Imágenes de páginas

young it will feel tender; but if old, hard, continue wrinkled, and the fat will be fibrous and clainny. The flesh of ewemutton is paler than that of the wether, and the grain closer. The grain of ram-inution likewise is closer, and the flesh is of a deep red, and the fat spungy.

Lamb. If the eyes appear bright and full in the head, it is good; but if they are sunk and wrinkled, it is stale. Another way of knowing this difference is, that if the vein in the forequarter appears of a fine blue colour, it is fresh; but if green or yellow, there is no doubt, but it is stale. You may likewise be sure it is not good, if you find a faint disagreeable scent from the kidney in ihe hind-quarter, or if the knuckle feels limber on touching it with your fingers.

Veal. Though the flesh of a cow-calf is much whiter than that of a bull, yet it is not so firm: but the 6llet of the former is generally preferred on account of the udder. If the head is fresh, the eyes will be plump; but if stale, they will be sunk and wrinkled. If the vein in the shoulder is not of a bright red, the meat is not fresh; and if there are any green and yellow spots in it, be assured it is very bad. A good neck and breast will be white and dry; but if they are clammy, and look green or yellow at the upper end, they are stale. The kidney is the soonest apt to taint in the loin, and if it is stale, it will be soft and flimsy. If a leg is firm and white, it is good: but if limber, and the flesh is flabby, you may be assured it is bad.

Pork. If pork is young, the lean, on being pinched with the finger and thumb, will break, and the skin dent. If the rind is thick, rough, and cannot be easily impressed with the finger, it is old. If the fesh is cool and smooth, it is fresh: but if clamıy, it is iainted; and in this case the knuckle is always the worst. There is some pork which is called mensly, and is very unwholesome to eat; but this may be easily known by ihe fat being full of little kergels, which is not the case with good pork.

Hams. In order to know whether the ham is sweet, stick a knife under the bone, and on smelling at the knife, if the ham is good, it will have a pleasant flavour. If it is daubed and smeared, and has a disagreeable scent, it is not good. Those in general turn out the best hams, that are short in the hock.

Bacon. If bacon is good, the fat will feel firm, and have a red tinge, and the lean will be of a good colour, and stick close to the bone; but if you observe any yellow streaks in the lean, it either is, or will be, rusty very soon. If bacon is young, the rind will be thin, but if old it will be thick.

Brawn. If brawn is young, the rind will feel moderately tender ; but if old, it will be ihick and hard.

Venison. Your choice of venison must be, in a great measure, directed by the fat. If the fat is thick, bright, and clear, the clefts smooth and close, it is young; but if the clefts are very wide and tough, it shews it to be old. Venison will first change at the haunches and shoulders; in order to know which, run a knife into those parts, and you will be able to judge of its newness or staleness by its sweet or rank scent. If it looks greenish, or is inclined to have a very black appearance, depend upon it, it is tainted.


Turkies. The most certain way of knowing if a cock-turkey be young, is the shortness of the spurs, and the smoothness and blackness of the legs. The eyes likewise will be full and bright, and the feel limber and moist ; but you must carefully observe, that the spurs are not cut or scraped to deceive you, which is an artifice too frequently practised by the poulterer. If the turkey is stale, the feet will be dry, and the eyes sunk. The same rule will determine, whether a hen-turkey is fresh or stale, young or old ; with this difference, that if she is old her legs will be rough and red; if with egg, the vent will be soft and open ; but if she has no eggs, the vent will be hard.

Fowls. If a cock is young, the spurs will be short; but the same precaution is necessary here, in that point, as just observed in the choice of turkeys. If they are stale, the vents will

[ocr errors]

be open ; but if fresh, close and hard. Heps are always best when full of eggs, and just before they begin to lay. The combs and legs of an old hen are rough; but in a young hen they are sinooth. The comb of a good capon is very pale, ils breast remarkably fat, and it has a thick belly with a large rump..

Geese. When a goose is young, the bill and feet will be yellow, with but few hairs upon them; but if old, both will look red. If it is fresh, the feet will be limber ; but if old, they will be stiff and dry. Green geese are in season from May or June, till they are three months old. A stubble goose will be good till it is five or six months old, and should be picked dry ; but green geese should be scalded.

Ducks. The legs of a fresh killed duck are limber; and if it is fat, the belly will be hard and thick. The feet of a tame duck are inclining to a dusky yellow, and are thick. The feet of a stale duck are dry and stiff. The feet of a wild duck are smaller than a tame one, and are of a reddish colour. Ducks must be plucked dry, but ducklings should be scalded.

Pigeons. These birds, if new, are full and fat at the vent, and limber footed; but if the toes are harsh, the vent loose, open, ; and green, they are stale. If they are old, their legs will be

large and red. The tame pigeon is preferable to the wild, and should be large in the body, fat and tender ; but the wild pigeon is not so fat. Wood-pigeons are much larger than either wild or tame, but in all other respects like them.

The same rule will hold good in the choice of the plover, fieldfare, lark, and other small birds.

FISAI. In order to know whether fish is fresh or stale, the general rule to be noticed in all kinds is, by observing the colour of the gills, wbich should be of a lively red; whether they are hard, or easily to be opened ; the projection or. indention of their eyes, the stiffness or limberness of their fins, and by the scent from their gills.

Turbot. If a turbot is good, it will be thick and plump, and the belly of a yellowish white; but if they appear thin and bluish, they are not good. Turbot are in season the greatest part of the summer.

Cod. This fish, if perfectly fine and fresh, should be very thick at the neck, the flesh white and firm, and of a bright clear colour, and the gills red. If they appear flabby, they are stale, and will not have their proper Havour. The proper season for them is, from about Christmas to

Soles. If soles are good, they will be thick and firm, and the belly of a fine cream colour; but if they are flabby, or incline to a bluish white, they are not good. The proper season for soles is about Midsummer,

Skate. If this fish is perfectly good and sweet, the flesh will look exceedingly white, and be thick and firm. One inconvenience is particularly attendant on this fish, and that is, if too fresh, it will eat very tough; and if stale, they produce so strong a scent as to be very disagreeable; so that some judgment is necessary to dress them in proper time.

Herrings. If the herrings are fresh, the gills will be of a fine red, and the whole fish stiff and very bright; but if the gills are of a faint colour, the fish limber and wrinkled, they are bad. The goodness of pickled herrings is known by their being fat, fleshy, and white. Red herrings, if good, will be large, firm, and dry. They should be full of roe or milt, and the outsides of a fine yellow. Those that have the skin or scales wrinkled on the back will turn out preferable to those whose scales are very broad, the distinction between which is sufficiently obvious.

Salmon. The flesh of salmon, when new, is a fine red, and particularly so at the gills ; the scales should be bright, and the fish very stiff. The spring is the proper season for this fish, which, in its nature, is both luscious and pleasant flavoured.

Trout. This is a very beautiful and excellent fresh-water fish; but the best are those that are red and yellow.. The females are most in esteem, and are known by having a smaller


head and deeper body than the male. They are-in high season the latter end of June; and their freshness may be known by the rules already given for that purpose, with respect to fish in general,

Tench. In order to eat this fish in perfection, they should be dressed alive; so says the epicure; but what says humanity? · The wretch who would order his cook to dress a tench whilst it lived, would almost deserve to be fried aliye himself.-If they are dead, examine the gills, which should be red and hard to open, the eyes bright, and the body firm and stiff, if fresh. These are in general covered with a kind of slimny malter, which, if clear and bright, is a proof of their being good. This slimy matter may be easily removed, by rubbing them with a little salt.

Smelts, or Sparlings. When these are fresh, they are of a fine silver hue, very firm, and have a particular scent.

Flounders. This is both a salt and fresh-water fish, and should be dressed as soon as possible after being dead. When fresh and fine, they are stiff, their eyes bright and full, and their bodies thick.

Sturgeon. The flesh of a good sturgeon is very white, with a few blue veins, the grain even, the skin tender, good coloured, and soft. All the veins and gristles should be blue; for when these are brown or yellow, the skin harsh, tough, and dry, the fish is bad. It has a pleasant smell when good, but a very disagreeable one when bad. It should also cut firm without crumbling. The females are as full of roe as any carp, which is taken out and spread upon a table, beat flat, and sprinkled with salt; it is then dried in the air and sun, and afterwards in ovens. It should be of a reddish brown colour, and very dry. This is called caviere, and is eaten with oil and vinegar.

Eels. The best, and most greatly esteemed, is the Thames silver eel, and the worst are those brought by the Dutch, and sold at Billinsgate market. They should be dressed

« AnteriorContinuar »