOME AND YOU BY CARLOTTA C. GREER.
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