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Help me understand British culinary habits

 
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Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 1:03 am
I'm enjoying many Victorian-era (audio)books lately, but something keeps bothering me:

It doesn't matter if it's Black Beauty or Persuasion or Sherlock Holmes - people seem to be eating a ton of meat! Mutton, Berkshire beef, partridge, lamb chops...

Not just gentry. Even ordinary people seem to be ordering meat from the butcher left, right, and center, for dinner.

Is meat really that common and cheap in GB? Maybe it's just written so for entertainment and novelty? Or am I missing some class distinction, such that even ordinary folk were so rich as to not be concerned with the cost of mutton for dinner with a friend?
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 1:42 am
You can read Oliver Twist and read about how the other half lived and ate..
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Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 1:57 am
DrMom wrote:
You can read Oliver Twist and read about how the other half lived and ate..


Obviously Smile I was just wondering if these food habits were real.

Much of Victorian literature is characterized by humourous satire and exaggeration. Is all this meat also satire, or the standard for the average table in London?
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Raisin




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 1:57 am
wealthier people I am sure did eat like that.

Probably not poorer people, unless they worked for wealthy people.
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amother




Jasmine
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 2:17 am
Poor and mid people ate what they could trap/hunt (rabbits?) or offels (sp?), the junk parts of the animals that the rich didn't want, ie liver, intestines...

Rich ate much more meat than poor who had more grain.
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Raisin




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 2:25 am
None of us actually were alive then. But here is a page about victorian british eating habits. https://macclesfieldmuseums.co.....x.pdf

I think poorer people ate a lot of the less popular parts of animals such as brains etc.
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Raisin




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 2:28 am
I remember in one book (not a novel, a biography) a poor woman decribing how she would serve either bread or soup (can't remember which) at the beginning of a meal to fill everyone up so less meat was needed. Kind of the same reason why Italians start off a meal with pasta.

I was always impressed by how much MUTTON people ate. This is not a meat that you even see any more, def not in kosher butchers, I don't think non Jewish people eat it either. Lamb is popular though.
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amother




Jasmine
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 2:35 am
Raisin wrote:
I remember in one book (not a novel, a biography) a poor woman decribing how she would serve either bread or soup (can't remember which) at the beginning of a meal to fill everyone up so less meat was needed. Kind of the same reason why Italians start off a meal with pasta.

I was always impressed by how much MUTTON people ate. This is not a meat that you even see any more, def not in kosher butchers, I don't think non Jewish people eat it either. Lamb is popular though.


Shepherding was a very popular occupation in not cities.
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Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 12:34 pm
amother Jasmine wrote:
Shepherding was a very popular occupation in not cities.


True. Maybe mutton was just cheaper then.

I remember reading that in the gemara's times, chicken was considered more expensive than beef. Because beef would only be shechted periodically, the meat would generally have been preserved, whereas chicken could be had fresh from that day.
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amother




Cornsilk
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 12:36 pm
I learned from Great British Bake Off that anything can be a pudding LOL
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amother




Slateblue
 

Post Tue, Sep 20 2022, 12:46 pm
The gentry ate a ton of meat. 3 times a day. As did their servants. Poor people had less. Read a book called LarkRise to Candleford for a real autobiography which depects both classes. The gentry suffered a lot from gout as a result of the high fat, high alcohol diet.

amother cornsilk British pudding is also often meat based.
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