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pig-heads-msg – 10/21/08

 

Cooking, displaying or otherwise working with pig’s heads. Real and artificial.

 

NOTE: See also these files: pork-msg, meat-smoked-msg, Cooking-Piggy-art, chopped-meat-msg, illusion-fds-msg, whole-pig-msg, sotelties-msg, p-pigs-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.

 

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 18:30:41 -0700

From: Susan Fox-Davis <selene at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: SC - What to do with the head

 

This reminds me of a cook's jape I committed upon a royal personage some years

past.  The concept was not original with me, I heard of a similar incident long

ago and far away, and decided to commit it anew.

 

Knowing the timid tastes of our populace, instead of an actual Boar's Head we

served pies of mincemeat to the populace and a paste replica of a Boar's Head

to the High Table with mincemeat inside.  The head was capped with a gilded

Crown, so I bore the Boar to the King Guy, exhorting him to de-crown the

pretender and begin the sweet course.  The king graciously did so.  Being a

good little herald-cook, I announced it to the crowd.

 

"The King has the brains of a Pig!"

 

King Guy looks at me.  I look at him.

 

"I have an amendment to the previous announcement. The King does NOT have the

brains of a Pig!"

 

King Guy looks at me.  I look at him.

 

"I'm leaving while I still have MY head," quoth I, and did so with all speed.

 

Selene

cook, herald and unemployed jester

 

 

Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 22:00:21 -0400

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

From: "Phil Troy/ G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] How to question....

 

Also sprach KazOShea at aol.com:

>>>

How do you go about cooking a pig's head ? I do mean a whole one. Any tips or such would be most appreciated.

 

Iago

<<<

 

It depends to some extent what you're doing with it. You'll need to

allow a minimum of about three hours of very low simmering in

seasoned court-bouillon (basically wine, water, lots of seasonings,

almost like crab boil). If you want to be extra insane and bone it

out or something, or if the look is important, you ought to bandage

it well with cheesecloth strips to help hold it together and keep the

skin from splitting (it still may).

 

If you cook it whole, the brain won't be worth much, you can't (or at

least probably won't want to consider) eating the eyes, but the

tongue should be good.

 

If you want to bone it or decorate it and serve whole, carefully

remove the bandages after chilling it until it is fully cold and firm

throughout, then plunge for a few seconds in very hot water to soften

the gelatin-ey stuff holding the cheesecloth in place. If you just

remove it while it's hot from the pot, it's likely to tear.

 

You can also roast it, but the ears love to burn and the skin usually

shrinks and splits. Better to simmer it til done, then chill and

glaze it in the oven during reheating.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 19:13:58 -0700 (PDT)

From: Diana Skaggs <liadan at sbcglobal.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] How to question....

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Iago,

What are you going to do with the head? All the recipes I have call for cleaning it thoroughly, removing all the organs and skin, soaking in salt water, then simmer in fresh water to cover until it falls off the bones.

 

Liadan

 

 

Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 19:16:45 -0500

From: Robert Downie <rdownie at mb.sympatico.ca>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] How to question....

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Diana Skaggs wrote:

>>>

What are you going to do with the head? All the recipes I have call for cleaning it thoroughly, removing all the organs and skin, soaking in salt water, then simmer in fresh water to cover until it falls off the bones.

 

Liadan

<<<

 

Oh, I saw this same method done.  Afterwards you mince it and reassemble

it on the skull of the boar (using the meat from more than one head if necessary) and endore it, if I recall correctly.  I think it's from the Sabina welserin cookbook, one of her "lordly dishes". Unfortunately, I can't check it from this computer, and my husband is busy on the other one

 

Amusing anecdote follows:

Back in the old days when we had very inexperienced cooks, someone decided

it would be really cool to present a boar's head at a feast.  They were able to procure one, with the condition from the butcher that it be used for display only, since it wasn't food grade.  It ended up being dropped off at the house of the only cook that owned a house with a large kitchen (carpeted!), unfortunately, she was really inexperienced in the kitchen department, not to mention really squeamish.

 

A couple of hours later, one of the other cooks got a panicked call from her

asking her to come right over.  She couldn't bring herself to touch the pig's head that was sitting on her table and dripping all over her carpeted floor!  The one she called wasn't much help either.  Eventually, it made it to the feast hall.

 

They decided to bake it to give it a little color.  It wasn't browning to their

satisfaction, so they brushed it with a thin layer of iodine (hey, no one was

going to eat it anyway) and put it back in the oven to see if the color would

become a little less bright.  Shortly afterwards, the then Baron (a notoriously

picky eater) poked his head in the kitchen and said "wow, that smells good -

I might actually eat something at this feast" at the exact moment they opened

the oven to check on the pig, at the exact moment the eyeballs exploded.

Timing is everything!

 

Faerisa

 

 

Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 13:46:40 +0000

From: "Olwen the Odd" <olwentheodd at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] How to question....

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

>>>

How do you go about cooking a pig's head ? I do mean a whole one. Any tips

Or such would be most appreciated.

 

Iago

<<<

 

It would depend on what you are planning on doing with it.  If you are

using it as a centerpiece then tent it and bake it on a rack over water, if

you are going to use it to make hogshead loaf then you would boil it in a

vinegared water with appropriate spicing.

 

Olwen

 

 

Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 11:22:49 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

        <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Food and squeamishness

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Also sprach Susan Fox-Davis:

>>>  I was wondering, has anyone ever served food at a feast such as a  whole

>>> pig's or ox's head, or a whole piglet, or, basically, anything that can

>>> stare right back at you while you munch on it?

>>

> I'm going to ask the white-girl-city-kid question:  how exactly do

> you eat a pig's or ox's head, when it is presented whole like that?

 

Serious head-eating cultures frequently seem to prefer to split the

head, to better get at the brain and tongue, and have a little better

control over the cooking rates of the various parts (think of the

times when it's a good idea to separate the dark meat and white meat

of birds, and cook them for different periods of time. You can still

eat the head whole, but people that like brains often find them

pretty overcooked and tasteless by the time the rest of the head is

done.

 

>   Which parts are edible, or at least tastier than others?

 

I suppose you're not too hugely squeamish, or we wouldn't be having

this discussion. Think of all those rarely-used, rarely-noticed

muscles in your head. Your cheeks, lips, the ones you may use to

wiggle your ears or nose, or eyebrows, or those weird people that can

wriggle their scalps back and forth. Most of those muscles are

present in sheep's, calves', and pig's heads, and are essentially

viable meat. Attached to them are various bits of gristly stuff, some

made of elastin, which doesn't break down in cooking, and collagen,

which does (IOW, it becomes tender enough to chew, for those that

like stuff like pig's feet, oxtails, etc., it's pretty similar).

 

Choice bits on a pig's head, for those that like or will eat them,

anyway, seem to be the jowls (the cheek muscles, so much so that they

are often cured separately like small hams: see Bath Chaps and that

Italian stuff like pancetta but whose name I forget, which is the

traditional bacon source for pasta carbonara and arrabiatta...), the

tongue, and the eyes (actually the muscles behind the eyes, although

some do eat the eyes themselves, which I consider a bit much myself).

 

>  Which are nasty or too cartiliginous to bother with?  I take it

> that the eyes are no good, since they usually seem to get taken out

> and replaced with fruit.

 

The eyes are frequently removed when the head is roasted, because

they shrink and fall out, and can look a little scary even to those

with pretty cast-iron stomachs, hence the cranberries. Some people do

eat them, but they have a lot of very tough membranous stuff (talk to

your doctor about how delicate your cornea is when scratched, but how

friggin' tough it is to puncture). The apple in the mouth is similar;

the jaw muscles contract and force the mouth open; you don't want to

serve a screaming animal, usually.

 

The ears and snout have non-soluble cartilage; some people eat them

anyway; one of the terrors of my in-laws' house in the summer was

cold pig's snout/ear salad. I'm all for crunch, but for some reason

cartilage isn't on my approved list of sources, especially when you

boil the ear or snout for three or four hours and the skin is nearly

disintegrated, but the cartilage is still intact.

 

Some French recipes for calf's head vinaigrette, or head cheese,

etc., call for the ears and snout to be removed, at least from the

final product.

 

And then, there's the skin, the thin sheets of muscle encasing the

head, and the more tender (when cooked) connective tissue holding it

all together. Again, sort of like cooked pig's feet, but shaped

differently.

 

>  Brains?

 

Best when cooked separately, but sometimes just eaten out of the cooked  

head.

 

>   Ears?  My dog likes dried pig ears, they are sold by the dozen in

> pet supply stores as chewies.  Maybe she is on to something that we

> should know about?

 

She's not squeamish. For me, I guess it's kind of similar to when you

bite into something like a chicken leg or thigh, and sometimes get a

knuckle of cartilage in your mouth. Some of that stuff does cook to a

tender state, but a lot of it we're just conditioned to regard as

cartilage, which is a bit like bone, and spit it out. Ironically, one

of my favorite parts of a roast chicken is the very end of the wing

tip, because you can eat the little bite, bones and all, like a

potato chip.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 11:29:41 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

        <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] I mentioned an Italian cured hog jowl...

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

...it is called guanciale, and is highly flavored and, because of its

gelatin content, remains moist and tender through virtually any

cooking process.

 

Over time, pancetta (cured belly, like American streaky bacon) has

become a common substitute, and for that, prosciutto or bacon are

often substituted (especially in the US, with some of the interesting

import laws we've had).

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 12:47:11 -0700 (PDT)

From: Naquiba Katira al-Maghrebiyya <cynaguanswan at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] bread boar's head

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

It is tradition to serve a boar's head to the high

table at the end of the feast after the Boar Hunt in

the Province of the Mists.  It is usually fruit cake

frosted/decorated with marzipan.  The last one can be

seen at:

http://history.westkingdom.org/Year38/Photos/BH04.htm

 

Katira

West Kingdom

 

 

Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 22:54:00 -0400

From: Daniel Myers <eduard at medievalcookery.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Roux in Sabina Welserin's cookbook?

To: SCA Cooks <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

I was digging through Sabina Welserin's cookbook (Valoise Armstrong's

translation) looking for other stuff when I came across this recipe.

 

"5 How to cook a wild boar's head, also how to prepare a sauce for

it.  A wild boar's head should be boiled well in water and, when it

is done, laid on a grate and basted with wine, then it will be

thought to have been cooked in wine. Afterwards make a black or

yellow sauce with it. First, when you would make a black sauce, you

should heat up a little fat and brown a small spoonful of wheat flour

in the fat and after that put good wine into it and good cherry

syrup, so that it becomes black, and sugar, ginger, pepper, cloves

and cinnamon, grapes, raisins and finely chopped almonds. And taste

it, however it seems good to you, make it so. "

 

So what do you think?  Did Welserin have Varenne beat by about 100

years?

 

- Doc

 

 

Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 05:44:51 +0200

From: Volker Bach <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Roux in Sabina Welserin's cookbook?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Am Dienstag, 18. Juli 2006 06:57 schrieb Sue Clemenger:

> Dunno, since I'm not really familiar with Varenne (hope that  

> doesn't get me kicked out of the cool kids' kitchen).

> It does, however, sound completely yummy.  I wonder what kind of  

> cherries would have been used? It's almost cherry season here in

> Montana....mmmm..... --Maire

 

The original says 'kersseltz' - more like 'cherry sauce'. If this is indeed

the same as the near-ubiquitous cherry sauce of South German tradition, the

base is small sour cherries (Weichselkirschen).

 

YIS

 

Giano

 

 

Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 05:47:30 +0200

From: Volker Bach <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Roux in Sabina Welserin's cookbook?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Am Dienstag, 18. Juli 2006 04:54 schrieb Daniel Myers:

> I was digging through Sabina Welserin's cookbook (Valoise Armstrong's

> translation) looking for other stuff when I came across this recipe.

>

> "5 How to cook a wild boar's head, also how to prepare a sauce for

> it.  A wild boar's head should be boiled well in water and, when it

> is done, laid on a grate and basted with wine, then it will be

> thought to have been cooked in wine. Afterwards make a black or

> yellow sauce with it. First, when you would make a black sauce, you

> should heat up a little fat and brown a small spoonful of wheat flour

> in the fat and after that put good wine into it and good cherry

> syrup, so that it becomes black, and sugar, ginger, pepper, cloves

> and cinnamon, grapes, raisins and finely chopped almonds. And taste

> it, however it seems good to you, make it so. "

>

> So what do you think?  Did Welserin have Varenne beat by about 100

> years?

 

I'd say it's pretty clear. But in Germany, that kind of sauce is around

earlier than La Varenne anyway (Welserin is early, though, could well  

be the earliest). It's usually ascribed to French or Italian influence.

 

The original text says

 

...darnach soll man ain schwartz oder ain gelbs brielin dariber

machen, erstlich wan man das schwartz brielin will machen,

soll man ain wenig schmaltz lassenn hais? werden vnnd ain

leffellin voll schens mell jm schmaltz brennen vnnd darnach

ain g?ten wein daranthon vnnd ain g?ten kersseltz...

 

Giano

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 15:40:29 -0500

From: Jennifer Carlson <talana1 at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Kitchen tips

To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

When preparing a boar's head for the head table:

 

If you want to endore it, use a WHITE pig's head.  Black pig + egg yolk = green!

 

To remove the bristles, do NOT scald and pluck/scrape - it works on the animal's back, but not the head.  Use a propane torch to singe them off.  Do this outside.  Please.

 

Talana

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 18:21:32 -0400

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Boar's Head:  Was Kitchen Tips

To: "sca-cooks at ansteorra.org" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Talana wrote:

<<< When preparing a boar's head for the head table:

 

If you want to endore it, use a WHITE pig's head.

Black pig + egg yolk = green!

 

To remove the bristles, do NOT scald and pluck/scrape -

it works on the animal's back, but not the head. Use a propane

torch to singe them off. Do this outside. Please. >>>

 

Oddly enough, I just read about a preparation for a boar's head in Peter

Brears' new book "Cooking and Dining in Medieval England" (pp 167-171).  It

is a thorough description of the process beginning 2-3 weeks before a

feast.  He suggests using a disposable razor for the bristles, BTW.  He's

got a full page of 11 drawings to show the entire process of scalding and

shaving the head, cutting through from throat to chin, exposing the skull,

removing the face and curing it with salt, sewing up all the orifices,

packing the head with forcemeat, etc.  He includes garnishing suggestions.

I think this would be a "must read" for anyone planning to do something for

anyone...

 

Oh, yes... Devra at Poison Pen Press has the book.  Amazon _still_ doesn't

have it and it's been nearly 10 months.

 

Alys Katharine

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 18:30:35 -0400

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Boar's Head

To: "sca-cooks at ansteorra.org" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Gunthar wrote:

<<< I'm sure I would go ahead and eat parts of the head,

especially the cheeks and such. Although I still won't

eat brains. I'd even be tempted to gnaw on the eyeball

if only to watch poor Elizabeth go screaming from the

room. >>>

 

While some boars' heads might contain brains and eyeballs, etc., Brears'

version doesn't.  His actually is a pig's head since a real boar's head is

usually not available.  He also comments, prior to his recipe, that baking

a pig's head without any preparation is "unhygenic, inedible and wasteful

mess".  He notes that there are no early reciepes for preparing a boar's

head but there are later versions through to the 20th century.  

 

In his recipe, the forcemeat which fills the head consists of pork

shoulder, streaky bacon, rabbit meat, onions and spices. Boar tusks are

used for a garnish, but if not available he says to use celery curled to

represent them.  A glace cherry works for the eyes - unless you have

artificial glass ones.  To simulate a black boar, he instructs the cook to

mix black food coloring paste with lard and rub it over the head to make it

look like one.

 

Alys K.

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 19:43:28 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius1 at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Boar's Head

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

On Aug 20, 2008, at 6:30 PM, Elise Fleming wrote:

<<< While some boars' heads might contain brains and eyeballs, etc., Brears'

version doesn't.  His actually is a pig's head since a real boar's head is

usually not available.  He also comments, prior to his recipe, that baking

a pig's head without any preparation is "unhygenic, inedible and wasteful

mess".  He notes that there are no early recopes for preparing a boar's

head but there are later versions through to the 20th century.

 

In his recipe, the forcemeat which fills the head consists of pork

shoulder, streaky bacon, rabbit meat, onions and spices. Boar tusks are

used for a garnish, but if not available he says to use celery curled to

represent them.  A glace cherry works for the eyes - unless you have

artificial glass ones.  To simulate a black boar, he instructs the cook to

mix black food coloring paste with lard and rub it over the head to  

make it look like one. >>>

 

I have some issues with Brears' adaptation, but it does produce a  

beautiful dish if done right.

 

My feeling is, that's a great stuffing if you're making a nineteenth  

or twentieth century French game terrine, but we have lots of medieval  

French, English, and other recipes for stuffed foods, not to mention  

one 16th-century English one for a stuffing "To Farce All Things".  

Most of them call for boiled pork, minced and ground, raw eggs, cooked  

egg yolks, soft cheese, and spices.

 

I'm curious as to why Brears, with his Hampton Court experience, took  

a different route.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 23:59:00 -0400

From: "The Sheltons" <sheltons at sysmatrix.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Boar's Head

To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Chiquart provides detailed instructions on how to glaze boar's heads and

make them breathe fire.  He recommends painting the faces half green and

half yellow.  Then to make them even more spiffy, he recommends serving them

with banners around their heads with the heraldry of the lord they will be

placed in front of.

 

John le Burguillun

Atlantia

 

<the end>



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