Monday, July 11, 2011

Lily and the Mutton Chop

Today I return to London after a wonderful time at the Oxford Symposium. More on that later. I must be minimialist in my story today for I am still wrestling with iPad/Safari/Blogger problems. The hoops I have been jumping through to bring you your daily fix!  For those of you who may be in the same boat (I know I am not alone) I temporarily solved this by abandoning Safari (Stuff You, Mr. Apple) in favour of Atomic Web, and found that I much prefer it so will stay with it (Serves you right, Mr. Apple.)

My home for the next few days will be the Grande Royale Hotel in Hyde Parke. I was delighted to find, after I had booked, that the hotel was originally the home built by Edward VII for his mistress, Lily Langtry ('The Jersey Lily'). Not bad earnings, when you consider that she was his mistress of choice for less than three years (in the late 1870's.) Naturally she must be the heroine of our story today.

King's mistresses and other "kept women" are usually thought to be the antithesis of the militant feminist, but it seems that the fledgling women's rights movement of the time did owe a debt to Lily. It is said that upon being refused a mutton chop and an ale at Keen's chophouse in London, she took them to court - and won. 

In Lily's honour, I give you a recipe from the time, for mutton chops.

Mutton Chops in Disguise.
Rub the chops over with pepper, salt, nutmeg, and a little parsley. Roll each in half a sheet of white paper, well buttered within-side, and close the two ends. Boil some hog's lard, or beef dripping, in a stew-pan, and put the steaks into it. Fry them of a fine brown, then take them out, and let the fat thoroughly drain from them. Lay them in your dish, and serve them up with good gravv in a sauce-boat. Gar nish with horse-radish and fried parsley.
How to cook, carve and eat: or, Wholesome food, and how to prepare it for the table ... To which is added a chapter on the art of carving; William Augustus Henderson (1870)

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