Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


What's white and delicious*?

Matt Moran in today's Australian Financial Review Life & Style section (subscription required) writes about the joys of tripe. Yes, joys. Yes, tripe.

I grew up with the stuff, done in the traditional English way, with white sauce and parsley. And yes, I liked it. Along with tongue pressed in a bowl, sliced thickly and made into sandwiches with old-fashioned double-black-topped unsliced bread; lamb's fry and bacon; crumbed lamb's brains (especially delicious deep-fried) and roasted lamb flap from which you could peel strips of delicious melting-quality pink meat.

Don't grimace, Generation X. Or Y. Or iPod. Or Facebook. Or whatever you're calling yourselves this week. After all, it is your generation that keeps coming up with buzzwords like nose-to-tail eating. But I still don't see too many packages of sweetbreads or calves' heart or lamb kidneys being casually tossed into inner-urban supermarket trolleys along with the Nudie juice or the Simon Johnson imported tomato sauce. In fact, based on meat cut sales, today's consumer thinks a cow is made of porterhouse steak held up by a bunch of frenched shanks. And it doesn't have a head.

Later, I discovered tripe Italian-style at places like Universita Restaurant or found it sliced and tucked away in bamboo baskets at yum cha places in Little Bourke Street.

Perhaps Asians do tripe best, slicing it finely and insinuating it into dishes in which you least expect it. Here's an extract from a post I wrote a couple of years ago about a noodle house in High Street:

Last, to contrast the heat of the soup and the simplicity of the broccoli, there was a cold salad of very finely shredded meat infused with delicate but complex eastern flavours and just a flush of chilli. This dish was listed under the appetiser heading but the serving was almost as large as some main courses I've eaten. ... you wouldn't know it was tripe. It was just a delicious melange of tasty strands and flavours. (I've eaten tripe in Vietnamese pho in which it was difficult to distinguish between the fine strands of the white meat and the actual noodles. So I say to tripe avoiders: Eat your Tripe. You may not even notice it and then you might become a Tripe Convert.)

Indeed. Perhaps we'll see Financial Review readers trooping off to their butchers on Saturday morning for a batch of cow's stomach lining.

(*Matt Moran suggests ensuring you obtain opaque tripe rather than the white pre-cooked version for better texture and taste. Ask your butcher.)


Marie said...

I know I'm being biased, but I can't handle the idea of eating tripe at all. Perhaps if I didn't know what I was eating, but if I did, there's no way I could get it past my lips! I'm a bit of a chicken gourmet!

Janis Gore said...

Mexican cookery has "menudo," a broth-based tripe soup with hominy, that's dressed with fresh cilantro, chopped onion, oregano, chilis, chopped tomatoes.

It's wonderful. And good for what ails you.

kitchen hand said...

Marie, I guarantee you would love Vietnamese soup with tripe.

Janis, menudo sounds very good.

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