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Old 02-15-2012, 10:27 AM   #1
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Italy turns back the culinary clock

This is a well judged piece, more lungs anyone Italy turns back culinary clock to ride out recession | World news | guardian.co.uk

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Old 02-15-2012, 11:06 AM   #2
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Good article.

Lungs? Sure. I'll eat almost anything, provided it's drowned in a sufficient amount of gravy.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:14 AM   #3
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Recession would have to get pretty dang bad for me to revert to original Texas cooking. F. Law Olmsted (who later designed Central Park and other notable grounds) rode through Texas from Louisiana to San Antonio in 1855 and wrote a book about it. (And briefly beyond San Antonio, despite the fact that it wasn't good for your hair to venture farther west.) There being few towns and no hotels for most of the trip, he stayed at homes along the way. (Cabins, really, frequently with the gable ends open to the sky. Some of them had doors.)

The meal was almost invariably fat salt pork (often cold), something that looked kind of like coffee, and corn "bread." The bread had been on the stalk in the field that morning. The corn was stripped, ground (well, mashed, really), and sort of pressed into a cake and cooked in a pan or on an iron plate. He might have starved but for the occasional offer of molasses and milk. (Not much milk. Texas was noted for having more cattle and less milk than nearly anywhere else. Longhorn cattle are not noted for their milk production or their ready cooperation in obtaining it.)

He expected things to improve when he reached Austin where there was actually a restaurant. He was wrong. In his own words, the meal was "burnt flesh of bulls and swine, decaying vegetables sour and mouldy like farinaceous glue, drowned in rancid butter." After weeks of cold salt pork and corn stuff, it must have been indeed horrible for him to dislike it so.

He finally got some good food in New Braunfels where the folks were (and still largely are) Germans and still cooking stunningly well.

We did, however, advance in culinary skill as the century wore on. By the time the great cattle operations were underway in the 1870's and 1880's, the high water mark of trail cooking was known as Sonofabitch Stew. It could easily rival the revived recession cooking of Italy.

Sonofabitch Stew


2 pounds of lean beef

Half a calf heart

1 pounds of calf liver

1 set sweetbreads

1 set of brains

1 set of marrow gut

Salt, pepper to taste

Louisiana hot sauce

Cut the beef, liver, and heart into one inch cubes. Slice the marrow gut into rings. Place these ingredients into the Dutch oven and cover with water. Let it simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Chop sweetbreads and brains into small pieces and add to stew. Simmer another hour.


It's the marrow gut that's supposed to make the dish. Don't see much marrow gut in the grocer's meat department these days, but I suspect I could find some at the Fiesta grocery.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:57 AM   #4
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I don't want anything that has liver that has been simmered for 2 to 3 hours. Yuck.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:57 AM   #5
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A generation before that, the Mountain Men of the fur trade era also made a Sonofabitch Stew. In their case, however, it was an exact description of the main ingredient.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:33 PM   #6
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But I don't think Liver Eating Johnson left his recipe book behind. When John Johnson ate crow, he really ate Crow.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:39 PM   #7
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I have always enjoyed cooking cheaper cuts of meat. It seems like the techniques and recipes required to make them edible are more interesting and rewarding.
I don't understand economics. To make food cheaper, why don't they squeeze out the middle man, raise more livestock and bring the prices down for the average consumer? Instead, they say, eat the lungs? I'm sure the politicians ain't eating the lungs...
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:29 PM   #8
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My favorite tale of that nature: David Love (the onetime dean of Rocky Mountain geology) grew up at the tail end of the old west. Among his father's friends was Chief Washakie. One day the old man's curiousity could no longer be contained, and he asked the chief if there was any truth to the story of him cutting out and eating his Crow enemy's heart. The chief's reply:

"Well, Johnny, when you're young, and full of life, you do strange things."

That's probably the greatest nonresponsive response I've ever heard.
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:40 PM   #9
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In other words, Yes.
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:53 PM   #10
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i love lung, it makes awesome stew.
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