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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Warning: Gross Food Post-Fried Veal Brains

Weekends in Torino are often spent going to the public market and browsing its offerings. This past weekend Demetrio and I were on the hunt for soup bones for my mom’s wonderful soups. We happened to come upon some veal brains, which I do not often find. Demetrio insisted that we buy some and he said he’d prepare them for dinner. I have eaten them before in Florence as part of a mixed fried plate and in Rome fried with artichokes.

Many people scoff at eating offal (sometimes called the fifth quarter because animals are traditionally butchered into four parts, with the innards and organ meat being the left over, thus the fifth quarter).

Offal in fact is making quite a comeback. It is no longer considered peasant food but more of a delicacy. There are blogs about it and cookbooks on how to prepare it. When I first met my husband, who is Roman (Roman cooking is loaded with offal), he tried to test my culinary waters by offering me all types of offal. He fed me Roman tripe, sweetbreads (which are thymus glands of animals) tripa alla Romana, pajata (a pasta dish made with young veal intestines), kidneys and tongue. I think one of the things that brought us together was that there was quite and un-squeamish about eating his native Roman cuisine. So last night he prepared fried veal brains for my mom and me. I can't say they are my favorite but I CAN say I have tried them.


Here are the brains in their raw state. They still have to be cleaned and trimmed. The brains are very delicate so after we purchased them, Demetrio kept them in his jacket pocket instead of storing them in the shopping trolley.


I love this photo as it reminds me of something from an Alfred Hitchcock movie; notice the gleam of the chef's knife.


The brains were lightly floured then dipped in egg batter and fried. I must say they are not very strong smelling and taste very light, much like silken tofu.

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9 Comments:

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Sara said...

Zombie: "BRAAAAAAINS!!!!"

 
At 9:36 AM, Blogger Annika said...

I think of the movie Hannibal, where that poor police man is served - and eats - his own brains. Eewww.

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger Ms Adventures in Italy said...

I knew it was going to be gross, but I had to keep reading...ew. :) But who knows, I've eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters so I could probably do brains, too! :)

 
At 11:53 AM, Blogger Julie said...

You couldn't pay me. That raw picture is too graphic.

 
At 1:30 PM, Blogger avery said...

eeewwww! Can't do it. My husband is Roman and loves the "fifth quarter" cuisine. He wholeheartedly tries to get me to taste it but I can't do it. Nope. No way.
Brava to you for having the guts (no pun intended). How did your mom like it?

 
At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Lisa said...

Mmm... don't mind eating it but *gulp* I wouldn't want to prepare it. It takes a brave person to do that. Heh.

 
At 6:52 AM, Blogger miss cupcake said...

I could never bring myself to prepare it but I've no problem trying fried brain. The only deterrent for me to enjoy barbequed sweetbread (mollejas)is the cholestrol count in them; such a pity. he, he.

 
At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Tina said...

I ate lamb's heart a couple of months ago... I guess I could try veal brains, but it seems really gross.

 
At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Gia said...

What? No fava beans and chianti?

 

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