That, my friends, is the tongue of a cow. It's in my refrigerator at this moment, where it has been for the past week, bathing in a brine of salt water, sugar and spices. Tonight, I will simmer it for 3 hours on the stovetop in water with onions and carrots and bay, and when it is cooked, I will skin it. And maybe then it won't look so goddamned nasty.
I've never cooked tongue before. Heck, I've never eaten tongue before (it's impossible to write about this without sounding obscene.) My boyfriend, who has, claims it taste a bit like ham, with the density of liver. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm amazed by how very creepy I find it.
Generally, I don't get bothered by foods. I can throw a calf-hoof into the braising liquid of my French-style pot roast without a qualm. Lobsters I murder without a twinge of conscience. I love slurping oysters. I yearn for a source for organic chicken feet to improve my stock.
But the tongue is different. First off, it looks so very much like our own tongues. So very like, but yet different - enormous, for one thing, and also a disconcerting dark gray/blue color, a color that would signal some sort of horrible illness if it were to appear in my tongue, or the dainty pink tongue of my cats. And there's so much of the base of the tongue to it, the clear severed connections where this tongue was removed from its mouth. (That reminds one of something most of us would rather not think about, that throughout history, cutting out the tongue has been a not-unheard-of torture, inflicted as punishment for heresy, among other things.)
I'm sure it will look better once it's cooked. It had better taste good.