Sunday 30 June 2013

The Great British Sunday Roast

The joint  is ready and rested and all to be done now is to reach for the carving tools and away you go....erm unless you were faced with the Elizabethan equivalent. Not only did you have to know what you were carving, but more importantly, how to carve it....

Break that deer, rear that goose, list that swan, trush that chicken, disfigure that peacock, splat that pike, culpon that trout, alay that pheasant, wing that partridge or quail, thigh all manner of small birds, undertranch that porpoise, tame that crab and barb that lobster.

Then there was the matter of do's and don'ts at the table. John Russell's Boke of Nuture [1577] gives some insight into some of the less savoury habits of some guests when he advises what is to be avoided:

No guest should scratch as if here were looking for fleas, or stroke his head to squash a nit, he must not not pick his nose nor allow it to run, nor should he put his hands down his trousers to scratch his codware!
[Taken from Kate Colquhoun's Taste]

I have visitors coming for a meal next weekend- perhaps I should warn against the wearing of such items as codware for fear that it may lead to a less than satisfactory conduct!!


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