THE UNMENTIONABLES…

In the past, no part of the animal or poultry was wasted on slaughter. People made use of feet, wings, blood, ears, noses, necks, stomachs, and offals. Testicles were included in the list, though ancient Greek and Byzantine physicians and doctors were not so fond of them. They believed that they are smelly, bad juiced and less easily digested, apart from those of very young pigs and cockerels (particularly of cockerels that have been fatten on grain). But if cooked properly they were considered nourishing (Galen, On food and diet, Testicles).  The truth is that people ate them with much enjoyment, either on their own or with other offals, whatever physicians and doctors said. Besides, it was a common belief that eating testicles boosted a man’s libido and strength. As for the testicles from cockerels, they had a great gourmet reputation.
Today, testicles are not popular in the menus of the households, though other offals are always a big hit. On contrary, meat taverns still list them as one of their favorite meze and butchers sell them using various names: ameletita (unmentionables), tricksters (katergarides), white caviar (aspro haviari), the tender ones (trifera). The testicles of cockerel are called eggs.

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1 pair calf testicles

 1 pair lamb testicles

 ½ cup chopped onion

 4 tbs olive oil

 lemon juice

 white wine

 thyme or oregano

 salt and ground pepper

With a very sharp knife remove the skin that surrounds each testicle. Cut into thick slices and place them in a bowl with enough white wine to cover them; cover and let sit 2 hours. Strain well. Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a frying pan; saute the onion; add 3 tbs olive oil, ½ cup water, the calf testicles, salt and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lamb testicles and cook for 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook until softened, adding water if needed. Sprinkle with thyme or oregano and black pepper cook for a second and serve on a small platter.

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12 thoughts on “THE UNMENTIONABLES…

  1. So far, the only parts that I’m averse to trying are brains – by comparison, I would love to taste these ‘unmentionables’! Unfortunately, I have never seen them in grocery stores or most restaurants; I’ll have to keep my eyes open for an opportunity to try them.

  2. I ate ameletita a long time ago in a taverna in Kavala. I don’t know what beast they came from but they were delicious. So when I was back in Northern Greece a few years later, in Xanthi, I ordered ameletita again and this time they were lousy, big and spongy, not the close-textured almost pate-like oval slices I remembered. What do you think I should have specified?

  3. Marianna, years ago I was tricked into eating amaletitta but they after all the laughter and guffaws, the verdict was they were delicious!

    They are high in cholestrol but indeed, a good meze.

  4. Φοβερά ενδιαφέρον blog!!!!!!
    Συγχαρητήρια.
    Την συνταγή σου δεν την έχω δοκιμάσει. Συνήθως τα κάνω τηγανιτά αφού τα αλευρώσω ελαφρά. Κατά τα άλλα λεμονάκι ρίγανη, αλάτι πιπέρι. Ο top κρασομεζές

  5. Ivy, yes they are a nice meze.

    Tangled Noodle,testicles are probably available from local cattle farms.

    Steve, the ameletita you ate in Kavala were probably from lamb. The ox testicles are big and have unpleasant spongy texture if not cooked correctly.

    Diana, they are considered by so many to be an enhancer of masculinity!

    Peter,Cooking testicles is like cooking a cholesterol bomb, but you can’t eat that much in a single sitting, can you?

    Νάσο, ευχαριστώ για τα καλά σου λόγια. Ναι, τα τηγανιτά αμελέτητα είναι ωραίος κρασομεζές! 🙂

  6. Maria, I am really grateful that your blog is bilingual! Thank you!!

    This post made me think about cultures in which the women ate (and some still do) the placenta after birth. Talk about unmentionable! The only person I know who ate her placentas after giving birth, was up and going full force within a day of giving birth (three times), has zero symptons now that she is in menopause, and has more energy than anyone I know. Makes one think…

    (She is a midwife, about 60 years old, and has recently set up a birth clinic in Haiti; she goes there one month per year to deliver babies. Has a massive, bountiful garden, from which she feeds her family and then shares the rest for free with anyone who is in need.)

    NB: She says that the (cooked) placenta tastes kind of like liver.

  7. Indeed, Demetra, placentophagy as a means of allaying postpartum depressionit is a commonplace for some cultures and has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine practices for centuries. But doesn’t cooking process destroy all the protein, the vitamins and the hormones? Does eating placenta have any medical benefits to mothers who have given birth?

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