The Rôti Sans Pareil Is 17 Birds Stuffed Inside Each Other and It Is Delicious
To most people, the turducken, a solid slab of flesh created by stuffing a turkey with a duck, and that duck in turn with a chicken, epitomizes the egregious complexity and gluttonous obsession with meat that makes up a large part of modern American cuisine. But most people are pussies. In the historical world of engastration (stuffing animals inside other animals) and chimera (melding animals together) cooking, this 15-pound bird-block is about as interesting as a flaccid boiled hotdog. The true king of culinary absurdity comes from L’almanach des gourmands, an 1807 cookbook written by Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimond de la Reyniere, a man so outlandish he faked his own death to see who would attend his funeral. His creation was called the rôti sans pareil—the roast without equal—and it is everything that has made the half-dead art of engastration increasingly popular today: ambitious, ostentatious, and alluringly, inevitably delicious.
His recipe calls for a bustard stuffed with a turkey stuffed with a goose stuffed with a pheasant stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a duck stuffed with a guinea fowl stuffed with a teal stuffed with a woodcock stuffed with a partridge stuffed with a plover stuffed with a lapwing stuffed with a quail stuffed with a thrush stuffed with a lark stuffed with an ortolan bunting stuffed with a garden warbler stuffed with an olive stuffed with an anchovy stuffed with a single caper, with layers of Lucca chestnuts, force meat and bread stuffing between each bird, stewed in a hermetically sealed pot in a bath of onion, clove, carrots, chopped ham, celery, thyme, parsley, mignonette, salted pork fat, salt, pepper, coriander, garlic, and “other spices,” and slowly cooked over a fire for at least 24 hours.
We Need to Quit Our Obsession with Meat Before It Kills Us
On Sunday, March 9, Pitt Cue Co.—the meat mecca just off London’s Carnaby Street—hosted a special evening, a one-off “Highland Beef Night” that featured a nose-to-tail menu of beef dishes made from a pair of Highland cows the restaurant bought a year ago from a Cornish farmer. The animals spent two months dry-aging, their flesh and bones eventually finding their way into dishes like beef scrumpets, beef and bone-marrow pasties, and the king of all cuts, rib of beef.
All of it was fucking fantastic. Not many places in London do the things to pigs and cows that Pitt Cue does. But with everyone smiling at each other—lips slicked with grease, teeth like fence posts that live animals had been fired into—I couldn’t help thinking that there was something a bit culty about a group of humans gathering together to eat two specific cows.
Locavore obsessives will kick their hooves at this. Speak to any chef, food critic, restaurateur—whomever—and they’ll give you the eat-better-meat-less-often argument, droning on about where the animals lived, what they ate, how humanely they died, which artisan coffee they drank, etc., etc. All of that is irrefutable. If you’re going to eat meat, you can do your part by eating the best quality available and, when you can, consuming the animal’s less popular parts (neck fillet, onglet, cheek, trotters, that kind of stuff) and not just the common cuts.
Meanwhile, we’ve become increasingly obsessed with meat. If an event like Highland Beef Night had been touted even a few years ago, there’s no way it would have pulled in the people it did on Sunday. Meat is now highly fetishized, especially among young people. Burgers are the new tits—if you look at any social media platform, there are as many 20-something men posting photos of ground flesh covered in neon sauce as there are sharing that zero-gravity Kate Upton video. We’ve become a society of rabid carnivores, and it’s not just getting tiresome—it’s fucking killing us.
This Guy Has Eaten Nothing but Raw Meat for 5 Years
Meet Derek Nance. Five years ago, Derek had some mystery illness that killed his appetite and made him puke up everything he ate. The doctors suspected it was an allergy thing so Derek changed his diet. First he cut the wheat and dairy, but he still continued losing weight. Getting desperate, he was soon online, chatting to people pushing all manner of lifesaving diets. Derek tried a Mediterranean diet (fish and vegetables) before ditching the fish and eventually becoming a vegan, but nothing worked. Finally, a guy who’d had similar symptoms recommended a carnivorous version of the Palaeolithic diet. With nothing to lose, Derek gave raw meat a try. That was five years ago and he now goes so far as to brush his teeth with animal fat. For reasons I don’t properly understand I wanted to watch Derek eat a meal and he obliged. I found him with his girlfriend, Joanne, in Lexington, Kentucky and we talked about vital organs, rotten meat, and health, which is the main point of this according to Derek. He’s never been healthier.
VICE: Hi, Derek. Can you tell me more about this diet? Whose idea was this?
Derek: So it was started by a dentist named Weston Price who in the 1930s studied the health benefits of eating more raw foods including meats. He studied the Native Americans and a few of them who lived on a guts and grease diet. He found people in primitive communities were much healthier than we are today, and I thought, all right, I’ll give it a try.
Was there any deliberation?
Not really because I’d been sick for such a long time that I was willing to give anything a try. I had a couple of goats in my yard that I was using for milk and you know, I was tired of milking them so I slaughtered them. I ate both of those goats, all raw, and just switched over like that.
Dear God. Did it make you sick?
No. Maybe what you get at first is a little diarrhoea, but that’s just your digestive system adapting. After the first week I felt absolutely great and I never went back.
Derek’s dinner. Chunks of lamb and fat.
And you’ve eaten nothing else since?
Yeah, for nearly six years. I’m into lamb, mainly. It’s just easy to go out to farms, barter over a decent price, slaughter it and throw it in the truck. It’s a lot harder to deal with beef because it’s a lot bigger. Pigs are kind of a no-no because they shoot them full of hormones and raise them on grains, which promote bacterial growth.
Relax, Soda Isn’t Killing Anyone
Today, the left-wing blog ThinkProgress freaked out over a study that linked soda and other sugary drinks to 180,000 deaths globally each year. According to that study, “one out of every 100 obesity-related deaths around the world can be tied to sugary drinks, which directly exacerbate health conditions like diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer… the over-consumption of those beverages increased global deaths from diabetes by 133,000, from cardiovascular disease by 44,000 and from cancer by 6,000.” One of the study’s co-authors, Gitanjali Singh of the Harvard School of Public Health, said that these tens of thousands of deaths “should impel policy makers to make strong policies to reduce consumption of sugary beverages.” ThinkProgress went on to note that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to do exactly that, but the courts struck his proposal down and now, Oh God, New Yorkers will keep drinking lots of soda and, presumably, keep dying from sugary drinks. I hope you’re happy, you cranky libertarian types. The right to drink whatever you want that you cherish so much is killing innocent people.
Man, where to start?
1. 180,000 deaths worldwide per year is, like, hardly any deaths. The CIA World Factbook says that 107 people die every minute, which works out to roughly 154,000 deaths a day. If soda is killing as few people as the study says, it’s not a hugely urgent problem.
2. The American Beverage Association—a.k.a., Big Soda, so take this with a grain of salt—pointed out inBloomberg that the study’s abstract, which was published by the American Heart Association, doesn’t include a methodology and wasn’t peer-reviewed, so it’s impossible to check the researchers’ work. They say the American Heart Association “calculated the quantities of sugar-sweetened beverage intake around the world by age and sex; the effects of this consumption on obesity and diabetes; and the impact ofobesity and diabetes-related deaths,” but the raw numbers weren’t on the website so we have to take them at their word.
Paid to Eat
After years of getting paid to scarf down tacos and pizza on “fat fetish” cam sites, Donna Simpson reached an astonishing 600 lbs. She’s now desperately trying to lose weight in order to lead a normal life for the sake of herself and her children.
My Greatest Moments in Binge Eating
My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, because the whole point of it is to eat like a hog and then lie on the floor and pretend we aren’t a country of tunnel-visioned murderers. Food fills your blood and brain, and if anybody talks to you it is acceptable to just grunt in response. Even sports start to make sense, which means to me that to live in America is to be approaching a certain death by endless, needless fat ingestion.
Having grown up a fat kid who lost the weight of a whole third grader over a summer to assume my current body shape of a normally-appetited guy, Thanksgiving is one of the few times I let myself feel like who I really am on the inside. “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach,” my mother used to tell me when our family would go to Morrison’s cafeteria and I’d try to take one of almost every item (they were eventually forced to limit me to five). Sometimes I think my entire life has been me trying to prove I can eat everything I touch.
Holidays not-withstanding, here are some of my choicest moments on my lifelong journey to becoming a lard ass. Some are marathon-like, and some stretched over years, because the truest form of binge-eating takes whole eras; each is pretty much the only time I’ve ever really began to feel like a person among people. In other words, a human.
1. Lettuce Soup-Rise You
My friend John and I were bored in the suburbs and we’d already watched Eddie Murphy’s Raw three times and Dumb and Dumber twice when we decided to go to the soup-themed buffet chain down the street and see who could eat the most. Lettuce Soup-rise You was a place that had a salad bar in the front that was hyped as the central draw, though every time I ate there I remember everybody walking straight past the salad to where they had the pasta with meat sauce and the pizza and the beefaroni and the bread and the ice cream and the chocolate cake. John and I ate plate after plate for three hours, refusing to say anything to each other while shoveling horrible things into our faces that we had stopped enjoying after the first ten minutes because all buffet food tastes like it was made for horses. At some point the food turns from seeming like food and into cement, and there you are. I don’t remember which of us offered a truce, but I do remember I couldn’t really lift my arm to shake on it. When we got home we both went into our rooms. I felt so disgusting I came up later to find John watching Dumb and Dumber again and told him I felt demonic and he told me I should force myself to puke like he had as soon as we got back. Having never been able to force myself to barf, I let John talk me into taking my first shot of vodka ever (I was straight-edge at the time) to induce the barf-desire and then hung over the toilet semi-crying and still not able to get it out. The food liked where it was in me and insisted to stay there. Finally I decided to go for a run for the first voluntary time in my life, putting on sweat-clothes that felt tighter than ever to go pudge-trudging through the neighborhood sweating grease. I have run at least six days a week every week since, trying desperately to rid myself of what the rest of me keeps making.
2. Taco Bell Drive Thru
Some percentage of my current total body is comprised entirely of Taco Bell shit. It’s probably my face. I don’t know what it is about the colors of that sign, but every time I’ve had even a drop of alcohol I find myself magnetized to the glass like a brain damaged vacuum toddler. You can tell you’ve eaten Taco Bell when the next day you wake up feeling like someone rinsed your chest with rubber cement. Once I actually called ahead to the Bell from the bar at 3:00 AM to verify they were still open on a Sunday. The most I ever spent at Taco Bell was when my friend York and I pulled through and pretended like we were ordering for all the other people we’d been at the bar with, even though they’d already gone home to bed. Somehow every time the lady asked “Is that all?” one of us said “No” until we’d racked up $50 worth of recycled beef and beans and flour and cheese. I remember somehow we were both riding in the backseat on the way home like blue-eyed human voids each hoarding nachos and folded taco shit into our faces while an invisible driver escorted us magic carpet style to the scene of the crime where we would each gain ~10 pounds in beef weight before passing out still listening to Danzig.
The VICE Guide to Fat People
If you’re fat, your life probably went something like mine:
Once upon a time you were eight years old. Your parents got divorced. You moved schools. You didn’t talk to anyone for a few weeks. But then, magically, you got over it. How did you get over it? Spaghetti hoops and sausages in a can, no exercise, and Hostess Fruit Pies. Your journey had begun.
By the time you were ten, the world was laughing at you. And why not? You looked like a condom full of Play-Doh that came alive and grew some hair. Your parents fitted plastic locks on all the food cupboards, but you destroyed them easily with your massive hands. Your friends became bullies and your teachers became friends. How did you try to fix the situation? Chicken nuggets and milkshakes x 1000.
So now you’re a grown-up fat person. Congratulations, you are part of the most successful and fastest growing (LOL) demographic in the world. You’re also using up more resources than necessary, contributing disproportionately to global warming by expelling more gases than cattle, and indirectly murdering millions of starving children in Third World countries across the planet. Give yourself a round of applause!
But, as all daytime talk show enthusiasts know, life’s not always such a peach for the rotund. In fact, sometimes, it’s pretty damn shitty. So, for all you who, like me, are proud, First World fatties, here are some gems of advice to help you through your significantly shortened lives.
FACIAL HAIR ♂ / MAKEUP ♀
When you’re a child, disguising the fact that your neck long ago enveloped your jawline is not easy. However, sexual maturity offers you a get out of jail. Careful grooming of a beard (an actual beard, not soul patches or those bullshit pencil-thin Jersey Shorelines) not only creates the illusion of a jaw, but also lends a sense of masculinity to a blotched, swollen face which, frankly, belongs on a pregnant alcoholic. Ladies, unhappy you can’t beard up like your pudgy brothers? You can achieve similar effects by using subtle shadings of blusher and foundation to draw on a chin somewhere in that pile of flesh that goes from your shoulders to your lips.
If you believe television, then you think fat people seek each other out romantically. Obviously, this is not the case. Just because you’re fat, it doesn’t mean you fancy other fat people—you’re fat, not a chubby chaser. Fat people fancy the same people as everyone else: Ryan Gosling and Rihanna, we just have even less of a chance of actually sleeping with them. Fat people tend to settle for other fat people; and then we compliment each other, we feel good about ourselves, and the world inches towards being a better place.
You might be a looker. Fuck, you might be David JFK Clooney Beckham, but no one will ever know, because your face is hidden behind two inches of meat. The average person doesn’t want to make out with a plate of sausage filling. But, hopefully you’ve been paying attention to the hilarious insults everyone’s been throwing at you since year dot, because you’re going to need to be funny. Charming as well. Seriously, you have to be twice as charming as Hugh Grant, because he’s really skinny. But get it right, and you’ll be able to fuck right out of your comfort zone. Sixes. You can get sixes. Which, let’s face it, is great news.
Alternatively, if you’re gay, you lucked out. Hot, skinny lesbians, who—on planet hetero-norm—would be screwing Jared Leto, LOVE big girls. And if you’re a fat gay guy? Well, things couldn’t be easier; walk into any bear bar and prepare to feel all those years of feeling unattractive washed away in a sea of jizzum.
As a large person, a lot of your life is spent trying to avoid breaking a sweat or running out of breath. Sadly, you’re gonna fall short of this ambition several times a day, every time you see a flight of stairs, in fact. Unless you live in an air-conditioned elevator wonderland, you’re going to have to deal with stairs ALMOST CONSTANTLY. Toilets, bedrooms, balconies, viewing platforms—all of these bastard things are upstairs and by the time you get there, you’re going to smell so bad the paramedics will probably refuse to treat the enormous heart attack going on behind your fat ribs. Also, the temperature in your crotch will go up by about 15 degrees in under 60 seconds. Fucking stairs.