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A Table Containing the General Heads of Natural Magick

"Preface To The Reader"

The Fourteenth Book of Natural Magick

John Baptista Porta

(Giambattista della Porta)


"Of Cookery"

("I Shall show some choice things in the Art of Cookery.")

"The Proeme"

Chapter I - "How flesh may be made tender."

Chapter II - "How flesh may grow tender by secret propriety."

Chapter III - "How Flesh may be made tender otherwise."

Chapter IV - "How Shell Creatures may grow more tender"

Chapter V - "That living creatures may be made more fat and well tasted."

Chapter VI - "How the flesh of Animals is made sweeter."

Chapter VII - "How the Flesh of Animals may be made bitter, and not to be eaten."

Chapter VIII - "How Animals may be boiled, roasted, and baked, all at once."

Chapter IX - "Of diverse ways to dress Pullets."

Chapter X - "How Meats may be prepared in places where there is nothing to roast them with."

Chapter XI - "Of Diverse Confections of Wines."

Chapter XII - "To make men drunk, and to make them loath wine."

Chapter XIII - "How to drive Parasites and Flatterers from great mens tables."

The Proeme

The Cook's Art has some choice secrets, that may make banquets more dainty and full of admiration.  These I purpose to reveal, not that so I might invite gluttons and parasites to luxury, but that with small cost and expense, I might set forth the curiosities of Art, and may give occasion to others thereby to invent greater matters by these.  The Art consists about eating and drinking.  I shall first speak of meats, then of drinks, and by the way I shall not omit some merry pastimes, that I may recreate the guests, not only with banquets, but also with mirth and delights.

Chapter I

"How flesh may be made tender."

shall begin with flesh, and show how it may be made tender, that Gluttons much desire.  I shall do it diverse ways.  Some that proceed from the kind of their death, others from the secret properties of things.  And they will grow so tender, that they will almost resolve into broth.  Then how while the creatures are yet alive, they may be made tender.  For example,

"How to make Sheep's flesh tender."

The flesh of creatures killed by their enemies, especially such as they hate and fear, will be very tender.  Zoroaster in his Geoponics says, that Sheep killed by Wolves, and bitten, their flesh will be more tender, and so the sweeter.  Plutarch in Symposiacis gives the cause of it.  Sheep's flesh, he says, bitten by a Wolf becomes the sweeter, because the wolf by biting, makes the flesh more flaggy and tender.  for the breath of the Wolf is so hot, that the hardest of bones will consume in his stomach, and melt.  And for this cause, those things will the sooner corrupt, that the Wolf bites.  And both hunters and cooks can testify, that creatures killed diverse ways are diversely affected.  Some of these are killed  at one blow, that with one stroke they lie for dead.  Yet others are hardly killed at many blows.  And which is more wonderful, some by a wound given with the Iron weapon, have imprinted such a quality upon the creature, that it is presently corrupted, and would not keep sweet one day.  And others, have killed them as suddenly, yet no such quality remains in the flesh that was killed, and it would last some time.  Moreover, that a certain Virtue, when creatures are slain or die, comes forth to their skins, and hair and nails.  Homer was not ignorant of, who writing of skins and Thongs. A Thong, says he, of an Ox slain by force, for the skins of those creatures are tougher and stronger, when they die not by old age or of diseases, but are slain.  On the contrary, such as die by the bitings of beasts, their hoofs will grow black, and their hairs fall off, and their skins will wither and flag.  Thus far Plutarch.  But I think these things are false.  For how should flesh, he flesh grow tender by the Wolf's breath, I understand not.  For other creatures that are killed by their enemies, and flesh of a contrary nature does also grow tender, where there are no hot vapors.  But I think that the absence of blood, makes the flesh tender, for these reasons.  Quail and Pheasant killed by Hawks, are very tender, but their hearts are found full of blood, and hard within them.  Deer and Boars, killed by Dogs, are more tender, but harder if by Guns.  And about, the heart the parts are so hard, that they can scarce be boiled.  Fear of death drives the blood to the heart.  The other parts are bloodless, as shall appear by the following experiments.  

"How Geese, Ducks, Pheasant, Quail, and other birds become most tender."

This is easily done, if we hunt them and fly Hawks, and other birds of prey, at them.  For while they fight, they strive to be gone, and they are sometime held in the Falcon's Talons, and are wounded with diverse strokes.  And this makes them so tender that it is wonderful.  Wherefore, when we would eat Crammed birds, we should purposely fly a Hawk at them, and being killed by them, should grow more tender to be desired.  So,

"The Ox flesh may grow tender,"

Especially of old Oxen, for they are dry and hard, and will not easily boil.  The Butchers set hounds at them, and let them prey upon them, and they will for some hours defend themselves with their horns.  At last being overcome by multitudes of Dogs, they fall with their ears torn, and bit in their skin, these brought into the shambles, and cut out, are more tender than ordinary.  Some of them fighting openly with Bears, and sometimes killed by them, if any of the body be left, it will be so tender, it will melt in a man's mouth.  We may do the same, if we keep creatures sometime in fear of death, and the longer you keep them so, the tenderer it will be.  For,

"To make Hens tender,"

We fright them of from high towers.  So we do Turkeys, Peacocks.  And when they cannot fly away by the weight of their bodies, for fear of death, with great pains and shaking of their wings, they fall down, that they may take no hurt by falling.  That those are so killed with fear of death, grow very tender.  So old Pigeons that by chance had fallen into deep pits, when they had long labored, struggling with their stuttering wings above the waters to save themselves from drowning, with struggling and fear of death they grew very tender, and by this accident we have learned, that when we would have them very tender, we purposely drive them in.  Horace in Serm. says almost the same.

"How a Cock may grow Tender"

If you must suddenly set him before your friends, and cannot help it.  If that a guest does come by chance at night, and if the Cock be tough, not fit to eat, drowned him alive in Muscadel outright, and he will soon come to be tender meat.  We use to hang up Turkeys alive by the bills, at the Saddlebow, when we ride.  And these being thus Racked and Toffed with great pains, at the journeys end you shall find them dead, and very tender.

Chapter II

"How flesh may grow tender by secret propriety."

Some things there are, that by secret propriety make flesh tender.  I shall record two prodigious miracles of nature.  One, that hung on a Fig tree,

"Cocks flesh grows tender,"

and so short, that it is wonderful. Another, that wild Cocks bound to a Fig tree, will grow tame, and stand immovable.  Plutarch in his Symposiacis, gives the reason, why the sacrifices of Cocks hung to a Fig tree did presently grow tender and short, when the Cook of Aristian, among other meats, offered to Hercules a tender Dunghill Cock, newly slain, that was extremely short.  Aristio gives the reason of this tenderness to be the Fig tree.  And he maintained, that these killed, though they be hard, will grow tender, if they be hanged up on a Fig tree.  It is certain, as we may judge by sight, that the Fig tree sends forth a vehement and strong vapor.  This also confirms that which is commonly spoken of Bulls, that the fiercest of them bound to a Fig tree, will grow tame presently, and will endure to be touched with your hand, and to bear a yoke, and they puff out all their anger, and lay aside their courage that thus fails them.  For so forcible is the acrimony of the vapor of that tree, that though the Bull rage never so much, yet this will tame him.  For the Fig tree is more full of milky juice, then other trees are.  So that the wood, boughs, Figs, are almost all full of it.  Wherefore, when it is burnt, the smoke it sends forth, does bite and tear one very much.  And a Lixivium made of them burned, is very Detergent and cleansing.  Also Cheese is Curdled with Fig tree  Milk, that comes forth of the tree, if you cut the bark.  Some would have the heat to be the cause, that the Milk Curds, by the juice of the Fig tree cast in, which melts the watery substance of the Humour;  Wherefore the Fig tree sends forth a hot and sharp vapor, and that is digesting, and dries and concocts the flesh of birds, so that they grow tender.  So,

"Ox flesh may be made tender."

If you put the stalks of wild Fig trees into the pot, where Ox flesh is boiled, they will be boiled much the sooner, by reason of the wood.  Pliny.  I gave you the reason of it before from Antipathy.  The Egyptians alluding to this, when they would describe a man that was punished to the height, they painted a Bull tied to a wild Fig tree.  For when he roars, if he be bound to a wild Fig tree, he will presently grow tame.  If we will have,

"Pulse grow tender,"

Because I see that there is great Antipathy between Pulse and Chokefitch, that destroys and strangles them.  Some call this Lions Herb.  For as a Lion does with great rage and furiously kill Cattle and Sheep, so does Chokefitch all Pulse.  Wherefore this Herb put to Pulse, when they boil, will make them boil the sooner.  But,

"To make meats boil the sooner,"

All kinds of Docks, though they be dry and juiceless, will do it, that all flesh will grow tender, and become fit to eat.  Wherefore the Ancients always fed on it, that it might digest the meat in their stomachs, and loose their bellies.  Also the root of wild Nettles boiled with flesh, will make them tender. Pliny.

Chapter III

"How Flesh may be made tender otherwise."

There be other ways to make flesh tender.  First, if flesh killed be hung in the open air, for they will grow tender, as beginning to corrupt, but they must not stay there so long till they corrupt indeed.  Wherefore you must know their quality, which will keep longest, and which not.  For example,

"Peacocks, Partridge, Pheasants to be made tender."

Isaac says, that a Peacock killed will be kept two days, and three in winter, that the hard flesh of it may grow soft.  Haliabas hangs them up three days, hanging stones to their feet.  Savanrola hangs them up ten days without weights.  Simeon Sethi says, that Partridge newly killed are not to be ate, but after a day or two, that they may lose their hardness.  Pheasants in summer hung up two days, and three days in winter, will be fit meat,  Arnoleus.  And to avoid tediousness, the same must be done with other flesh.  The like,

"That birds may grow tender."

If you hang those in Moonlight, that were killed in the night, they will grow more tender by boiling.  For the Moon has great virtue to make flesh tender, for it is but a kind of Corruption.  Therefore wood, cut by Moonlight, will sooner grow rotten, and fruit sooner grow ripe.  Daphnis the Physition in Athenaus.

Chapter IV

"How Shell Creatures may grow more tender"

Before I end to speak of ways to make flesh more tender, it will not be amiss to make Crabs tender, and by another way then I have shown before.  How we may make,

"Crab Fish tender shelled."

At Rome they do so, and it becomes pleasant and excellent meat for noblemen's tables.  I speak of those Crabs bred in fresh waters.  For at Venice I have eaten them that breed naturally tender in salt waters, they call them commonly Mollecas.  But they are not so sweet, as they are made at Rome, and they ask a Julius apiece.  The way is, in the months of June, July, August, and September, the Crabs use to cast their shells, and put off their old coat.  At that time Fishermen search about the banks of the rivers, where they find their holes and caves half stopped, and by that they know the time is come to cast their shells.  For the more their shells grow tender, the more they shut up their holes.  They grow tender first about the feet, and by degrees it ascends over their whole bodies.  When they have taken them, they bring them home, and put them every one in several earthen pots, and they put in water, that it may cover half their bodies, and so they let them remain eight or ten days, changing the water every day, and their shells will grow more tender every day.  When it is all soft, that it is transparent as crystal, they fry them with Butter and Milk, and bring them to the table.  So,

"Squils grow tender."

We must do as we did to Crabs, for they cast their shells as Crabs do.  And nature did this for some end, for when their shells are grown too thick and weighty, they can scarce crawl.  Wherefore by the Excrements that go into it, that are consumed to make a new shell within, the former that was made is broken, and falls off.

Chapter V

"That living creatures may be made more fat and well tasted."

I shall endeavour to show how living creatures may be made more fat and well tasted, that we may set more savory meats before our guests.  The Ancients were not negligent in this matter.  Wherefore you shall find many ways, not only among cooks, but such as write concerning Husbandry.  Liccorish Gluttons found out the ways to fat Cattle, that they might feed on them more plentifully and daintily.  Hence they called them Cram'd, because they were well fed, and had gross bellies.  Those were called Birdpens, where they fatted all sorts of birds.  M. Lelius Strabo, was the first that appointed this, and he appointed Crammers to take care of them, and ordered how much every Crammed bird should eat.  They will fat better in winter than in summer, because birds at that time of the year are best, being not so much wasted with young.  And Cocks will fat better then Hens, and such as never Trod nor made Eggs.  In summer, when it is at an end, and the sour Grapes hang yet upon the vines, they are at the best.  I shall therefore teach,

"How Hens and other Birds must be Crammed."

Choose a place that is hot and obscure.  Shut them all up apart, and so close in their pens, that they cannot come together, nor turn.  And make two holes, one for their heads to put forth, and the other for their tails, that, that they may both eat their meat and Shit it out again when it is digested.  Lay soft Hay under them, for if they lie hard, they will never fat.  Pull off all the feathers from their heads, thighs, and from under their wings, there, that it may breed no Lice, here, that the Dung corrupt it not.  For meat, give them Gobbets of Barleymeal, made up with water.  At the first for some time, more sparingly, then after give them as much as they can digest, and you must give them no new meat, till you feel their Crops that all the old is digested.  When the bird is full, let him go awhile, not to wander abroad.  But if there be anything that urges him, he may pick it off with his bill.  Let him not be set to fatting before five, or after twenty months old.  Young Pigeons or Chickens, will fat better with their dams,if you pull off a few of their feathers, and bruise their legs, that they may stay in their places, and if you give meat plentifully to their Dams, that they may feed themselves, and their young ones more sufficiently.  Turtles are best fatted in summer.  Give them nothing but meat, especially Millet seed, for they much delight to eat that.  But Geese in winter.  They must be put up to fat four months, you need give them nothing else but Barleymeal and Wheat meal three times a day. So that you give them water enough to drink, and no liberty to walk about, thus they will fat in two months.  But tender Pullets will not be made fat in forty days.  Ducks will grow fat with all nutriment, if it be in abundance, especially with Wheat, Millet seed, Barly, and with Water-squils, Locusts, and creatures found in lakes, Columella.   Pheasants, Partridges, Heathcocks, and Turkyhens, will fat being shut up.  And the first day they eat meat, the next set them water or good strong Wine to drink.  Let their meat be raw Barleymeal, made up with water, giving them it by degrees.  Or else, broken and ground Beans and Barly Sod with water, and whole Millet seed, Linseed boiled and dry, mingled with Barleymeal.  To these you may add Oil, and make Gobbets of them, and give them to eat to the full, and they will grow fat a longest in sixty days.  Now I shall show how,

"Four-footed Beasts are fatted."

The Sow will soonest fat, for in sixty days she will be fat.  First keep hungry three days, as the rest must be.  She grows fat with Barly, Millet, Acorns, Figs, Pears, Cucumbers.  Rest, and not wandering.  But Sows will grow fatter by wallowing in the mire.  Figs and Chickpeas, will fat them soonest, and they desire change of meats, Varro.  The Sow is fed with Beans, Barly, and other grain.  For these will not only fat them, but give them a good relish.  The Olive, Wild Olive, Tares, Corn in Straw, Grass, and they are all the better sprinkled in Brine, but he more effectual they will be if she Fast three days before.  Aristotle.  Beanhusks, and Coleworts are pleasant meat for them.  Salt put to them, will make them have a stomach, which in the summer put into their troughs will season their meat, and make them eat it up.  And by that seasoning of it, they will drink and eat the more.  Columella.  Oxen will grow fat with Corn, Grass and Tares, ground Beans, and Beanstalks.  Also with Barly, whole or broken, and parted from the hulls.  Also by sweet things, as pressed Figs, Wine, Elm boughs, and with a lotion of hot water.  Aristotle.  We feed them at home with Wine of Surrentum, or else we put Calfs to two Cows, and thus being fed with abundance of Milk, that can scarce go for fat.  Also in their cratches we strew Salt stones, that they may lick them, and do drink.  And they will grow exceeding fat and tender.

Chapter VI

"How the flesh of Animals is made sweeter."

Now shall I show with some meats, and arts, how not only the parts of animals, but their whole bodies are made fat, tender, and more delicate.  And first,

"How to fat the Livers of Geese."

Our wise ancestors, says Pliny, who knew the goodness of a Goose liver, taught how by Cramming to make it grow great, also taken forth, it is augmented by sweet Milk.  And it is not without cause demanded, who was the first man that found out so profitable a thing.  Whether it was Scipio Metellus, that was Consul, or Mar. Sejus, that in the same age was a gentleman of Rome.  Palladius taught the way how.  When geese have been fatting thirty days, if you desire to have their livers tender, you shall bruise old Figs, and steep them in water, and make Gobbets of them, and feed the Geese with them twenty days together.  But Quintilius ways is, when they grow fat, you shall break dry wild Radish in small pieces, and tempering them with water, give them this to drink for twenty days.  Some, that the liver may be made great, and the Geese fat, feed them thus.  They shut up the Goose, and cast to him Wine steeped in water, or Barley the same way.  Wheat makes him fat quickly, but Barley makes the flesh white.  Let her be fed with the said grain, but severally with them both, for twenty days, giving to her twice a day a moist medicament made thereof.  So that seven of those meats, may be given her for the first five days, and by degrees the days following, increase the number of these meats, until twentyfive days be past, that the days in the whole may be thirty.  And when they are over, heat Mallows, and in the Decoction thereof, being yet hot, give her Leaven moistened therewith.  Do so for four days, and in the same days give her water and Honey.  Changing it thrice every day, not using the same again.  And do this the days following, till sixty days.  Mingle dry Figs, bruised all this time with the said Leaven, and after sixty days you may eat the Goose, and its liver, that will be white and tender.  Which being taken forth, must be put into a large vessel, wherein there is hot water, that must be changed again and again.  But the bodies and livers of the females are best, but let them be Geese not of one year, but from two years old to four.  Horace in Serm. speaks of this,

"Fat Figs do make the Goose white, Liver great."

And Juvenal, Satyr 5.

"A Goose's Liver fed before him stood,

As big as a Goose, and to eat as good."

And Martial,

"The Liver's greater then the Goose, that's true,

But now you'l wonder where this liver grew."

Athenaus writes, that this was of great account in Rome.  When you kill the Goose, take out the liver quickly and cast it into cold water, that it may be solid.  Then fry it in Goose Grease, in a frying pan, and season it with spices.  It is a dish for a prince, and highly commended by many.  So is,

"A Sows Liver fatted."

Pliny.  There is art used for Sows livers, as well as for Geese.  It was the invention of Marcus Apicius, when they are fat with dry Figs, give them sweet Wine to drink, and kill them presently.  Add to the liver of a Sow fatted with Figs, Winepickle, Pepper, Thyme, Lovage, Suet, and a little Wine and Oil.  Aetius.  If, says he, any man feed that creature with dry Figs, the sows liver is preferred before all meat.  I said out of Aristotle, that Figs and Chickpeas will fat a Sow best.  Galen.  As while sows are living, their livers are fed for delight with dry Figs.  So for Geese.  I see their meats are moistened with  Milk, that their livers may be not only most pleasant meat, but may be fed exceedingly, and be most delicate.  If you will,

"That Cattle may be more excellent to eat."

Cattle that use to feed on Masterwort, and to be first cleansed, will grow very fat, and their flesh will be exceeding sweet. Pliny.  Whence it is that this Benjamin is not for many years to be found in Cyrene, because the farmers, that hire the grounds, finding more gain by it, devour them by their Cartel.  Moreover, in India, and chiefly in the country of the Prarsi, it rains liquid Honey.  Which falling down on the Grass, and the tops of Reeds in the lakes, is admirable food for the Sheep and Oxen.  And the Shepherds drive them thither, where most of this sweet dew falls from the air, and they are feasted with it, as with pleasant banquets.  And they recompense their Shepherds with a pleasant reward.  For they  Milk very sweet  Milk from them, and they have no need, as the Grecians do, to temper Honey with it.  Aelian.  But,

"How Pullets are made most white, tender, and delicate,"

Such as I use to set before my friends.  The way is, I shut them up five days in chambers or cellars, and I give them a dish full of Chippins of Bread, wet with  Milk, and sometimes with Honey.  Fed thus, they will grow as fat as great Sappers in Fig time, and so tender, that they will melt in your mouth, and they taste better by far then Pheasants, Heathcocks, or Thrushes.  And it seems the Ancients knew this.  For says Pliny, when a Crammed Hen was forbid to eat at supper, by the laws of the Ancients, they found out this evasion, to feed Hens with meats wet in  Milk, and so they were far more delicate to set on the table.  And Columella.  They that will make birds not only fat, but tender, they sprinkle the foresaid meal with water and Honey new made, and so they fat them.  Some to three parts of water, put one of good Wine, and wet Wheat Bread, and fat the bird.  Which beginning to be fatted the first day of the month, will be very fat on the twentieth day.

Chapter VII

"How the Flesh of Animals may be made bitter, and not to be eaten."

Again, if we will that flesh shall be rejected for the bitterness, and ill taste of it, we must do contrary to what has been said.  Or if we will not take the pains, we must wait the times that these creatures feed on such meats, as will do it, whereby sometimes they become Venomous also.  As if we would have,

"Deer flesh become Venomous