"A young plump peacock caught in the wild,
dancing rings round thrushes and buntings:
this is what I send you, my dearest Redi,
king of Courtesy, for the soberest of feasts.

Your tastes being so expert and so refined
you will know how best to cook the bird
for as a master you would scarce be fool enough
to eat it boiled or drowned in a sauce.

The recipe: take a thick chunk of fresh lard
whose rind is dyed Brazil-wood red
and reared on the slopes of the Alps
making the lard thick and plentiful.

With a knife cut the lard into strips
quite as fine as vermicelli:
for the finer you slice it
the tastier your lard strips will be.

Having carefully plucked the bird clean,
now sit down and, trapping it beneath you, begin,
with needle poised, to stuff this multicoloured
marvel both trousers and doublet."

A letter from Lorenzo Magalotti to Francesco Redi instructing how to cook a peacock.
(Camporesi, Exotic Brew, p. 49)

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