Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Um, what is it?

Imagine you are seated at the head table of a grand Medieval or Tudor feast. The king and queen are only a few seats down (for you are nobility, of course). Dish after dish has been served up and all the guests including the king and queen are awaiting the main event. All have been promised a spectacular show.

And lo and behold the main event is presented...

...and you find that you have been served up an animal so exotic, so bizarre, and so absolutely absurd that all you can do is laugh in utter astonishment and delight.

What have you been presented with, what is it?

You have just been served the exotic Cockentryce.

Presenting: The Cockentryce and Coqz Heaumez

Chimera Animals & Other Showmanship Pieces of Medieval and Tudor Feasts

According to Gode Cookery, "A cockentrice was made by combining a pig and a capon into one creature, thus creating a "new" animal that would not only feed hungry folk but amuse and amaze them as well. "Cockentrice" is actually just one among many spellings of the name of this dish; originally the beast was also known as a cokagrys or cotagres, from "cock" (a capon) and "grys" (a pig); a "gryse" was a suckling pig. Other period spellings include koketris, cocagres, cokyntryche, cockyntryce, and cokantrice. Cockentrice were common entries at great dinners, and a cokyntryche is listed among the many feast items at a festival given by John Stafford, Bishop of Bath & Wells, on September 16, 1425" (godecookery). 

Cockentrice's were an excellent example of the exotic and showmanship theatrics that the grand Medieval and Tudor feasts were known to have carried out.  

Heston Blumenthal, known for his theatrics in creating gastro-inventive dishes creates the Cockentrice in the video above.  Although his Cockentrice is extremely elaborate, the spectacle of the beast has the same mischievous fun that would have been found in the best of Medieval and Tudor banquets.  
I can imagine that the guests of Heston's Tudor dinner party are just as delighted as guests of those long ago feasts! Along with the Cockentrice, the mythical and imaginative chimera animal served up at grand banquents, one could also find the odd and amusing Coqz Heaumez or the Helmeted Cock.  

Helmeted Cock?

Yes.  Helmeted Cock.

According to Gode Cookery, "Serving almost as a sort of companion to the Cockentrice is the Coqz Heaumez, or Helmeted Cock, another fantastic combination of pig and fowl, which appears in the Medieval French Cookbook of Guillaume Tirel, known today as Le Viandier de Taillevent," (godecookery 2). 

Accompanying the Cockentrice was the humorous and resplendent Helmeted Cock.  
Yes, your eyes do no decieve you, for that is indeed a fowl riding a pig into battle wearing robes while holding a lance.  

Could you imagine being served up such a delight?  I certainly could not!

The Supersizers Go (a delightfully hilarious show you just have to check out, which is available on Hulu and YouTube) presented a medieval feast complete with the Helmeted Cock.  It was truly a gastronomic delight and I was jealous not to be among the guests watching the spectacular show. At least I can watch the video! 

So, now you are fully versed in a few Franken-animals presented in the fanciful banquets of Medieval and Tudor feasts.  Now, I am off to eat something...fresh & simple...and not an apple. 

No comments:

Post a Comment