A few weeks ago, I had mentioned writing about the lessons to be learned from lamb fries. Last night, my friend Heather laughed when I said I might write about them this week. So here you go Heather, my spiritual reflections on lamb fries, aka as lamb testicles, and testicles in general. Hmm, spirituality and testicles. That seems strange just typing it, but hopefully by the time I am done this will make sense.
Testicles are also referred to as testes, which is plural for the word testis. In Latin, the word testis means “witness.” In ancient times, men placed one hand on a testicle when taking an oath in court. Interestingly, there is no record of women having to put one hand on their vagina when doing the same thing. While we still take an oath in court, nobody is putting their hands on their genitals while doing so.
During biblical times, and even today in some cultures, men ingest sperm and the testes of other animals to gain potency and enhance their masculinity. The more powerful an animal was perceived as being, the more prized their testicles were. According to Dekkers, as cited in Boer, “the intention of every male eater [of testicles] is quite clear: to increase his potency. The best thing of course is to use the testicles of the most potent animal.”
As several of
my friends, of varying sexualities, have told me, bigger is not always better. When
it comes to eating them as food, I have read that duck testicles are the
tenderest and the most succulent. I will have to take the guidance of those who
have eaten testicles in their lives, as I have not yet, nor do I have plans to
ingest them in the near future. What is interesting for me is that some of the
most spiritually succulent writings I have been blessed with in my life are
those that tend to be overlooked pieces of sacred writings, or those read by a
minority of people, at least in the United States. For example, one of my
favorite books in the Hebrew Bible is the Song of Songs. It is filled with so
many rich images, layers of meaning, and yet is the one book, which is never
included in the lectionary readings, so never is preached on Sunday mornings.I once saw it referred to as "the book behaving badly."
Ingredients such as testicles have been used to push chefs out of their comfort zone. In an episode of Top Chef, duck testicles were given to the cheftestants in their quickfire competition. Reading, never mind preaching, from the Song of Songs can push people out of their comfort zone as well, it was blatantly one of the more sexualized books in the Hebrew Bible. This is the one book in the Hebrew Bible, which is referred to by numerous names depending on the translation (i.e. Song of Songs, Song of Solomon). Interestingly one rarely hears testicles referred to as testicles on the menu. Lamb testicles are lamb fries, pig testicles are bacon balls, duck testicles are duck white kidneys, and then there are the rocky mountain oysters aka calf testicles.
The language we use is powerful. It can conceal the meaning behind what is being said. For example, there are numerous instances in the Old and New Testaments where men are girding up their loins. Girding was part of getting dressed and heading off somewhere. The passage in Jeremiah 13:11, according to Boer, illustrates how this parable of the “loin cloth” represents how the closeness of the cloth to a man’s testicles is a somewhat erotic image of the closeness of God to the men in Israel.
Precisely how a man strapped himself up said much about his toughness and/or importance. For instance, to wear a leather cock sack (’ezur ’or, 2 Kgs 1:8) was obviously a sign of the rugged wilderness and thereby the ruggedness of its wearer—as we find with Elijah (2 Kgs 1:8). On the other hand, if a man had done wrong and feared divine wrath, then rough and scratchy sackcloth would take the place of the loincloth (1 Kgs 20:31-2; Jer 48:37; Am 8:10), which suggests that the biblical mark of repentance was the act of scratching one’s crotch, obsessively. And of course one longed to take it off at the first opportunity (Isa 20:2).
Under normal circumstances a careful strapping of a man’s seeds would be done with a soft cloth so that they didn’t bounce about on a long trot (Jer 13:1-4). But if one happened to be a priest, then one took extra care. 
Once again, there is a clear relationship between how a man’s testicles are “girded” and how one prepares testicles, lamb fries in particular. As I learned from watching Chopped, one must properly clean your testicles in order for them to be prepared properly. Not removing the outer membrane can destroy the texture of the “fries” and they can become like the scratchy sackcloth, a culinary act that requires repentance. Grilling them, however, requires the membrane stay intact as it, like the “leather cock sack” becomes crispy and takes on the smokiness of the grill. However, under normal circumstances, these testicles, regardless of their source, should be done with care to maintain their integrity. If I were a contestant on Chopped and trying to win $10,000, I would treat them as if I were a priest and prepare them with extra care.
In some respects, isn't this true of our lives in general. When we view ourselves as being close to our Higher Power, however one defines that, do we not treat ourselves accordingly. If we believe that we are in need of repentance for some reason, don't we keep punishing ourselves for the sins of our past. Maybe it is time for us to remember that in our own way we are all in a close relationship to the Infinite and treat ourselves with the same delicacy as the priests treated their testicles and a culinary expert would prepare succulent lamb fries.
 Boer, Roland. The Patriarch's Nuts: Concerning the Testicular Logic of Biblical Hebrew [online]. Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2011: 41-52. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=124444910457404;res=IELHSS> EISSN: 1177-2484. [cited 05 Jul 13].