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By BadDoggie (Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 03:28:31 PM EST) food, lurveys, om nom nom (all tags)
Let me tell you a little bit about eighty-four cents' worth of love. And food.

If you know me you know that there's nothing that comes more naturally to me than cooking. I not only started helping in the kitchen before I could walk, I have the damned nut chopper that was my first kitchen tool. So while I'm a bit annoyed that the £30-500 toys we bought for Mildly Naughty Puppy rarely get more attention than a yawn or a shove, my heart soars when she plays with the old rubber spatula I almost threw out. It's one of her favourites and good for this teething time.

I almost moved back to the US a few years ago. The carrot was that big. My mother knew my weakness and repeatedly -- even only a few months before her death -- held out the offer of room, board and full tuition at CIA in upstate New York. To sweeten that deal further she tried to offer me a condo in France she couldn't actually afford but would have bought anyway so that I could go the full classic route.

My parents knew a lot of other chefs, many of whom would go on to become famous, including Martin Yan, Madame Grace Zia Chou, Paul Prudhome, Mario Batali, Friedman Paul Erhardt (a.k.a. "Chef Tell"), Emeril Lagasse. Our entire family had considered opening a restaurant in NOLA, with me running the kitchen, my sister running the floor and my brother managing the munniez. I was too much of a hardcore vegan at the time to be ready to try and cook whatever some guys in a boat managed to scrape up off the bottom of the bay that morning.

When our family met, it was over dinner. Or lunch. When we did anything together food played the starring role. And if we weren't talking about what or where we wanted to eat, we were in the middle of actually eating, discussing both what we were eating and what our next meal together would be.

The last time my brother got married BG and I went to Florida and cooked a meal for all the "insiders" the night before the wedding. Our family, her family, some very close friends. We cooked for about 15 people and the night was excellent. I still get questions about the lamb we made -- a dish BG and I had perfected in preparation for the restaurant we had planned on opening together before we split -- but no one remembers what the hell we ate the next night at the reception. All I can tell you is there was a beef, chicken and salmon selection, and that's 50% guess, 49% knowledge of the catering industry and about 1% vague memory.

I own a lot of cookbooks. I don't actually use them. I sure as hell don't actually follow the recipes as laid out in them. They're mostly for ideas and vague guidance. I recently came across a very old Chinese cookbook which, while requiring a lot of work to figure out the recipe, has a lot of back-to-basic style stuff, like red-cooked X or hung-sao-ABCD.

I also have two books that very few people would ever want to own. The first is Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast with an intro from Bourdain and a cover quote from Batali. It's all about cooking offal, from jellied tripe to salted duck legs to crispy pig tails to calf heart. It was a Hanukwanzmas present in 2008.

The second book is truly classic modern offal cookbook, Allen & Gin's Innards and Other Variety Meats from 1974. I mentioned it and three days ago it was presented to me again by my wife. She heard me mention it as I muttered while reading through weird foodness.

Until rather recently my wife was a vegetarian, and while not for quite as long as I was one, for a greater portion of her life and more recently. She tolerates my pig foot experiments, the pot of red-cooked tripe, the smelly kidneys soaking in salt water to remove the pissy taste, the pot of pig tail stew simmering on the stove. I mostly serve the good bits but love the challenge of making something edible out of parts that would otherwise become dogfood or fertiliser. And she, in turn, is willing to sample the chicken feet, fatty ribs and tripe at a dim sum brunch.

Only a couple of weeks ago RIG had to go out with MNP. On her way back back she hit the supermarket. Along with butter, onions, carrots and other basics was a pig heart. Eighty-four cents, unappealing to her, something to keep me busy in the kitchen. She knows and loves me.

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Om nom nom | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I love offal but by Herring (2.00 / 0) #1 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:21:23 PM EST
I'm not supposed to eat it.

Saying that, since recent blood test and medication adjustment, I have pigged on anchovies with no ill effects. Might be worth risking a kidney or two.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

Offal or just (some) organs? by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #2 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 04:43:14 PM EST
A lot of people can't eat much organ meat like liver and kidney for various reasons but things like ears, snouts, tongue, cheeks, tails, feets, intestine and heart are all pretty healthy. And usually tasty.


OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

[ Parent ]
Good point by Herring (2.00 / 0) #4 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:42:04 PM EST
The internets just say "avoid offal" without being too specific.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
there are also different definitions of offal by lm (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:40:00 PM EST
I was about to object to BD that offal typically means internal organs but I looked up the definition first to find that some folks use it more broadly to describe any part of the animal not typically used by western butchers. I would not have thought to include tongue and tail in the category of offal, but for some people that's where to find them.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
WIPO: It depends on who cooks it by FlightTest (2.00 / 0) #3 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 05:28:57 PM EST
For instance, Mrs. FT does not eat pork at all. EXCEPT if our one friend cooks it.  Dunno what he does, but it's very tasty.

So, yeah, if it was someone I knew and trusted their cooking skills, I'd give it a go.  Someone I barely knew or worse, a restaurant?  No way.

For my Italian relatives New Year dinner by yankeehack (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 06:51:08 PM EST
I finally had a little bit of tripe, after enough red wine. It was ok. It kinda tasted spongy though.

I also have drastically cut down on meat consumption, so that may be it too.
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB

VS2FP by barooo (2.00 / 0) #7 Sat Mar 06, 2010 at 09:00:08 PM EST
Red cooked tripe sounds delicious.

man, i need a beefy taco now.
Because we're such close HuSi friends by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #8 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 02:29:43 AM EST
Hung Sao Tsu Du

1 lb tripe
4T soy sauce
2T dark soy sauce
⅛t five-spice powder (a couple of shakes)
2t sugar
1 scallion, sliced
3-4 slices ginger
½c water

If the tripe's not prepared, wash with 3T salt and ½c vinegar; rinse with hot water, repeat a few times until you don't gag from the stench.

Mix everything but the tripe together in a pot and bring to a boil. Slice the tripe into strips. I prefer about ½"wide and 1-2" long. Add the tripe to the mixture, lower the heat and let simmer for about 2½ hours. Serve hot or cold.

This is the basic red-cooking recipe. Adding sherry, chicken broth instead of water, maybe a square of red bean curd are all "legitimate" variants. Some people throw in a broken piece of star anise or a couple of cloves (both ingredients in 5-spice), based on personal preference, but this is pretty much it whether you're cooking a piece of loin, filet or (more likely) braising the shit out of a pig's tongue, ear, face, foot, tail or guts. Me, I double down on the ginger, sometimes redoubling it again.


OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

[ Parent ]
"until you don't gag from the stench" by sugar spun (4.00 / 1) #12 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 09:18:19 AM EST
I don't want to eat anything where getting rid of the natural stench is a factor to take into account pre-cooking.

I do not believe this to be in any way unusual or even something to be ashamed of. Stench is Nature's way of saying, You probably want to eat something else.

But I like that you like the books.

[ Parent ]
Stench by ni (2.00 / 0) #13 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 11:45:14 AM EST
I disagree.

Stench in food is a sign that the item is going to be unspeakably delicious (ie, cheese, kimchi, countless others) or utterly terrible (anything in an advanced state of microbial decay, etc).

An interesting exception to this general scheme, which I note for the sake of accuracy, is durian fruit. In durian, the extremely pronounced stench signals neither of the above, but instead tells you that the food is going to be OK but not really worth the odour you must tolerate to eat it.

One is tempted to explain your mistake by discussing the role of blandness in the cuisine of the UK, but since we're all friends here...

"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM

[ Parent ]
Friends by sugar spun (2.00 / 0) #14 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 12:20:48 PM EST
don't let friends eat durian.

In any case, the things that are on your list are things where the stench is apparently integral to the enjoyment of the item rather than having to be soaked out, like the smell of pee from kidneys. I won't eat things that smell like they've been eaten already.

[ Parent ]
You all hale & hearty again? by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #9 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 04:57:39 AM EST
Hope so.

You might also like Huge Frotterling-Whippingstall's book, imaginitively entitled "Meat".

I don't think H F-W has much to teach you culinary wise, but for a celeb chef he has a very robust approach to cooking.  Kind of like Nigel Slater he's not a "then saute the chitterlings at precisely midnight, in the dew from a unicorn's vulva" chef, much more direct. 

He also makes a strong argument along the lines of "keep your animals happy until you kill them.  Then eat every bit you can, and boil the bones for stock".

I thought about that one. by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #10 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:55:21 AM EST
Luckily I got a chance to thumb through his book before actually buying it. If it had been more about meat and less a giant honking pile of recipes with meat I woulda plonked down the many, many squids that book goes for. There were only a few dozen interesting pages.

I really don't need another book of recipes, not even the one from the Fat Duck since I wouldn't be allowed to buy all the kitchen toys necessary to cook even a damned pot of broth. If I were to cook every recipe I have just once, two dishes a day, I'd need the longevity of the House of Windsor and the Catholic Church combined.


OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

[ Parent ]
So, love of my life, by sugar spun (4.00 / 2) #11 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 06:02:30 AM EST
what are we having for dinner?

You don't know, do you?

Do we still have those Lidl steak pies in the freezer?

[ Parent ]
Heh. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #16 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:07:05 PM EST
Destruction in 3 sentences !

[ Parent ]
Yeah by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #15 Sun Mar 07, 2010 at 05:06:10 PM EST
Worth reading, probably not worth buying if you already have an idea of how to make stock and generally cook meat.

[ Parent ]
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