Haute Cuisine: Celebrity Placenta. Only in Hollywood!
Tom, Me and Katie...and Katie's placenta.
Recently Tom Cruise gave us another reason to believe that he’s going off the deep end (pun intended-ish). Either that or he’s achieving the Scientology level of contacting the Mother Ship. Cruise mentioned in an interview with Diane Sawyer, perhaps glibly, that he planned on eating fiancée Katie Holmes’ postpartum placenta and umbilical cord. This bit of menu planning rocked the entire internet. However, we would later find out that Cruise was pulling our legs all along and that unreliable news sources reported the comment as fact and left out the jokey part.
For the record, I’m here to announce that I would’ve happily eaten Katie Holmes’ placenta and umbilical cord if cooked right. And, unlike her fiancé, I’m not joking. It’s not like it’s never been done before. Certain cultures do it once in a while. The practice of eating placenta is called placentophagy, and certain female wild animals do it immediately upon giving birth to their young and vulnerable ones. The animals do it partly to replenish vital nutrients after a major loss of blood and also to keep predators from getting too excited by the excess blood and guts.
If I were a betting man, I would bet the farm that my peoples, the Chinese, once again had this nasty niche of culinary craziness cornered. I would’ve lost the farm. Astonishingly, this placentophagy is largely advocated in America and Europe. In fact, these Western proponents believe that women who eat their placenta can prevent postpartum depression and other pregnancy complications.
Skeptical? Too good to be true, you say. I understand and I can help. What ailment really kills you? Migraines? Nothing has worked so far, you claim.
Here, eat this placenta. What? Migraine gone? Already? But you haven't even taken a bite.
There you have it. The Power of Placenta: Makes the blind see and the cripple walk again.
Had my offer to procure Ms. Holmes’ postpartum flotsam been accepted, I’m certain the offers from celebrity chefs to cook 'em up would be many. Truth be told, my two picks for the Iron Chef celebrity placenta battle would be Mario Batali vs. Fergus Henderson, the organ meat miracle workers. Unfortunately, this all lives in freaky food fantasyland now. Katie already gave birth to her tomkitten, Suri. By now Katie has moved on to yummy colostrum and baby spit-up. Her placenta and umbilical cord have long been disposed of or have been banked for cord blood. Or they were actually eaten by Tom and pal John Travolta. Or maybe the parts were frozen for a later meal. Or there never were postpartum placenta and umbilical cord. I mean, this was a highly secretive and silent birth. Does anyone remember the bizarre “How big (or small) will Katie’s belly be this week?” Can the belly really get smaller the further along the pregnant woman gets? Was she ever really preggers? Regardless, Katie’s placenta and umbi-cord have been 86’d from the menu.
It’s a shame. I even had a recipe ready: Katie’s Kung-Pao Placenta. It’s an easy stir-fry with lots of garlic, some peanuts, chestnuts, fiery chilis, soy sauce, sherry, and sesame oil. Mmmm, that sounds fragrant. There are many other ways of preparing placenta, but just keep in mind that it’s sort of a spongy organ meat like liver or heart so cook accordingly. And this meat, for a change, don’t taste like chicken. The flavor is more like beef.
This isn’t the first time I contemplated placentophagy. When my wife Diane was in labor, I joked with her about eating her placenta. One of the registered nurses overheard me, and without missing a beat, she recommended stir-frying the placenta with garlic and soy sauce. Our RN was Chinese. Diane and I laughed and laughed. Then Diane’s contractions came quicker and it was back to the business of delivering a baby. But I was still curious and hungry.
Well, Katie, hopefully this won’t be your last baby. And if Tom won’t eat your placenta again next time, I will. I’m serious. We can work out the messy details when the time comes.
On the other hand, I may not have to wait for Katie. I mean, c’mon, this is Hollywood. This town is full of knocked-up stars in their third-trimester bursting at the seams. Angelina Jolie instantly comes to mind. I have a feeling she might even have a tastier placenta. Delicious and salacious.
Yum, yum, gimme some.
Ms. Jolie may be the Tomb Raider, but this Deep End Diner would happily be her womb raider. The garlic is chopped and ready.
(VOTE! Whose placenta would you eat? Katie's or Angelina's?)