Sealing cooked poultry under butter (again from the Oeconomia)

Coler seems to be fumbling towards the concept of ‘airtight’ here.

How you should preserve and keep pheasants, partridges, capercaillies and the like gamebirds for a long time

(marginalia: To preserve pheasants, partridges, woodcocks, capercaillies)

First roast them half, then make a prodium (sauce or broth) or thick soup of good wine and pounded cinnamon, cloves, and other such spices as you would best and most conveniently have it. Lay them into a large pot or another earthen dish and pour the abovementioned prodium over them so that they are covered entirely. Then take unmelted butter (i.e. butter that has not been clarified) and melt it. Pour it over them when the prodium has cooled. The butter congeals and coagulates (coagulirt) above it and thus defends against putrefying agents (putredini) and many changes of the air so that they are not corrupted but may last and resist well for a long time. When a guest calls on you, seek out such food, warm it up with some of the abovementioned prodium or soup again and bring it to the table thus. Or (you may) serve it cold, too, but it is best warm. You must not cook it more than (until) the wine consumes its rawness (cruditet), which was still required on account of the cooking, and it is fully done.

Some people in the Harz mountains do this, where such birds are common and must be preserved on account of their great quantity.

This is a very interesting recipe in technical terms and because the author uses a great deal of academic vocabulary in it. Most of Coler’s recipes use the language of the kitchen, culinary terminology at this point familiar from a long tradition. Here, we find a number of Latinate terms that seem more appropriate to contemporary science or the genre of ‘natural magic’ books. We can see from other parts of the Oeconomia that Coler was well familiar with such works, so it is possible he took this description from such a context.

From a purely technical perspective, this may well work, but it certainly does not sound appealing.

Johann Coler’s Oeconomia ruralis et domestica was a popular book on the topic of managing a wealthy household. It is based largely on previous writings by Coler and first appeared between 1596 and 1601. Repeatedly reprinted for decades, it became one of the most influential early works of Hausväterliteratur. I am working from a 1645 edition.

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