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Turkey wars: megameat versus tofu
One looks like a turkey, the other's not even close. I spy a Turducken and a Tofurkey on the table.
November 26, 2003: 9:30 AM EST
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - It's a brave thing to unturkey the turkey on Thanksgiving. But if you really must play fowl with the bird, which would you rather serve -- a Turducken or a Tofurkey?

First consider the Turducken, described by some food critics as a three-in-one oddity, a sort of "Frankenstein of Fowl."

What is it? It's a deboned chicken stuffed inside a deboned duck stuffed inside a deboned turkey, or "Tur duck en."

"It looks like a regular turkey with three different meats and dressings and it involves a very slow cook," said celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme -- about 12 hours for a 15-to-20 pound turkey.

Prudhomme, a Louisiana native, created the Turducken in the 1960s, and in fact holds the copyright to the name and the recipe.

But he's not interested in mass-producing his specialty, preferring to serve the $100 Turducken meal at his K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen restaurant in New Orleans' French Quarter, or getting innovative cooks to try making it for themselves.

Prudhomme wouldn't say how many Turduckens he serves each year, but said demand is soaring.

Turucken and the Bull

Alternately, several meat specialty stores will ship their competing version of a combo-birdee-in-one Turducken to you in time for Thanksgiving dinner. The trademark infringement isn't a problem with Prudhomme, who chose not to enforce his copyright on the name or the recipe because of the high costs involved with the process.

The Turducken, however, is a vegetarian's nightmare. Those eschewing fowl might want to consider a Tofurkey or a Tofu Turkey, or even a Great Unturkey.

How are they different? "Tofurky", made by Hood River, Ore.-based Turtle Island Foods, is a precooked combination of tofu and wheat gluten, a natural protein found in wheat.

The Tofurky has a turkey-like texture and you can find it in the frozen-foods section of natural food stores around the country.


Allentown, Pa.-based Fresh Tofu makes the Tofu Turkey, which is shaped like the real thing and distributed fresh, not frozen. The Great Unturkey feast from San Francisco-based Green Options is made from wheat gluten, a skin from soy, with organic dressing and stuffing.

"Vegetarians account for about 2-1/2 percent of the U.S. population. But being a vegetarian at Thanksgiving often is a problem," said Seth Tibbott, president of Turtle Island Foods.

He said the company expects to sell 150,000 boxes of the Tofu Roast dinner box this year, up more than 20 percent from last year.

"Earlier, the only alternative was lasagna. No one was really marketing to this niche market. The Tofurkey is an easy solution," he said.

Tofurkey versus Turducken

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