Wake Up Call

Cockentrice: Forget About Turduckens, This You've Got to See

Ah engastration -- as in the art of stuffing one animal into the insides of another animal, then cooking and eating it. The most popular example of engastration would arguably be the Turducken, or a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. It's believed the crazy creation dates back to 1987 but what you may not have realized until now is that engastration goes back hundreds and years. And it's not even close to the weirdest thing people used to do to their food.

Enter, the Cockentrice. A Frankenstein food that combines the upper body of a pig with the behind of a turkey.

See also: "Turducken Ridiculous" Contains Kangaroo, Emu and 18 Other Meats. Really.

The dish goes back to the Middle Ages, during which time a cockentrice would have not only satisfied hungry dinner guests, but also would have amused them as well. It was common at great feasts and recipes can be found from at least three sources. Here's the one from the Harleian & Douce Manuscript as translated by The Atlantic:

Cockentrice - take a capon, scald it, drain it clean, then cut it in half at the waist; take a pig, scald it, drain it as the capon, and also cut it in half at the at the waist; take needle and thread and sew the front part of the capon to the back part of the pig; and the front part of the pig to the back part of the capon, and then stuff it as you would stuff a pig; put it on a spit, and roast it: and when it is done, gild it on the outside with egg yolks, ginger, saffron, and parsley juice; and then serve it forth for a royal meat.

You can view a photo of the pig-headed version here, and the reverse (turkey head) animal here.

And it get's even weirder. There's a variation on the dish called the Helmeted Cock, that involves dressing up the bird in military regalia and making it appear the ride the pig.

Finally, we come to the Roti Sans Pereil (or Roast Without Equal). Along the same lines as the Turducken Ridiculous, this dish is created by stuffing 17 different birds inside each other. Here's the complete list:

  • Warbler
  • Bunting
  • Lark
  • Thrush
  • Quail
  • Lapwing
  • Plover
  • Partridge
  • Woodcock
  • Teal
  • Guinea Fowl
  • Duck
  • Chicken
  • Pheasant
  • Goose
  • Turkey
  • Giant Bustard

If you ever tried to make one it would look something like the video below. Except less cute and with a lot more death.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria