Originally Posted by Mad Cook
A bit out of date here but is it true that offal products are called "variety meats" in the US? Makes it sound so much more enticing than offal.
I love hearts, liver and kidneys but can't bear tripe and it's relation, elder, and we used to feed "lights" (= lungs) to the cat when I was little but you never see them in butchers now. I'm rather partial to haggis which as you may know is a sheep's stomach stuffed with offal-y bits, oatmeal and other things and much tastier than it sounds.
We used to see grey shrivelled up bits called chitterlings in pork butcher's shop windows in the north of England but I never tried them and I haven't seen them in years. I suppose the prep required to clean them and make them fit for human consumption made them uneconomical to sell
Sausages mainly have artificial casings now but high-end makers still use intestines.
Variety meats sounds about right to me, although usually these meats are just presented in the section (chicken, pork, beef) they belong and described as livers, hearts, etc. "Offal" may be grammatically correct but nobody would ever buy a product labeled "beef offal" etc.
I tried tripe a few times but it just never tasted good. I don't care where it comes from or what it is, but it has to taste good. (I've had beef liver and chicken liver since my previous post, both were good.) I initially tried tripe after a PBS program hosted by a local PBS host Hewel Howser (who I really like) covered the leading tripe cannery on a PBS show, was reputed to be the best canned tripe you can get--and it was yuck!!! WTH, at least I tried. It wasn't the idea of tripe that put me off, it just didn't taste good. At least liver tastes good (to me).
By the way I had been wondering why I was seeing beef liver and calf liver less and less on the meat section shelves, and finally asked. Evidently (my speculation) demand has dropped and processing has advanced, and now you find your choice of beef/calf liver in the frozen food section. I found calf liver (I prefer calf because I believe it's more tender) in 1# packages, neatly cryovac packed into four 4 oz. slices, for about maybe $4. I took a package home and defrosted 3 cryos (put them in a bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes) and I had a great calf liver and onion dinner. As far as I'm concerned I like the new way of having the liver industrially sliced into 4 oz. portions and individually cryovac frozen as vastly superior to the old livers in a "tub" container. Now I can buy a few cryovac liver packages and have my pick of serving size in 4 oz. increments, and don't have to worry about "spoil by" dates. (I may be mistaken but I would rather eat the freshest organ meats vs. meats that have been on the shelf a few days.)
As far as sausage casings, I have no problem eating sausages with intestine casings. We humans have been doing this for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. I don't see any reason why we modern day humans have to suddenly decree, "ew, intestine, I won't eat intestines!" IMO there are few parts of any animal that are de facto
decreed "disgusting" although I prefer to not eat brains or lungs.
When I'm cooking whole chicken or whole turkey I consider it the chef's right and the chef's delight to snack on the liver and heart (while cooking) although with turkey I'm usually preempted by the need to finely chop all the "offal" parts of my turkey to contribute to the gravy, and IMO my gravy is "killer!" (I make it exactly the way my mom taught me.)
As far as sausage, I'd rather see what goes into sausage vs. what goes into politics. From what I've seen lately in US politics, sausage isn't even a contender in which is more disgusting.