Gutsy Eaters Only

Here’s a fun little quiz.

What is it???

The answer is none of the above. Actually, the answer is “I don’t know,” even though I ate some of it.

I don’t typically eat things I don’t know what they are. But my friend got this in his “Salumi Society” monthly shipment from Boccalone in San Francisco (see “Links”), which led us to the conclusion that it was some sort of cured pork product and that we were meant to eat it. We poked at it first, trying to figure out what exactly it was. Some sort of offal, obviously β€” perhaps a stomach lining? We tried it on bread. I’d give it a “3” on the Curious Meatometer 1-5 rating scale. It was not bad, nor was it delicious. The literature that came with it suggested it was very good with beans. So I took some home, cooked it with cannellini beans, and we tried it again. The beans were very good, although they were good before I added the pork thing. It contributed a certain porkiness to the meal, and the boingy toothsomeness of innards was interesting. But I certainly wouldn’t spend a lot of money on it.

Not that you should spend a lot of money on it. It’s the part most people throw away.

I struggle with offal. Even the word is so close to “awful.” I like it theory β€” it’s admirable if you’re going to kill an animal, to eat the entire animal, the way they do in so many countries and cultures. In America, we like it if they do whatever they can before we eat it to make it seem NOT like an animal. We like to buy our steaks and chicken breasts prettied up and sold in styrofoam β€” sort of like they were simply fruits picked off the animal. I couldn’t even kill and cook the roosters two of our baby chicks turned into, although my Guatemalan housekeeper’s eyes lit up carnivorously at the suggestion that she might take them.

It’s more the reality of it that I have trouble with. Like, the part about having it in your mouth. It tastes organny to me. On the advice of friends, I’ve tried menudo when I’ve had hangovers a few times, and generally gagged. I do like sweetbreads, although as innards go they’re fairly dainty.

I will keep trying them. I consider it my duty as a carnivore. As Mario Batali said, “It has always surprised me that some people are suspicious of offal and yet have no fear of eating an arm, a shoulder or the fatty muscle under the rib cage (i.e. the steak).”

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea Thompson
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 23:02:40

    Looks gross.


  2. Lisa Gaskin
    Oct 04, 2010 @ 01:09:29



  3. Jamaica
    Oct 04, 2010 @ 02:20:43

    I’m going with pig ear loaf.


  4. Alex Begovic
    Oct 06, 2010 @ 21:54:25

    It’s tripe(intestines), people. Made into a terrine of sort. And it doesnt look gross at all, looks delicious.


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