Cow cod soup?

My community has a small but growing Caribbean population, mostly from Jamaica. There are a couple of good Jamaican storefront restaurants now which sell good meat patties and such.

The other day I sampled something new to me at one of these establishments; the dish was called Cow Cod Soup, and I’d never heard of it. It was quite good–a rich and spicy broth with potatoes, carrots, and something squashlike, along with some chunks of very fatty meat that I didn’t much like. The owner was either unable or unwilling to tell me why it was called Cow Cod, or what the word “cod” referred to.

I googled the expression and found only a little bit about it: that the soup is a delicacy, that it is often eaten before Jamaican men play, um “vigorous sports,” and that it cures impotence (funny; I didn’t notice any immediate changes :wink: ). Oh, and a suggestion that it comes from something called a “cow’s cod,” which sounds ominous.

Anyway–if anyone has more expertise on Jamaican cookery or cow’s cods than I, I’d love a better idea of what I’m eating…Thanks!

You’re right, there’s not much out there on Google. “Cow cod” or “cow’s cod” is obviously derived from “cow cud” or “cow’s cud”. A cow’s cud is just a wad of grass, so obviously it isn’t an ingredient in soup.

Cows have four stomachs. They gulp down quantities of grass or hay, and then sit down and “chew their cud”–they burp up the grass, a wad at a time, and re-chew it, and send it back down to a different stomach, where other digestion processes take over.

I’m 99.999% certain that what you ate was just a fatty bit from a cow, not the cud itself.

And the reason they can’t, or won’t, tell you what it really is, is because then that would take all the fun out of it. :smiley:

This doesn’t have anything to do with a codpiece, does it?

Sort of:

The “cod” referred to are bull testicles, hence the ingestion before “vigorous sports”. S’posed to make you more manly, you know?

Never had it, though and never wanted to. Not supposed to be a woman’s thing, so I can safely avoid the stuff.

(I think it’s a West Indies/Caribbean thing, rather than strictly Jamaican.)

There is a fish called the cowcod, AKA red snapper.

Someone please teach DDG how to Google. :smiley:

Hey, thanks for the info (even if conflicting) and for the links! I think I shall continue to eat the stuff from time to time, since the broth is really quite delectable, but I will still shy away from the unidentifiable slices of meat…

…just in case.

Someone please teach Femtosecond how to be more skeptical about stories he hears online. :smiley:

My first question would be, “Where are they getting all those bulls?”

The Jamaican beef industry. An overview.

So Jamaica imports 35% of their beef. Other places they get it from:

In the beef industry, by far the vast majority of male calves are castrated very early in their lives, before they have even begun to reach sexual maturity. They are then referred to as “steers”. Only a tiny percentage of male calves are allowed to retain their testicles and reach sexual maturity, and this is so that they can be used for breeding, not so that they can be slaughtered to make “cow cod soup”.

In the Canadian beef industry, at least, Virtually all of the calves are castrated before 6 months of age… A full-grown bull is difficult to manage in a feedlot. All the male cattle in feedlots are steers.

I would assume that the Jamaican beef industry would be following the high-performance, “maximize your profit” trend set by the major worldwide beef producers and would also be castrating “virtually all” of their bull calves.

When a worn-out breeding bull is sent to slaughter, I suppose it’s possible that his testicles and penis could be “harvested” in order to export them to Jamaica to make “cow cod soup”. However, this soup seems to be sold all over Jamaica–are there that many bulls being slaughtered in Jamaica every year? And worldwide? And being frozen and shipped to Jamaica? If that were true, I’d expect cow cod soup to be fairly expensive, what with all those imported Argentine and New Zealand bull penises and testicles. Is it?

When the adult steer is slaughtered to make “beef”, although his testicles may have been removed many months, or even years earlier, he does still have a penis. In Canada at least, the steer’s penis is not considered “people food”, and is presumably sent to the dog food plant, rather than being frozen for export to Jamaica.

This is presumably because the udder and penis hang outside of the animal’s body and are full of bacteria that would contaminate the carcass.

I suppose it’s possible that the Jamaicans have found a source for frozen steer penises other than Canada.

However, all things taken together, I am assuming that “cow cod soup” is actually made from calf testicles, and probably not “bull pricks”, although sniggering that it’s made from “bull pricks” almost certainly sells a lot more soup than “calf testicles”.

I welcome a cite that shows bulls’ penises actually for sale in Jamaican meat markets. And if there are bovine penises for sale in Jamaican meat markets, how would you know they weren’t simply steer penises, rather than bull penises? My money would be on “steer”, simply because they’d be the most common.

Reporters at the Village Voice seems to think that they can get “the incredibly funky cow cod soup (made with a bull’s penis)” at the Jerk Center restaurant at East Gunhill Road, Williamsbridge, Bronx.

Perhaps the proprieters use this recipe for Cow cod soup from the Jamaica Gleaner (scroll down to “Cow cod soup, a man thing”)
which states that:

You may be right, but …

I have been to untold gatherings of friends/family over the years and this delicacy? has been served quite often. HOWEVER, it is mostly consumed by males, mostly COOKED by males, and definitely discussed by males. I can’t get my mother/aunts/female family friends to even discuss it or the recipe (I don’t want to discuss it either). But the consensus has always been – bull private parts.

I always considered myself a feminist, and usually someone saying “you can’t touch that, you’re a girl” is enough to make me want to do something, but when when it comes to this stuff, all I can say is THANK GOD, they can keep it!

Never said I believe them to be irrefutable proofs. Just found two references after you said “There’s not much out there on Google”. :stuck_out_tongue: Whose posts on what message board do you think taught femtosecond what can really be done with a search engine in the first place? :slight_smile:

You can buy dried bull/steer penises by the bunch as dog chewing toys in pet shops. The 278 mio US people slaughter ~37 mio head of cattle per year. Let’s assume half of all cattle is born with a penis (is ‘sexing’ advanced enough to bias that?). Early cutting off does only influence the penis’ size, but not its existence. That would give one penis per 15 Americans per year.

I don’t think a sniggering Jamaican makes a distinction between cow/bull/ox/steer. He just means “moo”. In my first link they made the soup on the occasion that “one of his brothers had just sold a cow, and he had the privilege of taking his ‘choice cut’”. Guess that doesn’t happen too often. They wouldn’t call it ‘delicacy’ if the locals ate it every saturday. Because the other link talked about going to the market, there has to be quite a range of possible sources for the ingredients. They didn’t even agree on calling it “cottle” or “cod”. Two different recipes? ajayes info and Squinks quote make think not all Jamaicans put the same parts of moo in the soup.

What’s sold to tourists maybe even isn’t what the locals would call the ‘real’ thing. Or perhaps the soup seems to be sold all over Jamaica because it’s only sold mostly where the tourists go. You wouldn’t estimate the total number of Eiffel Tower miniatures in France from the number of them you see in Paris. Like asking where the Scots get all the sheep stomachs from, if they eat nothing but haggis.

hehe… The Scots have the secret parts under their kilts. The Jamaicans put them in the soup. :slight_smile:

Found no penises, but they sell goat heads and intestines on the Mandeville market.
PHOTO! [insert YUCK! here] at this site

What is quite disturbing and I hope is only one of many one-syllable-word-coincidences:
A dictionary of slang

Could “cottle” be a variant of “coddle” ?


The ingredients of Cow cod soup could thus be either:
•Beef and coddled Mango
•Cow penis

Well, my curiosity has been well and truly piqued, so I took a chance tonight at the church potluck and sat down next to a middle-aged woman of Jamaican extraction. She in turn was sitting by another, younger woman, Julett, who I know a little bit better.

“So, Mrs. Lewis,” I say, a little diffidently, “I was over at the Caribbean Bakery and the other day and happened to notice that they served something called Cow Cod soup…”

At which point Julett covers her mouth, begins laughing hysterically, and leaves the table.

“Oh,” says Mrs. Lewis, in an auntly sort of a way, and there is a twinkle in her eye, “I hope you didn’t drink any of it.”

“Oh?” I say, carefully, and then admit that I actually did… “Why not?”

She motions down to the nearby table where my two children, both teenagers, are sitting. “Because it will make you have more babies,” she says…

And goes on to say that indeed they do use bull penises in the soup. “She [meaning the woman who runs the store] probably puts in a lot of other beef parts, too,” Mrs. Lewis adds, “but, yes, there is always the penis. It is a tradition for weddings. They serve it to the groom, you see, so he will be strong and have lots of babies. They also call it ‘mannish water.’”

I mull over “mannish” until I realize how it is spelled. “So if a woman walked into the restaurant and ordered the soup,” I hazard, “she wouldn’t be allowed to buy any?”

“Oh, she would,” says Mrs. Lewis. “Most of the time the soup is sold to women.” And as I’m wondering why, she adds, “Of course, they buy it and bring it back to their men.”

Of course, I think, and listen intently as she gives me a rundown of other Jamaican delicacies, none quite so–controversial–as this one.

So, take it for what it’s worth. Her certainty and the immediacy of her response, though, do make me think she’s on the money. Thanks again.

Well, maybe…

From the CIA World Fact Book
US of A : Total fertility rate: 2.06 children born/woman (2001 est.)
Jamaica : Total fertility rate: 2.08 children born/woman (2001 est.)

It works! :eek:

There’s also the possibility that genuine “cow cod” soup is made with cattle dangly bits, but that the stuff the tourist traps serve is just any old random scraps of beef. If the real thing is only made for weddings, say, or when someone gets a “choice cut” from a freshly-slaughtered moo, then it’s quite plausible.

Yeah, I know. :smiley: The Bully Stick Dog Treat.

Strange, it doesn’t seem to mention the fact that it’s a penis… :smiley:

I still maintain that it’s much more likely to be a steer’s penis than a bull’s penis, because they just don’t slaughter that many bulls every year.