Animal sawdust

Dog meat soup at Kaesong Folk Hotel, Korea.

Dog meat soup at Kaesong Folk Hotel, Korea. Image: Mark Fahey.

JG Kohl, in Petersburg’s markets at the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria:

The anatomical dissections of a Russian butcher are extremely simple. Bones and meat having been all rendered equally hard by the frost, it would be difficult to attempt to separate the several joints. The animals are, accordingly, sawn up into a number of slices of an inch or two in thickness, and in the course of this operation a quantity of animal sawdust is scattered on the snow, whence it is eagerly gathered up by poor children, of whom great numbers hanut the market.

GB’s handed-down memory of Lancashire mill children asking the grocer to cut the bread with the meat knife; another memory of cutting up the (frozen) ingredients for toasted sandwiches with a chain saw after a long pub session. This is new:

So long as the frost keeps all liquid matter in captivity, and so long as the snow, constantly renewed, throws a charitable covering over all the hidden sins of the place, so long the ploshtshod looks clean enough, but this very snow and frost prepare for the coming spring a spectacle which I would counsel no one to look upon, who wishes to keep his appetite in due order for the sumptuous banquets of St. Petersburg. Every kind of filth and garbage accumulates during the winter; and when at last the melting influence of spring dissolves the charm, the quantities of sheep’s eyes, fish tails, crab shells, goat’s hairs, fragments of meat, pools of blood, not to speak of hay, dung, and other matters, are positively frightful.

Another culinary delight: funduki, hazelnuts, presumably from the Turkish Black Sea coast, and hence relatives many times removed of the Spanish albóndigas, meatballs.

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