In 1826, Mrs. Margaret Dods of the Cleikum Inn, St Ronan’s in Scotland wrote and published The Cook and Housewife’s Manual. The instructions for properly preparing an oven to roast meat are a lot more complicated than “Set oven to 350 degrees.” I’m happy to be living in 2014 with our modern appliances.

 In roasting, the management of the fire is half the battle. Let the kitchen grate be thoroughly raked out in the morning. An hour before the roast is put down make upa fire suited to the size of the joint; let it be clear and glowing, and free of ashes and smoke in the front. A backing of wetted cinders or small coal, helps to throw forward and sustain an equal radiant heat in front. Place the meat a a due distance, that it may heat through without the outside becoming shriveled and scorched. To prevent this, baste diligently for the first half hour. The larger the joint, the greater must be the distance from the fire, so that it be not so much as to make the meat tough and sodden by the slackness of the process. A radiant fire, due distance and frequent basting, can alone ensure a well roasted joint, of that fine amber colour, crispy, and lightly frothed, which speaks a language all men understand.

Image Credits: Serge Bertasius Photography at

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