Basting as an Art
It is a far cry from June to November. The happy, care-free girl who floated to the altar in the month of roses, by Thanksgiving day has grown into a woman. Fall finds this young woman grappling with grim details. This does not mean that all the poetry has been blotted out of existence—although it may turn out that way if the woman in the case lacks adjustability. By studying how to do the most ordinary work about the house as an art instead of considering it drudgery, the triumphant strains of the wedding march may be kept indefinitely and incessantly thrilling an accompaniment of joy that will transform the petty details of the daily household routine into fascinating fun. Basting, for instance, is looked upon as most commonplace. Studied deeply it appears to be a science and an art.
THE art of basting is based on certain definite fundamental principles of chemical action. For instance, the juices of meat largely are composed of water. As soon as the meat or fowl reaches the boiling point in the oven—212 degrees— the water will evaporate. Unless compensation is made for the evaporation the meat will become dried and desiccated. This difficulty is overcome by basting.
A number of materials are employed in basting. Fresh butter, clarified suet, minced sweet herbs, butter and stock, cream and melted butter (especially for flayed pigs); yolks of eggs, grated biscuits and the juice of oranges, and Armour’s Extract of Beef, are some of the dredgings used to improve the flavor of roast meats and fowls. Use Armour’s Extract of Beef liberally in the gravy for basting the Thanksgiving turkey.
It not only preserves the natural juices, but at the same time imparts a coaxing, luring flavor that thrills the soul of an epicure and wooes the ordinary mortal to over-eat.
Stuff the turkey, after cleaning and preparing it, with a dressing made of soft bread or cracker crumbs highly seasoned with sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Moisten the dressing with half a cupful of melted butter and hot water enough to make it quite soft, to which has been added Armour’s Extract of Beef in the proportion of one-fourth teaspoonful to each cupful of water. Add one well - beaten egg.
Rub the turkey well with butter and dredge with salt, pepper and flour. Place, breast downward, on a rack in the roasting pan. Use a rack smaller than the pan to admit the free use of the spoon in basting. When the back is a light brown, turn it over and let the breast and sides brown in a similar manner. Do not put any water in the pan during the searing process, which will require from 15 to 30 minutes. As soon as this is done close the damper and add a pint of water, two round solid tablespoonfuls of butter, and one-half teaspoonful of Armour’s Extract of Beef. As the water is renewed add butter and Beef Extract in the same proportions. About a quart of water will be required in roasting a turkey. A solid cupful of butter may be used to advantage in the whole stuffing and baking. Less will do, but it is not wise to be too economical with butter at this time. Keep the turkey well turned to the heat. It must be kept moist and free from the least scorching, shriveling or blistering. Baste with the top of the gravy so the skin may be kept well buttered. About thirty minutes before taking it up rub over it a tablespoon packed solid with butter. Baste every ten minutes, dredging with flour after each basting. When the joints separate easily the cooking is completed. If the heat of the oven is as great as the turkey will bear with frequent bastings, and is kept steady and firm, a sevenpound turkey will cook just right in two hours. With the oven at the proper temperature twenty minutes to the pound should be allowed. When done the turkey should be coated with a crispy, frothy, brown, crumbling crust which will break off in shells with the carving. If the breast is larded with bacon or pork it will not be necessary to baste the turkey so frequently. Garnish with tiny fried sausages, forcemeat balls or rolls of bacon.
If turkey is to be served cold it should be glazed. Dissolve one-half ounce of gelatine in one pint of water, flavoring and coloring it with one teaspoonful of Armour’s Extract of Beef. Let the turkey be perfectly cold before applying the glaze. Allow the first coating to dry before applying the second. The glaze must be applied warm with a brush.