Thanksgiving is less than seven days away and there’s a lot to be thankful for. Yes, I’d be even more thankful if we just greenlit the $400 million we need over the next ten years to clear out UXO in Laos, but hey, one day at a time. At the moment, I’d say it’s been a very good year, and the Year of the Dragon coming up promises to be even better! Or, at least, a more interesting time, although in China, I hear that’s a very popular curse.
In any case, we’re going to take a break away from NaNoWriMo and Asian American Activism to present our gastronomical challenge of the day to all of our Midwestern Lao Cooks in the House!
Behold, the Turducken!
As many of you have heard me rail on about in different conversations, I’m at once mortified and fascinated by the Turducken, which is a nested fowl dish consisting of a turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with a chicken.
One particular complaint I have is that it insists on using a spice mixture predominantly suited for European American tastes, when we all know Lao American barbecue marinades would kick them to the curb faster than you can say “phet lai!”
It’s supposed to be a somewhat more sustainable version of the rôti sans pareil (“roast without equal”)—a bustard stuffed with a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an ortolan bunting and a garden warbler stuffed with an olive. Please note before you try THAT dish, several of these birds are endangered and you can do jail time for it. Bad stuffing!
Some time back, Pink Floyd had a recipe for a stuffed camel dish which was supposedly a traditional Bedouin wedding feast. Which makes “Comfortably Numb” take on a whole different meaning:
Obviously, the stuffed camel is something of a joke, but the Guinness Book of World Records suggests “The largest item on any menu in the world is roasted camel, prepared occasionally for Bedouin wedding feasts. Cooked eggs are stuffed into fish, the fish stuffed into cooked chickens, the chickens stuffed into a roasted sheep’s carcass and the sheep stuffed into a whole camel.” Now, imagine if those bustards were rôti sans pareil.
But here in the Lao community, we like principles of moderation, and there’s no way anyone’s going to get away with a Khin Xang recipe of a stuffed elephant feast. Yuck! Saep baw lai! So, scaling it back a little, what’s the best dish you can propose?
Submitted for your consideration, the TurBaconEpic, which is a bacon-wrapped roasted pig stuffed with a Turducken and garnished with baconators.
Alas, you cannot use tofurkey for turducken for any number of reasons, including a very unfortunate portmanteau.
But I just know we can come up with something even more delicious for the thankful mega-carnivores among us. What would be the quintessential Lao American Thanksgiving Dish for you?