Sunday, April 27, 2008

Intellectual Eating

Ron and I had a wonderful meal with my nephew, Joe, and his wife, Karen, last night at Bistro D'Oc. They had spent a day of sightseeing and lots of walking through the Jefferson Memorial and the National Archives. Then we met at their hotel and walked to the restaurant.

Bisto D'Oc features wonderful French country food in a pleasant, simple atmosphere. We dined in the blue dining room upstairs. We had a very knowledgeable and helpful waiter who took us through the menu and the specials. One item on the appetizers particularly interested me, lamb brains in a lemon butter sauce with capers.

Okay, I know you are already rolling your eyes and fighting the gag reflex. When I was a kid, my mother would scramble pork brains with eggs and serve them as a special breakfast. I remember those meals, and really enjoyed those augmented scrambled eggs with disguised brains.

In a few minutes our appetizers emerged from the kitchen. Five lamb brains were arranged in a large soup bowl, and they looked, graphically, like brains - something you would see in a medical text book, only cooked in a lemon butter sauce with capers. Indeed, I did have a visceral reaction to my plate, and some second thoughts about my decision (thinking, brain, thinking, food, thinking hmmmm).

I admit to some aversion to foods like brains, hearts, kidneys, and livers, although, I've eaten all of the above and enjoy them. I don't eat them very often though, not because they are rich with fat or filters for an animal's toxic wastes, but because organ meats somehow get at the substance and soul of the beast. These parts are what make an animal what it is. Somehow this kind of eating is different than hamburger or chop if not in fact, then in my mental construction of what meat is.

The lamb brains were delicious, but I think I'll wait another couple of decades before having them again. If nothing else, eating them gave me real pause, food for thought about my eating habits.