“The Hare in New-England is no bigger than our English Rabbets, of the same colour, but withal having yellow and black strokes down the ribs; in Winter they are milk white, and as the Spring approacheth they come to their colour; when the Snow lies upon the ground they are very bitter with feeding upon the bark of Spruce, and the like.”
- 1672.John Josselyn, New-Englands Rarities Discovered. Mass. Hist.ed. p.22.
“Here are great store of Coneys* in these parts, of diverse colors: some white, some black, and some gray. Those towards the southern parts are very small, but those to the north are as big as the English Cony: their ears are very short. For the meat the small rabbit is as good as any that I have eaten of elsewhere.”
*(Rhymes with ‘money’ and ‘honey’. A rabbit is a young coney (like a puppy is a young dog…) no bunnies please, unless you mean bunions.)
1637Thomas Morton, New English Canaan, Dempsey ed. p.76
Rabbit season starts the Saturday after Columbus Day – which means in 2012 Duck Season and Rabbit Season start on the same day – today! Rabbits (conies) and hares are not the same animal, although they are often cooked in a similar fashion.
A Mallard smoard, or a Hare, or old Cony
Take a Mallard when it is cleane dressed, washed and trust, and parboyle it in water till it be skumd and purified; then take it up, and put it into a Pipkin with the neck down-ward, and the tayle upward, standing as it were upright; then fill the Pipkin halfe full with that water, in which the Mallard parboyled, and fill up the other halfe with White Wine; then pill and slice thin a good quantitie of Onyons, and put them in with whole fine Hearbs, according to the time of the yeare, as Lettice, Strawberry leaves, Violet leaves, Vines leaves, Spinage, Endive, Succorie, and such like, which have no bitter or hard taste, and a pretty quantitie of Currants and ates sliced; then cover it close, and set it on a gentle fire, and let it stew, and smoare (to smother, to cook in a closed vessel) till the Hearbs and Onyons be soft, and the Mallard enough; then take out the Mallard, and carve it as it were to goe to the Table; then to the Broath put a good lumpe of Butter, Sugar, Cianmon; and if it be in some, so many Goose-berries as will give it a sharpe taste, but in the Winter as much Wine Vinegar; then heate it on the fire, and stirre all well together; then lay the Mallard in a dish with Sippets, and powre all this broth upon it; then trim the Egges of the dish with Sugar, and so serve it up. And in this manner you may also smoare the hinder parts of a Hare, or a whole old Conie, being trust up close together.
- Gervase Markham, The English Housewife p. 78.