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Nose to Tail in Practice


liuzhou

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This one may get me into trouble, but the name of this offal dish is not awful. It is simply an unfortunate homonym and the meaning we want is older than the offensive meaning. Such is the confusion that Facebook took offence and disabled the accounts of users in the UK who were innocently referring to the dish. Their accounts were later restored. American tourists have been prosecuted for criminal damage after taking offence at signs advertising the dish and tearing them down.

 

19483338899_8a5f6542c7_k.thumb.jpg.a417b0a98972af11fc2d222e10ac2998.jpg

Image by duncan cumming, licensed  under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

These are a type of meatball made in central England (the Midlands) and Wales. The word first appeared in print with this meaning in 1851 (see quotation below). The homophobic slur did not appear until 1914 and then in the USA.

 

Quote

1851 Mayhew Lond. Labour II. 227 He‥made his supper‥on ‘fagots’. This preparation‥is a sort of cake, roll or ball‥made of chopped liver and lungs, mixed with gravy, and wrapped in pieces of pig's caul.

 

Faggots-and-gravy.thumb.jpg.012b28877a0f8a96f7ce8cad7786b03a.jpg

Faggots and gravy with mash and peas

Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

 

 

Faggots (or less often, fagots, the original French spelling) are meatballs traditionally made from belly pork mixed with the pig’s liver, lights, spleen, and heart wrapped in pig’s caul, a fatty net-like membrane from around the animal’s intestines (ask your friendly local butcher or, at a pinch, substitute bacon), then traditionally baked. The caul melts away, but leaves flavour behind. They are usually served with mashed potatoes, peas and onion gravy.

 

Although they have been around for longer, faggots became popular during World War One during food shortages. They have been out of fashion for a long time, but are now making a comeback with independent butchers and supermarkets selling them and adventurous restaurant chefs serving them. They are also often made at home.

 

Here is a video showing a traditional recipe.

 

 

Today, it is normal to see faggots only made using the liver as offal. Boo! Hiss! Here, reluctantly, I post a liver only recipe from the BBC. Shame on them.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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16 minutes ago, pastameshugana said:

 I must confess, every time I click on this topic I brace myself for what I might see

 

I did warn you in the first post!

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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19 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I know some people here have sampled head-cheese🇺🇸 or brawn / souse🇬🇧 because it featured a lot in the eG Cook-Off #89: Pâtés and Terrines and the Do your food preferences make you an outcast in your own family or ethnic group? topics. Traditional scrapple🇺🇸 is much the same, but today is often made without the offal.

If you need more information on this delicacy, see here.

 

This is mainly meat from the head of beef or pork animals, but can also contain heart and ears. It does also contain a lot of collagen which makes the jelly the meat is suspended in. Sometimes the feet are added to raise the collagen levels. Versions of this treat are made all over the world. Here in China, it’s not so common but exists as 头肉香肠 (tóu ròu xiāng cháng), always from pork.

 

But what about other food animals?

 

2038367154_malarabbithead.thumb.jpg.5181caba8f1750ba738e454321277768.jpg

Mala Rabbit Head - 麻辣兔头

 

Well, in Sichuan, especially in the capital Chengdu, China the beer food of choice is 麻辣兔头 (má là tù tóu), hot and numbing rabbit head. This is a braised rabbit head with all the key Sichuan flavourings: chilli and Sichuan peppercorn in particular. Something to munch on while drinking or post-session on the way home. There is a recipe for Sichuan mala head here and more information on the culture of rabbit head consumption here.

 

I can find braised rabbit heads here, too (and often do). They can be found on roadside snack purveyor’s carts, the Chinese version of food trucks. However, Sichuan consumes something like 90% of all rabbit heads in China.


My grandmother always made head cheese, or “souse meat” when we killed hogs. I always refrained from eating it.

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Celebrate the bone
 

 - Fergus Henderson

 

1856984913_Marrowbones.thumb.jpg.152891fe1daf57bf4d097a53cbadc214.jpg

 

The body, human or otherwise, is generally well evolved. We have skin to hold all our bits in and a structure to make sure all the bits stay in roughly the right place, hung as they are on a support mechanism which we call the bones or, en masse, the skeleton.

 

Bones have been used as a food source for millennia. Archaeological evidence indicates that bones were consumed prehistorically. In the last few years, thanks to a Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, known in the food fad family as Dr. Kellyann, the “wellness” scam industry has lain claim to this ancient heritage with every keto and paleo nut proclaiming the benefits of “bone broth”.

 

Now, probably like you, I make stocks from bones – provided they have some meat on them. That’s where the flavour is. Bare bones are “a composite of collagen and the hard mineral calcium phosphate”. Not a lot of flavour in there. But the “health” freaks claim all sorts of benefits from consuming bone broth.

 

Maybe I’ve got this wrong, but the keto diet is meant to be relatively low-protein, no? Yet collagen is a protein. The paleo pranksters are correct in that cavemen ate bones. However, I’m not convinced that emulating cavemen’s culinary choice is the way forward. They had little choice.

 

Much of what I have already mentioned in this topic is all or partly about collagen, usually in animal parts those people wouldn’t eat.

 

Now that same doctor has a successful business in America, selling powdered stock (bouillon powder, really) to the gullible. But you’ll be delighted to know it is available in chocolate or vanilla flavours.

 

2069612177_chocbonebrothpowder.thumb.jpg.fb20dbf5a9674e7f22efdb4224d8491f.jpg

 

The internet is full of contradictory articles stating both that bone broth will save your life and will probably kill you. One joker, claiming to be a medic even goes so far as to suggest that the popular Japanese dish とんかつ, tonkatsu translates into English as ‘pork bone broth’. I trust him! To be wrong. It’s a pork cutlet.

 

Which brings me to what’s inside, but not part of the bones as such. The marrow. Beef, veal and pork marrow are the most usual, but all animal bones, including ours contain it. This is where our blood cells are manufactured. They come in handy.

 

Following the rise of Fergus Henderson and his wonderful, internationally famous London restaurant, St John twenty years ago, roasted bone marrow with parsley salad has become a classic, unfortunately raising the price of bones generally. Mr Henderson uses veal bones as described by the man himself, here.

 

Quote

What attracts Henderson to serving roasted marrow bones is the physicality of it, the gnawing, the sucking, and the chewing of perfectly cooked bones.

 

I’ll buy that! Oh. I have done.

 

962897883_marrowbone.thumb.jpg.aaf80fca0b09bbc5d4a723058bda3495.jpg

 

Bone marrow (and gnawing bones in general) is popular here in the land of the rice eaters, too. Known as 髓骨 (suǐ gǔ), marrowbones are sucked and chewed here with equal relish.

 

I usually eat 骨髓 (gǔ suǐ), bone marrow in 哈尔滨饺子王 (hā ěr bīn jiǎo zi wáng), "Harbin Jiaozi King" restaurant where they are served with a side of plastic gloves, but no parsley salad. They are, you won’t be surprised to learn pork bones.

 

410814147_marrowbone3.thumb.jpg.f0ba040ee33cf2f26dd37dc526520ec9.jpg

 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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19 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Maybe I’ve got this wrong, but the keto diet is meant to be relatively low-protein, no?


Keto is meant to be relatively low carb, in order to induce ketosis (the use of keto bodies converted from fat). Therefore it is high in fat and relatively high protein. 

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5 minutes ago, Duvel said:


Keto is meant to be relatively low carb, in order to induce ketosis (the use of keto bodies converted from fat). Therefore it is high in fat and relatively high protein. 

 

Yes, I know it's high fat and low carb, but most of the sources I looked at say it is at best "adequate" in protein, which is why I said "relatively".

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
Mark Twain

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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12 hours ago, Duvel said:


Keto is meant to be relatively low carb, in order to induce ketosis (the use of keto bodies converted from fat). Therefore it is high in fat and relatively high protein. 

What's the difference between Keto and Atkins?

Edited by KennethT (log)
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2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

Yes, I know it's high fat and low carb, but most of the sources I looked at say it is at best "adequate" in protein, which is why I said "relatively".


Si tacuisses …

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14 hours ago, KennethT said:

What's the difference between Keto and Atkins?


“Keto” is an umbrella term for all ketogenic diets, meaning those where the body primarily breaks down fats into so-called keto bodies, which can be detected in your bloodstream, in your breath or in your urine (there are neat little testing strips, so you can see if you are “ketogenic”). I order for this to happen you need to restrict carbohydrates significantly.

 

The Atkins diet starts like this, restricting carbohydrates severely (<20 g/day), while fat and protein can be consumed ad libitum. This phase of the diet is called „induction“ and leads to a ketogenic state of your metabolism. Later, carbohydrates are stepwise reintroduced, leading at ine point to a mixed metabolism, so this part of the diet („maintenance“) can’t be called „ketogenic“ or „keto“ anymore.

 

As fat is pretty much always accompanied with protein (unless you intend to drink/snort/… oils or animal fat directly), all ketogenic diets lead to an increased protein intake, which makes them less suitable for people with kidney issues (who can’t take the nitrogen load). Regardless what some of the different diet flavors prescribe, a diet of 70+% fat in the absence of significant dietary fibre (that is usually accompanying carbohydrates) is not workable from a gastrointestinal point of view. Don’t ask me 🙄

Edited by Duvel (log)
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4 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

1856984913_Marrowbones.thumb.jpg.152891fe1daf57bf4d097a53cbadc214.jpg

 

The body, human or otherwise, is generally well evolved. We have skin to hold all our bits in and a structure to make sure all the bits stay in roughly the right place, hung as they are on a support mechanism which we call the bones or, en masse, the skeleton.

 

Bones have been used as a food source for millennia. Archaeological evidence indicates that bones were consumed prehistorically. In the last few years, thanks to a Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, known in the food fad family as Dr. Kellyann, the “wellness” scam industry has lain claim to this ancient heritage with every keto and paleo nut proclaiming the benefits of “bone broth”.

 

Now, probably like you, I make stocks from bones – provided they have some meat on them. That’s where the flavour is. Bare bones are “a composite of collagen and the hard mineral calcium phosphate”. Not a lot of flavour in there. But the “health” freaks claim all sorts of benefits from consuming bone broth.

 

Maybe I’ve got this wrong, but the keto diet is meant to be relatively low-protein, no? Yet collagen is a protein. The paleo pranksters are correct in that cavemen ate bones. However, I’m not convinced that emulating cavemen’s culinary choice is the way forward. They had little choice.

 

Much of what I have already mentioned in this topic is all or partly about collagen, usually in animal parts those people wouldn’t eat.

Now that same doctor has a successful business in America, selling powdered stock (bouillon powder, really) to the gullible. But you’ll be delighted to know it is available in chocolate or vanilla flavours.

 

2069612177_chocbonebrothpowder.thumb.jpg.fb20dbf5a9674e7f22efdb4224d8491f.jpg

 

The internet is full of contradictory articles stating both that bone broth will save your like and will probably kill you. One joker, claiming to be a medic even goes so far as to suggest that the popular Japanese dish とんかつ, tonkatsu translates into English as ‘pork bone broth’. I trust him! To be wrong. It’s a pork cutlet.

 

Which brings me to what’s inside, but not part of the bones as such. The marrow. Beef, veal and pork marrow are the most usual, but all animal bones, including ours contain it. This is where our blood cells are manufactured. They come in handy.

 

Following the rise of Fergus Henderson and his wonderful, internationally famous London restaurant, St John twenty years ago, roasted bone marrow with parsley salad has become a classic, unfortunately raising the price of bones generally. Mr Henderson uses veal bones as described by the man himself, here.

 

 

I’ll buy that! Oh. I have done.

 

962897883_marrowbone.thumb.jpg.aaf80fca0b09bbc5d4a723058bda3495.jpg

 

Bone marrow (and gnawing bones in general) is popular here in the land of the rice eaters, too. Known as 髓骨 (suǐ gǔ), marrowbones are sucked and chewed here with equal relish.

 

I usually eat 骨髓 (gǔ suǐ), bone marrow in 哈尔滨饺子王 (hā ěr bīn jiǎo zi wáng), "Harbin Jiaozi King" restaurant where they are served with a side of plastic gloves, but no parsley salad. They are, you won’t be surprised to learn pork bones.

 

410814147_marrowbone3.thumb.jpg.f0ba040ee33cf2f26dd37dc526520ec9.jpg

 

 

One more rabbit hole for me! My mother, who was, to put it mildly, not much of a cook, did have a thing for bone marrow. The circumstances under which she would actually have bone marrow at home are murky, but once in a while she would share. We're talking beef bone marrow. I have no idea if she roasted the bones or if she had a few marrow bones in some soup that she scraped out. Anyway, her preferred treat was hot bone marrow spread on fresh rye bread, lightly salted. Extremely delicious. 

 

After a brief search I discover that the Germans are famous for bone marrow dumplings. These would be dumplings that are more like matzo balls in my mind. You might mix challah or soft bread with briefly sautéed bone marrow, form it into dumplings, boil them, then pour chicken soup or beef broth over them. Sounds. yummy.

 

But now, @liuzhou, I'm wondering if the Chinese ever make soup dumplings or noodle dumplings stuffed with some bone marrow mix?   Do  they ever? From what you say it would be pork marrow. I would do it with beef marrow, which I prefer. I hardly ever eat beef anymore, but I will say this would tempt me. I can easily imagine wontons stuffed with a dab of marrow, vi with some version of  vinegary hot chile sauce.

 

@Duvel don't hesitate to weigh in on MARKKLÖSSCHENSUPPE!

Edited by Katie Meadow (log)
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17 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

I'm wondering if the Chinese ever make soup dumplings or noodle dumplings stuffed with some bone marrow mix?

 

 

It's not something I've come across but sounds to me like a good idea.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
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Thwere was always discussion as to who got the marrow filled beef bone from the Sunday boiled beef meal. I did not raise my hand. Nor did I want anything to do with that marrow bone circle in ham "steak" slices. I was surprised when a friend took me shopping a couple months ago and he picked up a pack of the cross cut beef marrow bones. I did not notice the price. He'd gotten them for his beloved dogs.  I asked the buitcher at mainstream market if they boned out the chicken themselves - no. At big Chinese market I could always get bags of beef and pork bones as well as meat removed chicken carcasses for cheap. Can't get there now unfortunately.

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Now this I’ll happily admit to never having eaten, though I may soon. I was looking through the “menu” on my Chinese online food shopping site (it does both home delivery prepared meals and general groceries and raw ingredients) and noticed something I’ve not seen before.

 

挡风肉 (dǎng fēng ròu) is the pig’s diaphragm and is also apparently valued in Korean cuisine where it is known as 갈매기살 (galmaeggi sal). It is said to have the same shape, if not taste, as pork tenderloin. There is next to no information on the internet (other than to clean it well, but I do that with all offal) and I could find no recipes. Whether other animal’s diaphragms are eaten, I have no idea.

 

41417412_PigsDiaphragm.thumb.jpg.cccb50059e496ea74f5d703700f083f6.jpg

Pig's Diaphragm

 

Expect a recipe here in the (maybe distant) future. I'll buy some tomorrow and experiment first.

 

Edited by liuzhou
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Samuel_Pepys.thumb.jpg.f189d7358418a6edfe007c635374f4bb.jpg

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) - Public Domain

 

One of my favourite reads is Samuel Pepys’ Diaries. The famous chronicler of the Great Plague and a little later the Great Fire of London also recorded all sorts of trivia including salacious gossip about the King’s mistresses but also his own meals, for which he had a great appetite.

 

On the 11th of October 1660, he recorded that

 

Quote

Mr. Creed and I to the Leg in King Street, where he and I, and my Will had a good udder to dinner.

 

udder.jpg.a1fb851087b10fff8161aabdf0783f0b.jpg

 

He doesn’t record which animal’s mammary glands he consumed, but probably a cow’s. That said, pigs’ udders were also eaten.

 

Alan Davidson points out in the 2nd edition of The Oxford Companion to Food, edited by Tom Jaine, that udder is “one of the foods which is doing a slow disappearing act” before sensibly adding “at least in western countries.”

 

For some reason, this has gone right out of fashion, although a few versions appear in some western cuisines, especially French, when it's known as pis de vaches. Known as ‘elder’ is some parts of the UK, udder was often treated as tripe and bought from a tripe butcher.

 

To prepare an udder, it is necessary to first remove all hair then remove every trace of milk lest the meat is tainted by stale or sour milk. This is done by soaking the udder in water for up to four hours. It then needs to be simmered in salted water until tender, a process which can take up to six hours. Even then it can be breaded and fried. Pepys probably paid a good sum for all this preparation time.

 

Despite its lack of popularity today in the west, it is still occasionally consumed in Asia. I’ve never cooked it, but have eaten it once in a restaurant it in China where it is known as 乳房 (rǔ fáng) and had been smoked. I’ve also seen it on a menu in Vietnam, where it is known as . Both beef and pork udders are sold in the markets. However, it is not a mainstream protein, by any means.

It is said by Davidson that it “smells faintly of tongue and has something of the same softness, but is chewier”. I recall the texture and can agree, but don’t remember any such aroma.

 

I'd rather have the  tongue.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Etymologically uncertain, other than ‘sweetbread’ being a compound of 'sweet' and 'bread', the term has been in use in English since the 16th century. There is a suggestion that it may be that ’sweet’ is referring to a taste less robust than muscle meat and that ‘bread’ is a figurative use, meaning ‘food’. I don’t entirely buy that theory. On French menus, they are ris de veau (veal) or ris d’agneau and are highly valued.

 

sweetbreads.thumb.jpg.9068a8bab3323c12011077d9d5605994.jpg

Image: https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/424407822

 

To add to the confusion, the name refers to two distinct parts of the animal: the thymus gland and the pancreas. Then just as you are beginning to accept that, the thymus is further subdivided into throat and heart thymus, two parts of the same gland. The heart thymus is the most sought after.

 

Soft, rich and creamy, the sweet breads are less offal-y than other parts. Usually fried, they are usually sourced from calves or lambs, but beef and pig sweetbreads are also sold, but less desirable.

 

Like other offal, they should be well cleaned and soaked for several hours to remove any blood, They are then simmered until tender then sliced and trimmed of any connective tissues etc. They are often sold pre-soaked. Ask your friendly butcher. Here is a recipe from Michelin starred Sean Hill.

 

Surprisingly, China doesn’t eat these. My English - Chinese food dictionary dismisses 胸腺 (xiōng xiàn), thymus as being ‘regarded as a delicacy in the West’ and ignores pancreas entirely. Their loss.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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3 minutes ago, KennethT said:

I don't even want to know what this would cost....

 

I know, but if you insist, I won't tell you. Anyway, you are safe. It's sold out.

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5 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

A note on lungs in an opinion piece in the NYT: Let Us Eat Lungs (gift link)

It is too bad that there is a slip up in the article suggesting that the ban  proposed in 1969 was based on studies in 1970! 
 

"When the Department of Agriculture proposed the rule in 1969, it purported to protect people from eating things like dust, flower pollen and fungal spores that animals (including humans) inhale.

The rule was based on studies conducted around 1970..."

That threw me off,  

 

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

It is too bad that there is a slip up in the article suggesting that the ban  proposed in 1969 was based on studies in 1970! 
 

"When the Department of Agriculture proposed the rule in 1969, it purported to protect people from eating things like dust, flower pollen and fungal spores that animals (including humans) inhale.

The rule was based on studies conducted around 1970..."

That threw me off,  

 

I think this is more an issue of writing than an actual slip up. The rule was proposed in 1969, but not implemented until 1971, which the author mentions in the first paragraph. It would have been much clearer had he kept things in sequence!

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