Explanation of Scotch made of cutting-up a sheep: -
1. Gigot, leg, or haunch; roasted or boiled.
2. Loin, This is the finest piece for chops; sometimes roasted.
3. Flank or flap, used for soup or cheap stews.
4. The back-ribs and neck, used for chops, stews, and scup.
5. The brisket or breast, generally stewed.
6. The shoulder. When 4 and 5 are not cut through at the black line which separates them, the shoulder may be removed at the dots, and it is generally baked, sometimes roasted. If a large shoulder is wanted, cut it off close to the bone; if, on the other hand, it is desired to leave the meat beneath for chops, the shoulder should be taken off by the seam.
7. The head, boiled; used for broth.
8. The shank, used for soup; sometimes stewed.
9. The trotters, made into broth with the head; sometimes stewed.
Of the breeds of sheep, the black-faced stand first in sweetness of flavour; then come South Downs. The best parts of mutton are the leg or gigot, and thick rib chops.
A leg of mutton improves by hanging. It should not be in contact with other food. Before cooking, the meat can be made more tender by being smacked (beaten with a wooden roller). The probable explanation is that some of the fibres are broken.
Lamb greatly exceeds mutton in its proportion of fat, and is correspondingly less digestible. The flesh is more watery than that of the mature animal. Lamb needs to be freshly killed, as it does not keep well.
Veal is much less nutritious than beef, containing more gelatinous and fewer albuminous substances. In spite of its fibres being softer, experience and experiment show that it is not so easily digested as beef. When the same quantity of beef and veal are taken, it is found that the former takes two hours, while the latter takes two and a half hours to digest.
Hare, when young, is very tender, and possesses an excellent flavour. The fibres are short, and the flesh is very digestible.
Rabbits, when young and cooked with plenty of gravy, are very digestible; they are the better of the addition of a little fat in the form of streaky bacon.
The tongue of the ox, sheep, and pig is eaten both fresh and pickled. It is very tender, and is quite suitable for invalids and children if the tender central part is used; the base contains much fat, and the fibre is indigestible.
This is the name applied to the stomach and intestines of the ox or sheep; the mucous lining is scraped off, leaving connective tissue, fat, and muscle. The latter is very easy of digestion, and the large proportion of fat in it makes tripe one of the most nutritive diets, and most suitable for those with a weak digestion. It is rather deficient in flavour, owing to the want of extractives. The average composition of tripe is as follows: -
The special points to be noted in the preparation of tripe will be found on page 309.
Under this term two distinct organs are referred to - the thymus or "throat sweetbread," and the pancreas or "stomach sweetbread." Both glands are cellular organs, held together by a loose connective tissue. They are very rapidly digested by the stomach - nine ounces being digested completely in two and three-quarter hours, while a similar quantity of beefsteak demands four and a half hours. Sweetbreads require great care in the preparation for cooking, so as to rid them of the masses of fat mixed in the connective tissue.
These are compact solid organs containing little connective tissue. They are not very digestible. The livers of the calf and lamb are the most tender; these parts should be used very shortly after killing. The protein contained in these organs is nucleo-protein, which yields nuclein on digestion. The glycogen in liver makes it an unsuitable article of food for diabetics.
All the connective tissues, including bones and cartilages, yield gelatine on boiling. Gelatine itself can take no part in the repair and growth of tissue, but it is valuable as a protein-sparer. By adding gelatine to the diet the protein in the food can be spared in the body, or devoted to the increase of bulk, just as by the supply of fats and carbohydrates. It is specially useful in soupmaking and for making jellies. Well-prepared jellies are very useful foods for invalids, and may be administered with advantage in feverish states.
In order to get the maximum amount of gelatine, the bones are broken up into small pieces, and cooked in the oven with a high-pressure pot (see p. 76).
Bones are a really cheap source of gelatine, as they contain gelatine to the extent of 15 to 50 per cent.; the ordinary jelly, such as calf's-foot jelly, is an expensive food, because, as already indicated, it has little or no nutritive value, and as a source of energy it ranks very low.
The marrow of bone has much nutritive value. It is an easily digested fat. It can be used in the form of marrow bones or marrow toast, and has the advantage of being a very cheap food (see p. 197).
The heart of an ox or sheep is denser in structure than ordinary beef, but forms an admirable diet for the healthy individual. It has the merit of cheapness.
Blood is sometimes used in the form of black puddings. It is not an easily digested food, nor is it at all palatable.
These are characterised by short muscular fibres and a small amount of fat. Birds like the common fowl and turkey, which have a white flesh, are the most easy of digestion, being tender and of a delicate flavour. A young, well-fed chicken is the most digestible of all animal foods. Short-legged fowls are more delicate in flavour, and as for age a one-year-old cock will be found too tough for roasting or brazing, and only edible when stewed for soups. The flavour and tenderness of the flesh is greatly increased by removal of the sexual organs - the capon is the term for this. Ducks and geese have more fat, are generally richer, and have a stronger flavour than fowls. Their flesh is darker in colour, and is more difficult of digestion.
Partridges and pheasants, when young, are very deiicatc in flavour; pigeons less so. Grouse, woodcock, snipe, quail, ptarmigan, and wild duck have muscles with a very firm, close fibre, and on this account are generally "hung," to impart tenderness and develop flavour. The best portion for people with delicate digestion is the breast.
Pork is indigestible on account of the large amount of fat present. The amount of fat may be greater than the amount of protein in the pork.
Bacon is much more digestible than pork, and ham occupies an intermediate position. The fat in bacon is friable, and much more easily acted on by the digestive juices, and for this reason bacon is an admirable food for delicate children, and invalids in general, who require abundance of fat in the dietary.
In this country these are made of uncooked meat, and various carbohydrate substances such as bread are frequently added; the vegetable matter is not infrequently disguised by the addition of colouring material. Seasonings of various sorts also enter into their composition. As sources of protein they are not more economical than ordinary meat, and their uncertain composition makes them unsuitable for invalids.