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Brains and Eggs Remain Menu Mainstay
Associated Press ^ | July 14, 2003 | MATT GOURAS

Posted on 07/14/2003 12:21:08 PM PDT by Pharmboy


The Oxford's short-order cook, Dianna Keeland, chops up
a cow brain June 26, 2003, for an order of the Oxford's
signature dish -- brains and eggs. The dish has survived
at the Missoula landmark for generations and -- more recently --
has survived scares of mad cow disease.
(AP Photo/Todd Goodrich)

MISSOULA, Mont. - Short-order cook Dianna Keeland looks a little disgusted as she takes a cow brain from the fridge and tosses the grayish, softball-sized organ onto the grill.

"They look like something a human being shouldn't eat," Keeland said.

She chops the sizzling mass into bite-size bits, scrambles in some eggs, onion and peppers and serves the steaming plate to a waiting customer at the Oxford restaurant bar.

Even with hashbrowns, toast and a beverage chaser, two chewy bites are enough to confirm it is an acquired taste.

Across the West and South, brains and eggs are still a menu mainstay. Southerners consider pork brains a delicacy, but here, in the heart of beef country, Keeland fries up cow brains — and the orders haven't stopped despite mad-cow disease scares.

"That's the trademark dish here," said manager Ralph Baker, who eventually volunteers he's a vegetarian and has never tried brains and eggs himself.

"Frankly, if I was even eating steak every day," Baker said, "I wouldn't eat 'em."

At Big Ed's City Market in Raleigh, N.C., owner Richard Watkins serves up pork brains. He gets about a half-dozen orders a week, mostly from older customers who remember eating it growing up.

"Back in the Depression, you didn't waste anything on a hog," he said.

Watkins said his dish, served at the family owned-restaurant for 40 years, tastes similar to ham and eggs.

"It's very tasty," he said. "I love it."

At the Oxford in Missoula, a landmark bar and grill for a half century, the dish has been on the menu from the beginning — and it has always been cow brains.

Even news this spring that five bulls linked to a Canadian cow infected with the disease were traced to Montana didn't slow orders — about a dozen or so a week, often from drunken college students. Livestock officials eventually found no evidence any of the animals — all of them already sent to slaughter — were infected.

The human form of mad-cow disease is known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Scientists say people get the fatal illness by eating meat products containing brain or spinal tissue from infected animals.

"I think you're just as likely to get West Nile virus as the mad-cow disease," Baker says. "Nobody worries about it."

There have been no confirmed cases of mad-cow disease in the United States, nor have there been any confirmed cases of anyone contracting the human variant in the United States from eating infected meat products.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of getting the human variant of the disease even in the United Kingdom — where most cases occur — is perhaps about 1 case per 10 billion servings.

Unlike other illnesses that can be found in meat products, such as E. coli, the agent that carries mad cow cannot be killed by cooking it at high temperatures. But health officials have not developed a specific recommendation about eating cow brains, mostly because there have been no cases of mad-cow disease in the United States, said Jim Murphy of the state health department in Montana.

"At this point, we don't have a reason to say, don't do this," he said.

But Murphy also noted that the incubation period of the human form can be decades, meaning health officials won't know about any outbreak until long after someone is infected.

"If people want to go the extra mile to make themselves safe, they could avoid these things," he said of cow brains and other spinal tissue.

The brains Baker gets come frozen and complete. They are mostly round and still have the brain stem connected.

Earlier this spring, Baker had to find a new supplier after his old brain source found better money selling to people using them to cure leather.

At the Ox, a plate of brains and eggs costs $6 and comes with hash browns and toast. For some, it helps to douse them in Tabasco sauce or lots of gravy. Some chase it down with a shot of whiskey.

Keeland, the short-order cook, said some orders are placed by college freshman going through an initiation of some sort.

"I've had to write actual notes verifying that so-and-so ate the brains and eggs," she said.

And, of course, the Oxford crowd has never seemed overly concerned about minuscule health or safety risks. Open 24 hours a day, the Ox was for years known as a tough bar, where fights were common and police visits frequent.

It's in that venue that brains and eggs stayed at the top of the menu.

"I liken it to a roller coaster," Baker observed. "There's the illusion of danger — but actually no real danger."

___


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Montana
KEYWORDS: breakfast; cattle; madcowdisease
Can't say I've ever tried that for breakfast; I certainly wouldn't order it in Europe...
1 posted on 07/14/2003 12:21:09 PM PDT by Pharmboy
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To: All
Any way I can talk you into making a donation?? Thanks if you will!
2 posted on 07/14/2003 12:23:31 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Pharmboy
They have a local treat in my ex-hometown, Evansville, Indiana. Battered and deep fried brain sandwich, yummy! No kidding.
3 posted on 07/14/2003 12:24:59 PM PDT by bigfootbob
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To: Pharmboy
Sounds worse than Bubble 'N Squeak.
4 posted on 07/14/2003 12:26:46 PM PDT by ErnBatavia (Bumperootus!)
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To: Pharmboy
I'm gonna barf.
5 posted on 07/14/2003 12:26:57 PM PDT by dead
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To: da_toolman
Ssssssssssssssllllllllllllluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrp.

At least they cook 'em.
6 posted on 07/14/2003 12:28:22 PM PDT by phasma proeliator (it's better to die with honor than to live without it.)
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To: Pharmboy
Sounds horrible and I think it's a cholesterol festival as well.
7 posted on 07/14/2003 12:28:34 PM PDT by PoisedWoman (Fed up with the CORRUPT liberal media)
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To: Pharmboy
I love having brains. I wish I had some right now.
8 posted on 07/14/2003 12:31:10 PM PDT by Khepera (Do not remove by penalty of law!)
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To: Pharmboy
When I was a kid growing up in Florida my grandmother sent my brother and I up the street to a local ma & pa market to pick up a package. The package was heavy, and contained something frozen and wet. In the process of carrying it home in hot and humid summer weather, the contents thawed and a pig's snout penetrated the brown paper. We were mortified, and thought we had been victims of a practical joke. We delivered the package anyway.

We were further mortified to find that Nana planned to eat this pig's head and the brain. After cutting into the skull she removed the brain and combined it in a pan with scrambled eggs. I was only a kid so my recollection is slight, though I do remember that I ate it.






9 posted on 07/14/2003 12:33:38 PM PDT by South40 (Get Right Or Get Left)
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To: Pharmboy
Thanks for making me gag with this article.
10 posted on 07/14/2003 12:33:41 PM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine
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To: Pharmboy
I still enjoy Pig Brains and eggs once in awhile, my father loved it with cheese as a base
11 posted on 07/14/2003 12:34:07 PM PDT by cav68
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To: Pharmboy
Can't say I would EVER order it. Eeeyyuchhh!
12 posted on 07/14/2003 12:34:27 PM PDT by EggsAckley ( "Aspire to mediocracy"................new motto for publik skools.............)
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To: bigfootbob
Battered and deep fried brain sandwich, yummy! No kidding.

Many years ago, when I lived in Evansville, a favorite used to be a cold brain sandwich. [I never had enough guts to try one.]

13 posted on 07/14/2003 12:35:52 PM PDT by curmudgeonII
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To: dead
I'm with you....I'm gonna barf if I keep reading stories like this! GROSS
14 posted on 07/14/2003 12:36:15 PM PDT by Arpege92
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To: Pharmboy
When I was a kid there was nothing that tasted better than Pork Brains and Eggs. It is sooooo good. I can still remember the taste. Unfortunately, around age 6, somebody finally told me what it was and that was the end of that for all time.
15 posted on 07/14/2003 12:36:38 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: Khepera
Another scarecrow heard from...
16 posted on 07/14/2003 12:36:50 PM PDT by L,TOWM (Liberals, The Other White Meat)
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To: Pharmboy
Brains and eggs are better for late night fare than for breakfast. I ate (pork)brains and eggs almost every Saturday night in college.
17 posted on 07/14/2003 12:39:05 PM PDT by CholeraJoe (White Devils for Sharpton. We're baaaaad. We're Nationwide)
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To: Pharmboy
When I was still a teenager I bicycled around Europe, and was introduced to many dietary items that astounded a naive young American of that time, who had grown up on things like hot dogs, ketchup and Franco-American spaghetti. There were calves' brains, lungs, fried squid, frog's legs, fish with their eyes still in, and who knows what else? Most of it was pretty good, although sometimes I had to shut my eyes while I forked it up.
18 posted on 07/14/2003 12:40:28 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Pharmboy
"More...brains!"
19 posted on 07/14/2003 12:52:22 PM PDT by mhking
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To: Pharmboy
"More...brains!"
20 posted on 07/14/2003 12:52:29 PM PDT by mhking
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To: Pharmboy
"More...brains!"
21 posted on 07/14/2003 12:52:47 PM PDT by mhking
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To: dead
Thanks for the heads-up...
22 posted on 07/14/2003 1:03:39 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Dems lie 'cause they have to...)
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To: Cicero
So at least some of your bike ride was done on brain power?
23 posted on 07/14/2003 1:06:58 PM PDT by presidio9 (RUN AL, RUN!!!)
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To: Pharmboy
I love to eat and love trying new dishes...but there are just some things that I will never ever be able to convince myself to try...brains and eggs are right on top of the 'Oh Hell No!!" list...right along with mountain oysters, pickled pigs feet, snails.......Oh man...I'm gonna be sick........
24 posted on 07/14/2003 1:08:32 PM PDT by RenegadeNC
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To: Pharmboy
Remind me to slap you for that one.
25 posted on 07/14/2003 1:13:08 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: Pharmboy
Calves brains and eggs along with the requisite hash browns with brown gravy and toast was standard faire for me and my buds when attending the University of Montana in the early 1970's. After a hard night of drinking, we would stop by the Oxford and fuel up for the next night.

I did it again a couple of years ago. Hadn't changed a bit!
26 posted on 07/14/2003 1:31:05 PM PDT by montomike
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To: Pharmboy
UUUUMMM! - Pig brains - makes me want to squeal.
27 posted on 07/14/2003 1:35:48 PM PDT by sandydipper (Never quit - never surrender!)
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To: Pharmboy
Calves brains and eggs along with the requisite hash browns with brown gravy and toast was standard faire for me and my buds when attending the University of Montana in the early 1970's. After a hard night of drinking, we would stop by the Oxford and fuel up for the next night.

I did it again a couple of years ago. Hadn't changed a bit!
28 posted on 07/14/2003 1:35:50 PM PDT by montomike
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To: Pharmboy
Someone should tell Tom Daschle to visit this place. Fried cow brains are better than what he has now.
29 posted on 07/14/2003 2:22:41 PM PDT by adam_az
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To: adam_az
LOL!
30 posted on 07/14/2003 2:34:07 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Dems lie 'cause they have to...)
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To: Pharmboy
You see?
THAT'S what's making the cows mad!
31 posted on 07/14/2003 2:41:02 PM PDT by Darksheare ("A Predator's Eyes Are Always In Front.")
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To: Cicero
There were calves' brains, lungs, fried squid, frog's legs, fish with their eyes still in, and who knows what else? Most of it was pretty good, although sometimes I had to shut my eyes while I forked it up.

Cervelles au beurre noir, or calves brains in black butter sauce, is one of the finest dishes in French cuisine. I remember having brains and eggs at the Hungarian Green Tree Restaurant at 110th and Amsterdam in NY as a poor but honest college boy.

If you want a real culinary challenge, go to China. I once ate a good couple of mouthfuls of a spongy pinkish-grey meat with disconcertingly crunchy parts, before I asked what it was. Pig's lungs.

32 posted on 07/14/2003 5:20:58 PM PDT by Map Kernow ("I love the Vixen of Vitriol---Ann Coulter")
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To: Pharmboy
Ranch hand dream brains and eggs with bisquits for breakfeast.For lunch mountain orysters and yams with hush puppies for dinner T-Bone with baked russet patoto and sour cream with garlic clippings yammy mama.
33 posted on 07/14/2003 5:43:53 PM PDT by solo gringo (Always Ranting Always Rite)
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To: solo gringo
In NYC, they might arrest you for a menu like that (as long as Bloomberg is mayor, that is)!! LOL!
34 posted on 07/14/2003 6:53:36 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Dems lie 'cause they have to...)
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To: Pharmboy
Old rich boy bloomy would not know what we are talking about.He might rub this on after a long day at the links.Or mabe sniffing printers ink Most of the day.
35 posted on 07/14/2003 7:43:27 PM PDT by solo gringo (Always Ranting Always Rite)
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To: Khepera
LOL
36 posted on 07/14/2003 8:00:26 PM PDT by gcruse (There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women[.] --Margaret Thatcher)
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To: CholeraJoe
Now I see how you got your screen name...LOL!
37 posted on 07/14/2003 8:01:55 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Dems lie 'cause they have to...)
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To: Pharmboy
Nah. That's from several tours in hostile and nasty environs running aid stations and Air Transportable Hospitals (USAF MASH Units) treating indiginous populations with cholera, malaria, plague, dengue, TB, worms and other twitching awfuls.
38 posted on 07/14/2003 8:16:41 PM PDT by CholeraJoe (White Devils for Sharpton. We're baaaaad. We're Nationwide)
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To: CholeraJoe
Glad you clarified...hats off to you, sir! Sounds like you have helped many (and, as a Freeper, I know that you are likely a humble person who feels a bit uncomfortable with praise...just make a small exception here).
39 posted on 07/14/2003 8:20:08 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Dems lie 'cause they have to...)
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To: Pharmboy
I've had 'em at a dinner in Roanoke, Virginia!

Ever had a Snout Sandwich?

40 posted on 07/14/2003 8:26:31 PM PDT by F-117A
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