Very fat Mutton may be salted to great advantage, and also smoked, and may be kept thus a long while. Not the shoulders and legs, but the back of the sheep. I have never made any flitch of sheep-bacon, but I will, for there is nothing like having a store of meat in a house. The running to the butcher's daily is a ridiculous thing.
William Cobbett, 1822
"Never you mind about the piece of needlework, the tambouring and the maps of the world made by her needle. Get to see her at work upon a mutton chop, or a bit of bread and cheese, and if she deal quickly with them, you have a pretty security for that activity, without which a wife is a burden instead of being a help."
Cobbett, Advice to Young Men,
"If you wish mutton tendere it must be hung as long as it will keep; then a good eight-tooth (ie four-year old) mutton is as good eating as venison."
1858 (Hartley p142)
The red earth gathered from the screes of Helvellyn (and sometimes other red pigment earths) are mixed with melted mutton fat to make the red paint or raddle with which sheep are marked.
Marking with Raddle
Some commercial firms pushed an oil-bound, lead-basis red paint upon hill shepherds, to use in place of the old mutton fat and earth raddle. As a result the chamois leather and skiver workers were worried by curious stains which appeared in the sides of their sheepskins - invisible till the skins had been far processed towards leather, when it showed up as a stain within the texture of the skin. The explanation was that the bought 'paint' had worked up the wool and, unlike the reabsorbed mutton fat and sedimentary colour, the paint stain had penetrated the skin and left a deposit therein.
Food in England,
Dorothy Hartley (p150)
Lanoline and mutton fat were used as ointments on hill farms just as hog's lard or goose-grease were used on valley farms. On account of the extreme hardness of well-clarified mutton fat, when used as a basis for ointment it was usually warmed before being applied. For shepherds' or milkmaids' chapped or badly cracked 'winter' hands the sovereign cure was to warm the fat, when the hands were dipped in bodily, and the grease worked well in. The hands were then held under the cold tap and gently wiped. This treatment made it possible for the worker to carry on with his job without his hands being too sticky, and the ointment did not melt off easily during the day.
Food in England,
Dorothy Hartley (p159-60)
“This homely, but capital English joint…”
Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861) (p184),
"But Mutton! Thou most nourishing of Meat!
Whose single joint may constitute a treat,
When made a Pudding you excel the rest
As mush as that of other food is best."
“From Scriptural authority we learn many interesting facts as regards the sheep: the first, that mutton fat was considered the most delicious portion of any meat, and the tail and adjacent part the most exquisite morsel in the whole body; consequently, such were regarded as especially fit for the offer of sacrifice.”
Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861) (p176),
"Sante Julyane, in til his tyme was ne glotonne Na wont was moch to ete motone."
Legends of the Saints (1375),
MUCH ADO ABOUT MUTTON
A new book has been published telling for the first time the story of mutton.