Monday, February 11, 2008


David, the Boss-Man over at Radio Sandy Springs, just shared a story with me about a restaurant in Lubbock, Texas years ago...possibly inspired by the show I did yesterday about Food Nostalgia.

David grew up in Lubbock, and it seems that, like 99.9% of the other Local Denizens, he was a big fan of Mexican food. Tex-Mex or Mex-Mex, no matter: He loved it all.

And it also seems that, back in the day, a new Mexican restaurant opened up, quickly becoming the Toast of the Town. It was an unpretentious hole-in-the wall, a complete dive, but all the Anglos flocked there. It was to Lubbock what Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons is to Savannah, which is to say extremely popular, possibly to an unjustifiable degree.

One day, so David’s recollection goes, a group of doctors and their wives came in for a pre-theatre dinner, dressed to the nines. They ordered; their food was duly delivered unto them; they chowed down.

And then it was that one of the physicians - someone trained in anatomy - found a bone in his food, the shape of which he immediately recognized as having come from...

...a cat.

(Hey, Bill Frist used to dissect ’em in medical school, too...)

The discovery led to people belatedly realizing that cats had become rather thin on the ground since the restaurant had an inevitable (and drastic) fall-off in business...and to the subsequent closure of the restaurant.

But what fascinates me is that plenty of people must’ve enjoyed what they were eating when they didn’t know what it was.

Now, I’m not here to suggest that “Enchiladas de Gato” is a typical Mexican dish, or that Mexican restaurants routinely use protein sources that would horrify most of their customers, Mexican or Anglo. Unlike, say, Korean restaurants. (Just kidding, Kevin!)

And I’m not about to suggest that cats be considered as a protein source. (I know it happens in China, but in China they will eat anything that’s not nailed down.) But I think it illustrates two basic principles of human nature: (1) There are some things you may be better off not knowing, and (2) Caveat Emptor.

Now, excuse me while I go puke.

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