by Kevin Allman
The tradition of eating things stuffed inside other things is centuries old (Google rôti sans pareil if you want to be simultaneously nauseated, intrigued and amused), but its 20th century apotheosis was, of course, the turducken: a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, which was popularized in modern times by Louisiana's own Paul Prudhomme. This 2002 article by Amanda Hesser in The New York Times awakened more national interest in the dish, and you can now order cook-it-yourself turduckens from places like Cajun Grocer for as little as $65. (It's not just for Thanksgiving any more.)
Eating a turducken has never appealed to me (in this heat, the thought of it makes my gorge rise), but I think I'd rather carve up a triple-bird than take a single bite of the sandwich below (though it's more appetizing than Taco Bell's "Cantinas Tacos").
Is it McNuggets-n-Cheese? Are they breaded testicle panini? Make your guess before you hit the jump for the answer.
Fried cheese melt, made with four fried mozzarella sticks and melted American cheese grilled between two slices of sourdough bread. It is served with French fries and a side of marinara sauce.
Like the picture of the tacos linked above, the Fried Cheese Melt has a vague CGI quality to it, as if it was photographed by robot food stylists in some Food Network Tron universe. The other food-inside-foodstuff I encountered recently is just the opposite; a robot couldn't make this if it tried:
The fellow is Charles Phoenix, a Southern California guru of all things mid-century kitsch, and what he's holding is a cherpumple, a dessert of his own invention:
The Cherpumple is the desert version of the Turducken. Its a three-layer cake with a pie stuffed in each layer. YUM! Cherpumple is short for CHERry, PUMpkin and apPLE pie. The apple pie is baked in spice cake, the pumpkin in yellow and the cherry in white.
And if you'd like to make a cherpumple to go with your turducken, it's much easier than stuffing birds into one another; all you need are three frozen pies, three boxed cake mixes and a few gallons of frosting. Here's Charles demonstrating the technique. Would you eat it?