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Oxford English Dictionary RARE Etymology: Originally a variant of rear adj.1 As a result of the lowering influence of r on preceding vowels in southern varieties of English, rear remained homophonous with rare adj.1 at least as late as the 17th cent. This gave rise to the variant rare, which retained the early modern pronunciation in standard English (compare the current pronunciation of e.g. (3)...rawer meats are conduucive to vigor but in fact rather poor for the digestion.' Because bloody meat was thought to increase one's vitality and zest, eating half-raw meat became intertwined with the goal of arousing the body at table." ---Acquired Taste: The French Origins of Modern Cooking, T.
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. 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. And its moisture manifests itself if slipperiness; chewing doesn't manage to liberate much juice. As it cooks, meat develops a firmness and resiliance that make it easier to chew. With longer cooking, the juices dry up, and resiliance give way to a dry stiffness. The meat is chewy yet soft, so that chewing compresses it instead of cutting through it.