26 December 2013

A thingamabob and a guineafowl

Do you have any idea what this little thing is? Have you ever seen one before? Have you ever used one? Can you imagine what purpose it serves?

I won't make you guess, really. Here's the answer. It's a doohickey that you use to "sew up" a chicken or other fowl so that the stuffing you put inside won't fall out. Even if you cook the volaille on the tourne-broche (rotisserie) in your little French oven. But I think we bought the gadget in the U.S. I can't really remember.

I stuffed the cavity of the bird with a kind of sausage meat dressing and then used the whatchamacallit to "sew" it up...

That's what we did yesterday. We had a 4¾ lb. chapon de pintade for our Christmas dinner. That's a "Guinea fowl" capon. I don't know you are familiar with Guinea fowl. I know my great-aunt in South Carolina used to raise them, back in the 1960s, but I don't think they are easy to come by in the U.S. And I'm not even sure if my S.C. relatives ate them. I think they kept them for the eggs.

...before putting the guineafowl on the broche ("spit") and roasting it in the oven.

Guinea hens or "guineafowl" are available year-round in French markets and supermarkets. At Christmastime, you can find capons everywhere — both chicken and Guinea fowl capons. They are especially fattened birds that people serve for holiday feasts.

Here it is with the whatsit still in place...

Guineafowl resemble partridges, Wikipedia says, but they have featherless heads. They make their nests on the ground. They are related to chickens and pheasants, and the French name for the bird is la pintade.

...and finally with it removed so we could start carving the bird.

Guineafowl meat is darker and more flavorful than chicken meat, and I like it better than turkey myself. Guineafowl are African. There are both wild and domesticated species. Try one. You'll like it.


  1. It isn't a thingamabob or a doohickey...
    it's a splangefobbler!!
    Most definately a splangefobbler...
    it has a right-hand thread....
    a thingamabob is always anti-clockwise!!

    Now that has got to be the tidiest little gadget I have ever seen...
    anyone got some stainless steel wire?
    The times I've tried sewing up the backside of a chookibird...
    only to have the cooking thread cut it's way back out...
    and leave stuffing all over the tray!!
    That was designed by someone who has had the same frustrations...

    Happy Boxing Day to you...
    and the splangefobbler!

  2. We second the "try it you'll like it" comment :-) Ours was really good too [not a capon; regular pintade] and we'll be having the rest today. I stuffed ours with lemon quarters, apple and rosemary.

    That is one brilliant whogeemaflip -- never seen one before but I definitely want one!

  3. i couldnt tell from the pix yesterday... but did the head come attached? you've shown that before when you've purchased whole birds and since guineas look like some kind of weird muppet-bird, i'd think that folk would freak out. but i'm dying to know.

    it roasted beautifully - great work! i'm guessing its pretty rare here.we have one guinea left - they are loud and kind of annoying but i like him.

  4. What Tim said. Although I'm for calling it a thingamagig.
    Now, I'd like to find one of these thingamagigs for us, so where does one find it? At the supermarket?

  5. Hi Ellen, problem is, I don't know where or when we got the chicken-closer thingy. I think we had it in California, more than ten years ago, but I'm not sure.

  6. I've seen them but I've never used one.

  7. The thing-a-ma-jig looked like the corkscrew we had to tie up our french poodle (corkscrew when into the lawn) when I was in junior high school. But, then, I couldn't judge the size until I saw it in the pintade. It seems like a much better way to truss up a 'bird'.
    Beautiful color you get from the rotisserie.

    Mary in Oregon

  8. But Starman, what is the thing called?!?!

    Mary, it's a neat gadget. But what is it's name?

  9. Oops, my link wasn't clickable:

  10. Merci mille fois, Judy. Did you just know that? If not, how did you find it?

  11. Forthe expats living in France, here is a link to a UK site that sells a 'spiral poultry lacer' for a very low price.

  12. That is both frightening and wonderful at the same time. :) Your dinner looks delicious.

    Did you have dessert? The tart that Walt made earlier in the Fall looked wonderful. I am working on my presentation this year - so am paying attention.

  13. No, Ken, I didn't know :) I just started google-image searching things like "steel spiral poultry lacer" until I found an image that looked like yours.

  14. Good job, Judy. I wouldn't have thought of the word "lacer" myself.

  15. Super, ton engin, lol ! Moi, je recouds moi-même ou je me débrouille avec des grandes épingles à nourrice... ;-)


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