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August 11, 2010

Mid-Century Menu Finalist #4 – Jellied Tongues

By RetroRuth

Well, this is the end of the line. Absolutely, totally rock bottom.  I asked for the Worst Mid-Century Recipes you guys could throw at me, and I got what I wanted.  Four hilarious and horrible offerings from the world of Mid-Century Cooking. And I think it is pretty fitting that we end this contest with the creepiest recipe of the bunch.

Jellied Tongues.  That’s right.  You read that correctly.  Jellied. Tongues.

Thanks to Kelly, aka EarthaKitsch, for submitting this odd and horrifiying recipe.  And by the way, I hate you now, Kelly. Seriously.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. No, seriously.

I must admit that I was trying to find any way, any small reason at all why I couldn’t make this thing.  I put off calling around to look for tongue until the last possible minute. I got Kelly’s recipe submission on June 30th. I didn’t call the butcher shop until this Monday. 

“Hello, this is the meat counter.”

“Yeah, umm…hi.”

“Hi. Can I help you?”

“Yeah….I’m…ahhhh…looking for tongue.”


“Yeah, beef tongue.  Crazy, huh? Well, I am sure you don’t have any, sothanksandI’mjustgonnahangup..”

“Beef tongue?  Oh, yeah. We’ve got it in the freezer. How much to you need?”

“Son of a…”

“What was that?”

“I said, beef. Beef tongue. A whole one. I will pick it up this afternoon.”

So, thanks butchers of Midland for having freaking beef tongue on hand. Thanks a lot.  No weaseling out that way.  And thanks for giving me the unique experience of seeing a beef tongue in a plastic bag, laying on the floor of my car.

When I brought the horrible thing home, I refused to touch it.  So, Tom had to step up and do the prep for the tongue.  Here is the awfulness in photos.  Those of you who are pregnant (I am looking at you, Andrea) might want to avert your eyes now.  I mean it.

Yep, there it is.  One cow tongue.  And brave Tom holding it.

Cramming it in a pot.


Okay, everyone take a deep breath because the next one is a screamer.  Ready…inhale…


Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!  Ahhhh! Ahhh! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Ahhhhh….God. Look at it, just look. I hope you are happy, Kelly.

Damnit, it’s a tongue!!!!

Then Tom peeled it.  Yes, peeled it.  I didn’t take pictures of that part, because I got so nauseated I had to leave the room.  And don’t mock me for having a weak stomach.  I never claimed I was Farmgirl!

Luckily, after Tom peeled it (gag) and sliced it, it looked more like meat.

And there you have it.  Slices of beef tongue.  With only small amounts of screaming on the side. 

So, after a pep-talk phone call from my mom (“It’s just beef. I ate it as a kid. You eat hot dogs, don’t you?  Just don’t think about it and eat it.”) I was ready to actually touch it. Oh, and make the recipe.  That, too.

Oh, and a side note, Kelly.  This recipe didn’t call for olives at all!!! What the heck are they doing in the photo??  Weirdness.

Well, at least this part is fine.  Especially cause there are no hooves in this gelatin.

Beef stock, onions, vinegar, salt and pepper.  I wasn’t supposed to add the salt and pepper till later, but looking at the tongue slices was still kind of freaking me out and I forgot what I was doing for a second.

Oh, another disturbing photo.  This is the “tongue stock”, better known as “the water we boiled the tongue in”. And THAT my friends, went into the gelatin.

This is all getting a little too “Little House on the Prairie” for me.

Eggs in the pan.  Because what would a MCMenu be without hard-boiled eggs, I ask you?

Soooooo, I touched it.  I had to eventually.  I mean, I can’t be a namby-pamby forever.  And you guys were counting on me to get my butt in gear and get that stupid gelatin made. I can’t disappoint you!

More tongue and eggs, and then the gelatin.

By the way, my whole kitchen smelled like cooking tongue.  It was almost enough to bring the gags back.

Whew.  Done. 

Sweet Jesus.

“Are you ready, Babe?”

“Yeah,” he stretched his neck and shook out his shoulders, like he was getting ready to lift something. “I can do this.”


“It’s fine.  Tastes like beef.  But the combination of meat and gelatin still just isn’t right.”

I still balked. “I don’t want to do this.  Don’t make me.”

“Come on, you have to.”

“No!! No, I don’t want to!”

“Just a little bite.  Here, just this little one.”

I took it gingerly from the fork.  Chewed, and ran for the sink.

Tom was laughing. “What do you think?”


It took a whole glass of milk to get the taste out of my mouth.  And yes, I realize the irony of washing down cow tongue with cow’s milk.   But at that point I didn’t care, I just wanted it down.  It was just so…chewy.  I couldn’t do it, especially with the picture of the cooked tongue in my mind.

The Verdict:  Tom claimed it was good.  That the tongue just tasted like beef and it was fine with him.  I just couldn’t get it down enough to even taste it, really.  It was chewy.  And that is all I am going to say.

He ate two whole servings. Two!!!!  I am agog.

So, that is the last finalist for the Mid-Century Menu!!! Whew!!!! Thank god that is over.  Come back next week to see some of the runners-up, and to start the voting on which recipe was the Worst. 

I think I am going to go lie down for awhile.

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18 Responses to Mid-Century Menu Finalist #4 – Jellied Tongues

  1. Lorie B. Reply

    August 11, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I am laughing so hard I think I am gonna have a stroke….

    That is to stop the massive shuddering. Oh Sweet Margaret!….GNARLY…..EWWWWW…..

    I could have NEVER have had that in my kitchen. Just the look of it would have killed me. Sadly, tongue is considered a delicacy in some places. That and liver.


    NOT that I could have ever gotten a piece of it into my mouth….but I would have been brushing my teeth for hours.


    What were these people thinking?!?!?!?!

  2. Sara in AZ Reply

    August 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    OH….LORD….HAVE….MERCY!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought Sharon’s recipe was bad last week, but this is just INSANE!!!!! I think you should have made Kelly come over to eat it with you! 🙂

    Where on earth did you ever find this recipe Kelly?

    I love the pic of you drinking the milk Ruth. I can almost picture you drinking it so fast it’s streaming down your face and chin. 🙂 You poor, poor girl!

  3. Inky Reply

    August 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    blargh. that’s truly disgusting. Whatever did you do to make Eartha so angry 😉 (and yeah, go Tom!)

  4. Andrea Reply

    August 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Holy crap … I really should have scrolled past those first tongue pictures faster! I guess I can’t say I wasn’t warned, eh??? this recipe HAS to win. That has got to be the most horrifying thing I have EVER seen!!! I have no idea how you choked any of that down!!

  5. Kelly Reply

    August 11, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Oh my god. Let me say first that I am sorry. Terribly, terribly sorry. Secondly, let me say that I was at the same time horrified and fascinated with this post. I can’t say that I have ever seen a beef tongue. Well, not outside of the cow at least and….well, it’s horrific!

    I don’t know how you made it through any of this – the picking up the tongue and then having to drive it home…the cooking and my god, Tom who had to do the skinning…blekk! The tongue stock…the smell that I keep imagining in my head. You having to taste it….

    I should be beat with something blunt for ever suggesting it. I can imagine you cursing my name for the entire time.

    I do want to add that it’s a hilariously written and riveting post. And I’m not just trying to make you not hate me. And I want to add that Tom….um, he’ll eat ANYTHING! I don’t know for certain where those green olives went but I think that maybe they had their lawyers get them out of their contract to be in that recipe.

  6. Sara in AZ Reply

    August 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I have to add….just told Mike about the MCM meal and he asked, “Is there ANYTHING Tom won’t eat?” 🙂

  7. Miss Marwood Reply

    August 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    LOL, thanks for this hilarious post! You had me in stitches!
    But… I did not find it disgusting. Yes. I know.
    In Bavaria, where I was born, smoked beef tongue in sherry sauce used to be one of my fave meals. I admit I ran screaming the first time I saw it in a pot, but it actually tastes really good, once it’s sliced and served with rice and cranberry jelly. It shouldn’t be chewy at all, maybe yours was a toughie.

    I have also discovered that here in Bavaria (where I am right now on hols) they sell meat jellies in butcher shops. They come with egg, gherkin, ham, etc in it and are lovely, I eat them under the incredulous gaze of my family. Has my brain warped after reading too many Better Homes & Gardens books and reset my tastebuds to 1962, I wonder?

  8. Bethany (Sweet Bee) Reply

    August 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Oh, my stomach turned just reading this!
    When my mom was in the hospital after having one of us, they brought her lunch in. all she could think of was how hungry she was. She lifted the tray lid, and yep. tongue. She said she’d rather starve. I don’t blame her. I now officially have the willies.

  9. Ingrid Reply

    August 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    This post brings back memories. We actually used to eat tongue several times a year when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s. I think my Mom cooked it for my Pennsylvania German father. I seem to remember a pressure cooker was involved. We’d slice it and serve it sprinkled with vinegar. I remember liking it but it was part of the culture. If someone were to serve it to me now, I’d have a tough time eating it, let alone preparing it. You have my deepest respect.

  10. Modern Suzie Reply

    August 12, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I could eat sliced tongue, but I’m not so sure about that prep work, pretty nasty (peeling!?!yuck!).

    Also, Miss Marwood, you’re not alone, the British eat jellied meats too. My grandpa’s fav is jellied eel, you can buy it at some chippy’s (fast food type places). I haven’t tried it and am not sure I could.

  11. Miss Marwood Reply

    August 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Hey Modern Suzie, I need to try the jellied meats when I am back in the UK! Good to know I am not alone 🙂 I have had a taste of jellied eels in Brighton but must say that was reeaaaally grim. I could not finish it for the life of me.

    As for the tongue, the peeling is horrid, my mum instructed me over the phone “You know it’s done when you can fork it easily and it peels off without force” . Good God. You really have to put the radio on loud and think of something else when doing this. But once it’s nicely sliced and covered in sauce it’s a delicacy.

  12. Miri Reply

    August 14, 2010 at 4:38 am

    LOL! You are incredibly brave!

    DH’s cousin would occasionally invite us to Saturday lunch and she would always serve tongue…for year she thought the kids and I were vegetarians. DH always ate it…UGH!

  13. SusieQT Reply

    September 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    LOL! My husband is a traditional German butcher and they make tongue loaf with gelatin as a lunch meat. You slice it just like ham. I used to eat it quite a bit. I worked there while I was in college (that’s how we met, duh) and one of my jobs was to peel the tongues after they were boiled. Yes, I had to peel the outer skin off hundreds of pounds of tongue every week. I guess I developed a certain immunity to seeing it after that.

    But that wasn’t the most disgusting use of tongue I’ve ever seen- they also make a lunch meat using pork tongues, blood and cubes of fat in a large sheep’s intestine. It is surprisingly very popular among the clientele, but I’ve never been able to try it myself.

  14. Lauren Reply

    October 2, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    This is a riot!! They are SO disgusting! How did anyone actually eat this stuff back then? LOL!

  15. Lynn Reply

    August 8, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I really enjoyed this post. I came here from the current contest.
    I am a follower now!

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  17. celia Reply

    October 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I don’t know if you ever read old comments, but this gave me horrible culinary school flashbacks. When I was sous chef for the day I had to go pick up our supplies and one of them was a bucket with a cow tongue peeking jauntily out. And it clonked back and forth as I walked it to class desperately hoping it would not touch me. Then I put it in the fridge and closed the door. Mercifully my teacher said “Class, on our syllabus it says we are cooking tongue today. Please raise your hand if you would like to spend the next few hours cooking tongue.” NO TAKERS. Sooooo we made something else. THANK YOU JESUS. God. And her, she would have had to taste 20 students tongue dishes. HAYULL NO.

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