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December 28, 2000

The turducken stops here
(the complete longwinded rant!)

Hey, gang, who's up for turducken?

Whoah, '70s flashback! Truckin' in turduckens: Brushed suede, rubber soles, leather laces, sold alongside Wallabees and Earth Shoes. As in, "Bogus, dudes, who ralphed on my turduckens? Now what do I wear to the disco?"

No, it's that Atomic Age motto taught to schoolchildren: "Remember, kids, when The Bomb hits, Stop, turducken cover!"

It's a pesticide. A politically correct language taught in California public schools. A member of OPEC. Aerosol cheese!

Seriously, turducken is what every hip Hotpoint is sporting these days. The fondue of the new millennium.

I never heard of it either until my husband mentioned it casually in conversation the other day. He's one of those guys who mentions quarks, Captain Beefheart, gigabytes, bacteriophages, Judge Crater and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle casually in conversation. All in one conversation. According to him, turducken is a new haute dish, originated by Chef Paul Prudhomme, in which a turkey is stuffed with a duck is stuffed with a chicken and cooked for a long, long time. We're talkin' big turkey. Big oven. And people with nothing better to do than sit around for days waiting on supper.

My husband apparently thinks that having fossilized a turkey on Thanksgiving, I would be eager to commit mass poultricide. My response: "Gee, that's interesting. Why would anyone want to do that?" which he interpreted as "Please, I beg you, tell me everything there is to know about this fascinating dish." He inundated me with e-mails and web links about turducken. How to, when to, where to, who to ... leaving unanswered the essential question: "why?"

Who's kidding who? This kind of coupling does not occur in nature: A chicken and a duck, in fond embrace, fling themselves up the butt end of a turkey? The odds against it are astronomical. And no turkey worth its pinfeathers would participate in this sort of behavior without at least getting the money up front. When it comes to culinary pornography, these birds have been around the barnyard a few times.

This is what happens when good people go to William Sonoma. Domino's pizza used to suit them fine. Now they're hauling home baking stones and sundried tomatoes. Special knives, pneumatic drills, gadgets with wheels and straps. Ours is an experimental species: Given the means, motive and an Osterizer, Julia Child morphs into Dr. Frankenstein, committing unspeakable acts of performance art with lesser vertebrates. Turning onions into chrysanthemums, teasing geese into compromising positions. But it's one thing to doll up a hen with mandarin oranges. Start throwing Cointreau and frilly booties around -- well, now you're just showing off.

If you're making turducken because of a deep yearning for juxtaposed poultry, okay. That's between you and your Cuisinart. But let's get down to the brutal truth: Maybe turducken is what happens when the waiter is standing there tapping his pencil, and you just can't commit. Maybe what you really need isn't another extravagant gutbuster. Maybe you need to get real with your loved ones about this fine feathered fantasy you've kept secret all these years. There's probably a therapy group for 'pollo'philes like you. I'd be willing to make a few calls.

Here I thought Western society valued the individual, but I haven't heard one peep about Groucho, Chico or Harpo, the birds who made the ultimate sacrifice. Surely they had dreams, families and opinions on art. Give them a shot at a 3-D sculpture medium, I'd bet they'd go for celebrity garbage mobiles and mosaics in whole grains. Or something tasteful -- like graduates of LaParisienne on toast points.

Do we need such filthy excess? Turducken is something Caligula would serve to Imelda Marcos, with a centerpiece of dessicated pig spleen shaped like a swan, stuffed with alligator eggs and live doves: "Turducken for everybody! Save room for dessert: chocolate-covered slave boys on rose petals. Now, Imelda, no orgy 'til you finish your lark's tongues."

It's this pile-it-on mentality that got us the Edsel and Jerry Springer. There's a reason you never hear of Triple-stuff Oreos, thrice-baked potatoes or Kentucky Fried Chicken with 33 secret herbs and spices. Good taste only goes so far. Then you enter the realm of Furby Babies. Next stop: Rococco Puffs (We all know what comes in that box: Marie Antoinette Barbie. Pull her string, and she decrees, "Let them eat Croissan'wiches." Then her head falls off.) Wondering why sheep have been so edgy lately? They've caught wind of pigturducken and know what's coming next.

So, before we go whole hog for turducken, let's get some answers. Like: If it doesn't turn out, do you call it "turyucken"? If it's undercooked: "turcluckclucken"? Prepared by an incompetent chef: "turschmucken"? Pickled and dried: "gherkinturduckenjerky"? Does Kellogg's sell raspberry Toasturducken? Is the vegetarian version called "tofurcken" or "fauxturken," and do they sell it at Trader Joe's?

Okay, I'm a cretin wid' no taste for high art. A squaresville monogamist hung up on one finger-lickin fowl at a time. All that and immature, too. Feed me something with the word "turd" in it, I snicker 'til chocolate milk comes out my nose. You too? What's the number for Domino's?

Posted by dpwakefield at December 28, 2000 09:52 PM