The medieval cook had vast variety of birds at his disposal.
Most of these birds are no longer eaten (at least in the USA) and many are protected or even endangered.
The following list includes some of the substitutes that can be used.
Assorted Sea Birds
- Quail, chicken, or turkey can be used according to the size of the bird called for in the original recipe.
- Optionally, marinate the bird in Thai Fish Sauce before cooking to give the flesh of the bird
more of the flavor of an animal whose diet consists of seafood.
Chicken and Capon
- Originally domesticated in China, the red jungle fowl has been associated with humans, and particularly with village life, for at least 4,000 years.
- A capon is a rooster that has been castrated to improve the quality of its flesh for food.
- The practice of making capons in Western Europe is documented as far back as the Greek and Roman empires.
- Chicken eggs were used a wide variety of recipes by both the upper class and peasant.
Small Land Birds
- Virtually all small land birds were considered acceptable cooking ingredients in the middle ages.
- Quail makes a good substitute for most any small land bird.
Large Land Birds
- Peacock, skinned, cooked, then draped in its feathers was a popular feast dish in medieval Europe.
- Eagle was one of the many birds served at The Feast of King Henry IV at his Coronation.
- Turkey is a workable substitute for large sized land birds.
- Duck makes a good substitute for medium sized waterfowl such as heron.
- Turkey is a workable substitute for large sized waterfowl such as swan.
Fats and Oils