TURTLE—Will someone tell how to dress and cook turtle?
First, scald the turtle with hot water; then un-joint the breast plate at the edge of the shell; then skin out the legs and cut it up the same as you would a chicken. Wash and boil it until tender, then add some corn meal and when nearly done season with salt, black pepper and butter or bacon grease. If you prefer to fry it, boil first until tender, then fry it the same as fish. Another method: Whenever my father would catch them, he would nail them to a tree and take a sharp ax and cut their heads off, and then let them hang two days to bleed and die. He would split the sides; or, if one wishes to save the shell, they can be opened by the neck and all the meat taken out, hut if one wishes to see how nice each piece of meat is kept in a cell by themselves, I say open them on the side, then take out just as they are, but be careful of the gall on the liver; we never kept the liver at all. Wash your meat clean; then soak it overnight in salt water, not very strong; then put it in a cooking vessel, cover with water, adding onions, allspice, cloves, celery (if you have it), and pepper; also add more salt if not salty enough. Put on the fire and boil for two hours or more as needed, and I tell you the smell will make you smack your lips and say, “Gee, I wish that soup was done.”
Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.
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