Thursday, November 3, 2011


November is the month in which Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Traditionally turkey is the meat of choice served with a multitude of side dishes and planty of deserts. If there was a day in the modern calendar that mirrored a feast day of the middle ages, Thanksgiving is it!

So, turkey, I had been told when I started in the SCA that "Turkey isn't period." Then I was told "It's not the same turkey, it's a different breed." and now I am telling you... tell them to "Stuff it!". It may not be a discovery to you all but it was to me when I received my book last year and flitted through its pages to discover that indeed turkey is period and not some strange breed that no one has seen since but North American wild turkeys.

The recipe is found on page 208 and it is recipe number 141 titled " To roast turkey cock and turkey hen, which in some places in Italy are called 'Indian Peacocks'" I will not detail right now the recipe as I have yet to get in and try it but will share with you the description of the bird that Scappi talks about.

"A turkey cock and hen are much bigger in the body than an ordinary peacock, and the cock can spread its tail like the peacock. It has a black and white plumage, wrinkled skin on its neck, and on top of its head a fleshy crest which, when the cock gets angry, swells up and covers its whole snout; on some of them that crest is russet color mixed with bluish purple. Its breast is broad; on the tip of that there is a herringbone of bristle, like a pig's, among the feathers. Its flesh is much whiter and softer than that of the common peacock and it is hung for a shorter time than any similar fowl."

I know very little about the hanging times of meats and what is best but i know what I have seen with my own eyes in the fields of New Hampshire that I called home for 28 years of my life and that is wild turkeys that fit this description to a "T". Reading this description I was very excited to all the new posibilities of this meat and hope to begin to explore some of them soon.

Drawing of a turkey found in Marx Rumpolt's cookbook "Ein Neu Kochbuch" printed in 1581 gives further proof

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