Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
"Tripe is the muscular lining of beef stomach (can also be from sheep or pigs, but rarely). It comes in 4 types: the fat part of the first belly (called gras double in France), and three different sections of the honeycomb (the second stomach of the cow)--light, dark, and the partial honeycomb of the 2nd belly's extreme end.
"One thing is sure, this delectable, gelatinous, and blonde membrane--celebrated by Homer and by Rabelais--is tough to digest. Ideally it's cooked some 12 hours. And it should never be eaten by the dyspeptic or goutish.
"How indigestible is it? According to Rabelias, so indigestible that Gargamelle gave birth to Gargantua after eating a huge dish of godebillios (the fat tripes of oxen fattened on rich guimo-meadows).
"How delectable? According to Homer, it was prepared in honor of Achilles, son of Thetis and Peleus, petulant hero of the Trojan war, killer of Hector who ultimately fell at the hand of Paris.
"And it is reputed to be the cause of the quarrel in the 11th century between William the Conquerer (in French history, William the Bastard; in English, King of England, Duke of Normandy) and the enormously fat and sensuous Phillip I, King of France. Phillip's jest over tripe supposedly provoked a promise by William "that he would come and be churched at Notre Dame de Paris with 10,000 lances instead of candles."
"Then again, it was shkemhe chorba, tripe soup, that fueled the disciplined Christian Jannissaries of the Ottoman Empire on to their storied exploits--making and unmaking sultans to the tune of their military "Turkish music." http://www.soupsong.com/ftripe.html
For a less epic view of Tripe: "Tripe is a type of edible offal made from the stomach of various domestic animals. Beef tripe is typically made from the first three of a cattle's four stomachs, the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe), and the omasum (book/bible/leaf tripe). Abomasum tripe is also seen, but with much less frequency. Sheep and pork tripe are also produced.
"Fresh tripe, which includes bits of the stomach's last content, smells very unappetizing for humans. Nevertheless, is a favourite of many dogs and other carnivores. Tripe has to be watered and meticulously cleaned for human consumption.
"Tripe is eaten in many parts of the world...."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripe
I love Beef Tripe, but I rarely get it these days. I recently found a restaurant the makes it the way I like it. Now I wonder if this food is healthy. I would like to find out if it is high in saturated fat, since I am trying to lower my chloresterol, I need to know if I should stay away from this food. Do you know where I find that kind of nutritional information ?
"At noon home to dinner upon tripes"
In Lancashire and other parts of the North of England in the 1950s there were 146 UCP shops-cum-restaurants specialising in tripe dishes and with long queues for seats. UCP stood (and still does at its single remaining outlet) for United Cattle Products, who also provided Ox Tail, Cow Heel and other bovine extremities in an age when little was wasted. Tripe was also sold in chip shops. From recollection it is virtually tasteless and so depends on what accompanies it - onions, mustard, salt, vinegar etc - rather like a MacBurger in fact! Presumably Sam, as an up and coming and steadily more prosperous man who enjoys an occasional venison pasty, was not being economical when he dined upon tripes, but savouring a respected delicacy.
Tripe is considered a delicacy in Mexican cooking, where it is called menudo. It is on the special Sunday menu in many Mexican restaurants in the southwestern U.S. I'm not overly fond of it, but it doesn't inspire the gag reflex (maybe if I were trying to cook it ...). As Paul Dyson says, it has little taste of its own, just adding a chewy texture to the soup or whatever that it's in.
I like tripe. I've definitely had bad tripe, but tripe can be really awesome if you do it right. My trick is putting a little vanilla in the boiling liquid.
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