Brain Dishes Not Only for Zombies - The Scariest Food Delicacies that Might Give You Nightmares
What Was That and WIll It Hurt Me?
When I was 5 years old, I was handed a mystery sandwich at a wake and found it spidery-veiny, grey, and sponge like. It even tasted like a plastic sponge. It was the sliced brain of a farm animal and I never learned whether it was bovine or porcine, but it certainly made me dread wakes.
A lot of foods we don't eat regularly in large portions of America are delicacies in other parts of the world and pckets of humanity in the USA. Organ meats, especially animal brains among some Germans, are delicious delicacies if prepared properly. Organ meats and such are called offal and I admit that I call some of them awful. That is, I cannot bring myself to eat noses, tripe, or tails; or genitals in the case of prairie oysters and a certain deer-parts soup. Real life can be scarier than Halloween.
In youth, I felt that the strange brain served on white bread was best left to horror films. It could be joined by the liver that was thrown into a pan with some margarine and burned on both sides to taste like dust. There are better methods of cooking, of course.
I later learned that calve's brain is a delicacy in, among other places, the Ohio River Valley and that's the place the wake of the brain was held. The food was prepared by some people of German descent as well, but I think I found a better recipe.
Edible Sponges for Kids
- ScienceDirect - A novel, vitamin A-fortified, edible hydrocolloid sponge for children
R. Reifena, M. Edrisb, A. Nussinovitch. Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Human Nutrition, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, PO Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel. January 1997.
Looking at old recipes from farms long forgotten in the Big City until recently, several for organ meats make interesting menu items at a Murder Mystery Dinner or a Zombie Party, Halloween or even Neewollah (the Turn Halloween Around movement). People on Cable TV eat some of these dishes in order to prove courage, but farmers ate them so as not to waste any part of their butchered meats and to survive The Great Depression. Other organ meat dishes are from the UK or are more strictly Asian and still popular today. They are prepared as fine dining dishes in the largest metro areas -- Many diners new to these foods would not know they are organ meats unless told.
So, if you'd like to try brains, spleen, feet, claws, pig tails, pig snout, blood pudding, and others, be my guest. But don't eat any sponges...yet:
Deep Fried Adventure
You may know certain individuals whose brains you feel may be fried, judging from their behaviors, but the deep fried brain sandwich seems to be popular around St. Louis. Alton Brown found them in his culinary tour on a motorcycle called Feasting on Asphalt , up the Mississippi River.
The brain I was served on white bread was just cold and sliced. I don't think anything was done to it. I'll never forget the flavor and texture. This recipe is a lot better.
Chicken Fried Brain
When deep fried, this meat looks just like a deep fried breaded chicken fried steak indigenous to Southern Cooking. Your kids or squeamish adults may not know the difference - but it's Food Trickery all the same. Trick AND Treat for some folks!
For those that enjoy some extra fun with food, a face and some brain folds could be drawn on the fried brain with mustard and the patty placed on the plate with a bun to the side.
- 1 Pound pork or calf brains, membranes removed.
If brains are not found in your local market, visit an Asian market or ask your supermarket butcher. Lamb's brains can be used, but they are more often prepared with onions, tomatoes, and green pepper in a fyring pan on the stove top.
- 1 TBSP Vinegar and a pot of water on the stove top
- A medium bowl, 2 Large Eggs and 1/4 Cup Milk
- A bowl or oblong pan, flour for dredging with seasonings mixed in, to taste: Salt, Pepper, MInced Garlic, Paprika, Thyme and others of your favorites. .
- Simmer brains on the stove top in a pot of water with the vinegar added for 20 minutes. Drain and place in a clean bowl or on a plate.
- Pour your favorite deep fying oil into a large pot on the stove and heat. Keep an eye on this pot to ensure that it does not overheat or smoke.
- Make an egg wash by beating the eggs and adding milk, mix thorouighly.
- Set up another bowl with flour and seasons well mixed on the kitchen counter near the stove so that you have an assembly line of brains, egg wash, flour, and deep frying oil.
- Dip a portion of brains into egg wash, dredge in seasoned flour, and deep fry to golden brown, turning once..A full size portion will cover most of a dinner plate.
- Serve with a bun and garnish of leaf lettuce and a slice of onion, pickles, and mayo or tartar soiuce. Some diners like a little soy sauce.
Pork Snout with RIce
If you have never visited a China Town in American and Canadian cities - or anywhere globally - go and try the restaurants, the rice shops, and the spice shops.
In a NYC space shop, we saw wonderful spices in the front window, along with a huger ginseng root. Wandering in, we found spices were were unable to find at home. Walking down the aisle, the spices began to change, however, and we saw dried shrimp, dried sea horses, dried starfish, dried small bats, and finally a large fruit bat, dried. There were dozens of other wildlife parts we had never considered for food or medicine. It was a disorienting wonderland, but we did purchase some spices.
A small storefront rice shop was next, about the size of a double closet and in the window hung barbecued or cured chickens, ducks, and pig snouts - red from spices. I a snout for a friend and carried it back to Ohio, where I made some fried rice and sliced the snout on top. I did not sample it, but my friend liked it very much..I stayed with pork buns - BBQ pork inside a donut like bun, which is delicious.
Try Pig Snout With This Pudding
- Boudin du pays (Blood Pudding) Recipe
Cajun Blood Pudding Recipe.
© 2011 Patty Inglish
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