Mrs. Beeton’s Victorian Menus for Picnics, Balls, and Wedding Breakfasts

While searching for information on afternoon teas, I stumbled across Mrs. Beeton’s picnic menu for forty. It’s a little overwhelming unless you’re a historic caterer. I decided to post it on my blog in case any of my characters were ambitious enough to throw such a picnic. Also included are menus for a ball and wedding breakfast.

Yikes! Hasty author’s note: When I originally posted this article, I stated that Beeton’s book was published in 1866 as listed on Google Books. Upon closer examination, I realized that no date was listed on the actual text. I searched on the famous author’s bibliography and quickly learned that Isabella Beeton had died in 1865. I knew she had led a short life, but I never knew the actual dates of her birth and death. This book may have been published after her passing. This is an interesting tidbit about Mrs. Beeton on the PBS site “The Secret Life of Isabella Beeton.”

“Isabella died at the age of 28 after giving birth to her fourth child in January of 1865. Her death is officially attributed to puerperal fever, an acute type of septicemia usually caused by an unsanitary environment. She was buried at West Norwood Cemetery in the London borough of Lambeth.

Samuel Beeton and subsequent publishers kept the news of Isabella’s death quiet, and continued to publish updates to Household Management, as well as completely new books, under her name.”

Isabella Beeton

The illustrations in this post can be found in La Mode Illustrée 1866 

Enjoy.

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Bill of Fare for a Picnic for 40 Persons.

A joint of cold roast beef, a joint of cold boiled beef, 2 ribs of lamb, 2 shoulders of lamb, 4 roast fowls, 2 roast ducks, 1 ham, 1 tongue, 2 veal-and-ham pies, 2 pigeon pies, 6 medium-sized lobsters, 1 piece of collared calf‘s head, 18 lettuces, 6 baskets of salad, 6 cucumbers.

Stewed fruit well sweetened, and put into glass bottles well corked; 3 or 4 dozen plain pastry biscuits to eat with the stewed fruit, 2 dozen fruit turnovers, 4 dozen cheesecakes, 2 cold cabinet puddings in moulds, 2 blancmanges in moulds, a few jam puffs, 1 large cold plum-pudding (this must be good), a few baskets of fresh fruit, 3 dozen plain biscuits, a piece of cheese, 6 lbs. of butter (this, of course, includes the butter for tea), 4 quartern loaves of household bread, 3 dozen rolls, 6 loaves of tin bread (for tea), 2 plain plum cakes, 2 pound cakes, 2 sponge cakes, a tin of mixed biscuits, 1/2 lb. of tea. Coffee is not suitable for a picnic, being difficult to make.

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Things not to be forgotten at a Picnic.

A stick of horseradish, a bottle of mint-sauce well corked, a bottle of salad dressing, a bottle of vinegar, made mustard, pepper, salt, good oil, and pounded sugar. If it can be managed, take a little ice. It is scarcely necessary to say that plates, tumblers, wine-glasses, knives, forks, and spoons, must not be forgotten ; as also teacups and saucers, 3 or 4 teapots, some lump sugar, and milk, if this last-named article cannot be obtained in the neighbourhood. Take 3 corkscrews.

Beverages.—3 dozen quart bottles of ale, packed in hampers; gingerbeer, soda-water, and lemonade, of each 2 dozen bottles; 6 bottles of sherry, 6 bottles of claret, champagne a discretion, and any other light wine that may be preferred, and 2 bottles of brandy. Water can usually be obtained  so it is useless to take it.

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Author’s note: After publishing this blog, I realized that the only date

London Cooking Schools for Women in 1902

Shhh. I’m supposed to be writing fiction. I took a break to look for images for my new Facebook page (please like it, pretty please), when I came across “London Cooking-Schools and Their Teachers” in a 1902 issue of The Lady’s Realm. I couldn’t stop myself.  I excerpted some interesting (and infuriating) bits, but please take a look at the entire article if you interested in the names of the schools and the teachers. 

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Here are eighteen girls from the School Board, ranging in age elven to fourteen, learning to be clever little housewives and competent cooks of the working man’s dietary. Forty happy hours of their school year are spent here in the concoction of “poor man’s venison,” shepherd’s pie, and other cottage charities.

In another classroom are “ladies of high degree” learning to lard quails, make ice puddings, fold serviettes in the daintiest fashion, and write menus in approved French.

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In another classroom, a posse of uniformed Queen’s Jubilee Nurses are being initiated into the art of distract nurses’ cookery. The knowledge so gained will carry comfort and appetizing sick-room dishes into many a poor home


Workhouse diets are compiled at this school, Poor Law recipes tested and the committee has published a manual of model cookery for workhouses.


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Visiting the various workrooms, one notes the enterprise of aspiring domestics anxious to ” better themselves.” For £5 15s. such ambitious young women can take a plain cook’s certificate, which is an investment yielding a quick return in increased wages. This course is open only to the domestic servant class. The highest branch of all is known as the Cordon Bleu Corps. To belong to this entails a forty-week training at an outlay in fees of £40. Students gaining 80 per cent, of the marks obtainable in all branches of cookery are granted the Cordon Bleu silver badge and blue ribbon. A 60 per cent, average brings the blue ribbon minus the badge.

The working-expenses of a large cooking school are very heavy. Something like £2,200 a year is spent here on food. A good deal of this is consumed on the premises by the resident pupils, some twenty five of whom are comfortably boarded and housed. There is a big dining-room, too, where many of the day pupils buy their meals at moderate prices. It rarely happens that there are fewer than a hundred and fifty pupils preparing for the full cookery teacher’s certificate. The resident pupils have bright, cheerful bedrooms, and a nice sitting-room furnished with books, rocking chairs, and a piano. Board and lodging in the school costs 25s. a week. The results of their and other pupils’ culinary labours are served up at a seven o’clock dinner, where many unsold delicious dishes figure on the table. Friday evening is set apart for concerts, theatres, and entertainments, for which “late passes” are granted. A large percentage of the pupils live at boarding establishments in the neighbourhood, or make arrangements as paying guests in private families.

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What a pity—and what a topsy-turvy anomaly too !—it is that cookery and housekeeping are not taught as a matter of course in our girls’ high – schools, at Oxford, Cambridge, and all Varsities admitting feminine undergraduates! In a fair number of the leading American colleges for women a model home is attached where every branch of housewifery, housemaiding, and cookery is thoroughly learnt. A woman may possess all the diplomas and certificates that all the combined colleges and ‘varsities can bestow upon her; but if she be a domestic dunce no such titles or degrees warrant her in a claim to be a cultured, finished woman.


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“Nearly all our lady-pupils want to begin with elaborate dinner-party dishes. They don’t like the drudgery of simple boilings and bakings,” complain most of the cookery teachers. What opening is there for a gentlewoman who graduates and takes her cookery diploma?” No woman who is either a practical cook or a good teacher ever fails to find lucrative employment,” agree all the experts. There is an encouraging demand at the present time for trained lady-cooks and housekeepers in schools, colleges, and institutions, such posts commanding good salaries. A few women lecturers who give demonstrations of cookery by gas-stove manage to clear something like 300 a year. This is one of the best-paid branches of cookery.


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A staff of trained cools is kept in readiness to go out to private houses to prepare and serve dinners, luncheons, and ball-suppers. Mrs. Marshall does not think this kind of peripatetic cookery is suited to gentlewomen, unless they happen to be endowed with a strength of constitution beyond the powers of an average woman.

“Sometimes,” she says, “a day-cook going into the country for a dinner, leaver her home at 7:30am and does not return till after midnight. She is “on the go” and standing throughout the long, hard day.” Experience seems to show that this branch of cookery is better done by women of the domestic servant class.


A dinner for sixteen persons can be compassed in one day by a cook who receives 21s. for her task. For a ball-supper on a large scale, cooks need sometimes to stop at a country house for several days. Some “lady cooks” make long visits to country houses in order to train the cook already in possession, and impart a smattering of their art to the ladies of the household. Experienced cooks, with a special knowledge and skill in shooting-box menus, command very good fees in the autumn for duty done in distinction, inquiring young cooks are taught the latest idea in flower and fruit decoration, table illumination, and serviette architecture.

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“What do the gods care for a woman?” is a cynical Chinese proverb. However indifferent the gods may be to the sex, it is perfectly certain that man here below most thoroughly appreciates a wife who is at the same time an excellent cook. If men possessed the strong instinct of self preservation with which they are accredited —especially by women—they would look to it that the law of the land should speedily enact that no girl be allowed to receive a marriage certificate till she could produce accredited diplomas in cookery, domestic economy, and housekeeping.

At the present time the percentage of girls who trouble to go through a course of cookery is infinitesimally small. They are secure in the knowledge that man is not a sufficiently logical person to demand that his mate shall possess some qualification for the partnership she assumes. Any girl who enters into matrimony minus a thorough knowledge of every art and cunning device of domesticity obtains her lifelong  position under false pretences!

Regency Mixology

Hungover from the holidays? How about a little hair of the dog?

This is a post about British alcohol in the Regency period, but I’ve inserted some French paintings from the same era for no other reason than because they make me happy.  And it’s my blog. My expression. I love pretty pictures that tell stories.

The following is excerpted from The Spirit, Wine Dealer’s and Publican’s Director by Edward Palmer and published in 1824. The wonderful French paintings were created by Louis-Léopold Boilly.

Louis-Léopold Boilly

British Brandy 

To twenty gallons of rectified spirits, put a quarter of a pound of bitter almonds, half a pound of cassia-buds, one ounce of orris-root, one pound of prunes, three pounds of sugar candy; and if you add one gallon of foreign Brandy it will be equal to Spanish; rummage it well in the cask for about a week, and then colour it, which can be done with a little burnt sugar, but the best brandy colouring is to be bought at Messrs. Staples and Co. ‘s in the Old Bailey, London, and as a gallon can be purchased for about nine shillings, it is scarcely worth the trouble of making.

British Gin

In ordering a puncheon of the above from the rectifiers, desire them to send strong unsweetened gin,” consequently they will send it of the strength of one in five, which is termed in the trade twenty two  per cent under proof; if you do not wish to reduce the whole at once, have a cask of sixty three gallons, then draw off fifty gallons, and add ten gallons of liquor to fill up, which will make a reduction of strength of one gallon in six, and it will then be glass proof, and of the quality that dealers sell to publicans at twelve shillings, when the strong gin is the same price; but if you should wish to make it, at any time, to sell at a higher price, you may then draw in your can such a portion of the strong gin, as you may judge will suit the price.

Now in order to prepare this, you must, to the sixty gallons, take four pounds of clarified lump sugar, let it be nearly cold, pour it into the cask and stir it well, force with four ounces of alum, and four ounces of salt of tartar powdered small, and boiled together in three quarts of water, till it becomes milk white, then put it into the cask hot, stir the liquor Well, both before and after.

Of Cordial Gin and British Brandy

Kill the above spirits with a pint of spirits of wine, and add eight,  and add about eight pounds of loaf sugar, twenty five gallons of spirits, one in five, which will bear five gallons of water; rouse it well, and in order to fine it, take two ounces of alum, and one of salt of tartar, boil it till it be quite white, then throw it into your cask, continually stirring it for ten minutes, bung it up, and when fine it will be fit for use.

Peppermint Cordial

Take six and a half gallons of strong gin, twelve and a half pounds of loaf sugar, half a pint of spirits of wine, three quarters of an ounce of oil of peppermint; the spirits of wine to be used for the purpose of killing the oil of peppermint, to do which take about two ounces of sugar, dry it by the fire, then pound the sugar and oil of peppermint well in a mortar, (those made by Wedgwood are preferable to brass) then add your spirits of wine by degrees, and continue for some time to stir the same either right or left till the oil has been completely killed. Your spirits of wine ought to be sufficiently strong to fire gunpowder, should it not be of that strength you will not kill your oil; in order to ascertain this, take a table-spoon and put a little gunpowder into it, then wet the gunpowder with the spirits of wine, and set fire to it with a piece of paper, and if it is not the full strength, the powder will, when the fire is out, remain wet, but on the contrary will explode.

Now pour the twelve and a half pounds of sugar, (having clarified it) into your ten gallon cask, with the prepared oil of peppermint, and well rouse the same for some time, fill up the cask with clean water, with one ounce of alum boiled in one pint of water, reagitate when you add the water which contained the alum, then bung it down, and in the course of a fortnight it will be fit for use.

Rum Shrub

Take fifteen gallons of proof rum, two gallons of lemon juice, one gallon of Seville orange juice, forty five pounds of loaf sugar, two quarts of tincture prepared [see below], and a few rinds of lemons; fill up your cask- with water. If not sweet enough with the above quantity of sugar, sweeten afterwards to your fancy.

Brandy Shrub

Take five gallons of brandy reduced one in eight, loaf sugar eighteen pounds, lemon juice three quarts, and one quart of the brandy tincture, put it into a ten gallon cask and nearly fill with water, then ascertain whether it wants an addition of any of the above ingredients, if so, add such as appear necessary to fill up your cask, and after well rummaging it, let it stand till fine.

The Tincture

Take any quantity of the rinds of Seville oranges and lemons pared very thin, so as to contain none of the white, put them into a jar and fill it nearly full of proof or over proof rum or brandy, and let it stand some time to digest.

An excellent and cheap method of making Shrub

To a twenty gallon cask take two quarts of tincture, two gallons of lime or lemon juice, twenty eight pounds of loaf sugar, five gallons of proof rum, and ten gallons of white currant wine, then fill nearly with water, and taste if it meet your approbation, if so, add to the cask to make it full such of the above ingredients as you may consider the most desirable.

N. B. As there is a great deal of trouble in expressing the juice from the lemons and oranges, I would recommend dealers and publicans to purchase the juice prepared, which may be bought in a high state of perfection at Messrs. Lucas’s, Bristol, at about three shillings and six pence per gallon, where also may be had the rinds of either dried.

The best method of making Punch

Put into your bowl, three quarters of a pound of loaf sugar, then in order to make a good sized bowl, take three lemons, rub some of the sugar over them to extract the flavour from the rinds, then pare them as thin as possible, and add the parings as well as all the juice you can extract, and if you like the pulp add that also; (ragged punch is admired in the country, but at the coffeehouses in London, they always send it in strained and quite clear, having only a thin slice of the lemon put into the glass) pour on the same some boiling water, and mix it up well for some time, to extract the flavour of the rinds; and when you find your lemonade is to your liking, then put the spirits to it, which should be done in the following proportions: to every three quarts or thereabout of lemonade, begin by putting in two glasses of rum and one of brandy alternately, till you find it sufficiently strong; it is not well to add water to it when made, but to this quantity one small tumbler of porter or strong beer is a great improvement, as it tends to soften and enrich the punch. Reserve about three slices of lemon to put into the bowl by way of garnish.

Milk Punch

Make a tincture as follows. Pare ten Seville oranges and twelve lemons thin, put the rind in two quarts of rum, and let it steep for a few days, occasionally agitating it. Then put six pounds of loaf sugar into a clean pan, squeeze the above lemons and oranges on the sugar, add two gallons of water, and one gallon of boiling hot- milk; mix all together, and then add the above tincture; filter it through a jelly bag, and it will be transparent and fit for immediate use; but when bottled it should be kept in a cold cellar.

Frisky

To eight quarts of clear spring water, add one pound and a half of fine loaf sugar, and the juice of three lemons, with the yellow part of the rinds, stir it up till the sugar be dissolved, and let it stand till fine; after which, bottle and cork it, and in about ten days it will effervesce, and be very pleasant summer beverage.

Sixpenny worth of Crank

Make a good fourpenny glass-full of warm gin and water with sugar, add a slice of lemon and half a wine glass-full of fine porter.

Note—This will afford the Landlord an extra profit of twenty per cent, and is a liquor which would please his customers.

Roman Purl

This is a beverage, which is held in high estimation by the metropolitans, and by them made in greater perfection than by others. In London it is made from amber ale, with a mixture of gin bitters; the amber ought to be heated by a very quick fire, the gin and bitters put into a pewter half pint, and the ale added to it, at the exact warmth for a person to drink such portion at a single draught.

Capillaire

This is principally sold by confectioners at a very high price, but as it is now much used for sweetening of grog, punch, &c. the following receipt will enable all Publicans to manufacture it themselves, and it is an article they ought never to be without.

Take ten pounds of loaf sugar, two quarts of water, the whites of half a dozen eggs well beat up, put the whole into a stew pan and boil it till you have taken off all the scum, then filter it through a jelly bag, and when nearly cold, add to it a quarter of a pint of fresh orange flower water.

Cherry Brandy 

Take a wide mouth’d bottle and fill it nearly half full of the best Cognac brandy, then take to every two quart bottle half a pound of best loaf sugar grated, and add it to the brandy, shaking it till the sugar be properly dissolved; then cut the stalks off within half an inch of the cherry and prick each in three places with a needle, and drop it into the bottle, and when the bottle has been filled with the cherries, add as much brandy as the bottle will hold; cork it, and at Christmas you may venture to taste it, when I will engage it shall be excellent.

The species of cherries should be morellas, and not the least bruised.

Cherry Brandy

To every gallon of the juice of the cherry, add six quarts of British brandy or clean rectified spirits, one pound of brown sugar, a quarter of an ounce of cinnamon and cloves.

Raspberry Brandy

The plan laid down for the manufacture of cherry brandy, will answer for raspberry brandy likewise.

Caraway Brandy

 Three quarts of brandy one in eight, three pints of water, one pound of loaf sugar, one ounce of caraway seeds, and a quarter of an ounce, of cinnamon; digest them for fourteen days and filter through blotting paper or a flannel bag.

King’s Cordial

Take two quarts of East India Madeira, two quarts of best cherry brandy, a quarter of an ounce of caraway seeds, half a nutmeg grated, two drachms of cinnamon and mace bruised, two pounds of fine loaf sugar, three lemons with the yellow part of the rinds, and one quart of strong green tea; put the whole into a two gallon jar and fill it with water, let it stand ten days, then draw off what is fine, and filter the remainder through blotting paper.

Queen’s Cordial

Take six quarts of cherry brandy, two quarts of sherry, three pints of brandy or three pints of rum, quarter of an ounce of cassia, two drachms of mace, quarter of an ounce of caraway seeds and one of coriander seeds, also the juice of three lemons with the exterior part of the rinds, and two pounds of fine loaf sugar; the spice to be bruised, then fill up with rose water a three gallon cask, let it stand to digest, and when fine it will be fit for use.

Imperial Ratafia

Take half a pound of the kernels of apricots, peaches, and nectarines, and one pound of bitter almonds, bruised; half an ounce of compound essence of ambergris should be dissolved in two quarts of spirits of wine, after which add to the spirits of wine the kernels therein to digest for a few days, put it in the cask, and fill up with spring water, when fine it will be fit for use.

English Noyeau

Take fifteen gallons of pure rectified spirits, one in five, four pounds of bitter almonds bruised, half a pound of dried lemon peel, and twenty eight pounds of Loaf sugar, let it stand to digest in the cask, tap it high, and when you think the almonds &c. are properly incorporated and the liquor is fine, bottle it off. To make it more like the French noyeau, use Cognac brandy, and the kernels of apricots, nectarines, and peaches.

Usquebaugh

Take cloves, nutmegs, and cinnamon, of each- one ounce, coriander add: caraway seeds, two ounces each, four ounces of bitter almonds bruised, half a pound of liquorice root sliced, ten pounds of loaf sugar, and six gallons of British spirits; add also a little saffron to make it the usual colour; fill up with water; let these ingredients digest for some time, say one month, stirring them continually, afterwards filter them through a flannel bag.

Aniseed Cordial

Take one ounce of oil of aniseed, and kill it with a pint of spirits of wine, as directed in peppermint, ten pounds, of loaf sugar, seven gallons of British spirits, one in five, one ounce and a half of alum, powdered, then rummage it well, and fill up with water.

Poppy Syrup

Gather about eight quarts of fresh poppies, cut off the black parts of them, put them in a three gallon jar, and fill up with brandy, there to digest for a week, occasionally shaking the jar; filter it through flannel, and press the poppies to extract all the juice, clarify in two quarts of water three pounds of fine loaf sugar, put the contents in a clean cask or jar, and add a small quantity of cinnamon. In the course of a few weeks it will be fine and fit to bottle.

Bitters

Take one ounce of cardamom seeds, two ounces of Seville orange peel dried, two ounces of gentian root, and steep the whole in two gallons of British gin, there to digest till wanted.

Excellent Bitters are made as follows.

Take a cask that will hold six gallons, and put into it five gallons of reduced gin, one pound and a half of bitter almonds bruised, four ounces of chamomile flowers, and a quarter of a pound of dried lemon peel; put them into the cask to digest, shaking it occasionally, and if not found to be bitter enough, add any of the ingredients that appear most wanted, and filter the same through blotting paper. If publicans were to keep it filtering in a clean decanter in the bar, they would sell it as fast as it would filter; it is a most capital bitter for purl.

Stomachic Tincture  

Make up in the same way as the above, with the addition of two ounces of bruised rhubarb, and also peruvian bark.

Imperial Nectar

Take six gallons of British spirits, six pounds of loaf sugar, one pound of bitter almonds, two ounces of lemon peel, one ounce of cloves, two ounces of cinnamon and six nutmegs; the cloves and cinnamon to be bruised, and the nutmegs grated: fill up with orange or raisin wine, shake the same till the ingredients are properly incorporated, and then let it stand till fine and fit for use. The colour ought to be that of brandy, which can be made so with burnt sugar, or brandy colouring.

Loverage

Take three pounds of celery cut into small slices, half an ounce of mace, one ounce of cinnamon, one ounce of caraway seeds, four pounds of loaf sugar clarified, four gallons of British spirits, fill up with water, shake it occasionally, and then let it stand to digest, and when fine it will be fit for use. 

Cinnamon Cordial

Take a quarter of a pound of dried lemon peel, cardamom seeds four ounces, and half an ounce of cassia lignea killed with spirits of wine, five pounds of clarified loaf sugar, four gallons of strong British spirits, then add saffron to colour, and water to fill up ; agitate it occasionally, and when well incorporated, let it stand till fine: this is considered a very pleasant cordial.

Clove Cordial

Take three gallons of British spirits, one quart of cherry brandy, quarter of a pound of cloves ground to powder, three pounds of loaf sugar, then fill with water, and let it stand till fine

Wormwood Cordial

Take three gallons of rectified spirits, two pounds of loaf sugar, two pennyweights of oil of wormwood to be killed, one ounce of caraway seeds, one ounce of coriander seeds, four ounces of bitter almonds, then fill up the cask with water, let it steep for a fortnight, occasionally shaking it, and when clear it will be fit for use.

Gold Water

Three quarts of Cognac brandy, one in eight, half an ounce of cinnamon, quarter of an ounce of cloves, one drachm of saffron, and one pound and a half of loaf sugar, let these ingredients be put into a vessel to digest, shake it daily for ten days, and then filter it through cap paper. Add to the quantity when filtered enough pure water to make up five quarts.

Orange Cordial

Take two dozen Seville oranges, six lemons, pare off all the yellow part of the rinds, steep the same in the best French brandy for about a week, clarify five pounds of the best loaf sugar, then squeeze all the juice from the oranges and lemons,, and put the whole into the cask, add also three quarts of water, and fill up- with the best brandy, let it stand for three or four months, then bottle it off, and it will be a very fine cordial.

Excellent Lemonade

To the rinds of ten lemons pared very thin, put one pound of fine loaf sugar, and two quarts of spring water boiling hot; stir it to dissolve the sugar, let it stand twenty four hours: covered  close; then squeeze in the juice of the tea lemons, add one pint of white wine, boil a pint of new milk, pour it hot on the ingredients, when cold, run it, through a close filtering bag, when it will be fit for, immediate use.

N. B. By using about three Seville oranges to the above, you will impart to it a very agreeable perfume, but in general it is preferred unscented, and made from lemons only.

Citron Cordial

Take four quarts of French brandy, and add the following ingredients to make up two gallons: six citrons, one pound of Turkey figs, half a pound of prunes, quarter of an ounce of cloves, and two pounds of loaf sugar, then fill up with water.

The above ingredients, excepting the sugar, must be bruised in a mortar to a pulp, and steeped in part of the spirit for some time before being put into the cask.

N. B. If you wish it to be of a verdant hue, you must use the liquor of boiled spinage, and substitute a rectified British spirit in place of brandy, and leave out the prunes.

Clary Cordial

Take a handful of clary flowers, and steep them in brandy for about a week; then put into the cask half an ounce of ginger, quarter of an ounce of cinnamon bruised, two pounds of loaf sugar, one gallon of brandy, and then fill up with water.

 

Buying Fish and Shopping at Billingsgate Fish Market in Georgian and Victorian Times

It’s time to post another modern translation from John Trusler’s The London Adviser and Guide: Containing every Instruction and Information Useful and Necessary to Persons Living in London and Coming to Reside There published in 1786. In my last post from this book, we learned how to acquire poultry and meat in Georgian. Today, we will buy fish and visit Billingsgate Fish Market.  Once again, I am using information from both Trusler’s book and London Labour and the London Poor: a cyclopaedia of the condition and earnings of those that will work, those that cannot work, and those that will not work, by Henry Mayhew, published in 1851.

Billingsgate Fish Market in Trusler’s time was an open air market lined with booths and sheds.  An enclosed building had been erected approximately the same time that London Labour and the London Poor was printed. In 1877, the market again restricted and expanded. In this post, I’ll be using images from Trusler’s time and the new construction.

From Francis Wheatley's Cries of London. "New Mackerel. New Mackerel"

Let’s get started with Trusler

FISH is generally dearest and best, when in season.

1. Fish-mongers charge a price for fish according to their customers; to deal with one man regularly, and pay him once or twice a year, is as bad as dealing with butchers in the same way. A fish-monger near the squares will charge 2s. 6d. for a mackerel, which may be bought for half the money at Charing-cross; and for one third of the money from those who cry them about.

2. To such as live convenient, Billingsgate is the place to buy sea fish at, whether you want little or much. —— Market-days there are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; days; but market days are the dearest days. You may often buy them fresh, and forty per cent, cheaper, on the intermediate days. By purchasing at Billingsgate, you may buy at one-third of the price which fish-mongers charge; and if you lay out a few shillings, it will pay for a person to carry them home, or it may be sent by the Parcel-post. Fish-mongers, at this market, purchase at break of day; and, when the market is not glutted, they will, at those times, buy up all the largest fish, but there is always sufficient left to serve private families. There is an act of parliament to oblige fish-mongers to sell brill, bret, or small turbot, not exceeding 16 inches from eye to tail, for 6d. a pound, under a penalty of 20s. to the informer; for asking more or refusing to weigh or measure it, any person may seize the fishmonger and deliver him to a constable, to carry him before a justice, who will not only fine him, but make him return the money. But when turbot is in season, as in May and June, one of 6lb. weight may be bought at Billingsgate for 3s. 6d. or 4s. other fish in proportion.

3. Mackerel, in June and July, are in great plenty, and may be bought at Billingsgate by the quarter of a hundred, for 2d. or 3d. apiece. Mackerel and herrings, if fresh, will look bright, their gills red, and their eyes clear. Mackerel are reckoned cheap at 4.d. or 5d. each. If fish are not firm, not of a greenish hue, not flabby or slimy, the gills ruddy or bleeding, and the eyes bright, you may depend on it, it is fresh ; but if otherwise, not so. Salmon, when cut, should look red and bleeding fresh. But, put your nose to the gills, and you will soon find if it is stale. Thames salmon is always double the price of other salmon; not that it is better tasted, but being later out of the water, it can be crimped, which gives it firmness. The price of sea-salmon is from 9d. to 3s. a pound.

Billingsgate as an open market from Microcosm of London; or, London in miniature

Lobsters and crabs should always be bought a!ive.—Those of a middling size are always the best. No overgrown animal food is delicious; and the heaviest are fullest  of meat. A cock-lobster’s claw is larger than those of a hen. A hen-lobster’s-tail is broader in the middle than that of a cock. Hen-lobsters are reckoned best, on account of the spawn.

The average price of foals is about 1s. a pound, though they are not fold by the pound, but the pair. Herrings are bought for about one shilling a dozen; whitings 2s. a dozen; haddock according to their size, for about 6d. a pound. Large cod at the dearest time, may be purchased for about 1s., or 1s.3d. a pound; at the cheapest for one third of the money. Skate at about 6d. a pound, and barrel cod, in Lent, for about 6d. a pound. If a family could dispense with a quantity of salt-fish, dried cod may be bought at the dry fishmongers, in Thames-street, in winter, for about 5s. for 28lb. and barrel cod, or pickled salmon by the kit, at a very reasonable price. The price of a barrel of the best oysters, Colchester or Milton, is 3s. 6d. Dutch eels 4a. or 6d. a pound. Smelts from 2s. a hundred to 5s. Prawns from is. 6d. to 3s. a hundred.

Fresh-water fish is in price as follows:. Eels, jack, carp and perch, 1s. a pound; trout and tench is. 6d. gudgeons 6d. or 9d. a dozen; flounders from 9d.to 3d. a piece, according to the size. Fresh-water fish are kept by fish-mongers, in cisterns, and should be bought alive.

Small turbots are easily distinguished from Dutch plaice; for plaice have many small yellow spots on their back, turbots have none.

Haddock may be known from small cod, by two black spots, one on each shoulder. Small cod is a bad fish, but the haddock is a good one.

Half a kit of pickled salmon, neat weight about 161b. may be purchased at the dry fish-mongers, in Thame-street, in summer time, May, June, July, &c. for 9s. and in September, &cwhen it is equally good, for 5 s. In winter-time it will keep a long while.

Billingsgate 1837

From London Labour and the London Poor: a cyclopaedia of the condition and earnings of those that will work, those that cannot work, and those that will not work.

Billingsgate. To see this market in its busiest costermonger time, the visitor should be there about Seven o’clock on a Friday morning. The market opens at four, but for the first two or three hours, it is attended solely by the regular fishmongers and ” bumniarees” who have the pick of the best there. As soon as these are gone, the costers’ sale begins.

Many of the costers that usually deal in vegetables, buy a little fish on the Friday. It is the fast day of the Irish, and the mechanics’ wives run short of money at the end of the week, and so make up their dinners with fish; for this reason the attendance of costers’ barrows at Billingsgate on a Friday morning is always very great. As soon as you reach the Monument you see a line of them, with one or two tall fishmonger’s carts breaking the uniformity, and the din of the cries and commotion of the distant market, begins to break on the ear like the buzzing of a hornet’s nest. The whole neighbourhood is covered with the hand-barrows, some laden with baskets, others with sacks. Yet as you walk along, a fresh line of costers’ barrows are creeping in or being backed into almost impossible openings; until at every turning nothing but donkeys and rails are to be seen. The morning air is filled with a kind of seaweedy odour, reminding one of the sea-shore ; and on entering the market, the smell of fish, of whelks, red herrings, sprats, and a hundred others, is almost overpowering.

Billingsgate 1876

The wooden barn-looking square where the fish is sold, is soon after six o’clock crowded with shiny cord jackets and greasy caps. Everybody comes to Billingsgate in his worst clothes, and no one knows the length of time a coat can be worn until they have been to a fish sale. Through the bright opening at the end arc seen the tangled rigging of the oysler-boats and the red worsted caps of the sailors. Over the hum of voices is heard the shouts of the salesmen, who, with their white aprons, peering above the heads of the mob, stand on their tables, roaring out their prices.

All are bawling together—salesmen and hucksters of provisions, capes, hardware, and newspapers—till the place is a perfect Babel of competition. “Ha-a-ansome cod! best in the market! All alive! alive! alive O!” “Ye-o-o! Ye-o-o! here’s your fine Yarmouth bloaters! Who’s the buyer?” “Here you are, governor, splendid whiting! some of the right sort!” “Turbot! turbot! all alive! turbot!” “Glass of nice peppermint! this cold morning a ha’penny a glass!” “Here you are at your own price!  Fine soles, O!” “Oy! oy! oy! Now’s your time! fine grizzling sprats! all large and no small!” “Hullo! hullo here beautiful lobsters! good and cheap! fine cock crabs all alive O!” “five brill and one turbot—have that lot for a pound! Come and look at ’em, governor; you wont see a better sample in the market.” “Here, this way! this way for splendid skate! skate O! skate O!” “Had– had —had—had—haddick! all fresh and good!” “Currant and meat puddings ! a ha’penny each!” “Now, you mussel – buyers, come along! come along! come along! now’s your time for fine fat mussels!” “Here’s food for the belly, and clothes for the back, but I sell food for the mind” (shouts the newsvender). “Here’s smelt O!” “Here ye are, fine Finney haddick!” “Hot soup! nice peas-soup! a-all hot! hot!” “Ahoy! ahoy here! live plaice! all alive O!” “Now or never! whelk! whelk! whelk!” “Who’ll buy brill O! brill O!” “Capes! water-proof capes! sure to keep the wet out! a shilling a piece!” “Eels O! eels O! Alive! alive O!” “Fine flounders, a shilling a lot! Who’ll have this prime lot of flounders?” “Shrimps! shrimps! fine shrimps!” “Wink! wink! wink!” “Hi! hi-i! here you are, just eight eels left, only eight!” “O ho I O ho! this way—this way—this way! Fish alive! alive! alive O!”

Billingsgate 1876

In the darkness of the shed, the white bellies of the turbots, strung up bow-fashion, shine like mother-of-pearl, while, the lobsters, lying upon them, look intensely scarlet, from the contrast. Brown baskets piled up on one another, and with the herring-scales glittering like spangles all over them, block up the narrow paths. Men in coarse canvas jackets, and bending under huge hampers, push past, shouting “Move on! more on, there!” and women, with the long limp tails of cod-fish dangling from their aprons, elbow their way through the crowd. Round the auction-tables stand groups of men turning over the piles of soles, and throwing them down till they slide about in their slime; some are smelling them, while others are counting the lots. “There, that lot of soles are worth your money,” cries the salesman to one of the crowd as he moves on leisurely; “none better in the market. You shall have ’em for a pound and half-a crown.” “Oh!” shouts another salesman, “it’s no use to bother him—he’s no go.”

Billingsgate 1876

Presently a tall porter, with a black oyster-bag, staggers past, trembling under the weight of his load, his bade uid shoulders wet with the drippings from the sack. “Shove on one side !” he mutters from between his clenched teeth, as he forces his way through the mob. Here is a tray of reddish-brown shrimps piled up high, and the owner busy sifting his little fish into another stand, while a doubtful customer stands in front, tasting the flavour of the stock and consulting with his companion in speculation. Little girls carrying matting-bags, that they have brought from Spitalfields, come up, and ask you in a begging voice to buy their baskets; and women with bundles of twigs for stringing herrings, cry out, ” Half-penny a bunch !” from all sides. Then there are blue-black piles of small live lobsters, moving about their bound-up claws and long “feelers,” one of them occasionally being taken up by a looker-on, and dashed down again, like a stone. Everywhere every one is asking, “What’s the price, master?” while shouts of laughter from round the stalls of the salesmen, bantering each other, burst out, occasionally, over the murmuring noise of the crowd. The transparent smelts on the marble-slabs, and the bright herrings, with the lump of transparent ice magnifying their eyes like a lens, are seldom looked at until the market is over, though the hampers and piles of huge maids, dropping slime from the counter, are eagerly examined and bartered for.

”Billingsgate

OF THE EXPERIENCE OF A FRIED FISHSELLER, AND OF THE CLASS OF CUSTOMERS. The man who gave me the following information was well-looking, and might be about 45 or 50. He was poorly dressed, but his old brown surtout fitted him close and well, was jauntily buttoned up to his black satin stock, worn, but of good quality; and, altogether, he had what is understood among a class as “a betterly appearance about him.” His statement, as well as those of the other vendors of provisions, is curious in its details of public-house vagaries.

“I’ve been in the trade,” he said, ” seventeen years. Before that, I was a gentleman’s servant, and I married a servant-maid, and we had a family, and, on that account, couldn’t, either of us, get a situation, though we’d good characters. I was out of employ for seven or eight months, and things was beginning to go to the pawn for a living; but at last, when I gave up any hope of getting into a gentleman’s service, I raised 10s., and determined to try something else, I was persuaded, by a friend who kept a beer-shop, to sell oysters at his door. I took his advice, and went to Billingsgate for the first time in my life, and bought a peck of oysters for 2s.  6d. I was dressed respectable then—nothing like the mess and dirt I’m in now” (I may observe, that there was no dirt about him) ; “and so the salesman laid it on, but I gave him all he asked. I know a deal better now. I’d never been used to open oysters, and I couldn’t do it I cut my fingers with the knife slipping all over them, and had to hire a man to open for me, or the blood from my cut fingers would have run upon the oysters. For all that, I cleared 2s. 8d. on that peck, and I soon got up to the trade, and did well; till, in two or three months, the season got over, and I was advised, by the same friend, to try fried fish. That suited me. I’ve lived in good families, where there was first-rate men-cooks, and I know what good cooking means, I bought a dozen plaice; I forget what I gave for them, but they were dearer then than now. For all that, I took between 11s. and 12s. the first night—it was Saturday—that I started; and I stuck to it, and took from 7s. to 10s. every night, with more, of course, on Saturday, and it was half of it profit then. I cleared a good mechanic’s earnings at that time —30s. a week and more. Soon after, I was told that, if agreeable, my wife could have a stall with fried fish, opposite a wine-vaults just opened, and she made nearly half as much as I did on my rounds.

London: A Pilgrimage published in 1872

I served the public-houses, and soon got known. With some landlords I had the privilege of the parlour, and tap-room, and bar, when other tradesmen have been kept out. The landlords will say to me still: ‘You can go in, Fishy.’ Somehow, I got the name of ‘Fishy’ then, and I’ve kept it ever since. There was hospitality in those days. I’ve gone into a room in a public-house, used by mechanics, and one of them has said: ‘I’ll stand fish round, gentlemen;’ and I’ve supplied fifteen penn’orths. Perhaps he was a stranger, such a sort of customer, that wanted to be agreeable. Now, it’s more likely I hear: ‘Jack, lend us a penny to buy a bit of fried;’ and then Jack says: ‘You be d—d! here, lass, let’s have another pint.’ The insults and difficulties I’ve had in the public-house trade is dreadful. I once sold 16d.worth to three rough-looking fellows I’d never seen before, and they seemed hearty, and asked me to drink with them, so I took a pull; but they wouldn’t pay me when I asked, and I waited a goodish bit before I did ask. I thought, at first, it was their fun, but I waited from four to seven, and I found it was no fun. I felt upset, and ran out and told the policeman, but he said it was only a debt, and he couldn’t interfere. So I ran to the station, but the head man there said the same, and told me I should hand over the fish with one hand, and hold out the other hand for my money. So I went back to the public-house, and asked for my money—and there was some mechanics that knew me there, then—but I got nothing but ‘—– you’s!’ and one of ’em used most dreadful language. At last, one of the mechanics said: ‘Muzzle him, Fishy, if he won’t pay.’ He was far bigger than me, him that was one in debt; but my spirit was up, and I let go at him and gave him a bloody nose, and the next hit I knocked him backwards, I’m sure I don’t know how, on to a table; but I fell on him, and he clutched me by the coatcollar—I was respectable dressed then—and half smothered me. He tore the back of my coat, too, and I went home like Jim Crow. The potman and the others parted us, and they made the man give me 1s., and the “waiter paid me the other 4d., and said he’d take his chance to get it— but he never got it. Another time I went into a bar, and there was a ball in the house, and one of the ball gents came down and gave my basket a kick without ever a word, and started the fish ; and in a souffle—he was a little fellow, but my master—I had this finger put out of joint—you can see that, sir, still—and was in the hospital a week from an injury to my leg; the tiblin bone was hurt, the doctors said” [the tibia.] “I’ve had my tray kicked over for a lark in a public-house, and a scramble for my fish, and all gone, and no help and no money for me. The landlords always prevent such things, when they can, and interfere for a poor man; but then it’s done sudden, and over in an instant. That sort of thing wasn’ t the worst. I once had some powdery stuff flung sudden over me at a parlour door. My fish fell off, for I jumped, because I felt blinded, and what became of them I don’t know; but I aimed at once for home— it was very late—and had to feel my way almost like a blind man. I can’t tell what I suffered. I found it was something black, for I kept rubbing my face with my apron, and could just tell it came away black. I let myself in with my latch, and my wife was in bed, and I told her to get up and look at my face and get some water, and she thought I was joking, as she was half asleep; but when she got up and got a light, and a glass, she screamed, and said I looked such a shiny image; and so I did, as well as I could see, for it was black lead—such as they use for grates—that was flung on me. I washed it off, but it wasn’t easy, and my face was sore days after. I had a respectable coat on then, too, which was greatly spoiled, and no remedy at all, I don’t know who did it to me. I heard some one say: ‘You’re served out beautiful’ Its men that calls themselves gentlemen that does such things. I know the style of them then— it was eight or ten years ago; they’d heard of Lord , and his goings on. That way it’s better now, but worse, far, in the way of getting a living. I dare say, if I had dressed in rough corderoys, I shouldn’t have been larked at so much, because they might have thought I was a regular coster, and a fighter; but I don’t like that sort of thing—I like to be decent and respectable, if I can.

Eating in Georgian London: How to Buy Meat and Poultry, Sample Menus and Much Much More

It’s time for another exciting installment from The London Adviser and Guide!  Today we will learn how to purchase meat and poultry in Georgian London. To break up the text, I’m inserting images of course settings from various cookbooks from the early 1800s.  

If you click on the pictures of menus, they will link you to the books where you can find the recipes !!!  

I’m also excerpting from A complete system of cookery, on a plan entirely new, consisting of every thing that is requisite for cooks to know in the kitchen business: containing bills of fare for every day in the year, and directions to dress each dish; being one year’s work at the Marquis of Buckingham’s from the 1st of January to the 31st of December, 1805, by John Simpson. Note to the lazy historical writer/researcher: this book really includes a dinner menu for every day of the year!

Let’s begin with our favorite: The London adviser and guide: containing every instruction and information useful and necessary to persons living in London and coming to reside there … Together with an abstract of all those laws which regard their protection against the frauds, impositions, insults, and accidents to which they are there liable, by John Trusler and published in 1790.

BUTCHERS AND MEAT

1. It  is by no means advisable to deal with one butcher, unless you can agree to have all your meat, viz. beef, mutton, veal, lamb, and pork, weighed in, at one and the same price, all the year round; which some butchers will do at 5d. a pound, and occasionally give you, at the same price, a quarter of house-lamb. If you enter into such an agreement, take care to have a bill of the weight always sent home with the meat, order it to be weighed by your own people, and agree not to pay for odd quarters of a pound.

If you make no such agreement, and deal regularly with one butcher, you will frequently be charged for a joint you never had; and for half a pound, or a quarter of a pound more than the joint weighs: and you will always pay a halfpenny, or a farthing more per pound, than were you to go to market and cheapen it yourself. In buying a joint at market, of seven pounds and a half,  you may often deduct the half pound, but when sent home by the butcher who credits you, never. This conduct in a family will occasion a great saving at the years end. If you pay your butcher but once a quarter, be sure to have a bill of the weight and price sent in with  your meat, and a regular bill of the week’s meat, every Monday morning. In this case you will see what you are about, and not be liable to be imposed upon.

2. Good meat should not be lean, dry, or shriveled the fleshy part should be of a bright red, and the fat of a clear white. When the flesh looks pale, and the fat yellow, the meat is not good. Cow-beef is worth a penny a pound less than ox-beef, except it be the meat of a maiden-heiser. In a buttock you may know it by the udder.

3. The average price of beef is from 4d. a pound to 5d. The prime boiling parts are the rump, buttock, edge-bone, briskit, thick and thin flank , roasting pieces, the sirloin and ribs.

Butchers make a difference in price between pieces of beef to roast and boil; if you take a piece of each, they will sell prime beef for 4d. halfpenny; if a boiling piece 4d. and often 3d. if roasting alone 5d.

If you want rump-steaks in any quantity, it is cheaper to give 7d. a pound without bone than 4d. halfpenny for the whole rump. A buttock is the cheapest joint, as it is free from bone; for if you wish it, the butcher will sell it you without the marrow-bone, which is worth it’s weight for the marrow.

In buying a buttock of beef, be careful you do not buy the mouse-buttock for the prime one. The difference is easily known; the prime buttock is first cut off the leg, and is the thickest; the mouse-buttock is thinner, and cut off the legs, between the buttock and the legbone, is coarse meat, and not so worth so much by one penny a pound.

A bullock’s tongue will sell from 2s. to 4s. 6d. according to its size and goodness. A good tongue should look plump, clear and bright, not of a blackish hue.

4. The flesh of mutton should be of a bright red, and its fat of a clear white; and unless it is very fat, it is worth little. Ewe-mutton is not worth so much as weather, by a penny in the pound; mutton five years old, if it can be got, is the most delicious; its natural gravy is brown. After it is dressed, if the meat flies from the bone, the sheep was not sound. A leg of ewe-mutton may be known by the udder on its skirt. The udder of a maiden-ewe is little more than a kernel. The skirt of a leg of wether mutton has a lump of hard fat on it, on the inside of the thigh. The shoulder of a wether maybe known by the skin or shank-bone being more covered with flesh, fat and stouter than that of a ewe. The average price of prime wether-mutton is 4d. halfpenny a pound, though it will sell often for 5d. halfpenny.

Sheeps’ tongues for salting or pickling, may be bought in any quantity, in Field-lane, near Fleet-market, from 1sw. 3d. to 2s. a dozen, according to their size.

5. The average price of veal is 6d. though it will often sell for 8d. particularly the fillet. A leg of veal may, in summer, be bought for 4d. the lb. by which means the fillet: will cost 5d. the knuckle 3d. Large veal is seldom good. Veal should be fat and very white, like rabbit or chicken, not red or look as if it was much blown up. Cow calves generally yield the best veal, and the leg and fillet of cow calves may be known by the udder.

6. The average price of grass-lamb is 6d. a pound, that of pig-pork the same, though pork chops will often sell for 7d. or 8d. Butchers seldom sell pork. There are pork-shops in all parts of the town; Sausages are 8d. a pound.

House lamb at Christmas is dear, and if fine and fat well sell for 7s. 6d. a quarter, the leg 5s. At other times it may be bought so low as 3s. 6d. a quarter.

7. If your butcher sends you any tainted meat, he may be fined, bv complaining to a magistrate; but the readiest and least troublesome method of redress, is to put up with a trifling loss, and deal with such a butcher no more.

8. The best markets in town are St. James’s, Newport, Clare-market, Honey-lane, and  Leadenhall, for meat; for vegetables, Covent-garden, and Leadenhall; for fresh butter, Leadenhall, particularly for Epping butter and cream cheese.

POULTRY

1. POULTRY of all sorts may be purchased cheaper  of the higlers at the several markets, than at the Poulterers shops; but of the higler you must take care what you buy: fowls and chickens should be fat, plump and look white, and be particularly white-legged. Chicken may be known by their size, and fowls are young, if they have no spurs, and the side-bones, near the rump, will give way to the fingers; tho’ artful sellers will sometimes break these by way of deception.

By the same marks you may judge of turkies. A large cock-turkey at Christmas cannot be bought for less than 6s. or 7s. at other times 5s.; a hen-turkey from 4s. to 5s. 6d. Fat, crammed chickens, about ten weeks old, om or about Lady-day, are worth about 3s. 6d. each, and a fine fowl at Midsummer is worth 3s. 6d. at other times chickens may be bought of higlers for 3s. 6d. or 4s. a.couple, and fowls at the same price.

Ducks and geese should look white, very plump, and broad over the breast. If the bill will bend back, the duck or goose is young. A fat goose, weight about 10lb. on Michaelmas-day, is worth 5s. at other times about 3s. 6d. giblets included. A green goose in May is worth 4s. The price of ducks is from 3s. a couple, to 5s. Wild-ducks, in frosty weather, may be bought in Fleetmarket for 2s. 6d. a couple; at other times they are worth 2s. each. If they smell fishy, they are of little value; to know this, take one of the pen-feathers from the wing, and put it down the throat; if it smells fishy in drawing it out, the bird will taste so. Dove-house pidgeons, in May or June, may be bought for 3s. 6d. or 4s. a dozen. In winter-time, poulterers will ask 1s. 6d. a piece. Larks, in hard weather, may be had for is. 6d. a dozen. They are best, soon after harvest. Guinea-fowls are best in Spring, when they get fat without feeding. At this time they are worth from 7s. to 10s. each; at other times they are worth little : these last can be bought only of the Poulterers, of whom quails also may be had after harvest, at 2s. 6d. each. Woodcocks are from 2s. to 4s. each, according to the plenty or scarcity.

2. Game may sometimes be procured of the bookkeepers at inns, by those who are known to them. A hare for 4s. 6d. or 5s.; a pheasant for 5s. or 6s. and a brace of partridges, for 3s. 6d. or 4s.

3. Eggs are from 3 a-groat to 8, according to the time of the year; they are dearest in winter: but such as wish for new-laid eggs may frequently get them at the livery stables, for one penny or three half-pence each.


The following is excerpted from, A complete system of cookery, on a plan entirely new, consisting of everything that is requisite for cooks to know in the kitchen business: containing bills of fare for every day in the year, and directions to dress each dish; being one year’s work at the Marquis of Buckingham’s from the 1st of January to the 31st of December, 1805, by John Simpson, published in 1806. The author describes how to preserve meat once it is brought into the household.

In the summer time, cooks should be very exact with the butchers; and make them bring their meat in not later than six o’clock in the morning, for when the sun gets warm, the flies do much mischief; and it is next to an impossibility to prevent them blowing the meat. The pieces of beef that are kept for roasting should be closely examined (the sirloins particularly) to see if the flies have been about them; if they have, cut the piece out, and sprinkle them with salt. The flies are very apt to get under the fat of the right side of the sirloin. There is a pipe that runs along the chine bone, which the flies are sure to get in: this pipe should be taken out without fail, at all times.

It should be made a general rule, to sprinkle salt on all the meat that is hung up either for roasting or boiling—beef, mutton, veal or lamb. The first part that spoils of a leg of veal is where the udder is skewered back; that skewer should be taken out, the under part of the udder wiped very dry, and then rub a little salt on it, and on the udder; by so doing, a leg of veal will keep very good four days, let the weather be ever so sultry. Do by a loin of veal as is directed for a sirloin of beef. The skirt should be taken off the breast of veal, and the inside of the breast wiped and scraped, and sprinkled well with salt. There is a pipe that runs along the chine bone of a neck of veal, which should be taken off, and the chine bone and ribs rubbed with salt. As for a shoulder, that is a joint that is seldom or ever kept above a day or two; nevertheless, sprinkle it with salt When a sheep is brought in and cut up, take the kidney fat from the saddle, and the pipe that runs up the back bone, and then sprinkle the inside of the saddle with salt. A chine of mutton frequently spoils first at the tail, where there is a kernel: to prevent its spoiling, rub that part well with salt, and it will keep five or six days in the heat of summer. A leg of mutton frequently will spoil in two days, and where it spoils first is at the fat that is on the upper part of the leg: there is a kernel in that part which ought to be taken out by the butcher in dressing the sheep. The chine bone of the neck should be rubbed dry with a cloth, the ribs the same, and the inside of the scrag trimmed. Sprinkle the inside of the neck of mutton with salt.

A breast of mutton spoils first in the brisket part: if you wish to keep them, sprinkle both sides with salt Observe the same rules with lamb as have been directed for mutton. The rumps of beef are generally kept for steaks, or daubing, &c. &c. in hot weather, the fat that the butcher usually leaves in should be taken out, and the beef sprinkled well with salt; and the brisket that is hung up for stewing must be salted, if wanted to be kept for a few days. In the summer-time, the boiling pieces require equal attention,. Salt alone will not preserve them from turning. When the beef is cut up in the number of pieces that is wanted, then see that the butcher takes out the kernels from neck pieces, where the shoulder clod is taken off; two from the rounds, one in the middle, which is commonly called the Pope’s eye, the other from the fat lap; and there is another in the thick flank, in the middle of the fat. If these are not taken out, in the summer particularly, salt them ever so much, they will not keep. There is one between the rump and edge bone, which ought to be taken out; when all this is done (which the cook should actually see to himself, and trust to no butcher) then stand by, and see that the butcher salts the meat properly, on a table or board for that purpose. The salt should be rubbed in well with the heel of the hand. When all this is done, then it should be packed up tight in the salt bin; the prime pieces all at the bottom, as they will keep better, and require more time to take the salt.

The roasting pieces of pork at all times should be sprinkled with salt, before used, for the salt makes the meat eat pleasanter to the palate.

Another rule that cooks should strictly attend to, is this, all beasts that are to be slaughtered should fast twenty-four hours in winter, and forty-eight in summer. There is a. great quantity of meat spoiled by killing it with a full stomach. Haunches of venison, when brought into the kitchen, should be wiped very dry, and examined very closely, to see if the flies have been about them. The keepers in general use ground ginger to preserve their venison from the fly, but I am well convinced, from experience; that pepper and salt is far superior, and that nothing else will preserve meat of any kind in the summer; for which reason I rub the inside of the haunch with it, and salt the ribs and chine of the side: they should be looked at every day. There is a kernel in the same part of a haunch of venison, as in a leg of mutton, which ought to be taken out. I strongly recommend these rules to all cooks, whether men or women; and, if they strictly adhere to them, they will seldom, or ever, have any bad meat in the hottest part of summer. A thunder storm, or lightning, will change meat sometimes; against which there is no precaution.

One more rule I wish to enforce, which is, not to have the larders overstocked with fresh meat, in the summer; one days meat beforehand is quite sufficient. It is my firm opinion that a cook ought to pay as much attention to the management of his larder, as any one branch of his business, which will gain him credit with his employer, and give satisfaction to all other parts of the family.

Here is a last minute addition to the post that I didn’t have time to clean up. So, I’m just posting the page images. It’s from A modern system of domestic cookery, or, The housekeeper’s guide: arranged on the most economical plan for private families … a complete family physician, and instructions to female servants in every situation, showing the best methods of performing their various duties … to which are added, as an appendix, some valuable instructions on the management of the kitchen and fruit gardens, by M. Radcliffe and published in 1823.

That’s all I have for now. The next blog post from London’s Adviser and Guide will be on fish.  I just need to find some interesting images of Billingsgate and fishsellers.