There are a few dishes that even we cannot create.  Some contain meat that is illegal to sell/buy in the U.S., while others (see below) have 100 live doves in them.  So.  We present…

The dishes that beat us:

  • Horse roasted with honey and peppers 
  • Peacocks served in their plumage, roasted whole and stuffed with dates 
  • Roast swan stuffed with mushrooms and oysters 
  • Roast herons 
  • A great wedding pie with a hundred live doves baked within to fly out when the crust is broken
  • Unborn puppies and honeyed dormice
  • Dog sausage
  • Olives stuffed with maggots
  • stuffed Larks
  • spiny grubs 
  • dog in honey, stuffed with prunes and peppers
  • Heron Stuffed w/Figs 
  • Black Swan in her plumage 

177 Responses to Dishes even WE can’t make!

  1. Why not the calves brains? :(

    I can understand the others….. but now I am half tempted to bang them out on your behalf! XD

    • Needs Mead says:

      Haha! If you do, by all means, let us know how it turns out! :)

    • Lisa says:

      I assume the sale/eating of calves’ brains is discouraged, if not outright illegal here in the States, due to the concern for mad cow disease. The disease is spread through consumption of central nervous system tissue (e.g. brains and spinal cord).

      • ChoppedGinger says:

        It’s actually not illegal in the US. They’re generally sold under the name sweetbreads, and are great when fried or baked. We just didn’t think that jellied calves brains sounded particularly appetizing…
        However, if someone has a family recipe they’d like to share, I would totally be into trying it out!

      • JonM says:

        Sweetbreads are not calves’ brains or anything even close. “Sweetbreads are the thymus glands of veal, young beef, lamb and pork. There are two glands — an elongated lobe in the throat and a larger, rounder gland near the heart.”

        Read More

        Either way, ew.

      • abaworlock says:

        A Copy and past;
        In New York City, Ottomanelli on Bleecker Street sells brains. Order on Tuesday and pickup on Thursday – that’s when the restaurants get them. Really excellent!. End” Also sold down south and at some ethnic butcher shops.

    • Chasmosaur says:

      While I agree that brains are not sweetbreads, there’s nothing ewww about them ;) If someone put properly prepared sweetbreads in front of you and didn’t tell you what they were, most people would probably like them. There’s just a whole “ick” factor about them. But you shouldn’t eat them frequently anyway – high in protein, but also hugely high in calories, fat and cholesterol. I’m happy to eat them once or twice a decade.

      But yes, the consumption of brains is getting dangerous, so probably not a good idea for you guys to try that recipe. However, I will note that sweetbreads can be presented in gelatin if you ever feel up to the challenge of doing something similar :D

    • Nicolle says:

      I’ve eaten lamb brains before, and when cooked right they’re actually nice.. This is coming from someone who turns their nose up at anything that sounds disgusting! I think calves brains could be good if cooked right!

      • Aleko says:

        They are. A month or so ago in Northern France I had a whole calf’s brain a la meuniere; that’s ‘Miller’s wife style’ – i.e. dusted with seasoned flour and fried in butter. Don’t ask me how they managed to saute a whole brain – it certainly didn’t taste like something that had been deep-fried, but I suppose if you were really light-handed with it… It was marvellous – soft but not soggy, and a really delicate flavour.

    • prions. That’s why my lovely.

  2. Sable says:

    About the live dove pie: the crust is all pre-baked and cooled. The doves are not in the pie when it is baked. *grumble a snide comment* They are placed in the shell and the crust is fitted on the top. Its just an entertainment, not an actual dish that anyone is expected to eat. It was not a popular thing to do at indoor feasts simply because the doves would all fly up to the rafters and then repeatedly bomb the guests. It was normally done at outdoor feasts.

    • Needs Mead says:

      Nice clarification there. Clearly, if the doves had actually been baked into the pie, they would no longer be “live doves”. Still, I think we’re going to take a pass on this one, much to the disappointment of the cats!

      • ALi says:

        I’ve never had horsemeat, but roast horse with honey and peppers sounds delicious. Maybe substitute the meat as you did dog sausage for lamb?

        • Needs Mead says:

          We may try something like that; we’re exploring fun and funny ways to make some of the things on this list without the offputting/expensive ingredients. The recipe for Dothraki goat with firepods is similar, in the interim.

          • A'rean says:

            Try moose meat :)
            It’s the best kind of red meat there is! Anyone from Alaska will tell you ;)

          • Needs Mead says:

            I’d love to! I know a local butcher sometimes has bear from the North, but I’ll have to keep an eye out for Moose. Thanks for the tip!

          • It’s actually entirely legal to buy and consume horse meat in the US. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to cook it.

        • ConnieF says:

          Actually, I’ve eaten horse meat before. Kinda like beef but a little sweeter. When I was a college student in the 80’s in Seattle, Washington State, USA, you could get it at the Pike Place Farmer’s market for a while. It was cheaper than beef or lamb which is why I bought it. I would eat it again anytime.

          • melrose says:

            I would be happy to share some moose meat. I have some in my freezer from going back north to visit my family this Christmas. I live in Texas now so overnight shipping costs won’t be quite so atrocious as it would be shipped from Alaska either.
            I also don’t think you can buy moose meat from your butcher as it’s illegal to buy or sell wild game meat in Alaska (hence me having to go back to my family to stock my freezer). I don’t know what the laws would be in other states for anything like moose but I’d guess it’s similar.
            I really want to see you guys try this recipe though so I’d be more than happy to gift you some of my family stash.

        • VAE says:

          The thing about horse meat is, it’s very lean and sweetish, since horses don’t store intermuscular fat, and store energy in their muscles in the form of glycogen, a sugar.
          So, it’d be hard to substitute.

  3. James says:

    I can understand the logistics problem involved with the wedding pie, the legality of certain species (pretty sure Herons are protected almost everywhere) But peackocks and Swan (black swans anyway) are fair game in New Zealand – if you guys came up with a recipe I would probably give it a crack. As for the jellied calf brains and the Dothraki horse meat dish, they would be reasonably easy. I suppose there is a stigma surrounding horse meat but it’s only cultural. I know for a fact that horse meat is extremely popular with the Tongan community in South Auckland, and likewise is not so taboo in France. All in all though I love your work and will definitely be trying out some of your dishes, keep it up!

    • ChoppedGinger says:

      Hi James, thanks for taking a look at the blog. Most of the things we won’t make are due to just that- legal reasons. While we do not personally have a problem with eating swan, peacock, and horse meat, it’s not legal here in the states. As for the jellied calves brain, that one is more of a cooks choice- if we won’t eat it, we don’t expect our taste testers to! We have left sweetbreads in the to-do list, so look for that recipe coming up!

      • PatrikD says:

        Wait – horse meat is illegal in the US? You gotta be kidding me, right?


        • ChoppedGinger says:

          So are we, PatrikD, so are we.

          • Colten says:

            It’s not now! Now will you make some horse! Also, if you can’t find any in the US, Toronto or Vancouver apparently have a few places where horse is available.

      • kuanyin says:

        From what I read on Wikipedia, the legality of horse meat is subject to local jurisdictions. Legal in New York City, illegal in New Jersey. Illegal in California. However, from same source, there doesn’t seem to be any specific slaughterhouses for them anymore. Actually, this subject is piquing my interest. Like most, I consider the horse a beautiful animal and would not condone the capture of wild animal for meat as we were all so horrified with in “The Misfits”. But, to have an animal that has met the end of its time serve further purpose by becoming food, well I don’t have a problem with that. When I read that it is lean, healthy and delicious, I’m wondering if the Dothraki weren’t on to something after all.

        I have had calves brains, they can be tasty scrambled up with eggs. Though honestly,today with the health hazard and their mild flavor just skip the risk and have scrambled eggs!

        • Steve Jaycee says:

          I’ve eaten lots of horse, here in Switzerland it’s almost a staple… It’s very teder and juicy, and it only takes 20 – 30 seconds on each side of a one inch steak. The center can be left raw if desired, ( me gusta!! ^^ ) if the horse was healthy there’ll be no health hazard.

      • Miss Salacia says: I’m just saying… there are many victorian recipes for the pies if you change your mind ;)

      • Paschendale says:

        I might be wrong, but I seem to remember reading something recently that stated something along the lines of “it isn’t exactly illegal to eat horse meat, but it was not something that the USDA would inspect under any circumstances”. However, I know there is a market in exporting horses for slaughter. However I have also heard that some elements are trying to overturn that law, so the income from horse meat stays inside the country. That’s kinda repugnant to me, to eat horse, but that’s a personal bias only and I don’t think I could condemn someone else who wanted to have a munch on good ole Silver, lol.

        • meikoelektra says:

          The reason why horse meat is difficult to find in the US (with or without slaughterhouses) is that most horses going for meat were previously used for sporting or leisure purposes and are likely to have been given antibiotics or other medication at one point, unlike beef cattle or meat-raised sheep (putting aside the fact that meat-bred animals are often pumped full of hormones, but anyway…). So most states have made commercial sale of horse meat illegal (although it does get shipped to Japan). Later on, misguided animal rights protesters ended up having US horse slaughterhouses shut down, resulting in all kinds of horrible things.

          In Europe, a horse has a passport that states what illnesses it has had and what medication has been administered to it. That way no horses with dangerous chemicals enter the human food chain.

  4. Needs Mead says:

    I did pass a heron today and think, “Hmmm…” :) We have often lamented how much easier this undertaking would be if we lived outside the US. Imagine all the ingredients more ready to hand! Gull’s eggs, for example. London has a season for them. Boston? Not so much. Peacock and swan, while possibly obtainable, are prohibitively expensive (although we looked at one site and determined that your swan actually arrives alive and kicking…eeps). Also, it seems that eating a swan is somehow spiritually wrong, like eating a unicorn. Personal preference. Horse meat, on the other hand, is actually illegal in the states. So that we probably would try, but can’t.

    That said, we’ll have a look around for some recipes that those less legally bound and more adventurous (and well funded!) can have a go at. Glad you like the blog, and hope you’ll look forward to our post on Dornish Snake!

    • Paschendale says:

      I actually considered trying to find the meat to have the snake until I looked at the prices on one of the exotic meat sites. Needless to say, unless somebody I know manages to kill a snake and takes the trouble to ask me about taking the carcass, I will not be trying roasted snake. The prices were way out of my range for a single meal or even as an appetizer to a meal.

    • Jabberwocky says:

      I don’t know, swans may look graceful, but by all accounts I’ve heard they’re really vicious bastards who will hunt you down. I’d be totally okay with eating them.

      It might be possible to get a goose and substitute that, anyway.

    • Hellequin says:

      It’s not surprising that swan and peacock meat is expensive – both were also very expensive in Medieval Europe and were usually by aristocrats to show off how extraordinarily wealthy they were.

      • Hebi says:

        Swans are quick to bite the hand that feeds them and can seriously injure a human if they get territorial. On the one hand, this makes it easier to put aside the “too pure to eat” image (I would certainly rather kill one of these jerks than a duck), but it also makes them more difficult to farm. As I understand it, one of the reasons swan meat was used to show off is because swan hunting was dangerous.

      • Brouhaha says:

        That’s funny about peacock because those d@mn things breed like Tribbles. I know someone who started with a pair, provided NO special treatment (lower midwest climate, a barn to roost in when they feel like it), and in a couple of years they had over 50, raccoons and possums notwithstanding. They’d be more than happy to provide y’all with some meat I am sure…

        • Chelsea M-C says:

          Wow, that’s nuts! I used to go to a burger place in NM that had several wandering around. They seemed like fairly mean, and the sounds they made were just horrible. That’s vanity for you, I guess. ;) Still, I’d love to give one a taste!

        • Aleko says:

          I had my wedding reception at a little medieval manor house here in England and I asked a lady who bred peacocks if she would sell me one to be roasted and put back into its skin for serving. She said ‘You’ll need two, a peacock and a peahen, because the cock birds are as tough as old boots, so you’ll want to roast the hen bird to put into the cock’s skin. But even the hen birds aren’t actually that great to eat, so why don’t you let me sell you a couple of nice bronze turkeys, which I also breed? Much tastier.’ So I gave up the whole idea.

    • CitySnacks says:

      Ahh! I could not do snake. It sounds silly, but I have three snakes and would have irrational guilt if I munched on snake haha.

  5. Swans says:

    They actually have a swan season in Nevada, you can purchase tags for them, I didn’t even know swans frequented Nevada!

  6. Janelle Barnard Jones says:

    Have you thought of substituting some ingredients? Do the swan recipe with goose?

    • Needs Mead says:

      We have definitely considered it. The scope of some dishes is rather overwhelming, like the suckling pig stuffed with chestnuts and white truffles. I dare you to go google the prices for white truffles. Yowch. So those would be right out. It depends somewhat on the availability of some ingredients. The suckling pig alone would be tricky to find, although we’re narrowing it down a bit. We probably will opt for some substitutions where it makes sense, but I can tell you that as of now, nothing will be served in its plumage!

      • Janelle Barnard Jones says:

        If you were to serve something “with” feathers make sure that you get ones from a culinary place. So that you know that they have been cleaned to a culinary grade. Feathers can be very dangerous otherwise

      • Reg-o-rama says:

        You should honestly consider approaching HBO about some of these—your link has been making the rounds on twitter with the #GameOfThrones tag, so a number of people are seeing it (and hosting parties). They may be amenable to supplementing your food budget for some of the more expensive items. (I’m thinking white truffles more than swans.)

      • elizabethann says:

        While I doubt we’re in the same neck of the woods, I thought I’d let you know that my family owns a wholesale meat company and we can basically get in anything that’s legal, even if we don’t sell it regularly. So, even if it is odd, no doubt a local (family owned/small business, rather than national company, who won’t be willing to do special orders or work with an individual) wholesale meat company could get it for you. It would be a great deal cheaper than trying to acquire something via the interwebs too. We sell lots of suckling pig, for example, particularly to Greek and French chefs in the area.

        This is an amazing website. We’re going to begin making these recipes. Well done!

        • Needs Mead says:

          We love small farms, and are sad that we’re (probably) not near you. We’re in Boston, and have found one great farm for basic high quality meat (aptly named Blood Farm, a family name!). We’re getting to the point where we will need to start making some of the quirkier recipes, so if we were anywhere in your area, we would absolutely come to you for some orders. Hope you like the recipes, and we’d love to hear how they turn out!

      • savannah says:

        have you thought of using truffle oil instead of truffles?

  7. kim trublood says:

    Had to let you know how cool I find this website to be. The pics are beautiful-everything looks just like it should. I’m planning to make the beef-and-bacon pie for my family soon. Can’t wait to see what you do next!

  8. LM says:

    First, you have unborn puppies and honeyed dormice listed twice. Second, are you sure horse meat is illegal? I know that’s what zoos feed the large carnivores. Or can you just not sell it for human consumption? Just curious, not arguing.

    • Needs Mead says:

      I think my associate could better answer this one, but I believe that while the consumption of horse meat is legal in the US, the sale of horse meat is not legal in the states because of meat inspection reasons. America still exports horses for slaughter, but the last slaughterhouses for horses were closed in 2007.

      • ChoppedGinger says:

        Due to Congress budget cuts in 2007, the USDA no longer inspects horse meat for human consumption. Following these budget cuts, the last remaining horse meat processing plants in the US, in Texas and Illinois, were closed. Currently horses are taken over the border to Mexico or Canada for processing, but it is costly. I believe there are six states that have actually banned the consumption of horse meat. So basically it’s either very hard or illegal for us to purchase. Either way it would have to be from over seas. If we have any fans that are willing to ship us some, I would be more than happy to cook it up and share it on the blog! The same goes for any other oddities that are hard to come by!

    • Miss Salacia says:

      If you visit holland, as of the late 80’s horse was still sold in delis.

  9. A9 says:

    i love your website and most of the recipies are simply gorgeous but i have to admit this page is going to make my vegan friends roll in their salads… ” no animals were harmed in the production of this website” is just not going to work here.
    anyway to each his own :-)

  10. Selkie says:

    I am intrigued to see that “bowl of brown” is still a possibility! I love this website, and I cannot wait to read more!

    • Needs Mead says:

      It’s such a staple of King’s Landing fare that we couldn’t possibly give it up. We’re assembling our ingredients, and hope to make it soon after we have everything. Should be interesting!

      • Llywelyn says:

        I look forward to what you come up with for that!

        I am tempted to try my own implementation after a friend pointed out that a “bowl of brown” sounds a lot like a gumbo with a light roux and no rice…

  11. Paul R. Hays says:

    Horse meat is Illegal in the US!! What a world. In my part of Japan, Raw Hosrse meat as sashimi is a delicacy. Not bad, if you can stop thinking of “My friend Flicka.”
    Snake should be OK if you live in Texas.
    But, I congratulate uyou on this effort. What a fun hing to do, and I agree about the jellied brains.
    One man`s delicacy is another man`s garbage.

    • Jangalian says:

      This makes me flinch. >_< I love my horses way to much to be able to eat them. Same thing with dog meat. I …just can't. Brr.

      • Paschendale says:

        I think I would have to be literally starving to even consider eating dog or horse. It would just be too hard for me to rid myself of the mental image I would have with every bite, lol.

        • Charlene says:

          It didn’t make me very popular in the lunchroom when I mentioned it at work, but basashi, or raw horse sashimi, is delicious! Think very rare beef.

  12. Jenna says:

    Haha–good call not making these! =)

  13. Cristian Di Mattei says:

    we eat horse meat in italy without any problem.. before becoming vegan was my favourite meat.

  14. Ken says:

    For any recipes containing horseflesh, I could probably cook it up next time I’m in Okinawa visiting relatives. We often eat raw horse meat during O-Bon ( while relaxing around the family grave (Ohaka).

  15. ShiftlessBannerman says:

    I’m pretty fearless about what I eat. I don’t know if I have access to a medieval recipe, but I do have modern ones for calves brains. If I get the time, I’d be happy to make it and tell you how it is! Pictures and all, though can’t promise I cook as pretty as you.

    • Needs Mead says:

      That would be terrific! We’ve had several folks comment that they are disappointed in our decision not to make some of the dishes, so we welcome any daring souls who are willing to give it a go!

    • Needs Mead says:

      You go right ahead! We’ll look forward to hearing how they turn out… :)

      • Gorman Ghaste says:

        Heh, maybe I will. Especially since I believe I can get some from the local Asian market that are frozen instead of dried.

    • Samantha says:

      I always thought I was a pretty adventurous eater, but when I saw that website I actually threw up a little. :|

    • MeBeShe says:

      Oh my goodness, I am in love with that website. I’m going to culinary school, and I’m tempted to get some of these for my Chef. The only thing that threw me for a loop was the snake liquor. It has actual snakes in it. REAL snakes…..

  16. Convivial Edd says:

    Does this list mean that you WILL be cooking prince-and-bacon pie?

  17. A Nonymous says:

    Horse is a good meat. I’m not sure why America is so against it :(

    • ChoppedGinger says:

      I grew up on a horse farm, and have no problem with the proper production of horse meat. I would absolutely love to try it, if anyone would like to share!

      • I’ve tried horse meat (quite popular in the Pyrenees) and it’s absolutely tasteless. I wouldn’t say it’s disgusting, but I’d rather replace it with beef.

        As for eels and brains, I love them. If you need a beta tester, let me know. I’ll pass on dog and maggots, though.

    • Carol says:

      emotional attachment. The horse played one of the biggest roles in settling our country and making it what it is. The idea of eating horse is a bit like eating your best friend. I’d eat dog and cat before horse. Think of it as a kind of social/societal sacredness. You gotta be stone-cold heartless to eat a horse.

    • Feliny says:

      The horse meat part is really sad, I didn’t even know it was illegal in some parts of the world =/. Since horse is not too popular here, usually the meat is rather expensive and of excellent quality (at least I never hears of mass-horse production, but I might be wrong)
      I have been to Italy and had a horse meat steak. It was the most tender and juicy steak I ever tasted, with a light taste of deer (which was a surprise to me) and almost no fat. Since there is hardly any fat in horse meat, I think cooking it must be quite a challenge (similar to turkey) to prevent it from becoming too dry and tasteless. The salami is very delicious, too. Riding on horses if fun too, they are amazing (and delicious) creatures. ;)

  18. nolaorbust11 says:

    I think the fact that this page is a bit challenging to many of us speaks to the possibility that the blog writers/cooks are approaching true Medieval cuisine! I think I’m glad to be living in 21 century USA! I’ll pass on the horse meat and the magots!

  19. Nathan Schattman says:

    Rattle snake in season, calf’s brains, and suckling pig are all fairly availale here in Texas.

  20. What, no jellied eels? Classic English dish! …Well, maybe. My wife’s from South London and keeps trying to get me to try them. I say no. >_>

    For your perusal:

  21. TSR says:

    I can’t help but notice that Tyrion’s “singer stew” is not on the list. Was that an oversight, or can we expect the recipe in the near future?

  22. Cassi says:

    Horse is actually not to bad… Where I come from Rocky Mountain Oysters are made from horse instead of beef. :) but it is rather difficult in the US to actually find someone to butch a horse :) . Thank you for posting the recipes that you have. just found your website so i will start trying them soon.

  23. Chandra says:

    I can’t believe peafowl is illegal to eat. Where I live, they are all over and keep the children up at night with their awful, awful squawking. They are the frat boys of the animal kingdom– good looking until they open their mouth.

    • Devin says:

      I was thinking the same thing. I know in some parts in the Central California foothills and wine county they’re considered real pests. Some people got in their heads that they would be pretty to have on their property, like living lawn ornaments, but then they started to breed out of control. Maybe it’s because they’re not natural game birds, like pheasants or quail? Or maybe it’s just an aesthetics thing. They’re pretty, so therefore they’re off limits, or something like it.

      • Katie says:

        I think it goes back to the old days when only royalty was allowed to eat peacock or swan. Kind of like wearing purple.

  24. The Mountain says:

    How about duck sausage or a bowl of brown?

  25. HungryGirl says:

    Why no eels? They’re among the most delicous meats known to humankind. Ever had unagi at a sushi restaurant? It’s cooked eel. Fantastic.

    • Needs Mead says:

      We’re turned off by the idea of jellied eels, but we’d make lots of other eel-based dishes if we could only find a good source! Lamprey is also shockingly difficult to find in/around Boston…

  26. Eric Tammik says:

    Eating can be an adventure every time we try something new. Thanks for the new avenues to try. Sisters in the trenchers should be fun.

  27. Why no horse? It’s illegal in the States? Or hard to find?

  28. Andreas says:

    i think it would be a good idea to start this part of the blog with specifically stating that horsemeat is illegal in the states, seems to be the most common question here:)

  29. Horse meat is eaten and enjoyed in Switzerland too. Grilled or cooked like a steak (and preferably a little raw) with some “cafè de paris” (butter with spices and herbs) it is an excellent source of iron and a delicious meal!

  30. Stewart says:

    Jellied Eels seems like a strange thing in this list. In many parts of the UK these are considered a delicacy., and it’s not hard to find these for sale on several parts of the coast.

    • Needs Mead says:

      ‘strewth. However, eels are wildly more difficult to come by in Boston, it seems. But, given that Sariann recently made the jellied calves brains just to spite the list, there’ll be no stopping her if she finds eels, I’m sure. :)

  31. Michael says:

    Btw. What’s the problem with Camel? Illegal, because it really isn’t gross at all ;)

    • duckchick says:

      I believe it’s extremely expensive.

    • Jacqui says:

      Camel is not illegal in the US. I had some at the community college that I went to in Minnesota. It was really good, I want to find it again.

    • Needs Mead says:

      You tell me where to find it nearby, and I’ll cook it! :) A friend gave us a tip that there might be some up in a shop in Maine, but we haven’t gotten up there yet to check…

      • Paul says:

        I live in NJ and we have a local sausage/burger truck that sells camel burgers. They are the same price as the venison or boar burgers but admittedly they are mixed with some beef for fat content. Tastes amazing and I could try and find their source in case it can be obtained in Boston

  32. Jelly brains I don’t like or liver and kidneys. However most of the food I will love to try once. One of those above, I have eaten in a cured salami form – I’m not sure which the italian name for it. I am pretty sure from my father that Donkey/Horse can be cured for eating purposes. Hey it a matter of personal tastes. Stuff olives with maggots sounds a delicious dish. ;) Hey if you were with out of food for days, I bet you would eat anything from dirt to anything that move on two/four legs. Now I need the recipes for these and may be I try.

    Seriously maybe a half of the list sounds interesting. Some of the animals it is illegal to eat them. Before we humans, in caveman times, use to eat those animals because it was a must to survive. Who knows what the future may bring? We must survive on something, if we can survive in the future with out food, I think not.

    I like this page very much.

  33. Shademaster says:

    Here in northern Italy both horsemeat and eels are fairly common and easy to acquire. If you had a recipe you’d like to make but can’t due to scarce availability of these ingredients, I’d be happy to try and let you know the results! :)
    This blog is a true delight for a foodie/Martin enthusiast, you’re doing an excellent job!

  34. I would wager heron would be as nasty as flamingo (I have a muleskinner acquaintance who said flamingos were so nastily greasy and fishy that dogs wouldn’t eat the remains. (I do know hyenas eat them, I’ve seen film of one hunting them in the Ethiopian salt pans of their rift valleys.)

    And I would be down with trying anything except something involving baby flies. (m-word).

  35. Jonathan Stark says:

    I’ve actually had maggots in peppers, before. They were dead, which made it more tenable. With the proper presentation, you can easily get over the fact that you are eating things that crawl around in dead bodies usually and it’s actually quite satisfying. They are often used as fish food and are actually sanitary for human consumption. Probably not a popular dish, though.

  36. Leaf says:

    According to various websites I scrolled around, dog tastes like beef with a more “game-y” taste — maybe would it be possible to make something with bison? Same for camel, seems close to horse which is close to beef.

    I guess the birds could be replaced with duck, goose or turkey, maybe even chicken if one feels like it (though not quite as exotic ^^).

    Some people talked about how maggots are found in asian markets…

    … and as horse meat is actually quite common in Canada, I’d be very glad to try and taste some meals requiring it!

  37. Sandy Fox says:

    Horse meat was a common substitute for beef in WW2 in the UK. It wasn’t popular as it was not young and tender – it was old nags from the knacker’s yard and being already a very lean meat, it was impossible to make it enjoyable. Especially when the butter/fat ration was about 2 ounces a week. Whale meat was even worse, apparently. Horse is common on the continent.

    I have no idea why people get all girly over eating horses and dogs – how are they different from deer and pigs? Apart from horses kept for work/pets may have been treated with vetinarian drugs that are not allowed in food animals. Not a problem in Westeros or the Dothraki Sea I guess. :D

    Unborn anything is beyond even my tolerance though – a reasonable substitute would be sucking pigs – but they are prized for their crackling.

  38. Bill Volk says:

    I was expecting to see the pie of human meat prepared by the legendary Rat Cook. But I suppose you could really prepare that by substituting pork for Andal prince. I’m told we taste closest to pork.

    • Needs Mead says:

      I’m still planning a version of Manderly’s pie, but with some key ingredient substitutions. All I need is a giant pie pan! :D

      • Bill Volk says:

        I was surprised to see that Old Nan described all the other ingredients of the pie in such detail, considering that the story is centuries old. Maybe she added some embellishments because she was hungry.

  39. Sarah Brewer says:

    I don’t see recipes for lamprey pie anywhere?? I know there’s some buzz here in the PNW about declining populations but I don’t think they’re a protected species yet. At least not for this guy:

    • Needs Mead says:

      We would definitely make it! We haven’t been able to find any around Boston, and the only lead we had was to either buy a 50 lb. bait bucket from the great lakes, or talk to “Rick the fish guy”, who loiters around the docks… :)

  40. Len says:

    “Stuff even WE won’t make!

    There are a few dishes that even we cannot create. Some contain meat that is illegal to sell/buy in the U.S., while others (see below) have 100 friggin’ live doves in them. So. We present

    The dishes that beat us:

    A great wedding pie with a hundred live doves baked within to fly out when the crust is broken (III: 139)”

    Heston Blumenthal a British chef made a historical replica of 4 and 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie from the nursery rhyme using pigeon meat at a mystery meal where guests showed up and had a surreal meal based on a theme.

    He made a giant pie with two compartments with one half having little personal pigeon pies and the other having pigeons. Preventing contamination of the food by the pigeons themselves. The pigeons were special pigeons and were trained (if I remember correctly) to fly to a perch.

    So when they opened the pie the pigeons flew off and the diners opened the food half and removed mini pigeon pies.

    Here is a Youtube link

    If anyone can be said to think outside the box its Heston Blumenthal.

    • Needs Mead says:

      Would you believe I’ve actually looked into doing this? :) The dove rentals are pretty expensive, though, and I bet they wouldn’t be too happy about putting their birds into a pie, no matter if it wasn’t going in the oven!

  41. Raz says:

    I’d like it to be noted that there is a very, very good reason horse meat is illegal in the US and any horse meat FROM the US should remain illegal. (This is the same reason horse slaughter was made illegal, aside from how the animals were treated as well as the conditions surrounding the closures that included blood tanks running off into local water supplies.) All horse meat in the US contains bute, which when ingested through meat can cause cancer. Europe and Asia will no long buy horse meat from the US because of it. Our horses aren’t raised for meat and should not be used for it. Even wild horses aren’t safe. It’s also a federal offence to send Mustangs to slaughter.

  42. If anyone in the UK feels like giving some of these recipes a shot:

  43. Gemfyre says:

    Camel is available in Australia. It’s not common, but you can often find it in the gourmet meat freezer. I’ve had it a few times at restaurants and it’s delicious. Somewhere between beef and kangaroo. You certainly don’t want to overcook it.

    • Ser James says:

      And is kangaroo like venison, pray tell? What would be a good substitute for dog?

      • Gemfyre says:

        Roo and venison are pretty similar, rich, gamey and full of iron, you certainly don’t want to overcook it. I have no idea how it would compare to dog. I have heard that humans don’t tend to eat canine mammals because of the taste, but I can’t give an opinion having never eaten a carnivorous mammal.

      • llsmutant says:

        I had dog once, and it was a lot like beef, but tougher. Very tough. And definitely a gamey taste. It was hard to get a really good taste of it because it was in a sauce, but it’s probably not something I’d seek out to eat again, especially due to the toughness. (I had several other meals in the restaurant and they were all excellent, so I’m assuming it was the meat and not the cooks.)

  44. Ser James says:

    I am going to try the roast swan stuffed with mushrooms and oyster substituting a goose for the swan. I need to figure out a gastrique or something to cut the fattiness of the goose and the richness of the mushrooms and oysters and kinda brighten up th dish. Any suggestions?

  45. Patrice says:

    It was common in medieval time, to “fake” any kind of meat! Being french-canadian, i’m both fluent in french and english, so i read the book, “Cuisine médiéval pour tables d’aujourd’hui (Medival cooking for modern tables) by Jeanne Bourrin a french writter:

    Sometimes, beef was pretend to be bear or beef was pretend to be stag. As for the roasted swan, you could use canada goose and once cooked, you could put some peacock feather.

    It was common practice in medeivela France to fake meat. So, fell free to do the same!

  46. Christoph says:

    There is currently a horse meat scandal in Europe going on. Apparently, horse meat has been fraudulently labeled as beef and was sold as such. As more of the facts become apparent, it seems this has been going on for quite a while with probably thousands of customers never noticing a difference. While the meat in question was usually processed in some way (e.g.m as filling for ravioli), one could assume that a lean cut of beef should serve as an adequate substitute for horse meat – which is exactly what I did when I prepared my version of a certain Dothraki dish.

  47. Hodor? says:

    What about Frey Pie?!

    As for brains, I ordered a dish made with calves brains in a Swiss restaurant in West Vancouver back in the 80s and quite enjoyed it but it was long before anyone had heard of mad cow disease. I’d be willing try horse meat but don’t know where to get it locally. Lean bison might make a decent substitute and is increasingly available in grocery stores here in British Columbia.

  48. Jacqui says:

    Bison would definitely work as a substitute for horse. It’s lean and slightly gamey. I Know it’s available at most farmer’s markets and grocery stores in Minnesota. I prefer the stuff from the farmer’s market, getting it straight from, the farmer is cheaper and I know exactly where it’s coming from.

  49. Mary says:

    As a long time horse owner and an equine vet, I would not recommend eating horse meat from anywhere due to health concerns. Not all horses sent for slaughter have drugs in their systems, but many of them do. I’ve included a URL with more information:

  50. Nelly says:

    I would like a recipe for Frey Pie, please. :)

  51. ami says:

    there are more and more resources for entomophagy nowadays (bug-eating! whee!), so if you wanted to give that olives and maggots recipe a shot, well. :D or olives and mealworms, maybe.

    • Chelsea M-C says:

      Well, I can’t say this hasn’t been an informative food adventure… ;) I have been working on a post on similar themes, with a nod toward the wacky cuisines of Essos.

  52. Kieren says:

    Shame you’re not doing camel, it tastes quite nice. Tender and juicy if prepared properly.

  53. Peacock! says:

    If you do ever get a chance, try the peacock–it is delicious.

    • Bengis says:

      peacock is awful, similar to dry pheasant. use the hen if you must as it doesn’t pump all its energy into producing a display but a poor game bird.

  54. A. Nuran says:

    OK, Swans and herons are endangered and protected. We have strong cultural prejudices against eating dogs and mice although the same can’t be said of many countries. There are good reasons not to eat fly larvae.

    But horse? Peacock? Camel? Larks? Wiggity grubs? Heron and swan if there were more of them? Why in the world wouldn’t you eat them?

  55. Katiee says:

    Romans did the Swan AND the Peacock recipes.

  56. Paden says:

    Im going to be cooking my interpretation of Hizdahr zo Loraq’s “Honeyed Locusts” using crickets caught in my backyard (and sanitized) very soon. Hopefully I won’t be poisoned like Strong Belwas.

  57. Rae says:

    I’m new here but love this site and the recipes…as for the ones that call for horse, camel or swan…i know it wouldnt be true to the recipe but why not substitute with deer, lamb or duck?

    • Chelsea M-C says:

      I’m a stickler for authenticity, where possible, but I’ll probably do just that eventually. There are still a few recipes left to make from the long, long list of dishes. :)

  58. crittermel says:

    I’ve had camel and dog, and both are quite good. As people have said, substitute goat for camel and you’ll be alright. You could try a really gamey and tough piece of buffalo to substitute. Dog is good stewed because it tends to be tough and rather strongly flavored.

  59. Sami says:

    What if you replaced the swan dishes with goose?

  60. As far as I know, the dog sausage isn’t really something made out of dog but a sausage made out of quality meat that dogs get to eat. I found this site for dog food in Germany: They all contain about 65% meat and some vegetables, potatoes or rice. It all sounds rather yummy :)

  61. Ellen says:

    Depending on where you live, it might at least be possible to make something with horse-meat. And some of the other dishes don’t sound that impossible to me… unless you’re willing to make some small changes.So thanks for sharing those ideas.

  62. Owen says:

    We have a peacock near our work, and are fattening him up for the dish. Ill be taking photo’s when we slaughter the animal and present you the dish :) I will let you know what it tastes like too. Oh and the Peacocks name is Patrick.

  63. Anna says:

    Is horse forbidden in the US? In germany its allowed…

  64. Kat Giland says:

    You can but Camel at an exotic butcher in Virginia Beach :)

  65. I can find horsemeat quite easily in France. I have never tried it, but could give it a shot just to test this recipe!

  66. And I’m quite tempted to make “stuffed Larks”, but the Provençal version: alouette sans tête (larks without heads), which is basically a stuffed piece of beef :)

  67. kt says:

    hmm I think I can see some easy substitutions for a few of these.Goose or duck could be substituted for the swan. Stuffed larks also sound delicious perhaps snipe would be an adequate substitute?

  68. Tom Jones says:

    What is the legality of dog meat in the states?

  69. J Mueller says:

    Here is a link to the traditional roasted peacock recipe used by Henry VII’s cooks –

    You can also order peacock from exotic meat venders. There is one in Southern California, website –

    The above vender ships exotic meats throughout the United States and Canada, although there may be regional/local restrictions and prohabitions against particular meats.

  70. Upendo says:

    You can’t buy horsemeat in the US?

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