Friday, December 19, 2008

Let's Hear It For Strange Food

Pig ears, huh?

I've seen them at our local cooperative convenience store, as chew treats for dogs...smoked and flavored and dried, or something. All I know is they're hard, in a bin, and you can buy them for your dog for 75 cents apiece.

But as I was flipping past the Food Network tonight (now would be a good time to change the channel to one of your other favorite blogs if you're the type who's easily grossed out), I saw the show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and there was a feature on Big Mama's Kitchen in Omaha, Nebraska, a restaurant specializing in soul food and a few...oddities. And one of the little teaser blips that made me watch the whole segment was a mention of Pig Ear Sandwiches.

Let me interject and say that I'm a pretty adventurous eater...or at least I can be. Not Fear Factor adventurous where you have to drink a maggot milkshake to advance to the next round, but...real, actual food. Give me something weird, and I'll try it. I might not like it...but how are you going to know until you try, right?

I think I've mentioned on this blog somewhere before (I looked for the post, and can't find it) that I'm lucky enough to enjoy a treat of pickled beef tongue a couple times a year. My dad makes it, his mom made it, maybe her mom made it...and if you like pickled anything, I should give you a sample of beef tongue sometime, on a Saltine with plenty of onion. What a treat.

So I couldn't turn away when the host of the show, Guy Fieri, was given the chance to sample one of Big Mama's Pig Ear Sandwiches.

Big Mama puts them in a crock pot with plenty of spices ("they're very bland by themselves," she said) and lets them slow cook for eight hours. When they were nearly finished, Fieri jokingly tried to make up an excuse to leave. Even when it was on the bun (with a little mustard, because what ear is complete without mustard?), he paused before taking his first bite.

"It's IS tender," was his immediate reaction after first taste. And after a bit more chewing, he admitted he thought it was going to be worse, and gave the Pig Ear Sandwich praise, as did a half dozen customers when asked to give their testimonials on camera.

I guess there's something on every menu for everyone, huh?

So tell me...which would you be more apprehensive to try, if given the choice? A Pig Ear Sandwich, or a piece of pickled beef tongue on a cracker?

I don't know that I'll be racing over to Omaha anytime soon for a sandwich.

"We have two ears and one tongue
so that we would listen more
and talk less."

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