The Cheap Cuts And Offal Thread
I promised to start this thread a while ago, but travel and life got in the way and then I plain forgot. Until I had a dream last night, described below, that reminded me of this topic. Not literally, thank goodness.
The topic is using cheap cuts and offal, instead of the traditional parts of the cow, pig, chicken, lamb, salmon, or parakeet. In a future world where the ribeye, loin, leg and filet become scarcer and more costly, how to cook interesting and tasty dishes?
That future world is, I think, coming. Gradually and in our lifetimes. The colliding forces of rising global living standards and climate change's disruption of agriculture, along with the unforgiving reality that 20 pounds of pasture and feed yield just 1 pound of traditional meat cuts after butchering, will continue to drive protein prices higher.
So, what of it? We are cooks, and much of the fun of cooking is the challenge. We can make delicious dishes from parts of the animal that others pass by or throw away. Never forget that much of classic French cookery is devoted to turning sow's ears into silk purses.
Here is the challenge I propose. Take a part of any animal - whether land, air or sea - that most people don't cook, and make something terrific. It doesn't have to be sow's ears, but push out of your comfort zone. Make something with livers, giblets, spleens, necks, shanks; even feet, hearts, and heads if you like.
Let's have fun! I'm headed off to the Asian market today to see what I find.
Oh, the dream.
We were having a dinner party. I was supposed to cook a special dish of rats. I bought a fat grey rat and found another one in the pantry. They weren't very clean. Eww, I was grossed out. I decided to put on latex gloves and use my boning knife to skin and debone the rats. But my father had re-organized my knife block and all my knives were missing. I searched through the house, room after room, carrying the dead rats, looking for my boning knife. Guests kept crowding into the house, asking when dinner would be. Servers started appearing, dressed like 1960s airline hostesses, ready to serve my rat dish. I couldn't find the knife. The room began to flood. My grandmother (dead in real life, alive and younger here) hugged me.