What is head cheese?

“Rich, what is head cheese?”


Really, this is a question that I hear at times; not often, but on occasion. Head cheese is not a cheese at all but a meat. It’s like a lunch meat made from the head of a beast, literally. Eyes, ears, brain and nose are all congealed together in a gelatinous blob. The hipster crowd is taking note, I assume just to be ironic dicks because it’s not really that great, but head cheese has been around forever and like with all the offal cuts, blood sausages, and weird parts of the beast not often found in American cuisine it started out its life as poor people food. An animal’s head, usually a pig, is boiled in a pot until the brain liquefies, the eyes melt, and the meat slides of the bone. Bits and chunks of meat are parsed out of the pot, mixed with herbs and spices, and left to harden in a covering of head broth which, when it cools, maintains the consistency of jello. Aspic, brah…like a big gross meat-filled jello mold.

This is a good video which shows how head cheese is made, anyone can do it, not just genderless hipsters like in the video:

And now we are all wiser because we know what a terrine dish is.

As noted earlier head cheese is not really that great. I like it, but I’m a weirdo and even I can’t eat this shit all the time. It’s great with beer and bread but when a body grows tired of the carbonated wine that is craft beer, why not pair your head cheese with Kvass, a cool Russian staple made from fermented bread and raisins. Kvass is great and it’s like drinking a delicious glass of bread. Even though it’s fermented it is only about 1-2% ABV tops so it’s not really useful for getting smashed. Kvass is probably what beer should taste like though.

Surprisingly head cheese can be found at most butcher shops but for Kvass one will need to head to the Russian ghettos. A body can makes its own from a hunk of its favorite rye, although one should note that a good selection can be found at ‘Paradise Food’ @ 7217 3rd Ave in Bay Ridge.

So there you have it, instead of discarding your pig heads or just eating the eyes, boil ’em down and make head cheese with them. Let me know how it goes.



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