Lor, m’am! I gave the water to the pigs !

Waste not want not, that was how I was brought up and I confess I follow this to a ridiculous length and am forever coming across dishes of stuff or freezer bags of stuff which I have no idea even what it is and even if I did none of the family (maybe not even me) would eat them, however I tried to revive them.

In one of the old newspapers I have been looking at, I came across not so much a recipe more of a story about someone in the 1870’s who had acquired an ox-head (they are massive – she must have had an enormous pot to boil it in!!) She had ‘set it on to boil, in the fond hope of its yielding my family not only soup for the week, but several shapes of jelly, besides brain cutlets, and sauce, and. stock for all my sauces’.  However she had gone out on some errand, leaving it in the charge of a maid, and had been later home than expected. The next day she looked at the results which her maid produced, the head well cooked… but where was the jelly – the liquor in which it had been boiling all day?

” What jelly ?” she asked.
” Why,” I said, ” the water you boiled the head in must be in solid jelly this morning. See the good is all taken out of the meat; it is in rags !”
” Lor! m’am,” she said, ” I gave the water to the pigs !”
Were ever pigs so luxuriously fed? and was ever mistress more disappointed than I was?

The writer then gives her readers instructions which I am sure no cookery writer in a newspaper or magazine would give today, how to cook a sheep’s head – make a hash and serve it with sippets of toast (croutons) and how to make brain cutlets… even with parsley and lemon I would not even look at them!

The article is actually about using the meat from a whole sheep and there follows a recipe for Spanish shoulder of mutton, vegetable curry using boiled vegetables left over such as carrots, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, cabbage, pumpkin and onion, fried in dripping, with curry powder. This is a luncheon dish, for supper she suggests kidneys, ‘served hot, with piece of butter under them, and a little red pepper’.  She finishes by saying ‘

‘and the sheep has already been served in eight different ways – viz., soup, chops, loin (roast), fricassee trotters, hashed head, brain cutlets, Spanish shoulder, and grilled kidneys.’

She promises to discuss in future ‘two hams, one fore-quarter, one breast (the flaps of which we will convert into sausages), and the heart, liver, and tongue.’

I think not for me, thank you!


  1. David Lewis

    I told an old friend of mine that the only part of a pig that is not used is the squeal. He said that it was not wasted because it was sold to the Scotsmen who put it in there bagpipes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      Haha! When we were little dad used to sometimes bring a curly tail back from the butcher’s – we had it on a string on a stick and ran round eh garden with… which sounds rather grotesque now!


  2. David Lewis

    Actually pigs tails are very rare because when pigs realize they are about to be slaughtered they run around biting each others tails off for some reason. So I was told by an old farmer friend.But then again he was the one who told me about the three legged chicken!

    Liked by 1 person

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