Wednesday, 20 July 2005

Eating Beef in Restoration London

Beef was the preferred meat in Restoration London - at least if you could afford it.
The French Henri Misson, visiting England at the time, wrote:

"I always heard they were great fresh eaters and I found it true. I have known several people in England that never eat any bread and universally they eat very little: they nibble a few crumbs, while they chew the meat by whole mouthfuls. Generally speaking, the English tables are not delicately served...[they will have] a piece of roast beef; another time they will have a piece of boiled beef and then they salt it some days beforehand and besiege it with five or six heaps of cabbage, carrots, turnips, or some other herbs or roots, well peppered and salted and swimming in butter."

Sunday was of course the day when it was "...common practice to have a huge piece of roast beef of which they stuff till they can swallow no more and eat the rest cold, without any other victuals, the other six days of the week."

Of course buchers would not sell meat on a Sunday, the beef had to be purchased the day before. This meant that in hot summer weather the meat went smelly overnight. To delay the rotting of the meat, once brought home it would be dropped into a tub of brine (salt-water)

Below is a favourite recipe of the day:

"Beef Carbonadoed

Steep your beef in claret wine, salt, pepper and nutmeg, then broil it on the embers, over a temperate and unsmoky fire. In the meantime, boil up the liquour wherein it was steeped and serve it for sauce with beaten butter."



Anonymous said...

I don't know...I think it sounds pretty good.

Alterior said...

Too much butter for me...

Jeff Z said...

That's true -- butter on steak is disgusting (I missed that part). The nutmeg doesn't sound to good either come to think of it. I guess it was the claret and the broiling that so moved me.

PS: I'm "anonymous;" I hit the send button by mistake, before I put my name in.

Alterior said...

Meat cooked in wine is extremely tasty; I cook steaks, chicken and even liver in wine and add some lemon and olive oil. Very nice. Butter however is disgusting.
The secret is to use red wine :-)