Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
OED 1. a. A rodent quadruped of the genus Lepus, having long ears and hind legs, a short tail, and a divided upper lip.
Forms: 1-2 hara, 2- hare, (4-5 haar(e, hayre, 5 are, 6-7 Sc. hair(e).
[A Com. Teut. n.: OE. hara, = OFris. hase (WFris. haeze, MDu. haese, ze, Du. haas), etc:]some uses such as a mad march hare, nad other sayings.1633 ROWLEY Match Midn. v. in Hazl. Dodsley XIII. 88 As I have been bawd to the flesh, you have been bawd to your money; so set the hare-pie against the goose-giblets. 1658-9 BURTON Diary 9 Mar. (1828) IV. 108 Keep to your debate. You have two hares a-foot. You will lose bothmore..
A contemporary recipe
"The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex", 1675: Hares roasted without and with the Skin.
"Take an Hare and slay him, then lard him with small lard, stick him with Cloves, and make a Pudding in his belly, with grated Bread, grated Nutmeg, Cinamon beaten, Salt, Currans, Eggs, Cream and Sugar; having made it stiff, fill the belly of the Hare and so roast it. If you will have your Pudding green, colour it with Spinage; if yellow, with Saffron. Let the Sauce be made of beaten Cinamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Pepper, Prunes, Currans, a little grated Bread, Sugar and Cloves, all boiled up as thick as Watergruel. If you roast an Hare with the Skin on, draw out the Bowels, and make a farsing, or stuffing of all manner of sweet Herbs minced very small, then roul them in some Butter, and make a ball thereof, put it into the belly, and prick it up close, baste it with butter, and being almost roasted, stay off the Skin, and stick on some Cloves on the Body, breat it with fine grated Manchet, Flower and Cinamon, froth it up, and dish it on Sawce, made of grated Bread, Claret-wine, Wine-vinegar, Cinamon, Ginger, and Sugar, being boiled up to an indifferency."
I particularly like the first sentence: "Take an Hare and slay him." Something you really don't find so often anymore in our modern cookbooks.
Dirk Beware before slaying!
It is unlucky for a hare to cross your path, because witches were said to transform themselves into hares. "Nor did we meet, with nimble feet,One little fearful lepus;That certain sign, as some diyine,Of fortune bad to keep us."Ellison: Trip to Benwell, Ix
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