Alphabet Post: S is for Salmagundy

When I originally ran into this word I immediately thought it would make a great addition to my Alphabet Posts.

Salmagundy is a 17th century English dish (also spelled salmagundi), a sort of chef’s salad actually, that was a centerpiece to a meal that rivaled the status of a roast beef on the table.  It incorporates all manner of diverse ingredients on a bed of lettuce:  cooked sliced meats such as chicken, venison, ham, anchovies, seafood, assorted vegetables, green leaves such as spinach and lettuces, eggs, mushrooms, raisins, olives, figs, potatoes, peas and currants.  Cover with a mix of oil and vinegar.


This salad was also served, apparently, on pirate ships, although usually as a stew of meats, anchovies, eggs and onions, well spiced, and served over lettuce.  National Geographic, in its post called “Eat Like A Pirate,” has an authentic pirate recipe from 1712:

“Chop into small chunks turtle meat, chicken, pork, beef, ham, pigeon and fish. Marinate with spiced wine and roast. Add the meats to boiled chopped cabbage, anchovies, pickled herring, mango, hard-boiled eggs, palm-hearts, onions, olives and grapes. Add pickled chopped vegetables and garlic, chili pepper, mustard, salt and pepper, and serve in a mound upon a large dish.”

The origin of the word is believed to be the French word salmigondis, meaning a disparate collection of diverse things, people or ideas combined to make a coherent whole.

Colonial Williamsburg has a recipe for Salmagundi, if you’d like to give it a 21st century try. 🙂  I may actually attempt this over the weekend.  It sounds oddly savory.  I’ll let you know next Wednesday on my 411 post how it went. 🙂

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10 Responses to Alphabet Post: S is for Salmagundy

  1. sjmn60 says:

    Did you try making it, Jenna? I’m curious what you thought of it, lol. It actually looks pretty good. Kind of reminds me of a Viking dish I came across with a little of everything in it.
    Shared and tweeted. Màiri Norris


  2. Carrie-Anne says:

    It sounds a bit like a cold version of cholent, the smorgasbord stew which cooks overnight so there’s warm food for lunch on the Sabbath. Depending on the country, it contains different ingredients.


  3. melissakeir says:

    I love my crockpot recipe for unstuffed cabbage rolls. I would guess that pirates would eat what they could find. The turtle meat makes sense although it doesn’t sound yummy and you’d probably need a lot of turtles for stew. I would have thought Pirates ate more seaweed and fruit, things they can find readily available. Of course they have to “shop” often since storing food is tough too! But that’s another post!


  4. Jenna Jaxon says:

    You’d think that, wouldn’t you, Liza? Actually, I guess it should be termed unrolled cabbage leaves because it’s all the stuffing in the cabbage roll, but you chop up the cabbage leaves and cook it all together with the ground beef, rice, tomatoes and spices, but you don’t have to take the time to stuff them. 🙂


  5. Daryl Devore says:

    All I thought pirates “ate” was grog. Another fascinating post. Tweeted.


  6. lizaoconnor says:

    Arg matie! Don’t be sharing what we pirates eat. And take down that picture. It makes us sound like ladies up high. Nay! By the time we threw all we had into the pot and boiled it over and over, it looked like crap and tasted little better, which is why we was always so disagreeable and killin people.

    -The Ghost of a Pirate

    Opps, I just got channeled by a pirate. The egg & salad dish you picture looks delicious! But the pirate is insisting his food never looked so ladylike. (Nor does it sound like it would taste as good.) I make a stew/chili meal that lasts me for a week that looks like sludge but tastes very good. So looks can be deceiving and perhaps turtle meat tastes good. I’ll never know, because I’m sure it doesn’t qualify as white meat.

    But you did succeed in making me hungry!


    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      LOL, Liza! If anyone could channel a pirate, it would be you. 🙂 I’m seriously thinking about making this dish this weekend–sans turtle meat (I have no idea what store would have that!). I’ll let you know how it tastes. And yes, sometimes looks can be deceiving with food. My unstuffed cabbage roll is not pretty, but man is it good. Thanks for coming by!


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