1661 | London

It Just Tastes Better

How to roast a live goose.

To roast a goose alive. Let it be a duck or goose or some such lively creature, but a goose is best of all for this purpose. Leaving his neck, pull off all the feathers from his body, then make a fire round about him, not too wide, for that will not roast him. Within the place, set here and there small pots full of water, with salt and honey mixed therewith, and let there be dishes set full of roasted apples, and cue in pieces in the dish, and let the goose be basted with butter all over and larded to make him better meat and he may roast the better. Put fire to it, do not make too much haste; when he begins to roast, walking about and striving to fly away, the fire stops him in, and he will fall to drink water to quench his thirst—this will cool his heart and the other parts of his body, and by this medicament he looseneth his belly and grows empty. And when he roasteth and consumes inwardly, always wet his head and heart with a wet sponge, but when you see him run madding and stumble, his heart wants moisture; take him away, set him before your guests, and he will cry as you cut off any part from him and will be almost eaten up before he be dead; it is very pleasant to behold.


John Wecker

From The Secrets of Art & Nature. When this culinary curiosity was republished in a nineteenth-century compendium featuring a “complete system of cookery for Catholic families,” it was followed by the observation that the recipe “might have been one of the dishes the devil ordered when he invited Nero and Caligula to a feast.”