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18 BIEECTIONS FOE carving.
ting the fork into the small end of the bone, pressing it to the body, and having passed the knife at d, turn the leg back, and if a young bird it will easily separate. To take off the wing, put your fork into the small end of the pinion, and press it close to the body; then put in the knife at d, and divide the joint, taking it down in the direction d, e. Nothing but practice will enable people to hit the joint exactly at the first trial. When the leg and wing of one side are done, go on to the other; but it is not often necessary to cut up the whole goose, unless the company be very large. There are two side bones by the wing, which may be cut off, as likewise the back and lower side-bones; but the best pieces are the breast, and the thighs after being divided from the drumsticks.
Hare.—The best way of cutting it up is, to put the point of the knife under the shoulder at a, and so cut all the way down to the rump, on one side of the back-bone, in the line a, b. Do the same
on the other side, so that the whole hare will be divided into three parts. Cut the back into four, which with the legs is the part most esteemed. The shoulder must be cut off in a circular line, as c, d, a; lay the pieces neatly on the dish as you cut them, and then help the company, giving some pudding and gravy to every person. This way can only be practised when the hare is young; if old, do not divide it down, which will require a strong arm; but put the knife between the leg and back, and give it a little turn inwards at the joint, which you must endeavour to hit, and not to break by force. When both legs are taken off, there is a fine collop on each side the back, then divide the back into as many pieces as you please, and take off the shoulders, which are by many preferred, and are called the Sportsman's pieces. When every one is helped, cut off the head, put your knife between the upper and lower jaw, and divide them, which will enable you to lay the upper flat on your plate: then put the point of the knife into the centre, and cut the head into two. The ears and brains may be helped then to those who like them.
Carve Rabbits as directed the latter way for hare; cutting the back into two pieces, which with the legs are the prime.
A Fowl.—A boiled fowl's legs are bent inwards, and tucked into the belly; but before it is served, the skewers are to be removed. Lay the fowl on your plate, and place the joints, as cut off, on the dish. Take the wing off in the direction of a to b, only dividing the joint with your knife, and then with your fork lift up the pinion, and draw the wing towards the legs, and the muscles will separate in a more complete form than if cut. Blip the n DIRECTIONS FOR CARVING.
between the leg and body, and cut to the bone ; then with the fork turn the leg back, and the joint will give way if the bird is not old. When the four quarters are thus removed, take off the merrythought from a and the neck-bones; these iast by putting in the knife at c, and pressing it under the long broad part of the bone in the line e, b, then lift it up, and break it off from the part that sticks to the breast. The , next thing is, to divide the breast from the carcase, by cutting through the tender ribs close to the breast right down to the tail. Then lay the back upwards, put your knife into the bone half-way from the neck to the rump, and on raising the lower end it will separate readily. Turn the rump from you, and very neatly take off the two sidesmen, and the whole will be done. As each part is taken off, it should be turned neatly on the dish; and care should be taken that what is left goes properly from table. The breast and wings are looked upon as the best parts, but the legs are most juicy in young fowls. After all, more advantage will be gained by observing those who carve well, and a little practice, than by any written directions whatever.
A Pheasant.—The bird in the annexed engraving is en trusted for the spit, with its head under one of its wings. When the skewers are taken out, and the bird served, the following is the way to carve it:—
Fix your fork in the centre of the breast; slice it down in the lines a, b; take off the « leg on one side in the dotted line b, d ; then cut off the wing on the same side, in the line c, d. Separate the leg and wing on the other side, and then cut off the slices of breast you divided before. Be careful how you take off the wings, for if you should cut too near the neck, as at g, you will hit on the neckbone, from which the wing must be separated. Cut off the merrythought in the line
/. Q\ by passing the knife under it towards the fleck. Cut the other parts as in a fowl. The breast, wings, and merrythought are the most esteemed; but the leg has a higher flavour.
Partridge.—The partridge is hero represented as just taken
DIRECTIONS FOR CARVING.
from the spit; but before it is served up, the skewers must be withdrawn. It is cut up in the same manner as a fowl. The wings must be taken off in the lines a, b, and the merrythought in the line c, d. The prime parts of a partridge are the wing^s, breast, and merrythought. But the bird being small, the two latter are not often divided. The wing is considered as the best, and the tip of it reckoned the most delicate morsel of the whole. Pigeons.—Cut them in half, either from top to bottom or across. The lower part is generally thought the best: but the fairest
way is to cut from the neck to a, ratherthan from c to b, by a, which is the most fashionable. The figure represents the back of the pigeon; and the direction of the knife is in the line c, b, by a, if done the last way.
To Choose Fish.
turbot, if good, should be thick, and the belly of a yellowish white; if of a bluish cast or thin, they are bad. They are in season the greatest part of the summer.
Salmon.—If new, the flesh is of a fine red (the gills particularly), the scales bright, and the whole fish stiff. When just killed, there is a whiteness between the flakes, which gives great firmness; by keeping, this melts down, and the fish is more rich. The Thames salmon bears the highest price; that caught in the Severn is next in goodness, and even preferred by some. Small heads, and thick in the neck, are best.
Cod.—The gills should be very red: the fish should be very thick at the neck, the flesh white and firm, and the eyes fresh. When flabby they are not good. They are in season from the beginning of December till the end of April.
Skate.—If good they are very white and thick. If too fresh they eat tough, but must not be kept above two days.
Herrings.—If good, their gills are of a fine red and the eyes bright; as is likewise the whole fish, which must be stiff and firm.
Soles.—If good they are thick, and the belly is of a cream colour: if this is of a bluish cast and flabby, they are not fresh. They are in the market almost the whole year, but are in the highest perfection about midsummer.
Whitings.—The firmness of the body and fins is to be looked to, as in herrings; they are in high season during the first three months of the year, but they may be had a great part of it.
Mackerel.—Choose as whitings. Their season is May, June, and July. They are so tender a fish that they carry and keep worse than any other.
Pike.—For freshness observe the above marks. The best are taken in rivers: they are a very dry fish, and are much indebted to stuffing and sauce.
Carp live some time out of water, and may therefore get wasted; it is best to kill them as soon as caught, to prevent this. The same signs of freshness attend them as other fish.
Tench.—They are a fine-flavoured fresh-water fish, and should be killed and dressed as soon as caught. When they are to be bought, examine whether the gills are red and hard to open, the 22 TO CHOOSE FISH.
eyes bright, and the body stiff. The tench has a slimy matter about it, the clearness and brightness of which show freshness. The season is July, August and September.
Perch.—Take the general rules given to distinguish the freshness of other fish. They are not so delicate as carp and tench.
Smelts, if good, have a fine silvery hue, are very firm, and have a refreshing smell like cucumbers newly cut. They are caught in the Thames and some other large rivers.
Mullets.—The sea are preferred to the river mullets, and the red to the grey. They should be very firm. Their season is August.
Gudgeons.—They are chosen by the same rules as other fish. They are taken in running streams; come in about midsummer, and are to be had for five or six months.
Eels.—There is a greater difference in the goodness of eels than of any other fish. The true silver-eel (so-called from the bright colour of the belly) is caught in the Thames. The Dutch eels sold at Billingsgate are very bad; those taken in great floods are generally good, but in ponds they have usually a strong rank flavour. Except the middle of summer, they are always in season.
Lobsters.—If they have not been long taken, the claws will have a strong motion when you put your finger on the eyes and press them. The heaviest are the best, and it is preferable to boil them at home. When 3rou buy them ready boiled, try whether their tails are stiff, and pull up with a spring; otherwise that part will be flabby. The cock lobster is known by the narrow back part of his tail, and the two uppermost fins within it are stiff and hard; but those of the hen are soft, and the tail broader. The male, though generally smaller, has the highest flavour, the flesh is firmer, and the colour when boiled is a deeper red.
Crabs.—The heaviest are best, and those of a middling size are sweetest. If light they are watery; when in perfection the joints of the legs are stiff and the body has a very agreeable smell. The eyes look dead and loose when stale.
Prawns and Shrimps.—"When fresh they have a sweet flavour, are firm and stiff, and the colour is bright.—Shrimps are of the prawn kind, and may be judged by the same rules.
Oysters.—There are several kinds; the Pyfleet, Colchester, and Milford, are much the best. The native Milton are fine, being white and fat; but others may be made to possess both these qualities in some degree by proper feeding. When alive and strong the shell closes on the knife. They should be eaten as soon as opened, the flavour becoming poor otherwise. The rock oyster is largest, but usually has a coarse flavour if eaten raw.
Flounders.—They should be thick, firm, and have their eyes bright. They very soon become flabby and bad. They are both sea and river fish. The Thames produces the best. They are in season from January to March, and from July to September.
Sprats.—Choose by the same rules as herrings.
Observations on Dressing Fish.—If the fishmonger does not clean it, fish is seldom very nicely done; but those in great