I’ve been reading The Food of a Younger Land, a collection of essays from the Great Depression about America’s cuisine. (Entertaining reading, and I recommend the book.)
Two pieces in the book mention a cowboy dish called “Son-of-a-Bitch”. (Although one of them euphemises it as “Son of a Gun”.)
Here’s a description from “Kansas Beef Tour”.
“While Barbecue has covered half a continent, Son of a Bitch, its companion dish, has not, and I therefore offer its recipe for the benefit of the dainty city bride, who is constantly straining the resources of her apartment kitchen to tempt her husband with new plats du jour after a weary day in the office.
“First milady will take the entrails of two medium sized steers, but she will extract from them only the heart, liver, kidneys and intestines, which she will carefully clean. This done, she will cut them into chunks the size of her fist and toss them into a medium sized copper wash-boiler on her enameled stove. To this she will add a soup�on of potatoes (say a peck of peeled ones), about the same amount of unpeeled tomatoes and a quart can of hot green Mexican chili peppers. This is allowed to simmer for about three ours, without ever coming to a boil. After it has been thickened with a 5-pound sack of corn meal and salted to taste, then her Son of a Bitch is done and there will be enough for all, particularly if a dozen of her husband’s old college chums, a company of U.S. Marines and a few taxi-drivers happen to drop in unexpectedly for dinner.
“While the recipe is substantially the same all along the north bank of the Rio Grande, the name occasionally varies, and in New Mexico the dish is called Prosecuting Attorney.
I first read about this dish in Frank X. Tolbert’s A Bowl of Red; the recipe there is skeptical about the liver and says potatoes and tomatoes are never included, but includes the brains and marrow gut of a calf. It includes a different set of variant names, including “Grover Cleveland” and “Gentleman from Odessa”.
I’ve found enough citations that I think this was actually eaten (at least occasionally) by cowboys from Texas to Wyoming – though perhaps its notoriety was enhanced by the colorful name.
Even though I have recipes, I don’t want to make this myself. I don’t have much taste for organ meats, and I suspect that if I made a scaled-down recipe for six, I might end up with leftovers for ten. And Lori has even less taste for organ meats, and wants it nowhere near the house.
But I’m curious enough that I would try it in a restaurant. I’ve had a bit of trouble doing a web search to find a restaurant serving it; there’s many different names and many pages using the phrase “son of a bitch” without referring to a dish on a menu.
I did find references to it being served by an upscale restaurant in Dallas called Stampede 66, but it’s no longer on the menu there, and it seems out of place to order Son-of-a-Bitch in an upscale place.
Have you eaten Son-of-a-Bitch? What was it like?