Friday, 19 February 2010

A fine tang of faintly scented urine...

Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. [...] Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine." 
                                                                                                                                                     James Joyce
 It is difficult to mention my mother without appending the title 'a good Yorkshirewoman' to her name.  Whilst my parents,  as 1950s newly-weds, had escaped the blackened brickwork of Bradford for a slightly damp Welsh  bungalow with a view encompassing the entirety of Swansea bay, they remained shackled to their northern food culture.  Offal.  Lots of offal. Every which way of offal.  I hated offal.

As children my brother and I were never allowed to waste food and ate what we were given or got nothing.  At the age of eight, we were gifted with our first right of choice - picking one foodstuff that we would not be forced to eat.  My brother chose tomatoes and I, in my haste and hatred of it, chose liver.  With hindsight I wonder if I would have got it past my mother had I been cunning enough to say 'offal' thereby covering a multitude of 'inner organs'.  Somehow I doubt it.

And so it was that I was condemned to a life of pissy kidneys complete with tubey bits, tripe the taste and texture of a bath sponge left damp and mouldering in the corner of the shower, tea-time treats such as sheeps brains on toast in a white mucilaginous sauce,  and my least favourite of all udder.

UDDER! You shriek, vomiting at the thought. Yes, udder.  I have eaten udder - and more than once too. Served as oblong slab a quarter of an inch thick and fried in lard. You want to know what it is like but I can't tell you just how vile it tastes and smells because you have never eaten udder and never will and you are right not to do so. Now you know that forkfuls of udder have grazed my fair lips you will never want to kiss me - they are forever tainted by the uberous odour of udder.