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Saturday, 11 February 2012

Well, eat my ears and feet

Sadly, that's not an invite to be pervy or cannibalistic but me reflecting on a recent book purchase called Odd Bits. The book invites people to think about how delicious some of the lesser eaten bits of cows, sheep, pigs and fowls might be. It's full of very nice looking recipes but I think I would draw the line at eating chickens feet or testicles ta.



I do like various bits of offal like lambs and pigs liver and lambs and ox kidney (pigs kidneys always seem a bit bitter to me) and when I was a young boy my mum used to take me to a tripe shop at Derby Market. The tripe shop always smelt strongly of vinegar and we used to eat it raw as well as cooked. I don't think I was told what tripe was at the time but did enjoy eating it. We also had it cooked in milk and the taste was quite different. My Auntie Barbara remembers the tripe shop too and they used to ask for the honeycomb bit of the tripe. Tripe and onions (pickled onions) were a favourite with her side of the family when growing up and her Dad (another grandad) used to enjoy eating chitterlings (cooked intestines) and called them by a name I'd never heard before, hodge. This I gleaned from a short chat with Barbara on the dog and bone (phone) this morning. Speaking of dogs, her old dog in the 1960s used to be given a sheep's head with the brains exposed and, apparently, the Alsatian used to wolf these down. Imagine that now!!!! We had a laugh about walking into a supermarket and instead of seeing rows of canned dog food there would be rows of sheep's heads for sale! Macabre.

We also used to eat a lot of brawn where pig's cheek would have been shredded and cooked in the brawn mixture. My Grandad Lowe used to like to eat cooked sheep's brains as did a lot of his generation (folk born around 1890 and 1900) and he was particularly fond of boiled pigs trotters.

Cooked tongue was a regular part of my Sunday tea growing up and as part of my early days in the butcher's trade I was used to seeing ox and lambs tongues preserved in big buckets of brine as well as pigs intestines, also in brine, ready for cleaning and using for sausage skins. In fact I grew up seeing all the humane killing processes and gutted chickens and trimmed the meat off cows heads and lambs heads for cow's cheek and dog food. Even back in the 1970s people used to come into the butchers shops and ask for lites (the lungs of pigs of lambs and sheep mainly) to cook and feed their pets.

I'd try most things of this nature but grey chitterlings and their smell does turn my stomach a bit and as for sweetbreads and testicles, well call me fey but...

8 comments:

Karen said...

Oh no no no - I cannot eat offal.As I was an incredibly fussy eater as a child, my Mum used to buy lambs hearts as she thought they would be good for me. They weren't - on the rare occasion I was forced to eat some, it didn't stay in my tummy long.The flavour was too strong, & I didn't like to think what it had been doing before the animal had been killed. My Dad would force feed me liver (pinched my nose, & stuck a forkful in my mouth, which was then held shut)& I'd never try that again, kidneys remind me of what they produce, and as for tripe, it's the stuff of nightmares to look at. I know offal is fairly cheap, & nutritious, but I would rather eat lentils if there was a choice.
Can you remember the long ago days when cat food was in a tin, & not in pre-formed over p[rocessed shapes in a pouch? Then you could actually see strange bits of animal innards in it - tubes, & lumpy things. I imagine the intestines & lungs were in it, but our cats seemed to thrive on it, & I swear it was better than the pouch stuff.

Phil Lowe said...

Oh Karen, I feel for you. Parents can be cruel force feeding their kids with things they don't like in the way you describe. I've never eaten heart but imagine, as you say, that the taste is fairly strong.

Karen said...

I can laugh about being force fed now, & it was obviously cruel, but to be fair, my poor parents were at the end of their tether with me. I just wouldn't eat much. Yet I was healthy, probably thanks to all the vitamin supplements I had to take. The humiliations of school dinners were even worse. Of course, now I've gone the other way, & adore food. Except offal. Thank goodness our son wasn't like me, he loved all food & still does.

Jean said...

My mum was very partial to tripe and to chitterlings - whatever they were !!
I just can't bring myself to eat them but I do enjoy liver, bacon and onions so I'm not completely squeamish !!
It's a pity that so many people don't know how to cook and eat not just offal but the cheaper cuts of meat these days. They're a very economic way to feed a family but I suppose most people don't want to invest the time and would rather just shove something readymade in the microwave. The quantity of readymade meals on offer at our local supermarket is shameful really. Some may call it progress but it's a sad reflection on how lazy we have become I think.

Phil Lowe said...

I looked at some ready made meals under the Ken Hom label the other day. They didn't look good at all. I'd rather pay slightly more and cook myself.

Phil Lowe said...

I looked at some ready made meals under the Ken Hom label the other day. They didn't look good at all. I'd rather pay slightly more and cook myself.

Phil Lowe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Lowe said...

:0)