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Offal: A Global History (Edible) [Hardcover]

Nina Edwards

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Book Description

1 April 2013 Edible
Love it or hate it, offal excites extreme reactions in us all. Offal provides an intriguing history of the consumption of offal down the ages and across continents. Stuffed with recipes past and present, it examines our varied responses to the meatiest of meats. Offal is glands; essential organs; skin, muscle; guts; and everything unmentionable in-between. Some offal dishes are particular to regional cuisines and often associated with holidays, such as Scottish haggis, Jewish chopped liver, and us Southern states' chitterlings. From tongue in Sichuan to gizzard stew on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, from Parisian bonnes bouches to spicy cartilage in Calcutta, nose-to-tail eating is global. The rich variety of terms that have evolved to denote all animal parts eaten often betray our need to hide or at least veil their origins. Offal can range from expensive haute cuisine delicacies such as foie gras and sweetbreads, to cheap alternatives testing the ingenuity of the poor. Offal is high in nutrients: kidney offers low-fat, low-calorie sources of protein; liver is packed with iron - yet true to the flip-flop nature of offal, it can be dangerously high in cholesterol. Can we enjoy a pig's heart, a cow's eyes or sheep's brain when it reminds us so viscerally of our own flesh and blood? Our everyday metaphors for thought and feeling are bound up with innards. Offal is both a paean to this most earthy and primal of foodstuffs, and an attempt to understand our resistance to these foods.

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As a vegetarian, owning a book about edible entrails may seem unusual, but nonetheless, Nina Edwards' Offal: A Global History rests conspicuously on my bookshelf. This book is hardly a tome at 108 pages, yet it manages to give a very comprehensive history of one of the world's more controversial cuisines.

About the Author

Nina Edwards is a freelance writer and the author of On the Button: The Significance of an Ordinary Item (2011). She lives in London.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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