For those who've been following the saga of asshole-wit Joel Stein's road to fatherhood, his take on placenta-cookery (aka placentophagy) won't shock you: "when Cassandra's looks fade in her 50s, there's no way I'm putting up with this crap."
Unlike the earth-mother types who cook their own afterbirth, hoping to combat postpartum depression and increase milk flow, Stein's wife hires a pro. "To my surprise, Sara did not look unkempt, frumpy, heavy or in any way like a Wiccan," writes Stein with typical charm. For $275, the full-time placenta cook will prepare and dry it and turn it into pills - much more palatable, as she explains to the aghast new dad, than the "placenta smoothies" some new moms slurp.
Here's how Stein describes the placenta, which he carries home in a cooler:
Though I am exceedingly squeamish, when my son was born, I was shocked that I saw only the beauty of childbirth. Until the placenta came out. There are many normal human reactions to seeing a placenta, ranging from screaming to vomiting to warding it off with a cross. For those of you who have never seen one, the placenta is to the baby what Stephen Baldwin is to Alec Baldwin. It's what your liver would look like if it got into an accident on the autobahn with one of those aliens from Mars Attacks! and their bloody carcasses threw jellyfish at each other.
Sara, required by law to cook the placenta in the home, steams it with herbs, dehydrates it, and delivers the pills "in a pretty glass jar, [with] a card, a CD of lullabies and a satin pouch. In which was part of my son's umbilical cord, fashioned into a heart." Now, as I told Anna, Joel Stein and placenta-cookery are a combination fairly guaranteed to make my stomach roil. And I was not "disappointed," if that's the word for having one's worst fears confirmed. Nudge-nudge old-school wife-indulging with a dollop of VH1-level snark is hard to take in the best of circumstances. And when it's combined with placentophagy - "the kitchen got that ironlike smell of cooked organ meat, with vague undertones of a consciousness-raising group and a Betty Friedan rally" - the results call for, in my case, a piece of dry toast and some Canada Dry.
Afterbirth For Dinner [Time]