Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

7 Intriguing Turkey Recipes From the 1800s

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

How will you be cooking your turkey this year? Chances are you'll be doing it the same way you and your family have always done it, citing "tradition." No offense, but that's so boring, you might as well cancel Thanksgiving dinner altogether and never talk to your kin again.

But what if I told you there was a way to spice up Thanksgiving dinner without sacrificing tradition?

The following turkey recipes are all centuries old and will breathe new life into your holiday feast. One caveat, however: These recipes were written in an era when food-borne illnesses weren't fully understood and proper hygiene was not practiced. In trying these, you may poison yourself and the ones you love.

Bon appetit!

1. Recipe For Stolen Turkey, as Excerpted In a Rural Policing Guide

This recipe comes not from a cookbook, but rather an 1839 "report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the best means of establishing an efficient Constabulary Force in the Counties of England and Wales." It was taken from the testimony of a vagrant that was included to illustrate the behavior of criminals—but I happen to think his method for cooking turkey sounds pretty good:

1 Fortune Teller
1 Stolen Turkey
1 Guard Dog
1 Hedge

“I once quarreled with my statesman (accomplice), and went and lived with some gipsies , whom we met at a fair. I was with them three or four months. We camped in different places in Lancashire, Cheshire, and Wales. The women used to go in a morning to the different farm-houses to tell fortunes, and if they saw anything worth fetching we went for it at night. If we got a hen or a goose, a duck or a turkey, we used to roll it up in clay, with the feathers on, and put it back down at a faire, letting it roast itself with its own fat; when the clay was baked hard, feathers and clay would come off together; and on cutting it open, the entrails would come out in a lump. The plunder was always planted in the hedge, and a dog chained not far from it. One of them went to the towns grinding scissors and knives; he used to fence (sell) anything we wanted to get shut of.”

2. Boiled Turkey

1838's Magazine of Domestic Economy features this simple recipe. It also notes that turkeys are extremely expensive in London around wintertime, and it recommends that you have yours sent from the country, perhaps as a present.

1 Turkey
1 Clean napkin
1 Anchovy
Oysters (a few)
Mushrooms (a few)
Butter (a bit)
Suet (a bit)
1 Egg

"Boiling a turkey is a very common mode of dressing it, and if nicely done makes a very agreeable dish. To boil it properly, it should be trussed with the liver and gizzard in the wings, be well dredged with flour, and sewn into a clean napkin. But previously to doing that, fill the crop with a forcemeat, or stuffing made of crumbs and bread, parsley, pepper, salt, nutmeg, lemon-peel, an anchovy, a few oysters chopped, a few shred mushrooms, a bit of butter, and a little suet, the whole bound together with an egg. In the water in which the turkey is to be boiled, put the juice of three lemons, two ounces of butter, and handful of salt. Let it boil very slowly."

3. Turkey and Chestnuts

Also from the Magazine of Domestic Economy, this turkey dish is a seasonal delight. Don't skimp on the chestnuts, cheapskate.

Finest Spanish chestnuts (a sufficient quantity)
Thick brown gravy
1 Turkey

"Roast a sufficient quantity of the finest Spanish chestnuts, but without turning them, until the husk and skin come off easily. When peeled boil them for ten minutes in a little thick brown gravy. Mix them whole with an ordinary forcemeat, which the gravy will help to bind, and fill the inside of the turkey with them. It must then be roasted comformably to the above directions, and served up with a rich gravy in a tureen, and some in the dish; but no bread sauce."

4. Revolutionary Braised Turkey (With Poem)

Apparently, braised turkey was a rather new discovery in 1840 when this recipe was published in the 5th volume of the Magazine of Domestic Economy. "There is amid of cooking a turkey in very general use in France, being the invention of the celebrated Monsieur le Jacque, called braising," the introduction states.

This cooking method was so celebrated, it inspired verse. "The process is seldom resorted to in this country, except by epicures; but so greatly is it esteemed, as to have given birth to the following distich:

Turkey boiled,
Is turkey spoiled;
And turkey roast,
Is turkey lost;
But for turkey brais’d,
The Lord be praised."

Sounds like this is some darn good turkey.

1 Turkey
Chopped carrots

"The operation is performed as follows. Cover the bottom of a German stew pan with slices of bacon or ham, and of beef, chopped carrots, onions, celery, stuffing herbs, salt, pepper, allspice, and mace; on this place the turkey, trussed as for boiling, and over it a layer of the same materials , cover it close with the lid, and place the pan in the oven, leaving the whole stand in a state of gentle perspiration, until it is done enough. Serve up in its own sauce. Any joint may be cooked thus, and the toughest leg of mutton acquires in this way a melting tenderness which makes it easily digestible."

5. Mrs. Beeton's Middling-sized Roast Turkey

Isabella Mary Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861) suggests that you cook a modest turkey, as those tend to taste better than massive ones. Big turkeys are just so gauche, anyway.

1 Middling-sized turkey
White Paper
1 Trussing-needle (or 2 skewers and twine)

"Middling-sized fleshy turkeys are by many persons considered superior to those of an immense growth, as they are, generally speaking, much more tender. They should never be dressed the same day they are killed; but, in cold weather, should hang at least 8 days; if the weather is mild, 4 or 5 days will be found sufficient. Carefully pluck the bird, singe it with white paper, and wipe it thoroughly with a cloth; draw it, preserve the liver and gizzard, and be particular not to break the gall-bag, as no washing will remove the bitter taste it imparts where it once touches. Wash it inside well, and wipe it thoroughly dry with a cloth; the outside merely requires nicely wiping, as we have just stated. Cut off the neck close to the back, but leave enough of the crop-skin to turn over; break the leg-bone close below the knee, draw out the strings from the thighs, and flatten the breastbone to make it look plump. Have ready a forcemeat made; fill the breast with this, and, if a trussing-needle is used, sew the neck over to the back; if a needle is not at hand, a skewer will answer the purpose. Run a skewer through the pinion and thigh into the body to the pinion and thigh on the other side, and press the legs as much as possible between the breast and the side bones, and put the liver under one pinion and the gizzard under the other. Pass a string across the back of the bird, catch it over the points of the skewer, tie it in the centre of the back, and be particular that the turkey is very firmly trussed. This may be more easily accomplished with a needle and twine than with skewers.

Fasten a sheet of buttered paper on to the breast of the bird, put it down to a bright fire, at some little distance at first (afterwards draw it nearer), and keep it well basted the whole of the time it is cooking. About 1/4 hour before serving, remove the paper, dredge the turkey lightly with flour, and put a piece of butter into the basting-ladle; as the butter melts, baste the bird with it.

Time.—Small turkey, 1 1/2 hour; moderate-sized one, about 10 lbs., 2 hours; large turkey, 2 1/12 hours or longer."

6. Juliet Corson's Deviled Turkey

Juliet Corson's New Family Cookbook (1885) lists this recipe for "Deviled Turkey," which sounds a lot like the modern-day buffalo wing. Ms. Corson, you are a prescient genius.

"The wings and drumsticks of cold turkey make the best dish: core them with a sharp knife, season them highly with salt, pepper, cayenne, and dried mustard; broil them over a hot fire, put a little butter on them, and serve hot, with cut lemon or some vinegar."

7. Cape Fear Turkey (Oyster-Filled Roast Turkey)

Whoever contributed this oyster-heavy recipe to an 1889 issue of Good Housekeeping certainly wasn't short on confidence. Be sure to read the gravy guide at the end for a peek into the sultry gossip of Cape Fear's 19th century cooking scene.

Two-year-old gobbler
1/2 lbs. fresh butter
2 stalks of chopped celery
2 quarts of oysters (the best oysters)

"Fat, tender turkey, a two-year-old gobbler is the best. After it has been nicely picked, singed, drawn, and washed well inside—some cooks say don’t wash game or fowls, but they are neither nice nor wise…Take one pound of nice loaf bread and rub it into fine crumbs; mix with it one-half pound of fresh butter, salt and black pepper (and a little red pepper), until it tastes well seasoned, and two stalks of celery chopped rather small. Add to this two quarts of the best oysters, strained from their liquor, and carefully picked over for bits of shell, etc. When the oysters are mixed with the bread, add enough of their liquor to moisten the stuffing well. Fill the body of the turkey, after putting the legs inside in the orthodox fashion, and sew the slit up well…Rub the whole outside of the turkey with salt and pepper, and dredge it well with sifted flour, and set in the oven to roast. Put it on its breast, so the back will brown first Pour into the pan one pint of oyster liquor and one pint of hot water…the turkey ought to be done in four hours.

And just here we have the secret of an old Cape Fear cook’s gravy which was at once the delight and the despair of rival cooks, yea, and their mistresses too. “Mauma Mary” aways took half of the turkey’s liver (or two or three chicken livers and cooked them in the pan with the turkey), and when they were done she rubbed them to a smooth paste, removing all bits of gristle or fiber. And when she was ready to serve her gravy, she mixed the pounded liver thoroughly well into it, let it come once to a boil and poured it into the gravy boat. The addition of the liver is the greatest possible."

Vegetarian Bonus: How To Care For a Sick Turkey

While tofurkey wasn't yet a thing in the 1800s, animal lovers can use the following recipe not for dinner, but to cure any turkeys sick with indigestion or concussion-like symptoms:

"Various remedies have been offered for different diseases in poultry. I have one remedy in all cases, for all ages and kinds. Whenever anyone of them seems out of sorts, I administer water with a teaspoon, as hot as I think they can bear it, at two or three different times; also bathe the feet in it, and keep them without food and away from the cold, till they begin to brighten up, which they generally do in the course of a day. Some die. I treated a fine young turkey in this way which was nearly killed by an accidental blow on the top of the head. Fowls affected with indigestion, (indicated most readily by frequent attempts to swallow) should be attended to as soon as practicable."

This comes from an 1855 New York State Agricultural guide, and it's published directly below an article listing a "New Method Of Decapitating Poultry." (That method, if you're curious, is to cover the bird with a piece of cloth before cutting its head off.)

All photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
25 Royals in the Line of Succession to the British Throne
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

Between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcoming their third child on April 23, 2018 and Prince Harry's upcoming marriage to Suits star Meghan Markle in May, the line of succession to the British throne has become a topic of interest all over the world. And the truth is, it’s complicated. Though Queen Elizabeth II, who turned 92 years old on April 21, shows no signs of slowing down, here are the royals who could one day take her place on the throne—in one very specific order.


Chris Jackson/Getty Images

As a direct result of his mother being the world's longest-reigning monarch, Prince Charles—the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip—is the longest serving heir to the throne; he became heir apparent in 1952, when his mother ascended to the throne.


Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images

At 35 years old, odds are good that Prince William, Duke of Cambridge—the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana—will ascend to the throne at some point in his lifetime.



On July 22, 2013, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their first child, Prince George of Cambridge, who jumped the line to step ahead of his uncle, Prince Harry, to become third in the line of succession.


Chris Jackson/Getty Images

On May 2, 2015, William and Catherine added another member to their growing brood: a daughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. Though her parents just welcomed a bouncing baby boy, she will maintain the fourth-in-line position because of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which went into effect just a few weeks before her arrival, and removed a long-held rule which stated that any male sibling (regardless of birth order) would automatically move ahead of her.


 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart the Lindo Wing with their newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England
Chris Jackson, Getty Images

On April 23, 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their third child—a son, whose name has yet to be announced, but who has already pushed his uncle, Prince Harry, out of the fifth position in line to the throne.


Chris Jackson/Getty Images

As the second-born son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Prince Harry's place in the line is a regularly changing one. It changed earlier this week, when his brother William's third child arrived, and could change again if and when their family expands.


Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Prince Andrew is a perfect example of life before the Succession to the Crown Act 2013: Though he’s the second-born son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, he’s actually their third child (Princess Anne came between him and Prince Charles). But because the rules gave preference to males, Prince Andrew would inherit the throne before his older sister.


Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for WE

Because Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, had two daughters and no sons, none of that male-preference primogeniture stuff mattered in terms of their placement. But with each child her cousin Prince William has, Princess Beatrice moves farther away from the throne. If Beatrice looks familiar, it might be because of the headlines she made with the Dr. Seuss-like hat she wore to William and Catherine’s wedding. (The infamous topper later sold on eBay for more than $130,000, all of which went to charity.)


Princess Eugenie of York arrives in the parade ring during Royal Ascot 2017 at Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2017 in Ascot, England
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Though she’s regularly seen at royal events, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s youngest daughter spends the bulk of her time indulging her interest in fine art. She has held several jobs in the art world, and is currently a director at Hauser & Wirth’s London gallery.


 Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex leaves after a visit to Prince Philip
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Like his older brother Andrew, Prince Edward—the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip—jumps the line ahead of his older sister, Princess Anne, because of the older rule that put males ahead of females.


 James, Viscount Severn, rides on the fun fair carousel on day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 11, 2013 in Windsor, England
Danny E. Martindale/Getty Images

James, Viscount Severn—the younger of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s two children, and their only son—turned 10 years old on December 17, 2017, and celebrated it as the 10th royal in line of succession. (The birth of the youngest Prince of Cambridge pushed him back a spot.)


Lady Louise Windsor during the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 15, 2013 in London, England.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Because the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 wasn’t enacted until 2015, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor—the older of Prince Edward’s two children—will always be just behind her brother in the line of succession.


Princess Anne, Princess Royal, visits the Hambleton Equine Clinic on October 10, 2017 in Stokesley, England
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Princess Anne, the Queen and Prince Philip’s second-born child and only daughter, may never rule over the throne in her lifetime, but at least she gets to be called “The Princess Royal.”


Peter Phillips poses for a photo on The Mall
John Nguyen - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The eldest child and only son of Princess Anne and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, stands just behind his mother in line. Interesting fact: Had Phillips’s wife, Autumn Kelly, not converted from Roman Catholicism to the Church of England before their marriage in 2008, Phillips would have lost his place in line.


Savannah Phillips attends a Christmas Day church service
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

On December 29, 2010, Peter and Autumn Phillips celebrated the birth of their first child, Savannah Anne Kathleen Phillips, who is also the Queen’s first great-grandchild. She’s currently 15th in line.


Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Isla Phillips and Peter Phillips attend a Christmas Day church service
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Less than two years after Savannah, Peter and Autumn Phillips had a second daughter, Isla, who stands just behind her sister in line. It wasn’t until 2017 that Savannah and Isla made their Buckingham Palace balcony debut (in honor of their great-grandmother’s 91st birthday).


 Zara Tindall arrives for a reception at the Guildhall
Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Not one to hide in the background, Zara Tindall—Princess Anne’s second child and only daughter—has lived much of her life in the spotlight. A celebrated equestrian, she won the Eventing World Championship in Aachen in 2006 and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year the same year (her mom earned the same title in 1971). She’s also Prince George’s godmother.


Mike Tindall, Zara Tindall and their daughter Mia Tindall pose for a photograph during day three of The Big Feastival at Alex James' Farm on August 28, 2016 in Kingham, Oxfordshire.
Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Zara Tindall’s daughter Mia may just be 4 years old, but she’s already regularly making headlines for her outgoing personality. And though she’s only 18th in line to the throne, her connection to the tippity top of the royal family is much closer: Prince William is her godfather.


David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon

David Armstrong-Jones, the eldest child of Princess Margaret, isn’t waiting around to see if the British crown ever lands on his head. The 56-year-old, who goes by David Linley in his professional life, has made a name for himself as a talented furniture-maker. His bespoke pieces, sold under the brand name Linley, can be purchased through his own boutiques as well as at Harrods.


Margarita Armstrong-Jones and Charles Patrick Inigo Armstrong-Jones
Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images

David Armstrong-Jones’s only son, Charles, may be 20th in line to the throne, but the 18-year-old is the heir apparent to the Earldom of Snowdon.


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) talks with Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones (C) as her father David Armstrong-Jones (L), 2nd Earl of Snowdon, known as David Linley

Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the youngest child of David Armstrong-Jones and his only daughter, is also the only granddaughter of Princess Margaret. Now 15 years old (she'll turn 16 in June), Lady Margarita made headlines around the world in 2011 when she served as a flower girl at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.


Lady Sarah Chatto, the daughter of Princess Margaret arrives for her mother's memorial service

Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones’s only daughter, is the youngest grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. In addition to serving as a bridesmaid to Princess Diana, she is Prince Harry’s godmother.


Lady Sarah Chatto (L) and her son Samuel Chatto (R) leave a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Lord Snowdon at Westminster Abbey on April 7, 2017 in London, United Kingdom
Justin Tallis - WPA Pool /Getty Images

The first-born son of Lady Sarah Chatto and her husband, Daniel, has a long way to go to reach the throne: He’s currently 23rd in line.


Arthur Edwards, WPA Pool/Getty Images

For better or worse, Sarah and Daniel Chatto’s youngest son Arthur has become a bit of a social media sensation. He's made headlines recently as he regularly posts selfies to Instagram—some of them on the eyebrow-raising side, at least as far as royals go.


Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester makes a speech during the unveiling ceremony of London's first public memorial to the Korean War on December 3, 2014 in London, England
Carl Court/Getty Images

At 73 years old, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester is the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. Formerly, he made a living as an architect, until the 1972 death of his brother, Prince William of Gloucester, put him next in line to inherit his father’s dukedom. On June 10, 1974, he officially succeeded his father as Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden.

20 Black-and-White Facts About Penguins

To celebrate World Penguin Day (which is today, April 25), here are a few fun facts about these adorable tuxedoed birds.

1. All 17 species of penguins are found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.

2. Emperor Penguins are the tallest species, standing nearly 4 feet tall. The smallest is the Little Blue Penguin, which is only about 16 inches.

emperor penguin

3. The fastest species is the Gentoo Penguin, which can reach swimming speeds up to 22 mph.

Gentoo Penguin

4. A penguin's striking coloring is a matter of camouflage; from above, its black back blends into the murky depths of the ocean. From below, its white belly is hidden against the bright surface.

penguins swimming in the ocean

5. Fossils place the earliest penguin relative at some 60 million years ago, meaning an ancestor of the birds we see today survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

emperor penguins

6. Penguins ingest a lot of seawater while hunting for fish, but a special gland behind their eyes—the supraorbital gland—filters out the saltwater from their blood stream. Penguins excrete it through their beaks, or by sneezing.

penguins swimming in the ocean

7. Unlike most birds—which lose and replace a few feathers at a time—penguins molt all at once, spending two or three weeks land-bound as they undergo what is called the catastrophic molt.

molting penguin

8. All but two species of penguins breed in large colonies of up to a thousand birds.

king penguins

9. It varies by species, but many penguins will mate with the same member of the opposite sex season after season.

chinstrap penguins

10. Similarly, most species are also loyal to their exact nesting site, often returning to the same rookery in which they were born.

maegellic penguin nesting

11. Some species create nests for their eggs out of pebbles and loose feathers. Emperor Penguins are an exception: They incubate a single egg each breeding season on the top of their feet. Under a loose fold of skin is a featherless area with a concentration of blood vessels that keeps the egg warm.

penguin eggs

12. In some species, it is the male penguin which incubates the eggs while females leave to hunt for weeks at a time. Because of this, pudgy males—with enough fat storage to survive weeks without eating—are most desirable.

emperor penguins

13. Penguin parents—both male and female—care for their young for several months until the chicks are strong enough to hunt for food on their own.

Penguins nest

14. If a female Emperor Penguin's baby dies, she will often "kidnap" an unrelated chick.

penguin chicks

15. Despite their lack of visible ears, penguins have excellent hearing and rely on distinct calls to identify their mates when returning to the crowded breeding grounds.

16. The first published account of penguins comes from Antonio Pigafetta, who was aboard Ferdinand Magellan's first circumnavigation of the globe in 1520. They spotted the animals near what was probably Punta Tombo in Argentina. (He called them "strange geese.")

17. An earlier, anonymous diary entry from Vasco da Gama's 1497 voyage around the Cape of Good Hope makes mention of flightless birds as large as ducks.

18. Because they aren't used to danger from animals on solid ground, wild penguins exhibit no particular fear of human tourists.

19. Unlike most sea mammals—which rely on blubber to stay warm—penguins survive because their feathers trap a layer of warm air next to the skin that serves as insulation, especially when they start generating muscular heat by swimming around.

20. In the 16th century, the word penguin actually referred to great auks (scientific name: Pinguinus impennis), a now-extinct species that inhabited the seas around eastern Canada. When explorers traveled to the Southern Hemisphere, they saw black and white birds that resembled auks, and called them penguins.


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