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Cockentrice

· Time Capsule

Pig out. Unless you're chicken?

Cockentrice
Sam, a scared red circle, is dressed as a medieval peasant turning a cockentrice on a spitfire grill. The recipe is written out underneath.

Cockentrice

  • 1 half rooster, boiled
  • 1 half pig, boiled
  • 2 cups bread stuffing
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 Tbsp ginger
  • 1/2 Tbsp saffron
  • some gold foil
  1. Butcher one rooster and one suckling pig.
  2. Cut the animals in half and boil all quarters until cooked.
  3. Sew animal halves together attaching the rooster’s hindquarters to the suckling pig’s forequarters.
  4. Fill body cavity with bread stuffing.
  5. Glaze with egg yolks, ginger, and saffron.
  6. Turn on spit until stuffing and egg mixture are cooked through Roasting is also acceptable if spit is not available.
  7. Cover in gold foil and serve to royal guests.

Optional: Sew remaining halves of the rooster and pig together. This dish can be served to domestics, serfs, or any non-royal guests.


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From the History Shapes Cookbook, available now:

Want a meal fit for a king? Then prepare the fanciest banquet table you can scrounge up for the Cockentrice.

This nightmare-fuel delight sprang from the minds of English chefs in the 14th century looking to make a name for themselves in the extravagant world of royal cuisine. The name “Cockentrice” is a mash up of the Old English word “cocc/cok” which means rooster, and “grys/gryse” which was an Old Norse word for pig. Alternatively, it was called the cokagrys, cotagres, koketris, cocagres, cokyntryche, cockyntryce, and cokantrice in other recipes of the period.

Regardless of the name at the top of the recipe, the basic preparation is a constant. You cut a pig in half, cut a rooster in half, sew them together and roast them. For that authentic flavor, twirl the Cockentrice slowly on a spit.

The earliest cookbook rocking the Cockentrice (Cokagrys) is the Forme of Cury published around c.1390. Later cookbooks like Harleian Manuscript no. 279 and the Douce Manuscript no. 55 would expand on the recipe as its popularity grew. Which it did for some reason.

You might be asking yourself: why would anyone eat a meal that looks like Old MacDonald's bad acid trip? For the razzle dazzle, of course.

Forget about movies and television – people in the Middle Ages barely had books. When it came time for a little entertainment, options were slim. Cockentrice hails from this era before the printing press, when meals for the wealthy were expected to be entertainment extravaganzas. Rich people would do all kinds of outlandish stuff involving food to flaunt their status. Eating the dish itself was actually secondary to the spectacle.

It should come as no surprise then that Forme of Cury was written by none other than King Richard II's chefs, as the Cockentrice was a regular at his royal table. Non-royal guests and servants could get down on the remaining halves of the animals, but that was the Medieval equivalent of an off-brand cereal. Cokyntryche Puffs, anyone? There’s no toy inside, only sadness. And maybe indigestion.

So the next time you're entertaining foreign dignitaries, or just want to show that you're not a peasant, fire up your spit and spin a Cockentrice. You might turn heads at the grocery store asking for half-pigs, half-roosters and gold foil, but caring what the commoners think is beneath you.

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