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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/493

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Buying Beef.—Beef should not be eaten if it is in the least high. In dry weather it will keep some days; but it very soon spoils in damp weather, even if the thermometer is low. At such times joints of meat may often be bought very cheaply, especially in the large markets on Saturday nights. The meat may be quite good at the time it is sold, but it would not be in twenty-four or thirty-six hours. And thrifty housekeepers, having more time than money at disposal, in this way do their marketing to great advantage. It is not wise at such times—perhaps not at any time when economy is studied—to go out with a fixed idea of the joint that is to be bought. A general idea of the relative value of each joint, of its usual price, and its average proportion of bone and fat, is all wanted. The prices of meat, and of all perishable articles, are only fixed so long as the circumstances which determine them are fixed, and when there is a glut in the market of anything that cannot be held back, it is sure to be sold for whatever it will fetch.

Foreign Beef is now imported in large quantities, and although it is not, generally speaking, considered so good in flavour or quality as English meat, is nevertheless excellent, and can be usually obtained at a lower price. The best parts only used to be sent to this country, but owing to the great improvement in the means of transport and methods for preserving the meat, carcasses frozen, chilled or refrigerated arrive in excellent condition, and are cut up and sold in the same manner as English beef, and usually at a lower rate, thus placing good meat within the reach of all classes. The chief supplies are from the United States, Australia and Argentina. The beef from the United States of the best brands (as those of Swift, Armour and Morris), are not frozen, but refrigerated or chilled, and are sold at a rate within a fraction of our home-raised meat. Argentine beef is not considered to be so good as that from the United States, but is considerably less in price, although it is not so cheap as the beef imported from Australia, which is the cheapest of all. Large quantities of live cattle are now brought over, especially from Argentina, to England, and are slaughtered for the market.

The Larder is the only room in the house that should always face due north, so that the sun never comes in, There should be thorough ventilation, and no direct communication with the drains, an untrapped sink in the floor. The joint should be hung up, not laid on a dish or plate. It should be wiped, and it is a good plan to dust it with flour or flour and pepper. If placed in a draught, meat will keep for a longer time. The kernel, often seen in the round or silverside, and the marrow from the backbone should always be removed, as it taints before the joint itself. Meat from a sickly animal, or from one that has been over-driven or bruised, does not keep well. Old meat keeps better than young.