How Sally Does It
By Mabel Dardnell
American Cookery magazine, June-July 1920.
“Her cakes never stick either.
“She had me get her a cheap paint brush for greasing pans, and to make sure the bristles wouldn t fall out into things, she dropped some shellac varnish on the bristles where they are set into the wood.
“Now take her way of making cookies. She rolls the dough out in one sheet and bakes it in one large dripping pan. Then just as soon as she takes it from the oven she scores it into squares or triangles and the cookies break off neatly when cool.
“Yes, and I thought I knew all about making pies, but to see her go about it makes me feel as though I didn’t know anything; she always measures everything used, and then she mixes the shortening in with a fork.
“I suppose you think she has been to college by the way she measures everything, but she says it’s more economical than guessing, and I’m beginning to think she is right.
“And did you ever hear of weighing the shortening? Sally says it is far easier to weigh it than measure it, because one pint of lard weighs one pound.
“And what do you suppose she uses for a rolling pin? Why a big round bottle full of ice or ice water. She got the idea from a place where she used to work in the city; they had a hollow rolling pin that they could fill with ice.
“Gee! Sally is great on saving dish washing, too. She never seems to use my bread board for pies or anything. Instead she uses a piece of white paper, or waxed paper, and I have seen her use the inside of a paper flour sack. It is thrown into the fire and there is nothing to wash but the utensils used.
“And I never saw anybody put the food chopper to so many different uses; instead of grating the lemons, and her fingers, too, she takes a sharp knife and pares off the rind, then runs it through the food chopper. Cheese is treated the same way, and she can prepare vegetables in a ‘jiffy,’ and they cook quicker, too, for the fine cutting. Once when we were late at starting supper and I didn’t think there would be time to cook potatoes, she had them peeled and run through the food chopper while I was worrying what to have in place of them. They fried in a few minutes.
“Another thing Sally hardly ever uses is my chopping bowl. She had Max plane off a square board that she keeps lying on the kitchen table. When a vegetable is to be sliced or chopped she simply holds it on the board and cuts it down with a heavy, sharp knife.
“Cabbage, nuts, pineapple, and so many things are all laid out on the board, and using the knife as kind of a lever, cut into even lengths in half the time it takes by the old way.
“Vegetables, like salsify and parsnips, are scraped on the board. She holds them firmly against the board and with the other hand scrapes with regular downward strokes.
“And let me tell you how Sally crushes bread crumbs; she says one is silly to roll them with a rolling pin and have the crumbs flying all over the room, she always uses a sugar or salt sack and fills it with the dried crumbs and pounds it with a mallet. Now isn t that simple enough? But I never would have thought of it.
“Oh, yes, and another thing Sally uses so much is my scissors. I think she uses them more in the kitchen than I do in the sewing-room and, when she cuts up anything sticky, like raisins or marshmallows, she rubs a little butter along the blades and on her fingers, too, and then she can work so much faster. She always uses a big pair of shears to cut up a chicken, and where I always sewed up the opening of a stuffed fowl, why Sally don’t, she just does it in a few minutes by sticking toothpicks into the edges and lacing it up with a string. It is so easy to remove, too.
“When Sally first came to our house, I didn’t think she knew anything about cooking, but really she can fix up the daintiest meal I ever ate with her labor-saving methods, as she calls them.”
(Was the use of a cutting board really considered unusual?)