When cooking a meal do you struggle to get all the dishes ready to serve at the same time? Here’s some hundred-year-old advice that might help:
A menu being decided upon, it needs an accurate sense of time, forethought, and promptness, to have a number of dishes ready at the same time, or in proper sequence if several courses are served. Such questions as the following must be answered:
- What steps in preparation can be taken ahead of times, as washing, paring, cutting, etc.?
- What dishes take the longest to cook?
- Which must be served the moment they are done?
- Which can be kept hot for some time without injury?
- Which can be finished and cooled perhaps several hours before?
- What is the order of serving?
The fact is obvious that in preparing a meal you cannot finish the dishes one at a time, but that steps individual to each dish must be interwoven with each other, and the cook must have them all “on her mind,” and is often doing half a dozen things at once.
The woman at home will devise many ways of easing and shortening the labor just before the meal is served, avoiding haste, and anxiety in this way. A dessert can be prepared and be cooking as breakfast dishes are washed, and at the time left overs are put away they can be arranged ready for serving, as in the case of poultry or meat to be served cold.
Foods and Household Management: A Textbook of the Household Arts (1913)