Every year, I have a list of culinary delights/challenges that I plan to tackle. And let me be straight with you – headcheese has been on that list for far too many years. With 30 being a big year for me, I decided to add it onto my 30 For 30 List, in hopes that I would put a concerted effort into actually trying it. And I finally did.
Of all the things that could make it to the list, why did I choose headcheese? Well, for one, just the thought of it is repulsive. I like a challenge like that. And the name! It’s like it’s trying to fool you, but not really. Headcheese. Really?
Just do a google image search of “making headcheese” and you’ll see why this feat is not for the faint of heart. All those snouts… God, it makes me wretch just thinking about it. But that is precisely why it made it on the list, and more specifically the 30 For 30 List. I needed it on there to be sure that I would try extra hard this year to actually check it off. I even contemplated adding that it would be homemade headcheese (made by yours truly) but I just couldn’t.
My dad has known for some time that I’ve been planning on giving headcheese a chance. So when I showed up for a visit he let me know that he was making my morbid dream a reality – he had two slices of headcheese in the fridge.
I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. Should I try it on its own? Pan-fry it? Roll it up with a little yellow mustard? Instead, I chose to make a sandwich, and added a little bit of hot pepper jelly.
I didn’t like it. I’m not sure if it was the flavour of the meat, or that I had the wrong accompaniments, or whether it was just the thought of it. Either way, after two bites I couldn’t stomach any more. Thankfully, my dad happily finished it off for me.
It’s Not Over
This is not it for my headcheese experience. Since seeing a Vietnamese headcheese bahn mi on the Food Network a couple years ago (maybe on Eat Street??), I’ve wanted to try it served up that way. I found a recipe for a pork meatball bahn mi that I’d love to try – served up with headcheese and hot peppers. And as the author mentions, “Make a picnic of these and you rule!” Will do.
Another option is to try it out on my travels. Since Saigon Boys doesn’t serve Vietnamese sandwiches, and I don’t think I’ll be heading to Cali anytime soon, I’ll have to give Toronto’s culinary scene a try. BlogTO has a list of the best bahn mi, so the next time I’m there, maybe I’ll have a more pleasant headcheese experience!