This section is from "Every Woman's Encyclopaedia". Also available from Amazon: Every Woman's Encyclopaedia.
Venison, like mutton, should not be too young, or the flavour will not be fully developed. The lean should be finely grained and dark in colour. When the joint has been well hung - a necessary process - the colour of the lean deepens considerably.
The fat should be plentiful, clear, and creamy white, and not skinny or flabby. The cleft in the hoof should be smooth, and not too deep; if rough and very large, the animal is too old. For roasting, the haunch is considered the best joint, but shoulder or neck and breast are also much used.
Pork, of all meat, requires to be selected with care. It is essential that it is freshly killed, as, unless salted, it soon becomes unfit for food. It is a highly nutritious meat for those who can digest it, but its excess of fat makes it unsuitable for invalids and children. Unlike other meats, it is more wholesome when salted.
Pork is not a suitable food for hot or even warm weather; it is too heating, and the animals are more prone to disease. No better rule can be given than that pork is best avoided in those months of the year which have not an . "r" in their spelling.
The lean part of pork should be a delicate brownish pink, the grain fine, bones small, and the skin thin, smooth, and pliable. The fat must be firm, white, and free from a yellowish tinge, specks, or kernels. These latter signs denote disease, and the meat is dangerous to health. Never purchase fresh pork which shows signs of discoloration, or from which the rind has been removed.
Bacon. - The legs of a pig are usually preserved for curing as hams; signs for judging these are given below. To judge bacon, the rind should be thin, smooth, and elastic; the lean a deep pink, and adhering closely to the bones; the fat firm, with a pinkish hue, absolutely free from yellow streaks or patches; if these are noticed, the bacon is rancid, or "rusty," as it is often termed.
Hams. - Short, thick hams are the best. If half a ham is being bought, see that it is not unduly fat, and that the fat is free from yellow streaks; also that the lean is not flabby nor too dark a red, or it is liable to be hard. It is wise to apply the skewer test when buying a whole ham. That is, push in a clean skewer close against the bone, and, on pulling it out, note if it has the least unpleasant or rancid smell, or appears greasy with small particles of fat clinging to it. This is a good test, as all meat first becomes tainted near the bone.