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06 September 2018 @ 09:11 pm
Throwback Thursday: Hints on Modern Gas Stove Cooking  
I conversation on Facebook reminded me that I am in possession of my grandmother's cookery book Miss Tuxford's Modern Cookery for the Middle Classes and I thought you might all be edified by her "Hints on Modern Gas Stove Cooking"

Page from a paperback size book.  Transcription below


I thought it would be beneficial to the readers of this book to include a few hints on the use and economy of cooking by gas. If properly regulated the cost is considerably less than cooking by coal, as each burner can be turned out directly articles are cooked, and no more expense entailed. Both cooking and heating of washing-up water for a family of six costs on 2d. or 2 1/2 d. per day where gas is 3s. 6d. per 1,000 cubic feet. Care should be taken that the amount of dishes to be cooked should be so arranged that the oven is full, as that will only require one supply of gas. Never use the over until it has been lighted from eight to ten minutes, the former for bread, cakes and meat, the latter for puff pastry. It will be found that the shrinkage in the cooking of meat is much less than when cooked in a fire over, because the heat of a gas oven is equal on all sides, and directly the meat is put in a hot over the outside hardens, and all gravy and moisture is kept in, making the meat not only more palatable and nutritious, but more economical. The gas oven is thoroughly ventilated, therefore meat and pastry can be successfully cooked together. The grilling burner should be made to do double duty, for while the bacon or toast is cooking underneath, the kettle, too, may be boiled at the same time, on the top. The kettle, deflecting the heat, causes the bacon, etc., to be cooked more quickly, as well as using up the waste heat. The simmering burner is one of the most useful, and should be used for soups and stews. The consumption of gas is very small, and this burner can be used for nine hours for the cost of 1d. After gas is turned out in the oven, bowls of water should be put in to get hot for washing up the dishes. The times given for cooking in the foregoing recipes are for gas cooking. Care must be taken to keep the stove, oven and burners clean. The preparation known as "Kleenoff" is excellent for cleaning all parts of the cooker. It is a very simple method, merely requires to be painted on with a brush and allow to remain for 30 minutes. Then wash off with hot water and all the enamel parts as well as the burners will look as good as new.

When cooking small cakes it is advisable to put them near the top of the oven, as that is the hottest part. When partly cooked, either reduce the gas or lower the cakes. Large cakes (which require a long time to cook) should be put in the centre of the oven with a very small light. The irons, too, for ironing clothes are much cleaner when heated on the gas stove than before an ordinary fire.

What amazes me, though it shouldn't, is that so much has changed in the less than 100 years since this was published, that much of the advice is completely irrelevant today. That and the slightly odd choice of how to order the material and where to put a paragraph break.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/516134.html.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on September 6th, 2018 09:14 pm (UTC)
I have some books that belonged to my grandparents. The Book of Hints and Wrinkles is written in a similar tone to your quotation and I thought it might be similarly amusing, but a quick flick through does not reveal any immediately obvious things, aside from the assumption that people wear the same pair of socks several days running (yuk) and the reminder to have your cat "chloroformed" when you neuter him...

I remember finding Real Life Problems and Their Solution at my grandparents' house years ago and looking through it thinking it would be hilariously backwards and repressed, particularly about child-rearing and sex, only to find that much of it was quite progressive and sensible.

I also have some of my grandfather's WWII Royal Army Medical Corps training pamphlets. One has a field cookery section in which I was rather shocked to learn that when I thought I'd been eating porridge for years, I had in fact been eating "gruel" (as in Oliver Twist). Apparently porridge is oatmeal, water and salt, whereas oatmeal, milk and sugar is gruel. I also don't think anyone would talk of "Invalid Cookery" today.
louisedennis: General:Bookslouisedennis on September 8th, 2018 02:18 pm (UTC)
This one also has an entire chapter on Invalid Cookery, though I have not double-checked the gruel recipe. If memory serves invalid cookery relies heavily on something called Virol which the internet suggests is somewhat like marmite.
bunnbunn on September 8th, 2018 10:29 am (UTC)
That's interesting. The owner of the book is presumably a member of 'the Middle Classes' and can afford the book, and the oven, and a modern gas supply - but at the same time apparently needs to be careful to fill the oven so as not to spend more than 2d on gas... The careful economy of it is interesting.
louisedennis: General:Bookslouisedennis on September 8th, 2018 02:21 pm (UTC)
I was struck by that - but I recall when we briefly had an AGA and my mother, in excitement, whisked us off off to an AGA shop, being earnestly told by the lady there that you could run an AGA very cheaply for as little as £1 per day (which, as my sister pointed out, meant it would cost you approx £400 per year). I wonder if gas cookers were seen as something of a luxury and thus the expense needed justification.