Tale Weaver — Tongue Tied

This week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt is about something from days of old. It could be stories about something “you remember as a child in relation to life at the time.”

What I’m about to relate to you is a tale of something horrible that happened to me when I was about ten — something that traumatized me, forever altered my perception, and permanently changed my life.

Every other Sunday my mother would go to the local Jewish deli and pick up cold cuts for supper. One Sunday my mother wasn’t feeling well, so my father agreed to make the deli run. I was thrilled when he asked me to accompany him.

I watched intently as my father ordered the various cold cuts — a pound of corned beef, three-quarters of a pound of pastrami, half a pound of salami.

The butcher pulled out these hunks of meat and put them on the slicing machine, the thin slices falling to his bare hand before he placed them, neatly arranged, on waxed paper.

Then my father asked for a half pound of tongue. And that was when the trouble began.

ED142BF5-B565-4698-ADD0-2FD3B4977C34I saw the butcher put this huge cow’s tongue on the counter. He smiled at my father, who, incredibly, smiled back and nodded his head in the affirmative.

The butcher starting trimming off some of the fat from the tongue before putting it in the slicing machine. And that was when it first occurred to me that the thinly sliced deli meat wrapped in waxed paper that my mother called “tongue” and that she brought home from the deli every other Sunday was sliced from an actual cow’s tongue.

At ten-years-old, I hadn’t yet made the cognitive connection between the cold cuts in my sandwich and some doe-eyed, tail-swishing, milk-producing moo-machine down on some farm. I figured tongue was just a word, like salami or pastrami. As far as I knew, cows didn’t have anything on their bodies called a “salami.” Oh wait, maybe they did. Yikes!

I was horrified. I backed off and slowly made my way to the other side of the deli, working hard to stifle an almost overpowering gag reflex. Seriously, what kind of sadistic people were my parents for feeding me the tongue of a cow? What would be next? Eye of newt and toe of frog?

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

To this day I am plagued by the memory of that huge cow’s tongue being trimmed and sliced up. It still sends chills up and down my spine.

Many decades have passed since that fateful trip to the deli with my father and I have never again had a tongue sandwich or even tasted a slice of tongue.

19 thoughts on “Tale Weaver — Tongue Tied

  1. Sue Vincent May 31, 2018 / 6:15 am

    I was well educated in the provenance of meat, but even so, after starting work in a park butcher’s shop after school when I was twelve, I went vegetarian for years. Mind you, that may have been partly to do with lifting the lid on a pan, asking what was for dinner, and finding a sheep’s head staring back at me… ( it was for the dogs, but it was too much…)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. newepicauthor May 31, 2018 / 7:42 am

    Cows do not have any part of their body that is called a salami, that part belongs to the bull.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pensitivity101 May 31, 2018 / 9:00 am

    I was going to work in the office of an abattoir, and was given a four week trial run as I was already working part time elsewhere. The promised ‘help’ at home didn’t materialise, but what finished me was the fact that the guys thought it was fun to make the newbie see the process from start to finish. I couldn’t face it and left, not even taking my earned wages.

    Like

    • Fandango May 31, 2018 / 9:29 am

      I had to look up “abattoir” to confirm that it was a “slaughterhouse,” which, based upon your description, I figured it was. I don’t think I could face working in a place like that, either.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. theministryofshrawleywalks May 31, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    Tongue does not float my boat, nor will it ever float my boat, but i’m intrigued to know what it tastes of, they do tend to spend a lot of time licking their noses. Now I’m thinking about the gag reflex too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michael May 31, 2018 / 4:46 pm

    I remember being told what such cold meats as salami and bratwurst were often made from left over bits of the slaughtered beast, I’ve always had visions of a person sweeping up the bits from the floor putting them in some machine and turning them into what became cold meat. Ofal was often a cheap meat, like how often did we have steak and kidney pie? Ugh!
    I understand your disgust of tongue, wasn’t something I ever entertained.
    No doubt Rocky Mountian oysters never interested you?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Michael May 31, 2018 / 5:14 pm

        Lol…..My older brother refuses to eat chicken because when he was a kid he watched my dad kill a chicken for dinner one day. He’s been traumatised ever since.

        Like

  6. raynotbradbury June 1, 2018 / 4:04 am

    I never seen it when I was little girl, but I ate tongues quite often bcz they were soft and delicious.. but I dont eat meat anymore
    The pic is very scary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango June 1, 2018 / 7:22 am

      I ate it because my parents gave it to me, but I had no idea what it actually was. Once I found out, that was it. No more tongue sandwiches for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Marilyn Armstrong June 1, 2018 / 8:56 pm

    I have a basic dislike of my own meat eating, but I eat it and I have no plans to go vegetarian. But i won’t eat tongue either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango June 1, 2018 / 11:00 pm

      I could never be a vegetarian, but I have tried to cut back a little on my consumption of red meat.

      Like

  8. Marleen September 13, 2018 / 3:47 pm

    A rabbi once described to me how good tongue is in New York city. (What… don’t laugh.) I would eat it, but never have (that I know of). One of my grandmothers used to serve brain. That’s worse to me, if I think about it. But I liked it. I don’t buy it.

    My oldest son wants to go to Texas to take a weekend course in cutting up beef from the whole. It would be his free time as his personal interests are hands on and survivalist (while his current work is running IT over a Japanese-American joint company).

    Liked by 1 person

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