Recipes From Old Books


Cleaning Fish.

—Fish should be cleaned as soon as possible after being caught. Make an incision in the under side from the gills half way down, and take out the insides; carefully remove the thin black membrane lining the cavity, as it is apt to impart a bitter flavor to the whole fish if it is left. It is best to remove the white part adhering to the bone, called the sound, although some people leave it. Do not cut off the tail and head if it is to be served whole. Scrape from the tail towards the head to remove the scales; take out the eyes, and wash in strongly salted water; dry carefully, and wrap a cloth sprinkled with salt around it, and keep near the ice. *1 The salt checks the outflow of the juices. Handle the fish as little as possible, and do not wash it too much (one water is usually enough) and do not let the fish soak in the water, as that will extract the juices and detract from its value. Keep fish in a cool place near the ice, *1 but do not let ice touch it, as that will soften and injure, if it does not spoil it. Do not keep the fish in the ice chest, as it will taint anything like milk or butter. Keep any fish left after the meal in the same way.


*1 It is probably safe to assume that the ice referred to here means the block of ice within an icebox or ice chest such as that pre-dating the refrigerator.

All text information above the dashed line taken from pages 48-49 of Smiley, ed. Smiley's CookBook and Universal Household Guide: The Toronto Daily Star Edition. Chicago: Smiley Publishing Company, 1901. The background image of fish is taken from a plate in Smileys facing page 48. The editor of this site claims no copyright for the image.

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