Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What in the world is Cangeraux?

I can answer the question “What in the (food) world is cangeraux?” I cannot, however, confidently explain the word itself.

‘Cangeraux’ is, to judge by the recipe in The Practice of Cookery and Pastry, by I. Williams (1862), the same thing as ‘kedgeree.’

Take the fish off a cold boiled haddock, or about the same quantity of cod, should you happen to have it beside you, two hard-boiled eggs, a breakfast-cupful of boiled whole rice, and mince it together. Add cayenne and a little salt; melt two ounces of butter in a frying-pan, and put it in; heat all thoroughly, and keep stirring it with a fork, so as to make it light.

Cangeraux another way.
Take the same quantity of fish and boiled whole rice, and mince them together; add cayenne, one table-spoonful of ketchup, one dessert-spoonful of mustard, and two eggs beat up a little; melt four ounces of butter in a pan, put it in, and stir till it is thoroughly done.

The one and only reference to the word that I can find is in The Practice of Cookery and Pastry, so regardless of what the explanation is, this particular word does not appear to have been plagiarised in either direction. Very odd. The words don’t sound sufficiently alike to me for it to be an auditory misinterpretation. Now if the recipe was for kangaroo, I would not be puzzled. The word is not hidden anywhere in the full text of the Oxford English Dictionary, including amongst the dozen acknowledged alternative spellings of ‘kedgeree.’ A simple mis-spelling of ‘kedgeree’ by a single writer seems a little far-fetched too.

Once again I am throwing a food-word puzzle out into cyberspace, in the hope that it will land on the computer screen of one of the food-word cognoscenti. I know you are out there.

Quotation for the Day.

Kedgeree is a capital thing for breakfast.
Bp. Fraser in Hughes Life (1887)


Carolina said...

It's not just an odd or mis-spelling of kangeroo? can-ger-row. how is it pronounced? don't think I've ever seen it. or the other, kedgeree. very interesting!

Cherubrokker said...

What country was the book published in? I at first assumed Cangeraux was french, but after searching for many variants I came up with nothing. I had a look for cod/haddock translations as I thought it might mean 'Cod and rice', but again nothing. Kedgeree originated in India as khichri, is it possible that the author misheard the local name from an indian chef?