[Sca-cooks] Honey child - the pith of the matter
Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
adamantius1 at verizon.net
Wed Jan 31 05:50:45 PST 2007
On Jan 30, 2007, at 7:03 PM, Suey wrote:
> Pooh pooh
> Hollywood's Henry VIII roast beef, now tell me how many teeth one must
> have had to eat medium rare off a bone?
Apart from the modern apocryphal anecdote of Henry naming a cut of
meat "Sir Loin, Baron of Beef" (a baron is a cut containing two beef
sirloins, cut straight across the spine like a giant salmon steak; in
a baron of lamb both hind legs are included), I've never seen him
depicted as eating beef off the bone. I do remember a shot of Charles
Laughton taking a few bites of a rather small leg of lamb (probably
about three pounds) in the 1933 "The Private Life of Henry
VIII" (made in Hollywood by a largely European cast and crew).
A leg of lamb that size is probably going to be pretty tender, and
then we really don't know if that meat was roast or boiled, nor do we
know if it was cooked rare, medium, or well-done. I've seen, and
served, whole legs of lamb that could be served with a spoon. Still,
this is probably something movie production crews don't tend to
research very well, I'll agree.
I wonder if this is just one of those images that have become a
cliche that has grown and been distorted in the retelling. Has anyone
else here ever actually seen Henry depicted eating a gigantic piece
of beef on the bone (remembering that beef bones tend to be rather
large; if Henry is eating something like a steamship round on the
bone he'd be truly superhuman if he could even lift it with one hand,
let alone bite into it)?
It's also worth noting that while roasts were eaten in places other
than Spain, they were probably not the single centerpiece of a
medieval feast-day meal to the same extent that they are in some
cultures today or that we sometimes assume that they were. Large cuts
of meat were also frequently boiled until tender, and even roasted
meats were often cut into small pieces and re-cooked in a broth or
sauce, or just served in bowls with sauce or something like frumenty.
Not too far from some of those Spanish pottages...
<sigh> I was a little disappointed to learn that even some of the
accounts of the alleged gluttonous excesses of "Diamond Jim" Brady
were probably considerably exaggerated...
"S'ils n'ont pas de pain, vous fait-on dire, qu'ils mangent de la
brioche!" / "If there's no bread to be had, one has to say, let them
-- attributed to an unnamed noblewoman by Jean-Jacques Rousseau,
"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?"
-- Susan Sheybani, assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry
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