Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Vulgarity in the Kitchen.

Yesterday’s post on ‘Caviare to the Vulgar’ got me thinking about other vulgar acts in the kitchen. I give you a few opinions from cookery books of the past, and leave you to decide whether the authors intend their usage of ‘vulgar’ to mean ‘of or about the ‘ordinary, common, uneducated, or ignorant’, or about ‘lacking in refinement or good taste.’ Or perhaps, in some eyes, the two are synonymous?

Steaks: The next best steaks are those cut from the middle of a Rump, that has been killed at least four days in moderate weather – much longer in cold weahter, - when they can be cut about six inches long, four inches wide, and half an inch thick: do not beat them, which vulgar trick breaks the cells in which the Gravy of the meat is contained, and it becomes dry and tasteless.
Cook’s Oracle, (1836) by William Kitchiner.

To fry bacon in a frying pan is the most wasteful way it can be dressed, and is now considered to be both vulgar and discreditable.
Gentility and economy combined, being cookery confectionary and pickling, to which are added the best methods of preserving fruits and the art of sugar boiling (1850) by George Read

[On the garnishing of trifles] … garnish with a few light sprigs of flowers of fine colours, or a few bits of very clear currant-jelly stuck into snow-white whip, or a sprinkling of Harlequin-comfits. This last we consider vulgar, but it is still in frequent use.
The Cook and Housewife's Manual (1847), by Christian Isobel Johnstone

[On the closing of pies] Fill, cover, wet the edges, and close them neatly. There is no occasion to pinch them, it is vulgar; smooth and ornament them well; put them into a quick oven.
As raised pies are difficult for the beginner, small ones ought to be first attempted, and made larger as knowledge is attained. Never make them of pieces of paste: the method is slovenly, and the pies are vulgar.

As our recipe for the day, I think we need a simple, elegant dish after all that vulgarity, don’t we?

Delicious Pudding.
The farina of potatoes, or potato starch, is said to make an elegant pudding. The following are the ingredients: To one quart of boiled milk, add, gradually, as in making mush, a quarter of a pound of potato flour, well pulverized, a quarter of a pound of sugar, and a little butter; when cold add three eggs, and bake half an hour. When well prepared, and properly cooked, it is delicious eating.
American Farmer (1825)

Quotation for the Day.

N.B If your Butcher sends Steaks which are not Tender, we do not insist that you should object to let him be Beaten.
Cook’s Oracle, (1836) by William Kitchiner.


Anonymous said...

If cooking bacon in a frying pan is vulgar, pray tell how are we to cook it?

The Old Foodie said...

I think the genteel way was to grill (broil) it :)
I admit that when it comes to cooking bacon, I am vulgar. And you?

Allhailthe Bluewhaleshit said...

I am so offaly pleased to be vulgar :)

Mizz Harpy said...

Augghh! I grew up eating vulgar bacon! I must have been reformed and refined somewhere along the way because I oven fry it now but only because it avoids the mess caused by pan frying.

The potato pudding looks good. Thanks for posting.

The Old Foodie said...

I think there are a lot of us vulgar bacon cooks out there. oven-cooking sounds like a good idea.

Dale said...

Harlequin comfits: I have a hunch that this was about the time comfits based around seeds lost the seed and became just brightly coloured sugar and starch balls like modern Hundreds and Thousands.
Or maybe it was a product like modern Dutch vruchtenhagel, which is coloured and fruit-flavoured sugar sprinkles.

Comfits based round seeds are still in use in the Netherlands, where they are called muisjes, because they look like mouse droppings. Love the Dutch sense of humour.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Dale, i think you may be right about the seedless comfits. I love the idea of " mouse droppings" - thanks so much for sharing!