Meat meat meat. That's what I have to think about these days, not really by choice in this sultry summer heat, when watermelon and ice cream sodas seem ever so much more appealing. But I'm editing/writing text for a meat and poultry cookbook right now, so it's all about lamb shanks and Peking duck and stir-fried beef. Tapping out rhapsodies about Italian proscuitto di parma and French pate de campagne, I think instead of the time when, biking in France as a teenager, I'd just taken a mouthful of chunky, unidentified pate bought in thick cheap slices from a small-town charcuterie when one of my brattty little fellow cyclists hazarded a guess as to what had gone into it. "Hamster pate!" he chirped, and I just about heaved into his lap.
In one of John Thorne's illustrious volumes, he contributes this priceless gem about headcheese (what the French would call tete de veau, and of which he is, of course, a fan): "The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who have never heard of headcheese, and those who have and wish they hadn't."
The antidote to such typical American squeamishness is, one, reading (and cooking from) Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating (more on that here), and two, going shopping at the Fatted Calf table at the Berkeley Farmer's Market. I haven't been there, not being (sigh) a West Coaster any more, but their weekly newsletter is enough to sharpen the teeth (and appetite) of even the most dedicated tofu-eater.
OK, I have to go finish this project, today. More to follow!