Tag Archives: Mrs. Beeton

Sunday Tips: Definition Edition

Barbecue (Fr.) Originally the method of cooking (roasting) an animal whole; to dress and roast whole; a social entertainment where the food is cooked outside in the open. – Mrs. Beeton

This just has is all: history, historical take on history, etymology…and atmosphere. A few years back, during my undergraduate archaeology days (before a) I realized I had little desire to do a 9-year PhD, and then b) wound up in law school) I spent a summer digging in Greece and living with the rest of the excavation team in a small village on the Aegean coast. This village didn’t have any real restaurants – just a few bars which served amazing mezze and gyros – but every weekend the local butcher would set up tables on the patio next to his shop and serve lamb. Or rather, serve a lamb. A whole lamb would be stuck on a spit and roasted in an open brick hearth and bits would be hacked off as people ordered. Our dig’s Polish ceramics expert once ordered the head; the butcher happily served it up, eyeballs and all.

If only I had the outdoor space to do a whole-animal roast. I’d totally use the offal to try Mrs. Beeton’s haggis recipe, and have people over for some really old-school revelry. Sadly, I don’t even have the indoor space to prepare something like that: my kitchen is luxurious by Manhattan standards (it has a real doorway!) but I still only have about 1.5 yards of counter space, total, and this amazing article by Bill Buford details the pitfalls of whole-animal butchery in The City…

Getting back to American Barbecue: I really posted this because it reminded me that I’m going to Dinosaur BBQ Tuesday and that I am REALLY excited to dig into a Tres Hombres platter (“A spirited serving of Bar-B-Que pork, Texas Beef Brisket (sliced) & Bar-B-Que ribs”). This will probably feed me for 2 days. Maybe I’ll even look into my Army Wives Casserole Book to figure out what to do with the leftovers…

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Sunday Tips: Preparing for Autumn

“In September and October the household returns to normal after the holidays. Apples and pears will be gathered and stored carefully, winter clothes and bedding got out, summer things washed and put away. This is the time for lagging of pipes and draughtproofing of windows and generally making the house snug for the winter.” – Mrs. Beeton

Two things about this passage struck me: 1) the concern for energy efficiency, 2) the idea of changing your household routine with the seasons.  I live in a New York apartment with zero storage and spend all winter beset by overheated radiators and huge drafty windows.  I tend to try to transition my wardrobe and bedding between seasons by layering, and there’s not much I can do about the windows and heating without calling my super.  Perhaps, though, I’ll try my hand in the coming weeks at some easily storageable apple byproducts.  Mrs. Beeton has assorted recipes for pickles, hard cider, and homemade wine

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