May Bryon’s Vegetable Cookery Book, Day Two

Day two (Day one is here)

May Bryon’s Vegetable Cookery Book, 1918

"The following rough list will give some notion 
of the respective value of vegetables from a nutritious 
point of view — t.e. regarding them as quality rather 
than as quantity. 

1. Potatoes. 

2. Jerusalem Artichokes, 

3. Parsnips. 

4. Peas, Beans, Lentils. 

5. Beets and Carrots. 

6. Onions and Leeks. 

7. Celery, Seakale, Salsify, 

8. Cauliflower and Broccoli. 

9. Green Vegetables in general.

10. Everything else.


(1) Don’t boil any vegetable if you can steam it.

(2) Don’t use any more water than you can possibly help, if you must boil the vegetable: let it cook in its own juices so far as possible.

(3) Don’t throw away the water thus used as it contains much of the essential salts of the vegetable. Use it for stock or sauce, that same day if you can.

(4) Don’t put any vegetable into cold water to cook it, except potatoes (old) and Jerusalem artichokes. Put it into fast-boiling water.

(5) Don’t forget to salt the water; it makes all the difference to the flavour of the vegetables.

(6) Don’t use washing soda on any acount: use (if absolutely necessary on account of the hardness of the water) a minute pinch of bicarbonate of soda—about what would cover a threepenny-bit.

(7) Don’t throw away peelings, parings, trimmings or any vegetable matter. Wrap them up tightly in an old newspaper, let them become fairly dry, and use them as fuel.

(8) Don’t dump the vegetable into the dish all wet. Strain and drain out the moisture as completely and as quickly as you can, but so as not either to spoil the shape and appearance of the vegetable, or to let it get cold.

(9) Don’t put it into a cold dish unless it is to be served cold. A hot thing put into a cold dish is one of the most unpardonable crimes in cookery: and it is ” worse than a crime—it is a blunder,” likely to undo all your trouble and spoil the whole thing.

(10) Don’t despise any left-over vegetables, however small. They can all be used up for salads, stews, or soups : only don’t leave them to become stale or sour, especially such as have been served in sauce.


Vegetables should be gathered early in the morning, and kept in a cool dark place; to put them in a clean dry pail, covered with paper, is a very good plan.

If you are not lucky enough to grow your own vegetables, buy them as fresh as you can; and never keep any till the next day before using. You don’t know how long they may have been knocking about in market-carts and markets, collecting germs and getting flabbier every minute.

Green vegetables which are flabby and discoloured are not worth cooking, neither are root vegetables which are limp and stale. The first should be crisp and green, the second firm and stiff.

To draw out and kill slugs, caterpillars, etc. in cabbage and cauliflower, add a little vinegar to the water you soak them in while preparing them.

Root vegetables should be cooked in a covered pan; but all green leaf vegetables, except spinach, are best cooked with the lid off. Green vegetables must be boiled very fast, and never allowed to go off the boil.

Any unpleasant smell proceeding from vegetables during their boiling can be obviated by changing the water during the cooking, but by so doing you will waste a good deal of the mineral salts. A better plan is to put a piece of toasted crust in a little muslin bag, along with the vegetable.

Be sure to drain all vegetables thoroughly after cooking, as quickly as possible.

Nothing is more unappetising than cold or lukewarm vegetables; take care, therefore, to serve. them hot in a hot dish with a hot cover. Quite commonly a careless cook will plank down her vegetables into a chilly or tepid dish.

There is no vegetable whatever (and this especially applies to roots and tubers) but what is greatly improved by the addition of a good sauce, served separately or otherwise.”

blue chicken dish border rectangle

Tomorrow: special utensils needed for vegetable cooking

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