Rulings For Refrigeration
SIMULTANEOUS HEAT AND COLD
Food preservation is a problem as old as civilisation. Even the Egyptians of the Pharaoh's time had quite good methods of solving it. They used wide earthenware trays of a porous nature filled with water and left them exposed to the night winds of the desert. Thin layers of ice formed upon them before morning.
Alexander the Great dug great trenches and stored the snows of winter that they should preserve his army's food by summer.
The Cro-Magnon cave-dwellers of pre-historic France chose cool caves for their retreats because the safe storage of food was a consideration of equal importance with that of physical safety.
History goes on to tell of the general use of natural ice secured from lakes and streams in winter and preserved during the summer. Artificial ice was not exploited until the middle of the 19th century and to-day we have other more scientific methods in keeping with the mechanical progress of the 20th century.
In the warmer temperatures that we are now experiencing the housewife's fancy lightly turns to—refrigerators. They capture boreal winter and house its healthy frosts and snows in a highly enamelled white box with chromium-plated fittings, in order that we may have appetising and fresh nourishment.
Slowly the fact is beginning to dawn upon the Englishman's mentality that although ours is scarcely a tropical climate still we have to face occasionally, and then all unprepared, almost tropical conditions.
Our Suffering Food
Then it is that our food supply suffers; much is wasted; everything looks unappetising; the butter wilts, the salads flop, the milk curdles and the fruit ferments. Result : lack of appetite on the part of family and bad temper consequent upon under-nourished bodily tissues.
But it is not only in the overwhelming heats of summer that refrigerators are a necessity. Food should be kept at a certain temperature all the year round, and only a refrigerator can ensure that certain degree.
In Sweden, where much less heat is experienced than in England, and also in the more northerly parts of the United States, refrigerators are part of the flat's equipment, just as a cooker is in an English flat.
Ice • plays an enormously large part in the lives of American housewives. In the days before cheap refrigeration—not more than five or six years ago—the iceman called at every house in an American suburb during the summer as the coalman called during the winter. The coalman and the iceman were almost synonymous with winter and summer. Now everyone has her "cold-box."
Gradually this state of affairs will be accepted over here, too; already great reductions in prices of all models have been effected. £30, spread over two years' payment, is a very average price for the best refrigerator.
Meanwhile, many of our housewives need a course of instruction in "refrigeration" principles. It is not enough to purchase a machine (which, by the way, can be run by electricity, gas, or paraffin), turn on the current, gas or oil, fling all your food inside and wait for results. Results there will be—but of a chaotic kind.
Next time you open the door of the machine you may,notice a pungent smell, and when you eat your butter you may do more than imagine that it tastes of apple; you will be sure, too, that lemon has somehow infected the milk.
You must practice careful segregation within your refrigerator. Glass boxes, trays and baskets al e well p:ovidec tor the purpose—and remember that flavours are drawn out and distributed as much by freezing as by boiling activities.
Nor is the housewife the only person to need a refrigerator. If it is necessary to have one in a small household where food supplies anyway are small, how much more necessary in larger establishments such as nursing-homes, institutions and schools?
Convents, for instance, should all be supplied with some method of refrigeration. In summer foodstuffs that have only ordinary cupboards for housing deteriorate fast, and therefore only small quantities can be bought safely for imme diate consumption. Buying on a small scale is very expensive and a refrigerator would make buying on a large and economical scale possible all the year round. For schools and institutions, there are large model refrigerators on the market that range from £100. Like the domestic model the initial outlay is the only cost since no model costs any appreciable sum of money to run.
For very large establishments, coldrooms are advised. These are built into the house sectionally and can be moved whenever necessary.
There are endless possibilities in the refrigerator. Not only can food be kept in frozen storage, but it can also be housed in a moist storage or a normal storage— all inside the same cabinet.
Make Your Tumblers Icy
Space is provided' for bottles, and ice is always available. It is a good scheme to keep your glasses in the cabinet, too, so that ice drinks can be served instantaneously in ice-cold glasses.
Even rolling pins are fitted with a tube to contain iced water, and if kept in the refrigerator they will improve the condition of the dough by making it cool.
It is worth remembering, too, that sandwiches can be kept fresh indefinitely if put into cold storage. So you can cut your evening-party sandwiches in the afternoon and they will appear absolutely moist and new at ten o'clock.
Nearly all models are fitted with an automatic light that floods the interior of the machine as the door is opened. Without inconvenience, therefore, you can keep your refrigerator in any dark corner of the kitchen.
Some makers match their refrigerators with cookers and sell the two units as one. This is a sound principle, and goes to show that there really is a movement towards a new kind of Ice Age.