Doubtful guests, harassed hosts, and the golden rule

Smith, Matt (2022) Doubtful guests, harassed hosts, and the golden rule. Gastronomica: The Journal for Food Studies. ISSN 1533-8622

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In early 2020, just before the pandemic kicked into high gear, I was in Lahore, Pakistan. One night, I was hosted for dinner by a billionaire philanthropist. The dinner was at his lavish home and, as I was the guest of honor, he led me to the buffet and lifted the lid on the first dish. "This," he announced, "is lamb brain curry. Very good." I tried not to be taken aback and rapidly assessed the situation. While I had no reason not to ladle a large helping of the grey goo onto my plate (I have no food allergies or intolerances, thank goodness), I had lived through the "mad cow disease" years and had a bias against brain food. On the other hand, I regularly ate haggis (still banned inexplicably in uncivilized quarters) and the thought briefly crossed my mind that this might be some kind of bizarre test (it wasn't, of course). Ultimately, however, I partook in the brainy curry chiefly because I was a guest and didn't want to offend my host. In case you’re wondering, I didn't particularly like its taste or texture, though all the other dishes were delicious.