Fanny Cradock starts Part 22 with some wise words which form a classic French riddling ruling - 'Les chefs sont faits, les rôtisseurs sont nés' - but sadly her motto is lost on me. She's chatting about roasting meat you see, and while cooks may be made and roasters born, for this vegetarian apprentice, Fanny's techniques and tips for butchery and brawn are just unsuited, irrelevant and incompatible.
Fanny tries her best to get me to appreciate the well-hung. Her advice is 'You cannot expect a prime roast from really fresh meat.' The problem seems to be that if it is under-hung, and Fanny gives no advice as to what that might be, then it needs to be cooked slowly. Add to the puzzle that it should be carved 'properly' too. Beef thinly, lamb or mutton in thick 'collops', pork half way between thick and thin, not quite covered by the phrase 'medium thick.' A quandary for me. Fanny's grandmother described paper-thin slices of pork in the same way as she described thin slices of plum cake - that they 'taste of the knife'. I am so glad I need not pay much attention to this meaty part, nothing makes any sense already!
Fanny turns her considerable hands to boning. She has several skills to show, and does so in an array of jarring pic-strips. She transforms a saddle of lamb (whatever that is) into a 'winged victory' with a very sharp knife. She bones and stuffs the enigma that is a leg of lamb, wearing what appears to be pyjamas, which is presumably crucial. Does one do it early early in the morning, or just before bed? Fanny sees pointless (to me) boning as essentially a 'job of excavation' that requires no skill. Except the skill she is demonstrating. The confusion continues with a mind boggling selection of grabbing, scraping, paring, rolling and slipping. I'm stumped.
Meat sometimes needs to be boiled, sometimes grilled. The dilemma strikes me as avoiding cooking all the goodness out of it and ending up with bits of army boot soles, so Fanny advises being gentle and tender. As ever. Except with bacon, which needs to be grilled until it resembles the ridges of the Loch Ness Monsters back. Fanny also tries her hand at Tournedos, which aren't twisting cyclones as I suspected but instead involves covering a piece of meat, breast of game, poultry and very occasionally fish with a thin slice of raw unsalted pork fat. Fanny calls it barding. The conundrum continues.
Oven roasting looks as if it is all about disguising unsightly things with teasing trimmings of puff pastry or spreading crusty domes of breadcrumbs on top of the hunks of flesh. It's no good for me. Reading between the lines, the show of grilling and roasting has the appearance of merely being an array of outfits and accessories - Fanny poses in a different ensemble for each pic-strip. This meat game is a complete enigma to me. I'm clearly not a born roaster so I'll continue to hang out with the well hung and considerably less confusing veggies instead.
Do you get well-hung veggies?!ReplyDelete
I must conduct a survey....form an orderly queue. :-p
So pleased that Fanny is stimulating such an important area of social research... Do let me know if you need an assistant...Delete
I think the hanging helps dry the meat so it roasts better, though I might be wrong there. A roast has to be a decent size - you don't get good juices for gravy from an insignificant piece of meat.ReplyDelete
Yup, I'm an omnivore!
Even though I don't eat meat, and don't fully understand, I do find the techniques involved interesting!Delete
All I can say is - filthy!!!! :DReplyDelete
No idea what you mean...Delete
A meat feast with no mention on dressing up mutton? Surely Fanny was a pro!ReplyDelete
She certainly was...Delete