Thursday, January 08, 2015

The Art of Carving (1508)

The art of carving no longer has the status it once had. In previous times, carving the meat at a feast was a prestigious job, given only to the high-born favourites of the aristocratic holder of the feast. So important was the skill of carving, that there were specific terms for the act of carving every bird and fish. Larger beasts were considered much less elegant, and therefore suited to the lower orders: and anyway, because of their size the carcasses would be cut up in the kitchens - so no special term was needed. The carving terms were described in 1508 in Wynkyn de Worde’s Boke of Kervynge [Book of Carving]

Here begynneth the boke of kervynge.

Here begynneth the boke of kervynge and servynge / and all the feestes in the yere for the servyce of a prynce or ony other estate as ye shall fynde eche offyce the servyce accordynge in this boke folowynge.

Termes of a kerver.

Breke that dere
lesche the brawne
rere that goose
lyfte that swanne
sauce that capon
spoyle that henne
fruche that chekyn
unbrace that malarde
unlace that conye
dysmembre that heron
dysplaye that crane
dysfygure that pecocke
unioynt that bytture
untache that curlewe
alaye that fesande
wynge that partryche
wynge that quayle
mynce that plover
thye that pygyon
border that pasty
thye that woodcocke
thye all maner small byrdes
tymbre that fyre
tyere that egge
chynne that samon
strynge that lampraye
splatte that pyke
sauce that place
sauce that tenche
splaye that breme
syde that haddocke
tuske that berbell
culpon that troute
fyne that cheuen
traffene that ele
traunche that sturgyon
undertraunche that purpos
tayme that crabbe
barbe that lopster

Here endeth the
goodly termes.

If you had a roast heron handy, you could practice to dysmembre it, but I appreciate that that is highly unlikely. If you had a heron handy (and legally) this is how you would roast it, fifteenth century-style.

Heron rost.
Take an heron̛ & lete hym blode in the mout as an crane, & scalde hym & draw hym att the vent as a crane; and cutt awey the boon of the necke, & folde the necke a-boute the spite [spit]  and putt the hede ynne att the golet as a crane; & breke awey the boon fro the kne to the fote, and lete the skyn be stille, and cutt the wyng att the Joynte next the body, and putt hem on a spite: and bynde hys legges to the spyte with the skynne of the legges, & lete rost, & reyse the legges and the wynges as of a crane, and sauce hym with vynegre, and mustard, and pouudre of gyngeuere, & sett hym fort.

Douce MS. 55, about 1450

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