Sunday, 15 March 2009

The Canadian Farm Cook Book Talks About Meat

"Meat is the flesh of animals used for food. The flesh of more mature animals is more nutritious and more easily digested than that of the younger.

Beef is the most nutritious meat, mutton ranks next. Pork is difficult to digest. Lamb is tender, but less valuable than mutton. Veal is the least nutritious and is indigestible.

Good meat is firm and bright red when first cut. The fat is firm and light yellow. Lean meat is muscle. Much used muscle makes rich, juicy good-flavoured meat, but is not always tender.

Cooking of Meat. - Meat is cooked: 1. To improve the flavour and appearance. 2. To kill any germs which may be present. 3. To soften the fibre. 4. To retain the juice by boiling, pan boiling or roasting"
Thus spake Gladys Harris, 109 Park Street, Buffalo, N.Y., but I'd take that with a grain of salt, myself. She wasn't even in Canada; I don't know how she muscled in on this. But anyway, lets look at some actual recipes, now that we know everything we need to about meat:
"CANNING BEEF. - Cut the beef in pieces as you would to fry or stew, fill your sealer as full as you can, putting the fat and pieces that are not so nice on top. Put the lid on tight and put the sealers in the boiler in cold water and boil 3 hours. If the beef is old, boil longer. Don't let the water come over the top of the jars; when done take sealers out and tighten as tight as you can; when cold it should be jellied. Keep in a cool place. - Mrs John Raymer, Sunnidale Corners, Ont."
Oh, dear Lord! Saints preserve us! You are all most straightly forbidden to even think of attempting this so-called recipe, which breaks every rule of safe canning. Sunnidale Corners no longer really exists as a village, and this may very well be the explanation. Yeesh!
"JUGGED BEEF. - Into a brown stewing jar put 2 pounds thin beef, or stewing steak, cut into convenient sized pieces, add 2 onions cut in slices, 1 medium-sized carrot cut in cubes, 1 teaspoon mixed herbs, 1 small onion stuck with 1/2 dozen cloves, a little Yorkshire relish; dust all with 1 tablespoon of flour; pepper and salt to taste; do not quite cover with water or stock; put on the lid and set jar in the oven; let it cook for 2 hours. Boiled potatoes should be served with it.. - C.T. Ganong, "The Cedars," King's Co., N.B."
That looks distinctly possible; it might even be good. But then we're back in the realm of the somewhat scary:
"TO CORN BEEF. - 1 pound salt, 1 pound brown sugar, 1/4 ounce saltpetre to each gallon of water, boil and skin, and when cold pour over meat. First sprinkle and rub beef with coarse salt, and let stand 24 hours, then wash off and pack in tub or barrel and pour pickle over it. Will be ready to use in a week. Does not need to be soaked, simply washed off and put on to cook. - Mrs. G. H. Allen, Garden Creek, Fredericton, N.B."
And also:
"TO FRY DOWN PORK. - Take fresh pork, slice and fry as for table use, pack in crocks and cover with the hot dripping; be sure it gets well around the slices in each layer, cover and weight to keep the pork well under the dripping. Have kept it for summer use for years, and find it quite as nice as if freshly cooked. Mrs W. H. Warner, Forest Rd. West, Cobourg, Ont."
I'm speechless, so I guess I'd better just give another recipe:
"STEWED KIDNEYS. - Boil kidneys the night before, until very tender, turn meat and gravy into a dish and cover over next day, boil a few minutes, thicken with flour and water; add part of an onion chopped fine, pepper, salt and lump of butter."
That was submitted by Mrs L. Harvey, who was not prepared to divulge her whereabouts, and who shall blame her? Can you stand anymore? Sure you can:
"TO COOK SALT PORK. - Parboil in buttermilk and water, then dip in sweet cream and fry. This makes it like fresh meat. - Mrs. Ross Pollack, Keswich, Ont."
You think? Okay, lets finish up with something that actually sounds interesting or I will turn you all into vegetarians, if you aren't already:
"IRISH POT PIE. - 4 pounds fresh beef, 4 carrots, 1 turnip, 1 dozen potatoes, 2 onions, dough made as follows: 2 quarts flour, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 of soda; mix with milk or cold water, same as for biscuit, no lard in it; roll about 1 inch thick, cut into 4-inch squares, cut meat in small pieces, then put in a layer of beef in bottom of pot, then a layer each of carrots, turnip, potatoes and dough and meat in alternate layers; add salt, pepper and a little summer savory; add water until you see it through the vegetables; cook slowly 3 hours. - Mrs. Fred Smith, Upper Falmouth, Hants Co., N.S."
Enough there to feed an army. The result, I would think, would be a kind of beef stew with dumplings more than a pot-pie, but at least it sounds edible and even tasty. Next week I will peruse this book for a selection of desserts, which are likely to be the best things in it.


Money Funk said...

I think I might go back to being vegetarian after reading this post! lol! Well, I may be persuaded with the Irish Pot Pie... that sounds good. :)

This reminds me of the cowboy movies my hubby watches... salted meat... w/ this day and age and all our known issues with meat... that rings a bell of 'scary'. ;)

Ferdzy said...

Yeah, it's not encouraging somehow, is it? I think there was some pretty grim stuff out there. And food poisoning was probably far more common than today, if much less publicized.