Recipes: Zombie Chicken

“You take the chicken, and you pluck the chicken while it’s still alive, and you baste the skin with a mixture of soya, wheat germ and dripping, I think it was. And apparently this makes it look like the skin’s been roasted. You then put the head of this live chicken under its tummy and rock it to sleep. Then you get two other chickens and you roast them. And you bring these three chickens out on a tray to the table. You start carving one of the roasted chickens. And. . .the one that is still alive but sleeping goes sort of ‘Wha!’ — head pops up — and it runs off down the table…

And that’s Part 1. Then you take this poor chicken, and you kill it, and you stuff its neck with a mixture of quicksilver, which is mercury, and sulfur, and then stitch it up. And apparently — obviously I haven’t tried this at home, or at work — the expanding air in the neck cavity as you roast causes the mercury and the sulfur to react and somehow creates a clucking noise.”

Sweet Zombie Jesus.

The New York Times delivers us an interview with Heston Blumenthal of Fat Duck, speaking of 14th Century French food. Yes, completely unrelated to Cambodian food but so entirely compelling. Not to mention that it would take balls of solid steel to carve a chicken full of boiling quicksilver at the table.

4 thoughts on “Recipes: Zombie Chicken”

  1. I don’t remember that from Taillevant.

    I remember he explainshow to remove the skin of a swan with the feathers on and how to cure it without destroying the feathers. The swan is stuffed with oyster, roasted and covered back with the skin. The whole thing is set with copper skewers so it looks it’s going to fly away. The explanation isn’t much longer than that in the book.

    Good old time…

  2. I think that Taillevant confuses cooking with taxidermy on that occasion.

    My guess is that you could lift the skin and feathers off the swan whole like Peking Duck, using compressed air if you had it handy.

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