Offal’s not Awful

Ask the average person if they eat meat and the answer will be yes. Ask them if they eat offal and they will look at you in disgust. I don’t get it, why do people find the idea of eating offal so awful?

I was pondering this as I was frying up some chicken livers for dinner tonight, I had a real craving for their rich velvety texture, maybe I’m low in iron or just needing some comfort food.

When I was a kid we ate offal a lot, it wasn’t weird, it was just food, really tasty food. I suspect that sometimes we ate offal because it was a cheap option, my chicken liver dinner tonight cost me a grand sum of $2.50 and it fed 3 of us, lamb chops would have set me back ten times that. But mostly we ate offal as a special treat, you see my family is Argentinian, and Argentinians are renowned for their love of meat, specifically beef. As much as we like our more traditional cuts like steaks and asado (ribs), we aren’t wasteful and because there is actually less to go around, offal is quite the delicacy.

Before nose to tail eating was a trendy thing mum was dishing up tripe (ok, not my favourite) and making us tongue sandwiches (absolutely delicious)!
Because most of us can afford more expensive cuts of meat these days, it’s getting harder to find offal meat at your regular suburban butcher, if mum needs something special she usually has to have it ordered in.

I’m no vegetarian, but I sort of figure that if you are eating an animal you should respect it enough to eat it all, none of this super fussy “I only eat the white breast meat off the chicken” rubbish.

Now that the festive season is upon us I’m hoping that my Dad will be agreeable to having a traditional Asado with all the trimmings for Christmas. We don’t have turkey and ham in my family, it’s all about roasted meat, chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage), Chinchulínes (barbecued small intestine) and mollejas (sweet breads). My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I’ve asked mum to teach me how to prepare some of my favourite offal dishes, it’s more involved than just cooking with regular meat but if I don’t learn how, those recipes will be lost and that’s a sad thing.

Will I blog about them? Maybe.
Will it turn you off? Hopefully not.
Will I enjoy peeling the skin off a cow tongue? Unlikely, but I’ll certainly enjoy eating it.

So how did my dish of sauteed chicken liver and onion go down with the kid? She didn’t like it, not because it was liver, but because it tasted like mushroom. Go figure.

Here are some amazingly tasty looking recipes that I’m going to try soon, you might enjoy them too.
I think the kid will like the tacos.

Offal recipes - tacos

From left to right:
Mollejas tacos (sweetbread tacos)
Beef Tacos de Lengua (tongue)
Calf’s liver with sweet and sour onions
Tongue Sandwich with Tarragon or Parsley Sauce

Do you eat offal? If not, why not?


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