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Passenger Pigeon


Since people seem rather taken (or annoyed) with my possum and taters recipe, I’ll throw a couple of other classics of American food preparation over the weekend. Here’s a recipe to one of my favorite American dishes, passenger pigeon!

From Marion Harland’s 1871 book, Common Sense in the Household.

“Clean and wash very carefully, then lay in salt and water for an hour. Rinse the inside with soda and water, shaking it well about in the cavity; wash out with fair water and stuff with a force-meat made of bread-crumbs and chopped salt pork, seasoned with peppper. Sew up the birds, and put on to stew in enough cold water to cover them, and allow to each a fair slice of fat bacon cut into narrow strips. Season with pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Boil slowly in a covered saucepan until tender; take from the gravy and lay in a covered dish to keep warm. Strain the gravy, add the juice of a lemon and a tablespoonful of currant jelly, thickening with browned flour. Boil up and poor over the pigeons.”

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  • c u n d gulag

    Never mind all that, I need an elderberry wine recipe that will taste good and won’t blind anyone, or cause their livers to act like M-80’s.

  • ajay

    I’ve cooked something very similar (with normal pigeon); it was rather good.

  • Hogan

    Got any recipes for dodo or auroch?

  • ajay
  • Njorl

    Noah’s wife had such a tasty recipe for saurapod that the eight humans who landed on Ararat devoured the lot of them. It was much like a turducken – a diplodocus stuffed into a brachiasaurus stuffed into an apatasaurus. The leftovers, of which there were quite a lot, made tasty sadwiches with melted velveeta.

    • NonyNony

      But of course they only started on the saurapods after they’d finished off the unicorns.

    • Left_Wing_Fox

      And who said the Creation Museum wasn’t educational?

      • c u n d gulag

        It sure is.

        But I understand though, that while it shows the Ark itself, it doesn’t show how Noah got all of the animals to the Ark – by transporting them via SUV’s (Saurian Utility Vehicles).

  • Holden Pattern

    That sounds quite tasty — maybe one could do that with Cornish Game Hen.

    Shame about the passenger pigeons, though.

    • Ken

      It was them or us.

      I think Charles Mann’s 1491 says that several species including passenger pigeons may not have been all that numerous in pre-Columbian times, as they were eaten by the Native Americans. Their numbers boomed in the 1500s through 1700s after European diseases decimated the Natives, and before European numbers climbed.

  • Boil up and poor over the pigeons

    Sounds like Obama’s deficit reduction plan.

  • howard

    We’ve been reading “treasure island” to the 7-year-old, and pigeon pie was the main dish of a big meal.

    The child couldn’t believe it!

    • Stag Party Palin

      I met a man in Australia who said that during WW II they ate a lot of parrot pie. Good too.

      • When the pie was opened the birds began to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. Wasn’t that a pretty dish to set before the Aussies?

      • Anonymous

        He was, as we say, having you on, stag party. Parrots are famously inedible – the classic recipe is to boil your parrot with a rock till the rock is tender then chuck away the parrot and eat the rock.

        • Emma in Sydney

          Sorry. That was me

  • dp

    And to think we only “recently” discovered the benefits of brining birds.

  • mph

    Rating: * (out of 5)

    Rating this recipe one star because none of my local stores (even the big Wal-Mart) sells the ingredients called for. Maybe they should use chicken or something?

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