Welcome to another installment of the F-Word, or the "food word," for those of you out of the loop. This time around, I'm keeping with the current seasonal theme, Halloween! It's oh so appropriate to make today's food word something that many of you would find icky and/or unusual. As gross as they may sound, or appear in their original state, these cuts of meat are quite delicious and considered delicacies in various cultures. Today's F-Word is:
Image courtesy of www.21food.com
Offal are the unconventional parts of an animal. We'll use the image above, which is pork offal, as an example. In the most simplest terms, you could say, "everything else, but the oink." Offal parts include, but not limited to, internal organs (liver, kidneys, heart, etc), tail, feet, tongue, throat/neck (which is also called sweetbreads), intestines (aka: tripe), brains, reproductive organs (we're all adults here), face/head, just to name a few.
To most Americans, the concept of offal is one quickly dismissed. As a society, Americans were told that offal was not suitable for human consumption, regardless of the fact that humankind has done so since we roamed the Earth. Truth be told, there are many great benefits to enjoying offal. Primarily the nutritional benefit, as we all remember how the old dish of liver and onions is a great source of iron and protein. Before you cringe with awful memories of your grandma's liver and onions, that's not the only way offal is served these days. In fact, there is a plethora of chefs out there, heavily partaking in the Offal Movement. One of the leaders of said movement, is renowned chef Chris Constentino. For your viewing pleasure, I've also found an excellent video of Chef Contentino discussing the joys of offal. You know, I'll let him do the rest of the talking (especially because he doesn't have to worry about being TV friendly, he can just talk like a REAL chef, I love it!).