RE: OFFAL and other exotic delights
Hi, CCJPO. Found your post most interesting. I'll admit I did not know the meaning of the word OFFAL. My dictionary says it is the WASTE PARTS, especially the entrails, etc. of a butchered animal. Guess what is OFFAL would vary from person to person. I grew up on a farm participating in butchering hogs, beef, poultry, etc., etc. We considered "chittlins" (chitterlings) and what we called tripe and lights to be OFFAL, but lots of folks like chittlins. I know of several big "chittlin suppers" which are high society social events (tho they do serve other foods, too). Then I discovered years later in New York City that the lights and tripe which we threw away as OFFAL to be fancy French cooking dishes called sweetbreads. I'm sure that a lot of people would consider liver, heart, poultry gizzards. and particularly brains which we loved to be OFFAL. You do not know what a good breakfast is until you have had scrambled eggs with brains. Liver, heart, poultry gizzards were usually sauteed or fried, although heart was occasionally stuffed and baked. Poultry liver, heart, gizzards, and neck meat became giblets for giblet dressing and giblet gravy. Even within our own family we treated tongue as OFFAL whereas my aunt loved it. When it comes to wild critters, such as 'possum, squirrel, 'coon, rabbit, etc., I don't guess they would be OFFAL though they would have parts which would be. Afraid I'd have to classify the entire 'possum as OFFAL, for don't believe there is any way I could ever make myself eat a 'possum. I have no idea how it was cooked but a common old dish I've heard of is "possum and sweet 'taters". I've had some barbecued 'coon which was pretty good, and the Gillette Coon Supper is the premier initial event of Arkansas' political season each year. Every politician throughout the state from local constable to senior US Senator just has to be there for it (tho again, too, they do have other foods). I'm nowhere near high enough up the social or political pecking order to have ever attended the Gillette Coon Supper. Guess coon can be cooked several ways, but I've only had it barbecued. Young squirrel and young wild rabbit are delicious fried, just like chicken. In my opinion wild rabbit is so far superior in both taste and texture to domesticated rabbit that you would never know they were the same species of animal. While fried young squirrel is good and is probably most people's favorite way to eat it, my favorite way to eat squirrel (and even old, tough squirrels can be prepared this way) is to have squirrel and dumplings. There has never been any chicken and dumplings half as tasty as a mess of squirrel and dumplings in my opinion. Of course you can have wild duck, dove, and best of all, quail. Dove and quail are just fried and served with mashed potatoes and gravy, just like fried chicken, and wild duck is roasted or baked with dressing like domesticated duck, chicken, or turkey. I don't know anything about cooking or eating wild turkey. I just had some delicious venison roast, rice, and gravy for supper tonight. And deer can be cooked many more ways; great little steaks, made into sausage, etc. Of course fried bullfrog legs and fried or sauteed turtle are delicious. That is primarily the wild critters we have around here, but if you get down into Louisiana you have alligator, which is good, and I guess maybe elk, bear, and who knows what in other parts of the country. We do have some bear around here and there is occasinally a limited bear season but I don't know anyone who has cooked and eaten bear, tho I'm sure some people have.Your topic of OFFAL and then of wild critters is most interesting and just opens up more and more avenues the more you stop to ponder the subjects.