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When you think about it, edible “meat” consists of the muscle cut from the beast’s bones.

But avant-garde restaurateurs are serving creations based upon “variety meats”, such as brains, tongue, heart, kidneys, etc. These names, though a bit disgusting when thought of as food, are familiar words. This week we’ll bravely venture deeper into the vocabulary of variety meats.

offal – the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal; the edible “leftovers” from the butchering
[from off + fall, the stuff that which "falls off" the butcher's block. Perhaps directly from the English words; perhaps from the old Dutch term afval formed that way.]
    Again and again, in Vietnam, Brazil, Singapore, Mexico, Portugal, France, even England, a tradition of skillfully prepared hooves, snouts, shanks, innards and "scraps" is a vital part of a nation's culinary culture. If you have an ability to coax flavor and texture out of the nasty bits, you know how to cook a chicken or a steak. So often, the dishes created from poverty and necessity become national treasures, points of pride, cornerstones of cultural identity. At the same time, there seems to be an increasing interest in offal among the food cognoscenti.
    – New York Times, June 11, 2003 (ellipses omitted)

    . . .“Now you have fared worse than we and what have you eaten?”
    . . .And the man sighed forth in a whisper.
    . . . “What have I not eaten? Offal from the streets like dogs when we begged in the town …”
    – Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth
 
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Interesting to know how many words are really just direct collisions, like offal, "off-fall" or atone, "at one."

I wouldn't necessarily include simply letter transfer like a napple = an apple / a napron = an apron / or an eft = a newt. (And no Monte Python on that last one.)


RJA
 
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“What have I not eaten? Offal from the streets like dogs

My mother called them leftovers.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by wordcrafter:
Perhaps directly from the English words; perhaps from the old Dutch term afval formed that way.]


German Abfall, "garbage"
 
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Tripe and sweetbreads are two things I never pass up when I see them on a menu.
 
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giblets – the edible innards of a chicken or other fowl: liver, heart, gizzard, and neck (usually removed before the bird is cooked)
[Old French gibelet game bird stew, prob. from gibier game hunted for sport]
    She undoes the string on the chicken, and the glazed paper. She prods the chicken, flexes a wing, pokes a finger into the cavity, fishes out the giblets. The chicken lies there, headless and without feet, goose pimpled as though shivering.
    – Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel
Bonus word:
gizzard
– a muscular, thick-walled part of a bird’s stomach for grinding food, typically with grit [birds have no teeth to grind their food]
[Old French, from Latin gigeria cooked entrails of fowl]
 
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sweetbread – the thymus gland or pancreas of an animal, used for food
    That sweetbread gazing up at me
    Is not what it purports to be.
    Says Webster in one paragraph,
    It is the pancreas of a calf.
    Since it is neither sweet nor bread,
    I think I'll take a bun instead.
    – Ogden Nash
My sentiments exactly.
 
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head-cheeseU.S.: portions of swine’s head, or head and feet, cut up fine, seasoned, and pressed into a cheeselike mass [another source says “he ears and feet of swine cut up fine, and, after being boiled, pressed into the form of a cheese”.] In the UK, called brawn. Served as a sausage?
    Starting with the live lobsters and crabs you work your hungry way right around past the cheese, and the sausages, and the hams, and tongues, and head-cheese, past the blonde person in white who makes marvelous and uneatable things out of gelatine, through a thousand smells and scents – smells of things smoked, and pickled, and spiced, and backed and preserved, and roasted.
    – Edna Ferber, Buttered Side Down

    “When I was a broth of a boy, I thought head-cheese was made of heads. All those stories of cannibals I fed on, of course. … Now that I’m grown up, I know of course that it’s only gelatin and bits of . . . stuff, . . . but it takes a certain amount of callousness to be able to wolf down head cheese, don’t you think?”
    – Evelyn Piper and Maria DiBattista, Bunny Lake is Missing
 
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I’ve gotten a bit behind, so let’s have extra words today.

tripe – a cow’s (or similar animal’s) first or second stomach, used as food [from this: nonsense; rubbish (informal)]

umbles – the entrails of a deer, or, entrails in general
[Mid. Eng. numbles meant "offal", and the phrase a numbles changed to an umbles. There was another development later. In the word humble the h was silent, and so the word sounded just like umble. Hence the phrase humble pie was a pun!]
    I followed, entering by the front door as if I were queen of the world. Inside all was dark, the smell of roasting meat feathering my nose as well as the fruity ripeness of a tripe gone over, or a fish poorly smoked.
    – Kathleen Kent, The Heretic's Daughter

    The special Christmas food was mostly sweet: gingerbread dolls; frumenty, made with wheat and eggs; perry, sweet pear wine that made her giggly; and Christmas umbles, tripes boiled for hours, then baked in a sweet pie. … She liked decorating the house with holly and hanging up the kissing-bush, although the kissing made her giggle even more than the pear wine.
    – Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth
Bonus words:
frumenty
– a spiced porridge, made of hulled wheat boiled in milk and flavored with sugar and spices
perry – pear cider; an alcoholic drink, often effervescent, made from fermented pear-juice
 
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Today’s dish, of international though limited appeal, has inspired numerous names as well as witty commentary.

rocky mountain oysters; prairie oysters – testicles of animals (usually cattle), served as food. A delicacy; usually flour-coated, seasoned, then deep-fried, and served as an appetizer.

animelles – testicles of animals (esp. of young rams), used as food (sometimes called lamb fries), formerly much in vogue in France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
    The Delicacy That Defies Delicacy … A rose is a rose, but a Rocky Mountain oyster is not a mollusk.
    – Washington Post, Feb. 3, 1988

    [review of the “new edition of the cook's bible, ‘Larousse Gastronomique’"]
    As in past editions [of , the yuck-factor starts early -- on the first page, in fact -- with a long entry for abattoir, which details slaughtering practices in antiquity. …While still on "A," don't miss the three recipes for animelles -- "lamb fries" in my home state of Kentucky.
    – Wall Street Journal, Jan. 4, 2002

    The mayor has agreed to let the Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed — a tradition here since the 1950s — proceed as scheduled. Many East Coast folks are unaware of the cattle-country canapé, also celebrated at the beer-soaked "Testicle Festival" in Rock Creek, Mont., where contestants in a swinging-beef fryoff are judged on their cowboy caviar.
    – Seattle Times (AP; Eagle, Idaho), June 8, 2006; ellipses omitted
 
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