The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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behind. In small, quiet parties in the home circle the carving should be done by the mother or mistress of the house, but in parties of any size or pretensions it is now the fashion for the father to carve all the dishes on the side table, but this requires a servant equal to the task, with assistants in proportion, and also a dining room large enough to admit of a side board devoted solely to this purpose.
The Saddle of Mutton is carved in three different ways, ist, by longitudinal slices along each side of the bone, by which the lean and fat do not come in the same slice; 2d, by transverse slices, tak­ing in the bone, and which, consequently, must be thick and clumsy ; 3d, by oblong slices, slightly curved, which is by far the best plan, in which the knife begins at the bone near the tail, and after cutting off the outside takes a series of parallel slices through the joint. In carving a leg of mutton there can be two modes, the choice of which must depend greatly upon the number to be served. For a small number, it is better to cut the leg directly across the middle about half way between first and second joints, but this admits only of a few good slices, while the other portions are of loose and of coarse fibre. But by turning up the leg and cutting it exactly on the plan of the haunch, a much greater proportion of nice and handsome slices may be obtained, and, consequently, a larger party may all be equally gratified.
The haunch of mutton or venison is carved very differently by different people. The common plan is to cut through the flesh be­tween the leg and loin, and then to run the knife from this to the lower end of the loin, cutting parallel slices in that direction. A much better plan, however, consists of making these cuts in one sweep, carrying the knife directly from the outside of the leg to the end of the loin, and thus getting a beautiful, long slice of lean with the fat at the end. There is also a delicious mine of kidney fat in the loin of mutton under the flank, which is often too high in veni­son, but if fresh enough it is even richer and more palatable in that meat than in mutton.
The fore quarter of lamb must be commenced by separating the shoulder blade, carrying the knife all round it, and in raising it with the fork ; after which a lemon should be squeezed into the cut sur­face, and a little pepper and salt then sprinkled over it; but this may be much better done in the kitchen than on the dining table. In order to carve this part the same directions will apply that are given in the last paragraph ; and for the remaining portion it is only neces­sary to separate the thin part called the brisket from the ribs, then