14 February 2010

For everyone I love who is far away from me.

by Jocelyn
(another guest post by Jocelyn)

Loretta spent the weekend with me in Ithaca.

Today, we cut up some hearts to see if we could find the love, and then we cooked and ate them. It was a combination Valentiney activity and maybe some anatomy review for me.

There was a little bit of a technical difficulty about the photographs, and so some pictures are with my computer camera and are therefore not great, while others are with Loretta's camera and will be added later.

The hearts in question were a lamb's heart and a turkey's heart, both provided to me when I bought the entire animal for cooking and eating. It turns out that in the butchering process, pretty much all of the vessels are removed, along with the right atrium, most of the left atrium, and (in the case of the turkey heart) the entire right ventricle too. So there wasn't as much anatomy to look at as I would have liked, but still some.

So before making any cuts at all, we could look inside what was left of the right atrium. We found the great cardiac vein, draining blood from the muscle of the heart itself and emptying directly into the right atrium.

This is the great cardiac vein as it empties into the right atrium.

Here I have made the course of the great cardiac vein in a dotted green line, and the toothpick stuck inside it in yellow. We could see the toothpick through the wall of the vessel, definitely.

We could also look inside the right ventricle and see what was left of the right atrioventricular valve, including the papillary muscles, the chordae tendineae, and a little bit of the valve itself.

Except that in this picture, you can only kind of see the chordae tendineae; the light appears not to have been right to see the rest.

The pulmonary arteries and whatnot were all gone, so then we moved over to the left atrium, where we could see part of the left auricle with its pectinate muscles. At this time we also found the aorta (or at least the base of it) with the coronary artery.

Then I cut open the left ventricle, which is the most exciting part of heart dissection.

We looked at the valve parts here too. You can see the muscles and whatnot a lot better on this ventricle, as well as a little bit of the pectinate muscles in the atrium.

You are probably wondering where the aortic outflow tract went; here it is! (With the toothpick stuck through it.)

Since all that was left of the turkey heart was the left ventricle, I went ahead and cut this open too. Again, the toothpick is where the blood goes out through the aorta.

Then we were done dissecting! So I cut the hearts all up.

I actually had a turkey gizzard that I cut up and put in too, because why not. They went in a skillet with butter and garlic and onion and mushrooms and red wine, and cooked for a long time on low heat.

Happy Valentine's Day!

1 comment:

  1. My only comment is that I think chili is a better vehicle for lamb heart, whereas turkey heart should of course be reserved for giblets.

    Jim, of the Beijing Taylors