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Pulled chicken was chicken removed, or pulled, from the bone after being cooked. In his 1791 Antiquitates Culinariae, Or, Curious Tracts Relating to the Culinary Arts, Warner discussed receipts in The Forme of Cury penned by King Richard II’s cook. In his notes, he stated the spelling of, “yteysed” or “teysed” in old English referred to the custom of fowls, “pulled in pieces by the fingers, called “teezing” noting it was a custom still in vogue, and at the time of his writing [1791] was called pulled turkey or chicken.

Kettner’s Book of the Table quoted from the ancient practice, “Take brawn [flesh] of capons y-teased, or of pheasant teased small…Mawmene or mawmenny is a fowl minced…Mawfrey, or mafré, as the French write it, is a fowl frayed –what we still call pulled chicken”. Dallas, E. S. 1877. London.

Charlotte Mason included it in her Bills of Fare in 1777 and receipts from the late 1700’s remained virtually unchanged into the early 1900’s. – Chesbrough, Mary Mott. The Daily News Cookbook. 1896. Chicago. & Enquire Within the One Hundredth Edition. 1903. London.

John Farley’s receipt instructed the cook to boil the chicken, let it cool, discard the skin, and cut the white meat into slips. The meat was then put into a stewpan with a little cream, four spoonsful of veal stock, a very little grated lemon peel, and pounded mace, cayenne, salt, one eschalot, chopped, a little lemon juice and a spoonful of consommé. A little flour and water were added and put over the fire for 10 minutes to thicken. The legs and rump were salted and peppered, broiled until a nice brown, and served over the pulled chicken. – The London art of Cookery and Domestic Housekeeper’s Assistant. 1811. London.

William Kitchiner’s receipt was much the same although he said adding egg yolks would be an improvement and he did not use consommé. He thickened the sauce with flour and butter and simmered it for 2 or 3 minutes, just until the meat was warm. – The Cook’s Oracle. 1822. London.

Mary Jewry’s 1879 receipt is worthy of sharing, not because the dish is different from earlier versions, for it is remarkably similar, but because the instructions are more detailed for a modern cook. – Warne’s Model Cookery and House-Keeping Book. 1879. London.

“One roast chicken; eggs; bread-crumbs; half a cupful of cream; a little butter, and salt. Take one or two chickens, cut off their legs, rumps, and pinions, rub them over with the yolk of a beaten egg, sprinkle bread-crumbs over them, and broil them over a clear fire a light brown; pull the flesh from the remaining part into little flakes; have half a cupful of boiling cream, thickened with a little butter and flour, the gravy that came from the chicken when roasted, a seasoning of salt and a little powdered mace; put in the pulled chicken, and toss it up over the fire; then put it into the centre of the dish, with the back on it, and the legs and pinions round it. A squeeze of a lemon added the last thing, is an improvement, and the peel of a quarter of a lemon minced fine and added to the pulled chicken.”

Writers told the cook that turkey, goose, pigeon, and other fowl could be pulled and some included a receipt for pulled rabbit. The rabbit was boiled with an onion, a little whole pepper, sweet-herbs, and a piece of lemon-peel then the meat pulled from the bones and combined with some of the broth, butter and flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley, and the liver.

Several authors instructed taking the fillets from the breasts and putting them into a stewpan with the rest of the white meat, wings, side bones, and merry-thought. The latter was a common word, although a rather fanciful one by today’s standards, for wishbone. Numerous books used the term, especially when instructing in the art of carving. The merry-thought or wishbone can be seen in the front of the breast on the image at the top of the page. [See the previous post] – N.M.K. Lee. The Cook’s Own Book. 1832. NY. ©

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