Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rules to Live and Eat By.

There is an interesting appendix in Culina famulatrix medicinæ: or, Receipts in modern cookery; with a medical commentary, written by Ignotus, and revised by A. Hunter (1810) which give us some perfect blog fodder. The chapter is entitled “Men and Manners,” and it consists of 267 aphorisms to live by. It seems to me that many of these are as applicable today – or should be - as they were two centuries ago. Naturally, a number of these adages relate to food and dining, and I thought it would be interesting to look at them to see how many could be made fashionable again.
1.Remove the tax upon sugar, by using only one lump to sweeten your tea, instead of two.
6. Weigh your tea, sugar, and Shambles meat when it comes in.
9.  Dine late, it makes the day longer, and saves a supper.
11. Look now and then into your kitchen and larder, and always know what is for dinner.
29. Instead of drinking three glasses of wine after dinner, drink only two, and if you want more, drink a glass of ale. The saving will bring wine back to its old price.
43. After we have eat a hearty meal, we think no man is hungry.
63. Waste not; want not; is a good motto for a kitchen.
65. When you sit down to a luxurious banquet, consider how many persons there are in the world who would be glad of the crumbs that fall from your table.
67. A glutton eats as much to-day, as if he expected to die to-morrow; and he build’s a house, as if he expected to live for ever.
84. If you are disposed to grow fat, keep your eyes open, and your mouth shut.
87. Eating is the spur to industry. Could we live without eating, all the world would be idle.
139. She is not a good housewife who is always buying pennyworths.
154. There is something unmanly in hunting the hare. Fox-hunting is only destroying the destroyer.
167. To be able to carve well, is a useful and elegant accomplishment. It is an artless recommendation to a man who is looking out for a wife.
172. When fruit is offered, always take what is next to you.
191. A Roman emperor did not enjoy the luxuries of an English washer-woman. She breakfasts upon tea from the East Indies, and upon sugar from the West.
192. A glutton is emphatically said to dig his grave with his teeth.
196. When you enter into the world, endeavour to get a genteel deportment at table. Observe a well-bred man, and mark his behaviour. Take him for a copy, and regulate your manners by his. Do not stick out your elbows to the annoyance of your neighbour, or hold your knife and fork upright, as if you were in hostility with the company. When you enter the drawing-room, before going into dinner, do it gracefully; and after paying your compliments to the lady and gentleman of the house, bow respectfully to the company; then take your place at the table according to your rank in life. Habit, and good company will do the rest.
200. Rise from table with an appetite, and you will not be in danger of sitting down without one.
250. Families that use brown bread, will find much economy in having it cut with a slicing knife. This instrument cuts bread without waste, and does the business with ease and expedition.
264. Avoid the tavern and the ale-house. Money spent there never returns.

If you agree with the economy of brown bread cut with a slicing knife, the following recipe, from the same book, may please you even more, as it is at another level of economy again, being made with potato in place of some of the flour.

Bread for Toast and Butter.
Take two pounds of fine flour, after being gently warmed before the fire and rub it into half a pound of warm mealy potatoes. When well mixed, add a proper quantity of yest and salt, with warm milk and water sufficient to make into dough, which must be allowed two hours to rise, before being formed into a loaf. Put the loaf into a tin to preserve its shape, and when placed in the oven, take care that it be not over-browned.

And to solve the dinner/supper decision (No. 9) the following recipe would suit either meal:

Oyster Sausage.
Take a half a pound of lean mutton; three quarters of a pound of beef suet; two score of oysters scaled, and the beards taken off. Chop all together, and add some breadcrumbs, and  yolks of eggs to bind the materials together. Season well with salt, white pepper, and mace. Make this composition into the form of sausages, and fry them lightly in the usual way.

Obs: This is a very neat supper dish, and will in general be liked by those who are fond of savoury things. If required, the sausage meat may be put into skins. Some persons prefer the inside of a sirloin of beef to mutton, but that cannot be so conveniently obtained.

No comments: