A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Sorcell Rosted, Wodekoke, & Snyte

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 4016 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Small Game Birds


Take a Sorcell or a tele, and breke his necke, and pul him dry, And draw him as a chekon, and kutte off his fete and wings by the body and the nekke, and roste him, and reise his winges and his legges as a heron, if he be a Sorcell; And no sauce but salt.

Take a wodecok, and sle him as the plouer; pul him dry, or elles breke his bakke, And lete the sculle be hole; drawe him, And kutte of his winges by the body, and turne vp the legges as thou doest of a crane; put his bill thorgh bothe his thighes; roste him, And reise his legges And his winges, as thou doest of all maner of other clouen fote fowle.

Take a Snyte, and sle him as thou doest a wodecok; pulle him, late his necke be hole, save the wesing; put the bill in the shulder, and folde the legges as a Crane; roste him, And dight him as the Wodecok.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.


  • 8 small game birds, such as quail or partridge, or 4 game hens
  • Salt
  • pork or bacon for barding
  • Salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Bard, that is, completely wrap, the cleaned birds with thin strips of salt pork or bacon. If using game hems, lay strips of bacon over the breasts.

3. Place the birds on a rack in a roasting pan, and put them in the oven. If using game hens, reduce the oven temperature to 350°. If using real game birds, roast for five minutes before reducing oven temperature to 350°. If using game hens, roast them for about an hour, or until they are done. If real game birds, roast from five to fifteen minutes until they are done.

4. Remove from oven. Arrange birds on a serving platter. Salt to taste.

Serves four to eight.


If you don't know how to slay a plover, or fold the legs of a crane or heron, you'd have trouble trying to follow these directions. A sarcelle is a small duck, similar to a teal. Some up-scale supermarkets carry farm-raised game birds. If you do not have access to the real thing, either wild and fresh, or packaged and frozen, the ever-popular Rock Cornish game hen can fill in marvelously.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

A Boke of Gode CookeryRecipes from A Newe Boke of Olde Cokery

Sorcell Rosted, Wodekoke, & Snyte © 2000 Rudd Rayfield | This page © 2000 James L. Matterer

A Newe Boke of Olde Cokery

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