I recently came across a vividly illustrated cookbook that utilizes a main ingredient of testicles in each of its recipes (the testicles were not human, but once belonged to bulls, calves, lambs, rams, stallions, ostriches and turkeys). It is a refreshingly simple tome titled The Testicle Cookbook, compiled by an affable-looking Serb named Ljubomir Erovic, who has been cooking testicles, he claims, for more than 20 years. A lover of weird food, I was immediately interested in the recipes. I enthusiastically flipped through, learned the proper peeling technique, drooled over a pizza topped with discs of pale meat that slightly resemble foie gras, and wondered on the comforting effects of ostrich testicle pie. While I most likely won’t attempt to replicate any of the dishes myself, I wouldn’t turn one down if it presented itself to me. I meet the task of trying strange food with vigor, usually, thinking of it as a type of oral tourism.
However, after meditating for a short time on the nature of my newfound attraction to testicular food, I realized that its lure was a bit more carnal than just a chance to try unusual meat. What I mean to say is that balls are laden with baggage. *cough* Seeing those fleshy orbs stripped from their usual bouncy and slightly ridiculous poise, skinned, sliced, mashed, and seared, satisfied the man-hater in me (guys, every woman has a bit of this, I promise).
The potential therapeutic use of this type of cuisine became apparent, and at once I was washed with images of spurned women ceremoniously eating rocky mountain oysters or a balls pizza to ease their roiling anger and frustration. But then I thought, well, why would eating balls be a satisfying form of indirect revenge? How would it synthesize inflicting pain and discomfort? To fully wrap my brain around this truth, I decided that I needed to know more about why men care for their pairs. I sort of know that the balls are very important, vulnerable, and precious things to a man. But I do not know what it is like to own a pair, and wonder how on earth men are able to walk around with a pendulous sack between their thighs. Any inkling of a belief I may have in intelligent design goes out the window when I think of testicles; they are an engineering disaster. Don’t they chafe? I cannot understand what balls symbolize and certainly would only be able to describe their significance speculatively, lassoing concepts—like manhood and primitive virility—that I don’t fully understand either. So I asked some men I know what their balls meant to them.
I probably emailed about ten or eleven guys on Sunday morning, and asked them to describe, in 100 words or less, the importance of their testicles. Three came through. All three of these men are writers, so their insights are really pithy and effective. I wasn’t planning on disclosing the full mini-essays, and thought I would cherry-pick choice quotes, but I think to do so would one: ruin carefully smithed words, and two: be less funny for you, dear reader. The contributors’ names have been changed to protect the innocent, who, in this case, are the swinging few avoiding a Serb’s knife.
Bruce Beldi writes:
My testicles are really the first and most significant things for which I've been responsible. They are a bit helpless and exposed, just hanging there like two infant monkeys clutching at the back of a mother monkey as she walks along. I'm often aware that I need to step a little higher to ensure their clearance over objects like fences. I'm probably guilty of doing too much for them, but I don't mind. I have a mother's pride in them almost. My testicles really mean the world to me.
Briar Treehawk supposes:
They are at one time the things you must ignore most on your body simply for the fact that most of the time they seem to do relatively nothing on the average day; and yet they are the most precious things on the body because one, they will allow us to make babies, and two, because the pain of the humorous "kick in the balls" scenario is very real. There is a contradiction for sure, paying as little attention to them as possible while knowing they are the most important thing(s). Perhaps it’s because of the "pain" factor. The pain isn't like a cut on the arm or a welt or a broken bone. It's…well…imagine swimming and the pressure you feel all over your body that, when you deny yourself to come up for air, becomes too much, not quite what we'd call painful but very uncomfortable. Think implosion, pressure, and finally deep pain that isn't searing but dull and constant and disabling. So now, imagine that implosion centralized entirely in a small bag of skin in two over-sized marbles that most times are more trouble than they are worth and yet in which you unwillingly feel some indefinable pride.
And finally, Argyle Feltup concludes:
The stegosaurus had a nerve bundle in its hindquarters that aided its walnut-sized brain functions. I think of my testicles as a similar supplement. They dose me with testosterone—that complex and self-savaging organic matter. Note: the previous clause also applies to every human brain as well. Indeed, the entire human form balances itself against itself, nipple to nipple, conscious to un-, lust to love, and so on for eternity, and in the interim, I’m just glad I can grasp this hairy, butt-soaked truth in one hand and shake it like a rattle, like a shackle.
Notice the mention of pride in two of these three paragraphs. The third balances the balls with the brain, granting them equal importance. I’m especially grateful for Beldi’s comparison of his care for his balls to a mother’s for her babies. Not only does this association serve practically to help me better understand the relationship, but alleviates some of the guilt I’ve always felt for being a member of the sex who gets to experience pregnancy and the physical closeness of a mother and child. But while children grow pre-teened and hateful, you guys get to keep your babies near and dear, always.
So, ladies, I think this is evidence of the importance of testicles to their owner. It's safe to say that these three men would probably be upset if their balls were suddenly gone. If you are feeling crummy because of a dude, I recommend expanding your culinary horizon. If you're feeling squemish then, well, grow a pair.