Offal, in the form of animal innards or refuse bits, bounced back to the top of the food trend ladder. Woohoo! Go, North America. In many regions around the world, offal is neither novel nor a delicacy; it’s just a part of everyday cuisine. Or in American terms, it ain’t no thang but a chickenwang
I’m talking about places where offal is served loud and proudly. Where cooks are dedicated to prepare, and diners are unabashed to enjoy the animal’s most intimate regions. (Chicken butts grilled on a skewer in Taiwan, anyone?) Judging from the cult post, A Pig Called Wanda, I sense some readers hold the same sentiment.
On Sunday, I tried brunch for the first time at a “new” neighbourhood restaurant. My eyes twinkled when I saw beef tongue salad on the menu. When the salad arrived, I couldn’t recognize what it was. I expected a slab of tongue sliced on the bias atop a salad bed. Instead, there were several see-through-thin shavings of (what I am told) tongue on a mound of organic greens.
My disappointment came partially due to my high hopes for this establishment’s new casual, comfort food approach. The other part is I just want some tongue, damnit. Stop tip toeing around!
That was never the case when I visited Italy. In Venice, I had the best slab of liver and onions swimming on an oozing pool of polenta and olive oil. In Florence, I was on a quest to stuff my face with as much Trippa and Lampredotto as possible (piping hot cow tripe and stomach served out of street vendors’ carts). To this day, I still dream about it.
But for now, I leave you with these offally pretty photos of pig parts found throughout the San Lorenzo Market in Florence… for those that also get off on this type of stuff.
Don’t be shy.