Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Offal is Back

Andrew Sullivan calls attention to the British revival in eating offal, or "variety meats," or the heart, kidney, liver, brains, tongue, and stomach of animals. It reminds me that I grew up eating many of these meats. Liver was a regular part of my diet growing up. Whether it was from a cow, chicken, turkey, or deer, we ate it. And I loved it. Heart was another favorite. I can remember being with my dad deer hunting and carefully saving the heart. It was a treat. Kidney and tongue were never personal favorites. Some years ago, thanks to my wife's Mexican sister-in-law I was introduced to Menudo, which is a Mexican soup made with tripe, or cow's stomach. It is quite chewy and quite good.

Mostly now I am a muscle eater. Which is really too bad. I stopped eating the variety meats I liked because they were "bad" for my health. Heart and liver were high in cholesterol. Although, I still eat the livers of every chicken and turkey I cook. But maybe it's time to revisit my dietary choices. It seems that meat is not the problem; now it's refined sugars and flours. Vitamins are out; eggs are in. Meat is good for you. Offal is coming back. Julia Child and James Beard would be happy.

1 comment:

ProgressiveChurchlady said...

The problem with the liver is that it holds all the ingested toxins. The "gizzards" of the free range organic fed animals are the only ones you can be sure you are not getting all their ingested toxins.

Once when I was a teen I went to a friends' home to eat dinner and sleepover. The dinner was liver and onions. I had never had it before in my life (my mom hated it and never cooked or served it even though her father ate animal organs all the time). I loved it and asked what it was. My hosts thought I'd come from Mars because I'd never had liver and onions before!

Meanwhile, in Willard, Ohio my stubborn husband would sit at the dinner table on Saturdays from noon until dinner so he wouldn't have to eat the liver and onions that were put in front of him. If he could sneak it to the cat, or hide it under the table, he'd do it. But more often that not, he'd read at the kitchen table all afternoon with a plate of liver and onions in front of him!