Carving. How often is a well-spread dinner disfigured by blundering awkward carving. It is a duty most shun, because most are unskilled in the art. Yet one of the most important acquisitions in the routine of daily life is the ability to carve well, and not only well but elegantly. It is true that the modes now adopted of sending meats, etc, to table, are fast banishing the necessity for promiscuous carving from the richly-served boards of the wealthy; but in the circles of middle life, where the refinements of cookery are not adopted, the utility of a skill in the use of a carving-knife is sufficiently obvious.
It must not be supposed that the necessity for this acquirement is confined to the heads of families alone, it is as important for the bachelor visitor to be familiar with the art as it is for the host himself; indeed, he is singled out usually for the task of carving a side dish, which happening to be poultry of some kind, becomes a task most embarrassing to him, if he should happen to be ignorant of the modus operandi of skilfully dissecting a fowl. Ladies ought especially to make carving a study ; at their own houses, they grace the table, and should be enabled to perform the task allotted to them with sufficient skill to prevent remark, or the calling forth of eager proffers of assistance from good-natured visitors near, who probably could not present any better claim to a neat performance.
Carving presents no difficulties; it simply requires knowledge. All displays of exertion or violence are in very bad taste; for if not proving an evidence of the want of ability on the part of the carver, they present a very strong testimony of the toughness of a joint or the more than full age of a bird: in both cases they should be avoided. A good knife of moderate size, sufficient length of handle, and very sharp, is requisite ; for a lady it should be light, and smaller than that used by gentlemen. Fowls are very easily carved; and joints, such as loins, breasts, fore-quarters, etc, the butcher should have strict injunctions to separate the joints well.
The dish upon which the article to be carved is placed should be conveniently near to the carver, so that he has full control over it; for if far off, nothing can prevent an ungracefulness of appearance.