There are many variations on the recipe for roast swan that Hildegard would have eaten during the Twelve Days of Christmas. If you want to copy her here’s what to do.
First catch your swan. This is best done by a woman as they saw a swan can break a man’s arms with one blow of its wings. Women should be OK then.
The favoured method is to creep up behind the chosen swan and throw both arms round it, pinning it s wings to its sides. Then carry it into your kitchen.
Next pluck, draw and truss. While it’s being turned on the spit by a small ragged boy prepare a paste of eggs, clear as paper and daub over said swan, careful that no wings or thighs are broken. The neck must be skewered to hold it upright as if the swan is swimming on a lake.
Skewer the wings and the thighs with another close to the feet which must be spread.
When it is well cooked, gild with paste, take out the skewrs except at the neck, make a terrace with pastry which is one fist thick and flute it nicely all over to two feet long and a foot and a half broad and have it painted green like a meadow. Then gild your swan with a skin of silver leaving two fingers width around the neck that is not gilded. Then have a flying cloak made with crimson sendal on the inside and emblazon the top with whatever arms you wish. Present to whomever you wish.