Talking Tripe Part 1:
When in Rome….
Welcome to Episode 2 and the first part of my journey to find out more about the alien like substance called tripe. Assisting me in this quest is food historian and host of the British Food History podcast Dr Neil Buttery.
Tripe refers to the stomachs from cows, sheep, pigs and other animals. It was once widely eaten across Britain by all levels of society and was regarded as a nutritious and economical meat. But tripe has gradually fallen out of favour in Britain since the mid twentieth century making it quite tricky to source.
‘Tripe called by any other name would achieve the popularity it undoubtedly deserves. It is one of the most digestible of foods - indeed, a doctor of my acquaintance puts all his patients suffering from indigestion upon a diet in which tripe stewed in milk, figures largely - while it can be most palatable and is undeniably cheap.’ Majorie Swift, Feed The Brute (1925)
In other parts of the world there is a fondness for this curious white flesh. Tripe soup is popular in both Mexico and Turkey. In Rome there is an area called Testaccio which is renowned for its offal based cuisine. In this episode British food writer and Guardian columnist Rachel Roddy shares some insights into how modern day Romans prepare tripe.
Rachel’s books include Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome, Two Kitchens: 120 Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome and the An A-Z of Pasta: Stories, Shapes, Sauces, Recipes. You can find more of her recipes and musings in her Guardian column or on her blog Rachel Eats.
You can find Rachel on Instagram: @rachelaliceroddy or Twitter: @racheleats
Don’t forget to check out Neil’s website British Food: A History loaded with fascinating historical recipes. His books include The Dark History of Sugar and Before Mrs Beeton. And if you haven’t done so already, do give his British Food History podcast a listen.
You can find Neil on Instagram: @dr_neil_buttery and Twitter: @neilbuttery
If you enjoy the podcast please don’t forget to rate it to help other listeners discover the Comfortably Hungry series.
You can follow me on Twitter @sjfbilton and Instagram @mrssbilton or discover more about my work and books at sambilton.com.
Useful Links/Further Reading
In 2016 the Oxford Food Symposium had Offal: Rejected and Reclaimed Food as its theme. The proceedings of the symposium contains some fascinating papers on tripe and other offal.
The tripe recipe Rachel mentions can be found in The Talisman Cookbook by Ada Boni originally published in the 1930s but link above is for English version published in 1975.
For a history of tripe in Britain try Tripe: A Most Excellent Dish by Marjory Houlihan
For further culinary inspiration try:
The Cook and Housewife’s Manual by Margaret Dods (1827)
Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking by Fergus Henderson
Offal: The Fifth Quarter by Anissa Helou
The Accomplisht Cook by Robert May (1678)
The Experienced English Housekeeper by Elizabeth Raffald (1786)