Offal House


I have always been a strong proponent of offal consumption. For those unfamiliar with the somewhat antiquated term, offal refers to the various tasty internals of an animal, including kidneys, liver, tripe, bone marrow, pancreas and thymus among others. Morbid though this may sound, there is a great tradition of consuming said offal. Innards were a sacrament of the Etruscan Haruspex, used to divine the future and interpret messages from the gods. Sort of like a slightly more juicy version of our modern Thanksgiving wishbone tradition. The Romans used to take offal and stuff it with other kinds of offal. They were particularly fond of duck and goose liver.

Offal should definitely be a more common part of the everyday American diet. Chances are, we are already eating a lot more of it than we know. Anyone who has ever graced the hallowed halls of Taco Bell must be aware that eighty-five percent of the meat served within is made of snout and/or tail. With accurate labels, at least we would all be eating the highest quality offal available. Instead of Waffle House, inebriated young people could go out to Offal House at two in the morning. Even better, they could go to IHOO— the International House Of Offal. If you’ve ever been to Waffle House or Denny’s in the middle of the night, you know the food isn’t that good. Actually, it’s a little like buttered paper maché. Pretty much anything can be vastly improved with copious amounts of blueberry syrup (conveniently provided in the syrup bar). Pancakes? Syrup. Patty-melt? Syrup. Tripe? Syrup.

The only snag would be that the International House of Offal might have a little trouble putting pictures of all of their dishes on the menu. It would look more like a two-page spread of an abattoir. That’s the last thing you want to see when you’re coming down from a bad acid trip or a three-day mescaline bender. So maybe tasteful descriptions would be better. The Germans seem to have made this system work. They are able to get tourists to eat all manners of offal with the simple method of writing all of their menus in German. With no pictures to look at and a stark vocabulary made up of the words “Bier” and “Schwein,” it’s as easy as steak and kidney pie for an ignorant American tourist to end up with a big plate full of offal. What’s this? A delicacy? It has a tail. Why does my dumpling have a tail? Oh, well, when in Rome, eat tail.

The reluctance of John Q. Public to wolf down lamb’s brain this humble gourmand’s comprehension. So while the masses favor sirloin over sweetbreads, I shall be content to settle down upon my duvet before the fire and devour fois gras lavishly with crackers and a nice sauterne and praise all creatures great and small.