Crow Soup

Birds for your delectation

Hunting birds was a pastime practised by adults and especially by children. Traps, nets, pipes to attract them, slings and even ferrets were pressed into service to kill small birds, for sport, out of cruelty, and sometimes out of hunger. Thrushes and larks (“mauviettes”) were the most popular food, but people would gladly eat robins too. Ortolans were highly sought after by gourmets. They were fattened up in the South of France and sold for 3 francs a piece in Paris (i.e. two days' work for a farm labourer). Similarly, Corsican blackbirds, highly prized, would arrive in Paris in casks filled with good quality fat to preserve them.

Period Recipe

Everyone knows that you can make very nourishing soups out of most birds, such as thrushes and larks, etc.; but there are rarely enough to make a soup and we prefer to eat them. Very few people, on the other hand, know how to make an excellent broth out of crows. It is only in Germany where they are not served roasted, and in general they are not present at the best of tables. They can however be made into an excellent soup: all you have to do it to pluck and empty them, and then to hang them until they are high*. Salt them sufficiently and then boil them until all their flavour has entered the water. The broth thus prepared is of the best quality and can be used for any soup you wish. * i.e., that the flesh has begun to decompose and thus become tenderised.La cuisinière de la campagne et de ville, Paris: Audot, 1818

Bon appetit


Type of Recipe