“Ugh. Brains,” I whispered to my wife after the chef announced that the third course would include sweetbreads.
“Sweetbreads,” I whispered, “are brains.”
“Oh,” she said, sounding rather amused, though far from relieved. “I thought they were balls.”
Hey, they might as well have been balls, because guess what brains and balls both have in common? Neither one goes in my mouth.
[NOTE: OK, I was wrong: sweetbreads are not brains; they’re the animal’s thymus and/or pancreas glands … which look like brains … and which, therefore, might as well be brains and/or balls, because no, nope, and no thank you.]
Listen, when my mother-in-law sprung for us to attend an expensive benefit dinner at a luxury apartment in the ritziest section of Philadelphia for a meal prepared by the chef of a well-known Italian restaurant, I knew it was unlikely that he’d be serving something as pedestrian as my beloved chicken parmesan, OK? But brains?
And not just any brains, mind you: Veal brains. Yes, that’s right: Brains from cute little baby cows:
Oh, thank you, cute little baby cows, for reminding me about the cringe-worthy first course, featuring:
Please note, Chef, that there is only one person on this earth to whom I would utter the phrase “Give me some tongue,” and that person has neither a culinary degree nor a penis, so if you’re gonna start off my supposedly “Italian” dinner with tongue, the least you could do is disguise it amidst a tangy red sauce and some delicious pasta, am I right? Of course I’m right … which is why I was disappointed when the tongue instead was topped with this:
Ah, yes, that beloved Italian classic: Fried eggs and tongue. (PS: Does anyone have a phone number for the closest pizza joint?)
Thankfully, the second course featured pasta. Ravioli, in fact. Hallelujah. At last, a dish I can really — hey, wait a minute … what the fuck is in my ravioli?
Bunny ravioli? Seriously? What’s for dessert, asshole? Pan-seared unicorn with baby-harp-seal sauce?
Mercifully, dessert turned out to be a plain-old flourless chocolate cake. I think. Probably, he pureed his mother and folded her into the mix … but at least he had the common decency to not tell us about it.
If nothing else, the wine was good. And the company. And the luxury apartment. Next time, though? I’m bringing some chicken parm.