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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1410

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HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

and leavings, only he would sometimes finish the remainder crust, to show that he wished no savings." And who will say that he was not a good carver in the truest, fullest sense of the word? Would that more would imitate him!

The advantages of good carving are many, the chiefest being the ability to derive the best possible flavour from a dish, and at the same time to dispose of it in an economical manner. Your true artist cuts in such a way that every piece which he serves is sightly and palatable and does not contain a disproportionately large amount of fat. He has, too, a knowledge of the natural construction of various joints—a knowledge indispensable to all who wish to attain any proficiency in the art—and ensures that only the choicest cuts will be served.

The gourmet of to-day is too complex in his tastes, mixing many flavours and so losing the true significance of each, and it is therefore of the highest importance to avoid giving any one person two differently flavoured slices of the same joint.

Many people find it very difficult to learn to carve, but as a rule it is because they do not begin at the beginning. They try to cut up a bird without any idea of its anatomy, and to cut slices of meat without knowing how the grain goes or where to find the joints, if any, and they therefore cannot succeed. In the succeeding pages will be found full directions for carving fish, meat, poultry and game and accompanying illustrations to help out the instructions. A careful study of the same will prevent any one from making any grave error; but at the same time, as practice alone makes perfect, they should take all the opportunities of carving that come in their way, and when they see a good carver should watch his or her operations and take a lesson therefrom.

The sharpness of the knife is, of course, an important consideration, and it is well to have some idea of how to use a steel, though the operation is one rather for the workshop than the dinner-table, and should be performed before the meal by a servant; still, even servants are not perfect, so the would-be carver must be prepared for emergencies.

When carving a slice of meat, after the first incision has been made, the angle at which the knife is held must never be altered, or a jagged slice will be obtained. When the way to control the knife has been mastered, the keystone to successful carving has been acquired.

The cut should be direct, sharp, and incisive. A saw-like action should never enter into the operation.

Generally speaking, the knife should be held firmly, but it cuts best when applied lightly, and less gravy is squeezed from the meat when the pressure is slight. By using the point of the knife lightly as a wedge, and the fork as a lever, even a big turkey or goose may be easily jointed, provided the carver is aware exactly how the joint is situated and held together. Every assistance should be given the carver by providing him with a thin sharp-bladed knife of suitable size, and by