Posts Tagged ‘Medieval peacock receipt (recipe)’

In my recent post wherein I shared pictures
of the peacocks at Pennsbury Manor, I also
mentioned there are many historic cookbooks
which contain receipts for cooking this exotic
bird. It would seem they were eaten often,
and were quite a popular dish, during the
Medieval and Renaissance periods. In fact,
it apparently may’ve appeared quite frequently
at King Henry VIII’s table, for there’s a receipt
in The Taste of the Fire, the little booklet about the Tudor kitchens
at Hampton Court Palace. It instructs the cook to first kill and roast
the bird, then to wrap the skin, feathers and all, around the cooked
meat before serving, so that it would look as it did when alive:

Take a Pecok, breke his necke, and
kutte his throte, And fle him, the skyn
and the ffethurs togidre, and the hede
still to the skyn of the nekke, And kepe
the skyn and the ffethurs hole togiders;
drawe him as an hen, And kepe the bone
to the necke hole, and roste him, And set
the bone of the necke aboue the broche,
as he was wonte to sitte a-lyve, And
abowe the legges to the body, as he
was wonte to sitte a-lyve; And whan
he is rosted ynowe, take him of, And
lete him kele; And then wynde the skyn
wit the fethurs and the taile abought
the body, And serue him forthe as he
were a-live; or elle pull him dry, And
roste him, and serue him as thou
doest a henne.

Of course, you could always just make a pie made up with peacock
meat and then stick the head and tail feathers into it:

Although they seemed to fall out of favor by the end of the 17th
century, peacock dishes were likely served now and then amongst
the well-to-do, even in this country. In fact, I understand that just
such a dish was prepared at Colonial Williamsburg not too long ago.
Unfortunately, I don’t know any of the specifics as to how it was
prepared, what receipt was used, and so forth. It certainly would
have been interesting to see!

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