Great Scot — a cousin!

By Ken Esten Cooke

I saw my first brain in Mrs. Schaaf’s first-grade class at Rockdale Elementary. It was a calf’s brain that someone had brought in a little tinfoil pie dish for show-and-tell and we all poked at it and made “Ew!” noises.

Mrs. Schaaf told us that some people scramble up brains with eggs and eat them for breakfast. The word “delicious” was used. Probably still on a sugar high from a Frosted Flakes breakfast, we seven-year-olds made the fake gagging noises and motions. It had never occurred to us that other parts of the animal’s body besides “the hamburger part” or “the steak part” could be eaten.

Almost 40 years later, I find myself studying up on Scotland and finding some interesting dietary traditions there as well.

Just last week, I discovered a sixth cousin right here in Fredericksburg in Rudie Slaughter, who recently moved here from the Houston area. (We ran his storm photo on page A2 last week.) Welcome, cousin!

My father hipped me to some of our family history. In 1720, our ancestor, Robert Cooke, sailed from Scotland across the ocean with his betrothed. As was customary for those with limited funds, they sold themselves into indentured servitude for one year to pay for their voyage.

Since then, we Cookes have been parked here in the U.S. But a part of me is being drawn back to Scotland and when the boys are a little older and the pocketbook allows, I plan to travel there with them to see from whence we came.

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