Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Duck: OED: 1. a. A small fresh-water fowl, Querquedula or Anas crecca, or other species of the genus, the smallest of the ducks, widely distributed in Europe, Asia, and America; also locally applied to other genera of the Anatidæ. Also as collective pl. possible connection:Du. has a deriv. form taling, teling masc., in Kilian teelinghMDu. têling, teiling, MLG. têlink masc., teal. 1661 LOVELL Hist. Anim. & Min. 183 Teales and Widgins... Commonly they are very fat and sweet of taste.
Teal and ducks… (Book of Days, Description of February.)
“And in those reedy fens and lonesome marshes where the bittern now booms, and the heron stands alone for hours watching the water, while the tufted plover wails above its head, the wild-fowl shooter glides along noiseless as a ghost in his punt, pulling it on by clutching the over-hanging reeds, for the sound of a paddle would startle the whole flock, and he would never come within shot but for this guarded silence. He bears the beating rain and the hard blowing winds of February without a murmur, for he knows the full-fed mallard—feathered like the richest green velvet—and the luscious teal will be his reward, if he perseveres and is patient. In the midnight moonlight, and the grey dawn of morning, he is out on those silent waters, when the weather almost freezes his very blood, and he can scarcely feel the trigger that he draws; while the edges of frosted water-flags which he clutches, to pull his punt along, seem to cut like swords. To us there has seemed to be at such times 'a Spirit brooding on the waters,' a Presence felt more in those solitudes than ever falls upon the heart amid the busy hum of crowded cities, which has caused us to exclaim unawares, 'God is here!'”
"and the luscious teal"
Surely they could not eat such a lovely bird!
Yep! And here's the recipe...
"The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex", 1675
"Half roast the Fowls, sticking on them some Cloves as they roast, save the Gravy, and when they are half roasted, put them into a Pipkin with the Gravy, some Claret-wine, as much strong broth as will cover them, Mace, Cloves, Pepper, Ginger, some fried Onions and Salt; stew all well together and serve them on carved sippets."
Yum yum ...
"which has caused us to exclaim unawares, ‘God is here!’”":Man sayeth " Yee I must eat life."
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