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Roasting - Vintage Cooking Process

Roasting is one of the oldest methods of cooking on record, and still remains the favorite form of cooking joints of meat or birds.  Roasting proper is a culinary operation by which a joint of meat, a small whole carcass, or a bird is exposed to an open clear fire, so that it may become first browned over its surface and ultimately cooked tender.

The intense heat, combined with the free action of the hot air, produces and imparts that savory taste and fine flavor which is quite unlike that obtained in any other way.  Some hold that this process of cooking excels all other forms.

Rule for Success

The success of every method of cooking depends largely upon the correct management of the fire.  In roasting, this is particularly the case, as for roasting a clear, brisk and yet steady fire is needed.

Although roasting implies the application of an intense degree of heat, expecting for a brief period, during which the surface of a joint is browned, roasting before a fire is cooking by radiated heat, namely the heat rays coming from the fire are caught by the joint hanging before it.

This can be effected by either a closed or open range.

To roast a joint, it should be placed before great heat for the first ten minutes and then be allowed to cook more slowly.

The great heat hardens the outside of the meat and keeps in the juices.  If allowed to cook quickly all the time, the meat is likely to be tough.  The fire should be bright and clear.

The joint should be basted about every ten minutes, as this helps to cook it, keep it juicy and improves the flavor.

The time allowed is fifteen minutes for every pound, twenty minutes over for beef and mutton; for veal and pork twenty minutes for every pound and thirty minutes over. [1]

Roasting is cooking before a clear fire, with a reflector to concentrate the heat. Heat is applied in the same way as for broiling, the difference being that the meat for roasting is placed on a spit and allowed to revolve, thicker pieces alway being employed.

Tiu-kitchens are now but seldom used. Meats cooked in a range oven, though really baked, are said to be roasted. Meats so cooked are pleasing to the sight and agreeable to the palate, although, according to Edwart! Atkinson, not so easily digested as when cooked at a lower temperature in the Aladdin oven. [2]

The chief point to remember in roasting is that the meat should be quickly browned in order that the crust thus formed may retain the juices. The oven should therefore be hot when the meat is put in and the heat, if possible, gradually reduced.

Wipe the meat with a damp cloth, but do not wash it. Sprinkle with pepper and salt and just a. little flour, and put in a pan with a small piece of fat or drippings. When the meat is scared, add a little water and baste every ten minutes.

When one side is thoroughly browned, turn over and brown the other side. When done, remove the roast; pour off almost all of the fat and make a brown sauce according to the directions in the' chapter on “Sauces.”

If the meat is very lean it is a good plan to lay thin slices of fat meat, bacon or pork over the top.

[1] Table Talk: The American Authority upon Culinary Topics and Fashions of the Table, Vol. XXVII, 1912, A Series of Articles Published Throughout the Year. Published Monthly by The Arthur H. Crist Co., Cooperstown, NY. A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Interests of American Housewives, Having special reference to the Improvement of the Table.  Marion Harris Neil, Editor.

[2] Fannie Merritt Farmer, The Boston Cooking-school Cook Book, Revised Edition, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company (1912), p. 20

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