The hardcore animal byproducts trend reaches its tipping point with pig brains of "'soft, creamy consistency,' almost like a flan, and 'a musty, visceral flavor,'" served by a man in a pirate costume at a Brooklyn dinner party.
The Observer spills 2000 epic words documenting the peculiar eating habits of the modern food snob, for whom a successful meal consists of "Oh wow, this didn't make me vomit, hooray!" (Actual quote.)
The disgusting animal byproduct trend arises at the juncture of cultural enlightenment (During my trip to Vanuatu, I ate everything on my plate!) and locavorism (a culinary discipline that allows carnivores to win back some of vegetarians' moral high ground):
Prime beef? Hopelessly minor league, not to mention kind of unenlightened. Call yourself a chef? Let's see what you can do with a whole (locally raised, hormone-free, of course) carcass. Let's see you braise a kidney.
Food Network/Top Chef/Iron Chef "everyone's a foodie now" thing is at play, too:
"Cooks like to eat funky, weird shit, and cooks like to send other cooks out funky, weird shit."
And so is the "hipsters acting like old people" thing:
"All these people who are 20 being like, ‘I eat everything!'; and people who are 60 saying, ‘I haven't eaten sweetbreads since I was a little kid!'"
And though cultures that eat brains and innards often do so out of necessity, (example: slave cultures developing methods for eating sweetbreads and pig feet since it was all that was left) on the trendy, Manhattan-y end of the spectrum, it's actually a sign of wealth:
Only in Manhattan could we pay premium prices for something once considered a culinary castoff. Farmers and purveyors used to send innards in bags attached to the carcasses for free, but offal has become a specialty item that is, in some cases, more expensive than filet mignon.
In sum: At some point, you will arrive at a dinner party and a man in a pirate costume will serve you the brains of baby cows, fried in peanut oil. (Actual anecdote.) You will eat it. You will not like it. But you will pretend you do, to avoid seeming like a foolish, racist rube. It will be something like this:
Bon appetit. [Observer]