Among the most popular dishes at every good taqueria in Wilmington
is menudo, a traditional Mexican soup made with cow’s stomach. The
pungent aroma and strong, smoky taste can be off-putting to newbies, but
it’s a delicacy to people who grew up with it. Also popular are tripas, small
intestines typically used in tacos.
Animal innards and other waste products are popular in cuisine around
the world. Haggis, Scotland’s national dish, is sheep’s stomach stuffed with
minced heart, liver and lungs. Tripe is used globally in dishes like andouille,
babat, pho and pancita.
KURMAN COMMUNICATIONS, INC./FLIKR
delicacy or disgusting?
RESTAURANTS NOW OFFER THESE NOSTALGIC FOODS IN TRENDY AND TRADITIONAL DISHES.
Real chitterlings, or more commonly chitlins, are made from
the intestines of a hog. To some, they are a true Southern delicacy.
To others, well, they are made from the intestines of a hog. You
know, the part of the digestive system that conveys waste.
The key to good, healthy chitlins is to clean them thoroughly.
Then they are usually stewed, broiled or fried. They are especially
popular at festive occasions like New Year’s, Christmas and
Thanksgiving, not necessarily because they are a specialty dish but
because they are labor intensive and take a long time to prepare.
In the U.S., chitlins are primarily soul food passed down from
the time when enslaved people had to make do with the unwanted
meat from hog killings, but a form of the dish is found in cultures
in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Another popular soul food dish that’s a close cousin to chitlins is
hog maw, made from the stomach of a pig. Like chitlins, they are
found in many other cultures.
In Colonial America, lobsters were so commonplace they
were the food of common people. Referred to as an insect of
the sea, the crustacean wasn’t likely to be found on the table of
the well-to-do. It was even fed to prisoners and servants, and
ground up and used as fertilizer.
That began to change in the mid-1800s, when the railroad
made it possible to transport canned lobster to the middle of the
country. Soon, tourists visiting the coast were asking for fresh
lobster. Prices soared as demand grew, which is why it’s among the
most expensive items on the menu of most seafood restaurants.