As a historical buff I am always on the look out for the many strange and varied uses that cooking has been put to:
Hung Drawn and Quartered
This blood thirsty practice was first introduced into the British Isles in 1241 as punishment for the pirate William Maurice. King Edward I of England executed David, the last prince regnant of Wales, in this fashion and the punishment was officially recognised as the penalty for high treason.
Drawing - refers both to the means of transporting the prisoner to the scaffold, as they were drawn lengthways on a hurdle tied to a horses tail through the streets to the place of execution, and to the process of disembowelment.
Once hung they were taken down still alive, castrated – to ensure no future progeny, and their belly sliced open and their entrails, stomach and heart slowly pulled out and burnt before their eyes. The head was then severed from the body and taken back to a place in Newgate prison, called Jack Ketch’s kitchen, and parboiled in salt and cumin seed (the salt and spice being a deterrent to scavenging seagulls). The thus treated head was then hoisted on a long pole and displayed above the southern gate as a warning to other potential traitors.
“You must go to the place from whence you came, there to remain until ye shall be drawn through the open City of London upon a hurdle to the place of execution, and there be hanged and let down alive, and your privy parts cut off, and your entrails taken out and burnt in your sight; then your head to be cut off and your body divided into four parts, to be disposed of at her Majesty’s pleasure. And God have mercy on your soul.”
The sentence was still in place in Scottish law until 1950.
reference – Hogge Alice, God’s Secret Agents – Queen Elizabeth’s Forbidden Priest and the Hatching of the Gunpowder Plot, HarperCollins, 2005, pp 142.