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Squeezle

I've been watching

Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations travel and food show. In one expisode he goes way up in the hill country of Vietnam where an animal is prepared in traditional fashion for him over a coal fire. His local guide, much to Bourdain and my confusion, identifies the critter as a "Squeezle," and says it is a "small forest creature. " You can see the video segment in question in the video embedded below.

The Squeezle turns out to be a porcupine. The porcupine, or Erethizontida genus, is native in one of 39 species to the Americas, southern Asia, and Africa. They are not related to Australia's Spiny Echina, or to the Hedgehogs of Britain, Europe, and Africa. They are covered with two to three inch long spine-like quills, which rattle when the Porcupine moves quickly or wishes to engage in display behavior, they have tiny vicious little barbs on the exterior which quickly penetrate people, clothing, and animals, so that the quill detaches from the porcupine and lodges painfully in its victim. The porcupine can't throw the quills. The traditional European way of cooking a porcupine is to gut it, then enclose it in damp clay, and bake it slowly over hot coals. The Vietnamese Squeezle was essentially plucked, and hacked into an unrecognizable mess; Bourdain only managed, in the middle of dining, to identify the "small forest creature" as a porcupine when confronted with some of its quills. For those of you who are inveterately curious, Porcupine meatballs seem popular.

I can't find a reputable source regarding the etymology and meaning of Squeezle that doesn't lead back to Bourdain's Vietnam porcupine encounter. I suspect that Bourdain's less than fluent native guide inadvertently conflated Squirrel and Weasel and produced the phonetic portmanteau Squeezle. Porcupine, on the other hand, is derived from the Middle French porc espin, quite literally a "spiny pig."

You can view Bourdain's gastronomic experiment here.