Sam Burnham, Curator
A few months ago I stumbled across Jed Portman’s Garden & Gun article on the old breakfast delicacy of scrambled pork brains and eggs. It was not a new concept to me. I had heard of this dish on more than one occasion. Portman’s article stirred something in me. It was like a challenge. This was a piece of Southern culture just waiting to be explored.
Like the prophet Jonah, I walked the other way.
But neither the article nor the dish would leave me be. The article would pop up here and there. And the can of pork brains glared down at me from its high perch above the Spam, the canned chili, the sardines, and the Vienna sausages on Aisle 3 of my local Food Lion. It taunted me. The canned oysters and bulk sausage seemed to snicker in agreement as they flanked my tormentor on the top shelf. On more than one occasion I picked it up and looked at it, much like Frodo gazing at the ring.
How could I continue to serve as the curator of this journal, how could I claim to defend Southern culture, how could I join Birdmane in his quest for “from the rooter to the tooter” if I did not do this thing?
So like Igor before me, I brought home some brains.
So I cracked open the can and suddenly smell a pungent aroma not unlike Vienna sausages, of which I am not particularly fond. But this was important work. So I finished opening the can and raked the contents into my preheated skillet. There was some sizzle and I worked with the spatula to get the cooking started. I added the eggs and worked the two into a mixture until I reached the consistency I like for my eggs.
Plated up it looked pretty simple. The name is quite descriptive. Brains and eggs. That’s what it was. The Vienna smell has either dissipated or I had grown accustomed to it like a diligent paper mill employee. I had an increase in confidence. This was going to be ok. I was going to enjoy it, do a pleasant write up, might even eat it again occasionally. It was another step in my journey toward curmudgeonism.
So with a splash of coffee in the trusty James Longstreet mug I sat down at the table to cap off an ABG Test Kitchen success. I took a bite. It was different. I took another bite. It was certainly unique. I took another bite. I figured I didn’t have to eat it all. I took another bite. That was enough. I had done my duty. I scrapped my plate into a trash-bound container, walked out the door and deposited it all in the outside trash can. I didn’t even want it in the house.
I won’t do or say anything to disparage the hard working folks at Rose but I have no intentions of ever eating canned pork brains again. Check that one off the list.
However, I am now curious about fresh brains and farm fresh eggs. I’ll give that a whirl one day, given the chance.
Now to finish ventilating the Test Kitchen.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire