Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Tesco or Pets at Home?


I have always been aware that real ‘foodies’ like offal. I’ve never really understood why, seeing as to me offal are the bits that were traditionally allowed to fall away during the butchering process – the bits that only poor people wanted on account of not being able to afford to waste parts of the animal.

And I’ve never liked the term ‘foodie’ - to me it doesn’t just imply open-mindedness about food but a kind of superiority as in, ‘I would never eat pot noodles…like you do’ rather, ‘I prefer something you wouldn’t dare try because my taste buds are superior to yours’. But the more I think about it the more I agree with eating offal in theory, why should an animal be slaughtered and then bits thrown away? Surely, if you’re able to eat a cow’s rump you shouldn’t be squeamish about eating its liver or heart?

So, I’ve looked into it; not only is offal underused, it’s full of vitamins and minerals and flavoursome (apparently) but best of all it’s cheap – a true superfood. Top restaurants are now serving braised hearts, sweetbreads, kidneys, you name it and at top prices too. There’s even a book called The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson. No beating around the bush there then.

I realise that there's a learning curve for your brain to associate certain foods with the nutrients they contain so I started wondering if I could be converted.

Then I remembered the somewhat stomach turning rubbery texture of the liver and kidneys I was served as a child and the disgust I felt about eating organs of toxin elimination. I even remember the faint aroma (maybe I imagined it) of men’s toilets when the kidneys were cooking.

A conversation I had with a true foodie made me laugh recently. He told me of how he’d been doing his weekly shop and couldn’t find all the things he wanted in the general part of the shop but lo and behold he found them in the pet food section. I didn’t ask what they were nor even if he bought them as the idea of him cooking up the bits and pieces designed for dogs is not an appealing one.

I know I’m boring but I’m on a journey of culinary exploration so maybe I will give it a go one day but don’t forget I’m from the pizza generation, a generation where heart, brains and kidneys sound more like an endurance test or bushtucker trial than anything else.

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