Hart Beat

Please - nothing exotic for Mother's Day

For a woman who is challenged by the culinary dilemma of preparing a bologna and cheese versus a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich, the idea of cooking a peacock is just too bizarre for words. Happy with my sometimes Spartan approach to dining, I am, nonetheless, an avid collector of cookbooks.

I may not hover over a hot stove, but I can find a recipe for nearly any type of meal you'd like to arrange. At least I thought I could until I happened on this title, How to Cook A Peacock, by John Chevalier. This is one book I don't have on my shelf, but only because it only recently became available.

The new edition of How to Cook a Peacock is a translation of the first professional French cookbook, a 14th century work by the famous royal cook Taillevent, according to Lulu.com., an on-line publishing site for an eclectic array of more than 18,000 titles. Lulu.com describes Chevalier's cookbook as a collection of recipes guaranteed to be the starting point for a memorable meal of amour.

Now, I often look for cookbooks at yard sales, book sales and even receive them on occasion for most major holidays. My collection is all stored on a series of shelves in my kitchen so I may read them at meal time. But, even if left to my own devices, I don't think peacock would replace one of my favorite sandwiches.

However, when my eye glimpsed the How to Cook a Peacock title, my imagination caught fire. Surely I'd like to try a little roast peacock as a romantic meal for my sweetheart. Now, there is a novel idea. And, here, I thought the royal blue bird with the big tail was just another pretty bird?

But apparently in medieval times, a little roasted peacock, served complete with tail feathers was considered quite a favorite among the lords and ladies of the castle.

According to the research of author Jim Chevalier, who compiled a cookbook of medieval recipes, which includes the peacock dish, it was often served spitted with pheasant and coated with lard and basted with a potpourri of spices.

I am in no way suggesting I'd like my children to rush out and find some poor peacock to roast on the back yard barbecue this Mother's Day. I'll be happy with a nice steak, but I can't help but think this particular book would be good for a nice belly laugh over my Sunday afternoon meal.

I know the thought of cooked peacock would draw a few disgusted sounds from the granddaughters and cause them to, yet again, swear off eating poultry.

Still, I wouldn't mind a nice big fan of peacock feathers with which to cool myself, as my daughters and granddaughters wait on me hand and foot this Sunday. But please, no birds for Mother's Day. A hug and kiss will do.


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