"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Sunday, December 13, 2015

One Husband, Many Heads (Graphic Pictures)

the giant fish

I am not a squeamish eater. I like liver, and I put the giblets in my gravy. Tacos de lengua are alright with me. As compared to your average American, I think I have a high tolerance for and even appreciation of variety meats. Or "offal" or whatever name you favor for all the bits that aren't straight up muscle meat.

It's true, though, that I like my offal disguised in a creamy pate (I make the best chicken liver pate you ever tasted) or minced into invisibility in a gravy. Like most Americans I know, I don't want to see an identifiable organ on my plate. Ew.

Homero is not American. He's Mexican, and in Mexico, they really do use "everything but the squeal." As they do in most other places around the world. It's pretty much just us rich white folks who can afford to ignore a third of the edible parts on an animal. In fact, most of the world will insist that the parts we refer to as "offal" include the best meat. I'm sure every organ has it's partisans; Homero is partial to the head.

Eyeballs. Cheek meat. Tongue. Brains. Even ears and snouts. It's all yummy to him, and it pretty much doesn't matter what animal you're talking about. Before we were married, the first time we were in Oaxaca together, Homero's sister made sheep's head soup (which was delicious) and Homero made a big show of scooping out the eyeball and eating it.

pig head

When each of our pigs has been butchered, Homero has kept the head and made something with it - this last time it was head tacos. To me, it was a whole lot of gristly, greasy, cartilaginous bits, but to him it was ambrosia. 

Recently a friend gave us an enormous fish - I mean a really gigantic fish, a twenty-five pound denizen of the deep. I believe it was a yellow-eyed Rockfish. The filets, when a neighbor helped us get them off, weighed about six pounds each. They were lovely, snowy white and firm, and they looked like plenty of food to me, but Homero wanted to make soup out of the head, too. To be fair, the head was about one-third of the entire fish, and it did make a delicious broth. But it also made one hell of a mess.

Right now, there is an entire cow's head in our freezer. It takes up a fair amount of the freezer all by itself. It's from our Jersey cow, who was butchered this past autumn. Homero insists that he is going to cook it - how, I haven't the faintest clue. We don't have a fire-proof receptacle capable of holding it - you'd need a medieval cauldron, even though she was a pretty small cow. Maybe he could barbecue it over an open fire outside.

Whatever he does with it, he better do it soon. I'm getting tired of wrestling with that frozen cow head every time I want to get into the freezer and get out some food.