Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monkey Glands

Monkey gland steak or steak with monkey gland sauce is a very South African thing. I was quite hesitant to try it out the first time, as the name itself did not appeal to my palate. I could think of many species, from gorillas, baboons to the small thieves in my in-laws’ neighborhood. Human like creatures, it’s like having the missing link on the menu – semi cannibalistic! Then glands. Not the most mouth watering part of any animal. Which glands? Armpits or groins, the menu will never tell you. With all these associations your once ravenous appetite vanishes as soon as you identify the dish on the menu. My wife convinced me to try it out though and that it had nothing to do with any monkey parts. So by now I’ve dug in a few times…

Reading a piece on the origin of the dish almost made me choke. The story starts with a scientist, Dr. Serge Abrahamovitch Vornoff (1866-1951). He caused sensation for his technique of grafting monkey testicle tissue into the testicles of men. Not just any glands in other words, but testicles! I felt seriously sick now, but still bewildered as to how the testicles could end up in a dish and become a hit?! Could "gland" be just a less repulsive cover up for a Viagra dish?

The first transplantation was so successful that Dr. Vornoff could not cope with the demand from the wealthy to arrest their advancing senility and retain former virility. Vornoff was hailed by 700 of the most leading surgeons at a congress in London for his "Revolutionary discovery of reversing the ageing process!" Quite an accomplishment and world news even today!

Vornoff set up his own monkey farm in Italy to get access to sufficient monkey balls. He occupied the entire first floor of an expensive hotel in Paris to serve as living quarters for himself, secretaries, chauffeurs and two mistresses. Vornoff injected himself on a regular basis in the hope of hard proof, fortune and fame. This must have caused swollen testicles, expectations and a pressure that must have been hard to handle! The mistresses must have been just as good for marketing as for blowing off some steam.

Dr. Vornoff was a regular visitor to the Savoy Hotel in London, and it was there that his medical experiments led to the naming of the dish Monkey Glands! It was a steak flamed with brandy in the restaurant. One of the waiters there (Bagatta), later brought the dish to Cape Town where it became popular. It is said that it had to be prepared in the restaurant to prove that there was no actual monkey glands in the dish… or testicles I assume!

Although relieved by the happy ending (of the story), I can’t help but associate this dish with monkey testicles now! Especially a type of blue balled monkeys that are quite common in Southern Africa.

22 comments:

Caroline said...

LOL - I am suddenly glad that I have never ordered monkey gland.....

Anonymous said...

Ok, good story ...never realised the sauce actually had anything to do monkey glands at all! Sorry!

Wife

beaverboosh said...

I have monkey glands, I certainly do not wish to eat them, or for that matter bull glands, tiger glands, bear glands...

Jonny said...

Caroline! I'm not impressed. Anybody with even diffuse South African connections should have tasted Monkey Glands, lol!

Wifey! I seriously seriously blame you and hold you responsible! Some random day during supper when the monkey balls come especially clear to my mind... I might vomit, but you'll know why! LOL!

Beaver, you monkey! Stay away from glands of any origin is my advice! Aphrodisiacs or whatever, people should have more compassion! Glands and balls might be swollen for various reasons... but no reason to discard them and put them on a menu! The right treatment is the key... TLC works well for both!

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious!! As I have nothing against balls (including Mrs. Balls) - might be because they're a South African obsession - I shall munch on with relish!
Mmm LOVELY!

Sleepless in Manhattan

abraxas said...

Yeah, can remember i was abvout 8, sitting in spur and my dad ordered a monkey gland burger.
WHICH monkey gland i wondered?
lol
but the chutney and tomato sauce they use now is actually quite lekker!!! (tasty)

Jonny said...

Sleepless!
Munch on, I encourage you :-) It actually tastes quite lekker (agree with Abraxas)... it's only my vivid imagination playing me a trick. I'm sure I'll get over it!

Abraxas!
Spurs is actually one of my favorites in South Africa as their concept allow me to take the small monkies along, and still have a decent steak!

I actually meant to include the recipe, but there are so many different ones it seems... could simply not cut through and choose one...

Joanne said...

I like the new banner! What kind of DV is that? I havent dived for ages - can you tell?

Jonny said...

Joanne!
I can't remember, but nothing too fancy I can tell! This was from a trip to Madagascar last year. I brought my own wetsuit, goggles, computer and knife, but for the rest I used equipment from the boat.

Raúl y Pablo said...

g vista el mio y si t gusta deja un comentario si t gusto o no y si quieres enlazamos nuestros blogs

Grant Penny said...

hehe quite a good funny read :) Glad your enjoying it here.

I am running a SA blog on technology. Maybe your find it interesting. techran.blogspot.com.

Anyway will check back soon :)

abraxas said...

dude ... been a while ... (?)
peace and love to you and yours :)

Voronoff said...

Wonderful! I had no idea about the monkey gland sauce, I must add this to my extensive website collecting information on Serge Voronoff, my great-grand uncle!!
please visit
www.voronoff.wordpress.com

salud,
Aaron Voronoff

Jonny said...

Wow, that's amazing! I will drop by your blog shortly to check what other monkey-business he was up to!!

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