The birds were plucked, roasted and then re dressed in their feathers to appear in their original live state on the dinner table. Heres the presentation instructions from one recipe:
wynde the skyn
wit the fethurs and the taile abought
the body, And serue him forthe as he
were a live
The birds may have looked beautiful, but they reportedly tasted terrible. It was tough and coarse, and was criticized by physicians for being difficult to digest and for generating bad humors, writes Melitta Weiss Adamson in her book Food in Medieval Times.