Turkey Recipes from Rumpolt

Again I return to the theme of American foods in Early Modern Europe, this time looking at the recipes Rumpolt gives for turkey:

I could not get a proper image of Rumpolt’s woodcuts. This one is Dutch, from 1659, courtesy of wikimedia commons.

Of a turkey (Indianischen Henn), twenty dishes may be prepared:

1 Roasted warm with as pobrat sauce or served dry (without sauce) or allowed to cool. for it is good food when it is cold.

2 Pastries, warm or cold

3 Dismember the turkey, take wings and legs and fill each one separately. When it is filled, set it to cook and let them boil until done. Lay them on a griddle and brown them, and prepare a sauce for them, it be sour or sweet, it ios good in both ways.

4 You can also stew (eynmachen) these filled wings with parsley root, good mace and beef broth and with green fragrant herbs. You may make it yellow (with saffron) or leave it white, it is good both ways.

5 You can also cook such filled wings and legs in a pepper sauce.

6 Or you can stew it in green sauce with parsley that is boiled well and passed through, with a toasted slice of white bread and beef broth with parsley and liver. Season it with saffron and pepper, and see you do not overseason or oversalt it. Thus it is good and well-tasting.

7 Take half a breast that is raw and make meatballs of it, be they white or yellow.

8 Make a pounded dish (ein gestossens) from the other half breast that is boiled. You can leave it white or make it green with green parsley that was boiled and passed through with good chicken broth and also with toasted bread slices, thus it is good and well-tasting.

9 You can also make a good chopped dish (geheck) of it. If it is white, take clear chicken broth, but if it is roasted, take a brown broth that you have drawn from a roast together with chicken broth that is salted very mildly. When you wish to serve it at the table, squeeze the juice of bitter oranges on it, thus it becomes good and delicate.

10 You can also serve meatballs in pastries.

11 You can also make small pastries from the breast.

12 Or Spanish pastries.

13 Or Spanish fritters (Krapffen)

14 You can also make Manscho Blancko (blanc manger) from the breast as is described earlier.

15 You can make a Hungarian tart from the Manscho Blancko.

16 Or a Spanish tart.

17 Also a Spanish pastry.

18 Fritters (Krapffen) to fry: Take flour, warm water, and a little butter and salt, mix the flour with that and make a dough with it that is not too thick, so you roll it out with a rolling pin (walger). Wrap the Manscho Blancko in this and make Krapffen of it. Take hot butter and fry them nicely cool (at a low temperature) so that they stay white and not turn brown. Thus the dough turns out crisp and good. When you serve them, strew them with white sugar.

19 Also make a Muß (spoon dish) from the Manscho Blancko. Take the Manscho Blancko and mix it with eggs and with sweet milk. Take a bowl and grease it with cold butter at the bottom. Then place the Muß in the bowl, push it into the oven and bake it. Thus it will rise up nicely. When you serve it, strew it with sugar, that way it will be good.

20 You can also prepare clear broth from the turkey and cook more than forty dishes that are not of little account (i.e. main dishes). You can use the stomach, liver, guts, and blood. And you must not discard any of it because you can make use of everything.

As we saw in the last post on guinea pigs, New World animals were readily accepted into the European kitchen. Turkeys are mentioned in the mid-16th century in German sources as a novelty, and by 1581, Marx Rumpolt already offers this lengthy list of using them. The idea of filling wings and legs stands out, and I think what is meant here is adding a seasoned meat paste between the skin and the flesh, a common practice in the medieval kitchen. The Manscho Blancko referred to repeatedly is blanc manger, a spoonable dish of meat (usually chicken), rice flour, and almond milk. It is the origin of modern blancmage, but by the sixteenth century this once fashionable preparation had become old hat and relegated to the function of an ingredient. Other than that, all the preparations given here are things that cooks would also do with chickens or other poultry. Especially the final entry can basically be read to mean that the turkey should be treated like a chicken, a bird thoroughly familiar to frugal cooks for all its potential uses.

I apologise for yesterday’s hiatus and must also beg your indulgence for several more in the coming two or three weeks. I have followed a few leads in eleventh-century sources that may in time result in posts about cannibalism in European warfare (that was very much a thing) and, for a broad definition of ‘eating’, the darkly-hinted, shocking practice of cunnilingus. Or not, depending on whether my research pans out.

Thank you for your patience and appreciation.

This entry was posted in Uncategorised and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *