Taking The Chicken Out Of Piecaken


So here’s a little linguistic note for Thanksgiving, thanks to our director Adele. Maybe you’ve heard of “turducken”, the tripartite dish made of a chicken that is then stuffed into a duck, which is finally stuffed into a turkey. So that’s a name made up of the words for the three different birds.

Now, this year, following the success of turducken, comes “piecaken”, a chimerical dessert made out of three different pies stuffed into a larger cake. Which sounds super crazy! But the thing is, it immediately conjured up for both Adele and myself the idea that you were taking a pie, putting it in a cake, and then sticking both in a chicken… which does not sound like a good dessert.

But it does sound like a cool linguistic thing! This is -en becoming a new derivational morpheme, a suffix meaning crazy stuffed food item or something. It’s clearly adding something new to the meaning here, divorced from its chicken roots. And predictably, not everyone is on board with the shift – check out this Huffington Post piece getting down on the piecaken.

Their suggested alternative, “pake”, doesn’t really work, though. As Adele points out, it implies a simultaneity of pie and cake. Whereas
“piecaken”, in spite of its implied poultry, definitely makes it clear
that one is within the other. That’s the new morpheme at work.

Language just keeps changing, even during holidays. It’s super cool. ^_^

Yay new morpheme! ❤ Looking forward to seeing how far this use of -en gets extended over the next few years.

I still would eat piecaken, though! It’s somehow less daunting to me as a food than turducken, which just scares me.

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