The Creation of Coqz Heaumez

This Helmeted Cock was being prepared for a Christmas/12th Night celebration hosted by The Society for Creative Anachronism on January 10th, 1998, in Morgantown, WV. (Please visit AEthelmearc 12th Night 1998 for more information.) On the morning of the feast, I arrived at the site of the event at about 6 a.m. Both the pig and the chicken had been thawed and brought to the site the day before. As it had a longer cooking time, the pig was prepared first. A large batch of ordinary bread stuffing (croutons, broth, & spices), mixed with chopped cooked pork liver and the chopped cooked gizzards from the pig & chicken, was made. The pig was stuffed with this, and expertly sewn shut with a large needle and string by Sue Wensel. It was then arranged on a large baking sheet in a sitting position and placed in a 400° F degree oven to cook for about 4 hours.

The pig just after roasting

The chicken was filled with same stuffing mixture and also placed on a large baking sheet. The mouth of the bird was pried open with a small piece of bamboo skewer and left open, and the chicken itself was arranged in a sitting position by use of aluminum foil and bamboo skewers (see illustration on left); since our cock was to be riding the pig, the position of the bird while roasting was important. Aluminum foil was placed over the wings and the head, to prevent those more delicate sections from over-cooking, and then two hours into the roasting of the pig, the prepared chicken was placed in a 375° F degree oven and allowed to cook until just done, but not tender, which took about two hours. Overcooking the bird would have been a disaster and so it was carefully watched and removed from the oven as soon as it was fully cooked but still quite firm. If cooked too tender, the chicken would have fallen apart. After both had cooled, they were ready for the mounting!

Sue Wensel prepares the bird, while Ty Clifford looks on; note the dowel rod device to the right of the chicken

To guarantee that the cock would actually ride his steed, and not slide with a greasy "thud" to the floor, Darell McCormick and his father had made a support device from two sharpened dowel rods extending from a small wooden base. The pig was impaled on the two rods, which came up through the middle of its back, and then the chicken was placed on top, the two rods holding the bird quite securely. The base and the rods were completely invisible and held the Coqz Heaumez together without any effort. The rods had been measured earlier so they were the right length to just come up into the thick breast area, providing strong support. Now they were ready for dressing.

Dressing the beast: (clockwise from left) Scott Hofer , Darell McCormick, & Ty Clifford

More preparations: (clockwise from left) Glenda Cockrum, Darell McCormick, & Scott Hofer. Sue Wensel looks on

Although the original recipe only calls for the chicken carrying a small lance & wearing a paper helmet, the crew of creative cooks that worked with me that day came prepared to treat our knight in the best fashion possible. Darell McCormick made a cone-shaped helmet from construction paper, then covered it in silver fabric so it looked very much like real metal. Scott Hofer came up with a small wooden shield, covered in a heraldic coat-of-arms, which fastened around the chicken's left wing. Stephen Vandevander made a parti-colored lance of wood and foil, and Glenda Cockrum dressed the bird in a miniature red tabard and made a saddle of black cloth for the pig. Ty Clifford assisted all. The pig was provided with a small bridle of leather and foil. When complete, the Coqz Heaumez was a stunning sight. Guillaume would have been proud.

Coqz Heaumez, ready for its entrance

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Coqz Heaumez - A Helmeted Cock is © 2000 James L. Matterer jlmatterer@godecookery.com

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