Testicles. What a magical word! In Montana, there are several official testicle festivals with names that juice my salivary glands just thinking about them, including the Nut and Gut Feed, York Bar's Go Nuts Testicle Festival, Fromberg Festival of Testicles, and the renowned Clinton, Montana Testicle Festival.

Each summer, at the Testicle Festival in Clinton, over 15,000 cowboy-caviar aficionados gleefully wolf down two tons of Rocky Mountain Oysters. Some of the festivals serve up beer orgies, public nudity, cow-patty bingo, and motorcycle mayhem as side dishes. Others are pure family affairs, where testicles are masticated by the fist full by all ages. Some serve non-beef gonads, such as turkey testicles. Even Canada has one: Bottlescrew Bill's Testicle Festival in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which runs for the entire month of June! Sources say the event has "swollen" over the years into an internationally recognized event. However, as far as I can tell, there are ZERO testicle festivals in Oregon.

In Portland, one would be hard pressed to find testicles on the regular menu at any of our fine eateries. Mike Wilkinson, a chef at Higgins Restaurant, agrees and says the testicular meat treats are seldom offered. "They're saved for special occasions," Wilkinson says. Sweetbreads, or Montana Tendergroin, are only prepared for New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day (as an aphrodisiac?) at Higgins. Nothing more romantic than a table for two, candlelight, a bottle of Kenwood Reserve, and a steaming plate of soft-boiled bull eggs! Mmm! I'm squirming in my seat just thinking about it!

Wilkinson says the nads are prepared simply with dubious relish. First, the testes, about the size of kidney-shaped softballs, are placed in cold water and brought to a simmer until cooked, then "shocked in an ice bath to cease the cooking process." Whew! Talk about your cold showers! Later, various membranes are pulled off, revealing the tender goo-stuff inside. Since they're already cooked, the testicles are later portioned, re-heated, and served. "Then," he laughs, "all you have to do is eat 'em up!"

"I'm not really fond of them," Wilkinson admits. "It's not something you want to eat every day." Speak for yourself, Mike. Some of us can't wait for New Years Eve. I never thought I'd say it, but thank heaven for Montana!