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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/744

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Time.—From 2 to 3 hours. Average Cost, for a pig's head, 5d. per lb.

The Saxon Swineherd.—The men employed in tending swine in Anglo-Saxon times were usually thralls or slaves of the soil, who were assisted by powerful dogs, capable of singly contending with a wolf until his master came with his spear to the rescue. Sir Walter Scott, in Ivanhoe, gives a graphic picture of Gurth, an Anglo-Saxon swineherd; and also of his master, a large landed proprietor, whose chief wealth consisted of swine, the flesh of these liberally supplying his rude but hospitable table.


Ingredients.—Bacon and larding-needle.

Method.—Bacon for larding should be firm and fat, and ought to be cured without any saltpetre, as this reddens white meats. Lay it on a table, the rind downwards, trim off any rusty part, and cut it into slices about ⅛ of an inch in thickness when intended to be used for larding cutlets, small fillets and birds, and slightly thicker when for the purpose of inserting in a whole fillet of beef, or joints of a similar or larger size. Lay these slices on the board and cut them again in strips, each of the four sides of which shall be equal. The length of lardoons varies from 1¼ to 2 inches. They should be inserted as evenly as possible in horizontal lines, and the lardoons forming the second and fourth rows must intersect those of the first and third, thus producing the diagonal lines, and diamond-shaped spaces. The primary object of larding is to add a fatty substance to lean, dry meats, such as the breast of chickens and other birds, backs and thighs of hares, small, lean fillets of veal, mutton and beef, and many other things. They, however, add greatly to the appearance of a dish when the lardoons are arranged evenly, and their ends cut to a uniform length by means of scissors. Larding is a simple and easy process when the lardoons are inserted across the grain or fibres of the meat, but may be very troublesome if an attempt be made to lard thin fillets in a contrary direction. In inserting the needle no more of the flesh should be taken up than is necessary to hold the lardoon firmly in place; and it must be pulled through with a short, sharp jerk, a finger of the left hand being pressed on the end of the lardoon to prevent the end of it passing through with the needle.