As Will and Guy often muse; 'Humour is a fickle
animal'. Well here is an example of humour that catches you unexpectedly. The Cormorant Recipe comes from a bygone era: Countryman's Cooking, by W.M.W Fowler circa 1965.
Having shot your cormorant, hold it well away from you as you carry it home; these birds are exceedingly verminous and the lice are said to be not entirely host-specific. Hang up by the feet with a piece of
wire, soak in petrol and set on fire. This treatment both removes most of the feathers and kills the lice.
When the smoke has cleared away, take the cormorant down and cut off the beak. Send this to
the local Conservancy Board who, if you are in the right area, will give you 3/6d or sometimes 5/- for it. Bury the carcase, preferably in a light sandy soil, and leave it there for a fortnight. This is said to
improve the flavour by removing, in part at least, the taste of rotting fish.
Dig up and skin and draw the bird. Place in a strong salt and water solution and soak for 48 hours. Remove, dry, stuff with
whole, unpeeled onions: the onion skins are supposed to bleach the meat to a small extent, so that it is very dark brown instead of being entirely black.
Simmer gently in seawater, to which two tablespoons
of chloride of lime have been added, for six hours. This has a further tenderising effect. Take out of the water and allow to dry, meanwhile mixing up a stiff paste of methylated spirit and curry powder. Spread
this mixture liberally over the breast of the bird.
Finally roast in a very hot oven for three hours. The result is unbelievable. Throw it away. Not even a starving vulture would eat it.
This account is not to everyone's taste. However, can top that Cormorant Recipe? If so send us your story / recipe!
Charles writes in. 'There was a time when I got
paid for shooting Cormorants. Then after the war they stopped that
earner. Blow me, now they are prosecuting me for shooting the wretched
bird. This country [England] is going to the dogs.'
You would not believe it, but just around
the corner from where Will lives in Portchester is the
Cormorant pub. But no, this bird is not on the menu!
This Elizabethan delicacy would feed 25 people. The swan would
weigh about 30lbs before it had the other foul inserted.
- Swan stuffed with:
- Guinea fowl
In the time of Elizabeth the first the ten-in-one swan would be roasted
all day, then once cooked thoroughly, the feathers would be replaced to make
an attractive centre-piece for the meal.
Queen Elizabeth II Supervises Swan-upping
In July 2009 The present Queen Elizabeth supervised the annual Swan
Upping census on the river Thames, near Windsor, England. This was the
first time in living memory that the monarch had visited the Thames to watch
the swan-uppers count her swans. In England the swan is a protected
bird, which only the Queen is allowed to kill.
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