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.]
– 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
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.)
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.
German Abfall, "garbage"
Tripe and sweetbreads are two things I never pass up when I see them on a menu.
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]
– Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel
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]
sweetbread – the thymus gland or pancreas of an animal, used for food
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
head-cheese – U.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?
– 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
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!]
– 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
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
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.
– 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