Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


“A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats...” - King Lear, Act II, Scene 2

Back in the day, it was a serious insult if someone accused you of eating broken meats. Leftovers, hamburger, whatever you wanted to call it - if you ate that kind of crap, you were lower than the proverbial Whale Shit.

Nowadays we do not contemn the eater of broken meats... especially if those meats have been ground up and compressed into a sausage casing. You can hide a lot of sins that way.

Steve Graham’s recent post about chorizo sausage amused me. Here’s a guy who has written what he claims to be the world’s unhealthiest cookbook (Eat All You Want and Die Like a Man), yet manages to be horrified at the idea of eating a sausage that contains a hog’s salivary glands.

I guess everyone has their limits when it comes to food. Me, I won’t eat brains. Or gonads - unless they’re from a sea urchin. Or tripe, or chitterlings. But things like tongue and sweetbreads (the thymus and/or pancreas glands) don’t faze me at all. I suspect that many people’s unwillingness to eat certain organs may have to do with the functions those organs perform in the living beast (chitterlings, kidneys) - or is the result of our knowledge that we have those parts, too, and we don’t want anyone eating them (testicles and other Reproductive Organs).

Eggs. Bird eggs are tasty enough. Chicken eggs are what I mostly eat in the egg department. But I’ll happily eat fish eggs... that there’s what the fancy-pants peepuls call “caviar.” Howsomever, I won’t eat milt - fish sperm. The idea kinda skeeves me out. And ant eggs - very popular in parts of Mexico - don’t hold the slightest appeal for me.

But back to sausage. Sausage is one of those foods that was invented as a way of preserving and making palatable a whole raft of Nasty Animal Parts... all those assholes and elbows. Sometimes the nastiness is well hidden, other times not: Just ask Houston Steve about his experience in France when he tasted of the dreaded andouillette. Yeef!

It requires a certain suspension of disbelief, a wink and a nod to oneself, to pretend that sausage is anything but Horrible Meat. Of course, there is a spectrum of Meat Product Vileness that runs from the innocuous frankfurter to the heavy hitters: andouille, chorizo, and those Head-Cheesy-looking things. Take it from me, though - if you’re a third-grade teacher planning a class trip, think twice before you take those kids to the bologna factory. It’ll scar ’em for life.

Oh, and as for some of the things I won’t eat, take a peek below the fold. If you dare.
Rocky Mountain Oysters

Beef Fry, AKA Rocky Mountain Oysters, both happy euphemisms for bull testicles. There are those that dote on ’em. Not me.

The story is told of an American who, while visiting in Madrid, discovered a restaurant that specialized in Beef Fry, a favorite dish of his. As he chowed down the waiter informed him that the testicles came, in fact, from the loser of that day’s contest in the nearby Plaza del Toro.

The visitor came back repeatedly over the course of the week, so much did he love that peculiar Speciality of the House. But on his fifth visit, he could not help but notice that the serving was much smaller than is had been on previous occasions. He questioned the waiter, who informed him as follows:

“Sometimes, Señor, the bull is not the loser.”

Beef Pizzle

The label says “Beef Pizzle,” but we all know what this really is. I try to picture the dapper Foody Man-About-Town ordering one of these at the local Houlihan’s: “I’ll have a glass of the Rodney Strong 2007 cabernet, the pear and Gorgonzola salad for starters, balsamic vinaigrette on the side, and the Bull Cock. Medium rare, please.”

No, thank you. None for me.


Bou said...

Yeah, I'll pass on all that. I don't do organs in general. As a matter of fact, I toss around being a vegetarian. I think I could do it. I might just do the fish thing though.

We were out at a 'gourmet hamburger' place the other night. I ordered my burger med well. It came med rare. I was completely skeeved out. I'll eat my steak right off the cow, med rare, no issue, but my burgers can't have the slightest pink. NO.

Gerry N. said...

I am of the opinion that meats we won't eat are a learned aversion. I won't eat head cheese, brains, lungs or kidneys, I live for my next serving of liver, deer liver preferred, elk next, then buffalo, beef, pork and sheep. Chicken, of course, duck and goose as well and almost any meaty product made of or with liver. Why? G-d knows and isn't talking, at lest not to me. And about sausage, I love most any sausage, and will try almost any including blood sausage. I'm of Norse descent and we Vikingly types historically will eat nearly anything that once moved under it's own power. NO, I won't eat tripe. Not knowingly, anyway

Wasn't it Ben Franklin who said one who loves sausage or the law should never watch either one being made?

Wilma said...

You're absolutely right about the 3rd graders and the bologna factory. When Husband was in 3rd grade his teacher took them to the Oscar Meyer factory in Chicago. He said that he had nightmares for weeks and wouldn't eat anything of theirs for over a year until the scare wore off. LOL

BobG said...

In this part of the country, rocky mountain oysters refers to sheep testicles; beef ones are known as calf fries.
Rocky mountain oysters were quite popular around here more than the calf fries.