Gateway to the Classics: Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis
Stephen of Philadelphia by  James Otis

Roasting Turkeys

Father had a plentiful supply of game on hand, and mother roasted two turkeys, which required no little work on my part, for I was forced to tend what we called the spit, though it really was only a rude contrivance which required much labor.

Of course you know that a spit, such as we had in England, is an iron instrument on which whatsoever is to be roasted may he placed and made to turn slowly in front of the fire until all parts of it are cooked brown.

It so happened that no one save Jethro's father had brought with him a spit, and, as a matter of course, Jethro's mother needed it herself, therefore the other housewives were forced to make shift as best they could.

Father had made with great care a long stick of chestnut wood about the thickness of my middle finger, and this we thrust through the turkey from head to tail, after which it was hung by small chains from the top of the fireplace, at such a height over the embers as would best serve the purpose of cooking.


In order that the bird might not be burned to a cinder on one side while the other portions were left raw, it was my duty to turn this wooden spit, until every part of the meat was roasted properly, and if you think that a simple task, try it some time in front of a blazing fire of huge logs.

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