In a college English class that covered poetry, decades later the only thing I remember clearly is the professor commenting on how "greasy Jane stirs the pot" meant there was meat, thus this was an upper-class meal, otherwise it wouldn't have been greasy and she was likely a servant. He went on about how elegant it was to convey so much info with a single word but it only does that if you know enough context, which means enough history.
So the existence of this pack of cards likely suggests rising wealth generally. It suggests a world in which people who didn't normally eat meat might begin to eat meat enough to need or want written instruction because their associates likely also didn't know how to carve meat or someone would just show them or tell them.
Depends where and when, but while that may have been likely for the rural poor throughout history, cities were different. For example, as one can learn from commentaries on Chaucer’s society at the time of the Canterbury Tales, the 14th-century London masses were indeed eating lots of meat. Of course, this was largely poultry (and not always the choicest cuts thereof) instead of luxurious meats like beef, but nevertheless it was meat. A couple of centuries later, sausages were a common snack of the proles attending Shakespeare’s plays at the Globe Theater.
This comment comes as a surprise to me. My understanding is that historically, before the second world war, chicken was prohibitively expensive and considered a delicacy.
US cattle prices pre WWII were low because the US had huge tracts of cheap land and rail networks to move that meat into cities. Medieval Europe had a very different logistical situation.
Yes, I do.
Which is why I found the prices listed here quite surprising:
Two dozen eggs cost the same as two chickens.
I would guess they were much more available in the countryside and the cost might have been high in cities because of no refrigeration (while animals were only butchered on the spot more or less)
This is a pretty interesting answer (the thing I forgot is that chicken laid significantly less eggs back then than modern ones do):
(It claims that even rural peasants could hardly afford to eat more than an egg or two per week)
Regarding ale most poor people probably drank the .75d one and no the one which cost 1.5d. (Also poor people still mainly drank water)
e.g. the daily wage for a semi skilled worker was 2-3d. If you have to fed a family that’s not a lot and eating eggs would certainly not be that common.
Everything is understated, dressing flashy or bragging is vulgar.
If a person is from anywhere in the south of England, I find it really easy to read all kinds of details from their accent. I can hear what kind of area they grew up in, what kind of school they went to, the education level or profession of their father/parents, basically their entire social class.
I find it a lot harder with northern accents, though, due to lack of data.
Yeah, the article alludes to that and suggests the cards were used by a family that became wealthy enough to serve meat to guests but not so wealthy as to be able to hire a carver/servant.
But the lexicon got really involved when it came to carving. This is from a 17th c. book, The Gentlewoman's Companion:
In cutting up all manner of small Birds, it is proper to say, Thigh them; as thigh that Woodcock, thigh that Pidgeon; but as to others say, Mince that Plover, Wing that Quail, and wing that Partridge, Allay that Pheasant, Untach that Curlew, Unjoint that Bittern, Disfigure that Peacock, Display that Crane, Dismember that Hern, Unbrace that Mallard, Frust that Chicken, Spoil that Hen, Sauce that Capon, Lift that Swan, Rear that Goose, Tire that Egg. As to the flesh of Beasts, Unlace that Coney, Break that Deer, and Leach that Brawn. For Fish; Chine that Salmon, String that Lamprey, Splat that Pike, Sauce that Plaice, and Sauce that Tench, Splay that Bream, Side that Haddock, Tusk that Barbel, Culpon that Trout; Transon that Eel, Tranch that Sturgeon, Tame that Crab, Barb that Lobster.
I imagine there was a lot about the times that we aren’t privy to when we make our judgements. We’re not playing with a full deck of cards, if you will… ;)
It's like, did you ever play a competitive video game with your friends as a kid? Smash bros or starcraft or whatever? And then when you grow up you find out that even the best of you is completely horrible compared to even a low ranked real competitor. It's almost like a totally different game.
Back then so many more things were like that.
Why they went for a scallop cut, I have no idea, but from my text it seems like they were aiming to break the salmon cuts down into grades.
And actually, I guess we should remember that these are 'table carvings'. The fish has already been cooked more or less whole, and the cards are telling you how to carve and serve at the table. So at that point I guess, the scallop cuts are just.. pure show.
 https://vectorstock.com/6186158 (Edit: link fixed)
I imagine that deboning that thing after is a right pain.