Monday, October 22, 2012

The Butchers’ Dinner, 1546.

Last week we looked at the bills of fare for some of the dinners held by theWorshipful Company of Carpenters during the seventeenth century. Today I want to share details of another company dinner with you – that of the Election Dinner of the Butcher’s Company in 1546.  Sadly, the dishes are not described, but the provisions list is enlightening.

One would expect that the Butchers would dine well, and it appears that they did. The list includes quite a lot of veal (welle, welles etc.) Recipes for veal dishes are not prominent in medieval cookery texts – the conventional explanation being that young animals were far too valuable to be sacrificed before a lifetime of work had been gotten from them. This of course does not explain the great number of recipes requiring calves’ feet in the same ancient cookery books.

The list reads:

brede                                         18d
alle                                            12d
lownys of welle                        2/10d
abreste of welle                        10d
4 qtrs. of coollys                       20d
3 rompys of beff                       12d
wynne                                       4/4d
1 lb. of sugar                             12d
spyeses                                      2/-
rootes                                        1d
a pottell of wynnegar               8d
sawltte                                      1d
6 lbs. of butter                          12d.
6 knockettes of weelles                        2/4d

In honour of butchers everywhere, I give you a recipe for minced veal from The Good Huswifes Handmaide, for Cookerie in her Kitchin, … (1597)

How to make Chewets of Veale.
Take a leg of veale and perboyl it, then mince it with beefe suet, take almost as much of your suet as of your veale, and take a good quantitie of Ginger, and  a little saffron to colour it: take halfe a goblet of white wine, and two or three good handfuls of grapes, and put them all together with a little salt, and put them in Coffins, and let them boyle a quarter of an hour. 

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