from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun US brawn (terrine)


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  • I am suddenly vividly recalling my horror when first I encountered this frightening practice in "Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They boiled the head (of a pig??) collected everything that "came off" and formed it into a loaf.

    The "congealing" process which is so disgusting in the process of making head cheese comes from, I believe, its effect on the collagen found in the animals head. To be perfectly honest any food made with gelatin, which is similarly extracted from animal skin, bones, and connective tissue, ought to be as off-putting. But, somehow Bill Cosby makes everything okay.

    My overpowering love for eggs and cheese (as well as the lovely smell of my leather jacket) is the only thing protecting me from a vegan lifestyle.

    September 16, 2009

  • Some things oughtn't to be in gelatin, and 'bits of meat from the head' is pretty high on the list.

    Kudos for unearthing the original meaning of 'cheese'.

    April 14, 2009

  • My husband ate this stuff while living in Chile.

    September 12, 2008

  • Sviðasulta in Icelandic, apparently.

    July 4, 2008

  • I think it sounds offal!

    January 8, 2008

  • No, you probably know "obrigado," right? That's Portuguese.

    And now we are at the sum total of my knowledge of that language.

    November 1, 2007

  • Well, c_b, I did. So far that's the only Portuguese I know.

    It looks like I screwed up a link once again. This is embarrassing for a web designer. I'll go edit it right now...

    November 1, 2007

  • Actually, skipvia, I'm probably one of those freaks who wouldn't mind knowing a little more about it--if only to be more fun at parties--but the link to the Wiki article says "nobody's added Queijo de Porco... Why don't you?"

    Well... why don't you? ;)

    Maybe this was the article you were talking about...?

    Whoa. Don't forget potted heid and presskopf. Yikes!

    November 1, 2007

  • I think I already know more than I really wanted to know, skipvia--but thanks. ;-)

    November 1, 2007

  • I think reesetee and c_b are right. That would explain why the term "head cheese" translates so literally among various languages. Besides French (fromage de tête), there's "queso de cabeza," "queso de chancho," and queso de puerco" (Spanish), "hoofdkaas" (Dutch), and "Queijo de Porco" (Portuguese). This Wikipedia article tells you more than you probably really want to know about the substance.

    EDIT: Thanks to Chained_Bear, this is the correct WikiPedia link.

    November 1, 2007

  • Easy, uselessness. It is intentional misdirection. Think about it. Why would you eat something called "bits of meat from the head of a cow or pig, cooked in gelatin and served as a luncheon meat" when you can have "head cheese"?


    Seriously, though--I think one of the original meanings of "cheese" referred more to the process of making the product rather than its specific contents. There was fruit cheese, nut cheese, etc. Now we use the word to refer almost exclusively to tasty versions of congealed dairy products.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to hurl.

    November 1, 2007

  • Wait, I thought cheese was made of milk? Come to think of it, I have no idea what cheese is, except for the decidedly non-specific "dairy." Maybe that should concern me. But I eat the stuff every day, and rather like it.

    November 1, 2007

  • Well, think about what cheese is, and how it's made. It's congealed animal fat and protein. Doesn't head cheese make more sense now?

    *wonders why cheese is so good if it sounds so barfy*

    October 31, 2007

  • That's disgusting. But why do they call it "cheese?" There's nothing cheesy about it. I hate when names of things are obviously wrong like that, it seems like intentional misdirection.

    October 31, 2007

  • Yep, that's it. *gag*

    October 31, 2007

  • Bits of meat from the head of a cow or pig, cooked in gelatin and served as a luncheon meat. Known in the South as souse. The French name--fromage de tête--sounds almost appetizing, unless you speak French.

    October 31, 2007