Cooking A Regency Turkey

This is the week we start preparing for our Thanksgiving Day holiday. We generally think of the first Thanksgiving as taking place in Plymouth in 1621, with Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrating out of doors at food-laden tables. This is a very important holiday to us, a commemoration of all the gifts bestowed upon, all the things we are thankful for.

Our Thanksgiving celebrations usually involve a turkey dinner. The wild turkey is actually indigenous to North America, so my question is, did they eat turkey in Regency England?

The answer is YES. The The 16th century English navigator William Strickland introduced turkeys into England. His coat of arms includes a turkey, so it must have been a big deal.

I wondered, if I were a Regency scullery maid (which I’m convinced I must have been in a previous life), what would I see Cook do to prepare a turkey for our lord and lady?

Here’s what The Art of Cookery Made Plain And Easy: Which Far Exceeds Any Thing Of The Kind Yet Published by Hannah Glasse
said:

To Roast a Fowl with Chesnuts.

FIRST take some chesnuts, roast them very carefully, so as not to burn them; take off the skin and peel them; take about a dozen of them cut small, and bruise them in a mortar; parboil the liver of the fowl, bruise it, cut about a quarter of a pound of ham or bacon, and pound it; then mix them all together, with a good deal of parsley chopped small, a little sweet herbs, some mace, pepper, salt, and nutmeg; mix these together and put into your fowl, and roast it. The best way of doing it is to tie the neck, and hang it up by the legs to roast with a string, and baste it with butter. For sauce, take the rest of the chesnuts peeled and skinned; put them into some good gravy, with a little white wine, and thicken it with a piece of butter rolled in flour; then take up your fowl, lay it in the dish, and pour in the sauce. Garnish with lemon.

Hey, my mother-in-law has made chestnut dressing. The dressing in my family is mostly made of bread!

I can’t quite picture the hanging by the feet part.

Here’s one of the traditional Thanksgiving/Christmas dishes that I (who am so-not-a-cook) will make for our Thanksgiving. It is from my husband’s Italian side of the family:

“The Peas”
1 package frozen peas
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce (or a small jar of spaghetti sauce)
1 chopped onion
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
olive oil

In a saucepan, brown the garlic in a little bit of olive oil.
Add the peas, onions, and tomato sauce and stir
Cover and cook on low for about an hour

It is easy. Even I can do it! I’m also making the green bean casserole, but everybody knows how to do that.

For Thanksgiving we’re going to my in-laws in Williamsburg, where Amanda and I stayed when we met with Deb Marlowe to plan The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor. Most of my dh’s side of the family will come and I’m happy because both my son and daughter will be there!

Where are you going for Thanksgiving?
What, if anything, will you be cooking?

Don’t forget to enter Janet’s LOL Regency contest! I sent her my entry.

Come to Diane’s Blog . Today I’m announcing my Thanksgiving winner for the website contest, and on Thursday I have a big exciting Christmas contest to announce!

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Cooking A Regency Turkey

Comments are closed.