Sinister Snacks

In celebration of my dear husband’s scholarly achievements, the family gathered on Saturday afternoon for food, beer and general mischief. These occasions are always cause for excitement, partly because it’s impossible not to have a fantastic time, and partly because I spend the week beforehand salivating at the thought of the food. Burgers, hot dogs, Mum-in-law’s amazing potato salad, Uncle-in-law’s addictive cream cheese jalapenos, baked beans – everything you need to make yourself well and truly sick.

Even I got in on the action, spreading my sweet-toothed joy by providing the desserts. I’ve never been good at cake-making because I’m a bit gung-ho when it comes to presentation, but I was happy enough with  the results: I made raspberry cheesecake, mandarin cake with a whipped pineapple topping, rocky road brownies with cookie mix dollops and a marshmallow and chocolate chip topping and popcorn balls with cherries and almonds. Some of the brownies and the second mandarin cake that “fell apart” may have failed to make it to the table.

There was, however, one sinister contribution to the spread. You can see it in the picture below – it looks lovely, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you be tempted to grab one? Don’t they just look melt-in-your-mouth yummy? Would you still be inclined to munch on one if I told you they were Mountain Oysters?

Most people from this side of the pond will now be making a face like a cat’s bum, just as I did when the plate came my way. Mountain oysters, you see, are… not oysters. They are calf testicles.

Yes, you heard me correctly: in this region, the delicacy enjoyed during branding season is cow bollocks. In breadcrumbs. Seasoned. With a delicious dip. But still, despite the dressings, a bovine dangly bit. I believe Grandma Grace, who under normal circumstances is a very elegant, proper lady, summed it up perfectly when she waved one in the air by its toothpick and declared, “I’ve been around too many of these in my life to feel the need to put one in my mouth”.

(Incidentally, Grandma Grace made my day for a second time when she was handed her baby grandson, who had finally calmed down after half an hour of crying. Two minutes later he was testing the top of his lungs again, at which she held him up to his mother and said, “Fixed him”. I felt compelled to share this anecdote with you largely so you could leave this post with a more pleasant mental image than a calf bollock.)

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