Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The Rural Gourmet.
Yesterday, I had just finished weeding the rain garden on the grounds of the nearby museum, and since I did not look too grubby, I stopped by a grocery that I rarely use to pick up some basic food items.
During this quick visit, something caught my eye. As I passed the freezer cases I saw white 3-gallon plastic buckets of something sitting on the bottom of the case. My curiosity got the better of me and I paused to read the top of the label and it said simply 'pork chitterlings'. I was not exactly sure what these are, but I did not think they were probably healthy and I was sure they were a 'southern thing'. It is a good-old-boy county that I live in after all.
If you Google images of pork chitterlings you will get photos of what look like little gray white slimy unappetizing grubs. If you go further in research you will see that this food, sometimes called chitlins, is pig intestines. To be a more accurate connoisseur...they are from the SMALL intestine. Boy that makes me feel mouth watering better. While I feel free to denigrate this food on my blog and might assume it is the food of poor people since it was given to slaves in our early history, my research reveals that it is eaten everywhere across the globe. I know that the French eat strange animal body parts...but this part of the pig is eaten EVERYWHERE! Yet I still wonder why someone would need three gallons of it!
Nutritionally these rubber tubes are high in calories from fat. What a surprise. They get a C- in nutritional value but since their preparation requires detailed attention due to the fact they carry salmonella and e-coli, maybe weight issues are of no concern. After a bit of e-coli, you can be very thin.
I did read that in the U.S. a small onion is added to mitigate what might be an unpleasant odor when it is cooked. Really. An unpleasant odor...wonder why? When you have to add an ONION to erase odors...well, enough said! I do not think I will be eating these in my future.
Now before my readers put me in the food snob column, as a small child I loved pickled pigs feet and did eat them as a snack with my dad. Of course, we were farm folk and food was never thrown out. But when the pigs were slaughtered, I am sure we did not eat chitterlings. We did have our standards.