Strange Foods – Fried Cow Brain Sandwich
Strange Foods – Fried Cow Brain Sandwich
Did you know that at one time a fried cow brain sandwich was very popular in certain areas of the United States?
Sales declined during the era of the Mad Cow disease (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE) which affects the nervous system of adult cows.
Then the federal government came to the rescue by instituting a new law stating that brains from adult cows (over 30 months old at time of slaughter) are no longer permitted in human food in the United States.
So, technically, cow brain sandwiches are now fashioned from calf brains.
My infallible research indicates that said sandwiches are still available in select cities in the Midwest. Fried brains are served heavily battered on hamburger buns. You can find them on the menu in Evansville, Indiana at the Hilltop Inn and a few ‘mom and pop’ restaurants.
They are also a favorite dish at the city’s annual West Side Nut Club Fall Festival.
In Defiance, Ohio a working man’s taproom named Kissner’s, still owned by the founding family, offers what their menu calls the ‘infamous’ brain sandwich – available since 1928.
Dining on cow brains is not limited to Indiana and Ohio. In Stockton, California cow brains are commonly sold from trucks as a tasty filling for tacos. Latins call them ‘sesos.’
In a few border towns in Texas, ‘barbacoa’ (barbecue) made from cow brains is served during the holidays.
Fried Calf Brain Nuggets
Would you like to taste this delightful delicacy? Here is a very simple recipe for making calf brain nuggets to die for (metaphorically speaking).
First, buy some brains. If your local butcher does not have them, ask him to place a special order for you. Brains from pigs, goats or lambs may be offered instead. Hold out for calf brains – they are the tastiest.
In addition to one pound of calf brains from your accommodating butcher, purchase these ingredients:
1 garlic clove (do not remove skin)
4-5 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
fresh herbs like parsley and thyme
1/2 cup milk
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 quart vegetable oil for deep-frying
Then watch this video which will show you how to cook and fry the calf brain nuggets of your dreams.
How to Prepare Fried Calf Brain Nuggets
Famous 'cow brain' quotes
“... everyone knows that some young bucks among the epicures, by continually dining upon calves brains, by and by get to have little brains of their own, so as to be able to tell a calf's head from their own heads; which, indeed, requires uncommon discrimination.” - Herman Mellville, 'Moby Dick' (1851)
“Everybody knows brains can be fried – just as all know they can be addled. We of the old South pickled ours. Go and do likewise if you want an experience.” - Martha McCulloch-Williams, 'Dishes & Beverages of the Old South' (1913)
Cow Brains Fun Facts
• A breakfast of scrambled eggs and cow brains was once very popular in the Southern U.S.
• Brain Salad is a middle-Eastern delicacy: sliced calf brain marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings, served cold.
• There is a recipe in the earliest surviving cookbook by the Roman, Apicius, for brains with rose petals.
• Legend states that the cook to Wilhelm the King of Prussia served donkey's brains ‘à la diplomate’ to Napoleon Bonaparte after his defeat and capture at Sedan.
• The world eating competition for cow brains is held by Takeru Kobayashi, 17.7 pounds in 15 minutes.
• In France, you can get your cow brain fix by ordering ‘Cervelles de Boeuf a la Poulette.’
• In Italy, order your brains Milanese style: ‘Cervella alla Milanese.’
Favorite cow joke
A man walks into a small bar and sees a cow bartender behind the counter.
“What are you staring at?” says the cow. “Haven’t you ever seen a cow serving drinks before?”
“It’s not that,” replies the man. “I just never thought the hippopotamus would sell this place.”
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."
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