[Sca-cooks] large birds for feasts

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Thu Mar 3 00:34:08 PST 2011

Recently we've been talking about large birds such as turkeys and bustards for feasts.  Here is a message from Johnnae about this subject from a few years ago. It isn't in the Florilegium because I never got enough other material for a file on large birds, so it will probably eventually end up in the fowls-a-birds-msg file in the ANIMALS section. But for now, I thought some of you might wish to see it again.

She recommends not using chicken or turkey to substitute for other hard to get birds. While I recommended serving turkey as if it was bustard. To me, and others, turkey reeks of modern food and I was trying to avoid pulling people away from the medieval atmosphere, while allowing a way to cook a large bird in the style of the times without using hard-to-get, much less endangered birds. Yes, it is period if you mean by that term used in Europe before 1600, but even knowing that, and many people don't, it still risks ripping the medieval atmosphere we try to create.

I agree that we shouldn't serve one thing saying it is another. Perhaps a good compromise is to list it on the menu as  "xxx turkey, cooked in the style of bustard" or "xxx bustard (using turkey)". Or maybe you can get away with listing the turkey ingredient just in the ingredients list but not in the menu.


<<< Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 07:55:08 -0500
From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Turkeys ARE Period!
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

During the medieval period a number of great birds were eaten.
I don't personally think that one ought to list Bustard or Crane or Swan
on a menu and then serve turkey or chicken. One ought to list what
the actual meat, fish or fowl will be. Don't list pike or porpoise,
when it was always going to be farmed salmon. Wild boar is not the same
as modern pork. If need be, say you are roasting
a Great Bird and under ingredients list that you are serving a turkey.
We demand that cooks list their ingredients so that those with allergies
or dietary concerns may determine
what is in a meal. Likewise, we ought to be willing to admit the bird is
chicken or turkey
and not the exotic unobtainable swan or bustard. Likewise, don't
promise duck or quail and again serve chicken.

Sources for those wanting to read more on the topic:

Witteveen, Joop. ?On Swans, Cranes, and Herons,? 1986-87. Parts 1-3 in
*/PPC/*, 24, 25, 26.
Witteveen, Joop.?The Great Birds, Part 4: Peacocks in History,? 1989,
*/PPC/* 32.
Witteveen, Joop. ?The Great Birds, Part 5: The Preparation of the
Peacock for the Table,? 1990, */PPC/* 36.
Eiche, Sabine. /Presenting the Turkey. The Fabulous Story of a
Flamboyant and Flavourful Bird./ Florence, Italy: Centro Di, 2004.
Distributed in the USA by the Antique Collectors' Club Ltd. ISBN No:
Smith, Andrew F. /The Turkey/. Chicago and Urbana: The University of
Illinois Press, 2006. ISBN: 0252031636.

Johnnae >>>

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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