Mutton is meat from a sheep that was too old when slaughtered to be classed as lamb. After slaughter, the carcass should be hung for 2 weeks.
The meat has a rich taste — some say strong taste.
Mutton haters complain that mutton has too much taste, and of the wrong kind.
Mutton lovers complain that lamb has no taste. While Indian methods of cooking such as in curry, etc, help to mask the taste of mutton, mutton lovers say that lamb is just too mild tasting to be able to hold its own in a curry.
Some people blame the disappearance of mutton as a meat at stores on people with uneducated taste palates. Others blame its disappearance on farmers who don’t want to feed sheep longer than they had to. But, it use to be they could justify letting lambs grow into sheep, because sheep provided wool that you could sell. But with the decline in what farmers got for wool, and with people’s tastes shifting away from mutton to lamb, it wasn’t economic any longer to keep them alive past the lamb stage.
In England, mutton is often served with caper sauce.
Mutton needs low and slow cooking methods.
Discard the fat.
In 1861, Mrs Beeton was able to write: “Mutton is, undoubtedly, the meat most generally used in families. And, both by connoisseurs and medical men, it stands first in favour; whether its fine flavour, digestible qualifications, or general wholesomeness be considered.”
Farmers in Britain started in 2004 attempting a revival of the popularity in mutton, aided by Prince Charles.
The Mutton Renaissance Club was formed in 2004, and had their inaugural dinner in February 2006. They recruited to the cause popular cooking names such as Keith Floyd, Gary Rhodes, Antony Worrall Thompson and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
The English word “mutton” comes from the French word for sheep, “mouton.”
The phrase “cold shoulder” comes from cold shoulder of mutton, being the sort of leftover meat that less desirable house guests would be fed.
Derbyshire, David. Put mutton back on the national menu, urges Charles. London: Daily Telegraph. 12 November 2004.
Davies, Caroline. Mutton dressed as glam. London: Daily Telegraph. 3 February 2006.
Fort, Matthew. Woolly thinking. Manchester, England: The Guardian. 11 December 2004