Delicacy is French for Something Weird
Another meal is upon us. Our General invites us to a surprise Iraqi diner. They say it’s a delicacy but won’t tell us what it is. Just a tip: Delicacy = something weird that you would never dream of eating in a million years.
After the fasting period of the day is over (It’s still Ramadan), we pile into the General’s dining area and sit down to another feast.
On the table in front of us are dates, roasted tomatoes, yogurt, bread, soup, kabob and the main course, lamb head. I know. Me too. My mouth just started watering, but not in the, “Man I can’t wait to get that Double Whopper” kind of feeling. It was more of the, “What the hell was I thinking” kind of feeling.
In my head I flash back to the scene in Funny Farm where Chevy Chase is oblivious to the fact that he’s eating lamb testicles and he’s going for the “Lamb Fry” record, “Call me Mr. Lamb Fry!”
Not one to insult my hosts, I dig in pulling meat off of the face of the lamb, whose head had been recently split in half. The jaw, the cheek; it was tender and delicious. I kept it safe. The Iraqis across and next to me start handing me pieces of the head.
I get handed the tongue. Not bad. I’ve never had beef tongue before, but other than the fact that the lamb tongue was grey and had that…well…tongue texture, it wasn’t bad. It was extremely tender. It was so good I might even get some beef tongue when I get home and share it with my kids! HA!
Next, they push the opened head toward me. In the perfectly oval and smoothly sliced pocket at the top of the head there it sat; the brain. They threw the gauntlet down and I accepted. With a clump of bread I reached in and scooped it out.
I thought to myself, “Do they have mad-lamb disease here?” Down it went.
Next, the eyeball. One of my Terps reaches over, sticks his finger in the socket, gives a good tug, and pulls the eye out. I don’t know if any of you have really seen an eye pulled out of the head of anything, but I will tell you, it’s disgusting. The optical nerve and whatever extra flesh it was attached to (after I ate the brain) came out behind it. There I was, eyeball to eyeball with this thing and its weird squiggly pupil staring back at me.
“Nope. No eyeball for me, thank you.”
“More for me then”, he replied and popped it in his mouth.
He grabbed the other half of the head, flipped it over, dug the other eye out and down the hatch it went.
Lamb face: check.
Lamb tongue: check.
Lamb brains: check.
Lamb eyeball: NO GO.
Another weird life experience complete.