Tuesday, March 31, 2009

tête de veau

Mini B arrived this evening looking for help to deliver a calf, insisting that he needed both of us, so I went along with my camera.

The call had obviously gone out that he needed a hand because as we arrived at the écurie, more people turned up and we all went to round up the pregnant cow which was happily munching in a field, unphased by the pair of hooves sticking out its rear end. The strategy appeared to be to converge on the animal while flapping your arms around as if you were trying to park a large aircraft and shouting "allez" ("go") which it duly did - right into the stream where it flopped down and refused to budge. Who needs an inflatable birthing pool?

Fast forward ten minutes and I'm taking pictures as the calf is pulled out when Mini-B shouts, "no photos!", like he's the Max Clifford of the animal kingdom. I don't know what that was about and I didn't want to ask.

Calf's head - tête de veau - is a popular dish in France, but not one I recommend you try at home, or anywhere else for that matter. Elizabeth David in French Provincial Cooking writes that if it's served really tender and hot with a well mixed vinaigrette sauce then it's quite good - then adds, "more often it is repellent". We once had lunch at a nearby hotel with some friends who ordered it and I had to sit with my head out the window until the plates were removed to avoid throwing up just from the smell.

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