Brain food

Kevin Bruce

Making a your-brain-on-drugs joke would be too fucking easy. Photo: Kevin Bruce

“And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.” – Leviticus 11:7

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Braaaaainssss. Zombies want 'em and we got 'em. Most of us, at least. Is it some undead primal instinct that makes them crave our precious nutrient-dense organs? Muscle meat? That's for the dogs. Sure, organ meats – specifically the pink, gooshy ones that are generally housed inside skulls – are an acquired taste. And one that takes a little more effort to prepare than just firing up the grill. But that doesn't mean us humans shouldn't show some solidarity with our undead brothers and sisters on this beautiful Friday the 13th.

My journey began on a notoriously less spooky Monday the 9th, only because that was my only day off and the bossman disagreed with my proposal that finding brain necessitated any significant time off. I rode over to Fleisher's only to find out they're closed on Mondays. Knowing there was a little natural grocery store nearby with an on-hand butcher, I decided to give it a chance rather than go home singing like the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz.

Open Meat, please.

I parked my bike in front of the Greene Grape and squeezed my way past midday cheese shoppers and lunching ladies at the deli counter to the modest butcher's corner. I was almost positive they wouldn't have any. The place seemed like a spot you might go to buy a soy latte or soda with “real cane sugar,” but wasn't the type of place you did any significant grocery shopping, even if you could afford it.

I gave it a shot though, leaned over the counter and whispered to the man in white “do you have any… brains?” quiet enough to avoid any strange looks from stroller-pushers with baskets of organic carrots and triple creme brie.

Soak brains for two hours to remove impurities.

“What kind?”

“What do ya got?” I was getting desperate.

“I could get you some pig brain, it'll take about 20 minutes and it'll be $12 a pound 'cause of the labor.” I'll take it.

The butcher walked through the back door and returned a few seconds later carrying a whole pig's head and a knife. He only managed to cut out a few ounces, but that was all I needed. And mad props to anyone willing to cut through a fucking pig's skull for a $3 sale.

Boil, pat dry, dredge in flour, salt and pepper, then sauté

I rode home quickly, careful not to hit any potholes or make any sudden jerks that could result in pig brain spilling all over my bag. When it comes to eating brain, freshness is everything – just ask that dude from Mayhem – so the second I stepped in the door, I rinsed the meat in cold water and soaked it in a bowl of cold salt water to remove any blood or impurities that might affect the taste. After changing the water a few times over the next two hours, I patted it dry, dredged it in flour, salt and pepper and tossed it in the skillet at medium heat to sauté with some coconut oil. Once it was golden-brown I poured two eggs, beaten in some whole milk, over the brains and scrambled. Not exactly what the cretins of Dawn of the Dead were eating, but it'll suffice.

When brains have browned, pour beaten eggs over them.

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