I've decided to start a new weekly feature on my blog. I've been having a difficult time coming up with topics to discuss, as is obvious if one checks the number of posts I've done. Most of the blogs I've read have regular themed post days, and often one of these is recipes. Therefore, I'm going to rip off this good idea with a personal twist. As I've noted previously, I can't and won't cook. My version of food preparation is microwaving something, and even waiting this couple of minutes tries my patience. Anyway, this feature will emphatically not include how to prepare these dishes or drinks, it will just be a discussion of what I think about them.
I love trying new things, food and beverage-wise. I take the old expression, "How do you know you don't like something if you haven't tried it?" to heart. Plus, I'm sure taking childish delight in grossing out others plays a little part in this. A note to vegetarians and vegans--the majority of the foods mentioned here will be meat, or dairy, often of exotic animals. I'll try to include some more fruits and vegetables to balance this out, but they'll probably still be in the minority. Also, "exotic" and "disgusting" are definitely in the eye of the beholder--many of these dishes will be normal, even mundane fare, depending on a person's cultural background. I'm coming at these from a mostly Anglo-Saxon upbringing, growing up in southern New Jersey, U.S.A.
My initial entry is beef tongue. It's kind of a cute story--a friend of my parents found that his children balked at eating tongue, so he decided to trick them by calling it "French Ham." My folks tried this and found it worked very well. "Can we have French Ham again?" was a fairly common dinner request from the Stansfield kids. We enjoyed the meal, and as an added bonus this meat was pretty easy on the pocketbook, too. Eventually, of course, the ruse was blown, and we learned what we were really eating. I'm sure there was some complaining then, but we did eat it, remembering that we'd liked it under its alias. Granted, in preparation it does look revolting, especially during the removal of the outer skin/taste buds, accomplished by boiling. The taste, however, is very good. As an adult, especially, I've sampled many different kinds of organs, and they tend to have strong, distinctive, and sometimes nasty flavors. Not so with tongue--as the childhood story proved, it can easily be mistaken for a "regular" cut of meat. Availability of tongue seems consistant across the country. Most supermarkets probably will stock it, although maybe not in huge numbers. In restaurants it seems most common in Mexican places, where it's called "lengua," (Spanish for tongue, naturally). It's quite good in a taco or burrito as well.
To sum it up, then, I highly recommend tongue as a slightly unusual alternative for omnivores. A few bites will probably be enough for most people to get past the unpleasant mental image. Also, it's good for a few cheap laughs, courtesy of French kissing references, or bestiality-themed, "French kissing a cow," jokes.