Unfortunately, these two aims conflict with each other... The method must be tailored to the meat's toughness.
The ideal method for cooking meat would therefore minimize moisture loss and compacting of the meat fiers, while maximizing the conversion of tough connective-tissue colllagen to fluid gelatin.
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It was virtually everyone's aspiration to have meat on his table...
154-155) [Ancient Rome] "Already during the last two centuries before Christ, meat began to appear with increasing frequency in the homes of Rome's wealthier citizens...
Late 19th century food scientists examined meat doneness, offering temperature/time recommendations according to type of meat, cut, and method of cooking. Meat thermometers (1930s) took the guesswork out of judging doneness. When today we ask for our steak well done, medium or rare, we are repeating a choice that the Renaissance writers revived from Hippocratic writings.
Like their 17th century predecessors, early 20th cooking texts warn against rare meat. Black and blue (aka "Pittsburgh style" steak surfaces in print in the 1970s. In 1626 Pierre Duchatel noted the physical reactions to be expected from meat prepared in each of the thre ways '(1)...well-Boiled meat is suitable to the digestion. (2)...those meats that have been medium boiled or medium roasted add moderately to vigor and digestion.
29-30) [16th-17th century France] "In 1560 Bruyerin avowed that he had 'more than once' seen '[half-cooked meats devoured so that blood almost flowed from the mouths of those who were eating.
Eleanor Scully & Terence Scully [University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor] 1995 (p.
167 Coole endiffe, radish, new egs rosted reare, And late-prest cheese; which earthen dishes beare. Ovid Baucis & Philemon in Fables 159 New-laid Eggs, which Baucis busie Care Turn'd by a gentle Fire, and roasted rear. Recipes for hours-long braising or stewing were developed for mature animals with substantially cross-linked collagen that took a long time to dissolve into gelatin.
Fat coats and lubricates meat fibers during cooking, and stimulates the flow of saliva and creates the sensation of juiciness no matter hwo dry the meat fibers themselves have become.
It was salted, smoked, and even preserved in honey...
Naturally there were serious problems in keeping the meat fresh, since mechanical refrigeration was unavailable.
Joannes de Mediolano Regimen Sanitatis Salerni sig. It is important to remember that because meat was relatively tough and frequently salted to prevent spoilage, it was often necessary to rinse it in milk and boil it once or twice before using it in a specific recipe." ---A Taste of Ancient Rome, Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa, translated by Anna Herklotz [Univeristy of Chicago Press: Chicago] 1992 (p.