[Sca-cooks] Tripe dressing

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Mon Aug 21 05:47:51 PDT 2006

On Aug 21, 2006, at 2:15 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Greetings Everyone,
> I just got back from Pennsic Saturday night and this message was
> waiting in my mailbox with a question about tripe. Here is Bill's
> original question, my reply and his reply to this.
> As I mentioned to him, I thought some of you might be able to answer
> his questions about tripe and I thought some of you might be
> interested in this subject as well. Raw tripe eaten with salt, pepper
> and a sprinkling of vinegar? Certainly sounds plausibly medieval, but
> not my idea of breakfast.
> Please remember to copy him on any replies since he isn't on this  
> list.
> Thanks,
>     Stefan

Hello, Stefan and Bill...

I'll reply to various points more or less in order, but I think  
there's some confusion at work here.

> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: Foxton Bill <bill_foxtonobe at yahoo.co.uk>
>> Date: August 21, 2006 12:54:21 AM CDT
>> To: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>
>> Subject: Re: Tripe dressing
>> Dear Stefan, In the north of England they sell what they  call
>> dressed tripe. Tripe dressing is or was a trade centered around the
>> town of Darwin in Lancashire. I believe there is only one shop
>> still operating there now. The tripe in the shop window is very
>> white and is obviously uncooked.It has a slightly slimy and
>> gelatinous texture.Here in Kosovo it has a slightly off white
>> appearance and is as it comes out of the cow. I would be happy to
>> try and wash it and cook it as it comes after a thorough washing
>> but I have a feeling that there may be a process which I am not
>> aware of which could be soaking it in a liquid with something added
>> to get the very white appearance.I am happy to give you permission
>> to post my message to the list.Thanks for answereing. Incidentally
>> in the north of england people actually eat tripe raw with salt and
>> pepper with a sprinkling of vinegar. Yuk! Best regards Bill

I think there are different ways of treating tripe before sale not  
only in different countries, but also at different times. The short  
answer is that as far as I know, I don't think it's possible for most  
tripe to be eaten raw. There may be exceptions, such as if you're  
taking tripe from an unweaned calf or something like that, but in  
general, tripe is much too tough to consider eating raw without some  
kind of treatment. It would be like eating raw animal hide.

I have cookbooks with text and recipes that suggest that in the USA,  
where both Stefan and I live, tripe was sold by many butchers in a  
pre-cooked form -- parboiled -- until approximately the 1950's or  
60's. Now, however, it seems to be sold raw or simply blanched or  
scalded before cutting, chilling and packing, and definitely requires  
further cooking. Most recently, the tripe I've seen in the ordinary  
supermarkets is frozen, cut into blocks, packed and thawed, so this  
may or may not eliminate the blanching step.

My suspicion is that in the north of England, and in France, tripe  
can still be purchased in some places in pre-cooked form, after which  
you can eat it without further cooking, with vinegar and oil (this is  
also common with pig's and calves heads, similarly cooked), braised  
in cider, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried, or whatever. In Poland and  
places like the Ukraine, and in markets elsewhere that cater to  
immigrants from these places, you can buy tripe cooked and packed in  
jelly (which is not as bad as it sounds ;-)  ). There are also a  
number of Chinese tripe dishes that call for uncooked tripe to be  
marinated in baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) solution to tenderize  
it before stir-frying or steaming, but I'm not aware of this being  
done anywhere else.

I think that what you're seeing in Kosovo is probably whole stomachs,  
washed but not blanched. What you would do is wash the tripe, place  
it into a large pot of salted, boiling water, boil for a few minutes,  
skim off any foam that rises, and drain. Discard the water, rinse the  
tripe in cold water, scrape/cut off any large pieces of fat or areas  
with dark spots, and cut it into more manageable pieces (which may or  
may not be the pieces you're going to serve it in). You can then  
simmer it in fresh water, stock, wine, ale, or any combination  
thereof (milk in parts of England and Ireland, with plenty of onions  
and black pepper), like a stew, which you can serve as is, or cooked  
down until the liquid will jelly when cold (tripe has a lot of  
collagen). Or, take it out of the liquid when it's almost done, drain  
until dry, and fry or saute it.

I hope this helps; I haven't given recipes, exactly...

Phil Troy / Adamantius

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