Nice work if you can eat it

Influence of fat content on palatability of roast beef.

From “Livestock in the Brehon Laws” by J O’Loan in the Agricultural History Review in 1959 (via):

In a detailed investigation conducted at Cambridge University School of Agriculture with cattle of varying degrees of fatness, to assess, inter alia, the palatability of the meat, the highest award given by a panel of trained meat tasters was to an animal in which the fat was 28 per cent of the carcase and 33⅓ per cent of the particular joint cooked for tasting. The report [EH Callow in Journal of Agricultural Science, 1944] says, “Tasting tests revealed that there is a close connection between the fatness of a joint and its palatability when roasted. Up to the point at which rather more than one-third of the joint is fatty tissue the palatability is enhanced as fatness increases. Beyond this point the palatability diminishes.”

Re the rest of the piece: how did early or modern Spanish traders rate their stock? I have no idea.

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