Aug 232017
 

Today is the birthday (1852) of the economic historian Arnold Toynbee – not to be confused with his nephew (also Arnold Toynbee) who is renowned for his monumental study of the philosophy and principles of history at large. The Arnold Toynbee I celebrate today is much less well known, but I will try to change that if I can.  This Arnold Toynbee was noted for his nuanced study of capitalism and political economy, and for his social commitment and desire to improve the living conditions of the mostly urban working classes during the Industrial Revolution in England. The main reason I like his work as a social scientist is that he was deeply opposed to finding general laws of economics in history, and championed the need to treat each time and place as economically and historically unique. Thus, for example, Free Trade cannot be seen as an overall good or an overall evil: sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. Particular local circumstances determine outcomes, not grand theories or models.  I like that approach.

Toynbee was born in London, the son of the physician Joseph Toynbee, a pioneering otolaryngologist. He attended public schools in Blackheath and Woolwich, and in 1873 he began to study political economy at Oxford University, first at Pembroke College (my college), and then from 1875 at Balliol College, where he went on to teach after he took his degree in 1878. His lectures on the history of the Industrial Revolution in 18th and 19th century Britain proved widely influential. Toynbee did not coin, but he did effectively popularize, the term “Industrial Revolution” in the Anglophone world. In Germany and elsewhere it had been brought into circulation earlier by Friedrich Engels referring to industrial changes in Britain.

Toynbee died in 1883, at age 30. His health had rapidly deteriorated, with some speculation at the time that this was due to exhaustion caused by excessive work. Frederick Rogers suggests that the publication of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty may be said to have brought about Toynbee’s death:

As [Toynbee] saw the book, it was full of economic heresies, and he resolved to answer them. Of weak physique, but full of a passionate spiritual enthusiasm, he gave two lectures at St. Andrew’s Hall, Oxford Street, against the book and the effort ended his career. He died for truth as he knew it, and those who knew him felt that his death was a national loss…

I think we can forgive Rogers his overt Romanticism.

According to Toynbee, applying the historical method in economics would reveal how supposedly universal economic laws were, in fact, relativistic. For example, he argued that, despite commonly held beliefs, free trade was not generally advantageous in itself, but only under certain circumstances, which should not be considered absolute. Toynbee considered few laws universally true, such as the law of diminishing returns. Therefore, there were no universal rules as to how strongly the state should interfere in the marketplace; all depended on the situation and varying degrees of regulation could be appropriate.

Another idea Toynbee dismissed was that free competition was universally beneficial to economic and societal progress, especially as reflected in its apotheosis in Social Darwinism, which promoted laissez-faire capitalism. Toynbee did not equate “a struggle for mere existence and a struggle for a particular kind of existence”. From the very beginning of history, he argued, all human cultures were essentially designed to “interfere with this brute struggle. We intend to modify the violence of the fight, and to prevent the weak being trampled under foot.” Although economic competition does have its advantages, being the driving force behind technical progress, these were “gained at the expense of an enormous waste of human life and labour, which might be avoided by regulation”. Toynbee suggested a differentiation between competition in production on the one hand, and competition in the distribution of goods on the other:

… the struggle of men to outvie one another in production is beneficial to the community; their struggle over the division of the joint produce is not. The stronger side will dictate its own terms; and as a matter of fact, in the early days of competition, the capitalists used all their power to oppress the labourers, and drove down wages to starvation point. This kind of competition has to be checked; there is no historical instance of its having lasted long without being modified either by combination or legislation, or both. In England both remedies are in operation, the former through Trades Unions, the latter through factory legislation.

In itself, a market based on competition was neither good nor bad, but like “a stream whose strength and direction have to be observed, that embankments may be thrown up within which it may do its work harmlessly and beneficially”. However, in the early phase of industrial capitalism “it came to be believed in as a gospel, … from which it was regarded as little long of immoral to depart”.

For Toynbee, early industrial capitalism and the situation of the working class in it was not just a subject of disinterested academic studies; he was actively involved in improving the living conditions of the worker. He read for workers in large industrial centers and encouraged the creation of trade unions and co-operatives. A focal point of his commitment was the slum of Whitechapel, in East London, where he helped to establish public libraries for the working-class population. Toynbee also encouraged his students to offer free courses for working-class audiences in their own neighborhoods.

Inspired by his ideas, Samuel Augustus Barnett and Henrietta Barnett founded the first university settlement in 1884, shortly after Toynbee’s death. It was located on Commercial Street, Whitechapel and named Toynbee Hall in his honor. It was a center for social reform and remains active today. The concept was to bring upper- and middle-class students into lower-class neighborhoods, not only to provide education and social aid, but to actually live and work together with their residents. This soon inspired a worldwide movement of university settlements. The idea was to help members of the future elite understand the problems of British society; this was especially important at a time when class divisions were much stronger, social mobility was minimal, and the living conditions of the poor were completely unknown to many members of the upper class. Toynbee Hall attracted many students, especially from Oxford’s Wadham and Balliol College.

According to Toynbee, “the essence of the Industrial Revolution” was “the substitution of competition for the medieval regulations which had previously controlled the production and distribution of wealth”. Among its components were an “agrarian revolution” that produced “the alienation between farmer and labourer” and in the manufacturing world, the appearance of a “new class of great capitalist employers”. “The old relations between masters and men disappeared, and a ‘cash nexus’ was substituted for the human tie.” Summing up his interpretation, Toynbee wrote, “the Wealth of Nations and the steam-engine…destroyed the old world and built a new one.” For Toynbee, this coupling seemed self-evident. Steam-powered factories, the Wealth of Nations, competition, the cash-nexus and the rise of pauperism formed part of a single phenomenon.

In response to this bleak scenario, Toynbee proposed a test for when the state should become involved in the regulation of an economic or social sphere of society to even the balance between industry and labour. He proposed the “Radical Creed”, which,

as I understand it, is this: We have not abandoned our old belief in liberty, justice, and Self-help, but we say that under certain conditions the people cannot help themselves, and that then they should be helped by the State representing directly the whole people. In giving this State help, we make three conditions: first, the matter must be one of primary social importance; next, it must be proved to be practicable; thirdly, the State interference must not diminish self-reliance. Even if the chance should arise of removing a great social evil, nothing must be done to weaken those habits of individual self-reliance and voluntary association which have built up the greatness of the English people.

Words of a great man. Here Toynbee puts his finger on a problem that has bedeviled Western democracies, especially the United States, since the 19th century. How do you balance the need for collective action to promote social welfare without interfering with the rights and creativity of the individual? I’m not going to embark on an answer to a question as complex as that in a few paragraphs.  I’ll talk about food instead.

Isabella Beeton has these words to say about being economical in the industrial age as a component of her recipe for roast haunch of mutton:

HOW TO BUY MEAT ECONOMICALLY.—If the housekeeper is not very particular as to the precise joints to cook for dinner, there is oftentimes an opportunity for her to save as much money in her purchases of meat as will pay for the bread to eat with it. It often occurs, for instance, that the butcher may have a superfluity of certain joints, and these he would be glad to get rid of at a reduction of sometimes as much as 1d. or 1-1/2d. per lb., and thus, in a joint of 8 or 9 lbs., will be saved enough to buy 2 quartern loaves. It frequently happens with many butchers, that, in consequence of a demand for legs and loins of mutton, they have only shoulders left, and these they will be glad to sell at a reduction.

The recipe itself is rather basic I’m afraid:

ROAST HAUNCH OF MUTTON.

  1. INGREDIENTS.—Haunch of mutton, a little salt, flour.

Mode.—Let this joint hang as long as possible without becoming tainted, and while hanging dust flour over it, which keeps off the flies, and prevents the air from getting to it. If not well hung, the joint, when it comes to table, will neither do credit to the butcher or the cook, as it will not be tender. Wash the outside well, lest it should have a bad flavour from keeping; then flour it and put it down to a nice brisk fire, at some distance, so that it may gradually warm through. Keep continually basting, and about 1/2 hour before it is served, draw it nearer to the fire to get nicely brown. Sprinkle a little fine salt over the meat, pour off the dripping, add a little boiling water slightly salted, and strain this over the joint. Place a paper ruche on the bone, and send red-currant jelly and gravy in a tureen to table with it.

Time.—About 4 hours.

Average cost, 10d. per lb.

Sufficient for 8 to 10 persons.

Sep 052016
 

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Today, the first Monday in September, is Labor Day in the United States and Canada. Ostensibly it honors the North American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their countries. Nowadays, however, the trade union and labor movement ties are relatively week, but the day makes a three-day weekend which people use as a last hurrah of summer.

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Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists in the US (where I will focus) proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. “Labor Day” was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty U.S. states officially celebrated Labor Day.

In 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed a Labor Day holiday while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union (CLU) of New York. Some maintain that Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor put forward the first proposal in May 1882, after witnessing the annual labour festival held in Toronto in Canada. In 1887 Oregon became the first state of the United States to make Labor Day an official public holiday.

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Following the deaths of workers at the hands of United States Army and United States Marshals Service during the Pullman Strike of 1894, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve legislation to make Labor Day a national holiday and President Grover Cleveland signed it into law six days after the end of the strike. Cleveland supported the creation of the national holiday in an attempt to shore up support among trade unions following the Pullman Strike. The date of May 1 was an alternative date, celebrated then (and now) as International Workers Day, but President Cleveland was concerned that observance of Labor Day on May 1 would encourage Haymarket-style protests and would strengthen socialist and anarchist movements that, though distinct from one another, had rallied to commemorate the Haymarket Affair on International Workers’ Day.

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The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,” followed by a festival for the workers and their friends and families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the Labor movement.

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Nowadays most of the overtly labor and union activities are muted in the US, and the day is seen primarily as a time for family gatherings. When I began working as a professor in New York in 1980 I was expected to work on Labor Day because students moved into the dormitories over the weekend and needed advising before commencing classes after Labor Day. This practice did not sit well with the faculty, especially in the Social Sciences – many of whom simply refused to work that day. The problem was solved about 10 years later when the university moved the start of term to the end of August, which allowed Labor Day to be a proper holiday for everyone.

Family barbecues and picnics are the order of the day. I always got a bit tired of big gatherings that tended to feature the same cast of characters year after year – hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and beans. People in the US have a bad habit of looking down their noses at UK cuisine whilst overlooking the numbingly bland and repetitive aspects of their own cooking. For me, Labor Day was an opportunity to build a big blaze in my fire pit and grill or roast whatever I felt like.

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Roasted corn on the cob was always a big family favorite to complement meats and other vegetables. If you want to be dead simple and lazy, leave the cobs unshucked, remove as much tassel as you can without breaking the husk, and whack the cobs on a grill over your fire until the husks are charred and the insides are steaming. It’s best to place the cobs over medium heat for this. When cooked just shuck and enjoy.

If you want to have a bit more finesse, and less mess, shuck the corn cobs and wrap them in heavy aluminum foil along with a knob of butter. Then grill them in the same manner. Either way, the cobs will char a little, adding to the flavor. Cooking times vary, but usually 25 minutes are sufficient if you have a steady fire going.  With a foil wrapping you can check regularly before serving by opening the foil just a crack. Make sure you rotate all the cobs periodically so that cooking is even.

Either way, serve the cobs with extra butter, and a salt shaker for those who want it.

Jun 152016
 

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Today is Nirjala Ekadashi, a moveable sacred event in the Hindu faith, and therefore perfect for this year’s blog, were it not for the fact that it is the most stringent fast day in the Hindu lunar calendar.  Devout Hindus are supposed to refrain completely from all food and drink for a 24-hour period on this date – much stricter than the Ramadan fasting regulations which call for an absence of food and drink in daylight hours, but relax these prohibitions after dark. Despite appearances to the contrary, this is a FOOD blog, and finding a way to include a recipe du jour for an absolutely austere fast day, while not impossible, runs counter to the spirit of the Hindu faith. I could, for example, focus on what people eat after the fast, as I did for Ramadan, but in the latter case the focus is legitimate because Muslims do break the fast at sundown. Not so for Hindus on this date. For them the fast is absolute for a complete 24-hour cycle. Instead I’ll move on to a fixed anniversary– the Pig War.

Today marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Pig War,which was a confrontation in the 19th century between the United States and the British Empire over boundaries between the US and Canada. The territory in dispute was the San Juan Islands, which lie between Vancouver Island and the North American mainland. The Pig War is so called because it was triggered by the shooting of a pig, on this date in 1859. It also called the Pig Episode, the Pig and Potato War, the San Juan Boundary Dispute or the Northwestern Boundary Dispute. There were no shots exchanged in the dispute, and no human casualties, therefore this was a bloodless conflict.

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The Oregon Treaty of June 15, 1846, resolved the Oregon boundary dispute by dividing the Oregon Country/Columbia District between the United States and Britain “along the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver Island, and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel, and of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, to the Pacific Ocean.” However, there are actually two straits that could be called the middle of the channel: Haro Strait, along the west side of the San Juan Islands; and Rosario Strait, along the east side.

In 1846 there was still some uncertainty about the geography of the region. The most commonly available maps were those of George Vancouver, published in 1798, and of Charles Wilkes, published in 1845. In both cases the maps are unclear in the vicinity of the southeastern coast of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. As a result, the geography of Haro Strait is not fully clear either. In 1856, the US and Britain set up a Boundary Commission to resolve a number of issues regarding the international boundary, including the water boundary from the Strait of Georgia to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. However, because of mapping and treaty ambiguities, both the United States and Britain claimed sovereignty over the San Juan Islands. During this period of disputed sovereignty, Britain’s Hudson’s Bay Company established operations on San Juan and turned the island into a sheep ranch. Meanwhile, by mid-1859, around 25 US settlers had arrived.

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San Juan Island held significance not for its size, but as a military strategic point. While the British held Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island to the west, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the entry point to Haro Strait, leading to the Strait of Georgia, the nation that held the San Juan Islands would be able to dominate all the straits connecting the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the Strait of Georgia.

The map below, which you can click to enlarge, shows the region with three lines showing the different boundary proposals. The blue line was favored by the US, the red line by Britain, and the green line was a proposed compromise. Both the red and green lines place San Juan in Canada.

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On June 15, 1859, exactly thirteen years after the adoption of the Oregon Treaty, the ambiguity led to direct conflict. Lyman Cutlar, a US farmer who had moved on to the island claiming rights to live there, found a large black pig rooting in his garden. The pig was eating his tubers. Cutlar was so upset, this not being the first time a pig had entered his garden, that he took aim and shot the pig, killing it. It turned out that the pig was owned by an Irishman, Charles Griffin, who was employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company to run the sheep ranch. He also owned several pigs that he allowed to roam freely. The two men had lived in peace until this incident. Cutlar offered $10 to Griffin to compensate for the pig, but Griffin was unsatisfied with this offer and demanded $100. Cutlar refused, believing that he should not have had to pay anything for the pig because the pig had been trespassing on his land. When British authorities threatened to arrest Cutlar, US settlers called for military protection.

Brigadier-General William S. Harney, commanding the Department of Oregon, initially dispatched 66 US soldiers of the 9th Infantry under the command of Captain George Pickett to San Juan Island with orders to prevent the British from landing. Concerned that a squatter population of the US would begin to occupy San Juan Island if they were not kept in check, the British sent three warships under the command of Captain Geoffrey Hornby. Pickett was famously quoted as saying defiantly, “We’ll make a Bunker Hill of it.” Escalation continued. By August 10, 1859, US troops with 14 cannon under Colonel Silas Casey were opposed by five British warships mounting 70 guns and carrying 2,140 men. During this time, no shots were fired.

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The governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island, James Douglas, ordered British Rear Admiral Robert L. Baynes to land marines on San Juan Island and engage the US soldiers under the command of Brigadier-General Harney. (Harney’s forces had occupied the island since July 27, 1859.) Baynes refused, deciding that “two great nations in a war over a squabble about a pig” was foolish. Local commanding officers on both sides had been given essentially the same orders: defend yourselves, but absolutely do not fire the first shot. For several days, the British and U.S. soldiers exchanged insults, each side attempting to goad the other into firing the first shot, but discipline held on both sides, and thus no shots were fired.

When news about the crisis reached Washington and London, officials from both nations were shocked and took action to calm the potentially explosive international incident. In September, U.S. President James Buchanan sent General Winfield Scott to negotiate with Governor Douglas and resolve the growing crisis. This was in the best interest of the United States, as sectional tensions within the country were increasing, soon to culminate in the Civil War. Scott had calmed two other border crises between the two nations in the late 1830s. He arrived in San Juan in October and began negotiations with Douglas.

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As a result of the negotiations, both sides agreed to retain joint military occupation of the island until a final settlement could be reached, reducing their presence to a token force of no more than 100 men. The British Camp was established on the north end of San Juan Island along the shoreline, for ease of supply and access; and the US Camp was created on the south end on a high, windswept meadow, suitable for artillery barrages against shipping. Today the Union Jack still flies above the “British Camp”, being raised and lowered daily by park rangers, making it one of the very few places without diplomatic status where US government employees regularly hoist the flag of another country.

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During the years of joint military occupation, the small British and US units on San Juan Island had a very amicable mutual social life, visiting one another’s camps to celebrate their respective national holidays and holding various athletic competitions. Apparently the biggest threat to peace on the island during these years was the plentiful amount of alcohol available.

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This state of affairs continued for the next 12 years. The dispute was peacefully resolved after more than a decade of military bluster by the respective high commands, during which time the local British authorities consistently lobbied London to seize back the Puget Sound region entirely, given that the US was engaged elsewhere with the Civil War. In 1866, the Colony of Vancouver Island was merged with the Colony of British Columbia to form an enlarged Colony of British Columbia. In 1871, the enlarged colony joined the newly formed Dominion of Canada. That year, Great Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Washington, which dealt with various differences between the two nations, including border issues involving the newly formed Dominion. Among the results of the treaty was the decision to resolve the San Juan dispute by international arbitration, with Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany chosen to act as arbitrator. Wilhelm referred the issue to a three-man arbitration commission which met in Geneva for nearly a year. On October 21, 1872, the commission decided in favor of the United States. The arbitrator chose the US-preferred marine boundary via Haro Strait, to the west of the islands, over the British preference for Rosario Strait. On November 25, 1872, the British withdrew their Royal Marines from the British Camp. The US followed suit in July 1874.

Obviously roast pork, or any pork dish, would be appropriate as a celebration, but a whole spit-roast pig would be ideal. I recognize that most readers won’t be able to manage this for a whole host of reasons, including the fact that you need a whole pig, about 100 guests and space to put them, never mind having a giant yard, a fire pit, and a spit. But I used to do this every year in the 1980s and 90s when I lived on a big property in New York State, so I’ll give you some thoughts. I will say at the beginning though that June around the solstice is the worst time of year in the northern hemisphere for roasting a whole pig. I used to do mine in October. You can do it in the summer, and I have friends who still do it annually, but you multiply difficulties.

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Let’s begin with the pig itself. I lived in pig farming country, so it was easy to get a whole pig. A local farmer would kill and dress the pig, and then deliver it the day before I was set to roast it. All I had to do was attach it to the spit. When I lived in North Carolina, locals held pig pickin’ parties. They split the pig completely open so that it lay flat on a grate, roast it skin side down, and then lay a second grate on top, flipped the pig over (big job), and roast the underside next. Roasting skin side down took the bulk of the cooking, and then cooking the underside took several hours more. When the host decided it was time, guests helped themselves by cutting off (pickin’) cooked pieces, and any parts of the pig that were not done were left on the fire to roast more. This makes for a very sociable gathering, but I always preferred to spit roast.

So . . . first get a pig. You don’t want it to be too big because you need to be able to handle it, and you need to be able to cook it in one day. The pigs I cooked were usually around 100 lbs when gutted, that is, young pigs – less than a year old. The pig must be stripped of all bristles on the skin, and the internal organs removed so that all you have are muscle meat and bones. Then the belly needs to be sewn or clamped shut in some manner, ready for roasting (I kept head and trotters attached).

I don’t have any photos of the setup I used because they are all in storage in New York, from the days before digital photography. The photo here that I nicked from the internet is fairly close, however. You have to wire the pig firmly to the spit so that you can turn the spit through 360°, and the pig will rotate with it without slipping. You also need a crank on the spit so that you can turn it easily. I am sure that all cooks differ over method. Mine evolved over time, and it’s not complicated – just time consuming.

I used matured and split hardwood for the fire – usually cherry or apple because they were available, but any hardwood will do. The smoke from the wood is an essential component of the cooking process. I started the fire at around 4 am on the day of the party. I took about an hour to get a good bed of coals spread evenly over the fire pit which I replenished throughout the day from a secondary fire pit that I had constantly on the go nearby. I  kept the pig, already attached to the spit, in a shed adjacent to my fire pit, and I would get a friend to help me carry it to the fire pit when the coals were ready. I used to do this in mid October so that it was possible to keep the pig outdoors overnight without the need for refrigeration.

Once the pig was situated over the fire it was just a matter of time and patience. You need to keep the pig turning so that it cooks evenly. I never felt the need to baste the skin in any way, although I know plenty of cooks who do. The skin browns and crisps nicely without any aids. You do need to wrap the ears in foil, however, because they can burn before the pig is cooked, and someone always wants an ear. My hound-dog friend, Lawson, a split cane rod maker from North Carolina, brought his blade to hack them off to chew on towards the end.

My formula was to rotate the pig through 360° in the course of an hour, which meant rotating it through 90° every 15 minutes. Professionals have machine driven spits that slowly rotate the pig for you, but you don’t need it. You can rotate faster or slower as you desire. I don’t think it makes any difference. A quarter turn every quarter hour just seemed neat and simple to me. The vast bulk of the time roasting the pig is just idle time. In the dark of the early morning I sat with the pig, staring at the sky and meditating, and then as the day progressed friends and other guests would arrive and sit with me for a spell. You don’t really have to sit beside the pit; dogs and stray animals will stay away because of the fire. They’d burn themselves trying to get to the pig. I used to sit with it anyway, from start to finish, more or less.  In the pre-dawn hours I could see Orion, the hunter, chasing Taurus, the bull. It seemed fitting given that the October moon is the hunter’s moon, and I was cooking like a hunter of yore.

Some cooks use a meat thermometer, and it’s probably a good idea. I never did. The USDA used to recommend an internal temperature for pork of 160°F but recently lowered it to 145°F (followed by 3 minutes of rest). Pork cooked to 145°F is pinker than many cooks are used to, but it is perfectly safe, and is a great deal juicier than meat that is cooked longer to higher temperatures. There’s a good website on this issue here http://www.pork.org/new-usda-guidelines-lower-pork-cooking-temperature/ My rule of thumb was 14 hours over a moderate fire for a 100 lb pig. It was usually not completely cooked on the inside, but there was enough meat for 100 guests, and I kept the partially cooked parts for later.

Serving the pig is also not complicated, but time consuming. You’ll need butchering knives and some knowledge of butchering pork, but you don’t have to be pretty about it. You need to cut the whole pig into manageable segments and then strip the meat from the bone. Pile the cut meat on heated platters and let guests help themselves. This is where paper plates and plastic forks come in. It’s not a bad idea to have some sauces available in case guests want them. Barbecue sauce is popular. I like very hot English mustard.  Your choice.

Accompaniments are also important. Might as well let the fire do double duty. I used to roast potatoes and apples. For the potatoes, split them partly open, insert a knob of butter, close back up, and wrap each individually in foil. For apples, core them, stuff the center with butter, brown sugar, and spices (any combination of allspice, cloves, cinnamon and ginger will work), and wrap individually in foil. Cook the apples and potatoes by placing them in a single layer on the coals at the edge. Potatoes will cook in around an hour and need to be checked periodically after that. They can stay a little longer if need be. Apples require a shorter cooking time. Depending on the heat of the coals, they cook in about 30 minutes. They won’t stand overcooking in the way that potatoes will. For other side dishes I served a cabbage and mayonnaise coleslaw and baked beans (all home made of course). They were good times.

Jun 172015
 

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Today is the birthday (1867) of Henry Archibald Hertzberg Lawson, Australian writer and poet. Along with his contemporary Banjo Paterson, Lawson is among the best-known Australian poets and fiction writers of the colonial period and is often called Australia’s “greatest short story writer”. He was the son of the poet, publisher and political activist, Louisa Lawson, subject of one of my very earliest posts here: http://www.bookofdaystales.com/louisa-lawson-and-the-dawn-club/

Henry Lawson was born on the Grenfell goldfields of New South Wales. His father was Niels Hertzberg Larsen, a Norwegian-born miner from Tromøya near Arendal. Niels Larsen went to sea at 21 and arrived in Melbourne in 1855 to join the gold rush, along with partner William Henry John Slee. Lawson’s parents met at the goldfields of Pipeclay (now Eurunderee New South Wales). Niels and Louisa Albury (1848–1920) married on 7 July 1866 when he was 32 and she 18. On Henry’s birth, the family surname was Anglicized and Niels became Peter Lawson. The newly married couple were to have an unhappy marriage. Louisa took a significant part in women’s movements, and edited a women’s paper called The Dawn (published May 1888 to July 1905). She also published her son’s first volume, and around 1904 brought out a volume of her own, Dert and Do, a simple story of 18,000 words. In 1905 she collected and published her own verses, The Lonely Crossing and other Poems. Louisa likely had a strong influence on her son’s literary work in its earliest days

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Lawson attended school at Eurunderee from 2 October 1876 but suffered an ear infection at around this time. It left him with partial deafness and by the age of fourteen he had lost his hearing entirely. However, his master John Tierney was a kindly man and did all he could for Lawson, who was quite shy. Lawson later attended a Catholic school at Mudgee, around 8 km away. The master there, Mr Kevan, taught Lawson about poetry and literature. Lawson was a keen reader, and reading became a major source of his education because, due to his deafness, he had trouble learning in the classroom.

In 1883, after working on building jobs with his father in the Blue Mountains, Lawson joined his mother in Sydney at her request. Louisa was then living with Henry’s sister and brother. At this time, Lawson was working during the day and studying at night for his matriculation in the hopes of receiving a university education. However, he failed his exams. At around 20 years of age Lawson went to the eye and ear hospital in Melbourne but nothing could be done for his deafness.

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In 1896, Lawson married Bertha Bredt, daughter of Bertha Bredt, the prominent socialist. The marriage was unhappy due to Lawson’s alcoholism. They had two children, son Jim (Joseph) and daughter Bertha. However, the marriage ended badly and with poor relations between them ever after.

Lawson’s first published poem was ‘A Song of the Republic’ which appeared in The Bulletin, 1 October 1887. His mother’s republican friends were an obvious influence. This was followed by ‘The Wreck of the Derry Castle’ and then ‘Golden Gully.’ Prefixed to the former poem was an editorial ‘note:

In publishing the subjoined verses we take pleasure in stating that the writer is a boy of 17 years, a young Australian, who has as yet had an imperfect education and is earning his living under some difficulties as a housepainter, a youth whose poetic genius here speaks eloquently for itself.       

Lawson was 20 years old, not 17.

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From 1890-1891 Lawson worked in Albany. He then received an offer to write for the Brisbane Boomerang in 1891, but he lasted only around 7–8 months as the Boomerang was soon in trouble. While in Brisbane he contributed to William Lane’s Worker; he later angled for an editorial position with the similarly-named Worker of Sydney, but was unsuccessful. He returned to Sydney and continued to write for the Bulletin which, in 1892, paid for an inland trip where he experienced the harsh realities of drought-affected New South Wales. He also worked as a roustabout (general hand) in the woolshed at Toorale Station. This resulted in his contributions to the Bulletin Debate and became a source for many of his stories in subsequent years. One critic describes the trek Lawson took between Hungerford and Bourke as “the most important trek in Australian literary history” and says that “it confirmed all his prejudices about the Australian bush. Lawson had no romantic illusions about a ‘rural idyll’ such as projected by Banjo Paterson.

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Lawson’s most successful prose collection is While the Billy Boils, published in 1896. Lawson created his own style and defined Australians in a new way: laconic, egalitarian, and humane. Most of his work focuses on the Australian bush, such as the desolate “Past Carin’ ” a starkly realistic of Australian life as it was at the time, or “The Drover’s Wife” a bleak description of loneliness. It is regularly studied in schools and has often been adapted for film and theater. Lawson was a firm believer in the merits of the sketch story, commonly known simply as ‘the sketch,’ claiming that “the sketch story is best of all.”  Lawson’s “On The Edge Of A Plain,” is often cited as one of the most accomplished examples of the sketch.

Like the majority of Australians, Lawson was a city dweller, but he had had plenty of knowledge of outback life, and, in fact, many of his stories reflect his experiences of Australian urban life. In Sydney in 1898 he was a prominent member of the Dawn and Dusk Club, a bohemian club of writer friends who met for drinks and conversation.

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In 1903 he took a room at Mrs Isabel Byers’ Coffee Palace in North Sydney. This marked the beginning of a 20-year friendship between Byers and Lawson. Despite his position as the most celebrated Australian writer of the time, Lawson was deeply depressed and perpetually poor. He lacked money due to unfortunate royalty deals with publishers. His ex-wife repeatedly reported him for non-payment of child maintenance, resulting in jail terms. He was jailed at Darlinghurst Gaol for drunkenness and non-payment of child support, and recorded his experience in the haunting poem “One Hundred and Three” – his prison number – which was published in 1908. He refers to the prison as “Starvinghurst Gaol” because of the meager rations given to the inmates. At this time, Lawson became withdrawn, alcoholic, and unable to carry on the usual routine of life.

Byers was an excellent poet herself and although of modest education, had been writing vivid poetry since her teens in a similar style to Lawson’s. She was long separated from her husband and elderly, and was, at the time she met Lawson, a woman of independent means looking forward to retirement. Byers regarded Lawson as Australia’s greatest living poet, and hoped to sustain him well enough to keep him writing. She negotiated on his behalf with publishers, helped to arrange contact with his children, wrote to friends and supporters to help him financially, and assisted and nursed him through his mental and alcohol problems. She wrote countless letters on his behalf and knocked on any doors that could provide Lawson with financial assistance or a publishing deal.

Lawson died, of cerebral hemorrhage, in Abbotsford, Sydney in 1922. He was given a state funeral. His funeral was attended by the Prime Minister Billy Hughes and the Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang (who was the husband of Lawson’s sister-in-law Hilda Bredt), as well as thousands of citizens. He is interred at Waverley Cemetery. Lawson was the first person to be granted a New South Wales state funeral (traditionally reserved for Governors, Chief Justices, etc.) on the grounds of having been a ‘distinguished citizen’.

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I knew almost nothing about Lawson when I was a schoolboy in South Australia in the 1950s and ‘60s. We studied poetry and short stories in English classes but very little of it was bred in Australia. Most of our poetry diet was the classics of the 19th century, such as Kipling and Newbolt; our set books were Wind in the Willows, Gulliver’s Travels, and Treasure Island. When we did read Australians it was Banjo Paterson, not Lawson – too honest for the education department of the era, I suppose. The only reason I even knew his name was that I was an avid stamp collector and there was a nice sepia image of him on a 1949 stamp. I hope things are different now. In hindsight it seems to me that Australia was ashamed of its homegrown life back then. When television arrived it was all shows from the U.S. and England; history classes favored the English Tudors and Stuarts over Australian explorers. I know more about Australian history, poetry, and art now than when I was 14.Lawson wrote, “We shall never be understood or respected by the English until we carry our individuality to extremes, and by asserting our independence, become of sufficient consequence in their eyes to merit a closer study than they have hitherto accorded us.”

Here’s an epitaph in his own words: “Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.”

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The lack of much in the way of Australian indigenous cuisine is also, I believe, a reflection of the Australian heritage of European immigration which fostered a sentimental look back at “the old country.” My mainstay for dinner was my mum’s English cooking. Sundays we always had a Sunday roast, and it was always lamb. Lamb was sometimes called “365” because it was cheap enough to eat every day. Mum put a shoulder of lamb on to cook before we went to church, and it was ready to serve when we got home. There might be leftovers for Monday. Despite it being just about all I ate on Sundays I’m still a huge fan. But you have to do it right. First and foremost, roast lamb should be pink inside. Too many people think it should be uniformly grey inside – why not roast some cardboard instead? And you should serve it with roast potatoes. Mine, I humbly state, were legendary – I had to make bucketloads to satisfy my guests.

A shoulder of lamb can be boned and rolled (makes for easy carving), but I think it is more flavorful on the bone. Bring it to room temperature several hours before cooking, slice several cloves of garlic rather thickly, and insert them under the skin. With the point of a sharp paring knife puncture shallow slits all over the skin of the lamb and push the garlic in as deeply as you can. Don’t be a slacker – make it look like a hedgehog. Roast at 450°-500°F for about 90 minutes, depending on weight. The skin should be crisply golden and the inside pink, not bloody.

You’re on your own with the roasties. I’ve instructed dozens of cooks and they cannot replicate mine. I peel them, cut them in chunks, and put them in a separate baking pan from the joint with a couple of tablespoons of drippings and put them in with the roast on the top shelf. Every 15 minutes or so I shake the pan and flip them around so that they brown evenly. The result is a very crisp outside and a soft floury inside.

I’ve never liked the classic mint sauce with lamb, although you can serve it if you want. I cook a gravy by making a dark roux with pan drippings and flour (equal amounts), then add stock, mashed garlic, and fresh rosemary, and simmer until medium thick (pints of it usually).

I tend to prefer a green vegetable, usually spinach or Brussels sprouts, as an accompaniment.

Always, always, always make shepherd’s pie with the leftovers and Scotch broth with the bone —

http://www.bookofdaystales.com/st-andrew/

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.