Try cocks are small valves installed on steam boilers at safe high-water level and at the safe low-water level. When the boiler water column is inoperable, try cocks function as a back up system to determine the water level. The water level is determined by opening slightly first one try cock and then the other. The water level is indicated by the color of the plume escaping from the try cock orifice.

A steam plume is characteristically colorless, and will indicate that the water level is too low (i.e. below the level of the try cock orifice). A white plume, on the other hand, characterizes water. A false water level reading will be obtained if the try cock is opened too wide when the level of the water is only slightly below the level of the try cock orifice. The violent agitation of the water caused by a wide open try cock will result in some of the water escaping, giving the false impression that the level of the water in the boiler is at or above the try cock fitting.

On large steam boilers, a third try cock is often installed between the other two. Sometimes a try cock on these larger boilers is at a level too high to reach. When this is the case, chain operated lever-type try cocks are installed.

Wanting to do something special for the girlfriend but can't get theatre tickets? Parents coming to visit and you want to avoid the usual nagging and complaints? The boss or an important client coming over for a soirée and you need to impress?

Try cock!

Despite (or perhaps because of) its notoriety amongst liberal arts students, the cock is often overlooked as a mainstream social tool. This is a shame. Yes, it may lack the traditional charm of a night at the opera, and for convenience a pizza wins hands down. However, when properly prepared a cock is none the less a delightful treat.

If nothing else, it carries a considerable element of surprise.

On the selection and care of cocks

Cocks come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. You should make sure you select the appropriate cock for the occasion — after all, wasting good cock would be a heinous crime.

The amount of cock required to produce all-round satisfaction depends upon not just the number of mouths, but also upon how it is being served. A plain cock served straight up may make an adequate quicky, but for a formal occasion this would not be the done thing. Remember to factor in the accompaniments.

Obtaining a good cock can pose a slight challenge. Although cock is nearly ubiquitous, much of it is mediocre at best. Assuming you do not have a cock of your own, here are some tips you may find useful:

This next point is somewhat controversial. Many people, particularly in the west, prefer cock with the skin intact. They argue that the skin forms an essential part of the process and helps prevent the cock from sticking. Others prefer to remove the skin, citing health concerns.

Another point of disagreement is whether cocks should be kept in cages or allowed to roam freely. Certainly, caging a cock is cruel — considerable pain can be caused by the bars if the cock grows or tries to move around. On the other hand, keeping tighter control over a cock certainly makes things easier if it might be needed in a hurry.

Issues of Serving

The number of things that can be done with a cock are nearly limitless. Entire volumes have been written on the subject. Far be it for me to prescribe or proscribe any particular choice — I will merely make a few observations on a couple of topics.

The first is that of oil. Some are adamant that a cock's own natural juices are all that is needed. Others insist that a cock should be coated in lots of extra oil or grease. Personally, I believe in a happy medium, with lots of flexibility to suit the occasion. Often there is already sufficient liquid, particularly when a nice slow method is used, but I don't see anything wrong with using extras where the occasion warrants. Do, however, ensure that any oil you use will not cause problems with your equipment.

The other is that of red wine versus white. The textbook answer is, of course, a Chablis, Lachryma Christi del Vesuvio bianco or new-world Chardonnay / Sauvignon Blanc, but some traditional French methods call for a red Burgundy instead. Also, do not rule out other drinks in less formal situations — tequila in particular has been known to help encourage people to try new things.

The most important thing, though, is to have fun. A dinner party may not be the best time to try doing new things with a cock, so you may wish to get some practice in before the main event; however, don't make yourself nervous. The easiest way to ruin a good cock is through performance anxiety.

Try cock. n.

A cock for withdrawing a small quantity of liquid, as for testing.

 

© Webster 1913.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.