Thursday, October 09, 2014

A Curious Method of Roasting a Pig.

I just cannot seem to stop having fun with The Family receipt-book, or, Universal Repository of Useful Knowledge and Experience in all the various branches of Domestic Ĺ’conomy, published in 1810. I am sure that you have all by now whipped up a pot of Wooden Leg Soup, so you are probably ready for a bigger challenge. May I suggest a rather marvelous take on the idea of a pig-on-a-spit? Two marvelous takes, actually.

Curious Method of Roasting a Pig.
The pig is not to be scalded; but, being drawn and washed, must be spitted with the hair on, and put to the fire, yet not so as to scorch. When it is about a quarter roasted, and the skin appears blistered from the flesh, the hair and skin is to be pulled clean away with the hand, leaving all the fat and flesh perfectly bare. Then, with a knife, the flesh is to be scotched or scored down to the bones, and exceedingly well basted with fresh butter and cream very moderately warm, and dredged plentifully with fine bread crumbs, currants, sugar, and salt, mixed up together. Thus basting on dredging, and dredging on basting, must be constantly applied, in turns, till the entire flesh is covered a full inch deep; when, the meat being fully roasted, the pig is to be served up whole, with the usual sauce for a pig roasted in the common way.
This is taken from a very old manuscript collection, in which it is stated to be a peculiarly delicious as well as a curious dish.

French Manner of Roasting a Sucking-Pig.

"Whether," says the shrewd and vivacious French writer to whom we are indebted for so much information in the culinary arts as now practised in France," our inclinations, as a part of the multitude, are naturally swinish; or that, having been familiarly brought up, from our infancy, with this amiable child of nature, we entertain for it the tender sentiment which attaches us to all whose birth we have witnessed: certain it is, that the sucking-pig has ever a hearty welcome at our tables, even when they are most select, and that his presence constitutes an actual feast. The commonest method of dressing it, and which is, perhaps, also the best, is that of roasting it. After having scalded it in boiling water, and stuffed a large piece of fresh butter in the belly, mingled with sweet herbs, and accompanied by chives, onions stuck with cloves, crumbs of bread, &c. it is spitted, and put to a good fire; where it must be vigilantly attended, and continually basted with the purest oil, to give it a rich colour. If it is wished to be dressed in a superior stile, it must be stuffed with it's liver and bacon fat nicely minced, truffles, champignons, rocamboles, fine capers, anchovies of Nice, and sweet herbs, seasoned with salt and Jamaica pepper, all tossed up in a stewpan. When our littlefriend has all this in his belly, it is tied up with packthread, and roasted of a fine colour, as already directed. In either mode, he is alike served up, with a sauce of orange juice, salt, and white pepper, by way of companion. When the pig thus roasted arrives on the table, we must, all business being at an end, commence with making him a gentleman; that is to say, in the old language of France, by cutting off his head: otherwise, his skin, naturally crisp, and the best part of him in the opinion of many amateurs, will become soft and flabby. These rules are to be observed with the utmost rigour, and cannot be too strongly enforced: as to what follows, it would have been better for the poor animal if he had not quitted the nipple of his mother." This article is almost literally translated from the ingenious French writer; who has, it must be confessed, a most exuberant portion of vivacity.

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