"Mom, if I make you dinner, do you promise to eat it, no matter what it is?" Oh, being the mother of my two sons is not without its mixed bag of blessings. Thrilled that Bridger offered to cook, and now worried about what it could be, I asked him for details.
"No. Do you promise to eat it, no matter what?"
Bridge wasn't going to let me off that easily. I know him well enough to know it would be edible. I also know him well enough to know he knows me well enough to get my commitment before he started cooking. I agreed to this little challenge, feeling like a contestant on Monty Hall's "Let's Make a Deal!" I'm pretty sure I was about to get the consolation prize.
Bridger busied himself in the kitchen, getting the flour from the cupboard, eggs and butter from the fridge. So far, so good. There was a container in the fridge that he had brought from his dad's. He began thinly slicing what I could only assume was some sort of meat. It was light pink in color. The meat seemed to be tender, and had no grain. Any guesses?
Once he had butter and onions sautéing in the frying pan, he set up his dredging station. He dropped the meat into the whipped eggs, and then into the flour. The house was starting to smell good.
I called my sister Natalie. "Bridger is making dinner for us!" She thinks Bridger's a great kid any way. This moved him up a little higher on his pedestal in Nat's eyes.
"He's making Rocky Mountain Oysters."
"How sweet that he'll cook for you. Wait; what's Rocky Mountain Oysters?" Yes, that he will cook is wonderful. It's WHAT he's cooking that made me more than nervous.
For the uninformed, Rocky Mountain Oysters are Utah's comedic name for beef testicles. Yes, cowboys have been feasting on this delicacy for decades. There is even a Testicle Festival in Woodruff, Utah every summer. I can remember one of the fifth grade teachers telling me about this event. He said they sell t-shirts screen-printed with the words, "TESTICLE FESTIVAL: Come Have a Ball." I'm sorry; I have to laugh. The by-line on the YouTube video about the festival said: "Woodruff, where the bulls are nervous, and the cows get the last laugh."
"Order a pizza!" was Natalie's suggestion, after hearing our menu.
The savory smell of simmering onions was filling our house on that winter's day. My curiosity was piqued. Bridger was smiling the whole time he was in the kitchen. His dad had taught him how to prepare the dish.
While he was cooking, I was busy psyching myself up for this new culinary experience. My boys have tested my fortitude and gutsiness more than once. I hate to disappoint any of my kids. What if I couldn't control my thoughts, and I threw up? I couldn't do that. I had to be tough. My stomach was getting nervous. Bridger interrupted my troubled reverie, and called me to the kitchen.
Scooting my barstool up to the counter, I smiled tentatively at Bridge. My dinner LOOKED appetizing. My mouth started to water, but not in a good way. You know how you feel when you have the beginning signs of nausea? I fought down the feeling, swallowing hard, and willing the tightness in my throat to go away. I laughed nervously.
"Bridger, don't take my reaction as being rude. This is hard for me, okay?"
He just laughed, and he took a bite. "Mmmm...so good, Shrink. Dig in."
Oooh, the moment of reckoning was here. I picked up my fork, and took a stab at a piece of meat. That's what it is, you know. MEAT. I had to keep repeating that over and over in my head. "It's just meat. Eat the meat."
My body has a visceral reaction to textures, especially to textures of food. I was so scared they would be rubbery and blubbery. But guess what? They weren't half-bad. I had to put every conscious thought out of my head while eating them, and just remind myself that I was eating meat, but I found them to be tender, and somewhat sweet. I suppose the consistency reminded me of eating rabbit. Afterwards, when I realized what I'd done, I felt a little nauseous, but I have to admit, living in that particular moment...I actually thought they were very tasty. Will I eat them again? Nope. Bucket list item completed, checked off, and never to be revisited.
"Havin' a ball in Marysvale." Yep. I did it. And I never have to do it again. Thank goodness.