Today’s Food Fun involves a word new to most people, engastration; a food familiar to many, turducken; and a bratwurst-hot dog riff on turducken.
FOOD 101: ENGASTRATION
Turducken consists of a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which is in turn stuffed into a de-boned turkey. The dish is a form of engastration: a preparation method in which one bird is stuffed inside the gastric passage of another to create a bird inside a bird inside a bird. The term is derived from Greek words meaning “in the belly.”
Some recipes also have stuffing between each layer. The entire bird/bird/bird could also be covered in pastry.
The method of engastration supposedly originated during the Middle Ages (here’s more engrastration history). A popular dish in 19th century England was Pandora’s Cushion, a boned goose stuffed with a boned chicken, which was stuffed with a boned pheasant, itself stuffed with a boned quail.”
The Beast: a sausage stuffed with a hot dog, the cousin of turducken. Photo courtesy MLBlogs.com.
The engastration most often consumed in the U.S. is the turducken. While Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme claims to have invented the idea, there is an Empire Kosher Poultry recipe book that long pre-dates Prudhomme’s recipe, although the recipe wasn’t called turducken. So Prudhomme may be credited with coming up with the portmanteau (see below).
But turducken might easily have remained unknown outside Louisiana for a long time. Fortunately for turducken lovers, American football commentator John Madden promoted the dish on Fox Sports by feeding it to the Thanksgiving Bowl winners.
Turducken: turkey stuffed with chicken
stuffed with duck. Photo courtesy Louisiana
THE BEAST BRATWURST HOT DOG
Schlitz claimed it was “The beer that made Milwaukee famous.” But with all the food fans online these days, that claim is waiting to be updated.
In the 21st century, the contender to make Milwaukee famous is The Beast, a grilled bratwurst sliced in half and stuffed with a grilled hot dog. The brat/dog is then wrapped in bacon and grilled.
At The Plaza Pavillion in Miller Park, it’s served with sauerkraut and grilled onions on a Pretzilla pretzel roll, with house-made potato chips and a pickle.
What, only one item stuffed into a second item? If the bacon doesn’t work for you as the third layer, just split the grilled hot dog in half and stuff it with cheese.
TURDUCKEN: A PORTMANTEAU
The word turducken is a portmanteau of turkey, duck, and chicken.
A portmanteau (port-MAN-toe) is a combination of two or more words or morphemes, and their respective definitions, into one new word.
The term derives from portmanteau luggage, a British term for a piece of luggage with two compartments, which in turn is derived from the French porter (to carry) and manteau (coat). A porte-manteau is a coat tree.
The term was first used in the combined-meaning context in 1871 by Lewis Carroll in “Through the Looking-Glass.” Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the coinage of the unusual words in Jabberwocky: “slithy” means “lithe and slimy” and “mimsy” is “flimsy and miserable.”
Humpty Dumpty explains: “You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.”