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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/701

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619
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE COMMON HOG

of meat, since it has to grow nothing which a good cook is unable to convert into food for man. The present day Large White Yorkshire has rather a long head with a light jowl, the shoulders are light and obliquely laid, the ribs are well sprung and deep, the back is long, the loin is slightly arched and of fair width, the flank is thick—indicating lean flesh and much of it—the quarters are lengthy, the ham long with meat to the hocks, the bone generally is fine and the hair white and silky. Both boar and sow are docile and very prolific, With such characteristics it is bound to be able to furnish a carcass of pork suited for the London provisioner, the bacon curer or the butcher in the northern counties, where larger and fatter pigs are in demand.

The Middle White Yorkshire has of late years been vastly improved, its early maturity, fine quality of meat and suitability for supplying the wants of Londoners and dwellers in large towns with small and luscious joints of pork, has rendered it a general favourite amongst pig keepers, who have the command of hotel and dairy refuse. Many thousands of Middle White pigs and crosses of this breed are now kept in the neighbourhood of large towns and fattened on meal of various kinds, mixed with soup manufactured from the odds and ends of bread, meat, potatoes, etc., collected daily from the large hotels and other public and private establishments; this collection of bread, bones, etc., is thoroughly steamed or boiled, then the bones or pieces which will not dissolve are strained away, the soup is allowed to cool, and when the fat is skimmed off the liquor is fit for mixing with the meal; the mixture is fed cold in the summer, whilst in winter the soup is warmed, so that the digestive organs of the pigs can at once begin operations instead of a certain amount of animal heat being needed to first warm up the food on which the pig is fed. The pigs so fed grow and fatten rapidly, furnishing a carcass of fine meat weighing some 65 lb. ere they are five months old. The points of a Middle White are somewhat similar to the Large White Yorkshire, but on a smaller scale and more compact; the head, ears and legs are shorter; still, if the Middle White be kept until it reaches the age of some nine or ten months, it will furnish sides of pork suitable for the country butcher's trade, and weighing 90 to 120 lb. each. Boars of the breed are in great demand both at home and abroad for crossing on the coarser breeds of pigs for the production of London porkets and small pork pigs, of which many thousands are imported into England each week from Holland, Belgium and Denmark.

In years gone by the black and white pig—which has been known as the Berkshire—and the Small White Yorkshire occupied the positions now largely taken up by the Large and Middle White Yorkshires; the Small White has pretty well ceased to be bred, whilst the Berkshire has undergone as great a change in its formation and size as it has in its colour, which is now, according to the standard