Placentas Are the New Gourmet

Eating placenta. Laura Morton / Special to The Chronicle

In San Francisco, a “food adventure club” routinely tries new, experimental, and gourmet foods. That isn’t so unusual — I mean, it’s San Francisco — but their twelfth adventure last week encountered a whole new culinary echelon: Placentas.

To be fair, it isn’t exactly new food. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say, we’ve all tried placenta before. But, like the contemporaneous trip down the birth canal, most of us can’t remember the taste.

The group — which includes such awesome San Francisco writers as Ali Liebegott and Michelle Tea — wasn’t all down for it. And the Chronicle reporter who broke the story unearthed some disturbing findings: According to an anatomy professor, the “placenta ‘is part of the infant, no question. Yes, it’s discarded after birth,’ he says, ‘but it’s still human.'”

But some would beg to differ:

Four-star San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson of Coi spoke at the Museum of Modern Art earlier this year preparing his wife’s placenta – which he did at her request – by soaking it in milk, salting it, then cooking it with pork into a Bolognese sauce, which he topped with a poached egg. He looked at it as a culinary challenge, but one that also eased his wife’s postpartum pain.

We are weirdos, too. Following our children’s births, we followed the Talmud and buried their placentas in our backyard. In olden times of yore, trees would grow near the placentas, and you’d cut them down to use in your child’s wedding canopy. Not that we’re preparing for their weddings or anything. The oldest one is 3! We’ve got at least 12 years before that.

Matthue RothMatthue Roth is an associate editor at He has written three novels and a memoir, and is the co-creator of the animated Torah series G-dcast. He keeps a secret diary at

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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