If we’re going to be eating as many animals as we do, maybe we should start eating the whole thing. Nose to Tail cuisine isn’t really a new trend. Resourceful cultures have always made the most of what they’ve killed. Now I am not saying that we are not a resourceful culture. In many ways we are, however utilizing the all of the food we produce isn’t one of them.
As a whole we here in the states have become very accustomed to eating large amounts of meat regularly but we have a taste for the prime cuts such as pork chops, filet mignon, chicken breast, etc. Lets face it most of us only see a whole animal on Thanksgiving and even then we normally ask the local grocery store to make it for us. Thus a lot of the slaughtered animals goes to waste. Not only do these scraps end up in our already crowded landfills but, on another level I will argue that if you take a sentient beings life you should probably make the most of it. Fergus Henderson, author of The Whole Beast nailed it when he said, “If you’re going to kill the animal it seems only polite to use the whole thing.” It’s also worth noting that these non-prime cuts such as liver, tripe, heart, tongue, and trotters are considered by many to be tastier than what we consider traditional cuts. Besides it being polite and more of a culinary adventure to eat the stranger cuts there is also the fact that we are wasting more that just the uneaten bits of meat when we throw them out. Think about the mass amount of resources that go into raising these animals, from how they’re fed to transporting them to your local store or restaurant.
I’m not saying that we all need to embrace our inner Andrew Zimmerman or try breaking down pig heads in our kitchens and start inviting guests over for lamb brains but rather to be more respectful of what we consume and maybe even stumble upon something delicious in the process. There are several restaurants and chefs in Atlanta that embrace this idea such as Eat Me Speak Me, Abattoir, Holy Taco, and Mi Barrio to name just a few. There are also several cookbooks that address nose to tail cuisine if you’re adventurous enough to give it a shot at home. It’s not as scary as you might think and below are some recipes that I started with at home.