Tête de veau is food. I try to see it as simply meat and, as such, just matter, material made of its constituent parts. In this case no longer living, but certainly still capable of giving life in the form of nutrition and energy. Lettuce is matter after all also. A cheeseburger is matter, largely unknown meat collected up and burnt with cheese on top (and maybe that’s the problem with Tête, we get to know what it is all too closely). Seafood is matter, some bits of which are prettier to the human eye than others. Bread, butter, pulses, legumes grown in healthy shit, mushrooms in the same, lamb chops, pieces of lamb chopped, lamb, little harmless baby lambs, young sheep, whitely woolen and fluffy, gamboling for fucksake, but delicious matter all the same.
I have friends who will not eat anything with lungs. Lungs are their line in the sand. Others who won’t wear leather but will sit on it. All good. I know a man who ate a dog in Korea (whilst a professed dog-lover) on the basis that he’d eaten horsemeat in France and why not (said he), why not?
There is a Star Trek film I once saw at the cinema because I was hoping to fuck the girl who wanted to see it, maybe the second one (film not girl), Anyway, a bunch of the leads are hiding out in a carpark or a grassy knoll or something in modern day America (or as was in 1980 something) and trying to not interfere with the past so as not to mess with the future (that old thing) and while I remember nothing of the film to the point that I can’t even give backstory to this incident, they somehow come across a bucket or several boxes of what is meant to be an anodyne version of KFC into which, being hungry, they enthusiastically and happily tuck, until someone goes Ewwww. A bone! which leads to everyone else (evolved and from the future where peace has been made with beasts of all kinds if not aliens) going similarly ewwww apart from someone (Scottie?) who says a twinkly version of Good stuff laddie, I like it!
Ah, point. Point being that we’re in a muddle about animals and eating them and there are lines and limits that most (not all) place as though some kind of moral markers or something similar: Tête de veau. Here is William Glover’s simple, bald-faced (pardon me) recipe:
Rip the face off of a baby cow. Remove the meat from the jaw and roll it up in the face. Tie it all up with string and place it is a large pot with water, a carrot, an onion, chopped garlic, bouquet garni, salt, pepper and a little vinegar. Simmer for two hours, then remove, drain and cut in slices. Place slices on warm plates then lightly moisten each spongy, tasteless mass with a special vinaigrette sauce.
I don’t want to eat this. I already have reports from the front (more sics), notably from my friend Cha Xiu Bao:
There were the brain, nose meat and cheek fat of veal on the dish. I was gobsmacked. The nose meat of veal was delectable. It was probably the softest cut of the veal and eating it was a bit like chewing a marshmallow. The brain of veal, meanwhile, had a jelly-like texture. It was edible though I was sure it wasn’t everyone’s palate too. Next came the `hard’ part: the fat of cheek. I was so empathized with Camille Desmoulins when I ate it. A revolutionary road is obviously not for everyone to take as it often marks a premature downfall. In fact, I gave up after one bite – it tasted like wax, a chunk of tasteless fatty and greasy wax – the mint sauce didn’t help neither. If nothing else, it compounded the torture. The sort of gastronomic machisimo displayed earlier was no where to be found now.
Matter. Breathes. It’s just matter…..