Offal:  The innards and extremities of animals, also called variety meats, offer an enticing range of flavors, textures, and preparations that exceed in number and satisfaction those that can be achieved with standard muscle cuts.  What was once common in an agrarian society as a matter of practicality is considerably less so today, except, ironically, at high end restaurants. But as farmers’ and specialty markets proliferate and more restaurants cook with them, innards and extremities are increasingly available.  Offal can be divided into four overlapping categories: tender or tough (kidney, for example, requiring quick cooking, and tongue or tail, requiring low and slow cooking to tenderize them), and red or white (liver or heart, for instance, and sweetbreads or brains).  Other categories of offal include, ears, feet, intestine, cheeks, head, spleen, stomach, coxcomb, and testicles.  They tend to be especially high in cholesterol, iron and vitamins.  (The most comprehensive and best book devoted to cooking offal comes from the Time-Life The Good Cook/Recipes and Techniques series, Variety Meats, 1982, by Richard Olney.)


                                                                                            Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell

This entry from my opinionated glossary of cooks’ terms is in honor of Cosentino and the dinner he’s doing Tuesday night.  As I’ve said before, the ability to cook innards well is a true mark of an excellent chef.  I think it was Bocuse who said, "A true chef knows how to clean a frog, make a cheese and cure a ham."  I would add, "And do a dessert course using spleen," but that’s pushing it.  I wish more home cooks would learn how to work with offal—that, again, would be good for us, the animals and agriculture.  Also it reminds us not to waste the animal lives we take for our sustenance.  Hear what Chris has to say on the subject in this mediabistro video and this one on Chow ("what color Styrofoam does this one come in, dear?").  I wish the Olney book were available—I got one off ebay and gave it as a gift, and I don’t think this one will include the variety meats (though The French Menu Cookbook is an excellent introduction to Olney—worth it for his elegant words on veal stock!).  It’s time we had a contemporary book on offal cookery.


61 Wonderful responses to “Elements of Cooking: Offal”

  • bob mcgee

    It’s inspiring to look at the Incanto website and see that Chris’s menu is more than just an innard-fest. I know he definitely is a bit of a crusader for this particular cause, but it’s also obvious that this is in no way a crutch. Having eaten just about everything inside of most of your basic barnyard fare, it’s good to know that I would certainly not out of options for other option with his menu

  • luis

    Cosentino is so far behind what passes for normal in our society that he is outfront leading the pack.

  • bob mcgee

    its good to know that I would certainly not be out of options with his menu….yeah, that’s it!

  • one swell foop

    I’m totally willing to send Chris $35 dollars or so in exchange for him emailing me an electronic copy of his book. That’s likely what his book would cost me in a store. Of course I’d like pictures along with it, but this way he could bypass all the costs associated with actually printing thing thing, and the money would go directly to him. I want to know, and I don’t want an idiot publisher getting in the way of me knowing!

  • Doodad

    Michael, I nothing but respect for you and Tony and the world of new things both of you have presented to me. Especially you, since I own or have pawed all of your books.

    But, I find no love or desire for the filters and processors. Sorry. Probably a personal shortcoming borne from some childhood trauma, but I can’t do it.

  • Shannon

    When I think of the word ‘offal’, I immediately picture the word ‘awful’. I pronounce those the same with my Northeastern accent.

    This home cook will pass making those innards and outards unless someone gives me an awesome cookbook with out-of-this-world recipes in it.

  • Paul DeLuca

    The more I see of Cosentino, the more I’m impressed by him. It was funny to hear him talk about pickled pigs feet. My parents used to make them (in Pennsylvania!) and they were good! The only offal we had with any regularity was liver, but that’s about as far as it went. It’s nice to see offal on the menu at good restaurants (I recently had sweetbreads at Lola and they were fantastic!), but as a home cook, I’d like to be well-versed in these kinds of foods for my own enjoyment and so I can help my kids become open-minded about the food they eat.

  • Scotty


    I have had great success finding volumes of “The Good Cook”, including “Variety Meats” at used bookstores. I have acquired almost a complete set, and I recommend them all. Heck, before Charcuterie, “Terrines, Pates and Galantines” was my bible!

  • Adrienne

    Shannon brings up the question I’ve always wanted an answer to, from someone who’d know — is it pronounced “O-fal” or “Ah-fal?” Enquiring minds and all that.

    As for eating of the offal, eh. My little Italian grandmother put all sorts of things in the sausage. Questions weren’t asked. But, dang, it was good.

  • Bob delGrosso

    Doesn’t it suck that the USDA requires that kidneys and other organs and glands be slashed and inspected? What’s worse, is that he guys doing the slashing always seem to cut in the most aesthetically offensive way. To wit, those pork kidneys.

  • Bill Burge

    At An American Place in St. Louis, Executive Chef Joshua Galliano is currently running his tasting menu as offal exclusively including, duck testicles (delicious), tongue, cockscomb, and an amazing tripe stew of tripe, wilted greens (like collards) and Tasso all topped with herbed bread crumbs.

    I’ll post the menus when I get a chance, but he’s the first person in St. Louis to really go for the offal although you do see a few things on the occasional menu.

  • Rory Berger

    “It’s time we had a contemporary book on offal cookery.”

    I completely agree. Now go write it please 🙂

  • ntsc

    Yes go write it.

    I’ve both Time Life food series and will have to go look at Variety Meats more carefully. I will happily eat liver, and have tired other offal. Didn’t know that the tail was offal, and I love ox-tail. I will eat sweetbreads, and have tried brains, although I couldn’t finish them. And I use intestines just about every time I open your book Charcuterie.

  • ntsc

    Yes go write it.

    I’ve both Time Life food series and will have to go look at Variety Meats more carefully. I will happily eat liver, and have tired other offal. Didn’t know that the tail was offal, and I love ox-tail. I will eat sweetbreads, and have tried brains, although I couldn’t finish them. And I use intestines just about every time I open your book Charcuterie.

  • eat4fun

    Variety meats are delicious. The only thing I don’t like is chitterlings. People just don’t clean them properly and it’s too much work for me to do at home.

    Is there a trick to cooking kidneys where the house doesn’t smell like pee?

    Also, is it true that headcheese is “banned” due to mad cow? I’ve been searching the local markets and have not found any.


  • beaniegrrl


    I have to agree. I think Offal would be more popular if we could call it something else.

    On a aeparate note, I might have to go to the Cosentino dinner just to get the button. 😉

  • Joe Niedbala

    I have to smile at this entry coming on the heels of quite a few recent variety/offal meat discoveries. Not the least of these was the “Variety Meats” chapter in my girlfriend’s copy of Louis Pullig De Gouy’s The Gold Cookbook. I only got to give it a quick scan, but I saw much that warranted better scrutiny. Combine this with a newly discovered quality source of trotters, chit’lin’s and many other sought after cuts and I am in offal experimentation heaven these days!

    Bravo once again, Mr. Ruhlman!

  • Hank

    Offal is a much-maligned item, and is something I too have been eating and writing about recently. I’d agree that Fergus Henderson’s and Hugh Fearnley’s books are good on offal cookery, but Michael is right about there not being a subject-specific book. Fergus’ stuff is interesting, but he’s English – and lots of other cultures have excellent uses of offal. Menudo, anyone?

    And Eat4fun, as for the kidney & pee issue, soak them bad boys either in milk or water with a little vinegar and salt for a day or so. Two days if you’re dealing with antelope kidneys…don’t ask…

  • Nick N

    Though in my short time living I have not tried nearly all of that offal that you describe, I have loved what I have eaten (granted it’s prepared well). I agree with many of the other comments saying that if there was a modern cookbook to reference, I would be much more motivated to get to the local butcher shop and load up.

  • Mark

    As much as I’m impressed by Cosentino and his skill at turning those usually discarded parts into remarkable food, I have no desire to try any of it.

    Perhaps it’s a flaw in me, but there it is.

    And I’ll probably ruffle some feathers with this comment, but I believe that it can be argued that this kind of cooking is getting attention only because it’s unusual. It’s the not the quality of food drawing folks in (though, the food’s probably quite good), it’s the gimmick factor. Foodies (sic) are an extremely trendy lot.



  • Ed

    Mark, offal cookery is not a “gimmick.” It may be unusual in mainstream US chain restaurants, but the majority of food cultures in the world do not think it is ok to waste the internal organs of an animal killed for its flesh.

    In all likely hood, you do eat some of these organs if you eat sausages at all, particularly if the casing is natural.

    Consentino is clearly committed to the gestalt of head to toe cookery, and it is really the only possible ethical position for meat eaters to have. Organs are organized tissues, guess what? Muscle is an organ. The recent US / Western aversion to offal is the result of the perception of entitlement on the part of the consumer. If there is no appeal in this food for you, I ask you to consider your reasons. If it amounts to, “I’m not going to eat THAT!” You are part of the problem my friend.

  • luis

    2008 is the year for stir frying I think. There are thousands of recipes on stir frying. I can go the whole year stir frying and never duplicate a single dish… I don’t think stir frying is the epitome of good vs bad food but with the right sides like brown rice done right and brown pasta and palenta etc…tofu for one is a pure protein. Stir frying, soups, braisins..salads…Man this is a great time to be alive.
    My grandma growing up in Spain had to walk miles in the snow as a little child to go to school. Yes, she had to watch out for wolves… and she had what it took to survive in that harsh environment. The farm she was raised in still exists and is still in the Spaniard side of the fam. Some damm place named Galicia? Lots of her stews, soups and dishes used some measure of that ofal Cosentino is so taken with. The point if the re is any point to this rant is simple. Offal dishes would do well in very cold inclement climates. I think.

  • Sarah

    Mark: I wholeheartedly agree….2006 was the year for molecular gastronomy, 2007 was the year for offal cookery, and 2008, if Luis has his way will be the year for stir-fry(?)

    Hahaha…this offal shit has me laughing all the damn day. The off cuts of meat and organs were a once or twice a year occurrence for those whose sustenance came from the annual slaughter of single animal that would provide enough meat for the entire family. Watch you guys as the lively and charming Chef Cosentino turns into the drooling and unintelligible Chef Henderson over the course of a few offal filled years. There is a reason young Fergus resembles a Young Frankenstein, que no?

    Hank: thanks for the tip on soaking my antelope kidneys in vinegar/milk for two days to get the pee smell out…are you f-ing kidding me?

  • Red5

    Regarding Sweetbreads,

    They sell them at a local market but they are frozen, they restock very frequently so it’s not been sitting in the freezer for months, more likely a couple weeks.

    Could I expect a quality result from the frozen, or would it better to ask for a fresh batch from the butcher?

  • Natalie Sztern

    The European Jews were brought up on sauteed brains, pickled tongue and roast tongue, sweetbreads, and though I am second generation Canadian, that mode of cooking still existed while I was growing up, therefore many of my generation did eat what is known as Offal (a word I learned only from this column). Even today most Kosher butchers in Montreal will carry these products and up until ten years ago Montreal had two restaurants kosher-style, I knew of where they made great sweetbreads, floured and sauteed (no longer in existance).

    If Chef Consentino can bring back to life this dying trend then kudos to him, and so he knows I do my part by shoving it down the throats of my twenty-something’s each time they come for dinner: pickled tongue is always on the table…and let me tell u, if u have never eaten a pickled beef tongue sandwich then u have truly never eaten at a Jewish Deli. I must admit tho, I just could not bring myself to eat brains, altho my bro and sis delighted in this dish each time it was made.

  • Connor

    Offal is definitely not a gimmick. Case in point — even Southern Indiana, the least trendy place in the whole world, has their deep-fried cow brain sandwiches. They’re usually battered with egg, flour, and seasoning, often served with pickled onions, and look remarkably similar to the giant pork tenderloin sandwiches that grace all the county fairs. Sadly, though, they’re disappearing from diners around the region due to the fear of mad cow disease. I read that many diners are starting to switch to fried pork brain sandwiches, assuming that the majority of folks won’t be able to taste the difference.

  • Hank

    Mark: I would agree with you that offal cookery is getting attention by the fooderati because it is unusual – to them (and you). But as Connor notes, lots and lots of people eat this stuff without any second thought.

    Think liver and onions, which is nearly as American as the hamburger, albeit with an older set. I happen to dislike the texture of a whole liver, and I eat lots of offal, so there’s nothing to say everyone ought to be off noshing on brains or balls.

    As for the taste issue, I am reasonably certain most of us would not eat this stuff a second time if we did not think it was delicious. (Some uber-trendy types would gag it down just to keep up appearances.) So yeah Mark, I do think a lot of people are brought in by the “weird” factor, but many return because, as you said, the food was quite good. It’s a little bit of both.

    And as for Sarah, if you are not also Eat4fun, my comments are not directed anywhere near you. If you do not like the idea of eating kidneys, do not eat them. If you do not like the idea of eating something that requires prior preparation – kidneys, tripe or even salt cod or anything marinated for several days – stick with that which makes you feel comfortable.

    And, Sarah, your comments about Fergus Henderson are so appalling I am left speechless. What a hateful thing to say.

  • e. nassar

    “Is Fergus Henderson’s “The Whole Beast” not contemporary enough?”

    I was about to ask the same thing. Maybe not comprehensive enough, but it should’ve been mentioned.

  • luis

    Sarah “Hank: thanks for the tip on soaking my antelope kidneys in vinegar/milk for two days to get the pee smell out…are you f-ing kidding me? ”

    Precious… just can’t stop chuckling about it. You have me in stitches… because I understand the American culture a little bit. It’s really mine and I had the same thoughts cross my mind when I read Hank’s helpfull hint on antelope kidneys.

  • Ray

    I will chime in regarding only eating offal because it is unusual. I eat offal because I was raised on it and it is good. Traditional Chinese cuisine does not skimp on it. Tail, tongue, congealed blood, tripes, livers, hearts, brains and feet I have eaten in my childhood and continue to eat as an adult because I know they are parts of the animal that are nutritious, affordable and truly delicious if prepared by a hand willing to work with them.

  • Sarah

    Hank: Lighten up!

    All kidding (and meanness) aside, I salute these chefs that are choosing to resurrect a style of cooking that is a linked to the preservation of old, time-honored techniques. I also applaud those who use their cooking to make a political statement against the Chili’s, Sam’s Club bulk meat, and fast food lifestyle that has replaced whatever shred of food culture we ever had in this country. My current idol is Dan Barber from Blue Hill Stone Barns who grows every vegetable he serves in what is now the largest non commercial organic greenhouse in the country. He raises his own lambs and poultry and has the shortest farm to table distance that I believe exists in America.

    However, (Hank) I am a hater of gimmicks. I am bothered by offal freaks like the same way I am bothered by Vegans. I believe that learning how to follow more balanced diet (a la Michael Pollan) is what we, as a nation need to be focusing on, and spending our money to support. I am an omnivore and vegetable lover. I sponsor a CSA and buy all of my meat and dairy from local purveyors who care about the animals they raise. I am a conscious consumer, in respect to my wallet and my stomach. I eat meat every other day because I find that my body doesn’t require the daily consumption of animal protein. But, I do not judge those that do need to eat meat at every meal.

    Though it may seem that I have gotten off the topic of offal, I feel that my argument is best expressed within the context of people knowing what I do eat, and not just seeing me as an offal “hater”.

    I actually really enjoy sweetbreads, ox tail, liver, tripe, AND the occasional coxcomb (yet candied coxcomb seems wrong, somehow).

    What I do not enjoy is the fetishism that has been born of a few chef’s unsubstantiated pronouncements that we all would benefit health wise by eating MORE OFFAL. It is a form of absurd extremism. I believe in eating from tongue to tail, the way a family would have done one hundred years ago, OVER TIME. After an animal was slaughtered, it would take a family months to work its way through an animal…and nothing would be wasted. That makes sense to me. But a seven course meal that showcases lamb spleen, venison heart crudo, pig ear salad, chicken tartare, beef tendon, fish maw, oxblood mousse and porkfat cookies? That shit is just wrong!

    And as for my comments on Chef Ferguson’s appearance: the dude looks like he is 45 going on seventy…and he’s got this creepy deliverance thing going on…sorry…that’s just how i feel…i think he might benefit from a colonic and a juice fast…

  • Rashena

    This is a great topic, I see the opinions very greatly and are comical and insightful as usual. My grandmother makes chitlins but I won’t even go in the house when they’re cooking. And is cockscomb what it sounds like it is?! I’ll have to look that up.

    I try to be a little adventurous when trying new foods but the thought of eating a *brain* has me dry-heaving already. NFW, brah!!!

    Cosentino is awesome, but if I were at that dinner I’d have asked him to make me a hamburger right quick. LOL

  • Kina

    Sorry and I am mildly adventurous but I don’t want to partake of organs that cleanse an animal: furry, winged or elsewise. Good for all of you that can enjoy it and elevate it to a culinary art. But originally it was eaten because that was all there was. It really isn’t some higher form until you go retro. I’m in medicine so the thought of eating kidneys and liver in particular makes me feel ill. No thanks.

    Having said that, I am happy to have some chewy hearts, I eat game all the time as my better half is a hunter and I eat all kinds of weird sushi. But that offal, yes..for me, just awful.

    I guess I am just saying I am happy for you (I just can’t do it)but please don’t hold this up as some kind of yardstick for those who love food. Did you all hear Bourdain talking about what the offal-lovers cholesteral and triglyceride levels are? Yes, meant to be eaten frequently in another time. A more blissful time where trans-fats did not rule.

    I’d rather eat quinoa.

  • Shannon

    It’s early in the morning and haven’t finished my coffee. HENDERSON has Parkinsons. Scratch the Ferguson…..

  • luis

    Got up this morning ~5 am and put the percolator on thanks to ruhlman’s advice on coffee brewing.
    Long story short I went back to bed for a bit more rest. It’s now ~8 iish… and I am sitting here tasting the best cup of of coffee yet. Cafe Dumond’s chicory. Never would have happened with the old drip machine.
    I will be drinking this pot down up until 11 ish when I get ready for work.

    Offal is not right because the connection between you and the animal is broken. You don’t know were the stuff comes from nor do you know what the animal is been fed. Besides we live in a society that anyone preparing your food wears gloves. The pressure from society alone is a factor. Come to think of it, Cosentino looks a little like the Daryl brothers. Remember road kill Larry Daryl and Daryl??? Bob Newhart show?. It may have been a comedy skit but make no mistake Bob Newhart has a real pulse on comtemporary American society. Else his comedy and his show would never have been as succesfull as it was.

  • angina

    @Sarah: Wow. You must be big time, manita.

    Considering the judgemental way you run your mouth, one would think you’ve earned stars from thirty years of culinary experience.

    Your barbs and hip phrasing clearly haven’t impressed or amused people.

    After learning about Fergus’ Parkinson’s, you feel bad for ragging on him, que no?

    You reckless ass. Watch what you say.

  • eat4fun

    Thanks Hank and ntsc for the info.

    This topic inspired me to braise pig’s feet, pork hock and pork belly with Chinese fermented black beans, garlic and ginger.

    In honor of Sarah, I also added organic tofu to the braise. lol… Seriously, I did add organic tofu.

    Thinking ahead… Steak and Kidney Pie sounds good, maybe beef tongue or oxtails. Too many choices, I don’t know what to do next. 🙂

  • Sarah

    Yes, all. I do feel bad that Chef Henderson has Parkinson’s disease. It is no laughing matter. And knowing this leads me to think in all sincerity that he would benefit from a meatless macrobiotic diet. Adherents to that kind of diet have been to to recover from even terminal illnesses at staggering speeds.

    I am an omnivore, a lover of so many different cuisines, but I am also a student of the world. I really do believe in the Buddhist way of appreciating the life energy in all animals and that eating animals has a karmic repercussion. Consuming animal flesh has a profound effect on everything from our physical health to the health of our environment.

    As for the jab I threw at Chef Henderson’s appearance- you guys- it was a JOKE. Geez, I’m no Marilyn Monroe myself and I’ve come to terms with it. The joke was meant to illustrate how WHAT YOU EAT AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH WHICH IN TURN AFFECTS YOUR PHYSIQUE AND FACIAL COUNTENANCE. You can take yourself to a practitioner of Chinese Medicine and just by looking at your face he or she can tell you which of your organs are toxic.

    Broaden your horizons people…and not just by piling on the offal.

    P.S. The Buddhists also believe that consuming too much meat leads to rigid thinking and violent urges. (put down the burger, angina)

  • angina

    You are quite the poser, Sarah. The “it was a joke” line is pathetically transparent and your attempt to paint yourself as some benign spiritualist fails.

    The astute individuals I know who truly admire and follow Buddhist philosophy do not hurl baseless insults at people they do not know. They understand that doing so is bad karma.

    Ruhlman – forgive me for perpetuating the negativity by responding to Sarah. I do not plan to comment here in the future. Thank you.

  • Reyhan

    Get a life humourless a*&holes…this is a place to share, not judge.

  • ruhlman

    I do love the passion of the responses, but yes, we do need to keep things civil, opinionated but non-judgmental.

  • ben

    why is offal not popular in the U.S?

    it seems to do just fine in Asia and Europe

  • Ms. Glaze

    I cook in a French Michelin restaurant and spent almost a year at the viande station. When I first started I really detested doing all the offal dishes because I had no experience with them before: sweet breads, kidneys, tongue, tripe, duck’s tongue, brain, veal liver, pigs feet, lamb testicles, etc. God, you name it I’ve cooked it. Although I still can’t stomach most of it, I do appreciate the French love of using the whole animal without discrimination. And having actually cooked it all, I don’t turn my nose up in quite the same way.

    But there is something to be said with growing up eating offal, I think it’s much more difficult as an adult to develop the craving.

    Ms. Glaze

  • luis

    Ms. Glaze, exactly on point. Cosentino’s talent is going to waste at this point. It’s not hard to make good food taste good. We all do it in our kitchens. A nice ribeye steak and a properly assembled and chiled garden salad. Who can screw that up?. When it comes down to it, folks like Cosentino are no different from the chemists that plague this society with their cheetos and salted fatty potato/corn/you name it chips. I’d say a step up from corn chips but still headed in a very iffy direction. But think about it. For a foodie or whatever adjetive is socially acceptable for the cuisine adventure driven folks this is tha rage, tha cutting edge in culinary experiences. Oh by the way I can not understand the folks that go the habanero route either. This is a thing of testing boundaries. Look at the haircut the man chooses, the manner in which he communicates what are really fine sensitive caring ideas about animals. The sensitive way he addresses folks like Pita which he considers well intended but barking up the wrong tree.
    This isn’t a chef we are watching. I am not quite sure how to describe him. Somewhere between driven? troubled? renaissance type of guy that hasn’t really sold out to the franchise folks. Ruhlman is right to be there, maybe he can properly characterize the man. Read the thoughts here and most folks are in agreement about owfall. Cosentino is aware of this when he says that in this country there are few if any processing plants USDA approved to process and distribute offal. Oh yes tha “DON QUIJOTE” story comes to mind. Don’t know if my spelling is right but you know the guy that like to tilt at windmills…….

  • Karin (Grew up in Cleveland and miss it in VA)

    It is sad that so many of the aforestated comments are motivated by ignorance and a personal political stance. It is as equally disturbing, as the posers who say that a good meal has to cost $200+ in order to qualify as a decent eating expirience.

    Most of us know that it is often the simplest meal made from simple ingredients that make the dining moment and the memory.

    I have the fondest memories of Calf’s brains. My German grandmother would make them with scrambled eggs with sauteed onions in the mix. It was a treat to accompany her to the Westside Market (In Cleveland) to buy them. They were not always available and they are very perishable.

    My North Caroline raised father-in-law found that we shared a love of this dish while the rest of the family members groaned. It was a bonding moment.

    My favorite special treat was when she breaded the lobe and panfried it much like a chicken cutlet. It was divine! The crunchy breaded coating (homemade breadcrumbs as well.) with the warm custardy inside. It was a talent and one of my favorite meals at her home.
    Unfortunately, with the event of Mad Cow (and USDA-Govenment Idiocy) I am leary of finding them and of eating them. Another innocence that corporate farming greed has ruined.

  • Line cook

    I suppose the medical community will rest easy now that we know Parkinson’s can be cured with a colonic of free-range sanctimony.

  • Ray

    Karin: Exactly right. Offal eating is oftentimes a personal tradition and should be respected in that regard at least even if you turn your nose up at eating filter parts or something that may at some point in time have been touching dirt. I can’t stand the premise and the marketing angle of shows like Bizarre Foods where they make offal out to be something disgusting and weird that only a fat white man would go out seeking. Even poor Anthony Bourdain didn’t do us any favors when he swallowed that live cobra heart back when he was on FN and it’s the only part of ACT that FN still shills while it’s trying to run it into the ground before it’s out of their hands.

    Offal isn’t bizarre, it isn’t trendy; people around the world grew up eating it and people around the world still eat it and respect it as a legitimate ingredient that is getting increasingly more difficult to find due to shortsighted US and EU regulations. That’s the real danger of turning away offal. If you shut out the production and the consumption of nutritious inexpensive meat, you just open yourself up to the production and consumption of unhealthy inexpensive meat. What are poor people going to eat if they can’t eat offal? McDonald’s?

  • blowback

    Americans are just so prissy – won’t eat offal or even touch blue cheese. English public schools used to serve only offal; heart, liver, kidneys, sweetbreads (pancreas) and haggis (contains the pluck consisting of a sheep’s larynx, trachea, lungs, heart and liver). As a young child I lived in southern Scotland where the locals regarded the brains of sheep with scrapie (BSE for sheep) as a delicacy. they ate the brains of normal sheep but favored scrapie brains

    BTW, there is a cookbook on of.fal. It is called The Fifth Quarter by Anissa Helou and is available through Amazon.

  • tedj

    I’m currently pretty inspired by the absolute simplicity of offal and the more “troubled” cuts. Henderson’s book (arrived this morning) is amazing and subtle. The last time I had a really impressive meal was in Montreal, at APC, a place that is unpretentious, unassuming, and modest in its explicit celebration of fat and a bygone era– in which people enjoyed food, not the appearance thereof.

    IMO, roasted beef marrow and a good glass or red wine beats veal tenderloin any day of the week.

  • Heather Fletcher

    Well, I have never eaten an organ meat/Offal in my life. Perhaps I am missing something…although not quite sure. The idea does leave me somewhat squeamish.I think a person such as myself may be better off trying a cooked item of this nature first. I do however, think that anyone who can prepare these items in a way to make them appealing and…from what I’ve read tasty deserves kudos.

  • luis

    Heather, Exactly, kudos… but no sugar. Offal is offal.. do you want to paid 250 dollars for it? or just go to your local restaurant and pay 35 for a nice ribeye steak dinner? DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH!
    Look offal is to broad a term and I am not sure it means anything.. but if you eat blood sausage, chorizo, pigs feet, livers and any number of these things you are into the bitter innards. Now kidneys..Pennises…rectums…and other unsavory things are strickly for bourdain, ruhlman and alton brown and the iron chef judges to comment on. Luckilly we are not paid to judge any of these sorry dishes.