Demystifying the Art of Carving?

This week, I stumbled across a c.1900 and a 1945 pamphlet that having something in common: Carving. The first, How to Carve, is part of larger item that seems to have been bound together at one time. We only have the sections on carving, serving dinner, and brewing beer, interestingly enough. The second booklet, Edward Arnold Shows You How to Carve, published almost half a century latter, represents what I would argue is the precursor to the modern infomercial. Edward Arnold uses knives made by the company sponsoring the pamphlet to share his carving trick with us!

Although there’s a lack of color in this one, there is no lack of illustrations (I’ve spared you some of them, but if you’re interested in tongues, eyes, and some other parts, you can see the full version of this online, courtesy of the Internet Archive). I do think there’s a surprising amount of detail and diversity of meats in this example, even if it’s a bit straightforward. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a little flash and style, we can help there, too. Just combine one part film star and one part Flint Hollow Ground Cutlery!

There’s a bit less detail in this 20 page booklet, but it does have illustrations with carving in action. It also offers suggestions for the tools needed, depending on what you might be carving. It doesn’t cover the same variety (no tongue, pigeon, or hare here), but at least some of skills should translate to a different animal. I do love the advertisements. A publication like this puts us back in familiar territory on the blog: sponsorship by a company. In the past, we’ve seen some items that was were authored by celebrities in the culinary world, but I think this may be the first time we’ve looked at something by a celebrity in the Hollywood world. (Now I’m curious, so I’ll have to hit the stacks and see what other celebrity cookbooks we have!)

At any rate, if you’re staring at that roast (or maybe a grilled steak?), just wondering what to do, we might just be able to help. Carving directions aren’t limited to pamphlets on the topic. We have shelves of cookbooks with more advice!

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