The Triceramisu

A hybrid beast with a portmanteau name: Triceratops + tiramisu, that is, Tricera (tops) + (tira) misu:

(#1) A fine portrait of the beast, artist as yet unknown (it’s one of those cartoons that has been passed around on the net through many hands, with the artist’s identity suppressed; Google Images has been of no help, because it detects the tiramisu and then disregards everything else)

A fantastical creature with the body of a tiramisu and the extremities (head, tail, and four legs) of a Triceratops, the Triceramisu feeds from pools of espresso, fortified wines, and liqueurs in the fields of cocoa that abound in its native land of Portmantopolis; the creature lounges drowsily in the evenings in plate-like nests. The Triceramisu is irenic, amiable, and delicious, and has been known to offer itself as sustenance to other creatures in need of food. Because it’s inclined to spoil and to crumble, the Triceramisu is unfortunately (though gloriously) short-lived.

The contributory elements. First the dinosaur, then the dessert.

From Wikipedia (beginning in elegant dictionary register):

Triceratops is an extinct genus of herbivorous ceratopsid dinosaur that first appeared during the late Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous period, about 68 million years ago in what is now North America. It is one of the last-known non-avian dinosaur genera, and became extinct in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago. The name Triceratops, which literally means ‘three-horned face’, is derived from the Greek words trí– (τρί-) meaning ‘three’, kéras (κέρας) meaning ‘horn’, and ṓps (ὤψ) meaning ‘face’.

(#2) The Triceratops we have: skeletal mount of a T. prorsus specimen at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Bearing a large bony frill, three horns on the skull, and a large four-legged body resembling that of a rhinoceros, Triceratops is one of the most recognizable of all dinosaurs and the most well-known ceratopsid. It was also one of the largest, up to 9 meters (30 ft) long and 12 metric tons (13 short tons) in weight. It shared the landscape with and was possibly preyed upon by Tyrannosaurus, though it is less certain that two adults did battle in the fanciful manner often depicted in museum displays and popular images.

(#3) The Triceratops we cuddle, from Ikea: the JÄTTELIK series soft toy triceratops (27″)

(The name of the beast is accented Trìcératòps.)

Also from Wikipedia:

(#4) Ilustration: from the New York Times recipe for a classic tiramisù

Tiramisu [Italian spelling: tiramisù] … is a coffee-flavoured Italian dessert. It is made of ladyfingers … dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, flavoured with cocoa [an early OED cite describes it as a “coffee trifle”, referring to the British dessert trifle]

Some discussion in my 10/30/18 posting “Annals of appalling trifles”.

According to OED2, the name of the confection is accented tìramisú in BrE, as tìramísu (or, alternatively, tìramisú) in AmE. Consequently, the name of the hybrid creature is accented either Trìcéramisú or Trìcéramísu. Since I happen to have first encountered the dessert in the UK, where I learned that its name is tìramisú, my personal preference is for that accentuation, and for Trìcéramisú.

Bonus: found poetry. (Artist etc. of #1 still unidentified, but for your enjoyment meanwhile…)

The dinosaur and the dessert, the creature and the confection. Bits of free verse lifted from the two Wikipedia articles:

The Beast in Whole


The Body of the Beast


4 Responses to “The Triceramisu”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    The Italian name of the dessert literally means “pull me up” (tira-mi-sù), and I assume it to be idiomatically equivalent to “pick-me-up”, in the sense of something to improve one’s mood (which to does quite effectively, in my experience). I would expect (in Italian) principal stress on the last syllable, with almost equal stress on the first.

  2. Robert Coren Says:

    Also, the title creature is quite wonderful. (And our household contains two quite cuddly triceratops in solid brown: Aristotle, about 20″ long, and his little brother Kropotkin, about 10″.)

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      You have a Triceratops who’s an anarcho-communist? Or just one who resembles Hans Conreid as Prof. Kropotkin on My Friend Irma?

      • Robert Coren Says:

        All I know is that that’s what he says is name is, and who am I to argue? If he has any anarcho-communist tendencies (or any more such than the rest of the crew), he’s been pretty discreet about them.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: