WFP: On a Wednesday! Hooray!

On Sunday for family dinner we had one of my all-time favorite foods. Oh my, this meal is so good. Everyone in my family, even the pickiest of members, loves this meal. Good, old fashioned, beef tongue with noodles. Yep, it’s downright delicious. This is one of those traditional foods that my family on my maternal side has eaten for a long long time. I grew up with this dish, and it was always a big treat- a birthday meal or something for a special occasion. It was only later in my life that I realized it was an uncommon dish, and that most people think it’s strange. As my house mate, Doug, would put it: "I just don’t really want to taste anything that can taste me right back…"  I think this is the general consensus, but to that I say… you all are seriously missing out. So come take a look at an old traditional dish that we all relish in our family. 

Are you excited? I know I am…

This is what a cow tongue looks like. It’s not exactly pretty, but when I think about it, meat isn’t really ever pretty. We’re just used to certain things. I know people who are grossed out by a whole chicken, but will happily cook and eat something that comes in a styrofoam plastic wrapped package. I sort of think that our perception is just… our perception. It’s not necessarily rooted in a lot of truth. There is a lot of food from different cultures that folks might find strange, but is delicious and nourishing just the same. We are obviously more comfortable with what we know, but I think it’s good to challenge our perceptions and just stay open. We might just find something good.

Boiled Tongue and Noodles
(For full effect, roll out homemade noodles early in the day and lay them out to dry till you’re ready to boil them)
 
1 fresh beef tongue
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
 
Heat all ingredients to boiling in enough water to cover. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 3 hours or until fork tender (the fork should just slide right back out without pulling the tongue up with it). Remove tongue and plunge in cold water. (Turn heat back up to high.) Slit skin on underside of tongue and peel it off.
 
Meanwhile, boil noodles in the broth. Slice tongue and serve with noodles, horseradish, and Aunt Alice’s chutney.  (I’ll be sure to tell you all about that chutney when I make it again in the fall…)
 

I cooked up one big tongue and my mom cooked a smaller one that she had. This is the part after it’s been cooked where you remove the outer skin.

 
Two tongues, ready for slicing.


 

Here it is all served up with the noodles, horseradish, chutney, and a nice side of beans.

 
This meal is so, so delicious. The meat is super tender and flavorful. The broth it makes is amazing (I’ll be making a soup tomorrow with the leftovers). Back in the day, my dad had to get used to this meal- it bothered him at first. But now… well- I got him two full servings of the stuff while he was laid up in bed because of his broken knee. So, I’m fairly certain the squeamishness is no more. Jeff was also pretty challenged at first. He has also outgrown that. It’s just so good…  

 
Beautiful custard that my mom made for dessert. Yum.
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