To Choose Veal.—The whiteness of veal is considered a sign of good quality, and animals were bled to make their flesh white. On the Continent calves are killed much younger than is customary in this country, and they are fed on milk and white food, but no feeding will make every calf equally white fleshed. As immature meat keeps badly at all times, it is of importance that the calf should not be bruised in bringing it to market. The fat should be plentiful and very white, especially that surrounding the kidney, which in all animals affords a good indication of quality.
Very young veal is constantly brought to table on the Continent, but no calf may be killed for food less than 14 days old, whereas in England they may be sold when 3 days old. The flesh is in the higher state of perfection when the calf is 8 or 9 weeks old; after 12 weeks it becomes coarse in texture.
Veal is most plentiful from February to the end of July.
The Several Parts of a Moderate-sized, Well-fed Calf, about 8 weeks old are approximately of the following weights: Loin and chump, 18 lb.; fillet, 12½ lb.; hind knuckle, 5½ lb.; shoulder, 11 lb.; neck, 11 lb.; breast, 9 lb.; and fore-knuckle, 5 lb., making a total of 144 lb. weight. The London mode of cutting the carcass is considered to be the standard. It gives three roasting joints and one boiling joint in each quarter; the pieces are also more equally divided, as regards flesh, and have a better appearance.
The Manner of Cutting up Veal for the English market is to divide the carcass into four quarters, with eleven ribs to each fore-quarter; these are again sub-divided into joints, as exemplified in the accompanying illustration.
They are used in the following way:
(1) Loin.—Prime roasting joint, also for chops.
(2) Chump end of Loin.—Roasted.
(3) Fillet.—The choicest and least bony roasting joint, also suitable for braising for a small party. Cutlets are sometimes taken from this part.
(4) Hind Knuckle.—Low-priced. Fit for boiling or stewing, or for stock.
(5) Fore Knuckle.—Best stewed or boiled. In the young animal all joints are tender, and can be roasted. When the sinews and tendons have become stiff and hard with age, certain joints are nearly uneatable, except when cooked at a low temperature with moisture.
(6) Best end of the Neck.—For small roasting joint or for chops. Too large a proportion of bone to be economical. The other end of the neck is more suitable for stewing.
(7 and 8) Oyster or Bladebone.—Often sold in halves for roasting.