Intrepid Optimist

Intrepid Optimist is the place where I can share my stories; fact, fiction and thoughts from the past and present. It’s Written by myself for people who believe adventure knows no age

Just a Load of Tripe

In case of confusion, I am not referring to tripe as in trash, rubbish or the nonsense some of our politicians are tend to spout. I mean tripe as in  the white, spongy stuff which is the edible lining from a cow or pig stomach.

For many, just mention the word tripe (edible version) and they will  gag – but little do they know just what they are missing. It has been on the menu for a few thousand years; in 1200 BC it was served at the banquet to honour Achilles, hero of the Trojan Wars.

Though no longer in fashion due to our increasing trend for only the choicest of animal flesh, Tripe is still popular outside the English speaking world. Most European countries list it as a speciality.

The French have their, Tripe al mode Caen – the Spanish, Callos a la Madrileña.  Rumania, Ciorba de But.  Polish, Flaczki. Russian Cуп-суп. Italy, Trippa ala Florentina and the, English, Tripe and Onions. As I child, I could be guaranteed to be home early if mother was serving tripe & onions, with chips for lunch.

Tripe is still  one of my favourite “speciality dishes”. Recently in Italy I enjoyed Trippa ala Florentina, during a  long, convivial  lunch with a group of friends, on the terrace of a old world restaurant in the middle of Florence’s vegetable market.

In  Europe we distinguish between four different types of beef tripe, and use all four. Honeycomb Tripe, the most tender. Book tripe,  midway between the smooth and honeycomb tripe; Reed Tripe. Comes from the fourth chamber of the cow’s stomach. Plain or flat Tripe, which is considered the least desirable tripe amongst tripe lovers.

In the 1960s there were hundreds of tripe shops in Lancashire. One chain, the UCP, (United Cattle Products) ran a string of  offal butchers across the north of England, many of which had inexpensive cafe-restaurants attached. At one time there were over 200 in Greater Manchester alone, where one  could buy tripe, cowheel, ox tail and black pudding.

As one can read, tripe is embedded in my memories. In the 70/80s I lived in Ecuador and can still recall the bullfights in Quito (don’t get upset, I’m  no longer an aficionado). It was tradition after the annual December corridas to go to Las Feroles, the only Spanish restaurant at that time, Not being a great lover of Paella I would always have Callos ala Madrileña and the dear  owners, Raphael and his wife Lisa, both flamenco dancers, would entertain us royally.

Don’t take my word for it. If you have never tried it – you should, before this underrated member of the offal family disappears for ever. I implore you – give it a chance before it is too late and I am not talking a load of tripe.

About bbryanthomas

Not so young man about town who, having witnessed and enjoyed life, is presently having fun, writing about those by-gone times and life in general.

6 comments on “Just a Load of Tripe

  1. The Shining Gem
    September 20, 2017

    “For many, just mention the word tripe (edible version) and they will gag”

    I know I did. This does sound pretty gross. And besides, I don’t eat beef so a dish like this is out of question for me. Yet, knowing about the historical implications written by you was quite fascinating.


    • bbryanthomas
      September 20, 2017

      One man’s food is another man’s poison SG.


    • bbryanthomas
      September 21, 2017

      I’m curious? Is the word tripe, as in nonsense, used in Indian English. If not, my tripe piece would sound like tripe


      • The Shining Gem
        September 21, 2017

        I’ve never seen an Indian person use the word Tripe so I guess no. At least in vernacular we don’t. Yet I do not think this piece sounds tripe at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bbryanthomas
        September 21, 2017

        If you don’t know it or eat it, we’d better bury it. Enough tripe for today.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Shining Gem
        September 21, 2017

        Haha, sure thing.


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This entry was posted on September 20, 2017 by in Gourmet, Stories and tagged , , .
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