Imaginary Cuisine

November 19, 2008

A receipe for cooking a Phoenix.

The preparation of the phoenix is relatively simple, and similar to the preparation of much large game. First of all, as is suggested by its habits, the phoenix should be hung, so that the flavor of the flesh becomes gamy, according to taste, somewhere between the bird state and the worm state. Afterwards, it should be marinated in a mixture of red wine, herbs and spices (see infra). The reason for the marinade is, however, the opposite of what is usually the case. Many types of large game need be hung and marinated in order to soften their flesh, as their free-ranging lives produces a far greater proportion of muscle to fat than is found in domestic fowl and livestock. For the phoenix, however, tenderizing is unnecessary, since it is a very long-lived and sedentary creature, and thus has an extremely high and volatile fat content. (This complicates both hanging and roasting, as its flesh easily falls to pieces if tenderized too long.) As it has a distinct tendency to burst into flame, a marinade is necessary for moistening and flame-retarding purposes, and it is precisely for that reason that the bird should be continually basted with the marinade mixed with a bit of clarified butter or neutral vegetable oil. As for the recipes themselves, we should beware of misleading analogies. Certain of them believe that the phoenix should be treated like the heron.”

HT New Yorker