Carving is one important acquisition in the routine of daily living, and all should try to attain a knowledge or ability to do it well, and withal gracefully. When carving use a chair slightly higher than the ordinary size, as it gives a better purchase on the meat, and appears more graceful than when standing, as is often quite necessary when carving a turkey, or a very large joint. More depends on skill than strength. The platter should be placed opposite, and sufficiently near to give perfect command of the article to be carved, the knife of medium size, sharp with a keen edge. Commence by cutting the slices thin, laying them carefully to one side of the platter, then afterwards placing the desired amount on each guest's plate, to be served in turn by the servant.
In carving fish, care should be taken to help it in perfect flakes; for if these are broken the beauty of the fish is lost. The carver should acquaint himself with the choicest parts and morsels; and to give each guest an equal share of those tidbits should be his maxim. Steel knives and forks should on no account be used in helping fish, as these are liable to impart a very disagreeable flavor. A fish-trowel of silver or plated silver is the proper article to use.
Gravies should be sent to the table very hot, and in helping one to gravy or melted butter, place it on a vacant side of the plate, not pour it over their meat, fish or fowl, that they may use only as much as they like.
When serving fowls, or meats, accompanied with stuffing, the guests should be asked if they would have a portion, as it is not every one to whom the flavor of stuffing is agreeable; in filling their plates, avoid heaping one thing upon another, as it makes a bad appearance.
A word about the care of carving knives: a fine steel knife should not come in contact with intense heat, because it destroys its temper, and therefore impairs its cutting qualities. Table carving knives should not be used in the kitchen, either around the stove, or for cutting bread, meats, vegetables, etc.; a fine whetstone should be kept for sharpening, and the knife cleaned carefully to avoid dulling its edge, all of which is quite essential to successful carving.
No. 1. Used for choice roasts, the porter-house and sirloin steaks. No. 2. Rump, used for steaks, stews and corned beef. No. 3. Aitch-bone, used for boiling-pieces, stews and pot roasts. No. 4. Buttock or round, used for steaks, pot roasts, beef a la mode; also a prime boiling-piece. No. 5. Mouse-round, used for boiling and stewing. No. 6. Shin or leg, used for soups, hashes, etc. No. 7. Thick flank, cut with under fat, is a prime boiling-piece, good for stews and corned beef, pressed beef. No. 8. Veiny piece, used for corned beef, dried beef. No. 9. Thin flank, used for corned beef and boiling-pieces.
No. 10. Five ribs called the fore-rib. This is considered the primest piece for roasting; also makes the finest steaks.
No. 11. Four ribs, called the middle ribs, used for roasting. No. 12. Chuck ribs, used for second quality of roasts and steaks. No. 13. Brisket, used for corned beef, stews, soups and spiced beef. No. 14. Shoulder-piece, used for stews, soups, pot-roasts, mince-meat and hashes. Nos. 15, 16. Neck, clod or sticking-piece used for stocks, gravies, soups, mince-pie meat, hashes, bologna sausages, etc. No. 17. Shin or shank, used mostly for soups and stewing. No. 18. Cheek.
The following is a classification of the qualities of meat, according to the several joints of beef, when cut up.
Includes the sirloin with the kidney suet (1), the rump steak piece (2), the fore-rib (11).
The buttock or round (4), the thick flank (7), the middle ribs (11).
The aitch-bone (3), the mouse-round (5), the thin flank (8, 9), the chuck (12), the shoulder-piece (14), the brisket (13).
The clod, neck and sticking-piece (15, 16).
Shin or shank (17).
No. 1. Loin, the choicest cuts used for roasts and chops.
No. 2. Fillet, used for roasts and cutlets.
No. 3. Loin, chump-end used for roasts and chops.
No. 4. The hind-knuckle or hock, used for stews, pot-pies, meat-pies.
No. 5. Neck, best end used for roasts, stews and chops.
No. 6. Breast, best end used for roasting, stews and chops.
No. 7. Blade-bone, used for pot-roasts and baked dishes.
No. 8. Fore-knuckle, used for soups and stews.
No. 9. Breast, brisket-end used for baking, stews and pot-pies.
No. 10. Neck, scrag-end used for stews, broth, meat-pies, etc.
In cutting up veal, generally, the hind-quarter is divided into loin and leg, and the fore-quarter into breast, neck and shoulder.
The Several Parts of a Moderately-sized, Well-fed Calf, about eight weeks old, are nearly of the following weights: - Loin and chump, 18 lbs.; fillet, 12 1/2 lbs.; hind-knuckle, 5 1/2 lbs.; shoulder, 11 lbs.; neck, 11 lbs.; breast, 9 lbs., and fore-knuckle, 5 lbs.; making a total of 144 lbs. weight.
No. 1. Leg, used for roasts and for boiling.
No. 2. Shoulder, used for baked dishes and roasts.
No. 3. Loin, best end used for roasts, chops.
No. 4. Loin, chump-end used for roasts and chops.
No. 5. Rack, or rib chops, used for French chops, rib chops, either for frying or broiling; also used for choice stews. No. 6. Breast, used for roast, baked dishes, stews, chops. No. 7. Neck or scrag-end, used for cutlets, stews and meat-pies.
A saddle of muton or double loin is two loins cut off before the carcass is split open down the back. French chops are a small rib chop, the end of the bone trimmed off and the meat and fat cut away from the thin end, leaving the round piece of meat attached to the larger end, which leaves the small rib-bone bare. Very tender and sweet.
Mutton is prime when cut from a carcass which has been fed out of doors, and allowed to run upon the hillside; they are best when about three years old. The fat will then be abundant, white and hard, the flesh juicy and firm, and of a clear red color.
For mutton roasts, choose the shoulder, the saddle, or the loin or haunch. The leg should be boiled. Almost any part will do for broth.
Lamb born in the middle of the winter, reared under shelter, and fed in a great measure upon milk, then killed in the spring, is considered a great delicacy, though lamb is good at a year old. Like all young animals, lamb ought to be thoroughly cooked, or it is most unwholesome.