Turtle, the Common, or Giant Turtle, Testudo midas, L. a native of the West Indies and South America. This amphibious animal attains to a prodigious size ; being sometimes three yards long, and six feet broad; weighing from 5 to 800 lbs. The female digs nu-merous holes in the sand, where she annually deposits more than 1000 eggs, on which she broods during the night. The young, however, are chit fly hatched by the sun, and frequently become a prey to ravenous birds.
Turtles are taken, either by turning them on their backs, when on land ; or, by hunting them in boats, and killing them by a kind of spear, similar to that employed for taking whales. - Their flesh is highly esteemed, particularly the belly, which is of a delicate white colour, resembling veal; and the gran fat possesses a peculiar odour.
The whole is very nutritious, and of a soft gelatinous nature; but, containing a large portion of strong fat (which is exceedingly unwholesome when rancid or tainted), it should never be eaten without salt, pepper, or other spice, and ought to be carefully avoided in every form, by convalescents, and those whose digestive powers are reduced. - As the turtle, however, subsists chiefly on vegetables, its flesh is uncommonly palatable and wholesome, especially in a salted state : thus, it forms a considerable article of trade in the West India Islands, where the natives convert the upper shell of this animal into canoes, troughs, bucklers, etc.
Mock-Turtle Soup, may be prepared in the following manner : - First, a calf's-head must be scalded, without stripping off the skin; when the gristly or horny parts should be taken out, and cut into small pieces. These ought next to be washed, wiped, and put into a vessel containing four quarts of strong broth, prepared of 7lbs. of beef, a calf's-foot, a shank of ham, with an onion, carrot, turnip, some thyme, and other pot-herbs : to which may farther be added, a little parsley, sweet marjoram, and savory, cut small; together with some pounded cloves and mace, a little Cayenne pepper, a few young onions, some chopped mushrooms, and half a pint of Madeira wine. - All these ingredients are to be slowly stewed, till the liquor be reduced to two quarts; when a little broth, thickened with flour, should be gradually added, together with the yolks of two eggs, and carefully stirred, till the whole nearly boils : it is now suffered to stew for another hour, at the end of which, it is fit for use. - Such is the method of making this expensive soup, which is so highly gratifying to the vitiated palates of those, who prefer the Luxuries of the table, with their concomitant evils, to temperance, health, and longevity.