The earliest school of English Cookery, which had such a marked Anglo-Norman complexion, has been familiarised to us by the publication of Warner’s Antiquitates Culinaricae, 1791, and more recently by the appearance of the “Noble Book of Cookery” in Mrs. Napier’s edition, not to mention other aids in the same way, which are accessible; and it seemed to be doing a better service, when it became a question of selecting a few specimens of old receipts, to resort to the representative of a type of culinary philosophy and sentiment somewhere midway between those which have been rendered easy of reference and our own. I have therefore given in the few following pages, in a classified shape, some of the highly curious contents of E. Smith’s “Compleat Housewife,” 1736, which maybe securely taken to exhibit the state of knowledge in England upon this subject in the last quarter of the seventeenth century and first quarter of the succeeding one. In the work itself no attempt at arrangement is offered.
I.—MEAT, POULTRY, ETC.
To make Dutch-beef:—Take the lean part of a buttock of beef raw; rub it well with brown sugar all over, and let it lie in a pan or tray two or three hours, turning it three or four times; then salt it well with common salt and salt-petre, and let it lie a fortnight, turning it every day; then roll it very strait in a coarse cloth, and put it in a cheese-press a day and a night, and hang it to dry in a chimney. When you boil it, you must put it in a cloth: when ’tis cold, it will cut out into shivers as Dutch-beef.
To dry Mutton to cut out in Shivers as Dutch-Beef:—Take a middling leg of mutton, then take half a pound of brown sugar, and rub it hard all over your mutton, and let it lie twenty-four hours; then take an ounce and half of saltpetre, and mix it with a pound of common salt, and rub that all over the mutton every other day, till ’tis all on, and let it lie nine days longer; keep the place free from brine, then hang it up to dry three days, then smoke it in a chimney where wood is burnt; the fire must not be too hot; a fortnight will dry it. Boil it like other hams, and when ’tis cold, cut it out in shivers like Dutch-beef.
To stuff a Shoulder or Leg of Mutton with Oysters:—Take a little grated bread, some beef-suet, yolks of hard eggs, three anchovies, a bit of an onion, salt and pepper, thyme and winter-savoury, twelve oysters, some nutmeg grated; mix all these together, and shred them very fine, and work them up with raw eggs like a paste, and stuff your mutton under the skin in the thickest place, or where you please, and roast it; and for sauce take some of the oyster-liquor, some claret, two or three anchovies, a little nutmeg, a bit of an onion, the rest of the oysters: stew all these together, then take out the onion, and put it under the mutton.