Posts Tagged ‘pork’
1 pig’s head, 6 lbs.
1 lb. lean beef
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper (black or white)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. mace
Pinch of cloves
Small onion, minced very fine
Clean and wash the head, and stew with the beef in enough cold water to cover. When the bones will slip out easily, remove them, after draining off the liquor. Chop the meat finely while it is hot, season, and pour all into a mould, wet inside with cold water. If you can have a tin mould made in the shape of a boar’s head, your brawn will look well at a Christmas feast.
From Common Sense for the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: This is pretty much the same thing as souse, somewhat more heavily spiced than is usual for that dish, and clearly intended for a fall (harvest or meat-slaughtering season) or Solstice holiday feast. The word “brawn” can be traced back as early as the 12th century when it meant both “strong muscles” and “side of pork.” Books of etymology claim it is related to the German words “brat” and “brato” meaning “meat without bones or fat.” You will probably never be able to use a certain brand of paper towel again now that you know these things.
6 lb. lean pork
3 lb. lean beef
2 lb. beef suet
4 oz. salt
6 tbs. black pepper
3 tbs. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. powdered cloves
1 tsp. allspice
One onion, minced fine
Chop or grind the meat, and mix the seasoning well through it. Pack it in beef-skins (or entrails) prepared as you do those of pork. In the city you can have these cleaned by your butcher, or get them ready for use from a pork merchant. Tie both ends tightly, and lay them in brine strong enough to bear up an egg.
Let them be in this for a week; change the brine, and let them remain in this a week longer. Turn them over every day of the fortnight. Then take them out, wipe them, and send them to be smoked, if you have no smoke-house of your own. When well smoked, rub them over with sweet oil or fresh butter, and hang them in a cool, dark place.
Bologna sausage is sometimes eaten raw, but the dread of the fatal trichinae should put an end to this practice, did not common sense teach us that it must be unwholesome, no less than disgusting.
Cut in round thick slices, and toast on a gridiron, or fry in their own fat. If you mean to keep it some time, rub over the skins with pepper to keep away insects.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Our ancestors were not quite such dummies as we sometimes. think. While they were as yet ignorant of such matters as germ theory and the existence of vitamins, parasitology was a well developed science. Trichchinosis was lamentably common, particularly in pigs which served as mobile disposal units in cities for garbage and even less pleasant substances common in the days before municipal sewage services.
This recipe is also one of the rare examples of ethnic cuisine, Italian in this case, in 19th century cookbooks. Most recipes would have been perfectly recognizable to a traveling Englishman, with a few additions from the French, the Dutch, and the occasional German source. The Civil War itself did a great deal to spread ethnic dishes to a wider audience, as people from different areas spent time soldiering, and thereby eating, together.
Boneless pork cutlets, about 4
Salt and pepper
1 or 2 eggs, beaten
Dried sage, crumbled
Finely minced onion
1/4 c. lard
14 c. flour
Cut them [the cutlets] from the leg and remove the skin; trim them and beat them and sprinkle them with pepper and salt. Prepare some beaten egg in a pan and on a flat dish a mixture of bread crumbs, minced onion & sage. Put some lard or drippings into a frying pan over the fire and when it boils put in the cutlets–having dipped every one, first in the egg and then in the seasoning. Fry them 20 or 30 minutes turning them often. After you have taken them out of the frying pan, skim the [fat off] the gravy, sprinkle on a little flour, give it one boil, and then pour it in the dish round the cutlets. Eat them with apple sauce.
From the Blackford Family Cookbook, L. M. Blackford, 1852.
Comment: This dish, although messy in the extreme and extravagant in its use of lard both for frying and then for gravy, is very, very good. Possibly the trickiest part involved is getting the onion in the breading to the proper consistency. “Mincing” as is called for here will leave the edges of the onion bits sticking out of the bread-crumb coating, leading to a tendency to burn. We suggest grating the onion, then squeezing it in a paper towel to remove the large amount of moisture generated. After drying them as best you can, scatter them over the breadcrumb mixture and blend thoroughly before dipping the egged cutlets. We found the suggested “20 to 30 minutes” cooking time to be excessive and wonder if perhaps 19th century pork was of a different consistency from that which is sold today.