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Nose to tail eating  RSS feed

 
                    
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I just got a book by Fergus Henderson, the owner/chef of a famous restaurant in London, known for serving things like "roasted marrow bones and parsley salad."  It's called "THE WHOLE BEAST: Nose to tail eating" and it's so great! 

Anthony Bourdaine wrote the introduction, and it's funny and all, but Fergus has a list of seven points he makes before the recipes begin, and he makes the excellent observation that this is a book/philosophy about cooking and eating holistically. 

"This is a celebration of cuts of meat, innards, and extremities that are more often forgotten or discarded in today's kitchen; it would seem disingenuous to the animal not to make the most of the whole beast; there is a set of delights, textural and flavorsome, which lie beyond the fillet."  -FH

This extends to vegetables - the tops of root crops are used for salads or stocks, the condiments which accompany the animal proteins are also house-made.  This kind of thinking in the restaurant business is essential if small scale farmers are going to supply chefs with animal protein in a sustainable way, in my opinion.  The whole era of the disembodied chicken breast/tenderloin/roast chuck needs to come to a quiet close.  There are many other and far more delicious things to do with "the rest of it" than grind it up for hot dogs and/or dog food! 

I bought it because we are about to embark on raising animals for food, and I want to know how best to utilize the entire carcass in creative and nutritious ways. 
 
Jami McBride
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Wow - what a great way to think, and learn.

Thanks for posting this - I just had an out-of-box (paradigm) experience!

It reminds me of the Weston A. Price foundation's promotion of using whole grains, animal fats and more, but this goes one step more -

Great food for thought.
 
                    
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Thought you'd enjoy this philosohy, Jami!    It's a fabulous book, and has really opened my eyes to a very primal way of eating. 

Another thing that Fergus is into is that the dish isn't "finished" when it emerges from the kitchen, there is effort required of the eater to get the food down the hatch, and it's generally literally a hands-on experience.  There are many dishes where the instructions for serving are like "put it all (like, say, ten roasted pheasants) in a big bowl in the middle of the table, and encourage everyone to use their hands."  HA! 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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A set of methods was developed, and became trendy for a while, called sous vide cooking.

I understand that naming it that was a bit of a pun: sous means "under," similar roots as our word "south" I think, but familiar from the job title "sous chef." Vide means literally "void" or "nothing," but is also means vacuum.

The trend was to buy vacuum-packed cuts of meat, and slow-cook them inside the plastic with extremely precise control of the temperature. So it literally meant "cooking under vacuum," inside the vacuum pack. But it also implied "under nothing," unsurpassed. 

When I hear the phrase, I think of the villain from the film The Neverending Story: The Nothing. I know it's light entertainment for children, but I think it's a reasonably good mythic representation of the void that seems to dominate modern systems, a lack of thought, of meaning, of responsibility, of surprise. Sous vide cooking seems aptly named because it's subservient to that Nothing: it sacrifices tasty parts of the animal and non-renewable resources on the altar of predictability.

I'm really pleased to hear about an antithesis to all that!
 
                    
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I think it's a reasonably good mythic representation of the void that seems to dominate modern systems, a lack of thought, of meaning, of responsibility, of surprise.  Sous vide cooking seems aptly named because it's subservient to that Nothing: it sacrifices tasty parts of the animal and non-renewable resources on the altar of predictability.


Quite nice analysis of a truly awful cooking method, Joel.   

Someone tried to talk me into cooking a turkey in one of those plastic bags designed for the purpose last thanksgiving and I just couldn't do it.  I know it'd be juicier (would have been divine if we'd had time to brine the thing) but I just will NOT cook food in plastic, sorry! 

Recent reading about meat tells me that a vac pac is quite possibly the worst way to package and store it.  Meat wants to breathe and to continue the aging process by continuing to lose moisture, not marinate in an anaerobic puddle of its own blood.  This is why the traditional butcher's wrapping is paper, and when you get it home, the best thing to do is put it on a plate and drape a clean towel over it. 

All of the above is according to The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.  Another fantastic book about good and bad meat, Hugh especially takes the time to emphasize that the origin of meat is extremely important.  (I added some "meat lit" to the library this month.  )  He eventually goes so far as to admonish readers to boycott industrially produced pork and poultry altogether.  He really tries to be "not preachy" about it but eventually his passion for the small scale extensively and organically produced meat comes blazing through.  And it's great!
 
Ken Peavey
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Hot Dog?
hotdog.jpg
[Thumbnail for hotdog.jpg]
 
Brenda Groth
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oh that hot dog is really cute..

my father was a  trapper, he used everything..and when hubby and i were first married one of our first family get togethers for christmas i pressure cooked a beaver for dinner and the guests were all totally grossed out..(it was delicious)..amazing how some people are so prejudiced about their food.

 
Ken Peavey
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When I was young a friend came over for dinner.  My mother served "steak."  My friend found it delicious until I informed him it was deer steak.  He hurled.

People will eat what they identify as food.  That which they do not identify as food can make them ill.
 
                              
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marina phillips wrote:

Someone tried to talk me into cooking a turkey in one of those plastic bags designed for the purpose last thanksgiving and I just couldn't do it.  I know it'd be juicier (would have been divine if we'd had time to brine the thing) but I just will NOT cook food in plastic, sorry! 



If you brown the turkey quick by roasting it at 425 or so for 30-45 minutes(so it gets good and browned fast), the turkey makes its own bag! then of course lower the temp to normal till it's done(this will cook it quicker too).
 
                    
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People will eat what they identify as food.  That which they do not identify as food can make them ill.


What's so gross about a deer?  I was raised on venison so I suppose I'll never understand that. 

Lucky for most of us in this country to have such a range of choices in what we eat.  I'm fully expecting that to change here in the next century (or sooner).  I want to get really good at preparing and eating things that I might otherwise not think of as "food." 
 
Jami McBride
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Cooking heritage birds and turkeys breast side down, in enough broth to cover the breast, and then browning it out of the liquid for the last 10 min. will give you a juicy golden bird. 

Cook it low and slow for a wonderful tender bird, no plastic required.
 
                    
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Jami - keeping the breast down is seriously the way to go.  I also cook fowls like this and only recently someone pointed out it's not how you're "supposed" to. 
 
Matt Ferrall
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Ive found one good way to eat the entire animal(if smaller) is to simmer it for a long time(soup).Tonight I will be finishing off a soup made with virtually all of a 6 week old puppy in it.Just place the carcus and all the edible(intestines,gall bladder excluded)organs into a large pot.I even enjoy the cartilage for joint support.My sweety and I argued over who would get the eyes.we cooked it long enough to easily crack the skull and split the brains between the dinner guests.Oh yea,the dog was defective in several ways and as the breeder,I have a resposibility to cull those so Im just trying to honor it by eating it.I added lots of burdock roots and good king henry shoots plus wild onions.mmm!
 
                    
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Humm, eating dog I know its not a big deal to some, for example Native Americans were known to eat dog & so in chins also, but many of us were programed not eat our companion species & not to take as companions our food species.  Lots of emotional turmoil there!

D
 
Jami McBride
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Dianne Keast wrote:
Lots of emotional turmoil there!


Absolutely!

So let us not get into a debate on eating dog (on this thread anyway) for it will surely be heated - and this topic is not about eating unconventional things....
 
                    
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this topic is not about eating unconventional things..


Eh, I think it is a little bit.  Most folks do not think that they would like the organ meat from most any animal, and offal is the heart (oh goodie a pun!) of this cook book and philosophy

I second the desire to avoid the conversation about the ethics or emotions of dog eating in this thread, but I appreciate the spirit of Mt. Goat's meal. 

As I learn more about butchering I realize that offal is the immediate reward - it's best eaten the same day of the slaughter.  The "meat" takes aging of some kind to make it palatable/digestable. 
 
Jami McBride
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I guess you could think of the organs as unconventional - kind of.... but I don't.

I'm sure you realize Marina, how hard it can be to pick one's words as to not offend anyone. 

However, I believe you got my point spot-on, and it wasn't to comment on Mt. Goat's post (thereby keeping things going), but rather to head off a controversial turn in this thread.  I'll keep my thoughts on eating dog meat for another thread should it ever appear...... until then,

I'm just doing my job    I hope everyone understands - peace out guys!
 
                    
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I agree! let us not get into a debate on eating dog, its a very slippery slope 
D
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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>many of us were programed not eat our companion species & not to take as companions our food species.

I think it runs much deeper than that.

We have a very deep and widespread history of forming a cultural group that sets at least one animal as taboo for food use. For Americans, the most distinctive example is the horse. Monotheists, as a rule, don't eat pork (although most Christians find a loophole in this rule). In some cultures, there are cultural subgroups, each with a different animal they aren't allowed to eat; people can only marry someone with a different taboo animal, which keeps all these groups living together and closely inter-related.

There's a real ecological benefit to having different groups with different taboos, because various wild populations are protected from over-hunting. Some people even speculate that this is a biological instinct that proved adaptive when we began hunting, along with our fascination with games of chance.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Another aspect not often discussed is eating raw meat(although its a bit rubbery for my taste).I agree with eating the organ meats first.Usually if its going to take some time to skin and butcher,I`ll take the heart and cook it up right then for energy.Young deer heart is really tender so can be eaten rare and gives you an energy boost for whats next.I like to eat the parts that I am weak in so cartilage for joints and eyes for eyesight ect..The tung (sp?)is my favorite simmered until cooked,cooled,and then sliced thin for cold sandwiches.Fed that as a child from my grandparents dairy farm.
 
Jami McBride
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I agree, cold tongue for sandwiches is sooooooo good.  A real treat.
Your making me hungry! 
 
                    
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I love the idea of using every part of the animal possible, it seems for me personally this is an act of homage & respect for nature. I feel proud when I know that nothing has been wasted.

I worry about eating organ meats though because I was told that of toxins from generalized pollution accumulate in organs, even in organic farming I worry that contaminants are just in the general environment.
What do you think about this?
 
Lf London
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Cook and eat the best parts and feed the rest, cooked, to the cats and dogs,
which all farms need a few of, especially cats. Why buy cat food?
 
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