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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sweet What?

I love food.  I love going out to eat and I particularly love fancy restaurants.  Not only for the new food I get to eat that someone else has prepared, but for the relaxed atmosphere.

Grandaddy loves to go out to eat and doesn't even mind spending the money, but he hardly ever likes the food.  Brian loves to go out to eat, too, but he can't get behind the high prices and the three hours it takes to eat.  It's sort of a running joke that we could be at the ritziest place and he would still order a hamburger.  (Ask him about the $25 burger he had in Boston.)

So, last night when I snuck out sans children for a few hours, I peeked in one of the fancier places in town called Tallent.  I've been there once before and drooled at the thought of the dessert I had ever since.  (Essentially, it was bananas foster made infinitely better with a drizzling of hot fudge sauce.) I thought I'd have an appetizer and fancy dessert and hope to get out of there for less than $30.  

I think the chef must have some tie to Kentucky because the new Fall menu had hints of Southern flavors.  I ordered an appetizer that, as I recall, was described as "cheesy grits with country ham gravy and fried sweet bread."  I thought to myself "Cheese? Country ham?  Fried bread? I can not go wrong."

So the largest plate came to my table with the tiniest bit of grits and some tennis ball-sized fried thing was on top all smothered with gravy. When I cut into it, I sensed something was not right.  And then a little bell went off in my mind. A phrase I'd heard years ago and I couldn't hardly swallow.

I got the waiter's attention and sheepishly confessed my ignorance.  "I'm so embarrassed to even ask this, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought 'sweetbread' is a term to nicely describe animal testicles."

You should've seen the guy's face.  A slight grin, completely reassuring.  He said, "Oh no, no, no.  You don't have to worry about it.  No gonads here."  I was relieved, to say the least and yes, he did use the word "gonads".  I don't know even how to spell such a thing.

I picked up my fork and took my next breath to thank him for the info when he added, "No, sweetbread is actually the thymus* gland of a baby calf."


He must've seen the look on my face, because he kept on going.  "It's a gland in the back of their throat that they eventually outgrow.  Humans don't have it.  Only baby calves." As if this further definition sounded better than what he said to begin with.

I was at a total loss for words; truly an uncommon feat in my mouthy mouth.  All I could think to say was, "Could I see the dessert menu, please?"

Just when I thought I could end this crazy meal on a good note, I read the new Fall dessert menu and no bananas foster to be found.   

No wonder Brian always sticks to the burgers and gets an ice cream cone on the way home.

*Sweetbread link here, if you're into that sort of thing.



  1. I bet Granddaddy would like it!

  2. I just saw sweatbreads being used in a cooking challenge on the food networl a couple days ago.
    It really looked good ... In comparison to the other organs/parts the particular chef insisted on shoving down the judges throats. (Bone marrow, brains, raw beef, etc)

    Bon apetit!

  3. Eeeewww! We'll not be having anything that remotely resembles any of that when you are here this weekend!

    BTW, can't wait!!!

  4. I am my father's daughter. I read the part where the guy said humans do not have it and thought to myself I don't think that is correct. Then I thought back to my human anatomy course in high school where we disected a cat. I thought tiger had one too. Of course I looked around on the net and found that I was correct. Got joy out of that but I am still grossed out at the thought!

  5. K -

    I am totally laughing - not at you, but I can just hear you in my mind's ear telling the story! I'm sorry for the expensive mistake and am glad for the education - even if it came at your expense! Hope you and the family are well - miss you!


  6. Reminds me of eating brain sandwiches in southern Indiana when I was young! LOVE them!

    Thymus gland??? Maybe not so much! THAT sounds gross! Ha!Ha!


  7. What!?!? $16 and you didn't eat it?