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Brain Dishes Not Only for Zombies - The Scariest Food Delicacies that Might Give You Nightmares

Updated on April 19, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has spent 30 years working in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, and aerospace education for Active USAF Civil Air Patrol.


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.

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:

As big as a plate. Served with dill pickles, raw onion, and German Potatoes. Some diners like sliced tomatoes and mayo.
As big as a plate. Served with dill pickles, raw onion, and German Potatoes. Some diners like sliced tomatoes and mayo. | Source

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

Seasoned Pig Snouts - also found in St. Louis.
Seasoned Pig Snouts - also found in St. Louis. | Source

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.

Another Delicacy

Cow spleen sandwch with cheese.
Cow spleen sandwch with cheese. | Source

© 2011 Patty Inglish MS


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I will certainly have a look, and I must say, a foot of some sort is more appetizing than entrails to me. Thanks!

    • Kulsum Mehmood profile image

      Dr Kulsum Mehmood 

      9 years ago from Nagpur, India

      Patty, I have the recipe in my hub for trotters. And I must say it is very popular. Do try it out.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Ha ha,thanks flemmeflashpoint; I don't blame you at all! The pig nose is beyond my adventurousness :)

      Hello, hello - You're smart enough already!

      Kulsum - You eat trotters too. Ive seen time in the market and can't think what to do with them.

      Cardisa - Goat's milk give me those reactions. Thanks for telling me about the cheese.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Patty, you put this together sooooooo well!!!!

      But, with as great of a job as you've done with the article ... I'm STILL not eating any of it, lol!!!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      My father used to eat all that but I only eat liver. I should have eaten brain lol

    • Kulsum Mehmood profile image

      Dr Kulsum Mehmood 

      9 years ago from Nagpur, India

      I like kidneys, liver, spleen and trotters ( paya ). But these should come from goat or lamb. Otherwise a big NO.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      9 years ago from Jamaica

      Patty, goat cheese does not smell pleasant at all. It sometimes smell like puke and other times it smells rancid. I have never eaten it because I can't stand the smell.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      jenubouka - I always thought sweetbreads were the pancreas unil recently, but that must be another bit of misinformation from elementary school. Thanks for commenting!

      carol3san - If seasoned and deep fried, I'd be willing to try a small piece of the brains.

      rmr - Nice to see you again! I'm glad you're still enjoying cooking. Duck tongue tacos? Beef tongue at the deli was pretty good when I tried that, but I don't know about bird tongues. Did you see the segment with the pig tails BBQ'd-like? I can't imagine. But it's the tripe that is the worst for me to visualize, except I saw someone bread and deep fry it - that might be better. Take care! - What are you cooking lately?

      Casey White - You must see 'Puss In Boots', in which a goose chick shoots golden eggs from its posterior!

    • Casey White profile image

      Mike and Dorothy McKenney 

      9 years ago from United States

      My son recently said that he considered eggs the perfect food, but "isn't it funny that the perfect food shot out of a chicken's butt?" Great article, and I continue to be amazed at the articles you come up with. What a great job!

    • rmr profile image


      9 years ago from Livonia, MI

      Hi Patty! I'm sure these are all delicious, but I think I'll have to just take your word for it. I don't think I could bring myself to eat organs of any kind. On a related note,I also recently saw a recipe for duck tongue tacos. I probably won't be trying that one, either.

    • carol3san profile image

      Carolyn Sands 

      9 years ago from Hollywood Florida

      The pictures all look delicious, but I know I can't eat any of that stuff. I'm afraid if I do I might throw up.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      That recipe for liver in the comments sounds so intriguing...the pictures of the hub were delightful and hard to look at the same time. Such a creative piece on the delicacies we may frown upon. In my profession I have had unique dishes that on the norm would be awe shocking. As for the brain dishes you are right on. In a fine dining restaurant you may see them appear as sweetbreads, which can be quite deceiving if you didn't know better. I usually use calf brains for my sweet bread recipe, and do fry them up, I think they taste like chicken. Awesome once again.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I DO like snails too, I'd forgotten.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      9 years ago from Nottingham UK

      I'm quite open in what I eat. I like liver. I've had sheeps brains which to be honest lacked the flavour I hoped it would have. My favourite rcent dish however was snails which a lot of people turn their noses up at although they do look a little bit like giant bogey's.

      Great hub as ever!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I've never tried goat liver, but like jerk goat dishes. Goat milk aroma I cannot get used to. How about goat cheese, does it smell similar?

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      9 years ago from Jamaica

      I kinda like beef or goat liver, but can't stand the taste of chicken livers. I'll try that recipe Patty, thanks.

      Flora, I think blood pudding originated in Germany, but am not 100% sure.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I know one good recipe for liver - cook it with several strips of bacon in a skillet and when the bacon is done but still soft, add 12 oz. of black cherry cola and simmer until the liquid is reduced to a kind of sauce. The cola tenderizes the meat and gives it more flavor. Rarely do I eat organ meats, though - occasionally beef liver or chicken livers.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      9 years ago

      I don't like the taste of liver or kidneys.I have never had any other organs as a meal and I don't think I want to either. As for blood pudding, I didn't know there was such a thing. I'm not very adverturous in my eating habits.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      9 years ago from Jamaica

      I don't think I could ever eat brains, snout or the blood pudding and I hate spleen. The only organs I do like are liver and kidneys, but have to prepare them myself.


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