An unusual recipe made the rounds on Twitter recently.
It’s kind of like a turducken, only with Middle Eastern ingredients.
The source for the recipe is a cookbook compiled by veterans of the U.S. foreign service; it was first introduced to the foreign service community in the May, 1980, issue of the Department of State Newsletter and was credited to the Mogadishu Benedier. It later made its way to a cookbook called International Cuisine published by California Home Economics Teachers in 1983, where it was credited to Shararazod Eboli, a home economist from Dammam, Saudi Arabia. A similar recipe made an appearance in The Guinness Book of World Records (the difference was that fish were stuffed in the chickens), where it was described as “the largest item on any menu in the world... prepared occasionally for Bedouin wedding feasts.”
Some people suspected it was a hoax. They argued that 110 gallons of water was not nearly enough to boil an entire camel, let alone a large lamb and 20 medium chickens, and they didn’t think there could possibly be a pot large enough to accommodate all those animals. But they are wrong!
Snopes.com, the redoubtable debunking website, did a further investigation and found a complete account of a preparation of this dish by someone who had actually done it in a book called The Fearless Gourmet by Richard Sterling. But Sterling didn’t actually see it for himself. So Snopes concludes, “As for stuffed camel, we still haven’t decided whether it’s a real (albeit uncommon) dish, or merely a tall tale which Middle Easterners delight in foisting off on gullible tourists.”
Or, if you find yourself suffering through the preparation of another turkey and sides on Thursday, you could think about those poor Bedouin cooks boiling and stuffing camels, lambs, and chickens and, hey, be thankful.