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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/735

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RECIPES FOR COOKING PORK

½ an hour before the time of serving, the paper must be removed, and the pig brushed over with thick cream or salad-oil to improve the colour, and crisp the surface. Before serving, cut off the head, and split the pig down the centre of the back; lay the 2 halves on a dish, divide the head, and place ½ at each end of the dish. The usual accompaniments are brown and apple sauces, and sometimes hot currants: the latter should be prepared the day before. To make them plump, they must be scalded, and afterwards thoroughly dried. Re-heat in the oven before serving.

Time.—From 2½ to 3 hours. Average Cost, from 6s. to 10s. 6d. Sufficient for 8 or 9 persons.

How Roast Pig was Discoverd.—Charles Lamb, in his delightfully quaint prose sketches, written under the title of the Essays of Elia, has devoted one paper to the subject of Roast Pig, describing in his own inimitable, quiet, humorous manner how the toothsome dainty known as crackling first became known to the world.

According to this authority, man in the golden—or, at all events, the primitive—age, ate his pork and bacon raw, as indeed he ate his beef and mutton. At the epoch of the story, a citizen of some Scythian community had this misfortune to have his hut, containing his live stock of pigs, burnt down. In going over the debris to pick out the available salvage, the proprietor touched something very hot, which caused him to put his suffering finger into his mouth. The act was simple, but the result was wonderful. He rolled his eyes in ecstasy and conscious of an unwonted and celestial odour, with distended nostrils, and drawing in deep inspirations of the ravishing perfume, he sucked his fingers again and again. Clearing away the rubbish of his ruined hut, there was disclosed to his view one of his pigs roasted to death. Stooping down to examine it, and touching its body, a fragment of the burnt skin became detached, and in a spirit of philosophical inquiry the man put it into his mouth. No pen can describe the felicity he then enjoyed—it was then that he—the world—first tasted crackling. For a time the Scythian carefully kept his secret, and feasted in secret upon his newly found-luxury. When the pig was at last eaten up, the poor man fell into a deep melancholy, refused his accustomed food, lost his appetite, and became reduced to a shadow. Unable to endure the torments of memory from which he suffered hourly, he rose up one night and secretly set fire to his hut, and once more was restored to health and spirits. Finding it impossible to live in future without his newly discovered delicacy, every time his larder became empty he set fire to his house, until his neighbours becoming scandalized by these incendiary acts, brought his conduct before the supreme council of the nation. To avert the penalty threatened him, he brought the judges to his smouldering ruins, and discovering his secret, he invited them to eat! With tears of gratitude the august synod embraced him, and with an overflowing feeling of ecstasy dedicated a statue to the memory of the man who first instituted roast pork.

1125.—TENDERLOIN, FRIED. (Fr.Tendrons de Porc.)

Ingredients.—Tenderloin chops (see "Savoury Tenderloin"), sage, salt and pepper, frying-fat.

Method.—Place the chops in a frying-pan containing a little hot fat, sprinkle lightly with sage, salt and pepper, cook gently for 10 minutes, then turn and sprinkle the other side. Cook slowly for 10 minutes longer, then remove the chops and keep them hot, and pour away all the fat. Add a little boiling water to the sediment in the frying-pan, season to taste with salt and pepper, boil up, pour round the chops, and serve.

Time.—About 20 minutes. Average Cost, 7d. or 8d. per lb. Allow 1 large or 2 small chops to each persons. Seasonable.—Obtainable at any time.