Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Meat production - mid C16th to C18th

In winter some of the cattle would be slaughtered, as fodder became scarce. This was done to provide meat and to ensure that the other animals had enough feed for the winter. The meat was put into powdering tubs and salted down in the same way as pork was soaked in brine to make bacon. The meat was often hung in the roof space where the smoke from the open fire would help to cure the meat as it wafted over the flitches on its way out through the louvers in the roof. There are only nine mentions of beef in all the inventories looked at which suggests that salt beef was not eaten much in Dodderhill, although William Wylde had three flitches in 1676. Salt beef is also mentioned in some Bromsgrove and Stratford upon Avon homes between 1570 and 1630. It is generally considered that meat consumption even by the lowly peasant increased significantly in the late medieval period, and there seems no reason to consider that this appetite for meat would have been less satisfied in the post-medieval period. And, as might be expected, salt bacon was more common in the inventories than salt beef.

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