brains n food

I haven’t posted in a few days as i have been fortune enough to participate in a Human Brain and Spinal Cord dissection! The course was all day every day and was exhausting but exhilarating. You could even say it was mind-blowing, although that seems a bit crass given the circumstances.

Photographs were obviously prohibited for HIPPA reasons and out of pure respect, but I do have this one crappy iphone photo, which depicts my morning ritual of bagels and brains:


The good life.

What an opportunity to be able to partake in such a humbling experience. I was nearly speechless (a rarity for a chatty Kathy as myself) when I was presented with a human brain. It’s something I’ve studied for years and there it was, in front of me. While I can’t do the experience justice, I can tell you that it is one thing to learn about the brain on paper but it is quite another to explore it with your own two hands. I am still in awe of those few days. Peering into the interconnectivity of the brain, not to mention the vasculature and vast complexity, I was shocked that any of us work at all. Your body is freakin’ amazing –undoubtably the most fine-tuned machine on earth. This course was a good reminder of this, and really shifted many things in my life into perspective.

The course also included some great lectures and classes. I learned a lot, and some of it I will be blogging about soon – particularly an interesting seminar about the brain and your body and what you put into it.

Speaking of food, since this is a food blog, I must mention the following aspects of the course reminded me of food so foodies may get a better grip on the experience:

  • A lot of the brain pulls apart like string cheese. #onwisconsin
  • Speaking of cheese, when the brain is sliced by a large knife (we literally used kitchen knives for this – see below) it gives as if it was a hard provolone.
  • When you peel apart parts of the cerebellum, it looks like clementine wedges connected by the stringy things that pull apart when playing with turkey.
  • The scent a bone saw produces on the skull: burning doritos (VOM)
  • Dissecting is much like pastry work: using your hands and fine tools to shape and carve. It’s a bit satisfying.


The course has now ended and I must admit, throwing away the shreds of cerebral cortex among others – felt a little sad. Someone’s whole life, all of their memories and stories and knowledge had been reduced to shredded piles on my dissection tray. I am so thankful for people who donate their bodies to science so people like me can benefit from learning from them!! Big shout out.

Short, random post, yes, but the take home here is:

GIVE YOUR BODY A HUG. It’s doing amazing things for you! Take care of yourself. Go eat a piece of fruit or drink some water or floss your teeth or do some yoga or something. Appreciate the millions of processes going on inside you.

I, for one, am totally inspired at the moment. Which will hopefully bring some more food posts very shortly.

#namaste everyone.


PS – A HUGE thank you to all of the Biomedical Sciences staff at Marquette University for letting me be a part of it!

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