Greg Lekavich • Link
The meat of a boar.
The meat of a boar.
ORIGINAL RECEIPT: [15th century]
.xxxj. Brawn en Peuerade
Small Onions, whole but peeled, & parboiled until just tender
Dark meat of chicken or pork, thickly sliced. Brawn was the Medieval term for the dark, heavy, & slightly fatty meat of poultry or boar.
Red food coloring (substituting for Sandalwood, which was used primarily as a coloring agent)
Red Wine Vinegar
Dine like this:M. VALERI MARTIALIS EPIGRAMMATON LIBER VII
Non cenat sine apro noster, Tite, Caecilianus;
bellum convivam Caecilianus habet! (Martial 7/ 59)
Caecilianus does not eat without our wild boar , Oh! Tite
Caecilianus has a nice guest ! [ a table companion] [himself].
one poor rendering.
From "Practilly Edible"
"Brawn used to mean meat or muscle of any kind; we still use the word "brawn" to mean muscle in calling someone "brawny", or in sayings such as "brain over brawn".
By the 1400s, the word was often used to mean meat from wild pigs, and then later it got applied to just domestic pigs. As time when by, it came to mean pork that was brined, flavoured, boiled and moulded. Certainly by the 1800s, Brawn had come to mean Brawn as we know it today.
In the American south, the word "souse" is used to refer to brawn. Souse, though, tends to be a bit more tangy and pickled because of the addition of vinegar. Souse is a very old English term: 'Good bread and good drinke, a good fier in the hall, brawne, pudding and souse, and good mustard withall'" (Thomas Tusser 1573).
As a child in the 1950s I occasionally arrived home from school to find the house astinking and the snout of a pig's head peaking out from beneath the lid of a large pot steaming on the stove. After several hour's cooking my mother stripped the flesh and fat from the head, placed it with seasoning in a large ceramic basin and pressed it with a heavy weight for at least 24hrs. This was a post WW2, working class version of brawn which my parents loved, eaten with brown bread and butter, but we kids loathed.
I was born and bred in an Australian delicatessen. My dad, in his love of his work, used to regularly make brawn from the scraps of the shop meats. Little jars of brawn; two sizes, maybe about 8 oz and 12 oz; maybe about 9 pence and a bob each. I loved 'em. It grieves me now to pay maybe 50 times that price. I must learn to make it meself.
The closest thing to this available today is "Head Cheese", the meaty bits boiled off a pigs (split) head, seasoned and molded into a loaf. Sliced and made into sandwiches, it tastes rather like ham, but with more "interesting" flavors.
I love it!
My brother's opinion concerning the tastiness of Head Cheese is his own and should not in any way be used or otherwise foisted off on family members in an effort to defame or vilify them. In MY opinion Head Cheese is a nasty business and should be avoided at all costs. And William, I shall be informing Mother about this.
The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies blog has a recipe for collared brawn:
Raw meat from the head of a pig was removed, and the pieces placed in salt for 3 days, spiced (including cloves and mace), and wrapped in a cloth. Then it was boiled in a mixture of vinegar, salt and water until tender. After being removed from the liquid and cloth, the brawn was wrapped tightly in a fresh cloth and tied, then cooled. The liquid (referred to as “pickle”) was then brought to a boil with fresh water, then cooled, and the brawn placed in the liquid. (The recipe advises making fresh liquid or liquor every two weeks.)
Other recipes and insights for your edification: http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/2016/01…
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.