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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/700

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618
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

was experienced by them in satisfying the greatly increased requirements of the public, a totally different style of pig was needed for conversion into bacon, a comparatively speaking light and only partially fattened pig best suited the tastes of the consumer, who had begun to look with disfavour on the heavily salted fat pork of the olden days, when it was actually necessary that the meat should be fat, since the lean meat became so hard and indigestible when heavily salted. Small hams, of some 12 to 15 lb., were called for in place of those huge masses of meat, weighing from 30 to 50 lb., which formerly did duty as hams; the more expensive cuts of bacon also became in far greater demand than the cheaper parts of the side of bacon, so that the curers in self-defence were compelled to ask the breeders of pigs to produce fat pigs with as much as possible of those parts, such as the ham and lengthy sides which, when cured, realized the highest price, and which were most in demand. Again, the demand for the early fattened pig, weighing some 60 lb. dead weight, increased to an enormous extent in London and in many other of the large towns; this too tended to the reduction in the size of the pig generally bred, as the jointer or London porket pig is considered to be as profitable an animal to produce as any of our domesticated animals. The producer of fat pigs in the Midlands and southern counties of England has therefore two markets to study—the demand for the porket pig with a carcass of some 60 lb., and the bacon curers' and retail butchers' pig, which will weigh about 160 lb. when dressed. In the northern counties, where the temperature is cooler and the general customer of a somewhat different class, fat pigs of 300 lb. are still sought and in common demand. The severity of labour in the so-called Black Country may also have some influence on the kind of food required.

The manufacturer of meat, like the producer of any article for consumption, must consult the wants of his customers; this requirement has had a strong influence on the form and quality of even our different breeds of pigs. For instance, the Large White Yorkshire and its ally, the Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, white pigs with many blue spots on the skin, has of late years become a general favourite amongst pig breeders, because it has so readily conformed to the present-day wants, early maturity and quality of meat. In the olden days the Large White Yorkshire was a quick-growing pig, strong in the bone, coarse in flesh, skin and hair, and remarkably slow in maturing. At the present time no variety of pig will so quickly become of the weight desired by bacon curers and butchers generally; not only so, but the form of the carcass and the quality of flesh, skin and bone is equal to that furnished by any kind of pig. This great change has been brought about by selecting for breeders those pigs possessing hard flat bone, thin skin, fine silky hair and early maturity. As can readily be understood, a pig of this type must be a profitable manufacturer