Pilgrim Seasonings

Plymouth Colony Foodways: Notes and Recipes from a 17th Century Kitchen

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!

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4 Responses to “Another way to enjoy turkey”

  1. Katie says:

    Thank you for these great turkey tips – and for justifying my plan to go have a slice of pie :)

  2. Paul Courchaine says:

    There’s a similar receipt in Kenelm Digby. I made it once for a charity 17th dinner, using warm capon breast. It was a big hit.

    • KM Wall says:

      Therer’s a third in Mrs Cromwell’s book of cookery…..the chicken/capon/pullet/hen and/or turkey salads seem to all spring up around the same time.

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