Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Roxanne, she who writes at Rox Populi, got me thinking about turducken, that quintessentially Cajun poultry treat that consists of a chicken stuffed into a duck, in turn stuffed into a turkey. The birds are deboned (the turkey, partially so) and each is also packed with a different stuffing. The net effect is that of a huge, (mostly) boneless pile of meat and stuffing that can be carved into neat slices.

Rox made the statement that turducken was among the dishes that would never be served in her house. Well, I’m a Thanksgiving traditionalist, too, but I never say never, especially when it comes to food.

Well, head cheese. There’s that. If I had a culinary “No-Fly Zone,” head cheese would definitely be in it. Feh.

It’s been a few years, but She Who Must Be Obeyed and I had a turducken a few years ago. More than one, in fact. Some friends in Houston served one up at a Thanksgiving dinner, and it was a Real Experience, that rare combination of Perverse and Tasty.

We liked it so much, we decided to have one of our own at a New Year’s Eve party we were planning to host here in Atlanta. How to get a turducken, though – that was the tricky part.

Today, owing to its burgeoning popularity among lovers of Excessively Meaty Dishes, turducken is easy to score on the Internet, and it even shows up in local supermarkets here. But a few years ago, this was not the case. You had to be in Cajun Country – or in the greater Houston area, at least – to find it. And we just happened to be in Houston, visiting the Momma de SWMBO at the tail end of December. Bingo!

We found a suitable turducken at the local Randall’s, which we purchased – it was, I recall, about $60, a hefty sum for a holiday bird - and packed into an ice chest for the 15-hour drive home. Every so often, we would replenish the ice in the chest, ensuring that our costly, rare treat would still be edible once we got it home.

Our Cajun Culinary Chimera was a great success. Plenty of meaty, meaty goodness, enough to feed a small army. Easy to carve, too, without them pesky bones.

It’s not something I would eat every year, and the turducken certainly is no replacement for the traditional Thanksgiving gobbler. But it’s an offbeat, if somewhat pricey, treat, one that I would happily serve to Roxanne if only to show her that it’s not bad at all.

But wait: there’s more. In the spirit of Wretched Excess, we could extend the concept ad absurdum: How about a quail stuffed into a duck stuffed into a chicken stuffed into a turkey stuffed into an emu? Then you could take the whole mess and cram it into a Deboned Alligator. Now, that’s Cajun!

“Just because its name starts out with ‘turd’ doesn’t mean it’s not good to eat.” Thus sayeth Elisson.

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