An elegant dining table in Georgian times would have included silver cutlery, dishes, candles, wine coasters and other silver tableware, but when the poultry was brought to the table even the turkey, chicken or duck would be trussed and skewered with silver skewers.
The metal skewers used in the kitchen were thought not to be suitable for a fine table and were replaced with silver skewers, complete with a loop on the end, the same as you will be familiar with today if you get a fowl from a traditional butcher.
In later years these silver skewers began to be used as paper knives and letter openers and as they are rarely seen in antique shops nowadays, we now make faithful copies of the originals in our workshops. The handle of the skewer uses the hallmarking as part of the decoration and we can engrave a message or name on the reverse of the handle or along the blade. We make two silver skewers, one is double forged and is the same either side, while a less expensive copy has a flat reverse. You can find them on our website at Silver Skewer Letter Opener and Paper Knife and Silver Skewer Letter Opener Georgian Style.
Instructions for using skewers can be found in a book written at the time called, “A NEW SYSTEM DOMESTIC COOKERY; FORMED UPON PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMY, AND ADAPTED TO THE USE OF PRIVATE FAMILIES” – BY A LADY (MRS. RUNDELL), Published in London 1847
DIRECTIONS FOR TRUSSING POULTRY AND GAME
In the country, however, there are generally no poulterers, and consequently families are under the necessity of killing and trussing their own poultry. To be prepared, therefore, for this business, attention to the following general rules will be found useful.
TO TRUSS TURKEYS
Having properly picked the bird, break the leg bone close to the foot, and draw out the strings from the thigh, for which purpose hang it on a hook fastened in the wall. Cut off the neck close to the back ; but be careful to leave the crop skin sufficiently long to turn over the back. Then proceed to take out the crop, and loosen the liver and gut at the throat end with the middle finger. Then cut off the vent, and take out the gut. Pull out the gizzard with a crooked, sharp-pointed iron wire, and the liver will soon follow; but be careful not to break the gall. Wipe the inside perfectly clean with a wet cloth ; having done which, cut the breast-bone through on each side close to the back, and draw the legs close to the crop. Then put a cloth on the breast, and beat the high bone down with a rolling-pin till it lies fast.
If the turkey is to be trussed for boiling, cut the legs off; then put the middle finger into the inside, raise the skin of the legs, and put them under the apron of the turkey. Put a skewer into the joint of the wing and the middle joint of the leg, and run it through the body and the other leg and wing. The liver and gizzard must be put in the pinions ; but be careful first to open the gizzard and take out the filth, and the gall of the liver. Then turn the small end of the pinion on the back, and tie a packthread over the ends of the legs to keep them in their places.
If the turkey is to be roasted, leave the legs on, put a skewer in the joint of the wing, tuck the legs close up, and put the skewer through the middle of the legs and body. On the other side, put another skewer in at the small part of the leg. Put it close on the outside of the sidesman, and put the skewer through, and the same on the other side. Put the liver and gizzard between the pinions, and turn the point of the pinion on the back. Then put, close above the pinions, another skewer through the body of the bird.
Turkey-poults must be trussed as follows: take the neck from the head and body, but do not remove the neck skin. They are drawn in the same manner as a turkey. Put a skewer through the joint of the pinion, tuck the legs close up, run the skewer through the middle of the leg, through the body, and so on the other side. Cut off the under part of the bill, twist the skin of the neck round, and put the head on the point of the skewer, with the bill end forwards. Another skewer must be put into the sidesman, and the legs placed between the sidesman and apron on each side. Pass the skewer through all, and cut off the toe-nails. It is very common to lard them on the breast. The liver and gizzard may or may not be used, as may happen to be preferred.
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