Pig brain soup! Who in their right mind willingly eats pig brain soup? Can’t you get mad cow disease from doing stuff like that? OK, so you can’t get mad cow disease, but I’ll bet you get can mad pig disease and that’s got to be worse.
Eating pig brain soup was one of the many memorable culinary experiences I had when I was living in the Philippine Islands. I was visiting a friend of mine who lived in a small village in southern Luzon Island. Rueben was a barber and didn’t make a lot of money, so he and his wife were pretty creative in finding “exotic” and creative things to eat that didn’t cost a lot of money.
It is the custom of the Filipino people to offer food to visitors who come to their home. At that time, Americans were treated especially well because there were still a lot of the Filipino people who remembered how the Americans liberated their nation toward the end of WWII. So, I was almost always treated as an honored guest when I visited people.
I remember once when I came by Rueben’s home and his wife was making a large pot of soup. As soon as I entered their home I just automatically commented on how their house smelled so good. My comment made Rueben’s wife smile from ear to ear. Filipino women love it when a guest acknowledges their ability to cook well.
As soon as I sat down Rueben’s wife fixed me a large bowl of soup. I was delighted to see that she was serving me vegetable egg drop soup. After finishing the bowl I complemented her on how delicious it was. Of course, she insisted on serving me a second bowl, filled up to the top just like the first bowl. As she was filling my bowl I commented on how good her egg drop soup tasted. She exclaimed that this was not egg drop soup. No, it was pig brain soup.
Oh no! I had always lived by the rule that you eat what is served to you before you ask what it is. It always makes the unexpected dish easier to get down. I have to say that her second bowl of soup was like a zillion times harder to stomach when I knew I was eating shredded pig brains rather than egg and chicken. I’m sure that Rueben was having a wonderful time watching me finish that second bowl of soup. But what could I do? I could not offend my good friend’s wife and there was no way he was going to let me off the hook. That was the hardest bowl of soup I have ever eaten.