Feb 082016
 

My last post on Ruskin 2 years ago was hopelessly inadequate because I was so distracted at the time http://www.bookofdaystales.com/john-ruskin/ This is much better.

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Today is the birthday (1819) of John Ruskin, leading English art critic of the Victorian era. He was also a patron of the arts, draughtsman, watercolorist, social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy. His writing styles and literary forms were equally varied. Ruskin wrote essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale. His early writing style when writing about art was elaborate but he later toned it down for plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. In all of his writing, he emphasized the connexions between nature, art, and society. He also made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes, and architectural structures, and ornamentation.

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He was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century, and up to the First World War. After a period of relative decline, his reputation has steadily improved since the 1960s with the publication of numerous academic studies of his work. Today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognized as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability, and craft.

Ruskin came to widespread attention with the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), an extended essay in defense of the work of J. M. W. Turner in which he argued that the principal role of the artist is “truth to nature”. From the 1850s he championed the Pre-Raphaelites who were influenced by his ideas. His work increasingly focused on social and political issues. Unto This Last (1860, 1862) marked the shift in emphasis. In 1869, Ruskin became the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford, where he established the Ruskin School of Drawing. In 1871, he began his monthly “letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain”, published under the title Fors Clavigera (1871–1884). In the course of this complex and deeply personal work, he developed the principles underlying his ideal society. As a result, he founded the Guild of St George, an organization that endures to this day.

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As with many of the “greats” whom I celebrate here, there is way too much to say about Ruskin. If you need to know more there are plenty of places to find information on him. I’m going to focus on one adventure of his, now known as the Ruskin Diggers, which I think symbolizes his life’s work.

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Ruskin was fond of riding out into the countryside from Oxford, and his trips often took him westwards to North Hinksey, whose rustic charm he admired. (There is a plaque to this effect on one of the old thatched cottages.) He noted the poor state of the village road, and in 1874, he thought of a scheme which would give Oxford students the benefits of manual labor, and also improve conditions for the villagers. He organized a group of undergraduates to help him in the building of an improved road, bordered with banks of flowers. The episode might have vanished into historical obscurity, except that the students in his road-building gang included Oscar Wilde, Alfred Milner, Hardwicke Rawnsley, William Gershom Collingwood and Arnold Toynbee. Wilde later wrote of the episode in “Art and the Handicraftsman” (published in Essays, 1879):

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We were coming down the street—a troop of young men, some of them like myself only nineteen, going to river or tennis-court or cricket-field—when Ruskin going up to lecture in cap and gown met us. He seemed troubled and prayed us to go back with him to his lecture, which a few of us did, and there he spoke to us not on art this time but on life, saying that it seemed to him to be wrong that all the best physique and strength of the young men in England should be spent aimlessly on cricket ground or river, without any result at all except that if one rowed well one got a pewter-pot, and if one made a good score, a cane-handled bat. He thought, he said, that we should be working at something that would do good to other people, at something by which we might show that in all labour there was something noble. Well, we were a good deal moved, and said we would do anything he wished. So he went out round Oxford and found two villages, Upper and Lower Hinksey, and between them there lay a great swamp, so that the villagers could not pass from one to the other without many miles of a round. And when we came back in winter he asked us to help him to make a road across this morass for these village people to use. So out we went, day after day, and learned how to lay levels and to break stones, and to wheel barrows along a plank—a very difficult thing to do. And Ruskin worked with us in the mist and rain and mud of an Oxford winter, and our friends and our enemies came out and mocked us from the bank. We did not mind it much then, and we did not mind it afterwards at all, but worked away for two months at our road. And what became of the road? Well, like a bad lecture it ended abruptly—in the middle of the swamp. Ruskin going away to Venice, when we came back for the next term there was no leader, and the ‘diggers’, as they called us, fell asunder.

In lieu of a parade of “useful” things to know about Ruskin’s life here’s some poignant quotes. In all of this I hear my own mantras, chief of which are – PAY ATTENTION, SLOW DOWN, BE HUMBLE. Furthermore I firmly believe that merely writing or reading lofty words is pointless. You must believe them deeply and incorporate them into your being:

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To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.

It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.

I believe that the first test of a great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.

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All art is but dirtying the paper delicately.

Every increased possession loads us with new weariness.

No changing of place at a hundred miles an hour will make us one whit stronger, or happier, or wiser. There was always more in the world than man could see, walked they ever so slowly; they will see it no better for going fast. The really precious things are thought and sight, not pace. It does a bullet no good to go fast; and a man, if he be truly a man, no harm to go slow; for his glory is not at all in going, but in being.

Modern traveling is not traveling at all; it is merely being sent to a place, and very little different from becoming a parcel.

The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one.

Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.

Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.

 You will find it less easy to unroot faults than to choke them by gaining virtues. Do not think of your faults, still less of others faults; in every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong; honor that; rejoice in it and as you can, try to imitate it; and your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.

Remember that the most beautiful things in life are often the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance.

It rather surprises me that Ruskin had virtually nothing to say about food and cooking given his interest in the sensual and its effects on the mind and body. However, after much hunting I found this quote from him in the first edition of the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1896)

Cookery means the knowledge of Medea and of Circe and of Helen and of the Queen of Sheba. It means the knowledge of all herbs and fruits and balms and spices, and all that is healing and sweet in the fields and groves and savory in meats. It means carefulness and inventiveness and willingness and readiness of appliances. It means the economy of your grandmothers and the science of the modern chemist; it means much testing and no wasting; it means English thoroughness and French art in Arabian hospitality; and, in fine, it means that you are to be perfectly and always ladies — loaf givers.

Perfectly Ruskin-esque: bread is the staff of life. Not much help in choosing a recipe, however, other than for me to tell you to go and bake a wholesome loaf. So, I am going to be inventive and show you what I made for breakfast today. This year (2016) today is Collop Monday in England, that is, the Monday before Ash Wednesday. In Victorian times it was a common custom to have a collop for breakfast right before Lent. “Collop” is a dialect cognate of the French loan word “escalope” which generally means a thin slice of meat (sometimes flattened with a mallet). Typically on Collop Monday people ate a collop of bacon and a fried egg for breakfast, as prelude to the Lenten season when meat and fat are forbidden.

Living in Italy, a rustic slab of English bacon is not easy to come by, and, besides, bacon and eggs is a little pedestrian as a celebratory meal, I think. I happened to have some beef scaloppine in the refrigerator, so I cooked up a hearty breakfast of beef collops, cheese, and vegetables. I began by sautéing sliced mushrooms, leeks, and hot peppers in olive oil.

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Then I pan fried the beef and topped it with cheese.

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Then I served the beef and melted cheese with the veggies on top – color, sight, sound, smell, and taste.

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Feed your inner Ruskin !!

Apr 022015
 

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Today is the birthday (1827) of William Holman Hunt OM, English painter, and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He formed the Pre-Raphaelite movement in 1848, after meeting the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Along with John Everett Millais they sought to revitalize art by emphasizing the detailed observation of the natural world in a spirit of quasi-religious devotion to truth. This religious approach was influenced by the spiritual qualities of medieval art, in opposition to the alleged rationalism of the Renaissance embodied by Raphael (hence Pre-Raphaelite).

Hunt married twice. After a failed engagement to his model Annie Miller, he married Fanny Waugh, who later modeled for the figure of Isabella. When she died in childbirth in Italy he sculpted her tomb at Fiesole, having it brought down to the English Cemetery, beside the tomb of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. His second wife, Edith, was Fanny’s sister. At this time it was illegal in Britain to marry one’s deceased wife’s sister, so Hunt was forced to travel abroad to marry her. This led to a serious breach with other family members, notably his former Pre-Raphaelite colleague Thomas Woolner, who had once been in love with Fanny and had married Alice, the third sister of Fanny and Edith.

Hunt’s works were not initially successful, and were widely attacked in the art press for their alleged clumsiness and ugliness. He achieved some early note for his intensely naturalistic scenes of modern rural and urban life, such as The Hireling Shepherd and The Awakening Conscience. However, it was with his religious paintings that he became famous, initially The Light of the World (1851–1853), now in the chapel at Keble College, Oxford; a later version (1900) toured the world and now has its home in St Paul’s Cathedral.

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In the mid-1850s Hunt traveled to the Holy Land in search of accurate topographical and ethnographical material for further religious works, and to “use my powers to make more tangible Jesus Christ’s history and teaching,” there he painted The Scapegoat, The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple and The Shadow of Death, along with many landscapes of the region. Hunt also painted many works based on poems, such as Isabella and The Lady of Shalot. He eventually built his own house in Jerusalem.

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He eventually had to give up painting because failing eyesight meant that he could not get the level of quality that he wanted. His last major works, The Lady of Shalott and a large version of The Light of the World were completed with the help of his assistant Edward Robert Hughes.

His paintings were notable for their great attention to detail, vivid color and elaborate symbolism. These features were influenced by the writings of John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, according to whom the world itself should be read as a system of visual signs. For Hunt it was the duty of the artist to reveal the correspondence between sign and fact. Out of all the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Hunt remained most true to their ideals throughout his career. He was always keen to maximize the popular appeal and public visibility of his works.

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Many of Hunt’s paintings were overtly Christian, such as The Light of the World and the Importunate Neighbour, being taken directly from Biblical verses. But many, many more are generally spiritual or moralistic with the messages conveyed through elaborate symbolism.

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The Awakening Conscience (1853) is a typical example. It depicts a young woman rising from her position in the lap of a man and gazing transfixed out of the window of a room. Initially the painting would appear to be one of a momentary disagreement between husband and wife, or brother and sister, but the title and a host of symbols within the painting make it clear that this is a mistress and her lover. The woman’s clasped hands provide a focal point and the position of her left hand emphasizes the absence of a wedding ring. Around the room are dotted reminders of her “kept” status and her wasted life: the cat beneath the table toying with a bird; the clock concealed under glass; a tapestry which hangs unfinished on the piano; the threads which lie unraveled on the floor; the print of Frank Stone’s Cross Purposes on the wall; Edward Lear’s musical arrangement of Tennyson’s poem “Tears, Idle Tears” which lies discarded on the floor, and the music on the piano, Thomas Moore’s “Oft in the Stilly Night”, the words of which speak of missed opportunities and sad memories of a happier past. The discarded glove and top hat thrown on the table top suggest a hurried assignation. The room is too cluttered and gaudy to be in a Victorian family home; the bright colors, unscuffed carpet, and pristine, highly-polished furniture speak of a room recently furnished for a mistress. Art historian Elizabeth Prettejohn notes that although the interior is now viewed as “Victorian” it still exudes the “‘nouveau-riche’ vulgarity” that would have made the setting distasteful to contemporary viewers. The painting’s frame is decorated with further symbols: bells (for warning), marigolds (for sorrow), and a star above the girl’s head (a sign of spiritual revelation). It also bears a verse from the Book of Proverbs (25:20): “As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart”.

The mirror on the rear wall provides a tantalizing glimpse out of the scene. The window — opening out onto a spring garden, in direct contrast to the images of entrapment within the room — is flooded with sunlight. The woman’s face does not display a look of shock that she has been surprised with her lover; whatever attracts her is outside of both the room and her relationship. The Athenæum commented in 1854:

The author of “The Bridge of Sighs” could not have conceived a more painful-looking face. The details of the picture, the reflection of the spring trees in the mirror, the piano, the bronze under the lamp, are wonderfully true, but the dull indigoes and reds of the picture make it melancholy and appropriate, and not pleasing in tone. The sentiment is of the Ernest Maltravers School: to those who have an affinity for it, painful; to those who have not, repulsive.

The model for the girl was Annie Miller, who sat for many of the Pre-Raphaelites and to whom Hunt was engaged until 1859. The male figure may be based on Thomas Seddon or Augustus Egg, both painter friends of Hunt. The look on the girl’s face in the modern painting is not the look of pain and horror that viewers saw when the painting was first exhibited, and which shocked and repulsed many of the contemporary critics. The painting was commissioned by Thomas Fairbairn, a Manchester industrialist and patron of the Pre-Raphaelites who later succeeded his father as 2nd Baronet, after Egg discussed Hunt’s ideas and possibly showed him some of the initial sketches. Fairbairn paid Hunt 350 guineas. The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1854, along with The Light of the World. Fairbairn found himself unable to bear looking on the woman’s expression day-to-day, so persuaded Hunt to soften it. Hunt started work but fell ill and allowed the painting to be returned to Fairbairn for display at the Birmingham Society of Artists exhibition in 1856 before he was completely happy with the result. Later he was able to work on it again and confided to Edward Lear that he thought he had “materially bettered it.” As noted in the spandrels, Hunt retouched the painting in 1864 and again in 1886 when he repaired some work that had been carried out by a restorer in the interim.

The Victorian art theorist John Ruskin praised The Awakening Conscience as an example of a new direction in British art in which the narrative was created from the artist’s imagination rather than chronicling an event. Ruskin’s reading of the painting was also to a moral end. In an 1854 letter to The Times defending the work, he claimed that there is “not a single object in all that room…but it becomes tragical if read rightly.” He was struck by both the stark realism of the room — Hunt had hired a room in a “maison de covenance” (where lovers would take their mistresses) in order to capture the feeling — and the symbolic overtones and compared the revelation of the subjects’ characters through the interiors favorably with that of William Hogarth’s Marriage à-la-mode. The “common, modern, vulgar” interior is overwhelmed by lustrous, unworn objects that will never be part of a home. To Ruskin, the exquisite detail of the painting only called attention to the inevitable ruin of the couple: “The very hem of the poor girl’s dress, at which the painter has labored so closely, thread by thread, has story in it, if we think how soon its pure whiteness may be soiled with dust and rain, her outcast feet failing in the street.” The idea of a visual morality tale, based on a single moment, influenced Augustus Egg’s 1858 series of three paintings, Past and Present.

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Sheep feature very commonly as symbols of innocence in Hunt’s work, sometimes in contrast with corrupt humans. Sheep are shown as being astray because their shepherds, who should be looking after them, are engaged in corrupt activities. The Hireling Shepherd is the classic example, where the sheep are left untended by the shepherd who is seducing a young woman instead of performing his job.

This then leads me to a consideration of lamb and mutton. Lamb is, without doubt, my favorite meat. I’m not sure about mutton because I have never tried it – it is very hard to find. I cook lamb in just about every conceivable way: roast leg, shoulder, and loin, braised breast or shank, shepherd’s pie, sheep’s head soup, Scotch broth, grilled chops, curry, fried kidneys, tripe in 100 ways, baked ribs, neck bone stew . . . and on and on.

Lamb was plentiful and cheap when I lived in South Australia; the local butcher had his own flock, and there were dozens of sheep pastures right beside where we lived. Roast shoulder or leg of lamb was our constant Sunday dinner. Once a year my father made a haggis (boiled in a sheep’s stomach). Once in a while we had sheep’s tripe or brains, which I detested then, but love now.

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For me nothing can beat roast leg of lamb. I slice several cloves of garlic thin and insert the slices into knife slits under the skin – as many as you can make. I roast the leg at 450°F in a roasting pan with potatoes and leeks, for about an hour, basting frequently. The meat should be pink, but not too bloody. Towards the end I make a gravy with the drippings and flour plus stock, and seasoned with garlic and rosemary. Fresh peas make a suitable vegetable accompaniment.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts and recipes from Mrs Beeton, contemporary with Holman Hunt. For a complete transcription of chapters XIV (general observations) and XV (recipes) on mutton and lamb go here:

http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10136/pg10136.html

CHAPTER XIV.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE SHEEP AND LAMB.

678. OF ALL WILD or DOMESTICATED ANIMALS, the sheep is, without exception, the most useful to man as a food, and the most necessary to his health and comfort; for it not only supplies him with the lightest and most nutritious of meats, but, in the absence of the cow, its udder yields him milk, cream, and a sound though inferior cheese; while from its fat he obtains light, and from its fleece broadcloth, kerseymere, blankets, gloves, and hose. Its bones when burnt make an animal charcoal—ivory black—to polish his boots, and when powdered, a manure for the cultivation of his wheat; the skin, either split or whole, is made into a mat for his carriage, a housing for his horse, or a lining for his hat, and many other useful purposes besides, being extensively employed in the manufacture of parchment; and finally, when oppressed by care and sorrow, the harmonious strains that carry such soothing contentment to the heart, are elicited from the musical strings, prepared almost exclusively from the intestines of the sheep.

Suffolk

Suffolk

South Down

South Down

Cheviot

Cheviot

Blackface

Blackface

682. NO OTHER ANIMAL, even of the same order, possesses in so remarkable a degree the power of converting pasture into flesh as the Leicestershire sheep; the South Down and Cheviot, the two next breeds in quality, are, in consequence of the greater vivacity of the animal’s nature, not equal to it in that respect, though in both the brain and chest are kept subservient to the greater capacity of the organs of digestion. Besides the advantage of increased bulk and finer fleeces, the breeder seeks to obtain an augmented deposit of tissue in those parts of the carcase most esteemed as food, or, what are called in the trade “prime joints;” and so far has this been effected, that the comparative weight of the hind quarters over the fore has become a test of quality in the breed, the butchers in some markets charging twopence a pound more for that portion of the sheep. Indeed, so superior are the hind quarters of mutton now regarded, that very many of the West-end butchers never deal in any other part of the sheep.

693. DIFFERENT NAMES HAVE BEEN GIVEN to sheep by their breeders, according to their age and sex. The male is called a ram, or tup; after weaning, he is said to be a hog, or hogget, or a lamb-hog, tup-hog, or teg; later he is a wether, or wether-hog; after the first shearing, a shearing, or dinmont; and after each succeeding shearing, a two, three, or four-shear ram, tup, or wether, according to circumstances. The female is called a ewe, or gimmer-lamb, till weaned, when she becomes, according to the shepherd’s nomenclature, a gimmer-ewe, hog, or teg; after shearing, a gimmer or shearing-ewe, or theave; and in future a two, three, or four-shear ewe, or theave.

[All across Britain there are counting systems shepherds used to count their sheep. Go here for a complete survey http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yan_tan_tethera]

696. THE GENTLE AND TIMID DISPOSITION of the sheep, and its defenceless condition, must very early have attached it to man for motives less selfish than either its fleece or its flesh; for it has been proved beyond a doubt that, obtuse as we generally regard it, it is susceptible of a high degree of domesticity, obedience, and affection. In many parts of Europe, where the flocks are guided by the shepherd’s voice alone, it is no unusual thing for a sheep to quit the herd when called by its name, and follow the keeper like a dog. In the mountains of Scotland, when a flock is invaded by a savage dog, the rams have been known to form the herd into a circle, and placing themselves on the outside line, keep the enemy at bay, or charging on him in a troop, have despatched him with their horns.

697. THE VALUE OF THE SHEEP seems to have been early understood by Adam in his fallen state; his skin not only affording him protection for his body, but a covering for his tent; and accordingly, we find Abel intrusted with this portion of his father’s stock; for the Bible tells us that “Abel was a keeper of sheep.” What other animals were domesticated at that time we can only conjecture, or at what exact period the flesh of the sheep was first eaten for food by man, is equally, if not uncertain, open to controversy. For though some authorities maintain the contrary, it is but natural to suppose that when Abel brought firstlings of his flock, “and the fat thereof,” as a sacrifice, the less dainty portions, not being oblations, were hardly likely to have been flung away as refuse. Indeed, without supposing Adam and his descendants to have eaten animal food, we cannot reconcile the fact of Jubal Cain, Cain’s son, and his family, living in tents, as they are reported to have done, knowing that both their own garments and the coverings of the tents, were made from the hides and skins of the animals they bred; for the number of sheep and oxen slain for oblations only, would not have supplied sufficient material for two such necessary purposes. The opposite opinion is, that animal food was not eaten till after the Flood, when the Lord renewed his covenant with Noah. From Scriptural authority we learn many interesting facts as regards the sheep: the first, that mutton fat was considered the most delicious portion of any meat, and the tail and adjacent part the most exquisite morsel in the whole body; consequently, such were regarded as especially fit for the offer of sacrifice. From this fact we may reasonably infer that the animal still so often met with in Palestine and Syria, and known as the Fat-tailed sheep, was in use in the days of the patriarchs, though probably not then of the size and weight it now attains to; a supposition that gains greater strength, when it is remembered that the ram Abraham found in the bush, when he went to offer up Isaac, was a horned animal, being entangled in the brake by his curved horns; so far proving that it belonged to the tribe of the Capridae, the fat-tailed sheep appertaining to the same family.

CHAPTER XV.

BOILED BREAST OF MUTTON AND CAPER SAUCE.

704. INGREDIENTS.—Breast of mutton, bread crumbs, 2 tablespoonfuls of minced savoury herbs (put a large proportion of parsley), pepper and salt to taste.

Mode.—Cut off the superfluous fat; bone it; sprinkle over a layer of bread crumbs, minced herbs, and seasoning; roll, and bind it up firmly. Boil gently for 2 hours, remove the tape, and serve with caper sauce, No. 382, a little of which should be poured over the meat.

 Time.—2 hours. Average cost, 6d. per lb.

 Sufficient for 4 or 6 persons.

 Seasonable all the year.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD.—The sheep’s complete dependence upon the shepherd for protection from its numerous enemies is frequently referred to in the Bible; thus the Psalmist likens himself to a lost sheep, and prays the Almighty to seek his servant; and our Saviour, when despatching his twelve chosen disciples to preach the Gospel amongst their unbelieving brethren, compares them to lambs going amongst wolves. The shepherd of the East, by kind treatment, calls forth from his sheep unmistakable signs of affection. The sheep obey his voice and recognize the names by which he calls them, and they follow him in and out of the fold. The beautiful figure of the “good shepherd,” which so often occurs in the New Testament, expresses the tenderness of the Saviour for mankind. “The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”—John, x. 11. “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known by mine.”—John, x. 14. “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.”—John, x. 16.

VARIOUS QUALITIES OF MUTTON—Mutton is, undoubtedly, the meat most generally used in families; and, both by connoisseurs and medical men, it stands first in favour, whether its the favour, digestible qualifications, or general wholesomeness, be considered. Of all mutton, that furnished by South-Down sheep is the most highly esteemed; it is also the dearest, on account of its scarcity, and the great demand of it. Therefore, if the housekeeper is told by the butcher that he has not any in his shop, it should not occasion disappointment to the purchaser. The London and other markets are chiefly supplied with sheep called half-breeds, which are a cross between the Down and Lincoln or Leicester. These half-breeds make a greater weight of mutton than the true South-Downs, and, for this very desirable qualification, they are preferred by the great sheep-masters. The legs of this mutton range from 7 to 11 lbs. in weight; the shoulders, necks, or loins, about 6 to 9 lbs.; and if care is taken not to purchase it; the shoulders, necks, or loins, about 8 to 9 lbs.; and it cure is taken not to purchase it too fat, it will be found the most satisfactory and economical mutton that can be bought.

SHEPHERDS AND THEIR FLOCKS.—The shepherd’s crook is older than either the husbandman’s plough or the warrior’s sword. We are told that Abel was a keeper of sheep. Many passages in holy writ enable us to appreciate the pastoral riches of the first eastern nations; and we can form an idea of the number of their flocks, when we read that Jacob gave the children of Hamor a hundred sheep for the price of a field, and that the king of Israel received a hundred thousand every year from the king of Moab, his tributary, and a like number of rams covered with their fleece. The tendency which most sheep have to ramble, renders it necessary for them to be attended by a shepherd. To keep a flock within bounds, is no easy task; but the watchful shepherd manages to accomplish it without harassing the sheep. In the Highlands of Scotland, where the herbage is scanty, the sheep-farm requires to be very large, and to be watched over by many shepherds. The farms of some of the great Scottish landowners are of enormous extent. “How many sheep have you on your estate?” asked Prince Esterhazy of the duke of Argyll. “I have not the most remote idea,” replied the duke; “but I know the shepherds number several thousands.”

CURRIED MUTTON (Cold Meat Cookery).

713. INGREDIENTS.—The remains of any joint of cold mutton, 2 onions, 1/4 lb. of butter, 1 dessertspoonful of curry powder, 1 dessertspoonful of flour, salt to taste, 1/4 pint of stock or water.

Mode.—Slice the onions in thin rings, and put them into a stewpan with the butter, and fry of a light brown; stir in the curry powder, flour, and salt, and mix all well together. Cut the meat into nice thin slices (if there is not sufficient to do this, it may be minced), and add it to the other ingredients; when well browned, add the stock or gravy, and stew gently for about 1/2 hour. Serve in a dish with a border of boiled rice, the same as for other curries.

Time.—1/2 hour.

Average cost, exclusive of the meat, 6d.

Seasonable in winter.

FRIED KIDNEYS.

725. INGREDIENTS.—Kidneys, butter, pepper and salt to taste.

Mode.—Cut the kidneys open without quite dividing them, remove the skin, and put a small piece of butter in the frying-pan. When the butter is melted, lay in the kidneys the flat side downwards, and fry them for 7 or 8 minutes, turning them when they are half-done. Serve on a piece of dry toast, season with pepper and salt, and put a small piece of butter in each kidney; pour the gravy from the pan over them, and serve very hot.

Time.—7 or 8 minutes.

Average cost, 1-1/2d. each.

Sufficient.—Allow 1 kidney to each person.

Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

Seasonable at any time.

MUTTON PIE (Cold Meat Cookery).

733. INGREDIENTS.—The remains of a cold leg, loin, or neck of mutton, pepper and salt to taste, 2 blades of pounded mace, 1 dessertspoonful of chopped parsley, 1 teaspoonful of minced savoury herbs; when liked, a little minced onion or shalot; 3 or 4 potatoes, 1 teacupful of gravy; crust.

 

Mode.—Cold mutton may be made into very good pies if well seasoned and mixed with a few herbs; if the leg is used, cut it into very thin slices; if the loin or neck, into thin cutlets. Place some at the bottom of the dish; season well with pepper, salt, mace, parsley, and herbs; then put a layer of potatoes sliced, then more mutton, and so on till the dish is full; add the gravy, cover with a crust, and bake for 1 hour.

 Time.—1 hour.

 Seasonable at any time.

 THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD.—James Hogg was perhaps the most remarkable man that ever wore the maud of a shepherd. Under the garb, aspect, and bearing of a rude peasant (and rude enough he was in most of these hings, even after no inconsiderable experience of society), the world soon discovered a true poet. He taught himself to write, by copying the letters of a printed book as he lay watching his flock on the hillside, and believed that he had reached the utmost pitch of his ambition when he first found that his artless rhymes could touch the heart of the ewe-milker who partook the shelter of his mantle during the passing storm. If “the shepherd” of Professor Wilson’s “Noctes Ambrosianae” may be taken as a true portrait of James Hogg, we must admit that, for quaintness of humour, the poet of Ettrick Forest had few rivals. Sir Walter Scott said that Hogg’s thousand little touches of absurdity afforded him more entertainment than the best comedy that ever set the pit in a roar. Among the written productions of the shepherd-poet, is an account of his own experiences in sheep-tending, called “The Shepherd’s Calender.” This work contains a vast amount of useful information upon sheep, their diseases, habits, and management. The Ettrick Shepherd died in 1835.

[Go here for links to his works http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hogg]

SHEEP’S BRAINS, EN MATELOTE (an Entree).

740. INGREDIENTS.—6 sheep’s brains, vinegar, salt, a few slices of bacon, 1 small onion, 2 cloves, a small bunch of parsley, sufficient stock or weak broth to cover the brains, 1 tablespoonful of lemon-juice, matelote sauce, No. 512.

Mode.—Detach the brains from the heads without breaking them, and put them into a pan of warm water; remove the skin, and let them remain for two hours. Have ready a saucepan of boiling water, add a little vinegar and salt, and put in the brains. When they are quite firm, take them out and put them into very cold water. Place 2 or 3 slices of bacon in a stewpan, put in the brains, the onion stuck with 2 cloves, the parsley, and a good seasoning of pepper and salt; cover with stock, or weak broth, and boil them gently for about 25 minutes. Have ready some croûtons; arrange these in the dish alternately with the brains, and cover with a matelote sauce, No. 512, to which has been added the above proportion of lemon-juice.

Time.—25 minutes. Average cost, 1s. 6d.

Sufficient for 6 persons.

Seasonable at any time.

SHEEP’S FEET or TROTTERS (Soyer’s Recipe).

741. INGREDIENTS.—12 feet, 1/4 lb. of beef or mutton suet, 2 onions, 1 carrot, 2 bay-leaves, 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 oz. of salt, 1/4 oz. of pepper, 2 tablespoonfuls of flour, 2-1/2 quarts of water, 1/4 lb. of fresh butter, 1 teaspoonful of salt, 1 teaspoonful of flour, 3/4 teaspoonful of pepper, a little grated nutmeg, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 gill of milk, the yolks of 2 eggs.

Mode.—Have the feet cleaned, and the long bone extracted from them. Put the suet into a stewpan, with the onions and carrot sliced, the bay-leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper, and let these simmer for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoonfuls of flour and the water, and keep stirring till it boils; then put in the feet. Let these simmer for 3 hours, or until perfectly tender, and take them and lay them on a sieve. Mix together, on a plate, with the back of a spoon, butter, salt, flour (1 teaspoonful), pepper, nutmeg, and lemon-juice as above, and put the feet, with a gill of milk, into a stewpan. When very hot, add the butter, &c., and stir continually till melted. Now mix the yolks of 2 eggs with 5 tablespoonfuls of milk; stir this to the other ingredients, keep moving the pan over the fire continually for a minute or two, but do not allow it to boil after the eggs are added. Serve in a very hot dish, and garnish with croûtons, or sippets of toasted bread.

Time.—3 hours. Average cost, 1s. 6d.

Sufficient for 4 persons.

Seasonable at any time.

TO DRESS A SHEEP’S HEAD.

742. INGREDIENTS.—1 sheep’s head, sufficient water to cover it, 3 carrots, 3 turnips, 2 or 3 parsnips, 3 onions, a small bunch of parsley, 1 teaspoonful of pepper, 3 teaspoonfuls of salt, 1/4 lb. of Scotch oatmeal.

Mode.—Clean the head well, and let it soak in warm water for 2 hours, to get rid of the blood; put it into a saucepan, with sufficient cold water to cover it, and when it boils, add the vegetables, peeled and sliced, and the remaining ingredients; before adding the oatmeal, mix it to a smooth batter with a little of the liquor. Keep stirring till it boils up; then shut the saucepan closely, and let it stew gently for 1-1/2 or 2 hours. It may be thickened with rice or barley, but oatmeal is preferable.

Time.—1-1/2 or 2 hours. Average cost, 8d. each.

Sufficient for 3 persons.

Seasonable at any time.

THE LAMB AS A SACRIFICE.—The number of lambs consumed in sacrifices by the Hebrews must have been very considerable. Two lambs “of the first year” were appointed to be sacrificed daily for the morning and evening sacrifice; and a lamb served as a substitute for the first-born of unclean animals, such as the ass, which could not be accepted as an offering to the Lord. Every year, also, on the anniversary of the deliverance of the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, every family was ordered to sacrifice a lamb or kid, and to sprinkle some of its blood upon the door-posts, in commemoration of the judgment of God upon the Egyptians. It was to be eaten roasted, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, in haste, with the loins girded, the shoes on the feet, and the staff in the hand; and whatever remained until the morning was to be burnt. The sheep was also used in the numerous special, individual, and national sacrifices ordered by the Jewish law. On extraordinary occasions, vast quantities of sheep were sacrificed at once; thus Solomon, on the completion of the temple, offered “sheep and oxen that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.”

758. INGREDIENTS.—Sweetbreads, egg and bread crumbs, 1/2 pint of gravy, No. 442, 1/2 glass of sherry.

Mode.—Soak the sweetbreads in water for an hour, and throw them into boiling water to render them firm. Let them stew gently for about 1/4 hour, take them out and put them into a cloth to drain all the water from them. Brush them over with egg, sprinkle them with bread crumbs, and either brown them in the oven or before the fire. Have ready the above quantity of gravy, to which add 1/2 glass of sherry; dish the sweetbreads, pour the gravy under them, and garnish with water-cresses.

Time.—Rather more than 1/2 hour. Average cost, 2s. 6d. to 3s. 6d. each.