IMG_0512Stewed sparrows, boiled rabbits, barbecued opossum…game recipes like these are common in 18th-century cookbooks, but I tend to avoid reading them. And I can’t look at the skinning illustrations in Joy of Cooking without feeling queasy. Since it’s illegal to sell wild game in New York City, these animals also aren’t easy to come by here. That was my excuse for a while not to try. But I started thinking about how ridiculous my mindset would be to 18th-century Americans, for whom a brace of rabbits was a welcome meal. Continue reading


Chicken Pot Pie

chicken pot pie

I don’t know what’s scarier about this pie from Amelia Simmons (American Cookery1796), the butter content or the fact that it’s baked with whole chickens inside:

“Pick and clean six chickens, (without scalding) take out their inwards and wash the birds while whole, then joint the birds, salt and pepper the pieces and inwards. Roll one inch thick paste … and cover a deep dish … put thereto a layer of chickens and a layer of thin slices of butter, till the chickens and one and a half pound butter are expended, which cover with a thick paste; bake one and a half hour.”

Chickens were smaller in colonial times, in case you were wondering how Simmons fit six chickens in one pie (I’m guessing it was also a very big pie). Continue reading