Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Preserved Beef, Otherwayes.

Shipboard tales and travellers journeys frequently mention - in a groaning, resigned kind of way - the inevitable, eternal, indestructible salted meat that was the staple protein for officers, crew, and passengers alike. This “salt horse”, as it was not so affectionately called by sailors, was often so old and so tough and so salty that the day’s ration was often towed behind the ship on a long rope before being returned to the galley – such treatment apparently making it marginally more cookable and palatable.

Cookbooks of the time commonly contained instructions for preserving meat for long periods of time. Most commonly this was by “pickling” (ie salting), but many other methods were tried, with varying degrees of success, resulting palatability, and cost. Today I give you several choices.

The Jews Way to pickle Beef, which will go good to the West Indies, and keep a Year good in the Pickle, and with Care will go to the East Indies.
Take any piece of beef without bones, or take the bones out if you intend to keep it above a month; take mace, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper and juniper berries beat fine, and rub the beef well, mix salt and Jamaica pepper, and bay leaves; let it be well seasoned, let it lie in this seasoning a week or ten days, throw in a good deal of garlick and shalot; boil some of the best white wine vinegar, lay your meat in a pan or good vessel for the purpose, with the pickle; and when the vinegar is quite cold, pour it over, cover it close. If it is for a voyage cover it with oil and let the cooper hoop up the barrel very well. This is a good way in a hot country where meat will not keep then it muft be put into the vinegar directly with the seasoning, then you may either roast or stew it but it is best stewed; and add a good deal of onion and parsley chopped fine, some white wine, a little catchup, truffles and morels, a little good gravy, a piece of butter rolled in flour or a little oil, in which the meat and onions ought to stew a quarter of an hour before the other ingredients are put in, then put all in and stir it together, and let it stew till you think it is enough. This is good pickle in a hot country to keep beef or veal that is dressed to eat cold.
The art of cookery made plain and easy, Hannah Glasse (1747)

To Preserve Meat by Treacle.
This experiment has been successfully tried in the following manner. A gentleman put a piece of beef into treacle and turned it often. At the end of a month he ordered it to be washed and boiled, and had the pleasure to find it quite good and more pleasant than the same piece would have been in salt for that time. But the expense of this method must confine it to the opulent.
The Family Receipt Book, by Maria Rundell (1819)

To Preserve Roast Beef.
A piece of beef, on being roasted, some months since, was put into a block tin case; and the vacant space being completely filled with dripping, which covered and surrounded the meat, the top of the case was soldered on; in which state it was conveyed to Philadelphia, where it is stated to have arrived in the same perfect state as when it had been dressed.
The European Magazine And London Review, 1815

Quotation for the Day.

If we are not supposed to eat animals, how come they are made out of meat?
Tom Snyder.

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