1832 - The Cook's Own Book



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1832 - The Cook's Own Book

The vegetable kingdom affords no food more wholesome, more easily procured, easily prepared, or less expensive, than the potato: yet, although this most useful vegetable is dressed almost every day, in almost every family, for one plate of potatoes that comes to table as it should come, ten are spoiled.

Wash them, but do not pare or cut them, unless they are very large.
Fill a saucepan half full of potatoes of equal size
(or make them so by dividing the larger ones),
put to them as much cold water as will cover them about an inch:
they are sooner boiled, and more savory, than when drowned in water.
Most boiled things are spoiled by having too little water,
but potatoes are often spoiled by too much:
they must merely be covered, and a little allowed for waste in boiling,
so that they may be just covered at the finish.

Set them on a moderate fire till they boil; then take them off, and put them by the side of
the fire to simmer slowly till they are soft enough to admit a fork (place no dependence on
the usual test of their skins' cracking, which, if they are boiled fast, will happen to some
potatoes when they are not half done, and the insides quite hard). Then pour the water off
(if you let the potatoes remain in the water a moment after they are done enough, they will
become waxy and watery), uncover the saucepan, and set it at such a distance from the fire as
will secure it from burning; their superfluous moisture will evaporate, and the potatoes will
be perfectly dry and mealy.

You may afterward place a napkin, folded up to the size of the saucepan's diameter, over the
potatoes, to keep them hot and mealy till wanted.

This method of managing potatoes is in every respect equal to steaming them;
and they are dressed in half the time.

There is such an infinite variety of sorts and sizes of potatoes, that it is impossible
to say how long they will take doing: the best way is to try them with a fork.
Moderate-sized potatoes will generally be done enough in fifteen or twenty minutes.