image description August 14, 2013

Bizarre Bites: Ox Heart

Bizarre Bites: Ox Heart

I ♥ Ox Heart

Ox heart is lean, since it’s almost pure muscle, with very little fat and collagen. And coming in at around two pounds apiece, ox heart is offal-y large. It tastes like beef, which makes sense because oxen are cattle that have been trained as draft animals. Oxen are usually eaten after the ox can no longer perform its drafting duties. Despite its meaty flavor, ox can also have a pronounced gamey taste, but the heart is splendidly beefy. Sliced thin, grilled over hot wood charcoal until charred rare, and served under a tangle of olive oil- and lemon-dressed arugula, it’s one of my favorite foods.

What Exactly is an Ox?

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What Exactly is an Ox?

  • An ox is a bovine that has been trained as a draft animal. If it hasn’t been trained for manual labor, it is just cattle.
  • A draft animal is an animal that has been trained by humans to perform a task. For example, some dogs are trained to guide the blind and camels are trained to help with transportation. In the case of an ox, the animal is typically trained to pull carts or plows.
  • Oxen are typically male cattle that have been castrated, but can also be bulls (male cattle that have not been castrated) or female cattle.
  • As draft animals, oxen typically work in pairs. Each pair is often given names that “go together,” sort of like Santa’s reindeer: Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen.

Your Heart

Illustration by: Chuck Gonzales

Your Heart

Every animal with a circulatory system has a heart. It acts as a pump, pushing 2,000 gallons of blood through our body every day, just as an example. With its four compartments, the heart keeps “thump-thumping” its own electrical impulse. That sound is the valves in the heart opening and closing. An adult male’s heart will beat about seventy times per minute, while an adult female’s beats about seventy-eight times per minute. That leads to about 100,000 times in one day, 35 million times in one year, and about 2.5 billion beats in the average lifetime. The heart sits in the center of the chest leaning slightly to the left to make room for the lungs. From there, it pumps blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels per day, some as large as a garden hose like the aorta artery and some as thin as human hair like some capillaries.

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