Variety Cuts (Offal, Organ Meats)


In the 9170’s very few would consider buying variety cuts (aka offal’s), and only a few specialized butchers catering to immigrants would offer those parts.

Turning your nose up at ingredients seldom found in North American cuisine for reasons of squeamishness is tantamount to looking down on gastronomic delights of European and Middle Eastern cuisines. Today, with the popularization of “snoot to tail “ cuisine many North American and European restaurants offer offal specialties on their menus.

It is a puzzle why fattened goose liver is popular and expensive, while beef tongue or sheep’s testicles are not. In Spain grilled bull’s testicles are considered delicacies. Still, “fine dining restaurants” would not dare to offer any offal considering the squeamishness of their patrons, with the possible exception of kidneys flamed at tableside, or poached, breaded and pan-fried sweetbreads.

Chopped chicken liver or even pate are popular with east European immigrants and widely accepted by many in Toronto and elsewhere in the country.

Middle Eastern people take delight in savouring roasted sheep’s heads. Wealthy gourmets in Far Eastern countries make a show eating the brains of live monkeys. In Korea dogs are specially bred for human consumption, snakes are regularly eaten in China, and crickets are a relish for many Far Eastern people. And if you can ask in fine dining restaurants in the Far East for bird’s nest soup. The server will not bat an eye, and serve portion.

You can sauté duck hearts and embellish salads, or braised cow tongue with Thai basil, or ribbons of pig uterus can be dipped in boiling chicken stock, or poached, sliced and scrambled lamb’s brains that are considered delicacies in Far Eastern countries.

Tripe soup is considered nutritious, and supposedly a proven cure for hangovers in Greece, Turkey, and Balkan countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia just to name a few).

If you live in Toronto and are interested to take a walk in Chinatown, or seek Middle Eastern restaurants you are likely to discover at least some of the delicacies described above.

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