adventure, williamsburg cookbook

Supposedly delicious

Every now and then I flip through the Williamsburg cookbook, looking for my next culinary adventure, and one of those recipes jumps out at me. You know, the ones that are a little, well, too adventurous.

After the steak and kidney pie disaster, I’ve become much more hesitant about leaping into the unknown. I’ll consider a recipe for a while before taking out my cutting board. But some of the recipes so beloved to colonial Virginians are just too bizarre (or hazardous) for me to even think about making. Take a look and see if you agree.
  • Calf’s Head Soup. Yes, it calls for “one Calf’s Head.” I’d like to avoid courting mad cow disease.

  • Snail Broth. The ingredients sound like your stereotypical witch’s brew: twenty garden snails pounded together with the hind legs of thirty frogs, mixed with sliced turnips and leeks. Apparently it cures consumption. Oh, the olden days…

  • Barbecued Squirrel. Unless I want to go all Hunger Games on the squirrels in my backyard, I’ll have a tough time procuring the meat.

  • Turtle Soup. Again, I don’t know where you’d get a turtle meant for consumption. But the instructions are pretty fun: “Kill the Turtle at Daylight in Summer, the Night before in Winter, and hang it up to bleed.” I guess turtles’ blood runs differently in winter–which makes sense–but it still sounds like instructions for the aforementioned witch’s brew.

  • Bitters (very fine). Yes, it’s tempting to try to make my own bitters. But the recipe calls for cochineal, which is an insect that’s been pounded to powder. It was used to dye wool red back in the day.

So, would you be brave enough to try one of these recipes? Or do you know where I could procure a turtle (besides the pet store)?


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