COOKING A TURKEY
 AND this is how we could roast a turkey: after drawing the
entrails from the bird, we filled him full of chinquapin nuts,
which grow profusely in this land, and are, perhaps, of some
relation to the chestnut. An oaken stick, sufficiently long
to reach from one side of the fireplace to the other, and
trimmed with knives until it was no larger around than the
ramrod of a matchlock, forms our spit, and this we thrust
through the body of the bird from end to end. A pile of rocks
on either side of the fireplace, at a proper distance from
the burning wood, serves as rests for the ends of the wooden
spit, and when thus placed the bird will be cooked in front
of the fire, if whosoever is attending to the labor turns the
carcass from time to time, so that each portion may receive
an equal amount of heat.
I am not pretending to say that this is a skillful method of
cooking; but if you had been with us in Jamestown, and were as
hungry as we often were, a wild turkey filled with chinquapin
nuts, and roasted in such fashion, would make a very agreeable
 We were put to it for a table; but yet a sort of shelf made
from a plank roughly split out of the trunk of a tree, and
furnished with two legs on either end, was not as awkward
as one may fancy, for we had no chairs on which to sit while
eating; but squatted on the ground, and this low bench served
our purpose as well as a better piece of furniture would have done.
When the captain was at home, he carved the bird with his
hunting knife, and one such fowl would fill the largest
trencher bowl we had among us.
Nor could we be overly nice while eating, and since we had
no napkins on which to wipe our fingers, a plentiful supply
of water was necessary to cleanse one's hands, for these wild
turkeys are overly fat in the months of September and October,
and he who holds as much of the cooked flesh in his hand as
is needed for a hearty dinner, squeezes therefrom a considerable
amount in the way of grease.
We were better off for vessels in which to put our food, than
in many other respects, for we had of trencher bowls an
abundance, and the London Company had
 outfitted us with ware
of iron, or of brass, or of copper, until our poor table
seemed laden with an exceeding rich store.