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peacocks-msg – 5/7/11

 

Serving peacocks as sotelties with all their plumage safely. Period use of peacock sotelties.

 

NOTE: See also the files: exotic-meats-msg, food-sources-msg, sotelties-msg, illusion-fds-msg, Warners-art, duck-goose-msg, birds-recipes-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that

I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some

messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.

These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with

seperate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes

extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were

removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I

make no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the

individual authors.

 

Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these

messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this

time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give

credit to the orignator(s).

 

Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: Tom Brady <tabrady at mindspring.com>

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 07:27:11 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - any suggestions ??

 

At 02:27 AM 4/16/97 -0400, Aldyth at aol.com wrote:

><< For the Investiture feast of Alaric and Nerissa as P&P of Lochac last

> September we served swan to the high table.  It's incredibly period and

> it's interesting to try and get it to look right.  The meat tastes

> interesting as well, sort of a mix of turkey and duck.

> Just my two cents worth>>

>Where did you come up with the swan?

 

Good question. This reminds me of the time (which at least one listmember

will remember, I'm sure) when the group I was in had an autocrat who really

wished to impress visiting royalty. Having researched period sotelties, he

became enamored of the idea of serving a peacock, which was cooked and

served in its own skin. Splendid, yes. Practical...maybe not.

 

The tale of how he obtained the peacock was rather amusing. He called

around and located a farm that bred peacocks within two hours' drive. They

explained that they made lovely pets, and what did he wish to do with them.

When he explained he wanted to kill it and cook it and eat it, they hung up

on him. He found another supplier.

 

A local Laurel was kind enough to assist in the skinning and tanning of the

hide, so that went fine at least. But when the time came to cook the thing,

two important facts were overlooked:

1. A peacock is a game bird, and cooks differently than a chicken.

2. It was a peaCOCK, not a peaHEN, and took longer to cook because of this.

 

When it was served to High Table, an attending knight politely suggested

that the king might wish to avoid the "salmonella salad." It was taken back

to the kitchen and given another hour to cook. I can't say how the meat

tasted, but I seem to recall that those eating it weren't impressed.

 

- -Duncan (...and don't even get me started on the eel stew...)

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom Brady    tabrady at mindspring.com   SCA: Duncan MacKinnon of Tobermory

 

 

From: "Philip W. Troy" <troy at asan.com>

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 12:02:26 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - swans, eel and peacocks, oh

 

MS MARTHA L WALLENHORST wrote:

> Remember when

> doing a peacock that it needs to roast slowly for many, many hours in

> rose water and tightly covered.  It is quite wonderful.  If I

> remember correctly The last time I bought one it was $25 for the bird

> and $5 for cold shipping UPS.

>

> Annejke

 

This would stand to reason, actually. Recipes for roasting peacocks (and

to a lesser extent, swans) mention that they need to be larded, which is

actually introducing added fat in strips into the meat itself, not just

wrapping the meat in fat or basting it. This would seem an argument that

the meat would otherwise be tough and dry. Taillevent mentions that

peacocks will keep for a month, cooked, in the larder, another

indication of dryness.

 

This is not to say, though, that they couldn't be quite tasty, in spite

of what some people have said.

 

Adamantius

 

 

From: Thyra Fairfax <thyra at tdn.com>

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 12:14:16

Subject: Re: Re(2): SC - peacocks and eels

 

> It is my understanding that game birds (pheasant, for example) take much

> longer to cook than your average off-the-shelf chicken. Also, unless spiced

> some way (like roasted in rose water, as someone else suggested), you will

> get a very "gamey" flavor from the meat.

 

With most *wild* meat/poultry it depends on both the how and when the

hunter gutted it, as well as what it had been eating. The age of the animal

and the time of year it was killed figure in also.

 

All game is very lean, cooking it slowly really makes a difference. If its

a bird, insert some fat under the skin before cooking. It will help it not

become dry. Sometimes soaking it in milk helps, if it is particularly

"gamey". As far as spicing it, I would spice "as usual", it really won't

make much of a difference as to how "gamey" it tastes. Over cooking it can,

but any meat will taste a little gamey (even beef) if it's cooked til dry.

 

(Another couple of pennies thrown in the pot from someone who will help

skin, gut, cut, wrap and cook it - but will not kill it and prefers not to

eat it :-)

 

                  Thyra

 

 

From: Annejke at prodigy.com (MS MARTHA L WALLENHORST)

Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 10:22:31, -0500

Subject: SC - Various

 

>Annejke lists, among her subtleties:

 

>1980 Peacock in full Pride (real bird)

 

>Master Chiquart (1420) advises his readers to cheat by cooking a goose and

>dressing it in a peacock's skin; he says peacock doesn't taste as good. Is

>that consistent with your experience?

 

I have done two peacocks and several peahens over the years.  Only

one have I had come out gamey.  I slow roast them all day in Rose

water and have served them with fresh orange chutney and had no

trouble really.  Cooked this way I was taught that the grease is

negliable and it roasts the meat off of the bone so it is tender.  I

have had friends try following Master Chirharts version with mixed

results. My version was first written up by Ann Wilson in 1977/78 in

a paper on historic recreations of feasts.  This was her version and

I have had fairly good success.

 

Annejke

 

 

Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 23:01:20 -0500From: morganna <themorrigan at softhome.net>Subject: Re: SC - PeacockLrdRas wrote:> Not to burst your bubble but peacock is usually very tough and not at> all particullarly tasty......>> RasHold the phone! :-)We have done two peacocks. It can be done to be tender and very tasty.The best of the two was soaking it overnight in milk (it was skinned). And then

they slow roasted it just like a turkey with very little for spices (I think a

bit of salt & pepper). The first one we did on a rotisserie and it needed to be

cut apart and finished on the grill, even through this abuse it was not tough,

just a bit on the dry side. What the bird was fed, and how old it is has a lot to do with the end result.Morganna

 

 

Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 14:18:34 +0100

From: "Yeldham, Caroline S" <csy20688 at GlaxoWellcome.co.uk>

Subject: RE: SC - Peacock

 

> Guy asked where to get them.

> We were going to do the peacock cooked and put back in its skin for

> conference next easter, but people said I would die if I ate the cooked

> meat that had been inside the raw skin (hence the cockentrice - a

> replacement option) and we felt (this is run by a committee) there was not

> much point killing a peacock to look at.

 

       Why?  You might get salmonella poisoning (are peacocks prone to

salmonella?) but that won't necessarily kill you (and there is a way around

it, see below).  I've done several.  The one's destined to be eaten were

about 2 years old, very tender, mild gamey flavour (a little stronger than

turkey) and lots of breast meat.  These we baked in a pastry case and put

the skin on top for presentation, to prevent salmonella contamination.  They

were very successful.

 

       I also did one purely for presentation (TV programme) which was

about 6 years old and looked very tough and gamey (much darker, stringy

looking meat).  Nobody ate that one, but it may be ones of that age which

gave peacock its bad reputation.

 

       I suspect their edibility, like any animal, depends on age and care.

 

> We had organised somebody who keeps peacocks to treat a fw extra nice -

> good food, easy life, etc. Then you get them to come have a chat, and

> have a nasty accident with a large pair of shears or a bone which twist

> the wrong way in their neck...

 

       The 2 year olds were easy - I gather the 6 year old one had half a

dozen adults running around after it before it succumbed!  Even the

stupidest birds gain a little cunning with age.

 

       Caroline

 

 

Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 08:42:38 EDT

From: LrdRas <LrdRas at aol.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Peacock

 

charlesn at sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au writes:

 

<< We were going to do the peacock cooked and put back in its skin for

conference next easter, but people said I would die if I ate the cooked

meat that had been inside the raw skin  >>

 

<sigh> The doomsdayers strike again! First, salmonella is not a natural

occuring bug in peacocks. Chickens, yes. Peacocks no. Secondly the simple act

of wrapping the cooked bird in parchement paper or , for that matter, foil

would have eliminated any imagined nasties present on the interior of the skin

fromcoming into contact with the cooked flesh. Third the skin could have been

washed inside with a bleach solution in the same way commercial chickens are

washed during their processing.

 

Ras

 

 

Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 09:45:48 -0400

From: "marilyn traber" <mtraber at email.msn.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Peacock

 

As to the sanitation problems of the raw skin over the cooked carcass, line

the raw skin with a goodly layer of heavy duty plastic wrap that has been

sealed with a line of rubber cement to the outside of the skin[if you are

really careful at skinning out a bird, the resulting opening can be very

small, allowing you to snip it into a cover and remove the feathers from the

perimeter in such a way that they are relatively unnoticeable.]

You can put the skin back over the bird with out exposure to raw skin or

juices.[Also, heavily salt the skin and place raw side down onto a towel to

draw off any excess fluuids.]

margali

 

 

Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 10:15:29 -0400

From: "Gedney, Jeff" <Gedney.J at phd.com>

Subject: RE: SC - Peacock

 

Here's an Idea:

If you want to keep the skin after the feast, in order to do this

presentation regularly, or as a local "tradition", bet two birds, and

take the one with the best plumage to a taxidermist. tell him you want

the unmounted skin, and to stuff only the head and neck as normal.

Do not expect to be able to keep the meat from the taxidermist prepared

bird. Most taxidermists will not be able to save the meat from such a

bird. have them dump the carcass for safety's sake, as they can be a

long time in preparation before they can be refrigerated. The prepared

skin would be free of Salmonella (but probably have a host of other

beasties as artifacts of the tanning process.

Then roast the peacock as normal. wrap the carcass with foil or plastic

wrap, and draw the skin over the roasted bird and serve him forth.

 

Done this way, it is safe, simple, and enables the re-use of the

feathers as a neat traditional presentation.

 

brandu

 

 

Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 13:42:29 -0400

From: "Gedney, Jeff" <gedje01 at mail.cai.com>

Subject: RE: SC - Modern sanitary concerns... bah ;)

 

> I have a question for ya'll.  I am working on a bid for the feast for

> next summer's Landsknecht Musterung.  I wanted to do some showy dish.

> I've run across mention of peacocks redressed in their skins a couple of

> times, and I think I saw mention of the same for pheasants and swans

> elsewhere.  I would love to try something like this, but it brings up

> the problem of, well, not poisoning everyone in the hall.  (Well, there

> are a few... oh, never mind ;)  Has anyone tried this?  Does anyone know

> how to treat the skins to get rid of the creepy-crawlies both on the

> inside and the outside?

> Magdalena vander Brugghe

> --

> Tara

 

I remember that conversation...

Several people had various ideas, such as using a barrier, like foil or

saranwrap, to keep the buggies out...

Chief objection to this was that the barriers are not very hermetic, and

juices can flow both ways through the layers, unless you are VERY CAREFUL in

the wrapping.

On lady I know sewed the plucked plumage onto a piece of quilting (keeps the

bird warm, as well!!!) and pasted the neck feathers onto a stuffed neck

shaped protrusion attached to the quilting...

I thought that it might be a good idea to get two peacocks, and cook one,

and hand the other to a taxidermist to be tanned with the feathers in place,

(you probably cant keep the meat from small game that you give to a

taxidermist, Unless you strip the carcass yourself first, and hand it over

quickly), and the head and neck stuffed with padding and an armature.

Then you put a little saran wrap over the bird and lay the skin back on the

bird.

 

This allows the skin to be kept indefinitely for "repeat performances".

 

Brandu

 

 

Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 17:36:34 -0700

From: kat <kat at kagan.com>

Subject: SC - Peacocks (was Modern sanitary concerns...

 

What I did for my Above/Below the Salt feast was to cheat heinously...

 

I had a canton member sculpt me a peacock head from Femo (artists' clay),

then dressed the bird liberally in the featheriest, blue-greeniest herbs I

could find (mostly dill and fennel).

 

We then bleached the quills of a bunch of peacock feathers and threaded them

into the skin at the tail.  Then arranged a "tail" of long peacock feathers

and sandwiched the bottom inches between two trays, serving the bird on the

top tray, of course.  The space between the tail of the bird and the "tail"

of feathers was liberally stuffed with parsley.

 

       - kat

 

 

Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 20:28:19 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Peacocks (was Modern sanitary concerns...

 

At 5:36 PM -0700 10/23/98, kat wrote:

>What I did for my Above/Below the Salt feast was to cheat heinously...

>I had a canton member sculpt me a peacock head from Femo (artists' clay),

>then dressed the bird liberally in the featheriest, blue-greeniest herbs I

>could find (mostly dill and fennel).

>We then bleached the quills of a bunch of peacock feathers and threaded

>them into the skin at the tail.  Then arranged a "tail" of long peacock

>feathers and sandwiched the bottom inches between two trays, serving the

>bird on the top tray, of course.  The space between the tail of the bird

>and the "tail" of feathers was liberally stuffed with parsley...

 

Chiquart (author of Du Fait de Cuisine, 1420) cheated too. He put the

peacock tail feathers on a roasted goose; he doesn't say how he treated the

skin.

 

"And for this, I Chiquart have said before, I would like to teach to the

said master who is to make it the art of the said peacock, and this to do

courtesy and honor to his lord and master, that is to take a large fat

goose, and spit it well and put it to roast well and cleanly and gaily

[quickly?], and to recloth it in the plumage of the peacock and put it in

the place where the peacock should be set, next to the fountain of love

[this is part of an elaborate subtlety], with the wings extended; and make

the tail spread, and to hold the neck raised high, as if it were alive, put

a stick of wood inside the said neck which will make it hold straight. And

for this the said cook must not flay the said peacock, but take the pinions

to put on the goose and take the skin of the rump of the peacock where the

feathers are held all together; and when it goes onto the goose, to make

good skewers to make the said goose spread its tail as properly as the

peacock if it were alive."

 

Elizabeth of Dendermonde/Betty Cook

 

 

From: renfrow at skylands.net

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: recipe needed.

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 16:02:56 -0500

 

tollhase at aol.com (Tollhase) wrote:

 

> I have just found a source for peacock and ostrich meat.  Does anyone have any

> medieval recipes for these.  I probably can have them butchered any way I

> like.

>

> Lord Frederich Holstein der Tollhase

 

Hello! There's this one:

 

Harleian MS. 4016

 

55 Pecok rosted.  Take a Pecok, breke his necke, and kutte his throte, And

fle him, [th]e 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 [th]e bone to [th]e 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 [th]e body, as he was wonte to sitte

a-lyve; And whan he is rosted ynowe, take him of, And lete him kele; And

[th]en wynde the skyn with the fethurs and the taile abought the body, And

serue him forthe as he were a-live; or elle[3] pull him dry, And roste

him, and serue him as [th]ou doest a henne.

 

 

55 Peacock roasted.   Take a Peacock, break his neck, and cut his throat,

And flay him, the skin and the feathers together, and the head still to

the skin of the neck, And keep the skin and the feathers whole together;

draw him as a hen, And keep the bone to the neck whole, and roast him, And

set the bone of the neck above the broach [spit], as he was wont to sit

alive; And above the legs to the body, as he was wont to sit alive; And

when he is roasted enough, take him off, And let him cool; And then wind

the skin with the feathers and the tail about the body, And serve him

forth as he were alive; or else pluck him clean, And roast him, and serve

him as thou do a hen.

 

(Excerpt from Take 1000 Eggs or More, copyright 1990, 1997, Cindy Renfrow)

 

Cindy Renfrow/Sincgiefu

renfrow at skylands.net

Author & Publisher of "Take a Thousand Eggs or More, A Collection of 15th

Century Recipes" and "A Sip Through Time, A Collection of Old Brewing Recipes"

http://www.alcasoft.com/renfrow/

 

 

Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 17:38:51 +1030

From: "David & Sue Carter" <drcarter at bigpond.com>

Subject: Re: SC - A Parable, now peacock

 

> The other Lord Steffan said:

> > The peacock (actually 7 to 9 lb. turkey breasts, the local peacock farm

> > didn't have any available at the moment.  Which is too bad, because,

> > peacock is very good.)

> Have you actually had peacock? There are period referances to it being a

> tough bird and to substitute another bird covering that bird in the

> peacock's skin and feathers.

> Steffan, I'd love to hear more comments about your experiences with

> cooking peacocks.

 

I'd like to compare notes with Steffan, too.

 

We also cooked peacock some years ago, for a cooking competition at

Midwinter of AS 23.  We acquired ours from an old Italian couple who raised

them in a huge aviary and ate them all the time.  On their advice, we bought

a young male, that is before his first flush of coloured tail, and kept him

for 3-4 months in with the chickens.  We were advised to feed him on

standard chicken pellets, until two weeks before we wanted to kill him, them

feed him lots of greens, especially cabbage.  We were told this improves the

meat and cleans out the gut.

The bird got his nice new coloured feathers just in time for the event. We

killed and pulled the bird, then removed the skin+feathers.  These we salted

for reconstruction at presentation.  (I can give info on how we did that,

too if anyone is interested) We froze the meat until just before the event,

then we roasted it as per turkey, in a covered dish with lots of basting to

keep the moisture up.  It was important not to let the meat get too dry.

Those who ate it (and Mistress Kiriel may have been one of them) said it was

like turkey: a strong flavour and rather firm. No one complained it was

tough or unpleasant as I have so often heard people assert.

For hygiene sake we made a salt pastry dough cover for the bird that the

skin+feathers were mounted on.

 

We were going to try the roast the peacock with its feathers pulled up over

its head method, but the competition was 1400km from home and the people

Osgot was staying with wouldn't have appreciated dead bird and a spit in the

garden.

 

After its 2800km round trip, it made a re-appearance at a feast the

following weekend.  This time there was nothing under the shell and we

displayed it with its tail in full array, surrounded by marzipan fruits etc.

Because we were poor students at the time, we had to break it up and sell

the feathers to re-coup our expenses.  I've often wished we could have kept

it, because the skin was well 'tanned' and with some additional treatment,

could have been used several more times.

It's on my list of things we should do again.

 

Esla of Ifeld

(Sue Carter)

Barony of Innilgard, Principality of Lochac

(Adelaide, Australia)

 

 

Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 01:30:15 -0700

From: Steven Cowley <scowley at uswest.net>

Subject: Re: SC - A Parable, or in Other Words, A Long Story

 

Stefan li Rous wrote:

> The other Lord Steffan said:

> > The peacock (actually 7 to 9 lb. turkey breasts, the local peacock farm

> > didn't have any available at the moment.  Which is too bad, because,

> > peacock is very good.)

> Have you actually had peacock? There are period referances to it being a

> tough bird and to substitute another bird covering that bird in the

> peacock's skin and feathers.

 

> Steffan, I'd love to hear more comments about your experiences with

> cooking peacocks.

 

I have cooked peacock on two different occasions, each with slightly different

methods, with the results being very similar.  The first time was while I was

still very new in the SCA and thus new to medieval cooking methods.  At the

time, (remember this is with less than a year in the society), my bible was the

contents of the food portion of the Micsellany.  I took part of the cooking

method from the recipe "Capons Stwed", Two Fifteenth Century Cookbook.

 

In this case, I did a really simple preparation.  After washing out the cavity

really well, I lightly salted the inside and stuffed it full of quartered

onions. The outside was smeared with butter (yes the real thing), finely minced

garlic and again a light salting.  The butter I happened to be using was salted

so I didn't want to over salt.   It was then placed on a rack in an dutch oven.

The pot was large enough that the bird fit in it very nicely.   In the bottom of

the pot I poured about 2 cups of a very mellow mead.  I then sealed the lid

with a flour paste and roasted it for about 3 hours.  It took all of my patience

to just let the pot sit on the coals without checking its progress.

Fortunately, court that day occupied a good portion of the time.

 

Well, this cooking method almost greated a pressure cooker environment.  The

meat had fallen completely away from the bones and was just as tender and juicy

as could be.  The sops from the bottom of the pot went great with the bread that

was served.

 

The second time, I did things a little bit differently as far as cooking was

concerned. The recipe was quite different.  I stuffed the bird with a stuffing

made of breadcrumbs mixed together with the basic four herbs, parsley, sage,

rosemary and thyme, which had been fimely chopped, some finely chopped onion,

minced garlic, some salt and pepper and an egg (used to hold it all together).

This time I painted the bird with saffron before smearing it with butter and a

little salt.  Again I placed it on a rack in a dutch oven, only this time I used

just enough chicken stock to cover the rack in the bottom of the pot.  I didn't

seal the pot this time feeling that it was overkill as a dutch oven seals itself

pretty well anyway.  I cooked it with coals on the top and bottom of the oven,

again for about 3 hours.

 

This time the meat hadn't fallen completely away from the bones, though it was

close. It made a double whammy spectacle when it was plated on a bed of parsley

with its tail feathers arranged very nicely (thanks to the wonders of

marzapan<sp.>). Picture a golden bird with the blues and greens of the tail

feathers of a peacock being paraded in to the high table.  Again the meat was

very tender and juicy.  It was served with the stuffing on the side and a gravy

made from the drippings.  In both cases, not a scrap was left, the true sign

that everything was good.

 

I have to admit, the flaver of the meat is somewhat different from most domestic

poultry, though not too strong.  It kind of reminded me of wild goose, though

that's not quite it.  It has been my observation that peacocks are kind of like

turkeys, in the sense that they will eat anything, if allowed to do so.  This

may account for some of the references to their being a rather tough meat.  The

farmer here feeds them a mixture of rolled barley, corn and poultry pellets,

which have of all things a high alfalfa content.  This mixture produces a larger

more meaty bird, without the need for steroids and growth hormones.  My

observation would be, that with a managed diet and not too large of an area to

wander in, the peacock is a very edible as well as elegant meat to serve.

 

Ld. Steffan of the Close

 

 

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 18:10:25 +1030

From: "David & Sue Carter" <drcarter at bigpond.com>

Subject: SC - a method of preserving peacock skin - long

 

I said:

> > The bird got his nice new coloured feathers just in time for the event. We

> > killed and pulled the bird, then removed the skin+feathers.  These we salted

> > for reconstruction at presentation.  (I can give info on how we did that,

> > too if anyone is interested)

Lord Stefan asked:

> Please do. If that noisy peacock reappears this coming spring and summer

> at my mother's I may have reason to know more about these techniques. :-)

> It would be shame to waste teh skin and those wonderful feathers.

 

While I fear that the peacock in question may well be a tad tough for eating

as it is obviously older, I personally can't think of a better way to honour

it than to serve it :-).

The following is my recollection of the main points in killing and dressing

the peacock.

 

WARNING: squeamish types should avoid the following descriptions.  I assure

them it was all done humanely and hygienically, but if you've never killed

and dressed a bird or beast it could be distressing.

 

Items required: lots of salt, (several kilograms of it) lots of newspaper, a

cool well ventilated area that is dry and secure from animals, a scalpel or

craft knife, a small sharp knife, a steel knitting needle or equivalent, as

well as a clean area with large sink and running water for pulling the bird.

 

1. We strangled it and then bled it.  With hindsight, we will cut the head

off the next one (like killing geese) as I ended up having to cut the head

off anyway to deal with the skull. Two things: peacocks are very strong, and

they have spurs. We had the experience of my father-in-law to rely on, as a

farmer who knows how to restrain and correctly slaughter all manner of

beasts. It was hard to keep the blood off of the feathers, and any that got

on the feathers had to be cleaned off with slightly soapy tepid water asap.

 

2. We slit the skin down breast and between the legs to the vent, and

skinned it back from cut, moving our fingers beneath the skin to separate

it. In some spots this required a knife and lots of care not to nick the

skin. The special areas are the wings and the tail:  we cut the wings off at

the 'elbow', leaving the 'forearm' and 'fingers' in for now.  The tail has a

large mass of fat which the feather shafts are embedded in: it takes some

care and patience to cut the flesh away from the base of the tail.  If you

go slowly and look before you cut you should be ok.

 

3. With the bird carcass now out of its skin, pull it, rinse it and bag it

under vacuum (the old pour water in and let it pour out method is ok).

Freeze or refrigerate or cook immediately, but someone has to get back to

dealing with the skin immediately.

 

4. There are several things that have to happen quickly to avoid spoilage:

get rid of the remaining flesh in the wings and around the tail, and deal

with the head.

4a Wings: tunnel into the wing and cut away as much flesh as you can find.

Turn the wing inside out as you go.  Depending on how big and how 'fat' your

bird is depends on how far you can get.  we couldn't get the tips out. Pack

these with salt

4b tail: cut and pull all the fat and flesh you can from around the tail

feather shafts. A set of stainless steel dissecting forceps is ideal.  The

more you remove the better.  Pack the area with salt

4c Head.  This is the ukky bit: pierce the skull from both the base of the

neck and through the roof of the mouth with the knitting needle. Macerate

the contents and flush with clean water.  Repeat until there's nothing

there. A hooked piece of wire was useful: think of those experiments with

making mummies! Pack with salt.

 

5. Lay the bird out on its back on lots of newspaper, in a place it wont be

disturbed, ensuring the feathers are all sitting flat: this takes some

arranging but the effort now will stop the feathers getting bent.  Fan out

the breast and the wings: now heap everything with salt, inside and out,

ensuring everything is well covered

 

6. leave it for 6-8 hours, then change the salt: it will be absorbing all

the moisture and will need changing 2-3 times a day for the first two days.

This depends on how much flesh you cleaned out and how dry the air is.  We

put ours in my parents second lounge on a tiled floor in our winter - but

our winters are mild and dry.

 

7. Change the salt as required, and while doing this inspect the bird for

damp spots. Pick the salt out of the wings and tail and re-pack

 

8. IF YOU GET MAGGOTS: don't panic! If you are checking the bird regularly

they won't have damaged anything, and are pointing you to an area that

wasn't properly cleaned or salted.  Deal with the cleaning and stuff more

salt there.

 

It was our experience that the bird took a week to be thoroughly cured, and

the handling during the salt changes were enough to keep the skin pliable.

 

To assemble the bird: I sewed the head to the neck with fine linen thread

and then wired the skull with several strands of wire anchored in the skull

and extending all the way out of the body. We stuffed the neck with wood

wool and cotton fibre.  The body was sat over a pre cooked thick pastry

blank made of salt dough.  I had a casserole dish that was just the right

size to get the cooked bird under and the skin over so it was used as the

mould. I lightly stuffed the gap between the skin and the dough to give a

pleasing shape. The skin was sewn or pinned to the pastry as required.  The

neck wires were spread out over the pastry to give the neck some stability.

We used a baby's hair brush to get the last of the salt out of the feathers.

 

At the competition it was presented on a huge brass platter surrounded with

herbs and flowers, with its tail out flat.  It was lifted up to reveal the

cooked bird, which was carved and served.

At its second outing, it went on to the same platter, but surrounded with

marchpane fruits and flowers.  The tail was wired in the display position by

placing a large blob of uncooked salt dough under the tail and sticking long

skewers in it, then wiring the main feathers to the skewers.  This was

secure enough that it could be paraded down the hall to high table, then put

on a smaller, decorated table that had been placed for it.

 

After all its travelling and handling, it showed no sign of decay, and if

stored in a cool dry place with the occasional application of salt, I think

it would keep for months, if not years.

 

We also used this technique on the chickens, and geese for the 12 days of

Christmas, and on numerous pheasants and quail, and it never fails to score

less than 10 on the spiff-wow scale.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me!

 

Esla of Ifeld (Sue Carter)

Innilgard, Lochac (Adelaide, South Australia)

 

 

Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 21:15:02 +1030

From: "David & Sue Carter" <drcarter at bigpond.com>

Subject: Re: SC - a method of preserving peacock skin - long

 

Stefan said:

 

> Esla of Ifeld gave us a wonderful description of how she had prepared a

> peacock as a soteltie.

 

Thankyou for the compliment.

 

> I was unclear on a few things though.

 

I'll try to address them, point by point:

 

> > Items required: lots of salt, (several kilograms of it)

> What kind of salt did you use? Regular table salt or a coarser version

> such as kosher salt?

 

We used cooking salt, which is fine grained but doesn't have flowing agent

or iodine in it, and comes in big cheap bags, not the table (ie with iodine)

sort. The coarse stuff, like for putting in your salt mill is too sharp,

doesn't get into all the nooks and crannies, and doesn't absorb enough

moisture because of its smaller surface area to volume ratio.

 

> > 1. We strangled it and then bled it.  With hindsight, we will cut the head

> > off the next one (like killing geese) as I ended up having to cut the head

> > off anyway to deal with the skull. Two things: peacocks are very strong,

> > and they have spurs.

> I had forgotten about these spurs. These are something to definitely avoid

> getting hit by, I presume?

 

Absolutely! They could leave a nasty wound, especially if the peacock was

older, wilder and knew how to use them. Ours was placid from being in with

the chooks, but my father in law still took the precaution of throwing a

large hessian bag over the peacock, then firmly holding the feet before we

found its neck.

 

> > 3. With the bird carcass now out of its skin, pull it, rinse it and bag it

> > under vacuum (the old pour water in and let it pour out method is ok).

> > Freeze or refrigerate or cook immediately, but someone has to get back to

> > dealing with the skin immediately.

> Can you detail this a bit more, please? "pull it"? I assume not out of it's

> skin as you said it was already out of its skin. "bag it"?

 

OK I got into the shorthand here, sorry:

'pull it' is the removal of the intenstines, etc.  First cut into the skin

and muscle all the way around the vent with a sharp knife.  This gets you

into the bird's body cavity but on the outside of the intestines.  Reach

into the cavity with your fingers and pull out the intestines, and other

organs. Have lots of cold running water available and do it in a big sink

OR do it somewhere outside like the compost heap! With practice it all comes

out in one go, but usually I land up with two or three masses of organs.

Bag it under vacuum: as the bird has lost its skin, the flesh will dehydrate

rather quickly, so get it into a bag or container. Because we weren't going

to cook it for a few weeks, we put it into a large plastic freezer bag,

poured about 2cups of water in, then poured it out while holding the bag

upside down, then tied it off.  The water displaces the air, then when you

pour the water out there is no air in the bag. This helps stop the meat from

getting freezer burn whilst in storage.

 

> Altogether, it sounds like a pretty complex process. Even after Phlip's

> lamb butchering class last year at Pennsic, I don't think I could do

> this very well.

 

I would like to do a butchering class, because we did a kid once (for a

unicorn soteltie) and found out that dealing with the carcass wasn't as easy

as we thought it would be!

 

Please don't be put off of having a go: just do what we did and have a

practice on something smaller first, before the peacock we had done a couple

of pheasants and a chicken.

 

The only bit we really needed help with was the killing (to ensure we did it

humanely), the rest we made up as we went along just trying to get to the

described end product by methods we knew were available to a mid period

cook.

 

Esla of Ifeld

(Sue Carter)

Innilgard, Lochac

(Adelaide, South Australia)

 

 

From: "Hrolf Douglasson" <Hrolf at btinternet.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Sun, 13 May 2001 20:19:50 +0100

Subject: [Sca-cooks] regards the recent request.

 

I have finally located my copy of the ROYAL COOKBOOK

Peacock in the feather

in 1466 the enthronement of Archbishop Nevil had 104 peacocks brought in top

a fanfare of trumpets

the bird was first skinned and the feathered tail head and neck were laid on

a table and sprinkled with cumin.

the body was then roasted, glazed with raw egg yolk cooled sewn back into

the skin and served as the last course.

the beak would sometimes have flaming camphor.

 

vara

 

PS i also found mention of lamb/piglets or other young animal  goat???

perhaps served covered all over in gold.

The book is ISBN 0819304360 and very old

 

 

Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2003 09:36:01 EDT

From: KazOShea at aol.com

Subject: Re: Peacock Re: [Sca-cooks] larding turkeys and other meats

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net writes:

> So, is it worth it to make peacock? Are there good recipes? How many

> peacocks would I need so that everyone at a 40-60 person feast would

> get a taste?

 

I have seen on one or two recipes in period for peacock and it involved

skinning it so that it cold all be pulled forward in one piece, feathers and all,to just over the head and then spit roasting it until done and then pulling

the skin back over the bird. I was thinking that it would look really pretty,

but not food safe by our standards.

 

I did talk to someone that did attend a "peacock banquet" they had brought in

one of the top chefs in the midwest to cook these birds. He tried everything

to cook these farm raised peacocks. And according to the person that attended,

the best taste he could get out of it was similar in texture to a very fatty

gristly porkchop.

 

Peacock was a status dish, it was eaten because you could afford to eat it,

not because you enjoy eating it. Very similar to eating swan, only the royalty

could eat swan because it was a royal bird (at least in England). And from

what I have been given to understand with similiar results, not very good

tasting.

 

It may be an intiguing experiment to get one, if you can get it

affordably.

If you cannot I wouldn't.

 

Iago

 

 

Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2003 10:16:51 -0400

From: Daniel Myers <doc at medievalcookery.com>

Subject: Re: Peacock Re: [Sca-cooks] larding turkeys and other meats

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

On Monday, September 15, 2003, at 09:46 AM, <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

wrote:

>> Peacock was a status dish, it was eaten because you could afford to eat it,

>> not because you enjoy eating it. Very similar to eating swan, only

>> the royalty

>> could eat swan because it was a royal bird ( at least in England).

> I've heard this before, but the statement makes me suspicious. Certainly,

> all types of bird were eaten on a regular basis. And it may have been a

> status animal. But you have to wonder if people are jumping to conclusions..

 

I also wonder about it being a "status dish".  From those I've talked

to who have raised them, peacocks are exceedingly easy to care for -

much more so than chickens.

 

Also, a quick search for "swan" reveals an awful lot of recipes (and

this is from only four period cookbooks), so I strongly suspect that

its consumption was not limited to royalty.  One of the recipe notes

even suggested serving swan as a side dish along with pheasants.

 

http://www.medievalcookery.com/cgi-bin/

search.pl?term=swan&file=foc&file=lcc&file=lmdp&file=tfccb

 

- Doc

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

   Edouard Halidai  (Daniel Myers)

   http://www.medievalcookery.com/

 

 

Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2003 16:15:21 -0400

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: Peacock Re: [Sca-cooks] larding turkeys and other meats

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net wrote:snipped

> So, is it worth it to make peacock? Are there good recipes? How many

> peacocks would I need so that everyone at a 40-60 person feast would

> get a taste?

> -- Pani Jadwiga Zajaczkowa,

 

Sara did one of these for the Midrealm Crown feast Fall 2001.

So I saw one again close up. They don't dress out and yield much meat.

We had trouble I recall keeping the tail feathers in place when we

replaced the feathers in and around the bird. We could have used some

florist wire at the last minute as I recall. They make a pleasant

entertainment--- but I am not sure about cooking a huge number of them

as a meat course or even as a taster course. Most this one was never

touched.

 

The best articles on them and the other great birds are still these--

all from PPC--

THE GREAT BIRDS: PART 4, PEACOCKS IN HISTORY, Joop Witteveen 32,23

 

THE GREAT BIRDS, PART 5: PREPARATION OF THE PEACOCK FOR THE TABLE, Joop

Witteveen 36,10

 

See also--

PPC 24 (1986) pp 22/31, 'On swans, cranes and herons: Part 1, Swans';

PPC 25 (1987) pp 50/59, 'On swans, cranes and herons. Part 2: Cranes';

PPC26 (1987) pp.65/73, 'On swans, cranes and herons: Part 3, Herons';

 

See also--

http://www.coquinaria.nl/english/peacock/

 

and if you can find it get hold of a copy of Barbara Wheaton's article

on cooking a peacock. She wrote it for Harvard Magazine 82 (1979).

 

Johnnae llyn Lewis

 

 

Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 00:32:48 -0700

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: Peacocks

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Leofwynn wrote:

...

> What this boils down to, is if you want a really fancy presentation,

> you will be paying out a lot of money for an old bird. And as we all

> know, old probably = tough and stringy.  That is, if you can get

> someone to skin it as if you were going to have it stuffed by a

> taxidermist. (Tough to do.  Have you ever tried to skin out a bird's

> head?  Peacocks have a really pretty crest.)

> I think that what would be easiest is to talk to a taxidermist or

> someone else who may have a stuffed peacock, show it around, then

> take it to the kitchen and serve something out something that will

> taste better; chicken, turkey, or guinea (which is period, and

> available, tho pricy at gourmet groceries).  Who will know?

> I bet that's what was done in period...

 

  From _Du Fait de Cuisine_, 1420, describing part of an elaborate

entremet:

 

... and beside the said fountain is a peacock which has been skinned

and reclothed. And for this, I Chiquart have said before, I would

like to teach to the said master who is to make it the art of the

said peacock, and this to do courtesy and honor to his lord and

master, that is to take a large fat goose, and spit it well and put

it to roast well and cleanly and gaily [quickly?], and to recloth it

in the plumage of the peacock and put it in the place where the

peacock should be set, next to the fountain of love, with the wings

extended; and make the tail spread, and to hold the neck raised high,

as if it were alive, put a stick of wood inside the said neck which

will make it hold straight. And for this the said cook must not flay

the said peacock, but take the pinions to put on the goose and take

the skin of the rump of the peacock where the feathers are held all

together; and when it goes onto the goose, to make good skewers to

make the said goose spread its tail as properly as the peacock if it

were alive.

 

Elizabeth of Dendermonde/Betty Cook

 

 

Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2006 15:26:29 -0700 (PDT)

From: Marcus Loidolt <mjloidolt at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 2, Issue 85 Peafowl

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

 

   I have it on good authority from my apprentice THL Robert Thorne,  

who raises and sells peafowl that indeed any cock over a year of age  

is practically inedible! He maintains that what MIGHT have happened  

in period is to use the skin of an adult cock, tanned or preserved  

and used to dress the carcass of another bird, perhaps a younger  

peafowl, perhaps something else..

 

   Robert maintains that the musk and testosterone produced by a  

courting cock renders the meat very...pardon the pun, but foul!!

 

   I have helped slaughter peafowl before, as an experiment, and  

found this to be true! The young birds, upto 8 months of age were  

fine to eat, the male birds older than a year...BLAH!!!! Mature  

females didn't taste bad, but were of course tougher...

 

   Abot Johann

   medieval poultrier

 

 

Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 23:01:00 -0400

From: John Kemker <john at kemker.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking peacocks

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

James/Alasdair mac Iain wrote:

> What would be the proper process for serving a peacock (or other bird) in

> its feathers?  Just skin the bird carefully, roast it, and then pull the

> skin back over the carcass?  Would anything special be done to the skin

> while the bird itself was cooking?

> Alasdair mac iain

 

What I, personally, would do is to cure and smoke the skin, to preserve

it against decay.

 

This is done in trapping on a regular basis to protect a fur from going

nasty before it's taken to market.

 

First, deflesh the skin, making sure there are no bits of meat or fat

left on the skin.  Then rub the inside of the skin with plenty of salt.

This will pull moisture out of the skin, which helps prevent bacterial

growth. Next, start a smoky fire using hardwood or hardwood charcoal.

(You don't want the added resiny, turpentine flavor from pine or other

softwoods.) Hold the skin over the fire, keeping it away from heat, but

allowing the smoke to colorize the skin.  You shouldn't have to smoke it

very long, as you will be cooking the roasted peacock while smoking the

skin, so it shouldn't need extreme long-term preservation.  Probably

about 1 to 5 minutes, making sure to evenly cover the skin with the

smoke. If you plan on using the same peacock cape another time, then

smoke the skin well, taking up to 10-30 minutes and make sure the color

is even.

 

Times given are rough estimates.  They will vary with the size of the

skin to be smoked, how smoky your fire is and other factors.  Generally,

I go by color.  When the skin has gained a nice, even tan color, that's

good enough for a short-term preservation.  If I'm looking to preserve

it longer, I'm more likely to go for an almost peanut-butter or darker

color.

 

--Cian

 

 

Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 23:56:03 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking peacocks

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

James/Alasdair mac Iain wrote:

> What would be the proper process for serving a peacock (or other bird) in

> its feathers?  Just skin the bird carefully, roast it, and then pull the

> skin back over the carcass?  Would anything special be done to the skin

> while the bird itself was cooking?

> Alasdair mac iain

 

The last one that I personally saw done was in 2001. Lady Sarah nicLeod

was the head cook

for the Crown feast that fall. From my saved messages she wrote this about

the plans on 9/24/2001:

 

Thanks All for the very helpful suggestions. This is going to be a

really interesting project. The breeder and I had already agreed as I

wanted to cook the bird so he collected the tail feathers from his

mature bird for me this summer and I am going to fake the tail. The

young males that we were going to butcher are not feathering in like

he'd hoped and still have a lot of white on them. He has also ended up

with many more females then males and has decided he would prefer to

keep his males. As they weren't feathered out anyway I told him I would

take a female instead which are white and gold. So, I'm going to have a

peacock that is white and gold on the body with a blue green tail. It

should be very interesting! Hauvette has some body feathers which I may

try to blend in to the body to make a smoother transition into the tail.

The breeder is going to butcher the bird for me soon (wring it's neck)

and I am going to freeze the carcass until next month. I have course

salt to dry the skin. My plan is to stuff the skin with salt and dry it

in a box covered with salt in the position I want it to set. I decided

to not try to make it stand at this point. Still haven't decided weather

of not to try putting it over the roast bird.

 

Loved the idea of the bread coating over the roast bird so it doesn't

dry out! Was worried about that!

Sarah nicLeod

 

So she took the feathers and skin and mounted those over a wire frame. The hen or bird was actually roasted and served separately. I gather from recent discussions on male peacocks that serving a female might have been the thing to do as the meat from a male they said was described as being far too strong.  I had done the only sugarwork for that feast, so I was hanging around doing this and that until time to serve the soteltie at the end. (I needed my mold back and we couldn't get the mold to release from the sugarpiece without breaking.) I ended up helping Sarah with the peacock. We ended up putting the tray with the fake bird on a serving cart and having it served to the head table in that fashion. The one thing that we lacked when we got ready to serve it was a way to make the tail feathers stand up or display out properly.  Some lightweight floral weight wire would have come in handy. They could have looked better. Also there's always the problem getting the head to display at the right angle.

 

(I should mention that the last peacock I did was created out of marzipan and sugar icing. It was lifesize.)

 

There's a good article on serving a peacock by Barbara Wheaton.

"How to cook a peacock." Harvard Magazine 82 (1979) pp 63-65.

Wheaton is the author of Savoring the Past.

Also see Petits Propos Culinaires --

 

THE GREAT BIRDS: PART 4, PEACOCKS IN HISTORY, Joop Witteveen 32,23

 

THE GREAT BIRDS, PART 5: PREPARATION OF THE PEACOCK FOR THE TABLE, Joop

Witteveen 36,10

 

http://www.coquinaria.nl/english/peacock/ laso has an article on them.

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2009 17:01:32 -0600

From: "Margaret Decker" <m.p.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] peacocks

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Having been involved with a feast that featured a Peacock served with its

skin on about 25 years ago, I remember we covered the cooked bird with

aluminum foil, carefully placed the washed skin over the foil, carried the

bird out to the feast hall to ceremoniously show it off, then returned it

to the kitchen for removal of the skin and feathers and returned it to the

hall for carving.

 

It was necessary to keep the skin and feathers in the refrigerator from the

moment it came off until just before washing and placing it over the cooked

bird or problems could occur.

 

Since I was only assisting the cooks by washing pots and spoons, and getting

drinks for people,  etc. I was not involved with the actual process of

removing the skin and cooking the bird. The skinning was done off site and I

think was from a different larger bird than the one that got cooked but it

was a long time ago and memory dims.

 

Margarite

 

 

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 10:32:48 -0800

From: "Laureen Hart" <lhart at graycomputer.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Peacocks

To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Peacocks being protected cracks me up.

At our Seattle zoo they either keep the peahens on birth control or they go

through phases of only having cocks. They are one of the birds that breed

prolifically in a zoo environment and they can't find homes for the chicks.

 

If I were to do the peacock for a feast I would put the skin over some kind

of packing material for its parade around the hall. It isn't like people are

going to peek under the skin to see the meat. That obviates the need for

foil over the bird, or any contact with food at all. Call me chicken...

 

Randell

 

 

From: Hugh Prescott <hugh at QUINCYHOBBY.COM>

Date: March 30, 2010 6:10:33 PM CDT

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu

Subject: Re: [CALONTIR] cooking peacocks

 

Steven Boyd wrote:

<<< And there was one served in either Ivory Keep or its sister shire in the Midrealm, Wyndemere, in approx. 1986-7.

___

drx >>>

 

Yes Sir! out of the distant and dusty past of the Incipient Shire of Wyndemere (Quincy, IL)

 

The occasion was an event that the Middle Kingdom Princess was attending. First Royal ever to make the trip here.

 

I remember that they cooked it and cooked it and it was still one tough bird! I know some of it was chopped to tenderize it. I recall it was not a young bird.

 

Hugh

One of the three founders of Wyndemere.  (Hugh, Galyen & Milo)

 

 

From: Ann Gunther <annalies_g at YAHOO.COM>

Date: March 31, 2010 8:29:58 AM CDT

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu

Subject: Re: [CALONTIR] Feasts

 

Fiondel wrote: "I don't think you can even BUY  "food peacocks"."

 

Hmm...

 

At least one hatchery, McMurray, sells peachicks.  Legg's peafowl farm is found in Kansas City.  And the UPA lists a number of auctions in the Midwest where peafowl can be purchased.

 

From what I can see, it appears most peafowl being bred in the US right now are for various color mutations and variations (not for eating qualities nor speed of growth).  But if one had a farm and/or the appropriate accommodations, and planned well ahead of time, there's no reason one couldn't raise up a small group of peacocks for eating.

 

http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKHatcheries.html

 

-- Annalies

 

 

Date: Tue, 05 Apr 2011 08:54:36 -0700

From: "Daniel Myers" <dmyers at medievalcookery.com>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Peacock

 

-------- Original Message --------

From: Deborah Hammons <mistressaldyth at gmail.com>

 

It appears I might have two peacocks gifted for me to prepare for Coronation

Feast. Any suggestions on what a really GOOD recipe/presentation would be?

---------

 

In Du fait de cuisine (France, 1420), Chiquart recommends serving a

roasted capon dressed in a peacock's skin (with feathers) - apparently

because it's fancy and tastes a lot better than the actual peacock.

 

He also suggests roasting the peacock and dressing it dressed in the

capon's skin, so that the lord of the manor can have it served as a joke

to whoever he chooses.

 

The cookbook search comes up several recipes (data dump follows).

http://www.medievalcookery.com/search/search.html?term=peacock&;file=all

 

Pecokkes and Parteriches schalle be parboyled, and larded, and rosted

and eten with pouder of gynger.

[Ancient Cookery (England, 1425)]

 

At a feeste roiall pecokkes shall be dight on this manere. Take and flee

off the skynne with the fedurs (feathers), tayle, and the nekkc, and the

hed theron; then take the skyn with all the fedurs, and lay hit on a

table abrode; and strawe theron grounden comyn ; then take the pecokke,

and roste hym, and endore (baste) hym with rawe zolkcs of egges; and

when he is rosted take hym of, and let hym coole awhile, and take and

sowe hym in his skyn, and gilde his combe, and so serve hym forthe with

the last cours (course).

[Ancient Cookery (England, 1425)]

 

11. And to give understanding to him who will make the sauce which goes

with the peacock, of what and how it will be made: let him take the

liver of the peacock and some capon liver and wash and clean them very

well, and then put them on a spit and put them to roast over the coals;

and let him take bread and roast it on the grill well and properly so

that it is well browned, and then put it to soak with the best claret

wine which he can obtain and a little vinegar; and then take the said

livers and bray them very well in a mortar, and then afterward take your

bread and bray it with them. And then take your spices, that is white

ginger, cinnamon, grains of paradise, and a little of cloves and nutmeg,

and put it all together, and moisten it with wine and a little vinegar;

and be careful that there is not too much. Then put it to boil in a fair

pot and put in sugar in proportion, and taste that it does not have too

much of anything, neither salt, spices, vinegar nor sugar, so that it is

sweet and sour. And then serve it where the peacock will be eaten.

[Du fait de cuisine (France, 1420)]

 

All swans, peacocks. Firstly take out the blood by the heads all seen,

after this cut thereunder the back near the shoulders and gut them, and

then put them on a spit with the feet and the heads; Then grind saffron

and white bread tempered with wine, and grind yolks of eggs and saffron,

and paint on the birds with the feather, and cast with powder thereon,

which is of all spices, strong zedoary and hart-wort. And when the swan

and the peacock are cooked and pressed, then wrap them in a towel, and

then take them to the tables after, and give to the lord the neck and

head, and the wings and the thighs and everything else.

[Enseignements (France, ca. 1300)]

 

NOTA. XX.VII. VII. Pokok and Partruch shul be parboiled. lardid and

rosted. and eten with gyngeuer.

[Forme of Cury (England, 1390)]

 

IV - Pecokys and Partrigchis. Pecokys and Partrigchis schul ben

yparboyld and lardyd and etyn wyth gyngenyr.

[Forme of Cury (England, 1390)]

 

A pecoke. Cut hym yn necke and skald hym cut of ?e fete & hede cast hym

on a spete bake hym well the sauce ys gynger.

[MS Pepys 1047 (England, ca. 1500)]

 

For pekokys and pertrikis. Pekokys and pertrikys perboylyd schyn be,

Lardyd, rostyd, eton, levys me, With gyngere, payndmayn paryd clene And

groundyn in a morter, ?at is schene, Temperid up with venegur gode,

With powder of gyngere and salt, by ?o rode, And draw3en ?orowghe a

streynour mylde, Servid forthe with pekok and pertrik wylde.

[Liber cure cocorum (England, 1430)]

 

7. TO MAKE SAUCE FOR PEACOCK. For five dishes, take a pound of toasted

almonds, and grind them well in a mortar, and take the livers of the

peacocks or capons or hens, which should be cooked in a pot, and grind

them with the almonds, and then take a crustless piece of bread which

should be soaked in orange juice or white vinegar, and the bread must be

toasted; and then grind it all together with the livers and with the

almonds; and after everything is ground, thin this sauce with two egg

yolks for each dish, and then strain it through a woolen cloth with the

said fine spices; and when it has been strained, put it into the pot

with the sugar, and taste it or sample it for sourness, which should be

moderate, and then cook it until it is done to a turn; and when it is

cooked, prepare dishes, and put sugar and cinnamon upon the sauce.

[Libre del Coch (Spain, 1520)]

 

49. Barding for Peacocks or Capons. After the peacocks or capons are

half-roasted on the spit, take good fatty bacon and make wide slices the

size of the peacock or capon breasts, and put this slices on the breasts

in such a way that they cannot fall off. And after they are

well-fastened, return them to the fire to roast; and before you put it

on the fire, put the head of the capon in such a manner that it will not

burn. And put the head with the beak stretched out lengthwise inside the

carcass; you can cover peacock and capons with white paper well-fastened

over the bacon.

[Libre del Coch (Spain, 1520)]

 

77. THIN Sauce from the juice of sour pomegranates. Take a cup of the

seeds of sour pomegranates and thoroughly extract the juice from them;

and then take a roasted hen's liver, and grind it well in a mortar with

eight egg yolks; and when it is all well-ground, strain it through a

woolen cloth; and when it has been strained, put it in the pot or an

earthenware casserole. And take an ounce of cinnamon, or cast in the

spice according to the quantity which you desire to make, and let it be

ground and blended with the said juice; and cast four ounces of sugar on

it, and then set it on a fire of coals and cook it until it begins to

thicken; and this sauce is good for all fowls in place of sauce for

peacock; and it is made very quickly.

[Libre del Coch (Spain, 1520)]

 

X To make a sauce for peacocks. If you want to make sauce for a peacock,

take liverings and black grapes with them, of good size every one, and

good spices, ginger and fine cinnamon and cloves and a few nutmegs and

four grains of pepper with a little galangale and a little cassia, and

temper these things with good Varnaccia wine and greek wine with good

vinegar, and this sauce one wishes to give cooked in a vat of fat that

fell from the roast, and a little sugar, and enough for a dog make so

the sauce.

[Due Libri di Cucina - Libro B (Italy, 15th c.)]

 

Pecok rosted. 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 with the fethurs and the taile abought the body, And

serue him forthe as he were a-live; or elle3 pull him dry, And roste

him, and serue him as thou doest a henne.

[Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430)]

 

Peacock, swan. Kill it like goose, leave the head and tail, lard or bard

it, roast it golden, and eat it with fine salt. It lasts at least a

month after it is cooked. If it becomes mouldy on top, remove the mould

and you will find it white, good and solid underneath.

[Le Viandier de Taillevent (France, ca. 1380)]

 

To roast a peacock. Pluck the peacock in such a way that the head keeps

its feathers and the neck also to the shoulders, and the tail remains

intact. Boil the body in such a way that head nor tail are spoiled. Then

lard it and put it on a spit. Then take a cloth to cover the tail and

another cloth to cover the head and neck. Make fire proper to roast the

body and nothing else. When it is roasted fix it on a bread with a

broach, remove the cloths and then carry [the peacock] thus to the

table.

[Wel ende edelike spijse (Dutch, late 15th c.)]

 

- Doc

 

 

Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2011 11:06:17 -0600

From: James Prescott <prescotj at telusplanet.net>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Peacock

 

At 8:49 AM -0600 4/5/11, Deborah Hammons wrote:

<<< It appears I might have two peacocks gifted for me to prepare for Coronation

Feast. Any suggestions on what a really GOOD recipe/presentation would be?

 

Aldyth >>>

 

Viandier has:

 

199. Swans reclothed in their skin.

 

Blow them, scald them, slit them along the belly, skin them, and

remove the carcasses. Roast the carcasses on a spit and glaze them

(while turning) with batter of beaten egg white and egg yolk. Remove

them from the spit, let them cool, and (if you wish) clothe them in

their skin. Have little wooden skewers put in the neck to hold it

upright as if it were alive. At a feast [serve] in the second course.

 

200. Peacocks.

 

Blow and inflate them like the swans, and roast and glaze them

similarly. Serve them in the last course. When they are reclothed,

have thin slender wooden spits to pass among the tail feathers, or a

bit of brass wire for setting out the feathers as if the peacock were

spreading its tail.

 

 

Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2011 13:44:33 -0400

From: Robin Carroll-Mann <rcarrollmann at gmail.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Peacock

 

I'm going to quote part of a post I made back in 2006.  The author

mentioned is Enrique de Villena, and the book is "Arte de Cortar" (Art

of Carving), written in 1423.

 

Villena says that there are two ways to serve a roast peacock in its

finery. The first is to roast it whole, with the still-attached tail

and neck wrapped in damp napkins to keep them from scorching.  The other

was is to remove the tail and cut off the neck, then re-attach them to

the roasted bird with splinters of wood.  For extra elegance (and

presumably to cover the marks of decapitation), the peacock's neck is

draped with a "mantellina" (little mantle or scarf) of velvet or

cloth-of-gold, painted with the king's arms.

 

Brighid ni Chiarain

 

 

Date: Tue, 05 Apr 2011 17:42:00 -0400

From: Sam Wallace <guillaumedep at gmail.com>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Peacock

 

The still life painter Pieter Claesz depicts both turkey and peacock pie

done in this manner, although the paintings date from the early 17th

century. From this we know the practice continued through the end of the

16th century. Also, from working with 18th century works, I know that

feathers, though not the entire skins, were used to mark what kind of

bird was being served by placing one on the breast of the whole roast.

 

Peacock:

http://www.myartprints.co.uk/kunst/pieter_claesz/stilllife_with_a_peacock.jpg

 

Turkey:

http://www.oilpaintingfactory.com/english/oil-painting-96552.htm

 

I have been wondering about safety guidelines for using feathers in

conjunction with food. I did a couple of internet searches, but did not

find anything worthwhile. If I wanted to use feathers in a display

piece, how might I do so safely?

 

Guillaume

 

"He notes that by the middle of the 1500s, the fashion of roasting a

peacock on a spit and redressing it in its feathers came to an end.  

Peacock was now served in a pie but still sometimes decorated with the

tail, wings, head and neck affixed to the top crust."

 

 

Date: Tue, 05 Apr 2011 15:34:26 -0400

From: Elise Fleming <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

To: sca-cooks <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Peacock

 

Eduardo wrote:

<<< I so want to do a peacock with flames coming out of its beak!

Still not sure how to make that one happen. >>>

 

IIRC, one period source said to use a piece of cotton soaked in camphor.

 

If one has access to Petits Propos Culinaires (PPC), Issue 32, there is

an article entitled "The Great Birds, Part 4, Peacocks in History",

written by Joop Witteveen.  The article includes a mention of "Marx

Rumpoldt", 1581, who reported indigenous peacocks in Germany.  Witteveen

also says that there are only two recipes for peacock (roasted and in a

pie) in that book but that there are 20 for turkey, thus showing that

peacock was on the way out.  He notes that by the middle of the 1500s,

the fashion of roasting a peacock on a spit and redressing it in its

feathers came to an end.  Peacock was now served in a pie but still

sometimes decorated with the tail, wings, head and neck affixed to the

top crust.

 

Alys K.

 

 

Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2011 22:01:00 -0400

From: Sharon Palmer <ranvaig at columbus.rr.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Peacock

 

<<< Witteveen also says that there are only two recipes for peacock

(roasted and in a pie) in that book but that there are 20 for

turkey, thus showing that peacock was on the way out.  He notes that

by the middle of the 1500s, the fashion of roasting a peacock on a

spit and redressing it in its feathers came to an end.  Peacock was

now served in a pie but still sometimes decorated with the tail,

wings, head and neck affixed to the top crust. >>>

 

Actually there are three recipes for peacock, roasted with sauce, in

a pie, and a cold roasted peacock, served with its feathers in an

aspic as a "Schauwessen" or showpiece.

 

I find it more striking that peacock isn't mentioned once in the 40

pages of menus, while turkey is mentioned 10 times.

 

Ranvaig

 

 

Date: Tue, 05 Apr 2011 22:20:02 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Peacock

 

There's a good article on serving a peacock by Barbara Wheaton. "How  

to cook a peacock." Harvard Magazine 82 (1979) pp 63-65.

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2011 20:22:41 -0700 (PDT)

From: Honour Horne-Jaruk <jarukcomp at yahoo.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Peacock

 

Respected friends:

 

--- On Tue, 4/5/11, Daniel Myers <dmyers at medievalcookery.com> wrote:

<<< From what I've heard, turkey tastes a lot better than peacock, so it

doesn't surprise me at all that it would be dropped from menus when a

better tasting bird became available.

 

- Doc >>>

 

   According to a friend of mine who says he ate much too much peacock as a child (his family raised them commercially, and when a male lost a fight badly enough he was dinner) the flavor of peacock is extremely dependent on their diet. Peacocks are nearly omnivorous, but their _preferred_ food, in his experience, was insects-- and he believed they specifically sought out the most vilely disgusting insects they could find, with the intent and purpose of tasting as nasty as possible. (In evolutionary terms, that almost makes sense.)

 

   One injured bird lingered in confinement for a few weeks, which led to his experimentally feeding it solely on peas. He says the flavor was "better, but not great"- although the fact that the bird did die of its injuries might have effected the taste at least as much as bugs would...  

 

Yours in service to both the Societies of which I am a member-

(Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk, R.S.F.

Alizaundre de Brebeuf, C.O.L. S.C.A.- AKA Una the wisewoman, or That Pict

 

 

Date: Wed, 06 Apr 2011 09:10:08 -0600

From: <mem at rialto.org>

To: "=?UTF-8?B?U3VzYW4gRm94?=" <selene at earthlink.net>,

      "=?UTF-8?B?Q29va3Mgd2l0aGluIHRoZSBTQ0E=?="

      <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Peacock

 

Caroline Yeldham, from the UK, featured cooking a peacock and dressing it in the skin and feathers in a video that was done for a castle where her organization was cooking for a summer renenactment.  You might try to contact her about the video.  I had a copy once, i think, but no longer.

 

Elaina de Sinistre

 

<the end>



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