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Florence: Offally Pretty

I wrote this article for a food site with great content that I adore , Foodists.ca. There, I also posted the sequel, Offally Pretty 2: Lampredotto and Trippa Carts.

Florence: Offally Pretty

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

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What pretty face you have!

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.

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Cute and Curly

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!

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You’ll become trippa in my tummy

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.

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Folds and folds of yum

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.

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Piggies wave bye bye!

Don’t be shy.

COMMENTS: 12
  1. January 07, 2010 by Elizabeth

    hmmmm, I’ve never had the opportunity to try any of this stuff. I have had chicken hearts and my parents used to try to shove liver and onions down my throat, but I can’t stand the texture.
    I would love to try some other things though…but I have NEVER seen any of these things on a restaurant menu in Victoria. Maybe I’ve been visiting the wrong places all my life. Great photos Mel, as always!

  2. January 07, 2010 by Bonita

    Great post! I’m so glad that offal is starting to creep into North American menus, but agree that some places still try to mask what it really is. Embrace it for all it’s worth!

    It’s funny, my cousins and I joke about how nothing phases us when it comes to food because we’ve pretty much eaten it all (or seen it all at least) in our culture. =)

  3. January 07, 2010 by Simone (junglefrog)

    O dear… that looks…. hmmm, interesting? I have a love hate relationship with offal. Some stuff I really like, such as liver and tongue but you cannot make me happy with ears or tails… Too crunchy!
    I will have to write down to go to the san lorenzo market in Florence as we are going there this summer! Looks like a fabulous market!

  4. January 07, 2010 by Amy Blogs Chow

    I can’t get over how SEVERED everything looks.

  5. January 07, 2010 by Alta

    I say, bring on the offal! I too would be kinda disappointed to only find slivers of tongue on a salad. I love a properly prepared beef tongue. And liver and onions? Yum! I shop at Asian and Latin markets just to buy certain offal parts I can’t get elsewhere. Made chicken broth from chicken feet just the other day! I’m all about embracing the animal, nose to tail – if we must be carnivorous, why be wasteful?

  6. January 07, 2010 by Stan

    I used to find offal very disgusting until one day, I took a road trip to Edmonton, Alberta from Vancouver, BC with a family of my my dad’s friend.

    The head of the family and his friends are very traditional Chinese so offal is part of their diet…I had to eat offal during my stay. Since then I got hook to eating offal as I find that its more delicious than my thoughts were before then

    Currently I am not living in Canada and at times I really missed those offal dishes that got me hooked in the first place

  7. January 07, 2010 by Marc @ NoRecipes

    That was some offally good meat porn (I’m sorry I couldn’t resist). I can almost imagine that snout floating around in a slice of stained glass-like fromage de tête. Mmmmm…

  8. January 08, 2010 by Anna

    Wow.That’s pretty meaty, I like calves liver, chicken liver and chicken heart. But never tried anything else.

  9. January 09, 2010 by wasabi prime

    Ain’t no thang but a chicken wang, indeed! hahahaha! I will say, tripe is probably one of the prettiest things — the texture is beautiful. Makes me think of an exotic wild mushroom. I do like pig’s feet for stews and soups. As for tongue, it’s such a lovely cut of meat to enjoy. Beef tongue at the local taco trucks is such lunchtime treat — I could eat a ton of those in a single sitting!

  10. I LOVE the San Lorenzo market! I studied abroad in Florence and am having serious withdrawal. Everything, even the “nasty bits” are good there :) That’s bravery posting offal photos! Bravery!

  11. January 16, 2010 by Xai

    i love these stuff, well apart from growing up on chicken and pig intestines, pig ears, cow tongue and all that, it’s just really really good. i love these stuff just grilled and dipped in vinegar with chili and garlic. hmmm.

  12. July 04, 2011 by Eftychia

    In Cyprus we use all this to make “zalatina” which is a gourmet dish!!

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