869 Spit-roasted snipe

Bekasy zharenye


  • 6 snipe
  • ¼ lb pork fat
  • 2–3 spoons butter


Pluck the snipe, but do not eviscerate, which is unnecessary. Wash and salt them and wrap them first with ¼ lb pork fat and then in paper greased with 1 spoon butter. Sew them up with strong thread and cook on a spit, basting with butter. When the snipe are cooked, remove the paper and transfer the birds to a platter. Do not cut off the heads. Alternatively, cook the snipe in a roasting pan in the oven. Serve with a salad of some kind.

Remarks: (Method for preserving fresh snipe from autumn to January.) After bringing the snipe from the fields, immediately pluck, but do not eviscerate them. Wrap them in fresh cabbage leaves, and plaster them all over with thick dough. Bake in the oven only long enough to cook the dough. Place the birds in a barrel, pour on melted fat, and cover and seal the barrel. This fat may be used later for greasing carriage wheels.*

*The German traveler Kohl wrote in his memoirs about the difficulty of procuring tar in the Ukraine and the steppes of Russia, “in its absence fat bacon is often used as a substitute for greasing the wheels, and we have more than once purchased from a wagoner, for this purpose, a lump that he was just going to eat for his breakfast. The dogs seem to be aware of the custom, for whenever a travelling-carriage stops at a post-station, a whole pack of dogs often gather around to amuse themselves by licking the axletrees of the wheels” (Kohl, Russia, 406). Canadians and Americans in the mid nineteenth century had the same problem but greased their wheels with a salve made of “hogs lard, wheat flour, and black lead (plumbago)” (The British American Cultivator, 143).