Estimating Meat for Cooking

The housewife who is anxious to dress no more meat than will suffice for the meal, should remember that beef loses about one pound in four in boiling, but in roasting, loses in the proportion of one pound five ounces, and in baking about two ounces less, or one pound three ounces; mutton loses in boiling about fourteen ounces in four pounds; in roasting, one pound six ounces. 

 Cold Meat Broiled, With Poached Eggs

The inside of a sirloin of beef or a leg of mutton is the best for this dish. Cut the slices of equal thickness, and broil and brown them carefully and slightly over a clear smart fire, or in a Dutch oven; give those slices most fire that are least done; lay them in a dish before the fire to keep hot, while you poach the eggs and mash the potatoes. This makes a savoury luncheon or supper. The meat should be underdone  the first time. 

 Meat Cakes

Take any cold meat, game, or poultry (if underdone, all the better), mince it fine, with a little fat bacon or ham, or an anchovy; season it with pepper and salt; mix well, and make it into small cakes three inches long, an inch and a half wide, and half an inch thick; fry these a light brown, and serve them with good gravy, or put into a mould, and boil or bake it. Bread-crumbs, hard yolks of eggs, onions, sweet herbs, savoury spices, zest, curry-powder, or any kind of forcemeat may be added to these meat cakes. 

 Strasburg Potted Meat

Take a pound and a half of rump of beef, cut into dice, and put it in an earthen jar, with a quarter of a pound of butter at the bottom; tie the jar close up with paper, and set over a pot to boil; when nearly done, add cloves, mace, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and cayenne pepper to taste; then boil till tender, and let it get cold. Pound the meat, with four anchovies washed and boned; add a quarter of a pound of oiled butter, work it well together with the gravy, warm a little, and add cochineal to colour. Then press into small pots, and pour melted mutton suet over the top of each. 

Why is meat tough which has been boiled too long?

Because the albumen  becomes hard, like the white of a hard-boiled egg.

The best way of boiling meat to make it tender is this: Put your joint in very brisk boiling water; after a few minutes add a little cold water. The boiling water will fix  the albumen, which will prevent the water from soaking into the meat, keep all its juices in, and prevent the muscular fiber from contracting. The addition of cold water will secure the cooking of the inside  of the meat, as well as of the surface.

Why is meat always tough if it be put into the boiler before the water boils?

Because the water is not hot enough to coagulate  the albumen between the muscular fibers of the meat, which therefore runs into the water, and rises to the surface as scum.

Why is the flesh of old animals tough?

Because it contains very little  albumen, and much muscular fiber.

 Relative Economy of the Joints

i.   The Round

is, in large families, one of the most profitable parts owing to its comparative freedom from bone: it is usually boiled, and is generally sold at the same price as the sirloin, and ribs. It is sometimes divided downwards, close to the bone; one side being known as the top side , and the other as the silver side . Either of these parts is as good roasted as boiled.

ii.   The Brisket

is always less in price than the roasting parts. It is not so economical a part as the round, having more bone with it, and more fat. Where there are children, very fat joints are not desirable, being often disagreeable to them, and sometimes prejudicial, especially if they have a dislike to fat. This joint also requires more cooking than many others; that is to say, it requires a double allowance of time to be given for simmering it; it will, when served, be hard and scarcely digestible if no more time be allowed to simmer it than that which is sufficient for other joints and meats. Joints cooked in a boiler or saucepan, should always be simmered , that is to say, boiled as slowly as possible. Meat boiled fast, or "at a gallop," as the phrase goes, is always tough and tasteless. The brisket is excellent when stewed; and when cooked fresh (i.e., unsalted) an excellent stock for soup may be extracted from it, and yet the meat will serve as well for dinner.

iii.   The Edge-bone, or Aitch-bone

is not considered to be a very economical joint, the bone being large in proportion to the meat; but the greater part of it, at least, is as good as that of any prime part. On account of the quantity of bone in it, it is sold at a cheaper rate than the best joints. It may be roasted or boiled.

iv.   The Rump

is the part of which the butcher makes great profit, by selling it in the form of steaks, but the whole of it may be purchased as a joint, and at the price of other prime parts. It may be turned to good account in producing many excellent dishes. If salted, it is simply boiled; if used unsalted, it is generally stewed.

v.   The Veiny Piece

is sold at a moderate price per pound; but, if hung for a day or two, it is very good and very profitable. Where there are a number of servants and children to have an early dinner, this part of beef will be found desirable.

vi.   The Leg and Shin

afford excellent stock for soup; and, if not reduced too much, the meat taken from the bones may be served as a stew with vegetables; or it may be seasoned, pounded with butter, and potted; or, chopped very fine, and seasoned with herbs, and bound together by egg and bread crumbs, it may be fried in balls, or in the form of large eggs, and served with a gravy made with a few spoonfuls of the soup.

vii.   Ox-cheek

makes excellent soup. The meat, when taken from the bones, may be served as a stew.

viii.   The Sirloin and the Ribs

are the roasting parts of beef, and these bear in all places the highest price. The more profitable of these two joints at a family table is the ribs. The bones, if removed from the beef before it is roasted, are useful in making stock for soup. When boned, the meat of the ribs is often rolled up on the shape of a small round or fillet, tied with string, and roasted; and this is the best way of using it, as it enables the carver to distribute equally the upper part of the meat with the fatter parts, at the lower end of the bones. 


In different parts of the kingdom the method of cutting up carcases varies. That which we describe below is the most general, and is known as the English method.

i.   Beef
Fore-Quarter fore-rib (five ribs)
middle rib (four ribs)
chuck (three ribs)
shoulder piece (top of fore leg)
brisket (lower or belly part of the ribs)
clod (fore shoulder blade)
shin (below the shoulder)
Hind-Quarter Sirloin
aitch-bone these are the three divisions of the upper part of the quarter
buttock and mouse-buttock which divide the thigh
veiny piece joining the buttock
thick flank and thin flank (belly pieces)
and leg
The sirloin and rump of both sides form a baron.

Beef is in season all the year; best in winter.

The Miser Fasts with Greedy Mind to Spare.

ii.   Mutton
breast (the belly)
over which are the loin (chump, or tail end)
loin (best end)
neck (best end)
neck (scrag end)
haunch or leg and chump end of loin
and head
A chine is two necks
a saddle two loins

Mutton is best in winter, spring, and autumn.

iii.   Lamb
is cut into fore quarter
hind quarter
and shoulder

'Grass lamb' is in season from Easter to Michaelmas;
'House lamb' from Christmas to Lady-day.

iv.   Pork
is cut into leg
hand or shoulder
hind loin
fore loin
spare-rib, or neck
and head

Pork is in season nearly all the year round, but is better relished in winter than in summer.

v.   Veal
is cut into neck (scrag end)
neck (best end)
loin (best end)
loin (chump, or tail end)
fillet (upper part of hind leg)
hind knuckle which joins the fillet
knuckle of fore leg
blade (bone of shoulder)
breast (best end)
and breast (brisket end)

Veal is always in season, but dear in winter and spring.

vi.   Venison
is cut into haunch
and breast

Doe venison is best in January, October, November, and December, and buck venison in June, July, August, and September.

vii.  Scottish mode of division.

According to the English method the carcase of beef is disposed of more economically than upon the Scotch plan. The English plan affords better steaks, and better joints for roasting; but the Scotch plan gives a greater variety of pieces for boiling. The names of pieces in the Scotch plan, not found in the English, are:

the hough or hind leg
the nineholes or English buttock
the large and small runner taken from the rib and chuck pieces of the English plan
the shoulder-lyer the English shoulder, but cut differently
the spare-rib or fore-sye the sticking piece, &c

The Scotch also cut mutton differently.

viii.   Ox-tail

is much esteemed for purposes of soup; so also is the Cheek. The Tongue is highly esteemed. The Heart, stuffed with veal stuffing, roasted, and served hot, with red currant jelly as an accompaniment, is a palatable dish. When prepared in this manner it is sometimes called Smithfield Hare , on account of its flavour being something like that of roast hare.

ix.  Calves' Heads

are very useful for various dishes; so also are their Knuckles, Feet, Heart, &c 

Flesh Foods

                                 Pro- Carbohy- Calories
                       Water tein Fat drates Ash per lb.
  Beef, average 72.03 21.42 5.41 …. 1.14 ….
  Veal, lean 78.84 19.86 .82 …. .50 ….
  Mutton, average 75.99 17.11 5.77 …. 1.33 ….
  Pork, average fat 47.40 14.54 37.34 …. .72 ….
  Pork, average lean 72.57 20.25 6.81 …. 1.10 ….
  Rabbit 66.80 22.22 9.76 …. 1.17 ….
  Chicken, fat 70.06 19.59 9.34 …. .91 ….
  Turkey 65.60 24.70 8.50 …. 1.20 ….
  Goose 38.02 15.91 45.59 …. .49 ….
  Pigeon 75.10 22.90 1.00 …. 1.00 ….
  Duck, wild 69.89 25.49 3.69 …. .93 ….
  Black bass 76.7 20.4 1.7 …. 1.2 450
  Sea bass 79.3 18.8 .5 …. 1.4 370
  Cod, steaks 82.5 16.3 .3 …. .9 315
  Halibut, steaks 75.4 18.3 5.2 …. 1.1 560
  Herring 74.67 14.55 9.03 …. 1.78 ….
  Mackerel 73.4 18.2 7.1 …. 1.3 640
  Perch, white 75.7 19.1 4.0 …. 1.2 525
  Pickerel 79.8 18.6 .5 …. 1.1 365
  Salmon 71.4 19.9 7.4 …. 1.3 680
  Salmon trout 69.1 18.2 11.4 …. 1.3 820
  Shad 70.6 18.6 9.5 …. 1.3 745
  Sturgeon 78.7 18.0 1.9 …. 1.4 415
  Trout, brook 77.8 18.9 2.1 …. 1.2 440
  Clams, long 85.8 8.6 1.0 2.00 2.6 240
  Clams, round 86.2 6.5 .4 4.20 2.7 215
  Lobster 79.2 16.4 1.8 .40 2.2 390
  Oyster in shell 86.9 6.2 1.2 3.70 2.0 230

The food value of meat depends on the amount of fat and protein it contains. Lean meat may contain less than four hundred calories per pound, while very fat meat may contain more than one thousand five hundred calories.

These foods are eaten because they are rich in protein. Protein is the great builder and repairer of the body. It forms the framework for both bone and muscle. We can get along very well without starch or sugar or fat, but it is absolutely necessary to have proteid foods. They are the only ones that contain nitrogen, which is essential to animal life.

Nitrogenous foods are used not only to build and repair, but in the end they are burned, supplying as much heat as the same weight of sugar or starch.

Proteid foods are generally taken to excess. To most people they are very palatable, and they are generally prepared in a manner that renders rapid eating easy. Besides, meats contain flavoring and stimulating principles, called extractives, which increase the desire for them. The consequence is that those who eat meat often have a tendency to eat too much. Excessive meat eating often leads to consumption of large quantities of liquor. Stimulants crave company.

As will be noted, most fish and meat contain about 20 per cent. of protein, while about 75 per cent. is water. The fatter the meat, the less water it contains, and the more fuel value it has. The leaner the meat, the more watery the animal, and the more easily is the flesh digested. Beef is fatter than veal and harder to digest. Also, the flesh of old animals is more highly flavored than that of the young ones, because it contains more salts. For this reason people who have a tendency to the formation of foreign deposits, as is the case with those who have rheumatism and gout or hardening of the arteries, should take the flesh of young animals when it is obtainable.

In the past we have been taught to partake of excessive amounts of protein. The prescribed amount for the average adult has been about five ounces. If we were to obtain all the protein from meat, this would necessitate eating about twenty-five ounces of meat daily. However, inasmuch as there is considerable protein in the cereals and milk, and a little in most fruits and vegetables, a pound of meat would probably suffice under the old plan. A few physicians have known that such an intake of protein is excessive, and now the physiologists are learning the same. It has lately been determined experimentally that the body needs only about an ounce of protein daily, which will be supplied by about five ounces of flesh. Three or four ounces of flesh daily make a liberal allowance, for it is supplemented by protein in other foods.

Workers eat large quantities of flesh because they think they need a great deal. The fact is that very little more protein is needed by those who do hard physical labor than by brain workers. The extra energy needed calls for more carbohydrates, not for protein.

When the organism is supplied with sugar, starch and fat, or one of these, the protein of the body is saved, only a very small amount being used to replace the waste through wear and tear. Though protein can be burned in the body, it is not an economical fuel, either from a physiological or financial standpoint. The energy obtained from flesh costs much more than the same amount of energy obtained from carbonaceous foods. Ten acres of ground well cultivated can raise enough cereals and vegetables to support a number of people, but if this amount of land is used for raising animals, it will support but a few. The protein obtained from peas, beans and lentils is cheap, but these foods do not appeal to the popular palate as much as flesh.

Meat immediately after being killed is soft. After a while it goes into a state of rigidity known as rigor mortis. Then it begins to soften again. This third stage is really a form of decay, called ripening. It is believed that the lactic acid formed is one of the principal agents producing this softening. Some people enjoy their meats, especially that of fowls and game, ripe enough to deserve the name of rotten. The ripening produces many chemical changes in the meat, which give the flesh more flavor. Consequently those who indulge are very apt to overeat. It is a fact that those who eat much flesh go into degeneration more quickly than those who are moderate flesh eaters and depend largely on the vegetable kingdom for food.

If an excess of good meat causes degeneration, there is no reason to doubt that partaking of overripe foods is even worse.

All meat contains waste. If the flesh comes from healthy animals and is eaten in moderation this waste is so small that it will cause no inconvenience, for a healthy body is able to take care of it. If too much is eaten, the results are serious. Overeating of flesh is followed by excessive production of urea and uric acid products. Some of these may be deposited in various parts of the body, while the urea is mostly excreted by the kidneys. The kidneys do not thrive under overwork any more than other organs. The vast majority of cases of diabetes and Bright's disease are caused by overworking the digestive organs. Too much food is absorbed into the blood and the excretory organs have to work overtime to get rid of the excess.

Meats are easily spoiled. They should be kept in a cold place and not very long. Fresh meat and fish are more easily digested than those which are salted, or preserved in any other way. Pickled meats should be used rarely The same is true of fish.

Ptomaines, or animal poisons, form easily in flesh foods. These are very dangerous, and it is not safe to eat tainted flesh, even after it is cooked. Fish decomposes quickly and fish poisoning is probably even more severe than meat poisoning. Fish should be killed immediately after it is caught, for experiments have shown that the flesh of fish kept captive after the manner of fishers degenerates very rapidly. Fish should be eaten while fresh. Even when the best precautions have been taken, it is somewhat risky to partake of fish that has been shipped from afar.

Flesh foods are more easily and completely digested than the protein derived from the vegetable kingdom.

From the table it will be noted that some fish is fat and some is lean. The ones containing more than 5 per cent of fat should be considered fat fish. These are somewhat harder to digest than the lean ones, but they are more nutritious.

Shell fish is generally low in food value and if taken as nourishment is very expensive. However, most people eat this food for its flavor.


Cooking is an art that should be learned according to correct principles. Every physician should be a good cook. He should be able to go into the kitchen and show the housewife how to prepare foods properly. Medical men who are well versed in food preparation and able to make good food prescriptions have no need of drugs.

The flesh of animals is composed of fibres. These fibres are surrounded by connective tissue which is tough. The cooking softens and breaks down these tissues, thus rendering it easier for the digestive juices to penetrate and dissolve them. That is, proper cooking does this. Poor cooking generally renders the meats indigestible.

The simpler the cooking, the more digestible will be the food. Flavors are developed in the process, but these are hidden if the meats are highly seasoned.

Boiling : When meats are boiled they lose muscle sugar, flavoring extracts, organic acids, gelatin, mineral matters and soluble albumin. That is, they lose both flavor and nourishment. Therefore the liquid in which they are cooked should be used.

The proper way to boil meat is to plunge it into plain boiling water. Allow the water to boil hard for ten or fifteen minutes. This coagulates the outer part of the piece of meat. Then lower the temperature of the water to about 180 degrees F. and cook until it suits the taste. If it is allowed to boil at a high temperature a long time, it becomes tough, for the albumin will coagulate throughout.

Salt extracts the water from meat. Therefore none of it should be used in boiling. The meat should be cooked in plain water with no addition. No vegetables and no cereals are to be added. All meats contain some fat, and this comes into the water and acts upon the vegetables and starches, making them indigestible. Season the meat after it is cooked, or better still, let everyone season it to suit the taste after serving.

Meats that are to be boiled should never be soaked, for the cold water dissolves out some of the salts and some of the flavoring extracts, as well as a part of the nutritive substances. It is better to simply wash the meat if it does not look fresh and clean enough to appeal to the eye, which it always should be.

Stewing : If meat is to be stewed, cut into small pieces and stew or simmer at a temperature of about 180 degrees F. until it is tender. It is to be stewed in plain water. If a meat and vegetable stew is desired, stew the vegetables in one dish, and the meat in another. When both are done, mix. By cooking thus a stew is made that will not "repeat" if it is properly eaten. Foods should taste while being eaten, not afterwards.

Broths : If a broth is desired, select lean meat. Either grind it or chop it up fine. There is no objection to soaking the meat in cold water, provided this water is used in making the broth. Use no seasoning. Let it stew or simmer at about 180 degrees F. until the strength of the meat is largely in the water.

When the broth is done, set it aside to cool. Then skim off all the fat and warm it up and use. One pound of lean meat will produce a quart of quite strong broth.

Broiling : Cut the meat into desired thickness. Place near intense fire, turning occasionally, until done. Be careful not to burn the flesh. An ordinary steak should be broiled in about ten minutes. Of course, the time depends on the thickness of the cut and whether it is desired rare, medium or well done, and in this let the individual suit himself, for he will digest the meat best the way he enjoys it most.

Beefsteak smothered in onions is a favorite dish. It is not a good way to prepare either the onions or the steak. A better way is to broil both the steak and the onions, or broil the steak, cut the onions in slices about one-half to three-fourths of an inch thick, add a little water and bake them. Beefsteak and onions prepared in this way are both palatable and easy to digest.

Roasting  is just like broiling, that is, cooking a piece of meat before an open fire. Here we use a larger piece of meat and it therefore takes longer. Of old roasting was quite common, but now we seldom roast meat in this country.

Baking : Here we place the meat in an enclosed oven. Most of our so-called roast meats are baked. The oven for the first ten or fifteen minutes should be very hot, about 400 degrees F. This heat seals the outside of the meat up quite well. Then let the heat be reduced to about 260 degrees F. If it is kept at a high temperature it will produce a tough piece of meat. The time the meat should be in the oven depends upon the size of the piece of meat and how well done it is desired.

While baking, some of the juices and a part of the fat escape. About every fifteen minutes, baste the meat with its own juice. A few minutes before the meat is to be removed from the oven it may be sprinkled with a small amount of salt, and so may broiled and roasted meats a little while before they are done. However, many prefer to season their own foods or eat them without seasoning and they should be allowed to do so.

Steaming : This is an excellent way of cooking. None of the food value is lost. Put the meat in the steamer and allow it to remain until done. The cheapest and toughest cuts of meat, which are fully as good as the more expensive ones and often better flavored, can be rendered very tender by steaming. Tough birds can be treated in the same way. An excellent way to cook an old hen or an old turkey is to steam until tender and then put into a hot oven for a few minutes to brown. Some birds are so tough that they can not be made eatable by either boiling or baking, but steaming makes them tender.

It is best to avoid starchy dressings, in fact dressings of all kinds. A well cooked bird needs none, and dressing does not save a poorly cooked one. Most dressings are very difficult to digest.

Fireless cooking : Every household should have either a good steamer or a fireless cooker. Both are savers of time and fuel and food. They emancipate the women. Those who have fireless cookers and plan their meals properly do not need to spend much time in the kitchen.

Place the meat in the fireless cooker, following the directions which accompany it. However, if they tell you to season the meat, omit this part.

Smothering  is a modification of baking. Any kind of meat may be smothered, but it is especially fine for chickens. Take a young bird, separate it into joints, place into a pan, add a pint of boiling water. If chicken is lean put in a little butter, but if fat use no butter. Cover the pan tightly and place in oven and let it bake. A chicken weighing two and one-half pounds when dressed will require baking for one hour and fifteen minutes. Keep the cover on the baking pan until the chicken is done, not raising it even once. Gravy will be found in the pan.

Pressed chicken is very good. Get a hen about a year old. Place it into steamer or fireless cooker until so tender that the flesh readily falls from the bones. Remove the bones, but keep the skin with the meat. Chop it up. Place in dish or jar, salting very lightly. Over the chopped-up meat place a plate and on this a weight, and allow it to press over night. Then it is ready to slice and serve. This is very convenient for outings.

Fish should preferably be baked or broiled. It may also be boiled, but it boils to pieces rather easily and loses a part of its food value. It must be handled with great care. No seasoning is to be used. When served a little salt and drawn butter or oil may be added as dressing.

Frying  is an objectionable method of cooking. It is generally held, and with good reason, that when grease at a high temperature is forced into flesh, it becomes very indigestible. In fact the crust formed on the outside of the flesh can not be digested. It is folly to prepare food so that it proves injurious.

However, there is a way of using the frying pan so that practically no harm is done. Grease the pan very lightly, just enough to prevent the flesh from sticking. Make the pan very hot and place the meat in it. Turn the meat frequently. Fries (young chickens) may be cooked in this way with good results. The same is true of steaks and chops.

Avoid greasy cooking. It is an abomination that helps to kill thousands of people annually.

Paper bag cooking  is all right if it is convenient. Those who have good steamers or fireless cookers will not find it of special advantage.

Brown flour gravies are not fit to eat. If there is any gravy serve it as it comes from the pan without mixing it with flour or other starches. It may be put over the meat or used as dressing for the vegetables. Milk gravies are also to be avoided. Use only the natural gravies.

Oysters may be eaten raw or stewed. Stew the oysters in a little water. Heat the milk and mix. Eat with cooked succulent vegetables and with raw salad vegetables. It is best to leave the crackers out. The oysters themselves contain very little nourishment, but when made into a milk stew the result is very nutritious.

Eggs should be fresh. Some bakers buy spoiled eggs and use them for their fancy cakes and cookies. This is a very objectionable practice and may be one of the reasons that bakers' cookies never taste like those "mother used to make." Eggs take the place of fish, meat or nuts, for they are rich in protein. They may be taken raw, rare or well done.

Eggs may be boiled, poached, steamed or baked. Soft boiled eggs require about three and one-half minutes. Hard boiled ones require from fifteen to twenty minutes. The albumin of an egg boiled six or seven minutes is tough. When boiled longer it becomes mellow. Eggs may be made into omelettes or scrambled, but the pan should be lightly greased and quite hot so that the cooking will be quickly done. Eggs are variously treated for an omelette. Some cooks add nothing but water and this makes a delicate dish. Others use milk, cream or butter, and beat.

Bacon is a relish and may be taken occasionally with any other food. It should be well done, fried or broiled until quite crisp. This is one place where frying is not objectionable.

Pork should rarely be used. It is too fat and rich and requires too long to digest. When eaten it should be taken in the simplest of combinations, such as pork and succulent vegetables or juicy fruits, either cooked or raw, and nothing else.

Flesh may be eaten more freely in winter than in summer. Meat especially should be eaten very sparingly during hot weather, for it is too stimulating and heating. Nuts, eggs and fish are then better forms in which to take protein.


Flesh foods combine best with the succulent vegetables and the salad vegetables or with juicy fruits. It is more usual to take vegetables with flesh than to take fruit, but those who prefer fruit may take it with equally as good results. Both fruits and vegetables are rich in tissue salts, in which flesh foods are rather deficient. The succulent vegetables contain some starch and the juicy fruits some sugar, but not enough to do any harm. They both act as fillers.

Flesh is quite concentrated and it is customary to take it with other concentrated foods, such as bread and potatoes. As a result too much food is ingested. It would be a splendid rule to make to avoid bread and potatoes when flesh food is taken, but if this seems too rigid, make it a rule never to eat all three at the same meal. It is best to eat the flesh foods without bread or potatoes, but if starch is desired, take only one kind at a time.

Most people crave a certain amount of food as filler, and they have fallen into the habit of using bread and potatoes for this purpose. This is a mistake. Use the juicy fruits and the succulent vegetables for filling purposes and thus get sufficient salts and avoid the many ills that come from eating great quantities of concentrated foods.

When possible, have a raw salad vegetable or two with the meat or fish meal.

Eat only one concentrated albuminous food at a meal. If you have meat, take no fish, eggs, nuts or cheese.