I’ve usually regarded the general suspicion and dislike many (most) Americans have against offal to be mostly ignorance, a result of privilege, or superstition. I want to settle this question once and for all. Why do Americans dislike offal? Is it less healthy? Does it make you queasy? If so, why? Why is the consumption of offal less dignified than pure animal muscles? From an environment perspective, eating all parts is definitely more green but I believe environmentalist types are probably most racist against offal.
Because if it wasn’t such vile crap, it would be called “food”.
Personally, I like certain kinds of organ meat, but I’m liking them less and less each time you use the word “offal”.
‘Racist’?! I do not think that word means what you think it means. How can one be racist against meat?
Offal actually has been making quite a comeback over the last few years in restaurants and food circles. I daresay it’s “trendy” even, but a lot of folks still dislike it. Why? Well, it does have a strong taste and the general American palate tends towards more neutral flavors. That, plus offal takes some skill in preparing well, and if one grew up with overcooked liver and onions, then I’m not surprised one might consider all offal offensive. Also, I could see people getting squicked out by considering the function of the organs they’re eating.
Yeah, I’m not sure where “racist” is coming from, but I think what the OP is getting at is perhaps some class-based associations, as offal was and perhaps still is considered “poor folk food” for a lot of people and something you buy and cook up because it’s cheap, not necessarily because you prefer it to actual meat.
My refusal to eat haggis is based entirely on my hatred of Mexicans.
You know who else wouldn’t eat haggis because he hated Mexicans?
I like liver, kidneys, chitterlings, pig ear, tounge, sweetbreads, and heart. I’ll pretty much try any others offered if it looks and smells good. So I guess I’m not racist.
Americans are definitely more squeamish about offal than most other cultures. Liver, kidneys, tripe, even fish with the head still on - and white Americans moreso. I wouldn’t classify it as flat out racist but you can at least see where it might come from.
I still don’t know what offal is but as a good American I’ve decided I’m going to hate it
Sounds like my Italian grandmother. And she was white. My mother didn’t eat it and she didn’t pass it down to us because it’s disgusting.
I seem to recall skeletal muscle is the bit most preferred in nearly any Western culture for whoever has a choice. The folks who learn to eat the 'umbles (or spiders, or dragonflies) tend to do so because it’s better than starving. I have a friend who is into super healthy foods and has lately begun preaching the virtues of viscera, citing more ‘primitve’ societies who do so and have notably better teeth, lower body fat, etc. Of course, if I lived in such a society, I’d probably be a lot leaner what with having to chase down my dinner and club it to death rather than nipping off to McD’s for BigMacs & quarts of soda between 4-hour long X-Box sessions.
I’ve tried (well-prepared) kidneys & intestines before. My tongue, of its own volition, forbade it access to my throat. I simply could not swallow it, let alone chew it.
I grew up in hillbilly country in Tennessee, we butchered our animals ourselves and nothing went to waste.
However, other the occasional liver, I eat better cuts of meat now.
My wife fries chicken gizzards and hearts all the time. I like the hearts, but the gizzards are just too chewy for me.
A little while back, we tried beef kidneys, sauteed. I’m an adventurous eater, but it tasted like toilet to me. I’ve heard that this is common and can be eliminated by some special prep, but I’m wary. Oddly enough, my wife liked it. We still have a couple of packages of beef kidneys in the freezer… I know we ought to try it some time.
I’ve had sweetbreads at an Argentinian bbq restaurant and it was mighty good. Puerto Ricans make soup called tripe (pronounced treepeh) which is made with, well, tripe. It is delicous. I make organ gravy every Thanksgiving.
That being said, mostly organ meat is yuccky.
Liver is offal, and a pretty popular dish.
Who’s less tolerable? The guy who won’t eat organ meats because he wasn’t raised on them and thinks they’re gross, or the hipster wannabe who just discovered chitlins six months ago and insists that you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten “real” food?
At least the first guy is coming from an honest place.
Me, I’m in the “I’ll eat anything once, and probably twice” camp.
I eat anything, but pretty much the only organ meats I get cravings for is liver and tripe. Maybe sweetbreads. I’ve never been a big fan of kidney. Brain, heart, and gizzards can be quite delicious, but I don’t really crave them in the way I do the others.
People in the Deep South, both white and black (and everyone else), eat organ meat. I grew up with it. You can buy it in almost any grocery store and people get it from animals they butcher themselves. Chitlins (chitterlings; pig intestines) are popular as are chicken gizzards, pickled pigs feet, liver, heart and head-cheese among other things. A simple fact finally proves that the South is less racist than other parts of the country.