Friday, June 04, 2004

Thymus Glands

Things were really swinging last night for Don and his ladyfriend as we dined at pompous, rotund Mario Battali's legendary Babbo, mecca of pretentious Italian cuisine and outlandish cuts of strange meat. The meal was spectacular and spectacularly expensive but if you can't dine out over your wallet on your birthday, when can you do it? Advent?

So we munched on pigs feet pounded into a scrapple-like substance, beef cheek-stuffed raviolis in a sauce infused with fois gras (goose liver pate...in your face!), and my entree, fennel-dusted sweetbreads. What are sweetbreads? Why, they're the thymus glands of calves, pigs, or lamb. And they kick ass when they're served in a quince-vinegar reduction with duck bacon.

Eating all of this offal made me think of my grandfather, who, like all really really old people, likes to tell us about the hardships of yesteryear. After a similarly organ meat-tastic meal, he laughed that we paid top dollar to eat things that he was forced to eat during the Depression just cause they were cheap. Boy, did he love when Bubby and Zeda came back from the market with hearts and lungs and fingernails and rectal sausage! "Oh boy, pickled eyes...my favorite!" Then Gramps blathered on about old-time radios and ice-boxes and President Coolidge and bicycles with really big front wheels and really tiny back wheels.

This, then, got me thinking about how wussy mankind has become, especially pseudo-pretentious recent college grads who spend too much money on luxury items...like me. Forget Gramps. I'd like to see prehistoric man bust into a place like Babbo, all drooling and grunting, wearing one of those leopard-skin togas. He could sniff the super expensive plates of black ink spaghetti with calamari and swing his spiky club into the back of the jolly somelier. These cavemen would scoff at paying 29 bucks to eat lamb's tongue with morels. After all, they would tear into the neck of a giraffe on the run, much like wolves do to gimpy elk (come to think of it, they'd eat the wolves and the elk too). I would pay to see Battali, all smug and plump, come busting out of his kitchen with 5 cavemen in full pursuit and then watch him trip over some pretentious plate of truffle-infused goat balls, stumble to the ground, and then be grotesquely devoured by said cavemen, pieces of Moltoman being flung into the air with carnal abandon. Hey, look! Sweetbreads! Irony rocks.

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