In buying terrapins, select those only that are large, fat, and thick-bodied. Put them whole into water that is boiling hard at the time, and (adding a little salt) boil them till thoroughly done throughout. Then, taking off the shell, extract the meat, and remove carefully the sand-bag and gall; also all the entrails. They are disgusting, unfit to eat, and are no longer served up in cooking terrapin for the best tables. Cut the meat into pieces, and put it into a stew-pan with its eggs, and sufficient fresh butter to stew it well. Let it stew till quite hot throughout, keeping the pan carefully covered that none of the flavour may escape; but shake it over the fire while stewing. In another pan, make a sauce of beaten yolk of egg, highly flavoured with Madeira or sherry, and powdered nutmeg and mace, and enriched with a large lump of fresh butter. Stir this sauce well over the fire, and when it has almost come to a boil, take it off. Send the terrapin to table hot in a covered dish, and the sauce separately in a sauce-tureen, to be used by those who like it, and omitted by those who prefer the genuine flavour of the terrapin when simply stewed with butter.
This is now the usual mode of dressing terrapins in Maryland and Virginia, and will be found superior to any other.
No dish of terrapins can be good unless the terrapins themselves are of the best quality. It is mistaken economy to buy poor ones. Besides being insipid and tasteless, it takes more in number to fill a dish. The females are the best.