- October 4, 2016 at 3:25 pm #30490CA DudeParticipant
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Back in what seems to be a former life, I was a Police Officer in a small city in south central Arkansas. I was the only Officer in the department that actually lived in the city so I did all my shopping there. One night my wife and I were at the grocery store and I saw an elderly African American gentleman in front of us caring a bucket of frozen chitlins. I turned to my wife and said “I wonder what chitlins taste like?” The wife answered very quickly that she didn’t know and that there was no way she would ever eat pig intestines!
I never gave this another thought.
Then while working the streets on a hot summer day, my dispatcher radioed, directing me to “See the Man” at 204 Oak St.
As I approached the old shotgun house I noticed a horrible smell coming from it. I thought to myself that they had sent me to another dead body. When I stepped onto the front poach I spoke through the screen door announcing myself. A deep, loud male voice boomed from the back of the house; “Come on in! I got something for you!” Unsure of what I was walking into I drew my pistol and opened the door. As I entered the house I saw an elderly woman at the rear of the house moving around in kitchen. This isn’t what I was thinking. I holstered my pistol. As I walked through the house toward the kitchen the smell got stronger and stronger.
When I stepped into the kitchen I saw the gentleman from the store sitting at the table eating a bowl of this gray colored stuff I did not recognize. As I looked around the kitchen I saw fried chicken, collard greens, corn beard and a sweet potato pie on the counter. Then I noticed a pot on the stove full of this unknown gray stuff and that god awful was coming from it.
Before I could say a word the old gentle said “I heard you in the store the other day. Martha get this man a plate of those chitlins.” It was quite obvious to me that I had painted myself into a corner. Ms. Martha dished me out half a plate of chitlins, a scoop of greens, a large chicken breast and topped it off with a piece of corn bread. As she place the plate on the table she said “Sit down. Let’s eat!”
When I set down at the table the old gentleman started watching me as he was shoveling chitlins into his mouth. I could tell he was waiting for my expression. I took my fork and cut a chitlin into a bite size piece and I put it in the mouth. I had a overwhelm urge to vomit. I have never eaten a turd but now I had a good idea what one would taste like. Clearly, my expression was duly noted by the old gentleman. He picked up a bottle of hot sauce, set down abruptly in front of me and said “they are a lot better with this boy!” Immediately the gray stuff became red stuff. And, he was right.
When a man invites me into his house for lunch, he is honoring me. And, I will honor him by eating what he puts in front of me.
As I finished my plate Ms. Martha asked me what “I thought of the chitlins?” Trying to be diplomatic I told her that they were an acquired taste. She then asked “would you ever eat them again?” I said that I most likely would. Instantly, Ms. Martha said “Well, let me get you a second helping!” I about fell off my chair. All I could say was “only about half of what I had last time.”
Ms. Martha put the fresh plate of food in front of me and I started to drown the chitlins with hot sauce. Before I started to eat, Ms. Martha asked me if I could wait a minute. I thought, I was getting a reprieve. She then pick-up the phone and called someone. When she started to talk I heard her say “you’re not going to believe this but there is a white cop sitting in my kitchen eating chitlis!” Before long at least fifty people had walked through her kitchen to watch me eat.
The older folks were saying how good chitlins are, while the young folks kept asking me “How can you eat those nasty things?”
I was so full I could barely move. When I got home that night I told my wife about the chitlins. She just couldn’t believe that I ate them.
Over the next couple of days I got flagged down by folks all over the city, inviting me to have lunch with them.
Then about a week later I was driving down Main Street in a single officer unit when I saw a pick-up truck with three people sitting in the bed. In Arkansas that is against the law. As I pulled in behind the truck I recognized the three people. I had felony warrants for all of them. Big time warrants; Armed Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary. I confirmed with dispatch that the warrants were still active. When I radioed that I was going to stop the vehicle and arrest them; things got real quite.
When I turned on Blue Lights the truck did not stop but it didn’t flee either. I followed the truck as it pulled off the road into an empty field. This was not looking good. The truck stopped, I stopped. The three subjects jumped out of the truck but they didn’t run. Three more people piled out of the front of the truck and they didn’t run either. Instead they lined up abreast, looking like the frontline of the Green Bay Packers. Things were getting bad. Then they got worse. I had felony warrants on the other three guys too.
There I was, alone, facing down six wanted felons. I just looked at them and said “I have warrants for your arrest.” One of them put his hands on his hips and said, “Let’s see if you can facilitate that arrest; Officer!”
I knew I was in deep trouble. I took out my can of pepper spray thinking I would spray a couple of them before I was forced to start shooting the rest. My radio was squawking; back up was five minutes out. I wasn’t going to make it.
Then one of the guys cocked his head to the left and said “You’re the Cop that was eating chitlins over at Aunt Martha’s house the other day. When I answered “yes” the whole situation changed. It became like old home week. I never had a finer chat about chitlins in my life.
I told them that nothing had changed; I still had to arrest them. They looked at each other and one said “we aren’t going to fight anyone who eats chitlins” he turned around putting his hands behind his back and the rest of them followed his lead. I didn’t have enough handcuffs. I had to cuff them up in pairs.
When backup showed up they, much like me, could not believe that I “facilitated” this arrest. They really thought they would find my body lying in that empty field.
To this day, after all these years, I absolutely believe that chitlins saved my life.
- October 4, 2016 at 4:52 pm #30492GoodsteelKeymaster
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Wow. What a story!!!
I guess if somebody asks you if you like chitlins and somebody else asks if they taste good, your answer might be a little different for each!
- October 4, 2016 at 5:56 pm #30494LenHParticipant
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That is funny right there. I never would have thought they could turn you into a super cop.
My great grandfather was a country doctor in Haynes Arkansas. Being in a small town he was paid with things other than money. My mother and uncle were raised by
Doc & Granny. Granny told Doc that they were invited to some ones house for dinner, evidently payment for a house call. My mom remembers walking up to these peoples house
and Doc telling Granny at the gate at the front walk, “Ada (Granny’s first name) they are serving chitlins, I’m not staying. He could smell them from the road and turned around and went home.
My mother and uncle were not so lucky.
I make severial types of sausage. I use hog casings when they are called for in the formula. They are the outer membrain of the small intestine
and come packed in salt. these things stink to high heaven until they are throughly rinsed inside and out, they do not impart any flavor what so ever.
- October 4, 2016 at 9:20 pm #30495HarterParticipant
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It’s funny how folks act when you’re “family” . Smallville never changes until it’s swallowed up by the city and the old folks are gone .
- October 5, 2016 at 2:52 pm #30507WaksupiParticipant
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Good story! I’ve done a song, Cheatum County Blues, about cooking chitlins for years.
- October 5, 2016 at 4:35 pm #30510Sgt. MikeParticipant
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Great story, puts the emphasis on the old saying don’t get above your raising. If you accept the locals they will more than likely accept you, knowing you I’m sure the conversation was purely civil and that it was duty not a desire to facilitate the warrants. Most folks understand that.
I had chitlins as well in Georgia years ago, had them both way’s boiled and fried after boiling, fried was better, boiled I did not care for.
- October 6, 2016 at 12:45 am #30520WCMParticipant
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We played at a local Chitlin Hoedown festival some years back with our band.
We played electric blues,and the black people loved it.
I remember being to close to where they were cooking, and it smelled just like a hog lot.
I didn’t partake of any moonshine or Chitlins.
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