Americans happen to have some pretty strong opinions about what food they consider non-icky. America, these days, throws away millions of tons of dark chicken meat because Americans think it’s icky. If that’s what they think about chicken drumsticks, the less said about other strange parts of animals we slaughter, the better. There is that scene in the first installment of the Hannibal series of movies, Red Dragon; Anthony Hopkins, playing Hannibal, is serving a cannibalistic dinner to a high society gathering without telling them what it is. He tells them, “If I told you what it was, I’m afraid you wouldn’t eat it”, – to much laughter. Is it possible Americans are just as revolted when it comes to parts of animals that they consider disgusting – tongue, testicles, brains, eyes? For instance, lots of people hate liver; they consider it kind of powdery, kind of fatty and the wrong texture. But handed to an accomplished chef, liver turns into mousse pate – a delicacy people would pay a lot for. Can you turn any kind of disgusting animal part into tasty recipes? How about brains?
We export the brains of slaughtered pigs and cows by the barrelful to the Far East because no one will eat brains over here. But that has to change. In certain highfalutin’ restaurants, they make and serve served tasty recipes that go far $100 a pop with names like pork brain terrine. It’s a whole confection with a sweet outside and a creamy brain center that Americans really would love if they weren’t told anything about it. Chefs love brains; they make for such wonderfully tasty recipes. To begin with, the absorb spice and flavor unlike most other parts of an animal. When you cook them long enough, they turn crispy. If people here were to start trying brains, they would probably become more popular than KFC.
Actually, you don’t even need to go as far as the Far East to find people who think strange parts of animals make for tasty recipes. Haggis, a famously stomach churning recipe over in Scotland is a sheep’s stomach stuffed full with all kinds of animal organs – the heart, the lungs and kidneys. They boil the whole thing and it’s kind of a staple. Even more ick-inducing is the blackpudding. This is a recipe made of pig’s blood and other appetizing ingredients. For some reason, America has really moved away from its European roots when it comes to a taste for meat.
Perhaps the reason America is a bit finicky about its food is that everyone shops at a supermarket where nothing actually looks like it came from an animal. You just get this tray of neatly-packaged bloodless meat that looks clean -like a vegetable. Even in America, in farms where everyone knows about how an animal is raised and slaughtered and cut up, it’s easy to see that fussiness about food is not an American quality. It’s just an urban food-from-a-package quality.
Photo by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML
Photo by Loozrboy