Monday, July 09, 2007

Tripe, Glasgow Style.

Today, July 9th

The Scotsman newspaper carried this notice on 9th July 1831:


JANET LUMSDEN takes this opportunity of expressing her sincere gratitude to the public for the very flattering encouragement she has received for a number of years, and respectfully intimates, that as the Magistrates have resolved to take down the Booth in which she formerly carried on business, she has removed to No.1, Market St, opposite the Slaughter House. Her new premises are spacious, not exposed either to the scorching sun or withering winds; and her Cow Heel and Tripe are now far superior to what they were formally. In the evenings from 7-9 o’clock, she is now supplying her customers and families with warm Tripe, prepared in the real Glasgow style, in any quantity her friends are pleased to order.

It would be fascinating to know the reason for the Magistrates’ decision on Janet’s premises. Were they declared unsanitary? Was a new Court House going up? Was she behind in her rent? Whatever it was, Janet was clearly made of very pragmatic stuff, able to turn the situation to her (and her customers’ advantage) by declaring her new premises and her old product even better than before.

Buying take-away dinner is not a new phenomenon. It was the norm for many centuries for people to buy their dinner at cookshops such as this one, because most urban poor did not have kitchens or equipment or fuel. Tripe and Cow Heel were once popular (perhaps because they were cheap) for the working class (urban or rural), but I somehow doubt that they will become fashionable again soon. Chinese take-aways and burger joints are probably safe from competition for a while yet.

I have no idea what style of tripe is ‘the real Glasgow style’, and am hoping one of my readers will enlighten me. I looked hard for a tempting recipe for tripe, but instead found a frightening one. If the thought of eating any style of tripe frightens you, how about one prepared in England and shipped to the East Indies, for your enjoyment some months later.

To preserve tripe to go to the East-Indies.
Get a fine belly of tripe, quite fresh. Take a four gallon cask well hoop’d, lay in your tripe, and have your pickle ready made thus; take seven quarts of spring water, and put as much salt into it as will make an egg swim, that the little end of the egg may be about an inch above the water; (you must take care to have the fine clear salt, for the common salt will spoil it) add a quart of the best white vinegar, two sprigs of rosemary, an ounce of all-spice, pour it on your tripe; let the cooper fasten the cask down directly; when it comes to the Indies, it must not be opened till it is just a-going to be dressed; for it wont keep after the cask is opened. The way to dress it is, lay it in water half and hour; then fry or boil it as we do here.
[Hannah Glasse, 8th edition (1763) of The Art of Cookery, made Plain and Easy …]

Tomorrow’s Story …

Cheshire Cheese at Sea.

Quotation for the Day …

Far from the Parlor have your Kitchin plac’d
Dainties may in their working be disgrac’d.
In private draw your Poultry, clean your Tripe,
And from your Eels their slimy Substance wipe.
Let cruel Offices be done by Night,
For those who like the Thing abhor the Sight.
[The Art of Cookery, in imitation of Horace’s Art of poetry … by William King; 1708]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mistress Margaret Dod's Cook and Housewife's Manual (1862, first pub. 1829, by Christian Isobel Johnstone) has this to say:

Glasgow and Birmingham Hot Tripe.—When fat tripe is well cleaned and blanched as directed at No. 16 [To Boil Tripe and Cow-heels], cut it into pieces; roll these up neatly, fasten with a thread. Then take a sawed marrow-bone, or knuckle, or trimmings of veal, place all in a jar or tin vessel, like a pudding-mould, or steamer with a close-fitting lid, adding pepper and salt. Place the closed jar in a pot of boiling water, which fill up as it boils away. This will take eight hours at least. Or the jar may be placed in a slack oven, if more convenient, and boil away. Keep the tripe in its own jelly in the jar, and dress it as wanted, as directed in Nos. 16, 56, 626, 743, 765. It will keep for a week or more.

Birmingham, and some other English towns, are as famous for tripe as Glasgow is, and as, in the olden time, Edinburgh was. The tripe, if not dressed for private consumption, is sold hot; the dealers giving a piece of each sort, and a quantity of the liquor, which, with salt and mustard, and stewed or roasted onions, forms the sole sauce.

(Download from Google Books)

Glasgow had two well-known tripe and cow-heel shops/supper-houses in the late 18th/early 19th centuries. A bit like some fish and chip establishments, they attracted customers who
could afford something more upmarket, but took a fancy to this particular delicacy.