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Rillettes are a French form of potted meat. The flesh of rabbits, geese, poultry, or particularly pigs is cooked long and slowly in lard, reduced to a smoothe paste, potted up, and then served cold as an hors d'oeuvre. Perhaps the most celebrated are those from Tours, made from pork. English borrowed the word towards the end of the nineteenth century, and at first there seems to have been some thought of anglicizing both it, to rilletts, and the product, to a sort of tinned chopped meat: ‘Charged with stealing 4lb of rilletts. … He identified … the tins of rilletts as the property of the company’ (Southampton Times, 11 January 1896). Mercifully, this did not catch on.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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