Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Mom Was My Weird Food Dealer

I've always loved to eat the heart and gizzard of the turkey. It is my mom's fault, really. She would always eat them when I was growing up - saying they were a special treat for her. My sisters heard the words "heart" and "gizzard" and looked sick. I immediately wanted to try them. So, mom gave me a small taste of each - and that was it. I was hooked. Since then, we shared them whenever there was turkey.

Mom is also to blame for my love of bone marrow. Again, this was one of "her treats", and so I felt that I must have some of this wondrous treat. She gave me my first bite - and again - I was hooked. My Mom - she dealt in weird food - and got her daughter hooked on it.

I will be honest in saying that I refused to eat tongue for a long time. I had this thing about eating something that could taste me back. However, I tried tongue at Meritage in St. Paul last year - and it was fabulous! It was so tender and delicate - I loved it.

So, I've been more determined to try some of those weird things that most people hear about and either start to gag or make the Mr. Yuck face. Ironically, that is the same reaction my brother makes to onions.

I have eaten sweetbreads - the glands of an animal to include the thymus and the pancreas. They are sweet - and very tender. I wasn't blown away by them, but they seem to be an economical use of an animal.

Blood sausage is another favorite. I tried it for the first time last year. Lorentz Meats in Cannon Falls makes their own and sells it in the local grocery and food stores. On a whim, I bought one. I heated it through and served it with homemade spaetzle. It was really good - a creamy texture that was more pudding than sausage. My husband isn't crazy about it, but it seems that I must have some in stock at all times.

When we bought a whole lamb a couple of years ago, we got the lamb liver, kidneys and heart. I made up the lamb kidneys and heart in a similar way to coq au vin - ending up with a red wine sauce with onion, garlic, mushrooms. The meal was awesome - the kidneys were very tender and had a liver taste to them - just not quite as strong.

I haven't tried brain yet, but will try it when I get a chance. We're getting a whole hog for our fall festival and have asked for pretty much everything except the stomach, intestines, and oink. I'm really looking forward to seeing what we do with the offal.

What about you all out there? Are you an adventurous food eater? What is the craziest thing you have eaten?


  1. Your mom taught me to like lamb. It was a snowy night... a blizzard actually... and we looked through every photo album in the hallway closet. I learned that Elvis 'annoyed' her and ate lamb and garlic toast... Wierd? No. Adventurous? Yes. Appreciated? Absolutely.

  2. I've had escargot. Yummy. And I adore a good goose liver pate. And I have tried Haggis, in Scotland, with whiskey. The whiskey was wonderful. So, aside from the pate, that is about as far as I'm willing to go into adventurous eating. Oh, and snails. But yeah, we'll leave the animal carcasses to you.....

  3. I love pate! I've made a knock-off version using chicken livers. It's not quite to the level of goose liver pate, but a decent approximation when you want some pate and have no goose.

  4. Growing up I was always the one pushing weird foods in our house.