Tag Archives: gallimaufry

gallimaufry, salmagundi

What have we got to eat tonight?

It’s gallimaufry or salmagundi, I’m not sure which. Maybe both.

You made it. How can you not know?

It’s a tosspot hotch-potch, a hodgepodge like hopscotch with a splash of balderdash, a farrago of foraging. Fish, flesh, flashes in the pan, catch as catch can. Potluck from a potlach. Edibles all agee, etymology unknown. As incongruous as a semolina filigree.

We can go through it and see what there is and decide what to call it.

There’s a gallon of small fry, silver and swirling, and some salmon gumbo, pink and green like a youth at the railing of a heaving ship. There’s gall and gum and a lamb sandwich and a sloppy Joe and maybe a muffuletta, all mingling like yesterday’s lunch in your gut; there’s a slop of slumgullion garbled with subgum and a muddled mug of mulligatawny, middling inelegant and glumly tawny. There’s a gamelan with a gun, banging through revolving scales. There are fumes from a fumarole and undies from a gun moll named Selma. A mafia gallant slammed some alms down in it: “For your family.” Swirling within I see dualism nag and a Gaul firmly in d’ slum again, a sad mauling à la filmy rug, as kooky as a coati mundi in the belfry… If I pick bits out like fishbones, I get a, a, i, u to go with the g, l, m; on the one side I am left with l fry and on the other with s nd. They are like hidden messages, partially obnubilated.

Sip it or gulp it. It tastes of two trochees, like Latin lines: confutatis maledictis, tuba merum spargens sonum, o Fortuna velut luna, testit David cum Sibylla. A bumping, gulping rhythm. It has an [æl] in the first syllable, a [m] in the second, a [g] somewhere in it, an [i] at the end. It sounds like a big jug of whatever-it-is being poured out, galumphing into overloaded bowls, glugging down a drain burping like mud pots.

You won’t get anywhere by comparing the original recipes. A gallimaufry is just a merry gorging of ragout or hash, any crazy stew; salmagundi has many different specific recipes, and they seldom resemble each other in any particular detail, although one might think of a mixture of meat, anchovies, eggs, capers, perhaps olives, oil, lemon juice… or not. Look them up in different sources and get different recipes. They seem to be culinary pranks, a sort of “aristocrats” joke of the kitchen.

Very well. It’s what there is to eat. A verbal smorgasbord for galloping gourmets: astonishing gastronomy, a Solomon Grundy, a gallery mouthful. Give it a name.

Fillmagasundry. Let’s just call it that.