Mutton Fat has a strong characteristic odour, and turns rancid more readily than beef fat. In South Africa the tail of the native Cape sheep, (which tail is composed entirely of fat, and often weighs five or six pounds), when minced, and melted out, supplies the Cape housewife with a very good substitute for lard; this is excellent for frying fish, or fritters in, is more delicate than lard, and when eaten on hot toast, with pepper and salt, is a good imitation of beef marrow. Our forefathers thought the person served to begin with from a leg of Mutton badly off. "The cut that is worst of a leg is the first," said they. George A. Sala, telling in his Thorough Good Cook (1895) about Mutton-chops, commends one "so judiciously broiled as to be thoroughly done through, but not to exhaust its gravy, as an incomparably good lunch for a busy person up to the age of fifty; with the addition of a mite of minced shallot, for gentlemen only, Worcester sauce being too potent an accompaniment, and interfering with the hot chop's balminess of flavour; whilst a large, well-boiled, mealy potato goes well together with a chop having a curly tail." Sydney Smith, in a letter from Green Street, London, W. (1839), says: "I will give you very good Mutton chops for luncheon, seasoned with affectionate regard, and respect." In the Art of Cookery long before, we read that a certain "Old Cross condemns all persons to be Fops That can't regale themselves on Mutton Chops: Sometimes ' Poor Jack ' and onions are his dish, And then he saints all those that smell of fish".

George Eliot, writing to Charles Bray from Broadstairs (July, 1852), told him: "I am profiting, body and mind, from quiet walks, and talks with nature, picking up shells (not in the Newtonian sense, but literally), reading Aristotle, to. find out what is the chief good, and eating Mutton-chops that I may have the strength to pursue it".