Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Choosing by Numbers.

This is the 993rd post to The Old Foodie. Hard to believe, isnt it? I am no mathematical genius, but I am pretty sure this means that the 1000th post is less than two weeks away.

For a little pre-millenial fun, I decided to pick today’s topic in a very random way. I decided to go to page 993 of a favourite cookbook, and see what it offered. This of course confined me to Big Cookbooks, and one of my very favourite of these is Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery, published in London in the 1870’s. It contains about nine thousand recipes in its 1178 pages. Naturally, it being dictionary-style, we are getting towards the end of the alphabet by page 993.

On page 993 we have to chose from:

Tripe, Roasted
Tripe, Stewed in its own jelly,
Tripe, Stewed with bacon,
Trotters, Sheep’s,
Trotters, Sheep’s (another way)
Trotters, Sheep’s, Fried,
Trotters, Sheeps, Marinaded,
Trout, (à la Genovese).

I am sure most of you would vote for the Trout à la Genovese (lots of butter, lots of sherry or madeira – the Probable Cost listed as “very uncertain"). The recipe however goes over to page 994, so must be excluded on that score - and anyway, in these tough financial times a dish of uncertain, but certainly extravagant, cost cannot be given with a clear conscience.

Now, the sheep’s trotters interest me. I give you the recipe because I have never eaten them, and I suspect you havent either. I give you the recipe because I have never before given you one which contains the instructions “remove the wool”, “cut the hoof from the end of the foot”, and “bind the feet”. I give you the recipe to give you an opportunity to give thanks that you don’t need to do this in your own kitchen anymore.

Trotters, Sheep’s.
Take six or eight sheep’s feet. Remove the wool, and singe them, then throw them into fast-boiling water, let them boil quickly for five minutes, drain them, and let them cool. Take the foot firmly in the left hand, give the bone a jerk with the right hand and draw it out. Cut the hoof from the end of the foot, and put the feet into cold water. Let them boil, then simmer them as gently as possible until they are quite tender. Fill them with good veal forcemeat, and bind the feet with packthread to keep them in shape. Put them in a stewpan with as much of the liquor in which they were boiled as will cover them, an onion, and a bunch of sweet herbs. Boil them gently for half an hour, lift them out, and lay them on a dish. Strain the sauce, boil it down to glaze, and brush this over the feet. The trotters may be accompanied by tomato sauce, Robert sauce, or piquant sauce, and any stewed vegetables, or they may be eaten cold with oil and vinegar.
Time to boil the trotters, three or four hours.
Sufficient, three or four for a small dish.

Quotation for the Day.

My manner of living is plain and I do not mean to be put out of it. A glass of wine and a bit of mutton are always ready.
George Washington.


Liz + Louka said...

Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Food contains a recipe for sheep's feet, but all it says is to scrub them thoroughly and blanch in boiling water before cooking. So in the middle east, they must be popular enough to come de-boned and shorn.

Liz + Louka said...

Oops, I meant de-hoofed, not de-boned, in that last comment.

srhcb said...

RE: "Take six to eight sheeps feet"

If you take only six, what could you do with the other two?

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

At first I'm thinking, "What's a Trotter?" Makes perfect sense, of course. And, a good choice for these uncertain economic times, where the mantra has become, "use everything."

The Old Foodie said...

I wonder if the trotters were sold individually, or in pairs, or in fours?
T.W. - pigs trotters are pretty good:I've never had sheep's trotters. I think the wool puts me off - even if they were obtainable.

diana buja said...

Yes - pigs' trotters: Pickled pigs' feet are really delicious. A great southern specialty but not so popular in the north, I think

The Old Foodie said...

Pigs feet were certainly not rare where I grew up in the North of England. Havent had one for years - used to love them all jellied and fatty.