I was thinking the other day about my legacy in the culinary world. I was raised up north, learned the craft through classic training and then when I moved down South all that was said was, “Can’t he cook anythin’ normal?”
But I persevered, and eventually I made inroads in Southern cooking, tropical flavors and bayou N’Awlin’s cuisine. I used my head, adapted and soon blended in with the local landscape.
Anyway, I thought to myself, “Hey, using your head can’t be all that bad when trying to accomplish something!” I often use my head when performing simple tasks, so why not cook using head?
Okay, here’s the rundown on this whole head and cooking thing.
First there is the classic Rolling Stones album, “Goats Head Soup”. Something macabre that Keith Richards came up with while stuck in a tree? Not a chance. Goats head soup is alive and well in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean and has been around for centuries. It is commonly referred to as Mannish water on the island and is believed to be a highly effective aphrodisiac.
Then there is Barbacoa, which is not quite a dish but rather a form of cooking. Barbacoa has also been around forever and it is where we get our word “Barbecue”.
The concept is simple. Dig a pit, get some good hot wood embers going, wrap up a cow’s head in foil, hang it in the pit and cover it with banana leaves. Eight or ten hours later, viola! Barbacoa.
Finally there is Head Cheese. Say what? I’ll tell you what, it’s not cheese but it is made from cow’s head.
No, it’s a terrine, or maybe even Jell-O made from cow cheeks, the brain, tongue, ears and eyes. There’s always room for Head Cheese!
Scroll down the list and I’ll guide you through making these goodies, and maybe someday your friends and family will say “Can’t he/she cook anything normal?”
Baya con Dios amigos.