Cooking (and Contemplating) New England

“To rost a Capon with Oysters and Chesnuts,” from Hannah Woolley’s The Queen-like Closet (1670)

December 5, 2011

Tags: capon, chicken, oysters, chestnuts, Hannah Woolley

Capon roasted with oysters and chestnuts, from 1670

This recipe comes from one of three English cookbooks that are known to have been part of the stock of Boston booksellers in the 1680s. (Gervase Markham's The English Hus-wife, featured in our last blog post, was one of the other two.) It offers an alternative to roast turkey, one that is just as delectable but that better suits our smaller modern families. A capon is a cockerel (young rooster) that has been “fixed.” The operation produces a 7-9 lb. bird whose flesh when cooked is more moist and tasty than that of other chickens. To find out how we “rosted” our capon,

and also about Hannah Woolley and her cookbook,

take a look at our column on a great website about All Things New England.

The original recipe, with commentary, can be found in Northern Hospitality, p. 186.