Sweet Breads

Spending my early days in Duncan, OK, I had a lot of experiences you can only get from a rural environment. The strongest lesson rural life taught me was that I’m a city guy. I remembered another lesson recently when one of Ed’s cousins generously sent us some homemade Portuguese sweetbreads.
When in Duncan, my dad got to know some of the local ranchers. A social event that was apparently a male bonding experience among the men was during castration season. As I understand the event, the guys would get together to talk about news in the county, crack jokes and gossip while the bulls marched by losing their testicles to pruning shears. They would gather up the discarded testicles and cook them up and devour them on the spot. One year, my dad came home from one of these events with leftovers. He called them sweetbreads and he had enough for all of us. Sweetbreads sounded good to me but it was soon clear that all was not as it seemed. My Mom told Dad she wasn’t having any and didn’t feel good about her children having any either. That was all my sister and I had to hear. We both demurred.
Moving forward more than a decade when Ed and I got together. Our childhood backgrounds were very different. I had Duncan, OK, while he had Providence, RI. My biggest summer activities were hiking to Marlow, OK, along the railroad tracks or bicycling to Lake Duncan. Ed’s summer activities included going to the Massachusetts beaches and weekends in Manhattan. My parents took us to Wichita Falls, TX, for back to school clothing while Ed’s mom to him to Downtown Providence. My family went out for fried chicken while his went out for Maine lobsters.
Shortly after Ed and I got together in Germany, he told me he got periodic packages from his mom which always included Portuguese sweetbreads. Assuming that Portuguese cattle was a breed like Hereford cattle, I couldn’t imagine his mother shipping sweetbreads to Germany. I had flashbacks to my childhood and my dad bringing sweetbreads home for us to eat. I told Ed it was not my cup of tea. When he got the first package and opened it, it actually contained bread that was sweet. Who knew?
When someone offers you sweetbreads, be cautious but remain open minded, it may just be bread. Even today, the idea of people chewing down on testicles still makes me double up in sympathy pains.
Thanks for the sweet bread, Troy