Mrs. Beeton

“Edited by Mrs. Isabella Beeton”

Mrs. Beeton’s Sources

Today we refer to the book as “Mrs. Beeton”. But in 1859, Isabella Beeton didn’t claim to have written it herself; most of the time she refers to herself as the Editress. Just don’t expect her to tell us what, exactly, she’s been editing. Now and then, the book will give credit where credit is due: “Ude’s Recipe”, “Carême’s Recipe”, “Miss Acton’s Recipe”. But, as her biographer gleefully points out, for each time credit is given to a named source, you can be confident there are at least twice as many uncredited borrowings from the same place.

The same goes for the informational passages. The Editress is fond of quoting authorities by name—but don’t assume she had the authority’s own work sitting handy. Most of the time, it means that her direct source cited some earlier source, whose name is retained even while the intermediate source is uncredited. When the BOHM says, for example, “Professor Owen states”, it should be read as “William Martin says that Professor Owen states”. A further quirk of these second-hand citations is that the Editress tends to leave them strictly alone. Direct sources are paraphrased and rewritten at will; anything inside quotation marks is sacrosanct.

Obligatory reminder: In 1859, stealing was hard work. You couldn’t simply scan a book, run OCR, and paste the result into your own text with a few quick keystrokes. Instead you had to copy out the text by hand, physically cut it up as needed, physically paste it into your own draft—and then re-copy your end product for the typesetter. In some parts of the BOHM you can see where the Editress was in a hurry and couldn’t read her own writing, leading to unintended differences from the original.

So let’s name names. There are the Englishwomen:

Hannah Glasse
The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy (1746 and later)
Elizabeth Raffald
The Experienced English Housekeeper (1769)
Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell
A New System of Domestic Cookery (“by a Lady”, about 1806)
Eliza Acton (1799–1859)
Modern Cookery: in all its branches: Reduced to a system of easy practice for the use of private families (1845 and many later editions; the full subtitle was eventually reduced to a more manageable for Private Families)
The English Bread-Book (one of the few sources the BOHM mentions by name)
You can find the first edition of Modern Cookery right next door. Pro tip: If you’ve got Acton and Beeton open side by side in your browser, the BOHM (the present book) is the one with the lighter background.

the Frenchmen and other “man cooks”:

Frederick Bishop
The Illustrated London Cookery Book (1852), which identifies the author as “Late Cuisinier to St. James’s Palace, Earl Grey, The Marquis of Stafford, Baron Rothschild, Earl Norbury” . . . and the list goes on
Antonin Carême (1783–1833)
Le Pâtissier Royal Parisien (1815), translated as The Royal Parisian Pastry-Cook (1834)
Le Maître d’Hôtel Français
Le Cuisinier Parisien
Charles Elmé Francatelli (1805–1876)
[many books]
John Simpson (chef to the Marquis of Buckingham)
A complete system of cookery, on a plan entirely new (1806)
Alexis Benoît Soyer (1810–1858)
The Modern Housewife (1849)
and others, including Pantropheon (1853)
Louis Eustache Ude (1769–1846)
The French Cook

and a few that don’t fall neatly into either group:

William Kitchiner (1775–1827)
Apicius Redivivus, or The Cook’s Oracle (1817 and many later editions)
Quotations on this page are from the American edition (Harper) at Project Gutenberg
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826)
La Physiologie du Goût (1825), translated as The Physiology of Taste
Quotations on this page are from the 1854 Philadelphia translation by Fayette Robinson (d. 1859)—available elsewhere on this sitewhich seems to be what Isabella Beeton used most of the time. The name is consistently written “Brillat Savarin” with no hyphen.

But that’s just the recipes. The BOHM is also packed with background infor­mation—generally printed in smaller type, with accompanying illustration in case you’ve forgotten what a carrot looks like. The list of possible sources goes on and on. Here, in roughly chrono­logical order, are some that are quoted on this page, or that come up in notes:

James Anderson (1739–1808)
The Bee (weekly, 1791) and Recreations in Agriculture, Natural-History, Arts, and Miscellaneous Literature, (monthly, 1799–1802)
Mrs. Beeton probably never saw these publications. All Anderson quotations in the BOHM are indirect, generally from Soyer’s Pantropheon or Bingley’s Animal Biography. On the plus side, it means Anderson is always identified by name.
William Bingley (1774–1823)
Animal Biography (1802 and later)
Useful Knowledge (1816 and later)
John Lawrence (1753–1839), writing as “Bonington Moubray”
A Practical Treatise on Breeding, Rearing and Fattening all Kinds of Domestic Poultry (1813 and later)
Moubray’s book was republished throughout the century as “Mowbray’s [sic] Poultry”. Quotations on this page are from the 1830 edition
William Cobbett
Cottage Economy (1821 and later); citations are from the 1822 edition
William Yarrell (1784–1856)
A History of British Fishes (1836, two volumes)
A History of British Birds (1843)
William Benjamin Carpenter (1813–1885)
Popular Cyclopædia of Natural Science (multiple volumes beginning in 1841)
Principles of Human Physiology (1842)
Thomas Webster (1773–1844) “and the late Mrs. Parkes”
Encyclopædia of Domestic Economy (1844)
Justus von Liebig (1803–1873)
Letters on Chemistry (1843 and later)
William Charles Linnaeus Martin (1798–1864)
The Poultry Yard; Comprising the Management of all Kinds of Fowls (1852)
The Pig: Its General Management & Treatment (1852)
Cattle: Management, Treatment, and Diseases (1853)
Jabez Hogg (1817–1899)
The Domestic Medical and Surgical Guide (1853)
The Microscope: Its History, Construction, and Applications (1854)
Edward Bannerman Ramsay (1793–1872)
Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character (1857 and later)
Isabella Beeton may not have quoted him directly, but her sources did. On this page, quotations are from the 1859 3rd edition, available elsewhere on this site.

Many of the above were tried-and-true standards. Other sources were hot off the presses:

Robert Hogg (1818–1897)
The vegetable kingdom and its products (1858)
George Henry Lewes (1817–1878)
The Physiology of Common Life (1859, two volumes)
[anonymous]
The Tricks of Trade in the Adulterations of Food and Physic (1856, new edition 1859)
Florence Nightingale (1820–1910)
Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not (1859 and later)

William Bingley: Animal Biography

Animal Biography, or Popular Zoology, remained in print for several decades after its original publication in 1802–03. It went through five editions—growing from three to four volumes—in the author’s lifetime, with at least two more after his death. An especially useful feature of Bingley is that, unlike some other authors one could name, he is scrupulous about footnoting his sources.

In the BOHM, Animal Biography is the source for most descriptions of animals, especially the non-domesticated ones. That includes the long quotations from Oppian that are such a feature of the Fish section. Their ultimate source is the 1722 William Diaper trans­lation, footnoted by Bingley as “Jones’ trans­lation”. (Diaper died in 1717, so it was honorable of his co-author John Jones to give him credit. Apparently Bingley didn’t read the fine print.)

With such a long publication history, you might assume that Isabella Beeton used one of the later editions. But even while the book grew fatter overall, the author—or his editor—ruthlessly cut most of its long slabs of verse, including Oppian. So the copy on the Beetons’ shelf must have been an earlier edition. It can’t have been the first edition, though; that one doesn’t have all of the BOHM’s quoted text. On this page, all quotations and page references are from the second (1804) edition: Volume I (mammals, generally called Quadru­peds); Volume II (domesticated mammals and all birds); Volume III (fish, insects and everything else).

Bingley didn’t stop at animals, though. He later put out a three-volume compilation of Useful Knowledge (subtitled: an Account of the Various Produc­tions of Nature, Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal), one volume per kingdom. A few passages in the Vegetable volume made their way into Mrs. Beeton. Fortu­nately she didn’t use it as her primary source, since Bingley was committed to Linnaeus’s system, in which plants are classified primarily by the number of their male and female sexual organs. Useful Knowledge, like Animal Biography, went through multiple editions, both in and after the author’s lifetime. Quota­tions here are from the third (1821) edition, simply because that’s the one that was available to me.

Justus von Liebig: Letters on Chemistry

Where the 21st century has celebrity cosmologists, the 19th had celebrity chemists. Earlier in the century it was Humphry Davy; by mid-century, attention was on Liebig.

The full title of his most popular book, first published in 1843, is Familiar Letters on Chemistry and its Relation to Commerce, Physiology and Agriculture. Isabella Beeton would have used the third (1851) or fourth (1859) edition. In both, the subtitle has expanded to and its Relation to Physiology, Dietetics, Agriculture, Commerce, and Political Economy.

Liebig, incidentally, did his bit to perpetuate the myth that Columbus believed the earth was round while everyone else said it was flat. Letter IV tells us: “When Columbus had to defend his views concerning the shape of the earth . . . he appeared to the majority as a dreamer worthy of ridicule, or as an adventurer deserving of contempt.” But that’s Letter IV. Food is generally confined to Letters XXIX and XXXII.

Thomas Webster “and the late Mrs. Parkes”: Encyclopædia of Domestic Economy

This is a massive book: its single volume (1844) has about the same page count as the BOHM, but at least twice the wordage. In fact it’s tempting to see Isabella Beeton’s work as simply the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version of Webster.

Webster’s Encyclopædia is the source for most BOHM descriptions of plants—fruits, vegetables, the various spices—and some fish that Bingley missed. In the same way that Bingley gave us Oppian, Webster may be responsible for William Yarrell’s presence in the Fish section. An awful lot of Mrs. Beeton’s references to Yarrell’s 1836 A History of British Fishes seem to be lifted directly from Webster. (The Encyclopædia makes no mention of Yarrell’s later A History of British Birds, first published in book form in 1843.)

Alexis Soyer: Pantropheon

Accounts of Alexis Soyer always use the term “celebrity chef”. It would be pretty hard not to. After many years of culinary stardom, winding up as the chef of London’s Reform Club, Soyer developed a social conscience. His later works were increasingly targeted at the lower-income household; shortly before the BOHM came into being, he died of illness contracted in the Crimea.

In the BOHM, references to “the ancients”, or to some individual Greek or Roman author, are generally from Pantropheon (1853). When a specific author is cited, Isabella Beeton has to get some credit, though. She may not have read Virgil and Apicius in the original, but she did at least study Pantropheon’s footnotes. Otherwise she wouldn’t have known which classical author to name; they’re rarely identified in the body text.

Now, here’s an awkward detail about Pantropheon and its official author. Alexis Soyer never learned to write English, and certainly couldn’t read the Greek and Latin authors cited in the book’s several thousand references (almost 30 double-columned pages). So a great deal of credit goes to his unnamed coauthor, Adolphe Duhart-Fauvet. Further credit goes to the still-unidentified translator; the book was originally written, though apparently never published, in French.

On this page, quotations from Pantropheon will include any numbered footnote markers—even if the footnote itself is left out—so you can see just how many of them there were.

Robert Hogg: The Vegetable Kingdom and Its Products

You’ve got to hand it to Isabella Beeton. She kept up on her reading, even if her note-taking wasn’t always perfect. The book she identifies as “Natural History of the Vegetable Kingdom” is really The Vegetable Kingdom and Its Products (subtitle: Serving as an Intro­duction to the Natural System of Botany, and as a Textbook of all the Vegetable Substances used in the Arts, Manufactures, Medicine, and Domestic Economy: Arranged According to the System of De Candolle). “Natural History . . .” is the heading of the book’s introduction:

page image

Robert Hogg (1818–1897) was a pomologist, nurseryman and botanist. Most of his works appealed to a narrower readership, as reflected in their titles: British Pomology; The Apple and its Varieties; The Apple & Pear as Vintage Fruits. By contrast, The Vegetable Kingdom from 1858 was a more “popular” book, covering a broader subject area—half of all living things, as they were then classified.

George Henry Lewes: The Physiology of Common Life

This two-volume work was published in 1859, just in time for Isabella Beeton to crib a few of its passages. It is one of the few books identified by name—at least approximately, since she tends to spell it “Lewis”. Most references, whether credited or not, fall within one short segment of the BOHM.

Florence Nightingale: Notes on Nursing

Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not came out in 1859. It is hard to imagine where Isabella Beeton would have got her material on nursing, had not the book been fortuitously published just as the BOHM began to appear. It is quoted extensively—almost always with attribution—in the chapters on Invalid Cookery, Servants (the Sick-Nurse section), and Children. In fact, by the time the BOHM reached these chapters, Notes had gone to a second (1860), greatly expanded edition, which is available elsewhere on this site. Some quoted passages are new to this edition, so we know that’s the one our Editress used.

. . . and What She Did with Them

The source passages have only been lightly proofread. Quote at your own risk.

75. When Fuel and Food are procured

The “cook it as soon as it begins to rot, but not a moment sooner” directive comes from Kitchiner, along with much of the surrounding text. Central passage:

Kitchiner, pg. 57 BOHM

Meat in which you can detect the slightest trace of putrescency, has reached its highest degree of tenderness, and should be dressed without delay; but before this period, which in some kinds of meat is offensive, the due degree of inteneration may be ascertained, by its yielding readily to the pressure of the finger, and by its opposing little resistance to an attempt to bind the joint.

Although we strongly recommend that animal food should be hung up in the open air, till its fibres have lost some degree of their toughness; yet, let us be clearly understood also to warn you, that if kept till it loses its natural sweetness, it is as detrimental to health, as it is disagreeable to the smell and taste.

Though it is advisable that animal food should be hung up in the open air till its fibres have lost some degree of their toughness, yet, if it is kept till it loses its natural sweetness, its flavour has become deteriorated, and, as a wholesome comestible, it has lost many of its qualities conducive to health. As soon, therefore, as the slightest trace of putrescence is detected, it has reached its highest degree of tenderness, and should be dressed immedi­ately.

193. The Crayfish.

Pantropheon pg. 248 BOHM

The Greeks were remarkably fond of this fish,205 especially when obtained from Alexandria.206 They were not less esteemed in Rome, where they eat them boiled with cummin, and seasoned with pepper, alisander, parsley, dried mint, and a great quantity of cummin, the whole carefully and well ground, and mixed with honey, vinegar, and garum, to which was sometimes added some liquid perfume.

The Crayfish.—This is one of those fishes that were highly esteemed by the ancients. The Greeks preferred it when brought from Alexandria, and the Romans ate it boiled with cumin, and seasoned with pepper and other condiments.

“Crayfishes can be preserved several days, not too warm, in baskets with some fresh grass, such as the nettle, or in a bucket with three-eighths of an inch of water. If there were enough water in it to cover them, they would die in a few moments, because their great consumption of air does not allow them to live in water unless it is continually renewed.”—Bosc.

A recipe tells us, that crayfish can be preserved several days in baskets with fresh grass, such as the nettle, or in a bucket with about three-eighths of an inch of water. More water would kill them, because the large quantity of air they require necessitates the water in which they are kept, to be continually renewed.

197. Season of Oysters.

Confession: I rather admire the way Isabella Beeton made use of Bingley; compare the chapters on Quadrupeds and Birds. It’s especially impressive in longer passages.

Bingley, Animal Biography, III:468-469 BOHM

The principal breeding-time of Oysters is in April and May, when they cast their spawn, or spats, as the fishermen call them, upon rocks, stones, shells, or any other hard substance that happens to be near the place where they lie, to which the spats immediately adhere. These, till they obtain their film or crust, are somewhat like a drop of a candle, but are of a greenish hue. The substances to which they adhere, of whatever nature, are called cultch.

Season of Oysters.—From April and May

From the spawning-time till about the end of July the Oysters are said to be sick, but by the end of August they become perfectly recovered. During these months they are out of season, and are bad eating. This is known, on inspection, by the male having a black and the female a milky substance in the gill. to the end of July, oysters are said to be sick; but by the end of August they become healthy, having recovered from the effects of spawning. When they are not in season, the males have a black, and the females a milky substance in the gill.

The Oyster fishery of our principal coasts is regulated by a court of admiralty. In the month of May the fishermen are allowed to take the Oysters, in order to separate the spawn from the cultch, the latter of which is thrown in again to preserve the bed for the future. After this month it is felony to carry away the cultch, and otherwise punishable to take any Oyster, between whose shells, when closed, a shilling will rattle. The reason of the heavy penalty on destroying the cultch is, that when this is taken away, the ouse will increase, and muscles and cockles will breed on the bed and destroy the Oysters, from gradually occupying all the places on which the spawn should be cast.

From some lines of Oppian, it would appear that the ancients were ignorant that the oyster is generally found adhering to rocks.
There is likewise some penalty for not treading on, and killing, or throwing on shore, any Star-fish (Asterias of Linnæus) that happen to be seen. These, when collected in any numbers, are very destructive to the Oyster-beds, inserting their rays, as the shells lie open, and devouring the animals within. The starfish is one of the most deadly enemies of these bivalves. The poet says:—

The prickly Star creeps on with full deceit,

To force the Oyster from his close retreat.

When gaping lids their widened void display,

The watchful Star thrusts in a pointed ray,

Of all its treasures spoils the rifled case,

And empty shells the sandy hillocks grace*.

The prickly star creeps on with full deceit

To force the oyster from his close retreat.

When gaping lids their widen’d void display,

The watchful star thrusts in a pointed ray,

Of all its treasures spoils the rifled case,

And empty shells the sandy hillock grace.

* Jones’s Oppian. The ancients seem to have been ignorant that Oysters are usually found adherent, and to rocks.

285. The Striped Red Mullet.

In the BOHM, this is a fairly modest paragraph:

This fish was very highly esteemed by the ancients, especially by the Romans, who gave the most extravagant prices for it. Those of 2 lbs. weight were valued at about £15 each; those of 4 lbs. at £60, and, in the reign of Tiberius, three of them were sold for £209. To witness the changing loveliness of their colour during their dying agonies, was one of the principal reasons that such a high price was paid for one of these fishes. It frequents our Cornish and Sussex coasts, and is in high request, the flesh being firm, white, and well flavoured.

Here’s the original, from Pantropheon, pg. 218-219:

The unbridled and cruel luxury of ancient Rome required that this fish should be cooked by a slow fire, on the table and under a glass, that the guests might gloat on its sufferings before they satiated their appetites with its flesh.45 It is true this barbarous gratification was very expensive, and it was necessary to be very rich to indulge in it—consequently it was decidedly very fashionable, quite natural, and in the very best taste.

Ordinary mullets weighed about 2 lbs.;46 these hardly deserved that their dying agonies should for an instant amuse the guests; they were worth only about £15 or £20 each. But sometimes fortune threw in their way much larger ones; and the opulent amateur esteemed himself only too fortunate when he could obtain a fish of three47 or four pounds48 for a much higher sum than he had paid for the slave, tutor of his children.

Crispinus was fond of mullets. He obtained one weighing four or six pounds, for which the fishmonger asked only £60.49 This was giving it away; and certainly the man did not understand his trade. Crispinus on becoming the possessor of this wonderful treasure was astonished at his good fortune, and the whole of Rome long refused to believe it.

In the reign of Tiberius, three of these fish were sold for 30,000 sesterces,50 or £209 9s. 8d.; and this emperor was one day generous enough to give up to P. Octavius, for the low price of 5,000 sesterces, a very fine mullet which had just been presented to him.51

444. Venison.

Pantropheon’s footnotes are printed at the end of the book, not at the bottom of each page; the reader—Isabella Beeton, say—had to hunt them down (“Xenophon informs us”). The last part of this paragraph must have been pulled from yet another text.

Pantropheon, pg. 181 BOHM

Besides the pleasure which this amusement afforded, the ancients, like ourselves, discovered profit in it; and the produce of their chase became one of the finest ornaments of their feasts. Isaac ordered his son Esau to go out with his weapons, his quiver and bow, and to prepare for him savoury meat, such as he loved (venison).36 Solomon had stags, roebucks, and wild oxen served on his table every day.37

36. Genes. xxvii. 3, 4.

37. III. Reg. iv. 23.

Venison.—Far, far away in ages past, our fathers loved the chase, and what it brought; and it is usually imagined that when Isaac ordered his son Esau to go out with his weapons, his quiver and his bow, and to prepare for him savoury meat, such as he loved, that it was venison he desired. The wise Solomon, too, delighted in this kind of fare; for we learn that, at his table, every day were served the wild ox, the roebuck, and the stag.

Cyrus, King of Persia, ordered that venison should never be wanting at his repasts.38 Is it necessary to add that it was the delight of two nations the most gastronomic in the world?—of the effeminate Greeks, and more especially those Romans for whom the animals of the earth, ocean, and air were only to be valued in proportion to the impossibility of obtaining them in Europe, Asia, and Africa; an immense inheritance, conquered by noble ancestors, and which their degenerated sons ransacked for their satisfaction and insatiable gluttony.39

38. Xenoph. Exped. Cyri, i.

39. Id. De Republ. Lacedæm.; Herodot. Hist. vii.; A then. iv. passim; Petron. Sat.

Xenophon informs us, in his History, that Cyrus, king of Persia, ordered that venison should never be wanting at his repasts; and of the effeminate Greeks it was the delight. The Romans, also, were devoted admirers of the flesh of the deer;

The English have always loved hunting—the favourite pastime of their kings.

and our own kings and princes,

Alfred the Great was not twelve years old when he had acquired the reputation of being a skilful and indefatigable hunter.40

40. Asserius, Vita Ælfredi.

from the Great Alfred down to the Prince Consort, have hunted, although, it must be confessed, under vastly different circumstances, the swift buck, and relished their “haunch” all the more keenly, that they had borne themselves bravely in the pursuit of the animal.

508. Poetic Recipe for Salad.

The recipe really is from Sydney Smith (1771–1845). It appears in Chapter XI (towards the end of Vol. I in two-volume editions) of his 1855 biography A memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith “by his daughter, Lady Holland”. The pair of lines “Four times . . . from town” are missing from the first edition, but show up in all subsequent editions.

Lady Holland’s Memoir BOHM

To make this condiment, your poet begs

The pounded yellow of two hard-boil’d eggs.

Two boil’d potatoes, pass’d through kitchen sieve,

Smoothness and softness to the salad give.

Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl,

And, half-suspected, animate the whole.

 

 

“Two large potatoes, pass’d through kitchen sieve,

Smoothness and softness to the salad give:

Of mordant mustard add a single spoon,

Distrust the condiment that bites so soon;

But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault,

To add a double quantity of salt.

Four times the spoon with oil of Lucca brown,

And twice with vinegar procured from town;

Of mordent mustard add a single spoon,

Distrust the condiment that bites too soon;

But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault,

To add a double quantity of salt:

Four times the spoon with oil of Lucca crown,

And twice with vinegar procured from ‘town;’

True flavour needs it, and your poet begs,

The pounded yellow of two well-boil’d eggs.

Let onion’s atoms lurk within the bowl,

And, scarce suspected, animate the whole;

And, lastly, o’er the flavour’d compound toss

A magic soupçon of anchovy sauce.

Oh, green and glorious! Oh, herbaceous treat!

’Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat:

Back to the world he’d turn his fleeting soul,

And plunge his fingers in the salad-bowl!

Serenely full, the epicure would say,

Fate cannot harm me, I have dined to-day.

And, lastly, in the flavour’d compound toss

A magic spoonful of anchovy sauce.

Oh! great and glorious, and herbaceous treat,

’Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat.

Back to the world he’d turn his weary soul,

And plunge his fingers in the salad-bowl.”

Was Mrs. Beeton quoting from memory? Or do we blame an intermediary source?

585ff. (Chapter XII). QUADRUPEDS

Here is Isabella Beeton making thorough use of Bingley’s Animal Biography. Notice how nimbly she jumps from one passage to another—in fact, from one volume to another. The BOHM skips Bingley’s description of the Neck (I.28), and several pages about walking (most of I.29-32).

Bingley, Animal Biography, I:25-28 BOHM

The Empire of Nature has, by the general assent of mankind, been divided into three essential kingdoms; the first consisting of minerals, the second of vegetables, and the third of animals.

585. By the General Assent of Mankind, the Empire of Nature has been divided into three kingdoms; the first consisting of minerals, the second of vegetables, and the third of animals.

The Mineral Kingdom, which consists of substances destitute of the organs necessary to life or motion, occupies in rude masses the interior parts of the earth. It is formed from the accidental aggregation of particles, which, under certain circumstances, take a constant and regular figure, but which are more frequently found without any definite confor­mation.—

The Mineral Kingdom comprises all substances which are without those organs necessary to locomotion, and the due performance of the functions of life. They are composed of the accidental aggregation of particles, which, under certain circumstances, take a constant and regular figure, but which are more frequently found without any definite conformation. They also occupy the interior parts of the earth, as well as compose those huge masses by which we see the land in some parts guarded against the encroachments of the sea.
The Vegetable Kingdom clothes the surface of the earth with verdure. It consists of organized bodies, destitute of the power of locomotion, or changing place at will. These imbibe nutriment through their roots, respire air by their leaves, and continue their various kinds by means of seed dispersed within proper limits.— The Vegetable Kingdom covers and beautifies the earth with an endless variety of form and colour. It consists of organized bodies, but destitute of the power of locomotion. They are nourished by means of roots; they breathe by means of leaves; and propagate by means of seed, dispersed within certain limits.
The Animal Kingdom adorns the external parts of the earth with sentient beings. These have voluntary motion, respire air, are impelled to action by the cravings of want, by love, and by pain. They keep within proper bounds, by preying on them, the numbers both of animals and vegetables. The Animal Kingdom consists of sentient beings, that enliven the external parts of the earth. They possess the powers of voluntary motion, respire air, and are forced into action by the cravings of hunger or the parching of thirst, by the instincts of animal passion, or by pain. Like the vegetable kingdom, they are limited within the boundaries of certain countries by the conditions of climate and soil; and some of the species prey upon each other.

The latter of these kingdoms was subdivided by Linnæus into six classes, viz. Mammiferous Animals, which he called Mammalia, Birds, Amphibious Animals, Fishes, Insects, and Worms.

Linnæus has divided them into six classes;—Mammalia, Birds, Fishes, Amphibious Animals, Insects, and Worms. The three latter do not come within the limits of our domain; of fishes we have already treated, of birds we shall treat, and of mammalia we will now treat.

The class of animals denominated Mammalia comprehends all those that nourish their young by means of lactiferous glands or teats, and that have, flowing in their veins, a warm and red blood. It includes the whales, an order that, from external shape and habits of life, has usually been arranged among the fishes. It is true that these animals inhabit exclusively the water, an element in which none of the quadrupeds can long subsist, and are furnished like the fish with fins, still, however, in every essential charac­teristic, they exhibit an alliance to the quadrupeds. They have warm blood, produce their young alive, and nourish them with milk furnished from teats. In their internal structure they are likewise in a great measure allied to the quadrupeds, having similar lungs, and two auricles, and two ventricles to the heart.

586. This Class of Animals embraces all those that nourish their young by means of lacteal glands, or teats, and are so constituted as to have a warm or red blood. In it the whale is placed,—an order which, from external habits, has usually been classed with the fishes; but, although this animal exclusively inhabits the water, and is supplied with fins, it nevertheless exhibits a striking alliance to quadrupeds. It has warm blood, and produces its young alive; it nourishes them with milk, and, for that purpose, is furnished with teats. It is also supplied with lungs, and two auricles and two ventricles to the heart; all of which bring it still closer into an alliance with the quadrupedal species of the animal kingdom.

587. The General Characteristics of the Mammalia have been frequently noticed. The bodies of nearly the whole species are covered with hair, a kind of clothing which is both soft and warm, little liable to injury, and bestowed in proportion to the necessities of the animal and the nature of the climate it inhabits.

The bodies of nearly all the mammiferous animals, are covered with hair, a soft and warm clothing liable to little injury, and bestowed in quantity proportioned to the necessities of the animals, and the climates which they inhabit. In most of the aquatic quadrupeds this covering, from its too free absorption of moisture, is wanting.

The head in all the higher orders of animals, is the seat of the principal organs of sense, the mouth, the nose, the eyes, and the ears. It is through the mouth that they receive their nourishment. This contains the teeth, which in most of the Mammalia are used not only for the mastication of their food, but as weapons of offence. They are inserted into two moveable bones called the upper and under jaw. The front teeth whose office it is to cut, are wedge-shaped, and so placed that in action their sharp edges are brought into contact, and thus divide the aliment.—Next to these, on each side, are situated the canine-teeth or tusks. They are longer than the other teeth, conical and pointed, but the points do not directly meet on closing the mouth. Their use is to tear the food.—The teeth in the back of the jaw, between which the food is masticated, are called grinders. In animals that live on vegetables, these are flattened at the top, but in carnivorous animals their upper surfaces are furnished with sharp conically pointed protuberances. From the numbers, form, and disposition of the teeth, the various genera of quadrupeds have been arranged.

In all the higher orders of animals, the head is the principal seat of the organs of sense. It is there that the eyes, the ears, the nose, and the mouth are placed. Through the last they receive their nourishment. In it are the teeth, which, in most of the mammalia, are used not only for the mastication of food, but as weapons of offence. They are inserted into two movable bones called jaws, and the front teeth are so placed that their sharp edges may easily be brought in contact with their food, in order that its fibres may readily be separated. Next to these, on each side, are situated the canine teeth, or tusks, which are longer than the other teeth, and, being pointed, are used to tear the food. In the back jaws are placed another form of teeth, called grinders. These are for masticating the food; and in those animals that live on vegetables, they are flattened at the top; but, in carnivora, their upper surfaces are furnished with sharp-pointed protuberances. From the numbers, form, and disposition of the teeth, the various genera of quadrupeds have been arranged.

The nose is a cartilaginous body pierced with two holes called nostrils. In some animals this is prominent, in others flat, compressed, turned upwards, or bent downwards. In beasts of prey it is often either longer than the lips, or of equal length with them. In a few animals it is elongated into a moveable trunk or proboscis, and in one tribe, the Rhinoceros, it is armed with an horn.

The nose is a cartilaginous body, pierced with two holes, which are called nostrils. Through these the animal is affected by the sense of smell; and in some it is prominent, whilst in others it is flat, compressed, turned upwards, or bent downwards. In beasts of prey, it is frequently longer than the lips; and in some other animals it is elongated into a movable trunk or proboscis, whilst, in the rhinoceros tribe, it is armed with a horn.

The eyes of quadrupeds are for the most part defended by moveable eye-lids, whose outer margins are furnished with hairs, called eye-lashes. The opening of the pupil is in general circular, but in some animals, as Cats and Hares, it is contracted into a perpendicular line, and in Oxen, Horses, and a few others, it forms a transverse bar. The opening contracts during the day, that the very sensible retina may not be irritated by the rays of light; and is expanded in the dark to allow as many rays as possible to pass.

The eyes of quadrupeds are generally defended by movable lids, on the outer margins of which are fringes of hair, called eyelashes. The opening of the pupil is in general circular; but in some species, as in those of the Cat and Hare, it is contracted into a perpendicular line, whilst in the Horse, the Ox, and a few others, it forms a transverse bar.

The ears are openings generally accompanied by a cartilage which defends and covers them, called the external ears. In aquatic animals the latter are wanting, the sounds in them being transmitted merely through holes, which have the name of auditory holes. The most defenceless animals are very delicate in their sense of hearing, as are likewise most of the beasts of prey. In wild animals the ears are erect and somewhat funnel shaped, capable of having their opening turned towards the quarter from whence the sounds proceed, but in those that are tame or domestic the ears are, for the most part, long and pendulous.

The ears are openings, generally accompanied with a cartilage which defends and covers them, called the external ears. In water-animals the latter are wanting; sound, in them, being transmitted merely through orifices in the head, which have the name of auditory-holes. The most defenceless animals are extremely delicate in the sense of hearing, as are likewise most beasts of prey.
Bingley I:28-29

Most of the Mammiferous Animals walk on four feet, which are usually divided at the extremities into toes or fingers. The extremities, however, of some, as the Horse, end in a single corneous substance, called a hoof. The toes of a few of the quadrupeds end in broad flat nails, and of most of the others in pointed claws. Sometimes the toes are connected together by a membrane: this is the case in animals that spend part of their lives in the water. Sometimes, as in the Bats, the digitations of the anterior feet are greatly elongated, having their intervening space filled by a membrane which extends round the hinder legs and the tail, and by means of which they are enabled to rise into the air.

Most of the mammiferous animals walk on four feet, which, at the extremities, are usually divided into toes or fingers. In some, however, the feet end in a single corneous substance called a hoof. The toes of a few end in broad, flat nails, and of most others, in pointed claws. Some, again, have the toes connected by a membrane, which is adapted to those that are destined to pass a considerable portion of their lives in water. Others, again, as in the Bat, have the digitations of the anterior feet greatly elongated, the intervening space being filled by a membrane, which extends round the hinder legs and tail, and by means of which they are enabled to rise into the air.
Bingley I:32-35

Man, and a certain number of other animals are capable of seizing objects, by surrounding and grasping them with their fingers. For this purpose the fingers are separate, free, flexible, and of a certain length. Man has such fingers on his hands only; but Apes and some other kinds of animals have them both on their hands and feet.—Only Man, Apes, and Lemurs have the thumb separate, and capable of being opposed to the fingers, so as to form a kind of forceps. These are therefore the only animals that can hold moveable objects in a single hand.—

In Man, the hand alone comprises fingers, separate, free, and flexible; but Apes, and some other kinds of animals, have fingers both to the hands and feet. These, therefore, are the only animals that can hold movable objects in a single hand.
The others, as Squirrels, Rats, Opossums, &c. that have the fingers sufficiently small and flexible to enable them to take up objects, are obliged to hold them in both hands.—Others, which have the toes shorter, and which besides are under the necessity of resting on the fore feet, as Dogs, and Cats, can only hold substances by fixing them upon the ground with their paws.—Lastly, those that have the toes united and drawn together under the skin, or enveloped in corneous hoofs, are incapable of exercising any prehensile power. Others, such as Rats and Squirrels, have the fingers sufficiently small and flexible to enable them to pick up objects; but they are compelled to hold them in both hands. Others, again, have the toes shorter, and must rest on the fore-feet, as is the case with dogs and cats when they wish to hold a substance firmly on the ground with their paws. There are still others that have their toes united and drawn under the skin, or enveloped in corneous hoofs, and are thereby enabled to exercise no prehensile power whatever.

According to the destination of Nature, the Mammiferous Animals are calculated, when full grown, to subsist upon food of various kinds; some to live wholly upon flesh, others upon grain, herbs, or fruits of different kinds; but in their infant state, milk is the food appropriated to the whole. And that this food may never fail to them, it is universally ordained, that the young is no sooner born than milk flows in abundance into the members provided in the mother for the secretion of that nutritious fluid. The infant animal searches for the teat almost as soon as it comes into life, and knows perfectly at the first how by suction to extract the fluid that preserves its existence.

588. According to the Design and End of Nature, mammiferous animals are calculated, when arrived at maturity, to subsist on various kinds of food,—some to live wholly upon flesh, others upon grain, herbs, or fruits; but in their infant state, milk is the appropriate food of the whole. That this food may never fail them, it is universally ordained, that the young should no sooner come into the world, than the milk should flow in abundance into the members with which the mother is supplied for the secretion of that nutritious fluid. By a wonderful instinct of Nature, too, the young animal, almost as soon as it has come into life, searches for the teat, and knows perfectly, at the first, how, by the process of suction, it will be able to extract the fluid necessary to its existence.

In the general economy of Nature it is one great business of this class of animals to keep up a constant equilibrium in the number of animated beings of the world. To man they are immedi­ately useful in various ways; they afford him their bodies for food, and their fleece to shelter him from cold. Some of them partake with him the dangers of combat with his enemies; and others pursue and obtain for him the animals necessary to his subsistence. Many indeed are injurious to him, but most of them, in some shape or other, prove their services and importance.

589. In the General Economy of Nature, this class of animals seems destined to preserve a constant equilibrium in the number of animated beings that hold their existence on the surface of the earth. To man they are immedi­ately useful in various ways. Some of their bodies afford him food, their skin shoes, and their fleece clothes. Some of them unite with him in participating the dangers of combat with an enemy, and others assist him in the chase, in exterminating wilder sorts, or banishing them from the haunts of civilization. Many, indeed, are injurious to him; but most of them, in some shape or other, he turns to his service.

Bingley II:76-77

There is scarcely any part of the Ox that is not of some use to mankind. Boxes, combs, knife-handles, and drinking-vessels, are made of the horns. The horns, when softened with boiling water, become so pliable, as to be formed into transparent plates for lanterns; an invention ascribed to King Alfred, who is said to have first used them to preserve his candle-time measurers from the wind. Their dung is useful as manure. Glue is made of the cartilages, gristles, and the finer pieces of cuttings and parings of the hides, boiled in water, till they become gelatinous and the parts sufficiently dissolved, and then dried. The bone is a cheap substitute, in many instances, for ivory. The thinnest of the Calves-skins are manufactured into vellum. The blood is used as the basis of Prussian-blue. Sadlers and others use a fine sort of thread, prepared from the sinews, which is much stronger than any other equally fine. The hair is valuable in various manufactures; and the suet, fat, and tallow, for candles. The utility of the milk and cream is well known.

Of these there is none he has made more subservient to his purposes than the common ox, of which there is scarcely a part that he has not been able to convert into some useful purpose. Of the horns he makes drinking-vessels, knife-handles, combs, and boxes; and when they are softened by means of boiling water, he fashions them into transparent plates for lanterns. This invention is ascribed to King Alfred, who is said to have been the first to use them to preserve his candle time-measures from the wind. Glue is made of the cartilages, gristles, and the finer pieces of the parings and cuttings of the hides. Their bone is a cheap substitute for ivory. The thinnest of the calf-skins are manufactured into vellum. Their blood is made the basis of Prussian blue, and saddlers use a fine sort of thread prepared from their sinews. The hair is used in various valuable manufactures; the suet, fat, and tallow, are moulded into candles; and the milk and cream of the cow yield butter and cheese. Thus is every part of this animal valuable to man, who has spared no pains to bring it to the highest state of perfection.

594. The general Mode of Slaughtering Oxen

In the BOHM we read:

The general Mode of Slaughtering Oxen in this country is by striking them a smart blow with a hammer or poleaxe on the head, a little above the eyes. By this means, when the blow is skilfully given, the beast is brought down at one blow, and, to prevent recovery, a cane is generally inserted, by which the spinal cord is perforated, which instantly deprives the ox of all sensation of pain. In Spain, and some other countries on the continent, it is also usual to deprive oxen of life by the operation of pithing or dividing the spinal cord in the neck, close to the back part of the head. This is, in effect, the same mode as is practised in the celebrated Spanish bull-fights by the matador, and it is instantaneous in depriving the animal of sensation, if the operator be skilful. We hope and believe that those men whose disagreeable duty it is to slaughter the “beasts of the field” to provide meat for mankind, inflict as little punishment and cause as little suffering as possible.

Here is Bingley in Animal Biography (II:78-79) on the same subject:

I cannot conclude this article without a remark on the barbarous mode of slaughtering Oxen adopted in this country. Drawn with his horns to a ring, this wretched animal has his head sometimes shattered to pieces by the butcher’s axe before he falls. Three or four blows are often insufficient to deprive him of sensation, and it not unfrequently happens, that after the first or second blow he breaks loose from his murderers, and has to be seized and tied up afresh. Those who have heard his groans and bellowings on these occasions will easily be convinced of the agony he undergoes. The Portuguese slay their oxen by passing a sharp knife through the vertebrae of the neck into the spine, which causes instant death. Lord Somerville took with him to Lisbon a person to be instructed in this method of “laying down cattle,” as it is termed there, in the hopes that our slaughtermen might be induced to take the same mode; but with unheard of stupidity and prejudice, they have hitherto invariably refused to adopt it, nor will they probably ever do it, unless compelled by some act of the legislature.

And here is Webster (pg. 370), writing a few decades later:

Oxen are killed by striking them on the forehead with a pole-axe, to stun them and cause them to fall, and they are then bled by dividing the blood-vessels of the throat. As this method has the appearance of cruelty, and is not free from danger if the operation is unskilfully performed, some, and in particular Lord Somerville, have recommended a mode practised in Barbary, Spain, and Portugal, called pithing, which consists in thrusting a sharp knife at once into the spinal marrow above the origin of the phrenic nerves, by which the animal drops down in an instant without the smallest struggle, after which it is bled by dividing the arteries about the heart. Notwithstanding the apparent advantages of this mode, it is but little employed in Britain; and it is said that the method is only apparently less cruel; for, though the puncture of the spinal marrow renders the body motionless, it does not destroy feeling; and that the animal is even made to die a more painful death, whereas, in the usual method, a concussion of the brain is caused by the blow, by which all feeling is destroyed. It is said also that the flesh of cattle killed by pithing is dark-coloured, owing to imperfect bleeding, as the action of the heart ceases before the bleeding is attempted, in consequence of which the blood does not flow freely.

649. French Beef.

The BOHM gives the story nearly verbatim—accents and all—except for the context. In Lewes, it serves to introduce a long discussion of the merits of horsemeat:

Lewes, Physiology of Common Life, II:160 BOHM
 

Mr. Lewis, in his “Physiology of Common Life,” has thus revived the story of the beef-eating son of France:—

2. Horse-flesh.—A Frenchman was one day blandly remon­strating against the super­cilious scorn expressed by Englishmen for the beef of France, which he, for his part, did not find so inferior to that of England. “I have been two times in England,” he remarked, “but I nevère find the bif so supérieur to ours. I find it vary conveenient that they bring it you on leetle pieces of stick, for one penny; but I do not find the bif supérieur.” On hearing this, the Englishman, red with astonishment, exclaimed, “Good God, sir! you have been eating cat’s meat.”

“A Frenchman was one day blandly remonstrating against the super­cilious scorn expressed by Englishmen for the beef of France, which he, for his part, did not find so inferior to that of England. ‘I have been two times in England,’ he remarked, ‘but I nevère find the bif so supérieur to ours. I find it vary conveenient that they bring it you on leetle pieces of stick, for one penny; but I do not find the bif superieur.’ On hearing this, the Englishman, red with astonishment, exclaimed, ‘Good heavens, sir! you have been eating cat’s meat.’”

It is very true, he had been eating cat’s meat; but had he not at the same time been eating meat as succulent, savoury, and wholesome as the marbled beef of which the Briton is so proud?

 

675. The Tongues of Animals.

Here, as so often, when Isabella Beeton seems to name a source, it is because the work or author was named in an intermediary source—in this case Lewes, who gives an exact citation. Note Lewes’s sensible criticism of his source’s conclusions. (In fairness, Carpenter does add, “As a general rule it may be stated, that substances of which the taste is agreeable to us are useful in our nutrition, and vice versâ”.) Mrs. Beeton omits this part, possibly because she didn’t have the nerve to pass it off as her own thoughts.

Surprisingly, in view of Lewes’s own opinions on horsemeat, Mrs. Beeton’s final sentences (“However this may be . . .”) come from some other source. The passage isn’t from Tricks of the Trade, which generally finds nothing wrong with potted tongue.

Lewes, Physiology of Common Life, II:303-304 BOHM

Our senses are the sentinels which guard us against the approach of danger. The sense of Taste warns us against swallowing deleterious substances, as that of Smell warns us against noxious gases, and against some that are not noxious, while it allows others to pass which are very injurious. Indeed, the value of this service must not be exaggerated, as by many writers it is, who seem blind to daily fact, when they have a thesis to maintain. The Senses are sentinels which sometimes sleep, and sometimes allow an enemy to pass, if the watchword be given; and thus children are poisoned by agreeable berries, men eat with great relish substances which prove very noxious.

The tongue, whether in the ox or in man, is the seat of the sense of taste. This sense warns the animal against swallowing deleterious substances.

“Among the lower animals,” says Dr Carpenter, “the instinctive perceptions connected with this sense are much more remarkable than our own”—a statement which is somewhat startling, considering that man’s instinct has enabled him to detect so many eatable substances which prove eminently beneficial; but the grounds on which the statement is made are questionable: “Thus,” he continues, “an omnivorous monkey will seldom touch fruits of a poisonous character, although their taste may be agreeable.”* Agreeable to whom?—to the monkey? If the taste were agreeable to the monkey, the poisonous character of the fruit would not prevent his eating it; if disagreeable to the monkey, there is surely small marvel in his leaving it untouched, however pleasant the flavour may be to another animal. Dr. Carpenter says, that, among the lower animals, the instinctive perceptions connected with this sense, are much more remarkable than our own; thus, an omnivorous monkey will seldom touch fruits of a poisonous character, although their taste may be agreeable.

* Human Physiology, p. 696.

However this may be, man’s instinct has decided that ox-tongue is better than horse-tongue; never­theless, the latter is frequently substituted by dishonest dealers for the former. The horse’s tongue may be readily distinguished by a spoon-like expansion at its end.

739. The Ettrick Shepherd.

By 1859, a “James Hogg” entry must have made his way into the Beeton household’s favorite encyclo­pedia. But most of this description goes back to John G. Lockhart’s multi-volume biography of Sir Walter Scott, originally published in 1837–38, with many later editions ranging from 5 to 10 volumes. Here we are in Chapter X (continuous numbering), Volume II of the 1862 Edinburgh edition:

Lockhart BOHM

The personal history of James Hogg must have interested Scott even more than any acquisition of that sort which he owed to this acquaintance with, perhaps, the most remark­able man that ever wore the maud of a shepherd. But I need not here repeat a tale which his own language will convey to the latest posterity. Under the garb, aspect, and bearing of a rude peasant—and rude enough he was in most of these things, even after no inconsiderable experience of society—Scott found a brother poet, a true son of nature and genius, hardly conscious of his powers.

James Hogg was perhaps the most remarkable man that ever wore the maud of a shepherd. Under the garb, aspect, and bearing of a rude peasant (and rude enough he was in most of these things, even after no inconsiderable experience of society), the world soon discovered a true poet.

He had taught himself to write by copying the letters of a printed book as he lay watching his flock on the hill-side, and had probably reached the utmost pitch of his ambition when he first found that his artless rhymes could touch the heart of the ewe-milker who partook the shelter of his mantle during the passing storm. He taught himself to write, by copying the letters of a printed book as he lay watching his flock on the hillside, and believed that he had reached the utmost pitch of his ambition when he first found that his artless rhymes could touch the heart of the ewe-milker who partook the shelter of his mantle during the passing storm.
As yet his naturally kind and simple character had not been exposed to any of the dangerous flatteries of the world; his heart was pure—his enthusiasm buoyant as that of a happy child; and well as Scott knew that reflection, sagacity, wit, and wisdom, were scattered abundantly among the humblest rangers of these pastoral solitudes, there was here a depth and a brightness that filled him with wonder, combined with a quaintness of humour, and a thousand little touches of absurdity, which afforded him more entertainment, as I have often heard him say, than the best comedy that ever set the pit in a roar. If “the shepherd” of Professor Wilson’s “Noctes Ambro­sianæ” may be taken as a true portrait of James Hogg, we must admit that, for quaintness of humour, the poet of Ettrick Forest had few rivals. Sir Walter Scott said that Hogg’s thousand little touches of absurdity afforded him more entertainment than the best comedy that ever set the pit in a roar.

806-809. Curing Bacon

In spite of the heading, Isabella Beeton didn’t take this recipe directly from Cottage Economy (where it is scattered across pgs. 153-159 of the 1822 edition). Her immediate source seems to be Bishop’s Illustrated London Cookery Book. The same author’s slightly later The Wife’s Own Book of Cookery gives the identical recipe.

Bishop, pg. 124-125 BOHM
TO CURE BACON. COBBETT’S RECEIPT.
FOR CURING BACON, AND KEEPING IT FREE FROM RUST (Cobbett’s Recipe).

The two sides that remain, and which are called flitches, are to be cured for bacon. They are first rubbed with salt on their insides, or flesh sides, then placed one on the other, the flesh sides uppermost, in a salting trough which has a gutter round its edges to drain away the brine, for to have sweet and fine bacon the flitches must not be sopping in brine, which gives it the sort of taste that barrel pork and sea pork have, and than which nothing is more villanous; every one knows how different is the taste of fresh dry salt from that of salt in a dissolved state, therefore change the salt often, once in four or five days; let it melt and sink in, but let it not lie too long; change the flitches, put that at bottom which was first on the top, do this a couple of times; this mode will cost you a great deal more in salt than the sopping mode, but without it your bacon will not be so sweet and fine, nor keep so well.

806. The two Sides that remain, and which are called flitches, are to be cured for bacon. They are first rubbed with salt on their insides, or flesh sides, then placed one on the other, the flesh sides uppermost, in a salting-trough which has a gutter round its edges to drain away the brine; for, to have sweet and fine bacon, the flitches must not be sopping in brine, which gives it the sort of vile taste that barrel and sea pork have. Every one knows how different is the taste of fresh dry salt from that of salt in a dissolved state; therefore change the salt often,—once in 4 or 5 days; let it melt and sink in, but not lie too long; twice change the flitches, put that at bottom which was first on the top: this mode will cost you a great deal more in salt than the sopping mode, but without it your bacon will not be so sweet and fine, nor keep so well.

As for the time required in making your flitches sufficiently salt, it depends on circumstances, the thickness of the flitch, the state of the weather, the place wherein the salting is going on; it takes a longer time for a thick than a thin flitch; it takes longer in dry than in damp weather; it takes longer in a dry than in a damp place; but for the flitches of a hog of five score, in weather not very dry or damp, about six weeks may do; and as yours is to be fat, which receives little injury from over salting, give time enough, for you are to have bacon until Christmas comes again. As for the time required in making your flitches sufficiently salt, it depends on circumstances. It takes a longer time for a thick than a thin flitch, and longer in dry than in damp weather, or in a dry than in a damp place; but for the flitches of a hog of five score, in weather not very dry or damp, about 6 weeks may do; and as yours is to be fat, which receives little injury from over-salting, give time enough, for you are to have bacon until Christmas comes again.

The place for salting should, like a dairy, always be cool, but always admit of a free circulation of air; confined air, though cool, will taint meat sooner than the mid-day sun accompanied by a breeze. With regard to smoking the bacon, two precautions are necessary: first, to hang the flitches where no rain comes down upon them, and next, that the smoke must proceed from wood, not peat, turf, nor coal. As to the time it requires to smoke a flitch, it must depend a good deal upon whether there be a constant fire beneath, and whether the fire be large or small; a month will do if the fire be pretty constant, and rich as a farm-house fire usually is; but over smoking, or rather too long hanging in the air, makes the bacon rust; great attention should therefore be paid to this matter. The flitch ought not to be dried up to the hardness of a board, and yet it ought to be perfectly dry; before you hang it up lay it on the floor, scatter the flesh side pretty thickly over with bran, or with some fine sawdust, not of deal or fir; rub it on the flesh, or pat it well down upon it, this keeps the smoke from getting into the little openings, and makes a sort of crust to be dried on.

807. The Place for Salting should, like a dairy, always be cool, but well ventilated; confined air, though cool, will taint meat sooner than the midday sun accompanied by a breeze. With regard to smoking the bacon, two precautions are necessary: first, to hang the flitches where no rain comes down upon them; and next, that the smoke must proceed from wood, not peat, turf, or coal. As to the time required to smoke a flitch, it depends a good deal upon whether there be a constant fire beneath; and whether the fire be large or small: a month will do, if the fire be pretty constant and rich, as a farmhouse fire usually is; but over-smoking, or rather too long hanging in the air, makes the bacon rust; great attention should therefore be paid to this matter. The flitch ought not to be dried up to the hardness of a board, and yet it ought to be perfectly dry. Before you hang it up, lay it on the floor, scatter the flesh side pretty thickly over with bran, or with some fine sawdust, not of deal or fir; rub it on the flesh, or pat it well down upon it: this keeps the smoke from getting into the little openings, and makes a sort of crust to be dried on.

“To keep the bacon sweet and good, and free from hoppers, sift fine some clean and dry wood ashes. Put some at the bottom of a box or chest, long enough to hold a flitch of bacon. Lay in one flitch, and then put in more ashes, then another flitch, and cover this with six or eight inches of the ashes. The place where the box or chest is kept ought to be dry, and should the ashes become damp, they should be put in the fire-place to dry, and when cold put back again. With these precautions, the bacon will be as good at the end of the year, as on the first day.”

808. To keep the Bacon sweet and good, and free from hoppers, sift fine some clean and dry wood ashes. Put some at the bottom of a box or chest long enough to hold a flitch of bacon; lay in one flitch, and then put in more ashes, then another flitch, and cover this with six or eight inches of the ashes. The place where the box or chest is kept ought to be dry, and should the ashes become damp, they should be put in the fireplace to dry, and when cold, put back again. With these precautions, the bacon will be as good at the end of the year as on the first day.

It may be as well to observe in reference to the above receipt, given by the very celebrated William Cobbett in his Cottage Economy, that most counties in England have their peculiar method of curing hams and bacon, each varying in some slight degree from the other, and, of course, each is considered orthodox. But for simple general rules, the above may be safely taken as a guide; and those who implicitly follow the directions given will possess at the expiration of from six weeks to two months well flavoured and well cured bacon.

809. For Simple General Rules, these may be safely taken as a guide; and those who implicitly follow the directions given, will possess at the expiration of from 6 weeks to 2 months well-flavoured and well-cured bacon.

The final paragraph, beginning “It may be as well to observe”, is Bishop’s addition. On the other hand, Cobbett—who was writing for a rural audience—took the trouble to explain about hoppers: “To keep the bacon . . . free from nasty things that they call hoppers: that is to say, a sort of skipping maggots, engendered by a fly which has a great relish for bacon.”

871. Cooking Collops.

“Dean Ramsay” is Edward Bannerman Ramsay (1793–1872), Dean of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church. His Reminiscences went through any number of editions both during and after the author’s life. In all versions that I’ve been able to find, the story goes like this:

Ramsay BOHM

A very strong-minded lady of the class, and, in Lord Cockburn’s language, “indifferent about modes and habits,” had been asking from a lady the character of a cook she was about to hire. The lady naturally entered a little upon her moral qualifi­cations, and described her as a very decent woman; the reply to which was, “Oh, d—n her decency; can she make good collops?”—an answer which would somewhat surprise a lady of Moray Place now, if engaged in a similar discussion of a servant’s merits.

Dean Ramsay, who tells us, in his “Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character,” a number of famous stories of the strong-headed, warm-hearted, and plain-spoken old dames of the north, gives, amongst them, the following:—A strong-minded lady of this class was inquiring the character of a cook she was about to hire. The lady who was giving the character entered a little upon the cook’s moral qualifi­cations, and described her as a very decent woman; to which the astounding reply—this was 60 years ago, and a Dean tells the story—“Oh, d——n her decency: can she make good collops?”

Conclusion: Isabella Beeton isn’t quoting directly from the Reminiscences. She’s quoting someone else, who in turn is quoting from (imperfect) memory—and adding some editorial comments.

893. Birth of Calves.

Martin’s Cattle tells the same story, naming the same French source. But Isabella Beeton may not be quoting him directly; where did she get “trustworthy but extraordinary”?

Martin, Cattle, I:29 BOHM

In the Nouveau Bulletin des Sciences, a most extraordinary account is given of a cow which produced nine calves at three successive births. First, in 1817, four cow calves; secondly, in 1818, three calves, two of them females; and thirdly, in 1819, two calves, both females. With the exception of two, belonging to the first birth, all were suckled by the mother.

The cow seldom produces more than a single calf; sometimes, twins, and, very rarely, three. A French news­paper, however,—the “Nouveau Bulletin des Sciences,”—gave a trustworthy but extraordinary account of a cow which produced nine calves in all, at three successive births, in three successive years. The first year four cow calves; the second year, three calves, two of them females; the third year, two calves, both females. With the exception of two belonging to the first birth, all were suckled by the mother.

897. A very Veal Dinner.

Dean Ramsay tells this story, but he didn’t make it up. There’s an 1831 version (published in Classic Cullings and Fugitive Gatherings) which in turn comes from an unnamed earlier source.

Classic Cullings, pg. 301 Ramsay, pg. 96 BOHM

Lord Polkemmet (a Lord of Session) usually retired to his country residence during that part of the year when the Court did no business. John Hagart (the Scotch advocate) equally idle, from a similar cause, went to shoot; and happening to pass Lord P.’s property, met his lordship, who politely invited John to tak a family dinner with himself, his wife, and daughter. John accepted this invitation, and they all assembled at the hour of dinner.

I am assured that the following scene took place at the table of Lord Polkemmet, at a dinner party in his house.

At a dinner given by Lord Polkemmet, a Scotch nobleman and judge,

There was a joint of roasted veal at the head of the table, stewed veal at the bottom, veal soup in the middle, veal’s head on one side of the soup, and veal cutlets on the other, calf s foot jelly between the soup and roast veal, and veal’s brains between the stewed veal and the soup. When the covers were removed, the dinner was seen to consist of veal broth, a roast fillet of veal, veal cutlets, a florentine (an excellent old Scottish dish composed of veal), a calf’s head, calf’s foot jelly. his guests saw, when the covers were removed, that the fare consisted of veal broth, a roasted fillet of veal, veal cutlets, a veal pie, a calf’s head, and calf’s-foot jelly.
“Noo,” says his lordship, in his own blunt way, “Mr. H. you may very likely think this an odd sort of dinner; but ye’ll no wonder when ye ken the cause of it. We keep nae company, Mr. H.; and Miss B. here, my daughter, caters for our table. The worthy judge could not help observing a surprise on the countenance of his guests, and perhaps a simper on some; so he broke out in explanation: The judge, observing the surprise of his guests, volunteered an explanation.—
The way we do is just this: we kill a beast as it were to-day, and we just begin to cook it at one side of the head, travel down that side, turn the tail, and just gang back again by the other side to where we began.” “Ou ay, it’s a’ cauf; when we kill a beast we just eat up ae side and doun the tither.” “Ou, ay, it’s a’ cauf; when we kill a beast, we just eat up ae side, and doun the tither.

917ff. (Chapter XXI). BIRDS

Except for the poetry, and the “according to Mr. Vigors” digression in the first paragraph, this entire chapter is straight from Bingley.

Bingley, Animal Biography, II.149-151 BOHM

There is no division of the animal creation in which we are more led to admire the wisdom of the Supreme Being than in the different feathered tribes. Their structure, and habits of life, are wonderfully fitted for the various functions they have to perform.

917. The Divisions of Birds are founded principally on their habits of life, and the natural resemblance which their external parts, especially their bills, bear to each other. According to Mr. Vigors . . . .

Every class of animals has indeed its peculiar and appropriate designation. Not only these, however, but all classes of animals, have their peculiar ends to fulfil; and, in order that this may be effectually performed, they are constructed in such a manner as will enable them to carry out their conditions.
The quadrupeds, muscular and vigorous, tread the earth in common with man; and are either subdued to docility, or left to range in their native wilds. The Birds, generally feeble and timid, wing their flight in the air, and thus elude the force which they are not able to resist. When elevated high in the atmosphere, notwithstanding the tendency of all bodies towards the centre of the earth, they glide with ease and vigour; vary their course to every direction with the utmost promptitude; and at last descend, often from the clouds, on a particular spot, with the greatest exactness, and without the slightest danger. Thus the quadrupeds, that are formed to tread the earth in common with man, are muscular and vigorous; and, whether they have passed into the servitude of man, or are permitted to range the forest or the field, they still retain, in a high degree, the energies with which they were originally endowed. Birds, on the contrary, are generally feeble, and, therefore, timid. Accordingly, wings have been given them to enable them to fly through the air, and thus elude the force which, by nature, they are unable to resist. Notwithstanding the natural tendency of all bodies towards the centre of the earth, birds, when raised in the atmosphere, glide through it with the greatest ease, rapidity, and vigour. There, they are in their natural element, and can vary their course with the greatest promptitude—can mount or descend with the utmost facility, and can light on any spot with the most perfect exactness, and without the slightest injury to themselves.

Their bodies are clad with feathers; which are much lighter than coverings of hair, and therefore better calculated for aiding their flight than these would be. The feathers lie over each other, close to the body, like the tiles of a house; and are arranged from the fore-part backwards, by which the animals are enabled the more conveniently to cut their way through the air. For the purpose of giving warmth to the body, a short and extremely soft down fills up all the vacant spaces between the shafts of the feathers. Their elevation from the earth is also aided by their bones being hollow, and very light comparatively with those of terrestrial animals.

918. The Mechanism which enables Birds to wing their course through the air, is both singular and instructive. Their bodies are covered with feathers, which are much lighter than coverings of hair, with which quadrupeds are usually clothed. The feathers are so placed as to overlap each other, like the slates or the tiles on the roof of a house. They are also arranged from the fore-part backwards; by which the animals are enabled the more conveniently to cut their way through the air.

Their elevation from the earth is also aided by their bones being hollow, and very light comparatively with those of terrestrial animals. That they may the more easily make their way through the air, the head is small and the bill somewhat wedge-shaped. The neck is long, and easily moveable in all directions; and the body is slender, sharp on the under side, and flat or round on the back. Their bones are tubular or hollow, and extremely light compared with those of terrestrial animals. This greatly facilitates their rising from the earth, whilst their heads, being comparatively small, their bills shaped like a wedge, their bodies slender, sharp below, and round above,—all these present a union of conditions, favourable, in the last degree, to cutting their way through the aërial element to which they are considered as more peculiarly to belong.

They urge themselves forward in the air by means of wings. These are so constructed, that in striking downwards, they expand very greatly; and, except that they are somewhat hollow on the under side, they become, in this act, almost two planes.

With all these conditions, however, birds could not fly without wings. These, therefore, are the instruments by which they have the power of rapid locomotion, and are constructed in such a manner as to be capable of great expansion when struck in a downward direction. If we except, in this action, the slight hollow which takes place on the under-side, they become almost two planes.
The muscles that move the wings downwards, are exceedingly large; and have been estimated, in some instances, to constitute not less than the sixth part of the weight of the whole body. When a bird is on the ground, and intends to fly, he takes a leap, stretches his wings from the body, and strikes them downwards with great force. By this stroke they are put into an oblique direction, partly upwards and partly horizontally forwards. That part of the force tending upwards, is destroyed by the weight of the bird; and the horizontal force serves to carry him forwards. The stroke being completed, he moves up his wings; which, being contracted, and having their edges turned upwards, meet with very little resistance from the air. When they are sufficiently elevated, he takes a second stroke downwards, and the impulse of the air again moves him forward. These successive strokes act only as so many leaps taken in air. When the bird wants to turn to the right or left, he strikes strongly with the opposite wing, which impels him to the proper side. The tail acts like the rudder of a ship; except that it moves him upwards or downwards, instead of sideways. If the bird wants to rise, he raises his tail; and if to fall, he depresses it: whilst he is in an horizontal position, it keeps him steady. In order that the downward action may be accomplished to the necessary extent, the muscles which move the wings have been made exceedingly large; so large, indeed, that, in some instances, they have been estimated at not less than a sixth of the weight of the whole body. Therefore, when a bird is on the ground and intends to fly, it takes a leap, and immedi­ately stretching its wings, strikes them out with great force. By this act these are brought into an oblique direction, being turned partly upwards and partly horizontally forwards. That part of the force which has the upward tendency is neutralized by the weight of the bird, whilst the horizontal force serves to carry it forward. The stroke being completed, it moves upon its wings, which, being contracted and having their edges turned upwards, obviate, in a great measure, the resistance of the air. When it is sufficiently elevated, it makes a second stroke downwards, and the impulse of the air again moves it forward. These successive strokes may be regarded as so many leaps taken in the air. When the bird desires to direct its course to the right or the left, it strikes strongly with the opposite wing, which impels it to the proper side. In the motions of the animal, too, the tail takes a prominent part, and acts like the rudder of a ship, except that, instead of sideways, it moves upwards and downwards. If the bird wishes to rise, it raises its tail; and if to fall, it depresses it; and, whilst in a horizontal position, it keeps it steady.

A bird, by spreading his wings, can continue to move horizontally in the air for some time, without striking; because he has acquired a sufficient velocity, and, his wings being parallel to the horizon, meet with but small resistance; and, when he begins to fall, he can easily steer himself upwards by his tail, till the motion he had acquired is nearly spent, when he must renew it by two or three more strokes of his wings. On alighting, he expands his wings and tail full against the air, that they may meet with all the resistance possible.

There are few who have not observed a pigeon or a crow preserve, for some time, a horizontal flight without any apparent motion of the wings. This is accomplished by the bird having already acquired sufficient velocity, and its wings being parallel to the horizon, meeting with but small resistance from the atmosphere. If it begins to fall, it can easily steer itself upward by means of its tail, till the motion it had acquired is nearly spent, when it must be renewed by a few more strokes of the wings. On alighting, a bird expands its wings and tail fully against the air, as a ship, in tacking round, backs her sails, in order that they may meet with all the resistance possible.
Bingley II.152-155

As these animals are continually passing among hedges and thickets, they are provided, for the defence of their eyes from external injuries, as well as from too much light when flying in opposition to the rays of the sun, with a nictating or winking membrane, which can at pleasure be drawn over the whole eye, like a curtain. This covering is neither opake nor wholly pellucid, but is somewhat transparent; and it is by means of this, that the Eagle is said to gaze at the sun.—In Birds we find that the sight is much more piercing, extensive, and exact, than in the other orders of animals. The eye is much larger in proportion to the bulk of the head, than in any of these. This is a superiority conferred upon them not without a corresponding utility; it seems even indispensable to their safety and subsistence. Were this organ in birds dull, or in the least degree opake, from the rapidity of their motion they would be in danger of striking against various objects in their flight. In this case their celerity, instead of being an advantage, would become an evil, and their flight must be restrained by the danger resulting from it. Indeed, we may consider the velocity with which an animal moves, as a sure indication of the perfection of its vision. Among the quadrupeds, the Sloth has its sight greatly limited; whilst the Hawk, as it hovers in the air, can espy a Lark sitting on a clod, perhaps at twenty times the distance at which a man or a dog could perceive it.

919. In the Construction of the Eyes of birds, there is a peculiarity necessary to their condition. As they pass a great portion of their lives among thickets and hedges, they are provided for the defence of their eyes from external injuries, as well as from the effects of the light, when flying in opposition to the rays of the sun, with a nictating or winking membrane, which can, at pleasure, be drawn over the whole eye like a curtain. This covering is neither opaque nor wholly pellucid, but is somewhat transparent; and it is by its means that the eagle is said to be able to gaze at the sun. “In birds,” says a writer on this subject, “we find that the sight is much more piercing, extensive, and exact, than in the other orders of animals. The eye is much larger in proportion to the bulk of the head, than in any of these. This is a superiority conferred upon them not without a corresponding utility: it seems even indispensable to their safety and subsistence. Were this organ in birds dull, or in the least degree opaque, they would be in danger, from the rapidity of their motion, of striking against various objects in their flight. In this case their celerity, instead of being an advantage, would become an evil, and their flight be restrained by the danger resulting from it. Indeed we may consider the velocity with which an animal moves, as a sure indication of the perfection of its vision. Among the quadrupeds, the sloth has its sight greatly limited; whilst the hawk, as it hovers in the air, can espy a lark sitting on a clod, perhaps at twenty times the distance at which a man or a dog could perceive it.”

Birds respire by means of air-vessels, that are extended through the whole body, and adhere to the under surface of the bones. These, by their motion, force the air through the true lungs, which are very small, somewhat of the shape of the human lungs, and are seated in the uppermost part of the chest and closely braced down to the back and ribs. The lungs which are never expanded by air, are destined for the sole purpose of oxydating the blood. Mr. John Hunter made a variety of experiments to discover the use of this general diffusion of air through the bodies of birds; and from these he found, that it prevents their respiration from being stopped or interrupted by the rapidity of their motion through a resisting medium. The resistance of the air increases in proportion to the celerity of the motion; and were it possible for a man to move with a swiftness equal to that of a Swallow, the resistance of the air, as he is not provided with reservoirs similar to those of birds, would soon suffocate him.

920. Amongst the many peculiarities in the Construction of Birds, not the least is the mode by which their respiration is accomplished. This is effected by means of air-vessels, which extend throughout the body, and adhere to the under-surface of the bones. These, by their motion, force the air through the true lungs, which are very small, and placed in the uppermost part of the chest, and closely braced down to the back and ribs. The lungs, which are never expanded by air, are destined to the sole purpose of oxidizing the blood. In the experiments made by Mr. John Hunter, to discover the use of this general diffusion of air through the bodies of birds, he found that it prevents their respiration from being stopped or interrupted by the rapidity of their motion through a resisting medium. It is well known that, in proportion to celerity of motion, the air becomes resistive; and were it possible for a man to move with the swiftness of a swallow, as he is not provided with an internal construction similar to that of birds, the resistance of the air would soon suffocate him.

The abode of these tribes is very various; for they inhabit every corner of the world, from the hottest to the coldest regions. Some species are confined to particular countries; others are widely dispersed; and many change their abode at certain seasons of the year, and migrate to climates better suited to their temperament or mode of life, for a certain period, than those which they leave. Many of the birds of our own island, directed by a peculiar and unerring instinct, retire, before the commencement of the cold season, to the southern parts of Africa, and again return in the spring. The causes usually assigned for migration are, either a defect of food, or the want of a secure and proper asylum for incubation and the nutrition of their young. They generally perform their migrations in large companies; and, in the day, follow a leader, who is occasionally changed. Many of the tribes make a continual cry during the night in order to keep themselves together.

[Here Bingley quotes a few lines from Paradise Lost]

921. Birds are Distributed over every part of the Globe, being found in the coldest as well as the hottest regions, although some species are restricted to particular countries, whilst others are widely dispersed. At certain seasons of the year, many of them change their abodes, and migrate to climates better adapted to their temperaments or modes of life, for a time, than those which they leave. Many of the birds of Britain, directed by an unerring instinct, take their departure from the island before the commencement of winter, and proceed to the more congenial warmth of Africa, to return with the next spring. The causes assigned by naturalists for this peculiarity are, either a deficiency of food, or the want of a secure asylum for the incubation and nourishment of their young. Their migrations are generally performed in large companies, and, in the day, they follow a leader, which is occasionally changed. During the night, many of the tribes send forth a continual cry, to keep themselves together; although one would think that the noise which must accompany their flight would be sufficient for that purpose.

Bingley II.155

The flights of birds across the Mediterranean were recorded nearly three thousand years ago. “There went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought Quails from the sea, and let them fall upon the camp, and a day’s journey round about it, to the height of two cubits above the earth.”*

The flight of birds across the Mediterranean was noticed three thousand years ago, as we find it said in the book of Numbers, in the Scriptures, that “There went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall upon the camp, and a day’s journey round about it, to the height of two cubits above the earth.”
Bingley II.156-158

It appears from very accurate observations, founded on numerous experiments, that the peculiar notes, or song, of the different species of Birds, are altogether acquired, and are no more innate than language is in man. The attempt of a nestling bird to sing, may be exactly compared with the imperfect endeavour of a child to talk. The first essay seems not to possess the slightest rudiments of the future song; but, as the bird grows older and stronger, it is not difficult to perceive what it is aiming at. Whilst the scholar is thus endeavouring to form his song, when he is once sure of a passage, he commonly raises his tone, which he drops again when he is not equal to what he is attempting.

922. If the Beauty of Birds were not a recommendation to their being universally admired, their general liveliness, gaiety, and song would endear them to mankind. It appears, however, from accurate observations founded upon experiment, that the notes peculiar to different kinds of birds are altogether acquired, and that they are not innate, any more than language is to man. The attempt of a nestling bird to sing has been compared to the endeavour of a child to talk. The first attempts do not seem to possess the slightest rudiments of the future song; but, as the bird grows older and becomes stronger, it is easily perceived to be aiming at acquiring the art of giving utterance to song. Whilst the scholar is thus endeavouring to form his notes, when he is once sure of a passage, he usually raises his tone, but drops it again when he finds himself unequal to the voluntary task he has undertaken.

These, and other well-authenticated facts, seem to prove decisively, that Birds have no innate notes, but that, like mankind, the language of those to whose care they are committed at birth will be the language they adopt in after life. It may, however, seem somewhat unaccountable, from these observations, why, in a wild state, they adhere so steadily to the song of their own species only, when so many others are to be heard around them. This arises from the attention paid by the nestling bird to the instructions of its own parent only, generally disregarding the notes of all the rest. Persons, however, who have an accurate ear, and have studied the notes of different Birds, can very often distinguish some that have a song mixed with those of another species; but these are in general so trifling, as can scarcely be looked upon as any thing more than mere varieties of provincial dialects.

“Many well-authenticated facts,” says an ingenious writer, “seem decisively to prove that birds have no innate notes, but that, like mankind, the language of those to whose care they have boon committed at their birth, will be their language in after-life.” It would appear, however, somewhat unaccountable why, in a wild state, they adhere so steadily to the song of their own species only, when the notes of so many others are to be heard around them. This is said to arise from the attention paid by the nestling bird to the instructions of its own parent only, generally disregarding the notes of all the rest. Persons, however, who have an accurate ear, and who have given their attention to the songs of birds, can frequently distinguish some which have their notes mixed with those of another species; but this is in general so trifling, that it can hardly be considered as more than the mere varieties of provincial dialects.
Bingley II.159-161

The food of Birds is, of course, very different in the different kinds. Some are altogether carnivorous; others, as many of the web-footed tribes, live on fish; some on insects and worms, and many on fruits or grain.—The extraordinary powers of the gizzard in the granivorous tribes, in comminuting their hard food, so as to prepare it for digestion, would, were they not supported by incontrovertible facts founded on experiment, appear to exceed all credibility.

923. In Reference to the Food of Birds, we find that it varies, as it does in quadrupeds, according to the species. Some are altogether carnivorous; others, as so many of the web-footed tribes, subsist on fish; others, again, on insects and worms; and others on grain and fruit. The extraordinary powers of the gizzard of the granivorous tribes, in comminuting their food so as to prepare it for digestion, would, were they not supported by incontrovertible facts founded on experiment, appear to exceed all credibility.

In order to ascertain the strength of these stomachs, the ingenious Spallanzani made many cruel, though at the same time curious and very interesting, experiments.
Tin tubes, full of grain, were forced into the stomachs of Turkies; and, after remaining twenty hours, were found to be broken, compressed, and distorted in the most irregular manner. The stomach of a Cock, in the space of twenty-four hours, broke off the angles of a piece of rough jagged glass; and, upon examining the gizzard, no wound or laceration appeared. Twelve strong tin needles were firmly fixed in a ball of lead, with their points projecting about a quarter of an inch from the surface; thus armed, it was covered with a case of paper, and forced down the throat of a Turkey: the Bird retained it a day and a half without exhibiting the least symptom of uneasiness: the points of all the needles were broken off close to the surface of the ball, except two or three, of which the stumps projected a little. Tin tubes, full of grain, have been forced into the stomachs of turkeys, and in twenty-four hours have been found broken, compressed, and distorted into every shape.
Twelve small lancets, very sharp both at the points and edges, were fixed in a similar ball of lead, which was given in the same manner to a Turkey-cock, and left eight hours in the stomach: at the expiration of which time that organ was opened, but nothing appeared except the naked ball; the twelve lances having been broken to pieces—the stomach at the same time remaining perfectly sound and entire. Twelve small lancets, very sharp both at the point and edges, have been fixed in a ball of lead, covered with a case of paper, and given to a turkey-cock, and left in its stomach for eight horns. After that time the stomach was opened, when nothing appeared except the naked ball. The twelve lancets were broken to pieces, whilst the stomach remained perfectly sound and entire.
From these facts it was concluded, that the stones so often found in the stomachs of many of the feathered tribes, are highly useful in assisting the gastric juices to grind down the grain and other hard substances which constitute their food. The stones themselves also, being ground down and separated by the powerful action of the gizzard, are mixed with the food, and no doubt contribute very greatly to the health as well as to the nutriment of the animals. From these facts, it is concluded that the stones, so frequently found in the stomachs of the feathered tribes, are highly useful in assisting the gastric juices to grind down the grain and other hard substances which constitute their food. The stones, themselves, being also ground down and separated by the powerful action of the gizzard, are mixed with the food, and, no doubt, contribute very greatly to the health, as well as to the nourishment of the animals.

All Birds are oviparous, or produce eggs, from which, after the process of incubation, or sitting for a certain length of time, the young are extruded. These eggs differ in the different species, both in number, figure, and colour. They contain the rudiments of the future young; for the maturation and bringing to perfection of which, in the incubation, a bubble of air is always placed at the large end, betwixt the shell and the inside skin. It is supposed that, from the warmth communicated by the sitting Bird to this confined air, its spring is increased beyond its natural tenor, and at the same time its parts are put into motion by the gentle rarefaction. Hence pressure and motion are communicated to the parts of the egg, which in some unknown manner gradually promote the formation and growth of the young till the appointed time of its exclusion. Housewives, when they suspect an egg is not good, put their tongue to the great end to feel if it be warm: if that is not the case, it is considered a certain proof that, the air having by degrees made its escape, the egg is at length become putrid or addled.*

924. All Birds being Oviparous, the eggs which they produce after the process of incubation, or sitting for a certain length of time, are, in the various species, different both in figure and colour, as well as in point of number. They contain the elements of the future young, for the perfecting of which in the incubation a bubble of air is always placed at the large end, between the shell and the inside skin. It is supposed that from the heat communicated by the sitting bird to this confined air, its spring is increased beyond its natural tenor, and, at the same time, its parts are put into motion by the gentle rarefaction. By this means, pressure and motion are communicated to the parts of the egg, which, in some inscrutable way, gradually promote the formation and growth of the young, till the time comes for its escaping from the shell.

* M. Reaumur, the celebrated French naturalist, who seldom confined his speculations to mere curiosity, has shewn that, by stopping up the ports of an egg with varnish or a slight covering of mutton suet, it may be preserved perfectly fresh, and generally even fit for incubation, for five or six months after it has been laid.

To preserve an egg perfectly fresh, and even fit for incubation, for 5 or 6 months after it has been laid, Réaumur, the French naturalist, has shown that it is only necessary to stop up its pores with a slight coating of varnish or mutton-suet.
Bingley II.161-163

The nests of Birds are, in general, constructed with astonishing art; and with a degree of architectural skill and propriety, that would foil all the boasted imitative talents of man, the haughty lord of the creation.

925. Birds, however, do not lay eggs before they have some place to put them; accordingly, they construct nests for themselves with astonishing art. As builders, they exhibit a degree of architectural skill, niceness, and propriety, that would seem even to mock the imitative talents of man, however greatly those are marked by his own high intelligence and ingenuity.

Like Mrs. Beeton, Bingley includes a longish section of verse here—but from an entirely different source. Bingley used James Hurdis (1763–1801), The Village Curate, while Mrs. Beeton went with Grahame’s 1806 poem Birds of Scotland.

Both the male and female generally assist in this interesting concern. They each bring materials to the place: first sticks, moss, or straws, for the foundation and exterior; then hair, wool, or the down of animals or plants, to form a soft and commodious bed for their eggs, and the bodies of their tender young when hatched. The outsides of the nests bear in general so great a resemblance in colour to the surrounding foliage or brandies, as not easily to be discovered even by persons who are in search of them.

In building their nests, the male and female generally assist each other, and they contrive to make the outside of their tenement bear as great a resemblance as possible to the surrounding foliage or branches; so that it cannot very easily be discovered even by those who are in search of it.

This act of nidification is one of those wonderful contri­vances of nature that would compel us, however we might otherwise be inclined to doubt it, to believe that we, and every other part of the creation, are constantly under the protection of a superintending Being, whose goodness knows no bounds. Without this, what can we suppose . . . .

This art of nidification is one of the most wonderful contri­vances which the wide field of Nature can show, and which, of itself, ought to be sufficient to compel mankind to the belief, that they and every other part of the creation, are constantly under the protecting power of a superintending Being, whose benign dispensations seem as exhaustless as they are unlimited.

Bingley continues in this vein for another half page, winding up with the assertion that anyone who can observe these phenomena and not believe in the existence of Divine Providence must be a blind idiot. In the texts I used, Bingley has “act of nidification” while Mrs. Beeton has “art”.

926. Fowls as Food.

“Brillat Savarin, pre-eminent in gastronomic taste, says”—or, at least, his translator says—on pg. 104 of The Physiology of Taste:

I am very fond of second courses, and devoutly believe that the whole gallinaceous family was made to enrich our larders and to deck our tables.

From the quail to the turkey, whenever we find a fowl of this class, we are sure to find too, light aliment, full of flavor, and just as fit for the convalescent as for the man of the most robust health.

Which one of us, condemned to the fare of the fathers of the desert, would not have smiled at the idea of a well-carved chicken’s wing, announcing his rapid rendition to civilized life?

We are not satisfied with the flavor nature has given to gallinaceous fowls, art has taken possession of them, and under the pretext of ameliorating, has made martyrs of them. They have not only been deprived of the means of reproduction, but they have been kept in solitude and darkness, and forced to eat until they were led to an unnatural state of fatness.

It is very true that this unnatural grease is very delicious, and that this damnable skill gives them the fineness and succulence which are the delight of our best tables.

Thus ameliorated, the fowl is to the kitchen what the canvass is to painters. To charlatans it is the cap of Fortunatus, and is served up boiled, roasted, fried, hot, cold, whole or dismembered, with or without sauce, broiled, stuffed, and always with equal success.

Brillat-Savarin actually said “secondary causes” (causes secondes); later in the book Isabella Beeton will give up on the Fayette Robinson translation.

955. Obstruction of the Crop.

When Isabella Beeton says that “Mowbray tells us”, she isn’t kidding.

Moubray, Poultry, pg. 76 BOHM

A hen sate about in corners, and neither ate, drank, nor evacuated, yet looked full and not diseased. Her CROP was totally obstructed. On an incision being made from the bottom upwards, a quantity of new beans was found, which had vegetated. The wound being stitched properly, immedi­ately healed, and the hen suffered little inconvenience.

Obstruction of the crop is occasioned by weakness or greediness. You may know when a bird is so afflicted by his crop being distended almost to bursting. Mowbray tells of a hen of his in this predicament; when the crop was opened, a quantity of new beans were discovered in a state of vegetation.

975. The Wood, or Wild Pigeon.

A surprising number of the BOHM’s informational paragraphs are spliced together from two or more sources, with no visible seam.

Moubray, Poultry, pg. 136 BOHM

Buffon enumerates upwards of thirty VARIETIES of the pigeon, which, according to his usual systematic plan, its convenience perhaps being rather more obvious than its accuracy, he derives from one root, namely, the STOCK-DOVE, or common wild pigeon. All the varieties of colour and form which we witness, he attributes to human contrivance and fancy. There exist, nevertheless, essential specific differences in these birds, which seem rather attributable to the nature of the region, soil, or climate, to which they are indigenous, than to the art of man.

The Wood, or Wild Pigeon.—Buffon enumerates upwards of thirty varieties of the pigeon, which he derives from one root,—viz. the stockdove, or common wild pigeon. All the varieties of colour and form which we witness, he attributes to human contrivance and fancy. Nevertheless, there exist essentially specific differences in these birds, which would appear to be attributable rather to the nature of the region, soil, and climate to which they are indigenous, than to the art and ingenuity of man.

Bingley, Animal Biography, II.374

THE WILD PIGEON.

This bird, from being the parent stock whence all the varieties of the Domestic-pigeon are derived, is often called the Stock-dove. It is still found in many parts of our island in a wild state: forming its nest in holes of rocks, and old towers, and in the hollows of trees; but never, like the Ring-dove, on the boughs.

 

The stockdove, in its wild state, is still found in some parts of Britain, forming its nest in the holes of rocks, old towers, and in the hollows of trees; it never, however, like the ringdove, nestles in the branches.

Multitudes of Wild-pigeons visit us in the winter, from their more northerly summer retreats; appearing about November, and again retiring (except a few that breed with us) in the spring. While the beech woods were suffered to cover large tracts of ground, these birds used to haunt them in myriads, frequently extending above a mile in length as they went out in a morning to feed.

Multitudes of wild pigeons still visit our shores in the winter, coming from their more northerly retreats, making their appearance about November, and retiring again in the spring. When forests of beechwood covered large tracts of the ground of this country, these birds used to haunt them in myriads, frequently covering a mile of ground in extent when they went out in the morning to feed.

1017. Anatomy of Melancholy

Isabella Beeton introduces the story in mid-paragraph:

In Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy” we find a humorous story, told by Poggius, the Florentine . . .

Here’s what it looks like in the 1852 edition (pg. 192). Based on punctuation, this may well be the edition Mrs. Beeton—or, more likely, her intermediary source—used.

Poggius, the Florentine, tells a merry story to this purpose, condemning the folly and impertinent business of such kinds of person. A physician of Milan, (saith he) that cured mad men, had a pit of water in his house, in which he kept his patients, some up to the knees, some to the girdle, some to the chin, pro modo insaniæ, as they were more or less affected. One of them by chance, that was well recovered, stood in the door, and, seeing a gallant pass by with a hawk on his fist, well mounted, with his spaniels after him, would needs know to what use all this preparation served. He made answer, to kill certain fowl. The patient demanded again, what his fowl might be worth, which he killed in a year. He replyed, five or ten crowns; and when he urged him farther what his dogs, horse, and hawks, stood him in, he told him four hundred crowns. With that the patient bad him be gone, as he loved his life and welfare; “for, if our master come and find thee here, he will put thee in the pit, amongst mad men, up to the chin;" taxing the madness and folly of such vain men that spend themselves in those idle sports, neglecting their business and necessary affairs.

1026. Grouse.

For comparison, here is what Webster’s Encyclopædia has to say about the Grouse. I’ve put two of his sections out of order because he describes the Red Grouse before the Black.

Webster, pg. 403-404 BOHM
Sect. XXII.
BLACK GROUSE.

2086. This bird, called also the black cock, or moor fowl, is larger than the red grouse, the male weighing sometimes four pounds, and the female two pounds. It is also less common, and therefore more highly prized. It is met with nowhere in Britain but in the Highlands of Scotland and the mountainous heaths of the north of England. Its plumage is a rich mixture of black and blue relieved by markings of white, and its legs are covered with very minute feathers. The form of its tail is remarkable, branching into two crooked expansions. Its food is similar to that of the last described bird. Vast numbers of these birds are found in Norway of large size, being nearly equal to turkeys; and of late many have been imported into London, and sold in the shops; but these are not equal in flavour to the Scotch smaller kind.

 
 

Grouse.—Under this general term are included several species of game birds, called black, red, woodland, and white grouse. The black is larger than the red (see No. 1025), and is not so common, and therefore held in higher estimation.

Sect. XXI.
RED GROUSE.

2085. The beautiful plumage and exquisite flavour of this bird render it an object of considerable interest. It appears to be a native of Scotland and the north of England, in the mountainous districts of which it is found by sportsmen in great plenty feeding on various berries that grow among the heather, and also on the tops of this plant; hence it is often called moor game, or moor fowl. It does not undergo any change of colour in winter, but acquires a greater mass of clothing, and its legs become covered with a sort of hair-like feathers. The breeding season is early in the spring, and the brood continue in company for some months, sometimes joining others which range the high moorlands, where they are shy, and difficult to be approached. Their colour is a rich chesnut barred with black.

 
 
The red, however, is a bird of exquisite flavour, and is a native of the mountainous districts of Scotland and the north of England. It feeds on the tops of the heath and the berries that grow amongst them: its colour is a rich chestnut, striped with black.
Sect. XXIII.
WOODLAND GROUSE.

2087. This is likewise called the “cock of the wood,” and is the largest among the birds which we denominate game, it being little less than the turkey. It was originally common in the mountains of Britain, but is now nearly extinct with us, occurring only in the Highlands of Scotland, though still abounding in the north of Europe, Germany, and the Alps, where it lives in pine forests, on the cones of which it is supposed to subsist, and which, at some seasons, gives its flesh a terebinthinated taste. It is in general delicious eating, and is sometimes sent to England preserved in ice. From the great delicacy of its flesh, it is to be lamented that sufficient means have not been taken to domesticate it, which it is supposed by some sportsmen would be very practicable. Its plumage is extremely beautiful.

 
 
The woodland, or cock of the wood, is the largest among the bird tribes which pass under the denomination of game. It is smaller than the turkey, and was originally common in our mountains; but it is now to be found only in the mountains of Scotland, though it still abounds in the north of Europe, Germany, and in the Alps. It is esteemed as delicious eating, and its plumage is extremely beautiful.
Sect. XXIV.
WHITE GROUSE.

2088. The white grouse, or ptarmigan, is found in the British isles, though not plentifully; the London market is supplied from Scotland and Norway, those from the latter country being preferred. When young it is excellent, and little different from common grouse. At Hudson’s Bay they are in such flocks, that sixty or seventy are often taken in a net at once; and as they are as tame as chickens, they are driven into the nets without difficulty. A ptarmigan will weigh a pound and a half.

 
 
The white grouse, or ptarmigan, is not a plentiful bird in Britain; but it is still found in the islands, and weighs about half a pound. The London market is supplied by Norway and Scotland; those from the former country being esteemed the best. When young, it is held in high estimation, being considered as little different from common grouse.

1042. Brillat-Savarin’s Recipe For Roast Pheasant.

The footnote is the translator’s, not Brillat-Savarin’s own.

Brillat-Savarin, pg. 325-326 BOHM

When the pheasant is in that condition it should be plucked, and not before.

When the pheasant is in good condition to be cooked (see No. 1041), it should be plucked, and not before.

The bird should then be stuffed, and in the following manner:

The bird should then be stuffed in the following manner:—

Take two snipe and draw them so as to put the birds on one plate, and the livers, etc., on another.

Take two snipes, and draw them, putting the bodies on one plate, and the livers, &c., on another.

Take the flesh and mingle it with beef, lard and herbes fines, adding also salt and truffles enough to fill the stomach of the pheasant.

Take off the flesh, and mince it finely with a little beef, lard, a few truffles, pepper and salt to taste, and stuff the pheasant carefully with this.

Cut a slice of bread larger, considerably, than the pheasant, and cover it with the liver, etc., and a few truffles. An anchovy and a little fresh butter will do no harm.

Cut a slice of bread, larger considerably than the bird, and cover it with the liver, &c., and a few truffles: an anchovy and a little fresh butter added to these will do no harm.

Put the pheasant on this preparation, and when it is boiled surround it with Florida oranges. Do not be uneasy about your dinner.

Put the bread, &c., into the dripping-pan, and, when the bird is roasted, place it on the preparation, and surround it with Florida oranges.

Do not be uneasy, Savarin adds, about your dinner;

Drink burgundy after this dish, for long experience has taught me that it is the proper wine.

 

A pheasant served in this way is a fit dish for angels, if they visited the world as they did in Lot’s day.

for a pheasant served in this way is fit for beings better than men.

What I say, experience has already proved. A pheasant thus stuffed by Picard at La Grange* was brought on the table by the cook himself. It was looked on by the ladies as they would have looked at one of Mary Herbault’s hats. It was scientifically tasted, and in the interim the ladies eyes shone like stars, and their lips became coral.

 

I did more than this; I gave a similar proof to the judges of the supreme court. They are aware that the toga is sometimes to be laid aside, and I was able to show to several that good cheer was a fit companion and reward for the labors of the senate. After a few moments the oldest judge uttered the word excellent. All bowed, and the court adopted the decision. I had observed that the venerable old men seemed to take great delight in smelling the dish, and that their august brows were agitated by expressions of extreme serenity, something like a half smile hanging on their lips.

 

All this thing, however is naturally accounted for. The pheasant, itself, a very good bird, had imbibed the dressing and the flavor of the truffle and snipe. It thus becomes thrice better.

The pheasant itself is a very good bird; and, imbibing the dressing and the flavour of the truffle and snipe, it becomes thrice better.

* Does he refer to La Fayette’s estate?

1219-1222. Almonds

This single paragraph in Hogg’s Vegetable Kingdom yielded not only “Almonds” (sec. 1219) but also “Bitter Almonds” (sec. 1220), “Uses of the Sweet Almond” (sec. 1221), and “The Husks of Almonds.” (sec. 1222).

Hogg, pg. 298 BOHM

Almonds, the fruit of Amygdalus communis, are produced throughout the whole of the south of Europe, Syria, Persia, and Northern Africa, but our supplies are obtained from Spain and the South of France. They are distinguished into Bitter and Sweet almonds, the former being the produce of a variety of the common almond, called Amygdalus communis amara, and the latter of A. c. dulcis. There are two varieties of the sweet almond, distinguished in commerce by the names of Jordan and Valentia almonds; the former are imported from Malaga, and are longer, narrower, more pointed, and more highly esteemed than the latter; and the latter are brought from Valentia. Bitter almonds are obtained chiefly from Morocco and are exported from Mogador.

1219. Almonds.—Almonds are the fruit of the Amygdalus communis, and are cultivated throughout the whole of the south of Europe, Syria, Persia, and Northern Africa; but England is mostly supplied with those which are grown in Spain and the south of France. They are distinguished into Sweet and Bitter, the produce of different varieties. Of the sweet, there are two varieties, distinguished in commerce by the names of Jordan and Valentia almonds. The former are imported from Malaga, and are longer, narrower, more pointed, and more highly esteemed than the latter, which are imported from Valentia. Bitter almonds are principally obtained from Morocco, and are exported from Mogador.

The use of sweet almonds is well-known, the kernels being used, either green or ripe, as an article in the dessert. They are much used in cookery, confectionary, perfumery, and medicine. In domestic economy, they should always be used in preference to bitter almonds, as the kernels do not contain any hydrocyanic or prussic acid, although it is found in the leaves, flowers, and bark of the tree. When young and green, they are preserved in sugar, like green apricots. They supply the almond oil; and the farinaceous matter which is left after the oil is expressed forms the Pâté d’Amandes of the perfumers. The oil is employed in the arts for the same purposes as olive oil; and, when used medicinally, it is emollient, nutritive, and laxative. It forms the basis of Kalydor, Macassar Oil, Gowland’s Lotion, and many other articles of that nature sold by perfumers.

1221. Uses of the Sweet Almond.—The kernels of the sweet almond are used either in a green or ripe state, and as an article in the dessert. Into cookery, confectionery, perfumery, and medicine, they largely enter, and in domestic economy, should always be used in preference to bitter almonds. The reason for advising this, is because the kernels do not contain any hydrocyanic or prussic acid, although it is found in the leaves, flowers, and bark of the tree. When young and green, they are preserved in sugar, like green apricots. They furnish the almond-oil; and the farinaceous matter which is left after the oil is expressed, forms the pâte d’amandes of perfumers. In the arts, the oil is employed for the some purposes as the olive-oil, and forms the basis of kalydor, macassar oil, Gowland’s lotion, and many other articles of that kind vended by perfumers. In medicine, it is considered a nutritive, laxative, and an emollient.

Bitter almonds are injurious to animal life on account of the great quantity of hydrocyanic acid they contain, and are consequently seldom used in domestic economy, except to give flavour to confectionary, and even then they should be used with great caution. A single drop of the Essential Oil of Bitter Almonds is sufficient to destroy a bird, and four drops have caused the death of a middle-sized dog.

1220. Bitter Almonds.—The Bitter Almond is a variety of the common almond, and is injurious to animal life, on account of the great quantity of hydrocyanic acid it contains, and is consequently seldom used in domestic economy, unless it be to give flavour to confectionery; and even then it should be used with great caution. A single drop of the essential oil of bitter almonds is sufficient to destroy a bird, and four drops have caused the death of a middle-sized dog.

In the environs of Alicante the husks of almonds are ground to a powder, and enter into the composition of common soap, the great quantity of alkaline principle they contain rendering them suitable for this purpose; and it is said that in some parts of the south of France, where they are extensively grown, horses and mules are fed on the green or dry husks; but to prevent any evil consequences, as the animals devour them with great avidity, they are mixed with chopped straw or oats.

1222. The Husks of Almonds.—In the environs of Alicante, the husks of almonds are ground to a powder, and enter into the composition of common soap, the large quantity of alkaline principle they contain rendering them suitable for this purpose. It is said that in some parts of the south of France, where they are extensively grown, horses and mules are fed on the green and dry husks; but, to prevent any evil consequences arising from this practice, they are mixed with chopped straw or oats.

1325-1330. PLUM PUDDING.

Isabella Beeton did not use this story, which was included in Bishop’s Cookery Book, but that’s no reason I can’t. In 1850, a year or two before Bishop’s book came out, “A French Plum-Pudding” appeared in The Illustrated London News. His publishers must have thought—as I do—that it was too good to pass up.

I’ve left out the copious illustrations, and have silently corrected any typographical errors. Although “Alfred Crowquill” gets equal billing on the page, you won’t see his work here; it’s the illustrator’s pseudonym.

THE DREADFUL TURN-OUT
OF
A FRENCH PLUM-PUDDING!!!

OR THE MISFORTUNES OF MONSIEUR AND MADAME DE LA BETISE, WHOSE GRAND OBJECT IN LIFE WAS TO LIVE IN THE ENGLISH STYLE.

TRUTHFULLY NARRATED BY
HORACE MAYHEW AND ALFRED CROWQUILL.

Monsieur de la Bêtise did everything as the English did. He drank beer for breakfast. He ate bifteks aux pommes de terre every day of his life, except when he had rosbif. He talked loudly. He walked loudly. He swore very loudly. He was, in short, the terror of every waiter, in every neighbouring café. But, above all, Monsieur de la Bêtise prided himself on dressing in the English fashion. To carry out the resemblance as closely as possible, it was his habit to dress in an entire suit of Scotch plaid, of the very widest five-barred pattern. This costume was made still more correct by the faithful addition of top-boots, spurs, a jockey’s cap, and a huge pair of boxing gloves, which Monsieur de la Bêtise always wore on grand state occasions. To make his appearance in the highest degree English, Monsieur de la Bêtise was always accompanied in his rambles and visits by a real English bouledogue, whom he had trained in his leisure moments, when he was not reading “Ossian” or learning the “Box,” to carry his English umbrella; for, like all Englishmen, Monsieur de la Bêtise would not go to an evening party even without his umbrella.

Madame de la Bêtise had the same noble pride as her husband. To perfect the English illusion, she always walked out in a spencer or a riding-habit, and a riding-whip, accompanied with a parasol. For Madame de la Bêtise exhibited the same weakness (peculiar to all English ladies) for a parasol as her husband did for an umbrella. If she went to bathe, she always took her parasol into the water with her. Her dress never had less than ten flounces. She was also followed in all her visits and rambles by a beautiful little King Charles’s dog. At home she was solaced, during Monsieur de la Bêtise’s frequent visits to the café, or his club, as he called it, by the attentions of a numerous little feline family, consisting of half a dozen cats, and as many kittens, which she had learned, from authentic sources, was another interesting custom of all English ladies.

Their domestic hearth (which consisted of an English warming-pan filled with charcoal) was never in want of excitement, for the bouledogue and the King Charles and the cats were always fighting.

Their groom was also dressed after the style of all English grooms.

Monsieur and Madame de la Bêtise determined in their love for English manners and customs, to have a Christmas dinner, dressed entirely in the English style. Accordingly, they purchased a fat goose, which was considerably larger than the largest French chicken, and a tremendous piece of rosbif, weighing not less than 2lbs. 6oz., and all the materials for making an English Plum-pudding. These materials Madame de la Bêtise copied out of a French cookery-book, and were as follows: Oranges, lemons, brandy, pepper, salt, suet, plums, butter, bread, eggs, almonds, currants, cheese, cream, and half-a-dozen spoonfuls of table-beer. They were to be beaten up all together, in their respective proportions, and boiled for twelve hours in plenty of water.

Madame de la Bêtise (who had lived in an English nobleman’s family in Whetstone Park) kindly consented to superintend the cooking of the pudding herself.

Monsieur de la Bêtise entered into a generous rivalry with his wife; and, to shed an atmosphere of local truth about the place, busied himself in decorating the room with cabbage leaves and other emblems of the festive season.

At last it was time to dress for dinner. Monsieur de la Bêtise put on a historical costume, borrowed from the portraits of George IV. The pantaloons were made of the best white kid, in order that he might look like the “first gentleman of Europe“ as much as possible; whilst Madame attired herself in the becoming costume of Queen Elizabeth. And all their guests, out of compliment to their hosts, came likewise in English historical characters. The effect of this grand tableau vivant can be much better conceived than described.

The dinner passed off but slowly; though there was no scarcity of every kind of English beer. There was the ale from Edinburgh, and the stout from Dublin, and the far-famed porter from London, with other varieties, such as the generous half-and-half, and the friendly bitter of the celebrated Bass, and others too numerous to mention. These were served round, as in England, in wine-glasses; but they did not seem to exhilarate the company much. The goose and rosbif were cut up into little knobs, and handed round, according to the rule practised in all English circles, to each guest, but were removed without a single word of commendation. At last the moment for the grand event of the evening had arrived! Desire lodged upon every lip; curiosity lurked in the corner of every eye. The entire assembly was sitting upon the tiptoe of expectation (if so familiar an expression may be allowed upon so solemn an occasion), when the door was thrown open—not a breath was heard—and in marched the servants, proudly bearing the glory of England: the celebrated dish, whose generous character it is, unlike most human characters, only to yield greater and greater goodness the oftener it is brand(i)ed; the universal guest on Christmas day at every English table, who is always received with cheers the instant of his arrival—the ever-welcome English Plum-Pudding!

The Plum-Pudding was placed before Madame de la Bêtise, who, all smiles of conscious triumph, proceeded to pour it out, and to send it round, with a kindly intimation that “there was plenty more in the tea-urn.”

The guests proceeded to taste the pudding, when it was universally pronounced “delicious.” Still their faces did not express much relish; but Monsieur de la Bêtise was extremely loud in its praises. He had already emptied one cup, and sent up for a second; but no one seconded his enthusiasm, much less followed his example. A dead silence ensued for several minutes. At last, a captain of dragoons, bolder than the rest, ventured to remark, that “he hardly thought his was sweet enough,” and asked for some sugar; Charles the Second recommended “a little cream;” whilst Oliver Cromwell called aloud to the servant “to take away the filthy stuff!”

There was a universal consternation, relieved by a few laughs, followed by a long-frozen silence. The ice at last was broken by the timid observation of Mary Queen of Scots, that “the pudding was far from bad, but she did not see any plums.”

Whereupon the lid was removed, and the plums were found to be all at the bottom of the tea-urn!

More consternation; but Madame de la Bêtise, with great presence of mind, assured her dear friends that it was perfectly correct. The plums were always kept to the last. In the nobleman’s family with whom she had the honour of living in Whetstone Park —(great sensation)—the plums were always reserved for a famous game towards the latter part of the evening, which game was called snapdragon. Would any of her dear friends like to try a hand at it?

The proposition was received with cheers. A large basin was procured and filled, according to Madame’s instructions, and the flame was applied. Poor Monsieur de la Bêtise’s face began to light up. The company arranged themselves round the table, and proceeded to enter with warmth into the burning spirit of the game.

But the guests, finding that snapdragon was a game at which they only burnt their fingers and got no plums, gradually retired from it, with a generally expressed opinion that “the end of the English Plum-Pudding, if anything, was worse than even the beginning.”

Monsieur de la Bêtise, however, was the most forward in the game; and the more he burnt his fingers, the louder he shouted, “Oh! It is very much beautiful! Yes.”

The captain of dragoons, again bolder than the rest, or more accustomed, probably, than his companions, to standing British fire, thrust his hand right into the midst of the flaming washhand-basin. Not approving of the sensation, however, he withdrew his fingers hastily, and, in so doing, upset the bowl. The spirit ran like wildfire along the carpet, and the uproar that ensued defies alike drawing and description. The women shrieked, and ran out of the room to faint upon the staircase. The men rushed about for wet towels and blankets, and the fire was soon extinguished.

When the smoke had cleared away, a brilliant thought flashed upon Monsieur de la Bêtise. Looking philosophically at one of the wet towels, he advanced to Madame. “My dear, in boiling the Plum-pudding,” he inquired softly, “did you put all the things into the saucepan?”

“I did—every one.”

“And nothing else?”

“Not a single thing else, I can assure you.”

“I thought as much,” was her husband’s answer. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he then said, turning to his disconcerted guests, “I am very sorry our English Plum-Pudding was not better; but I am sure it would have turned out very differently if Madame had not forgotten to boil it in a cloth.”

Whether the guests were satisfied with this explanation for the loss of their dinner, our simple story cannot tell; but at all events, Monsieur and Madame de la Bêtise were cured of their Anglo-maniac folly. They were content, ever afterwards, to talk, and dress, and eat, as other French persons do. They sold their bouledogue, King Charles, and cats; and never, as long as they lived, did they try another experimental dinner in English style of cookery.

1381. Strawberry.

The BOHM quotes Pantropheon almost verbatim:

Among the Greeks the name of the strawberry indicated its tenuity, this fruit forming hardly a mouthful. With the Latins the name reminded one of the delicious perfume of this plant. Both nations were equally fond of it, and applied the same care to its culti­vation. Virgil appears to place it in the same rank with flowers,69 and Ovid gives it a tender epithet,70 which delicate palates would not disavow. Neither does this luxurious poet forget the wild strawberry,71 which disappears beneath its modest foliage, but whose presence the scented air reveals.

69. Virgil. Eclog. iii. 92.

70. Ovid. Metam. xiii. 816.

71. Id. Ibid. i. 104.

To people who know classical Greek—or have access to a dictionary—some of this will be surprising, since the Greeks did not in fact know the true strawberry. What they did know was the strawberry tree, whose fruit they called μιμαίκυλον. This leads us eventually to Nicolas de Lamare’s 1719 Traité de la police:

Les Grecs le nommoient μιμαίκυλον de μία ἄκλος [error for ἄκολος], unica bucella, qui ne fait qu’une seule & petite bouchée. Les Latins au plurier fraga, à cause de leur odeur, fraga à fragrantia, bonne odeur.

This may tell us more than we ever wanted to know about the overall calibre of Soyer’s—which is to say, Duhart-Fauvet’s—scholarship.

1834. Lemonade.

Question: What is a grim story about vinegar doing under the head of Lemonade? Answer: Search me.

Brillat-Savarin, pg. 268-270 BOHM

There is a current opinion among women, which every year causes the death of many young women, that acids, especially vinegar, are preventatives of obesity.

Lemonade.—“There is a current opinion among women,” says Brillat Savarin, “which every year causes the death of many young women,—that acids, especially vinegar, are preventives of obesity.

Beyond all doubts, acids have the effect of destroying obesity, but they also destroy health and freshness. Lemonade is of all acids the most harmless, but few stomachs can resist it long.

Beyond all doubt, acids have the effect of destroying obesity; but they also destroy health and freshness. Lemonade is, of all acids, the most harmless; but few stomachs can resist it long.

The truth I wish to announce cannot be too public, and almost all of my readers can bring forward some fact to sustain it.

 

I knew in 1776, at Dijon, a young lady of great beauty, to whom I was attached by bonds of friendship, great almost as those of love. One day when she had for some time gradually grown pale and thin (previously she had a delicious embonpoint) she told me in confidence that as her young friends had ridiculed her for being too fat, she had, to counteract the tendency, been in the habit every day of drinking a large glass of vinaigre.

I knew, in 1776, at Dijon, a young lady of great beauty, to whom I was attached by bonds of friendship, great, almost, as those of love. One day, when she had for some time gradually grown pale and thin (previously she had a slight embonpoint), she told me in confidence, that, as her young friends had ridiculed her for being fat, she had, to counteract the tendency, been in the habit every day of drinking a large glass of vinaigre.

I shuddered at the confession, and made every attempt to avoid the danger. I informed her mother of the state of things the next day, and as she adored her daughter, she was as much alarmed as I was. The doctors were sent for, but in vain, for before the cause of her malady was suspected, it was incurable and hopeless.

 

Thus, in consequence of having followed imprudent advice, our amiable Louise was led to the terrible condition of marasmus, and sank when scarcely eighteen years old, to sleep forever.

She died at eighteen years of age, from the effect of these potions.”

She died casting longing looks towards a future, which to her would have no existence, and the idea that she had involuntarily attempted her own life, made her existence more prompt and painful.

 

I have never seen any one else die; she breathed her last in my arms, as I lifted her up to enable her to see the day. Eight days after her death, her broken hearted mother wished me to visit with her the remains of her daughter, and we saw an extatic appearance which had not hitherto been visible. I vas amazed, but extracted some consolation from the fact. This however is not strange, for Lavater tells of many such in his history of physiognomy.

 

1885. It has been said . . .

Brillat-Savarin may not have said it first, but you will find it in The Physiology of Taste, pg. 25-27:

APHORISMS OF THE PROFESSOR.
TO SERVE AS PROLEGOMENA TO HIS WORK AND ETERNAL BASIS TO THE SCIENCE.

I. The universe would be nothing were it not for life, and all that lives must be fed.

II. Animals fill themselves; man eats. The man of mind alone knows how to eat.

III. The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they are fed.

IV. Tell me what kind of food you eat, and I will tell you what kind of man you are.

V. The Creator, when he obliges man to eat, invites him to do so by appetite, and rewards him by pleasure.

VI. Gourmandise is an act of our judgment, in obedience to which, we grant a preference to things which are agreeable, over those which have not that quality.

VII. The pleasure of the table belongs to all ages, to all conditions, to all countries, and to all æras; it mingles with all other pleasures, and remains at last to console us for their departure.

VIII. The table is the only place where one does not suffer from ennui, during the first hour.

IX. The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.

X. Those persons who suffer from indigestion, or who become drunk, are utterly ignorant of the true principles of eating and drinking.

XI. The order of food is from the most substantial to the lightest.

XII. The order of drinking is from the mildest to the most foamy and perfumed.

XIII. To say that we should not change our drinks is a heresy; the tongue becomes saturated, and after the third glass yields but an obtuse sensation.

XIV. A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman who has lost an eye.

XV. A cook may be taught, but a man who can roast, is born with the faculty.

XVI. The most indispensable quality of a good cook is promptness. It should also be that of the guests.

XVII. To wait too long for a dilatory guest, shows disrespect to those who are punctual.

XVIII. He who receives friends and pays no attention to the repast prepared for them, is not fit to have friends.

XIX. The mistress of the house should always be certain that the coffee be excellent; the master that his liquors be of the first quality.

XX. To invite a person to your house is to take charge of his happiness as long as he be beneath your roof.

1886. . . . from whom we have already quoted

Brillat-Savarin, pg. 207-208—which, in spite of the “Summary” heading, is nowhere near the end of the book. 16° Réaumur is 20° C—the BOHM’s 68°. (And no, dear reader, there was not really a Muse named “Gasterea”. Pity.)

SUMMARY.

But perhaps the impatient reader will ask how, in the year of grace 1825, can any table be spread which will unite all of these conditions?

I will answer this question. Be attentive, readers. Gasterea, the most attractive of the muses, inspires me. I will be as clear as an oracle, and my precepts will live for centuries:—

“Let the number of guests never exceed twelve, so that the conversation may be general.

“Let them be so chosen that their occupations may be varied, their tastes analogous, and that they may have such points of contact that introduction may be useless.

“Let the dining-room be furnished with luxury, the table clean, and the temperature of the room about 16° Réaumur.

“Let the men be intelligent, but not pedantic—and the women pretty, but not coquettes.

“Let the dishes be of exquisite taste, but few in number at the first course; let those of the second be as pleasant and as highly perfumed as possible.

“Let the coffee be hot, and let the master select his own wines.

“Let the reception-room be large enough to permit those who cannot do without the amusement, to make up a card party, and also for little coteries of conversation.

“Let the guests be retained by the pleasures of society, and by the hope that the evening will not pass without some ulterior enjoyment

“The tea should not be too strong, the roast dishes should be loaded artistically, and the punch made carefully.

“None should begin to retire before eleven o’clock, and at midnight all should have gone to bed.

“If any one has been present at an entertainment uniting all these conditions, he may boast of having witnessed his own apotheosis. He will enjoy it the more, because many other apotheosis have been forgotten or mistaken.”

2535. Steel Wine

Here’s a recipe from Domestic Medicine, Or, A Treatise on the Prevention and Cure of Diseases (1826) by William Buchan. Contrary to the impression given by the BOHM, it was not just for children:

Chalybeate, or Steel Wine.—Take filings of iron, two ounces; cinnamon and mace, of each two drachms; Rhenish wine, two pints. Infuse for three or four weeks, frequently shaking the bottle; then pass the wine through a filter.

In obstructions of the menses, this preparation of iron may be taken, in the dose of half a wine-glass twice or thrice a-day.

2625. To Cure a Cold.

In September 1854, Godey’s Lady’s Book offered this instructional article. Four of its six paragraphs found their way into the BOHM.

SICK-ROOM AND NURSERY.

Cure for Stammering.—Where there is no malformation of the organs of articulation, stammering may be remedied by reading aloud with the teeth closed. This should be practised for two hours a day, for three or four months. The recommender of this simple remedy says, “I can speak with certainty of its utility.”

To Purify the Air of a Sick Chamber.—Take six drachms of powdered nitre, and the same quantity of oil of vitriol; mix them together, by adding to the nitre one drachm of the vitriol at a time, placing the vessel in which you are mixing it on a hot hearth or plate of heated iron; stirring it with a tobacco-pipe or glass-rod. Then place the vessel in the contaminated room, moving it about to different parts of the room. Dr. J. C. Smith obtained £5000 from the English Parliament for this receipt.

To Cure A Cold.—Put a large teacupful of linseed, with one-quarter pound of sun raisins and two ounces of stick liquorice, into two quarts of soft water, and let it simmer over a slow fire till reduced to one quart; add to it one-quarter pound of pounded sugar-candy, a tablespoonful of old rum, and a tablespoonful of the bent white wine vinegar, or lemon-juice. The rum and vinegar should be added as the decoction is taken; for, if they are put in at first, the whole soon becomes flat, and less efficacious. The dose is half a pint, made warm, on going to bed; and a little may be taken whenever the cough is troublesome. The worst cold is generally cured by this remedy in two or three days; and, if taken in time, is considered infallible.

Coffee Milk for the Sick-Room.—Boil a dessertspoonful of ground coffee in nearly a pint of milk a quarter of an hour; then put into it a shaving or two of isinglass, and clear it; let it boil a few minutes, and set it by the side of the fire to clarify.

Cautions In Visiting Sick-Rooms.—Never venture into a sick-room if you are in a violent perspiration (if circumstances require your continuance there), for, the moment your body becomes cold, it is in a state likely to absorb the infection, and give you the disease. Nor visit a sick person (especially if the complaint be of a contagious nature) with an empty stomach; as this disposes the system more readily to receive the contagion. In attending a sick person, place yourself where the air passes from the door or window to the bed of the diseased, not betwixt the diseased person and any fire that is in the room, as the heat of the fire will draw the infectious vapor in that direction, and you would run much danger from breathing in it.

Palpitation of the Heart.—Where palpitation occurs as symptomatic of indigestion, the treatment must be directed to remedy that disorder. When it is consequent on a plethoric state, purgatives will be effectual. In this case, the patient should abstain from every kind of diet likely to produce a plethoric condition of body. Animal food and fermented liquor must be particularly avoided. Too much indulgence in sleep will also prove injurious. When the attacks arise from nervous irritability, the excitement must be allayed by change of air and a tonic diet. Should the palpitation originate from organic derangement, it must be, of course, beyond domestic management. Luxurious living, indolence, and tight lacing often produce this affection; such cases are to be conquered with a little resolution.

2632. Fasting.

For this one, we need to take a long trip across the Atlantic. In 1829, an article in the Phila­delphia Journal of Health included this information:

Fasting.—Distinct from religious ordinances and anchorite zeal, fasting has been frequently recommended and practised, as a means of removing incipient disease, and of restoring the body to its customary healthful sensations. Howard, the celebrated philan­thropist, used to fast one day in the week. Franklin for a period did the same. Napoleon, when he felt his system unstrung, suspended his wonted repasts and took exercise on horseback. The list of distinguished names might, if necessary, be increased—but why adduce authority in favor of a practice which the instinct of the brute creation leads them to adopt, whenever they are sick. Happy for them they have no meddling prompters in the shape of well meaning friends, to force a stomach already enfeebled and loathing its customary food, to digest this or that delicacy—soup, jelly, custard, chocolate, and the like. It would be a singular fashion, and yet to the full as rational as the one just mentioned, if on eyes weakened by long exercise in common light, we were to direct a stream of blue, or violet, or red, or even green light through a prism, in place of keeping them carefully shaded and at rest.

The item was reprinted in many American periodicals and compilations. Meanwhile, a different set of publications had picked up a story from the (New York) Baptist Advocate. Take, for example, The American Masonic Register and Literary Companion from November 1840:

Diet.Baglivi, the celebrated Roman physician, mentions, that during Lent, an unusually large proportion of the sick in Italy recover their health. An English reviewer suggests, that if the season was strictly observed throughout England, the fashionable physician would lose his employment. It is indisputable, that the fashionable classes, in England and this country, suffer from the effects of high living; but we apprehend that a more generally pernicious evil, and one that fosters and increases the other, is the want of proper occupation. It is one of the greatest misfortunes that can befal human beings, to live without an aim, to have no noble object constantly to draw forth the powers of the mind, and the exertions of the body. Religion supplies such an aim, such an object; and the glory of it is, that the higher attainments in piety we may make, and the wider the sphere of usefulness we may occupy, there is still more to do on earth, and in heaven there is to be enjoyed felicity more exquisite, more complete, more durable, than imagination can conceive or hope anticipate.—Bap. Advocate.

By 1841 the two had become spliced together, as in The American pocket library of useful knowledge by Thomas Curtis Clarke:

Fasting, distinct from religious ordinances, has been frequently recommended and practised, as a means of removing incipient disease, and of restoring the body to its customary healthy sensations. Howard, the celebrated philanthropist, used to fast one day in every week. Franklin, for a period, did the same. Napoleon, when he felt his system unstrung, suspended his wonted repast, and took his exercise on horseback. This list of distinguished names might, if necessary, be increased.

Baglivi, the celebrated Roman physician, mentions, that during Lent, an unusually large proportion of the sick in Italy recover their health. It is indisputable, that the fashionable classes in England and this country suffer from the effects of high living and the want of proper occupation. It is one of the greatest misfortunes that can befall human beings, to live without an aim; to have no noble object constantly to draw forth the powers of the mind and the exertions of the body.

Move along to The School Journal and Vermont Agriculturist for June 1847:

Fasting. Distinct from all religious ordinances, fasting has been frequently recom­mended and practised as a means of removing incipient disease, and of restoring the body to its customary healthy sensations. Howard, the celebrated philanthropist, used to fast one day in every week. Franklin, for a period, did the same. Napoleon, when he felt his system unstrung, suspended his wonted repast, and took his exercise on horseback. This list of distinguished names might, if necessary, be increased. Baglivi, the celebrated physician, mentions, that during Lent, an unusually large proportion of the sick in Italy recover their health.

Finally, in November 1855, we get to a decidedly less obscure—but still American—periodical, Godey’s Lady’s Book. They managed to trim away the whole Baglivi addition—as well as the reference to Franklin—while adding a paren­thetical comment:

Fasting.—It is said by many able physicians that fasting is a means of removing incipient disease, and of restoring the body to its customary healthy sensations. Howard, the celebrated philanthropist (says a writer), used to fast one day in every week. Napoleon, when he felt his system unstrung, suspended his wonted repast, and took his exercise on horseback.

Which is where we came in; the BOHM’s paragraph is word-for-word, comma-for-comma, the same.

Nutritional Analysis

Buried in the middle of Webster’s Encyclopædia is a table of nutritional infor­mation for grains and root vegetables, lifted from an 1813 book by Humphry Davy. Some of the numbers made their way into the BOHM, either adapted directly from the table, or by way of Webster’s prose. In the Encyclopædia, sec. 2308 is on the next page, hence “the preceding table”.

2307. The comparative nutritive properties of the several vegetable substances used as food is best known by chemical analysis. It having been already determined by long observation which of the vegetable proximate principles afford the most nourishment, or tend most to the support of life by the process of digestion, chemical analysis will, by showing the relative proportions of these principles in each species of plants, enable us readily to distinguish which kind is most nutritive.

2308. The preceding table drawn up by Sir H. Davy, and published in his excellent work “On Agricultural Chemistry,” exhibits the nature of most of our vegetables used commonly as food. To form it, 1000 parts of each vegetable were analysed, and the table states the quantity of nutritive matter extracted, consisting of mucilage or starch, saccharine matter, gluten or albumen, and extract. The first column shows the entire quantity of nutritive matter, and the difference between that and the 1000 parts consisted of water, or inert or indigestible vegetable matter, possessing the properties of woody fibre.

Vegetable Substances. Whole Quantity
of soluble or
nutritive Matter.
Starch or
Mucilage.
Saccharine
Matter.
Gluten or
Albumen.
Extract or Matter
rendered insoluble
during Evaporation.
Middlesex wheat, average crop 955765- -190- -
Spring wheat 940765- -240- -
Mildewed wheat of 1806 210178- -32- -
Blighted wheat of 1804 650520- -130- -
Thick-skinned Sicilian wheat of 1810 955725- -230- -
Wheat from Poland 950750- -200- -
North American wheat 955730- -235- -
Norfolk barley 9207907060- -
Oats from Scotland 7436411587- -
Rye from Yorkshire 79264538109- -
Common beans 570426- -10341
Dry peas 574501223516
Potatoes from 260
to 200
from 200
to 155
from 20
to 15
35from 40
to 30
Linseed cake 1511231117- -
Red beet 1481412114- -
White beet 136131194- -
Parsnep 99990- -- -
Carrots 98395- -- -
Common turnips 427341- -
Swedish turnips 6495122
Cabbage 7341248- -
Broad-leaved clover 3931323
Long-rooted clover 3930432
White clover 3229135
Sainfoin 3928236
Lucerne 23181- -4
Meadow fox-tail grass 33243- -6
Perennial rye grass 39264- -5
Fertile meadow grass 78656- -7
Roughish meadow grass 39295- -6
Crested dog-tail grass 35283- -4
Spiked fescue grass 19152- -2
Sweet-scented soft grass 82724- -6
Sweet-scented vernal grass 50434- -3
Fiorin 5446512
Fiorin cut in winter 7664813