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remarkable for the heaps of melons, the yards
of bread, and the colossal lumps of butter
lying about it) was a tent, decorated of course
with tri-coloured flags, in which were three
long tables ready for visitors who might wish
to dine. As M. Victor proceeded with his
important businessas he cut those potatoes
into the thinnest conceivable little stripsor,
with a hand at once delicate and decided,
larded two or three very remarkable livers, he
occasionally conceded a reply to some visitor's
question. But, generally, the holiday-makers
who crowded about him had a respect too
serious and too profound for his art, to
disturb him at his labours. We left him trussing
a fowl, and pursued our walk among the
kitchens. They were all contrived after M.
Victor's model, and were all in full work.
At one, a sturdy professor was gravely rolling
out an immense lump of paste; at another, a
comic cook presided: this artist was evidently
engaged rather for his facetious, than for his
culinary power. He had a sharp sally for
every visitor who addressed him; and, when
we first saw him, was brandishing a fowl in
the faces of a laughing multitude. In the
long tent behind him, various groups of people
were going through the various stages of a
French dinner. Some were at the soup-stage,
others were consuming huge slices of melon
to refresh the palate, for the enjoyments of
fricassees. The ground was strewn in every
direction with the hard shells of innumerable
melons, and at every turn people were
incorporating prodigious lumps of this
refreshing fruit. The cooks were evidently
making money; all other attractions of the
fair seemed to be subservient to theirs.
Grave old gentlemen whisked about on the
roundabouts to get an appetite for M. Victor;
grisettes only delayed their dinner to a late
hour that they might have a sharp appetite
for soup cooked in the open air. He would
have incurred any grisette's heaviest displeasure,
who had offered her on this gay day the
choicest fare cooked in an ordinary kitchen.

And thus, before the balls opened that
evening in the forest, the cooks had realised
considerable benefits from their annual open-
air cookery.

The respect paid to Monsieur the Cook by
the holiday makers is very noticeable; his
manner of proceeding is watched with intense
delight; the gradual transition of very ugly
lumps of meat into exquisite fricassees
not one morsel of anything being lostis an
intense study to many elderly gentlemen
who spend nearly all the day before the
kitchens in the open air. It is in his power
of adapting everything to a savoury and
nutritious account that the Parisian cook
prides himself. You think he is going to
throw all that grease, which is falling into
a huge trencher from his roast, into some
wasteful grease-pot; wait awhile, and you
shall see it re-appear in the congenial shape
of a wholesome and refreshing soup. That
heap of mangled cold fowls yonder are by
no means destined to be set aside as waste;
they will make their second appearance very
shortly under some dexterous disguise. As
for that cold beef, its adventures will be of the
most complicated nature. It is now simply a
very indifferent joint of what the Monsieur
Victor and his brethren call ros bif. But,
presently, it will be Beef à la mode; then it
will be dexterously turned to Beef sauce
tomate; part of it will be reserved for the
companionship of mushrooms; and, at last, its
scattered remnants will turn up in a general
fricassee, and its bones will be broiled for the
universally popular bouillon. Had that same
joint of ros bif fallen into the hands of an
English cook, half of it would have been
wasted; two-thirds of the fat would have found
their way to the grease-pot, and the bones
would have been cast into the dusthole.

Give M. Victor a few vegetables, any meat
he is indifferent what it isa saucepan, and
a little charcoal fire, and he will produce for
you a most satisfactory and a most wholesome
little dinner. The materials which, in
England would produce only the most
unpalatable food, become, in his dexterous
hands, the foundations of little dishes of the
most various descriptions. Yet M. Victor is
not expensive. He laughs at all he hears of
English cookery, and wonders how masters
can support its extravagance. And M. Victor
is right. Our cooks should take an easy drive
hither; and, watching these kitchens in the
open air, derive much benefit therefrom. And,
especially to the English working man, would
this experience be useful. His wife, on a
moderate calculation, throws away one-third
of her family's food. She has no culinary
resources. It never enters her head to turn
every scrap of food, every bone that comes
within her reach, every scrap of bread, to
palatable account. And thus the teaching
of common things which has been lately
talked of, should include, as a most
important branch of popular education, the
economy of the kitchen. To teach the young
idea how to cook is to do a great social good,
undoubtedly. There are more showy
accomplishments; fair fingers may be seen to better
advantage than when partially buried in a
light crustbut the light crust has
something to do with the light heart, and the
kitchen strongly influences the happiness of
the parlour.

           Now Ready, price 5s. 6d., neatly bound in cloth,
                          THE EIGHTH VOLUME
                                           OF
                          HOUSEHOLD WORDS.

Containing Numbers 180 to 203 (both inclusive); issued
between September 3rd, 1853, and February 11th,1854. And
also including the Extra Number and a Half for Christmas.
The preceding volumes of Household Words, and the
volumes of the HOUSEHOLD NARRATIVE OF
CURRENT EVENTS, for the Years 1850, 1851, and 1852,
may be had of all Booksellers.

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