Mutton Back On The Menu
Long, Slow Cooking To Perfection
Up until the 1940s, sheep had value for their fleeces as well as their meat; they could be kept for several years to grow wool, before being fattened for slaughter. With the value of wool gradually diminishing, it became less economic for farmers to keep animals for so long.
Over a period of time, the British palate shifted its preference from mutton to lamb – particularly as frozen lamb from Australia and New Zealand greatly improved year- round availability and price.
Another key influence is the way in which farming practices changed in Britain after the Second World War. In a drive to feed the population efficiently and cost-effectively, lamb was promoted as the choicest sheep meat and the availability of mutton declined.
In recent years, it seems that the time required to cook a piece of mutton to perfection - at least two hours - was not compatible with the fast-food lifestyle of the late twentieth century. However, whilst many British consumers turned their back on mutton, it has remained highly valued in Asian, North African and Caribbean cuisine where long, slow marinades are combined with moist methods of cookery.
MUCH ADO ABOUT MUTTON
A new book has been published telling for the first time the story of mutton.