At The Coop

At The Coop

Friday, February 24, 2017

What Kind Of Tongue Is That?

     We got done with work a little bit early yesterday, so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to check out a taco wagon that I've had my eye on. It showed up recently in the gravel lot next to the Supreme Choppers barber shop on Rosa Parks Boulevard, right on the edge of the "revitalization" that is overtaking the old North Nashville neighborhood of Germantown. I had noticed more than a few of my brown-skinned brethren picking up food (or just hanging around) there, so I had high hopes that this was the real deal, and not just another Trend Truck. The wagon is a little beat up, with "99¢ Tacos" emblazoned on the side, and a hand-lettered-on-cardboard sign. My interest was piqued.

     It turns out that only the "Tacos de Pollo" were 99 cents. All others were a dollar and a quarter, which is still a good deal if the tacos are good. They had all the usual options...asada, pollo, barbacoa, carnitas, lengua,...and two I hadn't seen...tripa and buche. Buche was translated on their sign as "throat", but a Google search tells me that that it is actually pork stomach (as opposed to "tripa", or "tripe", which is beef stomach.) I ordered asada and carnitas.

     While I was waiting for my food, another fellow walks up and orders. He was on older (well, it turns out he was younger than me) black gentleman who had grown up in the area pre-urban renewal. He ordered a couple of tacos, and then stood there reading the signs. He asked the girl at the "order here" window "What kind of tongue is that? Cow?" When she replied in the affirmative, he said "I've got to try one.", and fished some more change out of his pocket. He turned around to me and said "That's some good old-style food. My mama used to eat cow tongues."

     I told him "Tongue tacos are good."

     He said "A lot of young people today would freak out if you told them you were eating a cow tongue. Back in the day, we didn't have no Kroger in this neighborhood."

     "There's still places you can get it in Nashville."

     He nodded "Right down there at the Farmer's Market."

     I said "Yup, probably can." and then I asked him "How old are you anyway?"


     "Heck, that's not old. I'm 60."

     "Dang, you look good for 60."

     "I keep after it. I do physical work, and I'll do it until I can't."

      He said "Yeah, a lot of people just give up and sit around. You've got to keep moving."

      I told him "I might be headed in the wrong direction, but at least I'm on the move."

     We got a chuckle out of that.

     My food came up, I bid my new friend "adieu", and headed for my car.

     This morning, I woke up thinking about those tacos (which were good, by the way) and our discussion about tongue. If people will eat meat from other parts of the animal, they shouldn't freak out about eating tongue. It's just another muscle, much like a leg or an arm, although a lot of folks seem content to exercise it more than their other appendages.

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