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Authors: Nina Edwards

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BOOK: Offal: A Global History
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For biscuits

Mix all of ingredients together in a bowl. Add the cubed butter and use a bench scraper or 2 knives to cut the butter into lentilsized pieces throughout the dry ingredients. Pour in the cream and mix until it just comes together.

Chill the dough for 1 hour in fridge and roll out into a 1-inch-thick disc. Use a ½-inch circle cutter to make small cylinders. Bake at 350°
) for 8 minutes or until golden-brown on the bottom.

To finish chicken skin

Rinse salt off chicken skin and dry in between paper towels very well. Cut with scissors into 2 inch × 2 inch (5 x 5 cm) squares. Take one piece of plastic wrap and lay chicken skin on top. Dust
with a thin layer of meat glue (we recommend using an icing (powered) sugar dispenser) ensuring you cover all four corners of the chicken skin. With a small melon-baller or teaspoon, set a dollop of chicken gravy in the centre. Fold all four corners of the chicken skin into the centre and then lift the plastic up and twist tightly to form a snug ball. Tie with an additional piece of plastic so the ball stays extremely tight. Place in fridge for 1 hour. After 1 hour, place chicken balls in boiling water for 5 minutes and then shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking (make sure you cook the chicken skin fully in boiling water).

To finish

Remove plastic from chicken ball and place in 350°
) fryer. Fry for 2–3 minutes or until golden-brown. Salt foie gras and roast in cast-iron pan until golden-brown. Lightly warm the biscuit in the oven.

To plate

With a spoon, drizzle some of the spiced honey on a plate. Place the foie gras, the biscuit and chicken ball on the plate and serve immediately. Optional garnish: bitter lettuce.

Pig’s Ear and Pork Chop Pie

—Sham Kesar-Bramall of Little Chilli Catering, 2012

100 g plain flour
45 g butter

Add the above to a food processor and blitz up until you have breadcrumbs. Add cold water slowly until the pastry comes together. Chill for 30 minutes until use.

Pie filling
1 pig’s ear, cut into large strips roughly 10 cm long and 3 cm
300 g pork chop, sliced into 2 cm strips
2 onions, diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
250 ml white wine
300 ml chicken stock
1 lemon, zest only
sage to season
1 small red chilli, diced finely
50 g butter
1 egg to brush pastry

Fry off the onions, garlic and celery for 5 minutes. Add stock and white wine and simmer for 15–20 minutes. Add the pig’s ear strips and simmer for 1–2 hours, topping up with hot water if necessary. Remove the pig’s ear from the stock and cut into strips as thinly as possible. Fry in the butter and season with salt and pepper (fry half of the strips until crisp and fry the other half until slightly less crisp as these will top the pie later and get cooked again in the oven). Fry off the pork chop pieces in butter, season with sage, salt and pepper and add to the stock. Fill a medium-sized pie dish with the pork chop and stock and sprinkle half of the pig’s ears on top. Line the top with the pastry and press onto the sides of the dish to seal. Prick a hole in the middle of the pie and brush with egg. Sprinkle the rest of the pig’s ear strips on top of the pastry. Cook at 200°
for 15–20 minutes or until the pie has browned.

Devilled Kidneys

4 pieces of toast
8 sheep’s kidneys
(60 g) butter
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 dessertspoon Worcester Sauce
salt and pepper

Carefully remove the skin from the kidneys, rinse in cold water and pat dry, cut in half and core. Mix together the mustard and sauce. Heat the butter in a pan and add the kidneys, season with salt and pepper and brown for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat and cook gently for 5 minutes with the pan covered. Add the mustard/sauce mixture and braise gently for a little longer. Serve on hot toast.

Thai Spicy Pig Organ Soup

—Atitaya Chewasuwan, 2011

Bring to the boil with a pint of water a handful of mixed pig offal with lime leaves, galangal, fish sauce and a pinch of sugar. Then add lemon grass, chopped spring onion, chilli and coriander. Simple, fragrant and delicious.



Joan Alcock,
Food in the Ancient World
, 2006), p. 65.

Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat,
A History of Food
(Oxford, 1987), p. 424.

Life of Lycurgus
, 2:2.

In Aristophanes’
The Birds
, for example, Prometheus cries ‘If Zeus sees me down here I’m a dead liver’; the Thracians threaten to march against Zeus unless he opens up the ports so that they can import their ‘beloved offal pieces’ again. (Act 2, trans. G. Theodoridis, 2005).

Athanaeus in
, cited in Toussaint-Samat,
History of Food
, p. 425.

In Cato’s
De Agri Cultura
, 89.

Pliny the Elder,
De Natura Rerum
, Book 10. 26.

Alan Davidson,
The Oxford Companion to Food
(Oxford, 1999), p. 84.

Cited in Andrew Dalby,
Food in the Ancient World from
(London, 2003), p. 208: Homer,

Dimitra Karamanides,
(New York, 2006), p. 5.

Lawrence D. Kritzman, in
Food: A Culinary History
(New York, 1996), quotes Seneca’s criticism, singling out a vogue for flamingos’ tongues.

Isidore of Seville,

Athanaeus (
, Book 3) mentions the gourmand Callimedon, so called because he leapt like a crayfish for a dish of tripe. Dioxippus mocks his catholic taste: ‘What dishes he hankers after! How refined they are! Sweetbreads, paunches, entrails!’

Mireille Corbier, ‘The Broad Bean and the Moray: Social Hierachies and Food in Rome’, in
Food: A Culinary History
, ed. Jean-Louis Flandrin and Massimo Montanari, trans. Albert Sonnenfeld (New York, 1999). Andrew Dalby refers to Plutarch regarding the higher order delicacy of miscarried sow’s womb, achieved by jumping on the pregnant animal, to savour the meat at its most tender phase – a technique also benefiting the udder,
Food in the Ancient World
, p. 360.

1 Definitions and Ideas

The New Oxford American Dictionary
at least lists the edible definition first:

‘the entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food.

• refuse or waste material.

• decomposing animal flesh.

late Middle English (in the sense [refuse from a process]): probably suggested by Middle Dutch
, from
af “off”
vallen “to fall

Bath chaps, or chaps, are the lower portions of a pig’s cheek, and include the jaw meat, boned, formed into a cone which is cut vertically, salted and smoked and sometimes rolled in breadcrumbs. ‘Chap’ is a variant of chop; ‘Bath’ is probably part of the name because the cut originates from that part of southern England, and was originally made from the Gloucestershire Old Spot pig. Haslet was defined by Dr Johnson in 1755 as ‘heart, liver and lights of a hog, with the windpipe and part of the throat to it’. Alan Davidson in the
Oxford Companion to Food
(Oxford, 1999) describes haslet today as being a dish of finely chopped offal, cooked as a
meatloaf covered with kidney fat (flead) or caul. Chine is the meat surrounding the backbone of an animal, the word coming from fourteeth-century French,

In contrast Sophocles uses ‘white marrow’ as a poetic euphemism for brains. In
The Trachinian Women
Heracles throw Lichas into the sea, spilling his brains upon the water: ‘He spilled the white marrow from the hair, when the head was split in the middle and blood spurted forth with it.’

Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China
(London, 2008), Fuschia Dunlop admits ‘in my stomach of stomachs I remained an observer’, p. 135.

Douglas Houston’s poem ‘With the Offal Eaters’ in the collection of the same name (London, 1986).

Tara Austen Weaver wrote recently of her sudden switch to meat-eating to treat hyperthyroidism after a vegetarian childhood. Email to author (2 February 2010).

Jonathan Miller,
The Body in Question
(London, 1980), p. 24.

Mary Douglas,
Annual Report of the Russell Sage Foundation
(1978), p. 59.

Elizabeth David,
A Book of Mediterranean Food

The Body in Question
, p. 24.

Fergus Henderson,
Nose to Tail Eating
(London, 1999), p. 62.

2 The Offal Tradition

tracks offal exports to China, including Hong Kong, in 2001 as being
59 million worth in red meat offal;
135 million in poultry paws (which are the feet minus the spurs); and
41 million in poultry offal, these figures mounting steadily to 2011. Since 2008, China has even rivalled exports to Mexico, and in 2010 32 per cent of all
pork variety meats were exported to China. Most liver exports still go to Russia. (Global Trade Information Service, 2011).

Marco Polo, and Henry Yule, trans. and ed.,
The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian: Concerning the Kingdoms and the Marvels
of the East, Book 2, p
. 40.

Gillian Kendall,
Mr Ding’s Chicken Feet
, 2006), p. 116.

Fuchsia Dunlop,
Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China
(London, 2008), p. 58.

Shizuo Tsuji and M.F.K. Fisher,
Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art
(1998), p. 259.

Penny Van Esterik,
Food Culture in Southeast Asia
(London, 2008), p. 25.

The food writer Tom Parker-Bowles, travelling in Laos on the hunt for foods he found challenging, found that the smell of what he was eating was a significant factor.

Khammaan Khonkhai, trans. Gehan Wijeyewardene,
The Teachers of Mad Dog Swamp
[1978] (Chiang Mai, 1992).

Maxime Rodinson et al.,
Medieval Arab Cookery
, trans. Charles Perry (Totnes, 2001), p. 373.

Anissa Helou,
The Fifth Quarter: An Offal Cookbook
(London, 2004), p. 8; Anissa Helou, email to author (14 April 2011).

Nevin Halicí (1989) cited in Alan Davidson,
The Oxford Companion to Food
(Oxford, 1999), p. 808.

Tess Mallos,
The Complete Middle East Cookbook
(London, 1995), p. 105.

Abdel-Moneim Said, ‘Wasting Ramadan’ in
, 963 (3–9 September 2009), cites government figures showing the tendency in Egypt for even the poor to overspend on food during Ramadan, by as much as 50–100 per cent of their usual food outlay.

Arto der Haroutunian,
North African Cookery
(London, 2009), p. 183.

Sofia Larrinúa-Craxton,
The Mexican Mama’s Kitchen
(London, 2005).

Elisabeth Luard,
The Latin American Kitchen
(London, 2002).

3 The West

Richard J. Hooker,
Food and Drink in America
, 1981), p. 56.

Hiram Chittenden,
The American Fur Trade of the Far West
, 1986), vol.
, p. 805.

Food and Drink in America
, p. 183.

The first American Testicle Festival took place in Montana in 1982. Originally 300 took part, but when 15,000 attended in 2010 it became something of a tourist-fest – akin to haggis festivals in Scotland and French
andouillette fêtes

Clare Ansberry, ‘Cue the Music! Liver Lovers Shiver at the Dish’s Decline,’
Wall Street Journal
, 14 April 2011.

Sally Fallon, ‘Australian Aborigines: Living Off the Fat of the Land’,
Nourished Magazine
(December 2008), suggests an alternative possibility: that offal might have been eaten first simply because it went off first.

The dentist-nutritionist Western Price’s ethnographic travels in the 1930s support the idea that Aborigines recognized their need for fat-rich variety meat.

Sarah Josepha Hale,
The Ladies’ New Book of Cookery
(1852), p. 14.

The Pall Mall Gazette
, cited in Kenneth James,
Escoffier: The King of Chefs
(London, 2006), p. 57.

Waverley Root,
The Food of France
(London, 1983).

Alan Davidson,
The Oxford Companion to Food
(Oxford, 1999), p. 261.

John Cooper,
Eat and Be Satisfied: A Social History of Jewish Food (Lanham
, 1993), p. 422.

Gil Marks,
The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food
, 2010), p. 601.

Eat and Be Satisfied
, p. 192.

Michèle Brown,
Eating Like a King
(London, 2006).

William Cobbett,
Rural Rides
(London, 1830), entry for Burghclere, Hampshire, Monday, 2 October 1826.

William Cobbett, ‘Not by Bullets and Bayonets’,
Cobbett’s Writings on the Irish Question
(London, 1795–1835).

Sarah Winman, ‘A Lesson in Tripe’,
Spitalfields Life
March 2011.

Mrs Beeton,
Everyday Cookery
(London, 1861), p. 178.

Marguerite Patten,
Post War Kitchen
(London, 1998).

Marco Polo, and Henry Yule, trans. and ed.,
The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian: Concerning the Kingdoms and the Marvels of the East
(Cambridge, 1999), p. 231.

BOOK: Offal: A Global History
6.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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