About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006
What is it about car crashes that causes us to slow down and take a look? What is drawing us to examine the wreckage? 'Cause that is what happened to me last night, when D sensibly went to bed, where I should have gone, but no, I had to watch transfixed at the unfolding program.

It was TV Dinners presented by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, where he goes to people's homes and looks over their shoulders as they go about preparing a meal, usually for some sort of occasion. Dinner parties, backyard parties, going away parties, wedding parties, Hugh has done them all, helping out in his inimitable way. This particular show was a welcome the baby party, innocent enough, where the mother, grandmother and another women whom I was unable to ascertain whether family or friend, had invited assorted family members and friends to their bash to welcome a new baby.

Fair enough. Only the centre piece for the repast was to be the newborn's placenta.

There it was on a plate, wine colured, flopped in a puddle of its own blood, umbilical cord still attached, while these three women explained why they were going to serve their guests this extraneous organ.

There was some explanation of wild animals eating their newborn's placenta to gain vital sustenance, and what should have been a joke about everyone sharing in their gene pool, only they were deadly serious. Well these three extemely well nourished ladies had no need of extra sustenance and as far as I'm concerned there is only one way I would like to contribute to the gene pool and certainly not to theirs.

Next they dried the hapless organ, before slicing it into pieces for a quick saute. Whilst it was cooking, they retrieved a piece, placed it on the chopping board, cut it into chunks and proceeded to a tasting. All three ladies had a go at it, but Hugh didn't venture a taste at this point. Normally he is into everything and for that matter so am I. There is not any part of an animal I haven't tried, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, whatever. Some strange wildlife has passed my lips too, all manner of insects, but no placenta and that is not about to change anytime soon.

Eventually the placenta was turned into a pate and spread on slices of bread. The guests arrived, the food was served and blow me down if the guests for the most part tucked right in! There were a couple who said they would never try it, but in the biggest irony they served some to a vegetarian, who ate some. I always believed that when vegetarians lapsed it was for a nice piece of bacon. Now we can add placenta to the list. Even Hugh eventually succumbed but it must be said without his usual enthusiasm.

I went to bed shaking my head.
  posted at 7:05 am

At 8:39 am, Blogger Reb said...

It doesn't happen often, but I am totally lost for words. I've been looking for valid reasons not to subscribe to cooking pay TV, maybe I've just found one.

At 9:11 am, Blogger MM said...

Er, reminds me of the time I was given a night cream with placenta in it to review. It had a picture of it on the label too. Take about queasy ...

At 11:58 am, Blogger Haalo said...

Tom Cruise was probably inspired by this episode! I've got this really old book called "Manual for Wives and Mothers" and back then the author recommended that the monthly nurse takes it away and after all the servants have gone to bed, burn it in the kitchen grate!

At 12:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would a vegetarian eating placenta be ironic? It's the only meat they can eat, as it's the only meat that hasn't involved anything being killed.

At 1:05 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi reb, I know what you mean about being speechless, but on the whole pay tv cooking programs are usually pretty interesting.

Hi mm, welcome back, glad your over your illness. I guess there is nothing like a placenta to give youthful looking skin. I'm queasy too.

Hi haalo, Do you think any of the monthly nurses cut themselves a piece of barbecued placenta? Maybe Tom could have an amniotic magarita with his.

Hi anon, that's a slippery slope you're poised at the top of. They're called vegetarians because they don't eat meat, otherwise there would be a booming trade in road kill and animals that have died of old age.

At 2:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well it may be a slippery slope that they are poised at the top of. I am just telling you what they (several vegetarians with whom I have spoken about this) have told me. I am a foodie myself, so I would slit my own throat before I became a vego.

At 8:43 pm, Blogger Ange said...

OOOohhhhh, all I can say is that ie really really disguting & glad I've alrady eaten my dinner tonight!

At 8:20 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi ange, you're right, it was disgusting, but it was like I couldn't look away. Ewwwwwww.

At 7:36 pm, Blogger pentacular said...

Can you imagine the merchandise coming from this programme, recipe books devoted entirely to the placenta, hmmmmm, like Placenta blamonge, creamy placenta soup, placenta and furr ball bisque, oh yeah, I see a huge market niche being opened up right before my...(excuse me whilst I technicolour yawn into the porcelain bus).

At 7:46 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi pentacular, no I can't imagine.


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