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yet I begin to be weary,-yesterday's hunting hangs still
Pisc. Well, sir, and you shall quickly be at rest, for yonder is the house I mean to bring you to.
Come, hostess! how do you do? Will you first give us a cup of your best drink; and then dress this chub, as you dressed my last, when I and my friend were here about eight or ten days ago? But you must do me one courtesy ; it must be done instantly.
Host. I will do it, Mr. Piscator, and with all the speed I
Pisc. Now, sir, has not my hostess made haste? and does not the fish look lovely?
Ven. Both, upon my word, sir; and therefore let's say grace, and fall to eating of it.
Pisc. Well, sir, how do you like it?
Ven. Trust me, 'tis as good meat as I ever tasted. Now let me thank you for it; drink to you; and beg a courtesy of you, but it must not be denied me.
Pisc. What is it, I pray, sir? You are so modest, that methinks I may promise to grant it, before it is asked.
Ven. Why, sir, it is, that from henceforth you will allow me to call you master, and that really I may be your scholar; for you are such a companion, and have so quickly caught, and so excellently cooked this fish, as makes me ambitious to be your scholar.
Pisc. Give me your hand. From this time forward I will be your master, and teach you as much of this art as I am able; and will, as you desire me, tell you somewhat of the nature of most of the fish that we are to angle for, and I am sure I both can and will tell you, more than any common angler yet knows.
HOW TO FISH FOR, AND TO DRESS THE CHAVENDER, OR CHUB.
Piscator. The chub, though he eat well, thus dressed; yet as he is usually dressed, he does not. He is objected against, not only for being full of small forked bones, dispersed through all his body, but that he eats waterish, and that the flesh of him is not firm, but short and tasteless. The French esteem him so mean, as to call him un villain. Nevertheless, he may be so dressed, as to make him very good meat; as namely, if he be a large chub, then dress him thus:
First, scale him; and then wash him clean; and then take out his guts, and to that end make the hole as little, and near to his gills, as you may conveniently. And, especially, make clean his throat from the grass and weeds that are usually in it; for if that be not very clean, it will make him taste very sour. Having so done, put some sweet herbs into his belly; and then tie him with two or three splinters to a spit; and roast him, basted often with vinegar, or
rather verjuice and butter, and with good store of salt mixed with it.
Being thus dressed, you will find him a much better dish of meat than you, or most folk, even than anglers themselves do imagine. For this dries up the fluid watery humour with which all chubs do abound.
But take this rule with you, that a chub newly taken and newly dressed, is so much better than chub of a day's keeping after he is dead, that I can compare him-to nothing so fitly as-to cherries newly gathered from a tree, and others that have been bruised and lain a day or two in water. But the chub being thus used; and dressed presently and not washed after he is gutted-for note,—that lying long in water, and washing the blood out of any fish after they be gutted, abates much of their sweetness-you will find the chub (being dressed in the blood, and quickly) to be such meat as will recompense your labour, and disabuse your opinion.
Or you may dress the chavender or chub thus :
When you have scaled him, and cut off his tail and fins, and washed him very clean;-then chine or slit him through the middle, as a salt fish is usually cut; then give him three or four cuts or scotches on the back with your knife; and broil him on charcoal or wood coal, that is free from smoke. And all the time he is broiling, baste him with the best sweet butter, and good store of salt mixed with it. And to this, add a little thyme cut exceedingly small, or bruised into the butter. The cheven thus dressed hath the watery taste taken away, for which so many except against him. Thus was the cheven dressed that you now liked so well, and commended so much. But note again, that if this chub, that you eat of, had been kept till to-morrow, he had not been worth a rush. And remember,-that his throat be washed very clean, I say very clean,—and his body not washed after he is gutted, as indeed no fish should be.1
1 Every cookery book, from Mrs. Glasse down to M. Soyer, gives directions for dressing this and other insipid and bony fish, so as to make them palatable. M. Soyer, in particular, is very circumstantial, and, to some extent, novel. After all, we are inclined to exclaim, "La sauce vaut mieux que le poisson."-ED.