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Verjuice

One Cook's Trash

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Last night, a friend and I were in my kitchen preparing dinner. She was dismantling a head of broccoli. Before I could emit a shriek of alarm, she had scraped the stems into the trash. When I told her that the sweet heart of the trimmed stem is my favorite part, she stared at me in disbelief.

Then, I remembered this (edited) post from Marlena Spieler's wonderful blog:

so i had to sadly not use the stems, i would have packed them all off in a doggie bag for myself if they had kept them when they were doing prep but they chucked em in the bin before i arrived in the morning!

funnily, i was speaking to a friend who does cooking tours/classes in paris and she said: of course we do not eat the stems! so maybe its not such a scandalous thing, more a geographical thing. but i mean, you're assisting someone and they want the artichoke stems! please. give her the damned stems! i'm thinking that she felt it would reflect badly on her.

but they're as good as the heart, the dear little things.

And it got me thinking.

When I'm driving and eating an apple or a pear, I usually just eat the whole thing, seeds and all. I also adore nibbling on the rinds of lemons and limes after they've been juiced. I love the salty, crispy skin on potatoes and, best of all, salmon. When I was a kid, my favorite food was the fatty trimming on a steak (though I was always told not to eat it).

I have a friend who crunches on chicken bones (yes, I've forced her to have her blood checked and she's fine). My heart breaks a little when I'm eating with friends and the salad bowl is whisked away with all the rich, potent dregs marinating away in their deep recesses. Don't even get me started on chicken skin and pan juices.

In this case, I'm thinking in terms of pleasure and not necessarily economy.

So, are there things you love to eat that others may consider fit only for the trash can?

ETA: Just remembered shrimp tails (particularly when it's shrimp tempura) and the irresistibly salty exoskeletons of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Delish.


Edited by Verjuice (log)

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One of my favourite things is the bone in canned salmon. I dig it out very carefully and down it goes. Just love it, but it totally freaks out many others.

I have never understood ditching the stems from broccoli unless they are truly woody. I peel and slice them and they go in with the florets.

I am positive there are other things that I love and are discarded by most people but my brain refuses to kick in.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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A few months ago, I made dinner for my friend whose parents were out of town. He doesn't know how to cook, and had been living on canned soup and Pocky for dinner for a week! I braised a few lamb shanks and served it with risotto. After dinner, we were cleaning up the kitchen and I was about to dump out the vegetables and braising liquid (vegetables were cooked to mush...I had braised the shanks for three hours!) He yelped when he saw me moving the pot to the garbage can.

"Are you THROWING that away?!!!" he said, wide-eyed.

I put the pot down and he proceeded to finish off the pot of vegetables, proclaiming them "the best vegetables I've ever had!" :wacko:

Then he said, "If you consider those vegetables trash, may my mouth be your garbage disposal." :laugh:

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I was about to dump out the vegetables and braising liquid (vegetables were cooked to mush...I had braised the shanks for three hours!) He yelped when he saw me moving the pot to the garbage can.

"Are you THROWING that away?!!!" he said, wide-eyed.

I put the pot down and he proceeded to finish off the pot of vegetables, proclaiming them "the best vegetables I've ever had!"  :wacko: 

Then he said, "If you consider those vegetables trash, may my mouth be your garbage disposal."  :laugh:

Its not an economic thing for me - I seem to spend a lot of money on food - but I hate throwing out flavour - I would have pureed the mushy veges in all that lovely liquid and used it as soup, or the basis for a soup.


Happy Feasting

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My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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.....So, are there things you love to eat that others may consider fit only for the trash can?

Yes! All of the above. I'm trying to think of some other examples, but they escape me right now. I eat everything, including like your friend, quite a bit of the chicken bones -- not all of them, but I do chew on them until there's not much left, and after that I start eye-ing how much meat and bone is left on the plates of others.


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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About the only thing I won't eat are fish bones (and Anna, I'm not talking about canned salmon bones!) and egg shells. My teen would consider me a freak of nature.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I've eaten (and like) potato skins, broccoli stems, skin, fat, etc. What I've never understood is people who insist the crusts be cut of their bread (PB&J with the crusts cut off - awww). WTF? That's hardly a sandwich. Would they also insist the crusts be cut off breads like boules, batards, or any number of other breads that have wonderful crusts to gnaw on?

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Pizza bones - those wonderful crusts from each slice of pizza. I could (and have!) spent hours dismantling them, eating the soft insides, gnawing on the chewy outside....and often I look around and people just pile them up and throw them out.

I don't even need any of those dipping sauces, I just want to savor the crusts.

And the skin from roast chicken or turkey - so many people I know remove and toss it! Oh, it's so wonderful, crispy and crackly (has to be eaten right away before it goes cold and gummy).

And pineapple cores. When Mom brought home a rare fresh pineapple, my sister and I would chew on the cores for a treat. Nicely sweet and LOTS of fiber!

And even a lot of the real trash of vegetable ends, celery leaves (I don't like them), mushroom stems, elderly carrots gets used - they all go into my bag of frozen garbage for stock. I think having a goodly amount of vegetable matter in with the chicken carcasses is one of the secrets for a rich and full flavored stock.

Marcia.


Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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The skin that forms on the top of the rice pudding when it bakes.

I still recall the shock on my mother's face when I pointed angrily at my sister and yelled "she ate my skin!!". Took mom a while to figure out what that was about.

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I think this is a great way to get people to finally start realizing that just because they don't like something, other people may enjoy it. For instance my sister is a very picky eater and it drives us all nuts in my family, but we stick to what is for dinner and if she doesn't want it then she must fend for herself.

The other great thing about things she hates, for instance the stems of brocolli, it is great to use the leftovers in a stock for a soup- nothing wrong with that folks!!! Adds great flavour to any stock be in chicken, or vegetable!!

Always good times at meal time in my house!!!

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When I'm driving and eating an apple or a pear, I usually just eat the whole thing, seeds and all.

Umm, so do you love the new higher standards of arsenic in water? You may get the same tangy zip from water as you do from your apple seeds...

Actually, it isn't arsenic, but a cyanide compound that is poisonous, so enjoy in moderation.


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Oh. Do not presume to touch the backs and organs of chickens. The penalty is high; I love them that much. I don't think my kids even know that chickens have backs, livers, hearts and gizzards.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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When I'm driving and eating an apple or a pear, I usually just eat the whole thing, seeds and all.

Umm, so do you love the new higher standards of arsenic in water? You may get the same tangy zip from water as you do from your apple seeds...

Actually, it isn't arsenic, but a cyanide compound that is poisonous, so enjoy in moderation.

Snopes has a good read about apple seeds. In short, apple seeds contain amygdalin which is hydrolized to hydrogen cyanide in the body. But unless the seeds are chewed or otherwise broken up, they'll pass through undigested. Article here states that there is a documented case of an adult dying from chewing and eating a cup of apple seeds.

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Slice bread crusts and lumpy rice are two things many of my friends can't stand but I absolutely love. When I was younger my sister and I had the weird fascination of eating the eyes of the fish called pomfret. Go figure!

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For me, the #1 thing would be heads. Fish heads, chicken heads, duck heads, goat heads. All good stuff.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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When I'm driving and eating an apple or a pear, I usually just eat the whole thing, seeds and all.

Umm, so do you love the new higher standards of arsenic in water? You may get the same tangy zip from water as you do from your apple seeds...

Actually, it isn't arsenic, but a cyanide compound that is poisonous, so enjoy in moderation.

I never chew on the seeds. I may be greedy but I also practice medicine :wink:.

I am now lamenting the fact that I have eaten neither an apple nor a pear in eighteen months. The ones we get out here are horrible.

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The "spent" vegetables, bones and bits n- pieces used to make stock are definitely *my * treat. I'll usually stand at the kitchen sink with a salt shaker and nosh away.

Really, bones of any kind have always appealed to me. I can suck on a steak bone for quite a while, especially if I have a little pool of Lea and Perrins and butter to dip it in.


Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

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Fish bones, I agree, I draw the line at most fish bones. But, fresh sardines, fried up whole, THOSE are some fine bones! I don't count here, though. In the realm of real food, (i.e. not packaged stuff, ala boxed meals, frozen meals, canned pasta or veggies)I'll eat practically anything. Well, no Spam. I'm sorry, I just CAN'T. The smell alone makes me ill.

edited? yup, broken keyboard spelling repairs.


Edited by Rebecca263 (log)

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i also eat pears and apples "completely."

i always thought it was common knowledge that to be ill (or die!) from apple or pear seeds you'd have to eat many more than you'd like to.

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Slice bread crusts and lumpy rice are two things many of my friends can't stand but I absolutely love. When I was younger my sister and I had the weird fascination of eating the eyes of the fish called pomfret. Go figure!

:biggrin: My little brother used to eat them too. For a time, my mom had no idea what was happening to the eyes! Turns out that he'd go into the kitchen, pick out the eye, and it disappears down his throat.


May

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I don't think my kids even know that chickens have backs, livers, hearts and gizzards.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I come from a line of "trash" eaters, so of course, I married one as well. Very little goes to waste in my family. I've even been known to bring home bones in a doggy bag so I can make stock.


Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

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I do need to get better at using vegetable leftovers, especially. I read something the other day about unused mushroom trimmings, and how one should toss them and some water in a saucepan, and the water can be added to vegetable stock as flavor. Sounds good to me!

We do, however, retrieve the carrots used to flavor chicken stock, and give them to the dog. He smells chicken, he thinks he's getting chicken, he's actually getting vegetables, and we're all happy.

By the way... our vet told us a few weeks ago that dogs shouldn't be given chicken fat, including gravy. I think he said it embolizes in the pancreas. But he thinks the chicken flavored carrots are just fine --very little fat in them.

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I was about to dump out the vegetables and braising liquid (vegetables were cooked to mush...I had braised the shanks for three hours!) He yelped when he saw me moving the pot to the garbage can...

I put the pot down and he proceeded to finish off the pot of vegetables, proclaiming them "the best vegetables I've ever had!"  :wacko:...

Its not an economic thing for me - I seem to spend a lot of money on food - but I hate throwing out flavour - I would have pureed the mushy veges in all that lovely liquid and used it as soup, or the basis for a soup.

One of the pleasures of making a vat of chicken stock is dining on the strained contents. Lately, I've been using a long-handled strainer to keep most of the bird and vegetable bits submerged. However, the carrots and layers of onion that rise to the top to become encrusted with fat are the best part, eaten with freshly ground pepper and Fleur de sel during the fishing process.

Feeling more civilized? Fill a nice big pasta bowl with choice bits, discarding what cannot be consumed immediately. Salt & pepper. Parsely or grated cheese if you must. Some olives. Good bread. Glass of wine. Wedge of cheese. Chocolate afterwards.

Save the rind. Wrap, freeze and add to soups or sauces.

* * *

Little hardened bits of any cheese hunkered down in the back of the second shelf can be grated over pasta, integrated in gratins, mac & cheese or bread pudding.

* * *

Spinach boiled instead of sauteed? Pour the liquor into a mug. Sniff. Ick? Pass it to me. Delicious.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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the core of lettuce, cabbage, radicchio - I don't mean the "hearts of ..." as seen in menu descriptions, rather the actual core. I sang their praises to the S.O. (who thought I was nuts for eating them) and he finally tried them. Now it's a fight to see who gets them. I'll never again go out of my way to convince him that something I love tastes good. What was I thinking?


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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