Offal Offerings

Extract from Isabella Beeton’s Book of Household Management c~1861

Gross-out little bratface, who’s been hammering his PlayStation for the last 12 hours and expects you to go buy him KFC.

Or: Everything you wanted to eat but were afraid to cook.


Ingredients: Kidneys, butter, pepper and salt to taste.  
Mode: Cut the kidneys open without quite dividing them, remove the skin, and put a small piece of butter in the frying-pan. When the butter is melted, lay in the kidneys the flat side downwards, and fry them for 7 or 8 minutes, turning them when they are half-done. Serve on a piece of dry toast, season with pepper and salt, and put a small piece of butter in each kidney; pour the gravy from the pan over them, and serve very hot.  
Time: 7 or 8 minutes.   Average cost, 1-1/2d. each.  
Sufficient: Allow 1 kidney to each person.  
Seasonable at any time.


(an Entree)

Ingredients: 6 sheep’s brains, vinegar, salt, a few slices of bacon, 1 small onion, 2 cloves, a small bunch of parsley,
Sufficient stock or weak broth to cover the brains, 1 tablespoonful of lemon-juice, matelote sauce, No. 512.  
Mode: Detach the brains from the heads without breaking them, and put them into a pan of warm water; remove the skin, and let them remain for two hours. Have ready a saucepan of boiling water, add a little vinegar and salt, and put in the brains. When they are quite firm, take them out and put them into very cold water. Place 2 or 3 slices of bacon in a stewpan, put in the brains, the onion stuck with 2 cloves, the parsley, and a good seasoning of pepper and salt; cover with stock, or weak broth, and boil them gently for about 25 minutes. Have ready some croûtons; arrange these in the dish alternately with the brains, and cover with a matelote sauce, No. 512, to which has been added the above proportion of lemon-juice.  
Time: 25 minutes. Average cost, 1s. 6d.  
Sufficient for 6 persons.  
Seasonable at any time.


(Soyer’s Recipe)

Ingredients: 12 feet, 1/4 lb. of beef or mutton suet, 2 onions, 1 carrot, 2 bay-leaves, 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 oz. of salt, 1/4 oz. of pepper, 2 tablespoonfuls of flour, 2-1/2 quarts of water, 1/4 lb. of fresh butter, 1 teaspoonful of salt, 1 teaspoonful of flour, 3/4 teaspoonful of pepper, a little grated nutmeg, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 gill of milk, the yolks of 2 eggs.  
Mode: Have the feet cleaned, and the long bone extracted from them. Put the suet into a stewpan, with the onions and carrot sliced, the bay-leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper, and let these simmer for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoonfuls of flour and the water, and keep stirring till it boils; then put in the feet. Let these simmer for 3 hours, or until perfectly tender, and take them and lay them on a sieve. Mix together, on a plate, with the back of a spoon, butter, salt, flour (1 teaspoonful), pepper, nutmeg, and lemon-juice as above, and put the feet, with a gill of milk, into a stewpan. When very hot, add the butter, &c., and stir continually till melted. Now mix the yolks of 2 eggs with 5 tablespoonfuls of milk; stir this to the other ingredients, keep moving the pan over the fire continually for a minute or two, but do not allow it to boil after the eggs are added. Serve in a very hot dish, and garnish with croûtons, or sippets of toasted bread.  
Time: 3 hours. Average cost, 1s. 6d.  
Sufficient for 4 persons.  
Seasonable at any time.  


Ingredients: 1 sheep’s head,
Sufficient water to cover it, 3 carrots, 3 turnips, 2 or 3 parsnips, 3 onions, a small bunch of parsley, 1 teaspoonful of pepper, 3 teaspoonfuls of salt, 1/4 lb. of Scotch oatmeal.  
Mode: Clean the head well, and let it soak in warm water for 2 hours, to get rid of the blood; put it into a saucepan, with
Sufficient cold water to cover it, and when it boils, add the vegetables, peeled and sliced, and the remaining ingredients; before adding the oatmeal, mix it to a smooth batter with a little of the liquor. Keep stirring till it boils up; then shut the saucepan closely, and let it stew gently for 1-1/2 or 2 hours. It may be thickened with rice or barley, but oatmeal is preferable.  
Time: 1-1/2 or 2 hours. Average cost, 8d. each.  
Sufficient for 3 persons.  
Seasonable at any time.


(Not really gross – my favorite)

Ingredients: 1 lb. of lamb’s fry, 3 pints of water, egg and bread crumbs, 1 teaspoonful of chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste.  
Mode: Boil the fry for 1/4 hour in the above proportion of water, take it out and dry it in a cloth; grate some bread down finely, mix with it a teaspoonful of chopped parsley and a high seasoning of pepper and salt. Brush the fry lightly over with the yolk of an egg, sprinkle over the bread crumbs, and fry for 5 minutes. Serve very hot on a napkin in a dish, and garnish with plenty of crisped parsley.  
Time: 1 hour to simmer the fry, 5 minutes to fry it.   Average cost, 10d. per lb.  
Sufficient for 2 or 3 persons.  
Seasonable from Easter to Michaelmas.


(aka Sheep’s Head Soup)

Ingredients: A sheep’s head, 3 quarts of water, 12 leeks cut small, pepper and salt to taste, oatmeal to thicken.  
Mode: Prepare the head, either by skinning or cleaning the skin very nicely; split it in two; take out the brains, and put it into boiling water; add the leeks and seasoning, and simmer very gently for 4 hours. Mix smoothly, with cold water, as much oatmeal as will make the soup tolerably thick; pour it into the soup; continue stirring till the whole is blended and well done, and serve.  
Time: 4-1/2 hours. Average cost, 4d. per quart.  
Seasonable in winter.  
Sufficient for 10 persons.

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