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How to eat like a pirate?

September 19 every year is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, and this year I also want to eat like a pirate (do not have to dress like one, that's Halloween). While I'm sure that Pirates didn't necessarily eat all that well (unless you're the Captain) what are your suggestions for period-authentic food to serve at a Pirate gathering. Of course, we will swill grog and other rum-based libations.

Note to Mods - if this should be on Home Cooking please move it and I'll do a heads-up here.

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  1. hARRRRRd boiled eggs, of course

    1 Reply
    1. re: thew

      that made me laugh!

      i read somewhere (though i doubt you want to serve it up as anything other than an interesting fact) that pirates would put iron nails into apples and let them rust before eating the apples so they would get their iron.

    2. There's an entire cookbook (or is it a culinary anthropology experiment?) dedicated to British naval cuisine during the Napoleanic wars. Here's the web page for the book:


      Google Books has excerpts here:


      Maybe a sea pie and dried peas with salt pork, with boiled baby for dessert? I'd recommend against serving your guests "millers in onion sauce," p. 230.

        1. Not in the period/authentic vein, but my theme for food and drink on ITLAPD is that everything must involve limes and/or rum, so that nobody goes to bed cursed with scurvy and/or sobriety. Ceviche is one of my perennials (hey...it's at least period if not necessarily all that pirate-y), as are proper daiquiris (tastier than authentic grog), but I do different things every year.

          Do keep in mind that not all pirates are British, so even within the limits of authenticity you've got lots of cuisines to choose from...although I wouldn't begin to know how to talk like a Chinese pirate. Personally, I think this year I'm doing my traditional ceviche starter and then maybe jerk chicken. YARR!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Wahooty

            Heaven forbid that any of us should go to bed cursed with sobriety!

              1. re: Cinnamon

                Actually, this year I might go with KiltedCook's salmagundi. With a lime-based vinaigrette, of course. ;)

            1. What kind of socks does a pirate wear........Arrrrrguiles....
              Smoked turkey leg and a bottle of rum....(and Johhny Depp)

              1 Reply
              1. re: HotMelly

                I was thinking drumsticks of some sort, too...not sure how traditional it is, but it seems to lend itself to a growling "arrrgh" while pulling the meat off the bone...

              2. Columbus, Ohio where I live has the largest Somali population outside Somalia (go figure!). They have been in the news lately for being quite the pirates by capturing merchant ships in the Indian Ocean, threatening cruise ships, holding hostages, etc. While I haven't tried any of these recipes, here is a link to authentic Somali cuisine, complete with videos.


                4 Replies
                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                  This is a great site!! I've been looking for somali recipes for a while.

                  And yes when I read pirate I thought "somalian pirates"!

                  1. re: Diane in Bexley

                    Bex, more Somali's than Lewiston, Me.? The mayor of Lewiston got roasted by the national press a few years ago for his anti-Somali sentiments. Maybe he should talk less like a pirate and walk the plank.
                    ps Do not have Captain Hook look a likes scratch their groin. Arrrgh!!
                    Something just for the halibut?
                    What the hake!
                    Oh, cod!
                    I'll clam up.

                  2. Salmagundi - a great name for a 17th centyru "pirate dish". Google it! It's a sort of buffet sized Chef Salad with greens, assorted cooked and raw vegetables and meats all laid out and dressed with a viniagrette. Can be as "mild or wild" with ingredients as you like. A great party dish.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KiltedCook

                      Yum. hardtack.

                      Old school sea rations were pretty gnarly. Quality and quantity of food was often an issue.

                    2. The Pirate Store in San Francisco (no, I'm not making that up) is famous for selling tubs of lard along with a list of ways to use lard in a piratey fashion. Maybe call them up, or just have a tub of lard out. It's always appropriate.

                      1. It's like "cake or death."

                        You've got pie, and you've got rat.

                        I'll take pie. (NOT rat pie.)

                        1. Successful pirates probably ate very well.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Chefpaulo

                            You proably couln't pull it off today but one of the big hits on most turn of the century pirate/sailor menus was fresh giant sea turtle or tortoise. Whne sailors landed on islands that had these they were known to bring dozens of them onboard, tossing out the ballast stones if neccecary to make room. They were, to them the orginal "canned food" they were slow enough to catch easily, stayed alive an astoning amount of time without being fed and basically provided a source of fresh meat that could last months into the voyage. Flightless island birds were another popular treat (remember at least part of the reason for the extinction of the dodo was due to saliors eating them).

                            There's also a beverage called something like "seamans coffee" I remember seeing on some documentary made of hot water, burned ship's buscuit and sugar. you could probably do something like with burned crackers.

                            1. re: Chefpaulo

                              On shore, probably...

                              Sea rations for a non officer on any ship were pretty wanting, especially by modern standards.

                            2. salted cured meats
                              citrus for scurvy

                              1. There's a recipe for Poulet Boucanier (Bucaneer's Chicken) in Steven Raichlen's "BBQ Bible". It's marinated in rum, lime, chiles, spices, etc. then smoked over sugar cane.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Trencher man

                                  Interestingly the word "bucanner" is itself food related. From Wiki (I know Wiki is sometimes inaccurate, but I saw this same expliantion several other places, this one was just in a convenient form)

                                  "The term buccaneer derives from the Arawak word buccan, a wooden frame for smoking meat, hence the French word boucane and the name boucanier for French hunters who used such frames to smoke meat from feral cattle and pigs on Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic).[2] English colonists anglicised the word boucanier to buccaneer.

                                  About 1630, some Frenchmen who were driven away from the island of Hispaniola fled to nearby Tortuga. The Spaniards tried to drive them out of Tortuga, but the buccaneers were joined by many other French, Dutch and English and turned to piracy against Spanish shipping, generally using small craft to attack galleons in the vicinity of the Windward Passage. Finally they became so strong that they even sailed to the mainland of Spanish America and sacked cities."

                                  Guess that Adds another thing to the Pirate Feast..... barbecue!!

                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                    Garrr, gerrr, Sarsgaarrrd! I think of that SNL episode whenever pirates come up for discussion.