Thursday, May 09, 2013

Joys of Head Cheese

A finicky carnivore like myself needs a trustworthy supplier.  For this I turn to Berkeley's Local Butcher Shop.
Fine purveyors of most excellent meat, they also offer a bevy of house cured meats.  They make a
traditional head cheese as well as a spicy Italian version-  coppa di testa- and also  a grits based West Cost scrapple.  Their head cheese is extremely well executed and goes particularly well with drops of balsamic.  Head cheese is chopped boiled head meat in aspic without ears, eyes or brain. Sometimes they add heart and feet parts. I'm always tickled when I can recognize pieces of snout. I love foods that convert normally wasted or difficult parts into something wonderful.

The wiki entry on head cheese let's me know there are dozens of versions I have yet to enjoy especially of the sheep variety. But a quick photo reveal on the Icelandic Svið shows I am too wimpy for such a cured head on a plate.

The most delicious head cheese I've tried goes to Otto's  in Las Vegas which I would dub "masterly".  I enjoyed it with dabs of sour cherry preserve marveling how they managed to slice it so thinly.

My husband was recently watching the PBS series on the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. He tells me the first half hour is all about farmers who hang themselves in their barns as there was nothing to feed the family.  Even more heartbreaking is the story of the thirteen year-old that killed himself realizing he was a burden unto his family. We in the West for the most part are awash in an over-abundance of food. I think fasting periodically, one can gain better empathy for empty bellies around the world .  I started skipping two meals a week or health reasons not for weight loss and I am ever grateful I was born a South Korean and not a Northerner.


  1. I hope they are doing something useful with the brain. It seems they are not allowing it to be sold over here sadly.

  2. I would imagine fertilizer is a common end due to mad cow disease. I'm not sure brains get eaten much here either. H

  3. They do have good sausages.