Monday, July 21, 2008

Black Pudding 2.

July 21 ...

Some of you (including The Old Foodie Spouse) were mildly shocked and disappointed that the Black Pudding story a few weeks ago was about a sweet fruity dessert dish, not a savoury sausagey breakfast dish. The second sort is of course the older – black because it is made from blood (and is sometimes called Blood Pudding). Usually pigs’ blood. A dish for the peasants when they got lucky at pig-killing time when most of the flesh was salted down or made into ‘keeping’ sausages and hams. Fat is not stinted in its making, and it often also contains starchy cereal such as oats or flour. This ‘savoury and piquant delicacy is a standing dish among the common people in the North [of England]’ where it used to be sold by street vendors, and in the parts of Europe where the pig is king of the kitchen garden.

Here is a very elegant version with no starch at all, from William Salmon’s wonderful book published in 1695 The Family Dictionary ; or, Household Companion.

Black-Pudding; to make this the best, and fare exceeding the common way. Boil th Umbles of a Hog tender, take some of the Lights [lungs] with the Heart, and all the Flesh about them, taking out the Sinews, and mincing the rest very small; do the like by the Liver: add grated Nutmet, four or five Yolks of Eggs, a pint of Sweet Cream, a quarter of a pint of Canary [wine], Sugar, Cloves, Mace and Cinnamon finely powdered, a few Carraway-seeds, and a little Rose-water, a pretty quantity of Hog-fat, and some Salt: roul it up about two Hours before you put it into the Guts, then put it into them after you have rinsed them in Rose-water.

I love the ‘pretty quantity’ of hog-fat!

The alphabetical format of Salmon's book is very strict so that the topic that immediately precedes ‘Black-Pudding’ is ‘Biting by a Snake, Adder, or Mad Dog.’ No-one writes or publishes books like Salmon’s any more. It was the only household reference a housewife would need. I will give you the much abbreviated title page, so that you can begin to appreciate its contents.

The Family Dictionary ; or, Household Companion . Wherin are Alphabetically laid down Exact Rules and Choice Physical RECEIPTS FOR The Preservation of Health, Prevention of Sickness, and Curing the several Diseases, Distempers, and Grievances incident to Men, Women, and Children. Also, directions for Making Oils, Ointments, Salves …. Likewise, Directions for Cookery …. Also, the Way of Making all sorts of Perfumes, Beautifying Waters, …..Together with the Art of making all sorts of English Wines ….. The MYSTERY of Pickling …. ’

By a lovely and surprising co-incidence, today’s black pudding story fits with the ‘matrimonial food’ story of last week. Today I give you twoQuotations for the Day’ to illustrate.

One of the Apothogems of Francis Bacon.
‘Marriage … was like a black pudding; the one brought blood, the other brought suet and oatmeal’

A Scottish metaphor about marriagable women ‘Blood without groats (husked oats) is naught without blood’. ‘By a homely illusion to the composition of a black pudding, it intimates that a woman, though of good family, is not eligible without a good fortune.’


srhcb said...

Being a notoriously poor speller, I hate to pass on the chance to correct an error, especially involving a very interesting word.

A pithy saying is an "apothegm".

(Save that for your next Scrabble game!)

The Old Foodie said...

But - that's how Francis Bacon (or his later quoter) spelt (spelled?) it. So which one can I use in Scrabble? Wonder if the OED uses the Baconian version too? Will check and get back.

srhcb said...

Merriam-Webster uses the "egm":

SB (likes the somewhat awkward look of it)

The Old Foodie said...

Maybe Francis B did not read the Merriam-Webster.
Maybe he found the 'egm' version ugly too.