Our men’s dinner is a transparent excuse for eating and drinking while sharing tall tales. It’s the hosts’ responsibility to choose the menu and I chose to feature parts of meat referred to as offal. These could make you a little squeamish if you aren’t familiar with them, but they are some of my favorites. I presented dinner as part of a theme titled “The Hero’s Journey”. The menu was secret and the only clue given attendees was an invitation to “An Offal Good Dinner” with a kidney image. Most thought I misspelled “awful” but were kind enough to keep that to themselves and arrived blissfully ignorant.
What is a Hero’s Journey?
Philosopher Joseph Campbell documented the stages of a recurring theme in tales of literary fiction. Ancient writing, from Homer’s Odyssey to contemporary film examples like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings illustrate this theme. In these tales, also called monomyths a protagonist or hero embarks on a journey, encountering trials and tribulations along the way. They overcome the obstacles and eventually return to reality transformed from the experience. I thought it a perfect metaphor, given that my guests would be tasting these for the first time and I in my role as their mentor, would lead them. As customary, I bestowed a protective amulet, pictured above, upon each Hero and with some liquid courage, we began the journey.
I plan to post all the recipes, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading our menu.
“An Offal Good Dinner” – The Hero’s Journey
The Call to Adventure
Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve, 23 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 47.8% abv – Stitzel Weller Distillery, Louisville, KY
Crossing the First Threshold
Marrow Bones on Toast with Parsley Sallet
Red Mountain Estate Bottled Syrah 2013
On the Road of Trials in the Belly of the Whale
Pan Fried Sweetbreads with Mustard Sauce
Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Blanc 2015
Meeting the Goddess and Temptation
Atonement and Apotheosis
Foraged Mushroom Soup with Chives and Cracked Black Pepper
Field Recordings “Skins” Orange Chenin Blanc 2017
The Ultimate Boon
Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir 2014
The Resurrection and Return
Chocolate Souffle with Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream Anglaise
Whistle Pig 10 Year Straight Rye Whiskey – Shoreham, Vermont
And just one last thing…
I’ll bet you’re wondering what their reward was for completing the journey:
It was Transformation to Master of Two Worlds