regions of Eastern Mexico. It is also grown in Peru and
other places on the American continent, the West Indies,
and the Indian and Pacific Islands. It is a climbing plant,
rather fleshy, with large inodorous flowers of yellowish green
and white colours, which in turn yield the bean or pod
which is gathered when nearly ripe and dried in the sun.
The culture of vanilla is carried out by fastening shoots
about three feet long to trees on the approach of the rainy
season; these are fastened to keep clear of the ground.
The roots strike into the bark of the tree and form plants
which fruit in about three years and remain productive for
about thirty years. It is essential that the plantation should
be kept clear of weeds and undergrowth. The pods are
from seven to nine inches in length, dark in colour, and the
split should not extend to more than a third of their length.
A popular method of preparing vanilla for the market is
described as follows:—"About 12,000 of the pods are
strung together by their lower end as near as possible to the
footstalk ; the whole are plunged for an instant into boiling
water to blanche them ; they are then hung up in the open
air and exposed to the sun for a few hours. By some they
are wrapped in woollen cloths to sweat. Next day they are
lightly smeared with oil by means of a feather or the fingers,
and are surrounded with oiled cotton to prevent the valves
from opening. As they become dry, on inverting their
upper end, they discharge a viscid liquor from it, and they
are pressed several times with oiled fingers to promote its
flow. The dried pods, like the berries of pepper, change
colour under the drying operation, grow brown, wrinkled,
soft, and shrink to one-fourth of their original size. In this
state they are touched a second time with oil, but very
sparingly, because with too much oil they would lose some
of their delicious perfume."
Vanilla is largely used for flavouring confectionery, ices
creams, chocolate, and other eatables, and acts on the
system as an aromatic stimulant, exhilarating the mind and
increasing the physical energy. Besides its use in eatables,
it is also largely used in perfumery and for scenting tobacco,
snuff, and cigars. The gathering in of the crop takes place
about the end of September in each year.
Vanilla Essence.—A liquid preparation obtained by
soaking the pods in rectified spirits—see Essences.
Vans.—see Insulated Vans.
Vat for Canning.—see Canning.
Veal.—Veal is best in the early part of the spring, and
should be eaten soon after being killed. A good veal should
be of fair size, weighing from 125 to 150 pounds, and dress
a little over two-thirds of that amount with the skin on.
The meat should be juicy, fat, finely grained, white and
firm. If the calf is too large, the meat will be coarse and
tough. The fat should be firm and of a whitish colour.
Veal, being more difficult to keep than other meats, is
perhaps the most risky for a butcher to handle, as it is
neither suitable for smoking nor corning, though it may
be made into sausage. The best grade of veal is the milk
calf, raised on the mother's milk. Stall-fed calves rank
next and may be nearly as good. Both of these are at their
best when about two months old, and their meat is very
delicate. Calves raised on buttermilk and slops are poor
and thin. The meat has a reddish tinge, the kidneys a
dark colour, and no fat about them. The meat of grass-fed
calves is much like beef, though not nearly as good as either
beef or veal, and should be worked into sausage meat. The
meat of a calf less than four weeks old is termed Bob veal,
and usually weighs less than 60 pounds when dressed. They
are unfit for food and liable to confiscation by the health
department. The meat is bluish, watery, and gelatinous.
Veal should never be allowed to acquire the slightest
taint, as it renders it unwholesome and offensive to the
taste. The hind quarters are the choice and bring the
most profit. The fillet, loin, leg, breast, shoulder, and
best part of the neck are the best for roasts. The neck,
breast, and knuckle are more usually stewed or boiled. The
loin and ribs are cut into chops. The legs and ribs are
made into cutlets. The lower part of the leg, or knuckle, is
sold for soup pieces, stews, etc. A fillet of veal is the leg
piece with the bone removed. The udder, or firm white of
the fillet, is much used by French cooks instead of butter,
especially in the composition of their force meats. The
head and feet of the calf are valuable articles of food. The
head should be sold with the hair taken off. The skin
should have a healthy look and seem firmly attached; the
eyes look bright and clear. If the head appears yellowish,
it is inferior and will bring you a less price. In cleaning the
head, be careful to remove the brains before scalding it.
Calves' brains are a great delicacy and should bring you a
good return. The feet are very rich in gelatinous substance.
They should be scalded, scraped, and made to look clean
and nice, when they are then ready for sale. Calves' haslet
comprises the heart, liver, and lights. Calves' tongues are
considered fine, and will sell well.
Sweetbreads are the glands (pancreatic) that assimilate the
oily portions of the milk. Are located, one in the lower part
of the throat and the other near the heart. The latter is the
choicer, smaller and more nearly round. Sweetbreads are
found in the young calf that is fed on the mother's milk
until it has been turned out to grass, when they waste away,
no longer being in use, or become tough, hard, and lose
their delicacy. The two are usually sold together,- and
weigh perhaps half a pound. They are, without doubt, the
greatest dainty that we have, though it is only in late years
that they have been sold separate. Sweetbreads retail as
high as one dollar each if of a good quality, and at one-
fourth this price it will pay to sell them separately.
Veal Sausage.—Chop together 22 lbs. of good veal
free from sinew and 11 lbs. of bacon, and make very fine.
Season with 12½ oz. of salt, 1½ oz ground pepper, three
nutmegs grated, and ½ oz. ground mace. Knead all
together, and make into a paste with some milk. From a
pint to a quart is required. Fill into narrow skins.
Venison.—Buck venison is considered finer than doe
venison. The greater the depth of fat upon the haunch the
better the quality of the meat, as venison cannot be too fat.
If lean, it will be dry and flavourless. The fat should be
clear and white, the lean of a dark red. If the cleft of the
hoof be small and smooth, the animal is young; but if the
marks are the reverse of these, it is old. The haunch is the
prime and favourite joint of venison. The neck and
shoulder are excellent for stews. If kept to the proper
point and well dressed, this is the most tender of all meats.
But care is necessary to bring it into a fitting state for the
table without its becoming offensive. The fumes of creosote
are said to be an admirable preservative against putrescence.
The cuts are the loin, leg, saddle, fore-quarters, and steaks.
Venison usually brings a good price per pound.
10 lbs. lean veal from neck or leg,
10 lbs. streaked pork from a young animal.
If preferred, 15 lbs. of one kind of meat and 5 lbs. of the
other may be taken, of whichever is the cheaper for the time
being. Two-thirds veal and one-third pork are very good,
as they make the sausage such a nice colour. Before chop-
ping the meat, both pork and veal should be treated thus :
One or two days before, if possible, it should be cut into
pieces like beans, and then salted in the usual way with
1 lb. Salt, ½ oz. saltpetre, 1 oz. white Indian cane sugar.
Be sure that the brine is well rubbed in to all the meat,
and that the meat is afterwards pressed very closely and
kept from air. In this way the sausages will be of a lasting
colour, and will keep for more than a week.
Now chop the veal first, then add the pork : it should not
be so fine as the veal. To 20 lbs. of meat take 1¼ oz. of
white pepper, ½ oz. finely ground corianders, one stick garlic
and two eschalots, grated. Mix all well together and add
to the meat. Now add 2 to 3 lbs. newly killed meat. then
begin to stir round and round for half-an-hour, adding a
little water occasionally: in winter the water should have
the chill off it. Fill into not too narrow sheepskins, hang
them on sticks for some hours to get dried; in winter in a
warmed room. When smoking, be careful not to let the
skin get hard. The sawdust for smoking must be in a
perfect glow when the sausages are hung up, and the room
about 133° Fahr. They should hang twenty to twenty-five
minutes, and be of a chestnut-brown colour. Immediately
on being smoked, they should be put into hot water and
stirred round about on the stove. When they rise to the
top of the water, they are ready and should be taken out
and hung on white sticks. These sausages have been
famous in Vienna since 1857. (See also Frankfort Sausage)
Washing Soda.—Used principally as a detergent, is
manufactured chiefly from common salt. In the old
Leblanc process the salt was first roasted with sulphuric
acid in reverberatory furnaces when " salt cake " or sulphate
of soda was left in the furnace and hydrochloric acid was driven
off in the form of vapour. The salt cake was then mixed
with certain properties of coal and chalk and roasted in
other furnaces, and a solid residue of carbonate of soda and
sulphide of lime remained and carbonic acid disappeared as
gas. The above residue was then dissolved in lukewarm
water in tanks when the carbonate of soda went into solution
and the sulphide of lime remained insoluble. The solution
boiled down yielded the soda ash of commerce. This soda
ash, dissolved in boiling water until saturated and then run
into crystalising vats, yielded washing soda crystals on
cooling. The molten liquor was then drained off and the
crystals allowed to dry, when they were packed into casks
for the market.
The above process has now been largely superceded by
simpler processes — more particularly the ammonia soda
process, in which bi-carbonate of soda is formed direct from
common salt solution by saturating it with ammonia and
carbonic acid gases. The bi-carbonate on being heated
becomes carbonate, which can be crystallised as above.
On being heated washing soda loses about half its weight,
the other half being water of crystallisation.