Taking Stock of The Situation

Taking Stock of The Situation

Recently I decided to hit the stock section of the BOHM hard. REALLY hard. I should note that Kerewin has already done a pretty deep dive into Beeton stock, but I have approached it from a slightly different angle, I promise.

One thing that interests me about Beeton’s is that in Isabella’s frenzy to cram recipes in and crank her serial out, she often included recipes that were nearly identical for modern purposes. We are used to cookbooks that provide a good deal of variety as far as ingredients go. In general English-language cookbooks I have encountered, I expect to find Mexican-style food, dishes with Chinese, Thai, or Japanese influences, European dishes like pastas or roasts, and more. In the BOHM, however, one will find variety in the form of the dishes’ cost.

In the preface Beeton declares:

In this book I have attempted to give, under the chapters devoted to cookery, an intelligible arrangement to every recipe, a list of the ingredients, a plain statement of the mode of preparing each dish, and a careful estimate of its cost, the number of people for whom it is sufficient, and the time when it is seasonable.

This leads me to conclude that when the book was compiled, costs were fairly stable. There were no giant savings warehouses, no bargain grocery outlets, and no high-end organic grocery where angels polish each leaf of lettuce and fairies water every plant with unicorn tears. Everything was organic, because modern pesticides and factory farming techniques had not yet been invented [Edit: see the Under Gardener's excellent comment on this post for the real scoop on pesticides. I happily stand corrected.]. There was one thing that we had in common with the Victorians: they had access to foods from a variety of climates and seasons. For instance, I knew Victorians enjoyed the pineapple as a symbol of hospitality and as an artistic motif, but I assumed it was something grown in the hothouses of the rich or brought from hot climates on occasion. I was very surprised to see Beeton casually refer to pineapples as being “cheap and plentiful” when in season.

But back to stock. The BOHM features three kinds of basic stock: Rich Strong, Medium, and Economical. The ingredients vary, of course, which is what accounts for the price difference. A casual glance at the rich and medium stocks tell me that they are not that different, price and ingredients wise, and yet the rich stock is 1s., 3d., and medium stock is only 9d.

Okay, I hear you asking, what does this even mean? It’s hard to say. There are lots of reasons it is very difficult to compare modern spending power to hundred or two hundred years ago. This is very rough, but using the retail price index, we can say that the cost of the rich stock ingredients is about £4.36 ($6.30USD) and the cost of the medium stock ingredients is £2.62 ($3.78USD). The economical stock, which is basically some broth off the part of some beast you boiled up and some crap you found, is only £0.87 ($1.25USD).

In today’s dollars, because of the reasons listed above, I believe the difference in cost would be a lot less marked, so I decided to go for the gusto and make the rich stock, which by my very rough estimate probably costs around $15USD, since it involves soup bone-type things and veggies, mostly.

The resulting stock was splendid and alarming in its assertiveness and presence. When it chills it solidifies into jelly, making it fairly easy to measure with dry measure measuring cups. I like chilling the stock after making it to remove the half-inch of fat that inevitably collects on the top.

Defatting the broth

I was concerned the first time I made it, because it contained a significant amount of Our Friend Mace, and I was worried the flavor, which is much more ubiquitous in Victorian cuisine, would overpower the stock. As it turned out, the stock was perfectly balanced and really, absolutely makes the most drab-sounding Victorian soup recipe taste AMAZING. It also tastes like you have slaved over the soup for hours instead of just dumping a carton of chicken broth in, which, you have. As Kerewin noted in her article referenced above, it is a “multi-animal broth” that takes five hours to simmer. Once it is rolling, of course, you can wander off, do laundry, take a nap, contract consumption, epistolate in an overwrought fashion, and &tc.

The beginnings of stock

On the same day I first tried the rich stock, I also tried the white stock [107] and the fish stock [192].

White broth and rich broth

Both were delicious, though the white broth was less useful than the rich stock, which is called for in many more recipes. I was concerned about making fish stock out of fear that it would be fishy and overpowering, so I used modern wisdom from The Joy of Cooking and only simmered the fish stock for 15 minutes, which resulted in a light and flavorful stock that was delicious with clams simmered open in it later that day.

I see u there.

Since Beeton is often vague, I have decided to formalize her recipe into something I could see using for years to come. If you try this, let me know what you think. My next move is to freeze the stock and see how it holds up.

Browned bones

[N.B.: I have decided to incorporate a modern technique in and brown the bones. Brown bones at 350 for 1 hour. Stir frequently and watch carefully to avoid burning the bones. Pop out any marrow (you could spread it on toast with some salt, yum yum) and pour off extra fat.]

Rich Strong Stock

INGREDIENTS.
½ lb. ham or bacon, sliced
1 lb of center-cut shank or shin with the bone in
3 chicken wings, a back, or other poultry trimmings
Browned shank bones and a 3-4 marrow bones, cut short
1 turnip, cut into wedges
Plum tomato, quartered
1 carrot, chunked
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
Small handful of mushrooms, halved
Handful of savory herbs like thyme, parsley, oregano, and a little rosemary (“Poultry mix” or another prepackaged one works well for this)
6 peppercorns
3 blades of mace
4 cloves

Mode.– First, cut any beef off the shank bones and cube as you might for rustic stew and reserve. Brown bones as above. Add ham and beef to pot with some grease and stir occasionally until it is browned. Add 2 litres of water and the chicken. As the water comes to a gentle boil, skim any scum from surface and re-add the amount of water removed. Add to this the rest of the ingredients, adding a little more water to cover the pot’s contents if necessary. Bring to gentle boil and, if needed, remove more scum. Reduce to a gentle, consistent simmer and simmer for 5 hours. Strain stock through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and it will be ready for use, though it is recommended that it be chilled for a time first, so that the layer of fat may be removed from the resulting stock, which will appear quite gelatinous when cold.

31 Responses to “Taking Stock of The Situation”


  • The Under Gardener

    Interesting stocks SJ we are in soup season here so I will be trying this one.

    Organic – not so much.
    The idea that Victorian food was organic is a bit of a furphy. It is something we all think was the case but in fact they were the ones who invented non-organic (if that is a word) farming. In big English Victorian estates Head Gardeners used some really deadly chemicals in pest control such as Parisian Green. Parisian Green was used to kill rats but was also sprinkled onto plants. Depending on how it is made it is a copper, arsenic and lead compound – very nasty and only one of the deadlies they favored. Using fancy chemicals on crops was part of the Victorian drive to scientifically control, improve and grow foods. The first chemical fertilizers were also developed in this era.

    We know that ready made foods purchased during the Victorian era England in cities were often adulterated with chalk, lime or ground bone to bulk out the contents.

    I imagine that if you were poor and still living in the country or in the colonies and growing your own food you would be eating organic because you wouldn’t be able to afford the new chemical wonders to control your pests or the new convenience foods. I wonder what studies of poor v rich, rural v city would reveal about Victorian health.

    Pineapples were grown in England in the large estates in specially heated pineapple houses. They were a symbol of affluence because a really topnotch Head Gardener could produce a pineapple out of season – for the Christmas table. This would take an enormous amount of money (fuel to heat the Pineapple house), time and fiddly horticulture to get right. My impression is that even as pineapples became more affordable due to imports from the colonies the Duchess would still want on her table a truly magnificent specimen that came from her own garden because it would prove just how stonkingly rich she was.

    I find the interplay of class, food and health really interesting and very complicated.

  • MULTI ANIMAL STOCK. Fanfreakintastic.

  • Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was
    just curious if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you protect against
    it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I
    get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any support is very much appreciated.

  • Just desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity to your publish is just
    excellent and i could think you’re a professional
    on this subject. Well along with your permission let me
    to seize your RSS feed to keep up to date with impending post.
    Thanks one million and please continue the rewarding work.

  • Je suis venue sur ton poste par mégarde puis je ne le regrette point !!!

  • Mon petit doigt me dit que je vais en parler sur mon blog

  • I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this
    website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz answer back as I’m looking to construct my own blog and
    would like to find out where u got this from.
    kudos

  • Holy crap, thank you so much for posting this! It is gonna help me when I get Oregano at the market! Wonderful!

  • I scream and yesll at the top of my lungs and
    most often they are sunning themselves near the dumpster as
    I go to throw out another diaper. Their residential services can literally help
    you with any kind of problem that you are having, before it gets too late
    and unmanageable. Uncontrolled gophers can eat the root syystems of plants and vegetables, effectively destroying the crop.

    Feel free to surf to my website: reviewed

  • Fantastic web site. A lot of helpful information here.
    I am sending it too a few friends ans also sharing in delicious.
    And of course, thank you for your sweat!

    Also visit my web blopg :: Change management process – issuu.com,

  • If you desire to iprove your knowedge only keep visiting this weeb site and be updated with the newest
    news update posted here.

    My blog: pounds to dollars exchange rate

  • More and more women enjoy the convenience of buying their bra and panty sets
    online. There arre sso many different styles here will be
    one that both you annd your loved one will find amazing.
    Whether mazde from the finest silok through to soft satin, sexy lingerie is a fantastic treat for
    your wife or girlfriend, annd ladies, it’s
    a grest treat for the mman in your life.

  • Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog
    andd wanted to mention that I have really loved browsong your
    weblog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

    Allso visit my site; jerky

  • There are training opportunities which provide you some guidelines,
    but let us assure you that marketing online is a bunch of tdicks that
    you should learn for yourself.However, selling online has its expenditure as well – cost of
    creating an attractive website and its maintenance.
    It is the best approach to start cashing on the online selling benefits.

    my webpage ide peluang usaha baru

  • Undeniably believe that that you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be
    on the web the simplest factor to have in mind of. I say to you,
    I definitely get irked while people think about concerns that they just don’t understand about.
    You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the whole thing with no need
    side-effects , folks could take a signal. Will probably be again to get more.

    Thank you

  • Hello, I want to subscribe for this webpage to obtain most recent updates, thus where can i do
    it please assist.

  • What’s up to every body, it’s my first pay a quick visit of this
    web site; this web site carries remarkable and in fact good material designed for visitors.

  • Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that this
    website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to
    see more, thanks for the advice!

  • Everything is very open with a precise clarification of
    the issues. It was really informative. Your site is useful.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • The Hennessy Hamock brings absolutely brand-new features to jungle
    best camping hammocks – fccchristian.org, with a variety of versions for
    every single function.

  • Measure out locations similar to your entrance yard and your driveway, and take
    into consideration the place you’ll be able to put your Dumpster Rental Noma where it will not intervene with visitors and parking at your location or the
    job.

  • If you hire a dumpster from Bin There Dump That in Indianapolis you’ll get a nicely
    maintained dumpster, professional dumpster delivery, high stage customer support via your
    complete process. With that mentioned customer support is all the time our number precedence and you will notice this out
    of your preliminary telephone call to inquire about our Indianapolis Dumpster Rental 34949 rental service.

  • You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but
    I find this matter to be actually something that I think
    I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try
    to get the hang of it!

  • Hi I am so excited I fօund ʏour weblog, I really found you by mistake,
    while I was browsing on Bing for something else, Nоnetheless I am herе now and would just like to sаy thank you for a remarkable post
    and a all round entertaining bloɡ (I also love the theme/design),
    I don’t have timᥱ to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also іncluded your RSS fеeds,
    so when I have time I will be baсk to read a lot mօre,
    Please do кeep up the awesome b.

    My webpagе gartenhaus (Venetta)

  • I gօ to see day-to-ɗay ɑ few blogs and sites tto rread articles oor
    reviews, еxcept tҺis blog οffers quality baszed posts.

    Ꭺlso visit mmy web page; http://agenboladepositbca24jam.com

  • whoah this weblog is great i love reading your posts. Keep up
    the great work! You recognize, many persons are hunting round for this information, you
    can help them greatly.

  • Hi there i am kavin, itts my first time to commentin anywhere, when i read this piece of writing i thought i could also create comment due to this sensible paragraph.

    Stoop by my site: over 15 million visitors

  • I think thus is one off the most signiicant information for me.
    And i am satisfied reading your article. Buut
    want to remark on some basiic issues,The site style is perfect, the artiicles is
    in point of fact nice : D. Excellent task, cheers

  • My brother suggested I would possibly like this blog.
    He was once totally right. This post actually made my day.

    You cann’t believe simply how a lot time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

  • Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources
    back to your site? My blog is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would truly benefit
    from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you.
    Thank you!

Leave a Reply