Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ox Tails and other norms of daily life in Tennessee

For those of you who are wondering, this is an ox tail.
Have you ever cooked with an ox tail before? Yeah, me neither.

When Mom told me in the morning just before walking out the door (to do her 15,000 hour shopping trip with Amber in Nashville) to make dinner using the defrosted steak in the basement fridge, I didn't bat an eye.
I mean, what's the big deal about cooking the defrosted steak in the basement fridge? Who knows that beholding this defrosted steak would forever change the way I viewed defrosted steak...?
I put the instruction in the back of my mind as soon as she left and the house was all mine, which is what I am sadly notorious for after receiving some kind of important information like this. (Please don't hold this against me like my mother does. )
That afternoon, when the realization hit me that my hungry hardworking father and hungry hard-playing brother would want some kind of sustenance on the table before midnight, I decided to go down and get the defrosted steak out of the basement fridge and see what I could do to heal the situation.
Steak. Yeah. Sure.
I plopped the silver bowl onto the counter. I turn over the white-paper-wrapped package. We had just bought a half a cow or something like that from our local farmer friends. I'm used to this sort of a thing. Commercial looking meat. White packages. Hard core. Lots of blood.
Lo and behold, this package did not say Sirloin. No Pot Roast (thankfully, or dinner would have been frightfully late...). No T-bone steak, no nothing that had anything to do with steak, or cows, or bulls, or heifers, or ground beef.
It said, in big black letters: "OX TAIL".
Yeah, an ox tail.
Surely this was some kind of mistake. I mean, hello, we bought a cow, not an ox. Why on earth was there an ox tail without the ox within the vicinity of our fridge? Or freezer. Or basement. Or property.
I examined it for awhile. Surely "ox tail" was some kind of fancy shmancy term for some other cut of meat...? Well that was stupid sounding. But this couldn't be the real thing. And why on earth would Mom want me to cook it was the thing that freaked me out the most.
I folded up the package and pushed the bowl violently away. I will not cook this. I will not touch this. I eat steaks, not ox tails. And I don't know of any backwoods gun-totin' redneck that has ever mentioned Dinner ala Ox Tail as being a local delicacy. Where did this thing come from, who took my defrosted steak, give it now.
I did the only thing I knew I could do. I called my mother.
"Hi. Do you know that you defrosted an OX TAIL for me to cook for dinner tonight???"
"What are you talking about?"
"I went and got the meat out of the freezer and it WAS NOT a steak. It was an ox tail. I refuse to touch this thing! Mom, it's disgusting! It's... a TAIL!"
"Haaaannaaaah... it's not an ox tail. Maybe it just says that. But it's not. Just make it. Season it and make it. You should have made it already."
I then commenced to try to convince her with all my convincing powers that this was indeed an authentic tail of the ox. She would not believe me.
So I heated up some leftovers for dinner that night.
Mom and Amber got home late from Nashville (or Nashvull, if you want to sound local), and the ox tail was forgotten.
The next day she went into the kitchen, looked inside the silver bowl, unwrapped the packaging, and... what was this? It was an OX TAIL!
Hannah! Where did this thing come from? What is it? Whose is it? Get the camera, quick!
What Mom? Ooooh, that's not a real ox tail. That just what they call that cut of steak, y'know? I think we should have it or dinner tonight!

Needless to say, we both shared a nervous laugh. It was weird. Just weird. Neither of us know when, why, or how the Ox Tail got into our freezer. But it was something I'll never forget. There are some experiences in life that really just mold and shape your worldview, you know? This one taught me that if you are ever buying half a cow from your local farmer friends, you might not get a cow.
You might just get an ox.

1 comment:

  1. This is the best story ever. Ever, ever. I laughed so hard! :)