November, 2012

…whitings and blackings, and liverings and hackings…

November 30th, 2012 by KM Wall

More bits in the nose to tail guide to 17th century slaughter time eating.

Hog - the school of Rembrandt

Liver is another of the organ meats that has to be used fairly quickly. Liver-gut puddings are essentially liverwurst, which means liver sausage.

To make Pig’s Liver-gut puddings.

Take Pig-Liver, boil it until done, skim it. When it is cold grate it fine, the take half pint sweet Milk, a stuyver stale White-bread, cut off the crust, grate it fine, and place it in the Milk; let it boil together until it is a thick porridge, also a good piece of Butter in the porridge; when it is almost cold stir in the Liver, then take 9 or 10 Eggs well beaten, a little Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, and Mace finely crushed, and some melted Butter, all together well mixed, stuff the Intestines without forgetting the Pig’s-lard and let them cook for an hour.

- Rose, The Sensible Cook. pp.94-5.

Why is it, when the same thing is called pate it seems tastier, special, somehow refined? The naming of things is so important. So, from the Dutch Liver-gut puddings to the English Puddings of Hogs Livers.

Puddings of Hogs Liver

Take the Liver of a fat Hog, and parboyle it, then shred it small, and after beate it in a Morter very fine: then mixe it with the thickest and sweetest Creame, and straine it very well through an ordinary strainer; the put therto six yelkes of Egges, and two whites, and the grated crums of neere-hand a penny white loafe, with good store of Currants, Dates, Cloves, Mace, Sugar, Saffron, Salt, and the best Swine suet, or Beefe suet, but Beefe suet is the more wholsome, and lesse loosening; then after it hath stood a while, fill it into the farmes, and boyle them, as before shewed: and when you serve them to the Table, first boyle them a little, then  lay them on a Gridyron over the coales, and broyle them gently, but scorch them not, nor in any wise breake their skinnes, which is to bee prevented by oft turning and tossing them on the Grid-yron, and keeping a slow fire.

-Markham, Best ed. The English Housewife p. 68-9.

Grid-yron art:

Man playing a gridiron.....can anyone translate this?


[f. LIVERn.1 + -ing, ? after pudding.]

A pudding made of liver and rolled up in the form of a sausage.

c1460Towneley Myst. xii. 217 Oure mete now begyns;..Two blodyngis, I trow, a leueryng betwene. 1556WITHALSDict. (1568) 49a/1 Tomaculum, ex iecore porcino cibus fit, vt supra, a lyueryng. 1591 A. W. Bk. Cookrye 12b, To make Liuerings of a Swine. 1611COTGR., Fricandeaux: Short..daintie puddings..rolled vp into the forme of Liuerings. 1624CHAPMANHomer’s Batrachom. 58 Lyurings (white~skind as Ladies). 1674N. FAIRFAXBulk & Selv. 159 The Darbyshire huswife..when she makes whitings and blackings, and liverings and hackings. 1694MOTTEUXRabelais V. xxvii. (1737) 122 Chitterlings, Links,..Liverings.


“And now a bucket to collect the blood”

November 29th, 2012 by KM Wall

Ostade - Slaughter (notice the bucket to collect the blood)

“And now a bucket to collect the blood”  is one of my favorite lines from the  Arthur the Aardvark book Arthur’s April Fool (he a magician, the class bully is his ‘subject’… check out Marc Brown when your not checking out Pilgrim food). I always think of that line when it’s slaughtering time. Which is now.

Because without the blood there are no black puddings. These are not Bill Cosby or vanilla kind of puddings.

PUDDING — stomach or entrails of a pig or sheep, etc. OR the same cleaned and stuffed with meat and/or grain and seasonings.  The original meaning of “puddings” were the guts.

“Of the inward of beasts are made Puddings, which are best made of an Hog.” (1584)

“Everything hath an end, and a pudding hath two.” (1592-Nashe)

“Pudding which is called the Haggas or Haggis, of whose goodnesse it is vain to boast” (1615-Markham)

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, black puddings are:

black pudding (Also with hyphen.) A kind of sausage made of blood and suet, sometimes with the addition of flour or meal.

1568U. FULWELLLike to like Bj, Who comes yonder puffing as whot as a black pudding. 1634HEYWOODMaidenh. lost III. Wks. 1874 IV. 142 We will haue..sixe Black-Puddings to bee serued vp in Sorrell-sops. 1664BUTLERHud. II. III. 380 In Lyrick numbers write an Ode on His Mistress eating a Black-pudden. 1873E. SMITHFoods 80 Sausages and black puddings.

Another name for these little beauties are blood puddings ….also OED

blood pudding

1583PLATDivers new Exper. (1594) 13 Boile this bloud..until it come to the nature and shape of a *bloudpudding. 1741RICHARDSONPamela I. 94, I hope to make my hands as red as a Blood-pudden. 1916D. H. LAWRENCELett. (1962) I. 492 We have read the ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’: a veritable blood-pudding of passion!


Frans Hals Merrymaker (1615) They look like they could be black puddings. There's a lot going on in this painting that isn't about food, but food as metaphor. A whole 'nother post




To make blacke Puddings.

Take great Otmeale and lay it in milke to steepe, then take sheepes bloud and put to it, and take Oxe white and mince into it, then take a fewe sweete hearbes and two or three leeke blades, and choppe them verie small, and put into it then yolkes of some Egges, and season it with Synamon, ginger, cloues, Mace, pepper and salt, and so fill them.

- 1587, Thomas Dawson, Good Huswifes Jewell. p. 10.

Oatemeale is closer to current day steel cut oats – rolled oats aren’t the same thing at all. Steep them in milk, add sheep’s blood; Oxe white is beef suet; sweet herbs (thyme, marjoram, sage); I like the detail of the two or three leek blades when everything else has been rather free form, even for the 16th century; chop them very small, add the yolks of eggs and season with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mace, pepper, salt and so fill  – the them is the guts, or the casing or the formes – which are the cleaned intestines.

You can buy black puddings  – there are international versions – English, Irish, French, Portuguese, Italian – all a little different, all very rich.

Morcilla cocoda

Chourico de sange









How to make blacke Puddinges.

Take Otemeale and steepe it in sodden milke, then take Hogges suet & good hearbes and chop them smalle, then put in fennell seed, pepper and Salt.

-         1588, Good Huswives Treasurie, p. 18.

This recipe has blood assumed. Oatmeal in milk and cream alone make the white pudding.

Boudin noir - prior to cooking

To make puddings of a Swine.

Take the blood of the Swine, and swing it, then put thereto minced onions largely with Salt, and the Suet of the Hog minced. The take the guts clean washed, and stuffe them with the aforesaid stuffe; and so seath them, then broil them upon the coles, and serve them forth.

-         1591, AW Book of Cookery ,p. 12.

Pudding funnel (these are white puddings or boudin blanc) from Ivan Day's site

Ivan Day’s Historic Food website has great information on English puddings – and much, much more!

Links….to the past

November 28th, 2012 by KM Wall

Pilgrim Sausages ( Thank you, Kathy D)

Before Thanksgiving was a National Holiday, November was known as the start of the slaughtering season. For many, that meant pigs. The English have several proverbs that are timely:

  1. Acorns make the best Bacon
  2. The Pig is only good on the Plate.

Oke tree from Gerard's Herball

Acorns, also known as mast (which can be all sorts of nuts) are readily available in New England. Pigs are noteworthy in that they are cheap, easy to transport, and able to live just about anywhere. Sir Francis Bacon recommends them  as a commodity to carry when starting plantations. Pigs were among the first livestock that was brought to Plymouth Colony.





Barent Fabritius, The Slaughtered Pig




If you’ve ever spent time with a pig, you’ll soon figure out that Wilbur, the hammy friend of Charlotte the wise and patient  spider, was truly SOME pig, because he wasn’t at all like other pigs. Pigs are curious, large and like to get their nose into everyone’s business. Literally – they root about in everything, and often lead with their noses. And they have no good manners. And sharp teeth and sharp hooves.

And now let us take a Homer Simpson moment and ponder the wonder that is BAAACOOOON

If it weren’t for pigs – and porkets, and hogs, and boars, and sows, and shotes, and all the swine family – there wouldn’t be bacon. Sometimes in the 16th and 17th centuries bacon means fresh pork, not just  salted.

But before bacon, we can have sausages……


Take the largest of your chines of pork, and that which is called a list, and first with your knife cut the lean thereof into thin slices, and then shred small those slices, and then spread it over the bottom of a dish or wooden platter; then take the fat of the chine and the list, and cut it in the self same manner, and spread it upon the lean, and then cut more lean, and spread it on the fat, and thus do one lean upon another till all the pork be shred, observing to begin and end with the lean; then with your sharp knife scotch it through and through divers ways, and mix it well together: then take good store of sage, and shred it exceeding small and mix it with the flesh, then give it a good season of pepper and salt, the take the farmes made as long as is possible, and not cut in pieces as for puddings, and first blow them up to make the meat slip, and then fill them: which done, with threads divide them into several links as you please, then hang them up in you chimney clean kept, where they may take air of the fire, and let them dry there at least four days before any be eaten; and when they are served up, let them be either fried or broiled on the gridiron, or else roasted about a capon.

- 1631. Markham, Gervase. The English Housewife. Michael Best ed. McGill-Queen’s  University Press: Montreal. 1986. pp.73-4.


La grigliata (Hier wird um wenig geld)




Nutmegs – a little more

November 27th, 2012 by KM Wall

A Nutmeg

“Nutmeges be good for them the whiche have colde in theyr hed, and dothe comforte the sygt and brayne, & the mouth of the stomacke, & is good for the spleene.”

Andrew Boorde. A Compendyous Regiment 1542.



Nutmegs are generally considered (in the 17th century, that is) to be hot and dry in the 2nd degree, which means not too hot or dry). In modern science they are found to be aromatic, carminative, hallucinogenic, stimulant.

How does the price of nutmegs compare to other spices? Here’s the rates in Ireland for Grocer’s wares (which includes spices) in 1624, as quotes in Fooles and Fricassees (p. 40-1 Folger)

Cloves the pound                   iiij.s

Mace the pound                     v.s

Nutmeg the pound                  ij.s.vjd.

Cinamon the pound              iij.s iiijd.

Pepper the pound                        xxd.

Ginger the pound                           vjd.

So how this reads is s = shillings, d = pence, i and j = one, v = five and x= 10. So cloves are 4 shillings the pound – that’s fairly costly. An ordinary pair of shoes might cost between 3-5 shillings. Mace (which is the outer coating of the nutmeg) is at five shillings a pound, which is probably why it often used at the end of cooking and placed on top – if you’re using mace, you want people to know just how much you think of them! Then nutmeg – 2 shillings 6 pence the pound, cinnamon  3 shillings 4 pence the pound, pepper is 20 pence the pound and ginger is 6 pence the pound.

And then the breaking news story of 1624 : the Massacre at Amboyna. Which inspires a ballad, a play (at least one), a painting of the tortures,  sermons and pamphlets, riots….. and Dutch monopoly on cloves, and an increase in the price of nutmegs.

In terms of cooking, nutmegs show up in dishes of whitemeats, i.e. milk and egg dishes….which continues today every time you sprinkle nutmeg on eggnog. They also show up on fish – back to the cold and wet being modified by the warmer and dryer….and, in Dutch recipes, on dishes of vegetables.


To Stew Cauliflower and Savoy Cabbage.

One takes Cauliflower or Savoy cabbage after it has been cleaned and cooked until well done and stew it with Mutton-broth, whole Pepper, Nutmeg, Salt, without forgetting the excellent Butter of Holland.  A hardboiled egg yolk which has been rubbed fine is sometimes placed underneath.

-  Peter Rose, The Sensible Cook p. 48




Another Pumpion Pye (and a little nutmeg)

November 26th, 2012 by KM Wall

Nutmeg for John Gerard's Herbal (1597)

and a little NPR nutmeg backgrounder….before we go back to Pumpion Pye

To make a Pumpion Pye.

Take a pound of pumpion and slice it, a handful of a time, a little rosemary, () and sweet marjoram stripped off the stalks, chop them small, then take cinamon, nutmeg, pepper, and a few cloves all beaten, also ten eggs, & beat them, then mix and beat them all together, with as much sugar as you think fit, then fry it like a froise, after it is fried let it stand till it is cold, then fill your pye after this manner. Take sliced apples sliced thin roundways, and lay a layer of the froise, and a layer of the apples, with currans betwixt the layers. While your pie is fitted, put in a good deal of sweet butter before you close it. When the pye is baked, take the yolks of eggs, some white wine or verjuyce and make a caudle of this, but not too thick, cut up the lid, put it in, and stir them well together whilst the eggs and pumpion be not perceived, and so serve it up.”

-(1660)Robert May, The Accomplist Cook.

To make this pumpkin pie:

  1. It’s  the same recipe that I posted last week – except that it’s twelve years later and in a cookbook by someone else, and it’s absent a few words…
  2. It’s going to take a while – give yourself PLENTY of time.
  3. Take  a pound (not a half pound - MORE pumpkin!)  of pumpkin (or squash) and peel and slice it. Take some thyme, rosemary, (No Parsley mentioned here, that’s the ()),  marjoram, stripped off the stalk and chopped fine.
  4. Add some cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and a few cloves (not necessarily 6) cloves. They should all be powdered.
  5. Beat 10 eggs. Add the spice and some sugar to the eggs.
  6. Add some butter to a frying pan. Add the slice pumpkin and the herbs.
  7. When the pumpkin start to get soft, add the eggs with the spice. Add a little sugar, turn the eggs around the pumpkin and let it set up. Froize means fried, rather like frittata means fried…when this is cooked through you could need to let it cool. I’m tempted to serve it up  with some nice crusty bread and a glass of wine and call it a day.
  8. But wait -there’s MORE.
  9. Make a pastry case – Use a deep dish pie plate, make a bottom crust and then add the cooled froize as the first layer.
  10. Put in some dried currents (If you only have raisins of the sun, they will do) in a layer over the froize.
  11. Add a layer of thin sliced apples (cores removed).
  12. Add butter.
  13. Put the lid on the pie and bake.
  14. Make the caudle – mix 6 egg yolks with wine or verjuice and cook them together until they’re thick (but no too thick).
  15. When you take the pie out of the oven, remove the lid, add the caudle and stir it all around until the eggs and pumpkin are blended in.
  16. So serve it up.


Pears in Broth

November 25th, 2012 by KM Wall

Pears from John Gerard, The Herbal (1597)

To make Peares to be boiled in meate.
Take a peece of a legge of Mutton or Veale raw, being mixed with a little Sheepes sewet, and half a manchet grated fione, taking four rawe egges yolkes and al. The take a little Time, & parsley chopped smal, then take a few gooseberries or barberries, or green grapes being whole. Put all these together, being seasoned with Salte, saffron and cloves, beaten and wrought together, then make Rowles or Balles like to a peare, and when you have so done, take the stalke of sage, and put it into the ends of your peares or balles, then take the freshe broth of beefe, Mutton or veale, being put into an earthen pot, putting the peares or balles in the same broth with Salt, cloves, mace, and Saffron, and when you be ready to serve him, put two or three yolkes of egs into the broth. Let them boile no more after that but serve it forth upon soppes. You may make balles after the same sort.
- Thomas Dawson. The Second part of the Good Hus-wifes Jewell. 1597.

Yes, these aren’t pears at all, but rather little meatballs, shaped liked pears. I love the sage leaves being used as pear leaves. Francine Sagen in Shakespeare’s Kitchen has a modern day version of Pears in Broth if you’d like to try this at home.


Custard Pie

November 24th, 2012 by KM Wall
Medieval pie baker on wheels (c. 1465-1475)

To bake a Custarde or Dowset
To bake an excellent Custard or Dowset; you shall take good store of egges, and putting away one quarter of the whites, beate them exceeding well in a bason, and then mixe with them the sweetest and thickest creame you can get, for if it be any thing thinne, the Custard will be wheyish; then season it with salt, sugar, cinamon, cloves, mace, and a little Nutmegge; which done raise your coffins of good tough wheate paste, being the second sort before spoke of, and if you please raise it in pretty workes, or angular formes, which you may doe by fixing the upper part of the crust to the nether with the yelks of egges: then when the coffins are ready, strow the bottomes a good thicknesse over with Currants and Sugar; then set them into the Oven, and fill them up with the confection before blended and so drawing them, adorne all the toppes with Carraway Cumfrets, and the slices of Dates prickt right up, and so serve them up to the table.

 -Gervase Markham, The English Housewife

Another way to enjoy turkey

November 23rd, 2012 by KM Wall

Another way to enjoy turkey

The Flesh Sallet of a Capon or Turkey.
Take of either, slice it very thin, as for a Hash, put that which is white of the breast and wings by its self, and that which is black of the legs, or other part of the Fowl, by its self, put the rump and sides of the rump in the dish, and the other bones of the legs and the wings about the sides of the dish like sippets; then season your meat with a few Sives, a little tarragon, Speeremint and Parslee, with the Cabbage or two of Lettice; mince these exceeding small, add a little small Pepper, Salt, and minced Nutmeg; with a little Horse Raddish; scraped and minced, mingle your seasoning together, and strow it on your Sallet, pour on your Oyl and Vinegar, so toss it up together; let your blackest flesh be laid all over the bottom of your dish and bones, and your whitest on the top of it all; strow on a Lemmon Cut in a Dice, and garnish it at your pleasure.
- Rabisha, William. The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected. London: 1661. pp. 96-7.

  1. If you call it Flesh Sallet chances are you’ll be eating alone…although if this were Halloween or the Zombie Apocalypse…or you have a household of nine0year old boys…
  2. What you do first is separate the white meat from the dark meat, and you can decorate the edges of your serving platter with the wings and the legs still on the bone. Make 2 bowls – one for white meat and one for dark meat – you’ll be seasoning each separately.
  3. Sippets are small toasts of bread that often are tucked under or around all sorts of dishes, often to soak up the sauces. Think of them as big English croutons.
  4. Season the meat with sives (chives), tarragon, spearmint, parsley. Always cook to your own taste. Fresh is better then dried for this, if you’re able. Chives and parsley are nice together; tarragon is always good with fowl. Spearmint becomes more interesting with the lemon at the end.
  5. A Cabbage of lettuce is a head of lettuce – a small head  – no iceberg lettuce in the 17th century – more like a Boston head of lettuce or a head of Bibb lettuce. Many lettuces in the 17th century are loose leaf. But since you’re going to mince it small… just don’t overwhelm with lettuce.
  6. Add pepper, salt and nutmeg.
  7. A little horseradish is very nice on turkey. Just saying.
  8. Olive oil and either wine vinegar or cider vinegar. A little on one and then a little of the other.
  9. Dark meat on the bottom (bones optional). Light meat on top. Dice a lemon and toss it on – dice is pieces cut 1/4 inch cubes. I’m assuming that it’s the flesh of the lemon, not the peel or the seeds. Lemon and spearmint are very nice together.
  10. Garnishes include a sprinkle of sugar or other spices (in powdered form).

Willem Claeszoon Heda - Breakfast Table with Blackberry Pie

And although there was no pie in 1621, no doubt there might be a smidge near you, so by all means have pie for breakfast – it’s the historical thing to do!

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

November 22nd, 2012 by KM Wall

Next time, try the turkey WITHOUT the feathers!

That’s more like it!

Don’t forget to celebrate the corn – go ahead, be corny!

PS – there was more then ONE meal eaten in Plymouth Colony – if you’d like MORE Pilgrim Seasonings, become a subscriber. We’ll come right to your inbox.

Thank you, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for The Courtship of Myles Standish, a Plymouth Pilgrim

Thank you, Sarah Josepha Hale, godmother to our National Holiday of Thanksgiving

Thank you, Sarah Josepha Hale as Bobble-head

Five Questions

November 21st, 2012 by KM Wall

Erin Blasco with the Smithsonian blog O say can you see? had five questions for me -

Elizabeth Warren(the 1627 Elizabeth Warren) and Richard Warren her husband - arms akimbo and in Washington, D.C.

What are the top food myths about what was on the table for the “first” Thanksgiving?

What did they really eat at the harvest celebration in 1621 (the phrase folks at Plimoth Plantation prefer to “Thanksgiving”)?

How do we know what was on the menu then?

Who did the dishes?

If I want to serve a pilgrim-inspired dish this Thanksgiving, what do you recommend?

You’ll have to click to find out my answers.

What are your Thanksgiving questions?

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