Have Heart!

Bison heartIn April (my paleo new year), I set a resolution.

I resolved to start eating organ meat.

The year before I started eating mammals for the first time in 27 years. The year before that I went paleo after adhering to a vegetarian ideology for decades.

I’m pretty pleased with the organ-meat progress I’ve made. For months now I’ve been eating liver multiple times a week, in the form of Victorious Offal Muffins. I make ’em, eat ’em & make ’em again.

I did have an alarming misadventure with a bison tongue, which I haven’t quite recovered from. But I plan to revisit tongue soon.

And I’ve totally come to terms with heart, though that required introspection.

The challenge I had with heart was psychological.


I figured out a delicious recipe easily enough. I call it Sunday Stew, because it’s a perfect dish to prepare on a Sunday for the workweek ahead. I’ll post that tomorrow (on Sunday).

But despite the delicious outcome, I remained troubled by the ventricles & aortas. By the overall heartiness of the situation.

Then I read The Circular Ruins by Jorges Luis Borges, which includes the following passage:

Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges

“In the afternoon, he purified himself with the waters of the river, worshiped the planetary gods, uttered the lawful symbols of a powerful name and slept. Almost immediately, he dreamt of a beating heart.

He dreamt it as active, warm, secret, the size of a closed fist, of garnet colour; …with minute love he dreamt it, for fourteen lucid nights. Each night he perceived it with greater clarity. He did not touch it, but limited himself to witnessing it, observing it, perhaps correcting it with his eyes. He perceived it, lived it, from many distances and many angles. On the fourteenth night he touched the pulmonary artery with his finger, and then the whole heart, inside and out. The examination satisfied him.”

When I read that, I decided that perhaps I needed to take a more reverential approach to heart.

I didn’t necessarily dream about a great big bison heart for 14 lucid nights or explicitly worship any planetary gods, but I did approach it ceremonially.

  • Acknowledging my squeamishness as one of the amusing machinations of my human psychology. Endearing, really. Not so much endearing me to myself, but all of humanity to an observer-self that exists outside of resistance & attachments.
  • Acknowledging the bison that lived, with this wonderfully self-organized organ continually beating all of it’s life, from the time before it was born. Acknowledging my own heart, too.
  • Acknowledging the bison that died, so I could thrive.

I was no longer trying to force myself to process heart, or to eat heart, but exploring the opportunity for self-knowledge, learning & devotion that heart presented.

Now all I need is an inspiring literary passage about tongue…

6 thoughts on “Have Heart!

    • Long ago, I cooked a meal of heart and parsnips, trying to be healthy and inexpensive. The combination was very strange, not good strange, and I liked parsnips as a child. I did not blame it on the heart. It has left me wondering about companion cuisine.

  1. Years ago I used to stuff heart like a chicken and slow cook it. Now that I don’t eat grains, I usually grind it up for hash or cottage pie or (when I still ate nightshades) spaghetti sauce. Maybe it’s time to try stuffing it again, now with a grain free stuffing. I’m looking forward to the stew recipe but most stews are too high-carb for my diabetes.

  2. Pingback: Sunday Stew (AIP & low-FODMAP) | petra8paleo

  3. Pingback: Hot Crispy Pork Belly with Zucchini Coins | petra8paleo

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