Thursday, December 22, 2011

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Rôti Sans Pareil!

This is a Terducken

People have always tried to impress one another with food. Whether it be Mr. Caveman plonking down a wooly mammoth and saying “what d’you think, Hon — shall we invite the neighbors over for a BBQ?” or a Roman emperor terrifying his court with feats of culinary engineering, the holidays seem to bring out the crazy in the kitchen.

The Terducken, that inelegant compilation of a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey, is perhaps our most recently famous example of excess.

But the Terducken is only the tip of the stuffed-food pyramid. In 18th century Paris, if you really wanted to amaze your fellow gourmands, you made Rôti Sans Pareil, a roast without equal. It features an olive stuffed in a garden warbler, stuffed in an ortolan, stuffed in a lark, stuffed in a thrush, stuffed in a quail, stuffed in a lapwing, stuffed in a plover, stuffed in a partridge, stuffed in a woodcock, stuffed in a teal, stuffed in a guinea fowl, stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a chicken, stuffed in a pheasant, stuffed in a goose, stuffed in a turkey, stuffed in a bustard.

The chap who committed the recipe to paper is one Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Gimrod de la Reyniére, who published it in his Almanach des Gourmands. This is the same guy who threw his own funeral to see who would attend.

They courted friends differently back then.

Gimrod de la Reyniére, Almanach des Gourmands

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