But in 2012, on a visit to a meat market in North Carolina, Mays Meats, I gave my five recipes a second thought and crossed my fingers.
There they were. Pig brains. All frozen and sanitary and not stuck in a pig's head.
Recipe #82: Receta Basica Para Cocinar Sesos is the base for all the recipes that call for sesos. There is a debate as to whether sesos are cow brains or pig brains. I'd venture to say that after Mad Cow disease, there is no chance of finding cow brains out there. Many have said that cow brains were used in these recipes in Cuba. But today, we will have to use pig brains.
Once you're done with the basic recipe, you can then move on to the ones that are built from it.
Recipe #83: Sesos a la Crema, an appetizer type of dish that requires you to first make Recipe #294: Salsa Béchamel or Recipe #298: Salsa Mornay, a béchamel sauce made with Patagrás (Gouda) and Parmesan cheeses. Once the Mornay Sauce is made, you toss in the sesos and serve them atop toast.
Tastes a little like a mushroom cheese mix. No kidding. Quite bearable and possibly delicious - once you move past the hang up of eating brains.
Recipe #84: Sesos Grille finally challenges the "bacon can make anything taste great" rule. It does not make brains taste good. Not in the least.
Recipe #193: Tortilla Sacromonte has potential. It is actually a great recipe, using 1T of all main ingredients. Very OCD-ish. The brains go back to tasting like mushroom, mostly because the other ingredients overpower the taste of the brains and all you get is the mushroomy texture. You can definitely serve this Tortilla, sans brains, and call it something else.
And finally, the best known of the five brain recipes, Recipe #288: Frituritas de Sesos. Many of you ate this recipe as a kid, until you realized what you were eating. Luckily, I was able to kill most of the taste with a good amount of lime juice. But it wasn't enough to make me have a second piece.
All eight of us adults tried at least one recipe along the way. Some of my more adventurous friends ate their fair share of sesos (read: Fred).
Others were just too darn grossed out (read: Eddie).
Bye bye, sesos. Relieved to cross these off the list and start 2013 sesos-free!