03 May 2009

Mrs. Seely’s Cook-Book

Mrs. Lida Seely was more than a cook-book author. She ran an employment agency that provided staff for most of the wealthy families of New York. She trained not only young men and women to work in large homes but she later imparted her rules and regulations to the public at large. If you were unclear of the actual duties of a "Fourth -Man" Mrs. Seely would be able to explain exactly what you would need him to do.

After years of training and placing staff, she compiled a cook-book that also provided info on all those domestic servants you would need. Frankly, these "jobs" were slightly above indenture servitude. You couldn't find people to work these long hours for such little pay even in these drastic economic times.

Mrs. Seely provided general instructions for roasting meats;

Rules For Roasting Meats

In roasting beef it is necessary to have a brisk fire. Baste often. Twelve minutes are required for every pound of beef. Season when nearly done. Clean meat by wiping them with a cloth kept for that purpose. Do not put meat in water.
showed how a table cover should appear;

and provided specific recipes on particular cuts of meat.

Calf’s Heart Roasted

Make a forcemeat of fine bread crumbs, a quarter of a pound of beef suet chopped small, a little parsley, sweet marjoram, pepper, salt, and if your taste finds them agreeable, lemon peel and nutmeg. Mix these ingredients with the yolk of an egg and place them in the heart. Tie the heart and roast, turning it frequently. Serve with slices of lemon and melted butter poured over it.
It's so hard to get good calves heart these days! After a big dinner someone has to do the laundry and here is where all those servants come into play. According to Mrs. Seely, this is well laid out laundry room.

I am pretty sure you could drive a big old truck full of laundry into that room. The average apartment could easily be dropped right into the above laundry room. If you want to keep up with the Jones (or the Rockefeller's or the Whitney's) you will need a laundry stove, preferably with a boiler attached.

And of course you will need properly dress laundress'. I am sure that today, you would have to pay more to get your laundress to dress this way. But I think it's worth the extra expense!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin