Foods that fall out of favor

I’m reading a book set in 1750 England. The main character is a cook, so there’s a lot of mention of various dishes and ingredients.

What’s funny is that about half of the dishes sound like something we’d eat today and the other half sound like something no one I know would touch. Chicken stew with celery for a first course, then a ragout of pig ears for the second, for example.

What makes foods fall out of favor? Do most things get too expensive/hard to find and then start to appear exotic and weird?

What are the weirdest foods you can think of that used to be commonly eaten but aren’t much (or at all) any more?


My mother used to make it all the time. I’m not sure you can even find it anymore. Maybe at a specialty butcher shop.

How do you “make” tongue?

I’v eaten tongue within the last three months to my certain knowledge. It isn’t that obscure.

Fondue. Fell out of favor when America collectively realized that trying to dip bread into cheese-sauce the temperature of molten hot lava simply wasn’t sophisticated or fun. It was just…cheesy. (couldn’t resist the pun!)

Grilled vegetables. All the rage during the yuppie 80s. Eventually, folks got wise that grilled vegetables always tasted like partially raw/ partiallly cooked veggies. Plus, most people grew to despise anything associated with yuppies.

That’s a good one. Read old detective novels, they knock back tongue sandwiches all the time. For that matter, I used to be able to get them at pretty mainstream Toronto delis. When I was a kid on the farm and we had a steer butchered the tongue (along with the heart) was the first thing we got back from the butcher, and was a true treat. Now, if you mention eating tongue, people look at you like you’re a cannibal or something.

Chicken giblets are something else that a lot of people seem to find revolting anymore, and that used to be common eating.

In many cases, it’s the opposite - things get too cheap, and people don’t need to eat them any more. Why eat pigs’ ears if anyone can afford bacon?

My neighborhood grocery certainly sells lengua–along with other interesting parts. Cow heads in the butcher section herald the holiday season–time to make tamales!

However, “offal” is supposedly coming back into fashion in English speaking kitchens. From Slate:

Try finding it over on this side of the pond :slight_smile:

I guess I should have said “prepare” instead of “make”. The only way I liked it was with a raisin sauce. It was never one of my favorite foods, which may explain it’s disappearance…

Another one is Brains. I used to really love them (I had to disconnect from thinking about what I was eating, though). What with BSE, I doubt I’ll ever have them again…

I was 6 when the 80s ended so maybe I just don’t get this. But are you talking about taking a zucchini (onion/pepper/mushroom), slicing it and throwing it on the grill with some olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s probably my favourite way of eating zucchini.

I’ve eaten a whole plate of grilled vegetables from my local upscale supermarket for lunch. I can’t see how this has fallen out of favour.

My guess would be that it involves a spit.

Tongue firmly in cheek…

Me either, I love grilled veggies. It’s how I prefer to eat them, in fact! Though, like Kid-A, I was a child during the 80’s (born in 1980). So I was oblivious to the yuppy culture at the time.

Tongue - the farmer’s market I go to has it sometimes. I had never seen it, and for some reason didn’t expect it to look so much like what it is - a giant tongue. Most meat we buy is just a chunk off a bigger peice of meat, so I guess I’m just not used to it.

How about Limburger cheese?
I’ve been trying to find it for a long time (just to see what all the “stink” is about), with no luck.
None of the shops with a good selection of cheeses (Whole Foods, Dean and Deluca, Wegmans, etc.) have it.

Turtle Soup

Same here… huge and with big ol’ taste buds stickin’ out. What would you garnish a serving dish of tongue with? Yard clippings?

Well, I mentioned this in another thread today, but what the heck - oxtails. Maybe it was a family thing, but my grandmother and my mother both used to make these wonderful braised oxtails - browned in onions and add some cheap wine and water and slowly simmered until all that gelatin melted right out of them. Oh, it was amazing food - pick 'em up in your fingers and slurp off the most tender meat evah! And your fingers would get so sticky from the gelatin on the ends of the joints that paper napkins would just shred if you tried to use them. They were so cheap, we’d eat them when money was tight. I’ve been watching them for the past few years, and they’ve yet to go under $5 a pound, so SOMEONE must be eating them, but no one I ever mention it to says anything other than “Ewwww! Tails? You eat the tails?” :frowning:

Some of the descriptions I’ve read of medieval and Renaissance banquets show them eating things like swans. I’ve never eaten a swan nor do I know anybody who has. I expect it would probably be similar to goose, though. I can’t remember being at a dinner where a whole boar’s head was brought to the table, either. We also don’t seem to have the penchant for dishes that feature combinations of milk, fruit, and meat that they used to savor. The blancmange that people make for dessert today seldom features chicken and/or fish as it did in Chaucer’s day. Many of the recipes from those times I’ve seen in books and articles may well yield a delicious product, but the combinations of ingredients are just so…odd…to me that I’ve never tried making them.

I think furriners still eat them. I want to say I saw them at the Mexican grocery store, maybe?

My contribution is aspic. Stuff in aspic. Does anybody eat stuff in aspic anymore? Even the gelatin salad has fallen out of favor in non-Midwestern places.

Oxtails are used in Jamaican cooking.

Only once have I seen a whole roasted pig. It was the centerpiece at a dinner party I went to as the guest of a friend. An entire roasted pig with apple in its mouth.

I live in Tennessee and had tongue at a small town Colombian restaraunt within the past year. It was pretty tasty . . . reminded me a lot of a really tender pot roast.