Friday, June 11, 2010

More from "Nimrod of the Sea"

Yesterday I quoted William Davis's tale Nimrod of the Sea about a meal of Galapagos tortoise and iguana. Later in his story, he describes another night's dinner -- offering the reader a recipe:
Heartily refreshed by the drink, we built a fire under the branches of a tree of fragrant foliage out of wood whose smoke was incense, and we toasted great slices of the terrapin liver, which is sweeter than the almond. This dainty, served on our excellent ship-bread, made a feast fit for a prince. Our cookery was entirely novel; and as it may happen that the reader one day will be enabled to obtain two pieces of lava and a pound slice from the tenderloin of a four-hundred-pound terrapin, I will let him into the secret. Place two such pieces of lava, with spoon-like cavities to catch the gravy, before the blazing fire, until they become frying hot. Then place the meat upon the stone with the largest cavity; lay a piece of sweet fat on top, sprinkling a little salt over it, and cover all with the second lump of lava. In a short time you will have a dish that none but good whalemen or honest landsmen deserve to eat. Having thus dined, and lighted out pipes, we threw ourselves at length on the bosom of our kingdom, and were willing that crowned kings of earth should draw up to dull mahogany, and eat the best of the coarse fare their possessions afforded; better, we thought condescendingly, that they should eat salmon and venison than starve. Another tenderloin from between hot stones supplied us with a night-cap; and after another solacing pipe, and dreamy talk of homes in England and America, we fell into a peaceful slumber, under the enchantment of a moonlight glimmer on the broad floor of an extinct volcano.

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