Open main menu

Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/871

This page has been validated.
773
RECIPES FOR COOKING HARE AND RABBIT

addition to the rabbit. Sufficient for 12 patties. Seasonable from September to March.

Fancy Rabbits.—The chief points required by a fancier are respectively the graceful fall of the ears, the dewlap, the colour and marked points, and the shape and general appearance. The ears should extend at least 7 in., measured from tip to tip in a line across the skull, and must also have a uniform and graceful droop. Sometimes the ears, instead of drooping down, slope backwards; a rabbit with this characteristic is scarcely admitted into a fancy lot, and is of little value. The next position is when one ear lops outwards and the other stands erect; this constitutes the half-lop. The forward or horn-lop is one degree nearer perfection than the half-lop; the ears slope forward and down over the forehead. Horn-lops are often perfect in other respects, with the exception of the droop of the ears, and frequently become the parents of young ones which are perfect. In the ear-lop, the ears spread out in a horizontal position like the wings of a bird when in flight. Occasionally a rabbit drops one ear completely, but raises the other so nearly horizontally as to constitute an ear-lop. This variety is superior to all others except the perfect full-lop, and if well-bred and with good points is esteemed a valuable rabbit.

The ears of the real or full-lop hang down by the side of the cheek, slanting somewhat outward in their descent, with the open part of the ear inward, and sometimes either backwards or forwards instead of perpendicular; when the rabbit stands in an easy position, the tips of the ears touch the ground. The hollows of a fancy rabbit of the first quality should be turned so completely backwards that only the outer part of them should remain in front; they should match exactly in their descent, and should slant outwards as little as possible.

The dewlap, seen only in fancy rabbits when they have attained their full growth, is a fold of skin under the neck and throat, which commences immediately under the jaw and goes down the throat and between the forelegs, and projects in breadth beyond the chin. If perfect, it adds greatly to the beauty of the appearance of the rabbit.

The colour of the fur of fancy rabbits may be of various hues, provided these colours are arranged in a particular manner, forming imaginary figures or fancied resemblances to certain objects, such peculiarities of marking being denoted by distinctive designations.

A good fancy rabbit must also have other characteristic marks to be a perfect model of its kind. The tail must be of the same colour as the back and snout; there must be a black or blue-black patch on the back, known as "the saddle"; there should also be dark stripes on both sides of the body in front, passing backwards to meet the saddle and uniting on the top of the shoulders. These stripes form "the chain," and are so called from their resemblance to a chain or collar hanging round the neck.

Comparatively few thoroughbred fancy rabbits will have all these markings clearly defined on the fur; but the more closely they approach to the pattern described, the greater will be the value of the animal as relates to its colour. The beauty and consequent worth of a fancy rabbit depends, however, much on its shape, or what is styled its carriage. A rabbit is said to have a good carriage when its back is finely arched, rising full two inches above the top of its head, which must be held so low as to allow the muzzle and the points of the ears to reach almost to the ground.

1369.—RABBIT PIE. (Fr.Pâté de Lapin.)

Ingredients.—1 rabbit, ½ a lb. of bacon or pickled pork, ½ a lb. of beefsteak, ½ a pint of stock, salt and pepper, short crust or puff paste.

Method.—Wash the rabbit, divide it into small joints, cut the beef into small thin slices, and the pork into dice. Place these ingredients in layers in a pie-dish, season each layer liberally with salt and pepper, and ¾ fill the dish with stock. Cover with paste (see Veal and Ham Pie No. 798), bake from 1¾ to 2 hours in a brisk oven until the paste has risen and set, and afterwards more slowly. Before serving, add the remainder of the hot stock to the pie. When the pie is intended to be eaten cold, forcemeat balls and hard-boiled eggs will be found an improvement, and the appearance may be improved by brushing it over with yolk of egg when ¾ baked.

Time.—To bake, from 1¾ to 2 hours. Average Cost, 2s. 3d., exclusive of the paste. Sufficient for 6 or 7 persons.

The Angora Rabbit.—As its name implies, this handsome rabbit is a native of Angora, a city and district of Asia Minor, and noted for the long hair of the animals which live in this region, particularly the sheep, goats and cats, whose wool and fur are exceptionally fine in texture. The fur of the Angora rabbit to long, waved and silky and is much valued as an article of commerce.