Sunday, March 16, 2008

Liquid Smoke and Mirrors

IMG Standard Liquid Smoke cookbook

Here are some really useful household hints from a booklet entitled Home Curing and Preparing of Meats: Recipes and Household Hints, from the Standard Chemical Company Limited (Toronto, Winnipeg, Montreal). They made, among other things, Standard Liquid Smoke for all your meat-smoking purposes. Liquid smoke was invented in the 1920s (according to my Google Patents search) so the booklet probably dates from about 1940.

What better hint to begin with, from liquid smoke manufacturers, than how to deal with a smoky room. That is, aside from putting out the fire, if that is the cause of your problem, of course. Listen up, children:

Tobacco smoke, and odors, may be removed from a room by placing a pail of water, containing a little hay, in the room. A towel, dipped in a mixture of half vinegar and half hot water, wrung out, and swung around the head, will also take up smoke and odors.

Do you have to do these things at the same time? Because I don't see how a bucket of hay and water is going to help matters much. Mind you, if I started swinging a vinegar-soaked towel around my head around here, room odor would not be perceived as being our primary problem.

Tea-Kettle: A clean oyster shell in the tea-kettle will prevent it from rusting. [You do have plenty of oyster shells lying around, don't you? Especially you folks out in the prairie provinces!]

Oilcloth: Instead of tacking oilcloth on the kitchen table, paste in on with boiled flour paste. It will last considerably longer. [In fact, you will probably never get it off.]

And here is a hint that will make you grateful to the makers of dishwashing liquid (or dish soap, as we call it in Canada):

Dish-Washing Suds: Take a small baking-soda can - punch nail holes in both top and bottom. Keep pieces of soap (too small to use, and which would, otherwise, be thrown away) in this can. Swish the can around in the dishwater, for heavy suds. Another way is to just punch holes in the bottom of the can, and put a string handle on the top. After filling with pieces of soap (or a bar of soap) hang it on the oht water tap, or pour the boiling water through it, into the dish-washing pan.

At least you didn't have to make your own soap, though.

And one last hint:

Hanging Pictures: If you are going to drive a nail into plaster, make it very hot first, and the plaster will not split. [Won't it be too hot to pick up though?]

To wind this up, let's look at one of the recipes for cooking the meat that you have smoked. It was probably all right if you had been out in the fields all day and needed something really heavy in your stomach.

Broiled Ham

Cut thin slices of a smoked ham. Then spread them with lard, and sprinkle generously with brown sugar. Broil, in a very hot oven, for ten or twelve minutes. This is delicious, served with fried bananas.

So much for never seeing another meat-fruit-sugar recipe....I guess I forgot about ham. I guess it is OK with ham. Cranberry sauce is also fine with turkey. And in Belgium once we had roast wild boar with some sort of berry sauce. There was a cooked pear half on the plate too. And I liked that. So let's just say: meat plus sugar must not - under any circumstances, and I mean even if you have, oh, say, a really nice Bundt pan - equal cake.

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