Wednesday, January 14, 2009

To make a Dunelm, Part 2.

The story a couple of weeks ago about the mysterious dish ‘A Dunelm’ piqued the interest of the apparently indefatiguable Mexico Bob, who sent the query on to a friend, who sent it on again (in the manner of these things). Simultaneously with receiving the response from a wordsmith of note (who will make his own exposition in his newsletter), I found another culinary reference to the dish.

We now have linguistic support for the word ‘Dunelm’ being a reference to the cathedral city in Durham, in the north of England (but south of Scotland!). I guess someone, somewhere, in the deep south of Britain, knowing the dish came from the North, mistakenly attributed it to the Scots, and the attribution stuck.

The food association is apparently the responsibility of the cathedral city clerics, who were in past times known for their comfortable lifestyles. ‘A Dunelm’ was therefore no mean hash, but quite an elegant dish, as the following recipe shows. Interestingly it still has the Scots taint, as will be seen by its alternative name, given at the end of the recipe.

A Dunelm of Mutton.
Take the caul sent in with a leg of veal, and lay it in a dish nearly as deep as a punch-bowl. Then take the lean part of a leg of mutton, chop it very small, and add to it a third of its weight of suet and some beef marrow, the crumbs of a penny loaf, the yolks of four eggs, two anchovies chopped small, half a pint of red wine, the rind of half a lemon grated, and some white pepper and salt. Mix all like sausage meat, and lay it in the caul placed in the dish. Close all up with the caul that hangs over, and send the dish to bake in a quick oven. When sufficiently done, turn it upon a dish, and pour over it some hot brown gravy. Send up with venison sauce in a boat. In the north, this is called, a Royal Haggis.
Culina famulatrix medicinæ: or, Receipts in modern cookery; with a medical commentary, by Alexander Hunter, 1810

Quotation for the Day …

I am ready to defend the right of the tasty crab, the luscious oyster, the noble rockfish and the incomparable terrapin to continue their part in the penitential practice of Friday.
Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, Archbishop of Baltimore , on the subject of retaining the tradition of Friday ‘abstinence’.

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