On Ox Cheeks ~1855

Humorous Ox Cheek Story.

Back, once again, with another entertaining excerpt from Soyer’s Shilling Cookery for the People, circa 1855. The readers will be reminded that the author writes of accounts working with the Irish peasantry during the potato famine and this current collection of recipes is intended to provide economical and nutritious recipes for the common family.

And you will not be disappointed.

Today’s excerpt involves ox cheeks. Yum! The author, Alexis, describes them as the most gelatinous part of the ox, but, when prepared correctly, most delicious. The follow excerpt tells us a story of how enthusiastically ox cheeks were received.

It begins by a the author visiting a home occupied by an elderly woman. The writer tries to get the woman to prepare an ox cheek, but the woman declines with no small degree of (I believe warranted) incredulity.

Alexis makes a bargain with the old woman, giving her sixpence to go buy some sand to scour her pot and the author will gift the ox cheek and show the woman how it is prepared.

The next day, Alexis returns and the woman has a clean pot. They prepare the ox cheek, which takes three hours.

And so the stage is set:


Blue ruin is slang for low-end, homemade gin.

Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 4.47.15 PM

(No doubt the old woman would add it anyway.)

But the story isn’t through quite yet…

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More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks



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