Ssshhhhhhh. Don't tell great-grandma Ida (may she r.i.p.) that her great-grandchild is wild for salceson, otherwise known as polish head cheese...which I believe is made from the entire pig's head.
How did this come to be? Don't blame me. I think it happened the day his papa took him to our friendly-neighborhood Polish market, Europa Meat & Provisions on Jersey Ave., which is where I usually pick up pierogi and an occasional kielbasa.
They came back with a slab of this pink, gelatinous loaf which was composed of what looked like tongue and other meaty tidbits. It reminded me of something I had eaten in Paris but generally stayed away from, for there was something too piggy about it. Not that piggy isn't tasty, it is. But when you haven't been brought up eating it, certain things seem more taboo than others. Head cheese was one of those things.
I sampled a piece of that slab, and so did Izzy. We were both smitten. The taste was actually reminiscent of the tongue I used to eat as a child. So I started to buy it on a regular basis. I noted that other customers had it sliced. So I did too. I started making sandwiches for us with it, on semolina bread, with Dijon mustard. Izzy ate it like it was candy. He would sometimes throw aside the bread and say he only wanted the meat. Even I was astounded.
The clincher though, came the day we stopped at the Italian deli to buy an eggplant parm. sandwich. The line was too long and nothing I could say would persuade Izzy to leave. Finally I said, how about we go to Polish and get some head cheese instead...he followed me out the door, while the other patrons looked on in amazement. Forgive me Grandma.