Tripe is the name commonly given to the stomach tissue of ruminant animals.

Bovines have four stomachs through which their food undergoes different stages of digestion.

From the first, the rumen, comes the "blanket" tripe, so named because of its "pile". It varies in thickness and is often accompanied with a layer of fat which needs to be removed. The second stomach, the reticulum, produces "honeycomb" tripe, generally preferred by cooks because it keeps its shape during cooking and also because it holds, on its textured surface, the sauce in which it is cooked. Tripe from the third stomach, the omasum, is known as "bible", "book" or "seam" tripe. Tripe from the fourth stomach, the abomasum, produces "reed tripe"-glandular tripe and is rarely used.

Some Italian recipes , the Milanese specialty, Busecca, for example, are quite strict about the need for a combination of two kinds of tripe.
Tripe is almost always cleaned, bleached and par-cooked before it appears in butcher shops. Unprocessed tripe is an unattractive khaki colour but some recipes that call for long cooking specify uncooked and unbleached tripe as being of better flavour.

Lacking its own gelatine, bovine tripe, is often cooked in combination with a calf's hoof or pig's trotter, or pork rind, all of which are rich in gelatine, to make some of the most famous-and necessarily time consuming -jdishes.

Other butchered animals such as pigs, sheep and goats also produce useable tripe but have only single stomachs. These are referred to as "bags", "hoods" or "paunches" and are an ideal container for various sorts of stuffing.

The stomachs of some large fish, such as sharks, are even used in Asian cuisine and can be seen in food stores, dried and labelled "fish maw".


In countries where beef is the preferred meat, use is made of beef or veal tripe rather than that from other animals, except for special dishes such as the Scottish favourite- haggis- where the sheep's stomach or paunch makes a convenient bag in which to pack the other ingredients. This bag is sometimes referred to as "the hood' or "the king's hood" or "monk's hood" in local recipes.

Countries other than Scotland also make haggis-like dishes; Greece, where sheep are common, makes similar use of sheep paunches especially at the time of Easter festival.
In many European countries and the southern United States, where small farmers often keep a pig or two for domestic consumption, traditionally every part of the pig is used including the stomach.

The Pennsylvania Dutch used "hog maw" to make a large sausage stuffed with well-flavoured minced pork, vegetables and herbs. This was sealed and braised in cider or stock for three hours and served hot or cold. This dish was called "stuffed goose". Lengthy cooking is necessary for pig tripe as it is difficult to digest. It is also more gelatinous than other tripes, which gives it a distinctive character. One of the best-known tripe recipes in America, Philadelphia Pepper Pot, originated also with the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Tripe being cheap and nutritious is favoured as soul food among Negro communities in the American South. One such dish consists of boiled tripe cut into strips and mixed with salad vegetables and mayonnaise.

Australian cook books from early pioneering days instruct how to prepare tripe from newly slaughtered cattle: "take part of the paunch and wash thoroughly in cold water and soak for 12 hours in salted water. Then dip into scalding water and the inner skin can be peeled off easily. It is then ready for cooking or can be salted for keeping." The recommended recipes reflect our colonial origins.

Stewed tripe: Cut into small pieces and stew gently in milk. Thicken with flour, butter and a beaten egg yolk. Flavour with salt, pepper, a finely chopped onion and parsley.

Fried tripe: Parboil the tripe, then cut into pieces, dip in batter and fry.

Sheep tripe is used in the making of the famous Provencale dish "pieds-paquets a la Marseillaise" and "peterrain" from the south west of France.

Until Benoit of Caen learned how to prepare tripe with what have become the traditional seasonings and accompaniments tripe was not a dish favoured by gourmets. Since his time, the city of Caen has become the recognised centre for tripe cuisine in France. Because tripe usually requires lengthy preparation it has become customary for the restaurants of Caen to offer it on certain days as the 'specialte du jour" and the delicious aroma of cooking tripe directs customers to its source. Notices outside restaurants and wine shops also notify gourmets where to go for such delicacies as "tripes a la mode de Caen"
Nutritionally, tripe has much to recommend itself, being high in protein and calcium and containing little fat and no carbohydrate. However, it does contain cholestrol.

Major nutrients:

(per 90 grm serve, stewed in milk)

energy: 370 kjs potassium: 90 mg
protein: 13 g calcium: 135 mg
fat: 4g phos: 80 mg
cholestrol: 145 mg iron: .6 mg
carbohydrate: . 0 zinc: 2 mg
sugar: 0 niacin: 2.1 mg

Gastric lining, such as tripe has some intrinsic factor activity, which allows some vitamin B12 to be absorbed, if lack of intrinsic factor is the reason for the B12 deficiency.

Tripe in Italy is generally calves' tripe. In the past, the boiling liquid in which Italian butchers prepared tripe, was traditionally given free to the poor.

Tripe is a favourite dish in Italy and the local versions are many. For example:

Trippa alla Fiorentina is braised with tomato and marjoram and served on a piece of bread called "Lampredotto". Also served with white beans and grated cheese.

Trippa alla Romana is flavoured with mint. And served with a cheese sauce.

There is an Apulian tripe dish called quagghiariddi in which a sheep tripe is stuffed with lamb's liver, salami, cheese and parsley, mixed with eggs. It is cooked in an earthenware dish in the oven and reten with boiled rue.

Trippa alla pisana is served in a green sauce.

Trippa alla luchese includes cinnamon in its sauce

Tripe from the Romagna region had nutmeg among its ingredients

The Milanese tripe specialty, called Busecca involves two kinds of tripe cooked in a sauce flavoured with sage. It is served on pieces of bread, sprinkled with cheese and grilled. This dish is as characteristic of the Milanese as onion soup is of the Parisians, so much so that the rest of Italy call the Milanese "busecconi".

Piedmontese add mushrooms, sautéed separately, to their regional tripe dish

Their neighbours in Liguria, as well as adding dried mushrooms to Trippa alla genovese, add broad beans or potatoes to the tripe pot to finish the cooking.

Bologna, famous for its rich cuisine, makes a tripe dish which starts with bacon, onions, garlic fried in oil and ends with the dish thickened with eggs beaten into meat stock..

Tripa is a Corsican dish in which a sheep's paunch is stuffed with beetroot, spinach, herbs and sheep's blood.

Sardinia rears a third of Italy's sheep as well as goats and it is not surprising that tripe from these animals features in Sardinian cooking. Long strips of kid and lamb tripe are twisted together in a rope as long as three feet (a coda or cordula)j and grilled or cooked on the spit. This dish is also cooked in a pot over slow fire, in olive oil with peas and beans.

Tripes a Djotte is prepared in Belgium, where it is eaten as a Christmas sausage. It is made from equal parts of chopped borecole ( a variety of flat-leaved kale) sweated in fat scallops from lard-making, and finely chopped raw pork, mixed
with raw onion and seasoning flavoured with grated nutmeg and whole cloves and packed into fat ends or "bungs"- sections of animal large intestines.


Robbie Burns was not the first to pay tribute in verse to the haggis- the super sausage. The ancient Greeks had their own version of haggis and according to Aristophanes in 'The Clouds", they too had to approach the cutting of it with extreme caution. In the play, Strepsiades relates his personal experience:

Why, now the murder's out!
So was I served with a stuffed sheep's paunch I broiled
On Jove's day last, just such a scurvy trick;
Because, forsooth, not dreaming of your thunder,
I never thought to give the rascal vent,
Bounce goes the bag, and covers me all over
With its rich contents of such varied sorts.

The ancient Romans also had their own version of haggis. Apicius Coelius, the early writer on the art of cookery has bequeathed to modern readers, the list of ingredients:
Chopped pork, suet, egg yolks ,pepper, lovage, asafoetida, ginger, rue, gravy and oil. The method of preparation is the same as for modern haggis.

A way of serving tripe in the north of England is cold with vinegar.


Andouille is a large sausage made from half pig meat and half intestines, boiled then grilled and eaten either hot or cold, usually sliced thinly and served with mashed potato. Ingredients include pork tripe, pork chitterlings (the middle portion of pig gut below the stomach), calf mysentery (part of the peritoneum, also known by the intriguing names of "crow", "mudgeon" or "frill") fat bacon, pepper, wine, spices, onion. Depending on the region, it can be white, brown or black. It may be sold smoked or dried.
There are many regional versions of this sausage. To mention a few- a la
bourguignonne, a la strasbourgeoise, de Vire, a la Lyonnaise, de Savoie, and de Troyes but all the sausage included in these dishes contain tripe the gelatinous nature of which makes it an ideal ingredient for sausage stuffing. Andouillettes are a smaller version and omit the pork meat.
Jane Grigson, in "Charcuterie and French pork cookery" says they can be quite easily made at home.

The method is described here, not in the expectation that the average modern housewife will be inspired to give it a go, but rather to show to what lengths makers of hand-made sausages will go to achieve their product.
She concedes that the most difficult part is to find a butcher who will sell you the large intestine and belly of a pig. After that, the rest is plain sailing:

"If you have to clean the tripes yourself, the bath is the best place because, as well as
having plenty of room, you can fix the ends of the intestines over the cold tap and run plenty of water through. When it comes to the manufacture, a relay of unsqueamish helpers with neat fingers is an advantage."

The neat fingered friends are needed to assemble hanks of fat bacon, intestine and tripe strips, tied at the end with thread and drawn through short lengths of large intestine which are then tied off. These are packed into a pan where they are boiled for a few hours in milk and water. To flavour the filling, French charcutiers use a traditional mix of spices, pepper, ginger or cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
These sausages are eaten on their own, hot or cold and are frequently used to add flavour and character to other dishes.

Fanciers of andouilles set themselves apart from the ordinary ranks of sausage lovers. The town of Jargeau, near Orleans, boasts the title of "Capitale de L'Andouille" and is the headquarters of a society called "La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Goute-Andouille", with a world- wide membership.

It conducts annual competitions in which a Grand Jury selects medal winners from as many as 160 examples of this highly esteemed sausage. There are several other societies of French gastronomes devoted to the appreciation of andouilles and andouillettes. To learn more about this fascinating subject and be regaled with specific recipes, the "Book of Sausages" by Antony and Araminta Hippisley Coxe is the place to go.

It would be interesting to know whether any other tripe-eating nations go to such lengths to celebrate the tripe sausage.

The French are so serious about cooking their tripe that they use a special cooking pot called a tripiere for the purpose. It is a large squat-shaped ceramic pot usually finished in an attractive honey-coloured glaze. The opening is small, with a close fitting lid. To keep in the flavoursome steam over the long cooking time required for the best tripe recipes, the lid is often sealed all round with a dough (luting paste).

Elizabeth David, writing on Lyonnaise cuisine at "La Mere Fillioux", says " It was in this same little restaurant that I tasted…"Tablier de Sapeur" or fireman's apron. This is an oblong slab of tripe about half an inch thick (previously cooked, of course) coated with egg and breadcrumbs, grilled to a sizzling crispness and served with sauce tartare. No tripe enthusiast… I found it really enjoyable." (French Provincial Cooking) *See recipes

In Mediaeval times, fresh meat was not readily available in winter. Finding sufficient fodder for domestic animals during the winter months was a problem and stored feed was kept mainly for breeding stock, draft animals and riding horses, especially war horses.

It was customary to slaughter animals during autumn and to preserve the meat for storage, smoked, salted or pickled in brine. Hogs were slaughtered first and then, by tradition, the beef herds were butchered at

Martinmas -November 11th. It was customary to hold feasts at the time of year when the surplus of offal and offcuts, which did not lend themselves well to salting, were consumed while fresh by the people . This annual slaughter, in pagan times, had been called Yule. As with so many pagan festivals, the Christian church manipulated the dates to coincide with Christian celebrations (Carson I.A.Ritchie, in his book Food in Civilisation (Methuen), refers waggishly to this offal feast as "a sort of festival of lights.")

Maggie Beer recalls a trip to Florence on which a friend led her to a tiny square near the San Lorenzo markets where the proprietor of a tripe stall tempted her to try his wares. From a pot standing on a burner issued the tempting aroma of cooking tripe and lampredotto seasoned with herbs. Small squares of cooked tripe were offered and tried and then morsels of crusty panini were dipped into the stew and sampled with relish.

On the southern side of the Arno, the district of San Frediano used to be the location of tripe kitchens where in huge cauldrons tripe was boiled over wood fires, then hung up on metal hooks to drain. The boiling liquor became known as "the broth of San Frediano" and was collected at the end of the day by neighbourhood artisans as a snack seasoned with salt and pepper and eaten with bread.

Alexandre Dumas wrote in his GRAND DICTIONNAIRE DE CUISINE "Seven cities have claimed the honour of being Homer's birthplace: France and Italy argue about who had the honour of discovering how to prepare beef tripe. For my part, if I had the right to do so, I would abandon any claim which France might make in this respect. But duties are imposed on us, and we do not concede our claim on this score to the inhabitants of Milan."

Waverley Root, in his authoritative tome on food, entitled FOOD, while admitting that he is not a devotee of tripe, concedes…"I occasionally eat tripe dishes, not for their tripe, but in spite of it……I recall having once, in Narbonne, deliberately ordered a tripe dish from a menu which offered a considerable choice among other alluring possibilities because I was curious to know what 'Tripes a la narbonnaise' might be (I still don't know exactly except that there was an excellent combination of tomato, garlic and certainly strongly oromatic herbs which I was unable to identify.)

It is my theory that the function of tripe is to permit us to taste flavours which we cannot
sample on their own because they do not have sufficient substance to be served alone.'Dined with my wife on an excellent dish of tripes of my own directing' wrote Samuel Pepys 'covered with mustard as I have seen them at my Lord Crew's'. I doubt if it would have occurred to Pepys to eat mustard alone, but he could enjoy its pungent bite when tripe served as its vehicle. Tripe is an ideal carrier for other tastes since it has virtually none of its own to compete with them, once it has been cooked long enough to rid itself of its boiling-laundry odor."


The Age, Edition 1 Tue 23Feb 1999, Page 006

In the opening episode of the new British period drama Vanity Fair, lead character Becky Sharp, a grasping, impecunious little thing, finds herself in the employ of Sir Pit Crawley, whose parsimonious ways and gloomy, down-at-heel manor make a bowl of pallid, wet tripe the perfect culinary backdrop to the lass's desperate circumstances.

The message is clear. Here is bog peasant food for people who can't, or won't, spend a farthing on anything decent. Tripe has that sort of image.

Any web search on the subject will lead you to humorous essays on grizzly, unmentionable organs. There are even links to Spam! And, as Stephanie Alexander says in The Cook's Companion, "(tripe) is associated with northern England nostalgia - flat caps, poverty and grime".

Milestone cookbooks of the '60s, such as Robert Carrier's Great Dishes of the World, Craig Claiborne's Classic French Cooking from the Time-Life Series and our own Margaret Fulton's Complete Cookery make no mention of tripe. It is the unloved, unloveable meat.
But here's another side of the tripe coin. In Antonio Carluccio's new book, Southern Italian Feast, he writes: "Every time I see tripe in a trusted restaurant I order it immediately because, like pasta e fagioli, it is one of those simple dishes by which you can measure the chef's abilities."

He continues: "Tripe and other types of offal used to be eaten by the poor, since they were the cheapest cuts of meat. Today, offal is a gourmet speciality."

But as Mr Carluccio - a man with an Italian soul but British domicile, and therefore a slightly more worldly perspective than the average Italian - points out, younger food enthusiasts from the New World and Britain have begun to embrace tripe in a thoroughly egalitarian manner.

Is this because "peasant" food from the Po Valley or Gascony has considerably more cachet than peasant food from Northumberland or Leeds? Or is it just better food because of the vastly more sophisticated culinary culture of the places that developed these recipes in the first place?

Many of us are scarred by early childhood memories of tripe stewing in onions
and milk, the home reeking, the act of preparing such a meal the true sign of a dedicated wife pandering to her husband's nostalgic desires. But for anyone dedicated to food and eating, these hurdles usually prove not insurmountable.

Tripe has become symbolic of food passion, a willingness to experiment and an ability to subjugate the fear of offal that grips so many.
There is something highly alluring about the quality that tripe adds to a dish, the way it takes on other flavors yet imparts a character of its own; the texture is unique; and the flavor/smell, which is subtle in a finished dish, is something you either love or hate.
According to Maggie Beer, the most adventurous eaters are offal lovers. "In France, offal reigns supreme as a delicacy; the French word for it is abat, from abattoir.

"The French are wonderfully resourceful in using every part of the animal." But Beer, a dedicated offal lover, stumbles with tripe, the only food she could not stomach as a child. "I still can't even look at it in a white sauce," she writes in" Maggie's Farm", "which is how my mother used to cook it.

As soon as I see it I immediately smell what I revolted against in my childhood.
It must be an acquired taste because I love it now, cooked with tomatoes and olives in the Italian manner."

The development of great tripe dishes in countries such as France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Arab countries, as far back as medieval times, has allowed tripe to not only attain but retain gastronomic dignity in many parts of the world.
In Britain, tripe was at its most popular from late Victorian times to the 1950s.

Amazingly, there was a chain of modest restaurants in northern Britain in the early '60s that featured tripe as a signature dish. The chain did not survive.

But prosperity brought a decline in consumption in both Britain and Australia during the '50s and '60s: tripe had become tarred with the brush of austerity.

In "The Taste of America" (University of South Carolina, 1989) authors John and Karen Hess opine that "the trouble with Americans is that they have forgotten how to be poor ... (when) people coped better.

"In fact, the history of cookery is largely the triumph of housewives making do with what the gentry wouldn't touch," they wrote.

"Eating high on the hog meant eating the fancy, marketable cuts; the poor would get the jowl, the chitterlings, the feet, the tail and with them would make fine food.

All the great tripe, snail and sausage dishes are their inventions, and all the chowders."
One of those great tripe dishes came about in pretty much this manner. For the residents of Porto, Portugal, in 1415, it wasn't so much a matter of what they could or could not afford, but what was left. History records that when Prince Henry-the-Navigator provisioned his ships for an assault on the Moors at Ceuta, in Morocco, he slaughtered all the animals of his home port, leaving only the tripe to the residents. Get by they did, developing a dish that combined dried beans, red wine, chorizo sausage, prosciutto, tomatoes and a variety of herbs and spices.

Ever since, and even to this day, the people of
Porto have been known by the rest of Portugal as "tripeiros" - tripe eaters.
But it is the renowned Norman dish tripes a la mode de Caen that is celebrated most, a dish whose ingredients, cooking time and special cooking pot almost certainly means you'll never see it on a restaurant menu in this country. Add to that the fact that it is best prepared in very large quantities and even in France these days, it is more often ordered in a restaurant or purchased ready to heat at home from a butcher or charcutier.

Consisting, for the purist, of four different types of tripe (psalterium (or manyplies), rennet (or reed), reticulum and rumen, calves' feet, garlic, onion, carrot, bouquet garni, calvados and cider, as well as several seasonings, beef fat and a flour and water luting paste to seal the lid during cooking (12 hours), it is a rare treat.
Another quite different but famous tripe dish is the Lyonnaise tablier de sapeur, or fireman's apron. In Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking, she describes this "oddity" as an oblong slab of tripe about half an inch thick (previously cooked, of course) coated with egg and breadcrumbs, grilled to a sizzling crispness and served with a sauce tartare.

"No tripe enthusiast, I ordered it simply out of curiosity and found it really enjoyable," she writes. For the tripe aficionado, it must be heaven.

Mr Pickwick's Plentiful Portions
The Charles Dickens' Cookbook for Today
Brenda Marshall
1980 A.H&A.W.Reed

"A mighty fire was blazing on the hearth and roaring up the wide chimney with a cheerful sound, which a large iron cauldron, bubbling and simmering in the heat, lent its pleasant aid to swell.

There was a deep, red, ruddy blush upon the room; and when the landlord stirred the fire, sending the flames skipping and leaping up- when he took off the lid of the iron pot and there rushed out a savoury smell, while the bubbling sound grew deeper and more rich, and the unctuous steam came floating out, hanging in a delicious mist above their heads- when he did this, Mr Codlin's heart was touched….
"It's a stew of tripe," said the landlord, smacking his lips, "and cow -heel", smacking them again, "and bacon," smacking them once more, "and steak,"smacking them for the fourth time,"and peas, cauliflowers, new potatoes, and sparrow-grass, all working up together in one delicious gravy."

(The Old Curiosity Shop Ch xviii)

In the course of five minutes after his arrival at that house of entertainment, hr was enrolled among the gallant defenders of his native land; and within half an hour, was regaled with a steaming supper of boiled tripe and onions, prepared, as his friend assured him more than once, at the express command of his most Sacred Majesty the King.

Barnaby Rudge Ch xxxi

"Ah! It's very nice," said Toby. "It an't- I suppose it an't polonies?"
"No,no,no!" cried Meg, delighted. "Nothing like polonies!"

"No," said Toby after another sniff. "It's -mellower than polonies. It's very nice. It improves every moment. It's too decided for trotters. An't it?"

Meg was in an ecstasy. He could not have gone wider of the mark than trotters- except polonies.

"Liver?" said Toby communing with himself. "No. There's a mildness about it that don't answer to liver. Pettitoes? No It an't faint enough for pettitoes. It wants the stringiness of cocks' heads. And I know it an't sausages. I"ll tell you what it is It's chitterlings!"

"No, it an't!" cried Meg in a burst of delight.
"No, it an't!"

"Why, what am I a-thinking of!" said Toby, suddenly recovering a position as near the perpendicular as it was possible for him to assume. "I shall forget my own name next. It's tripe!"

Tripe it was; and Meg, in high joy, protested he should say, in half a minute more, it was the best tripe ever stewed.

The Chimes First Quarter.

"But who eats tripe?" said Mr Filer, looking around. "Tripe is without an exception the least economical, the most wasteful article of consumption that the markets of this country can by possibility produce.

The loss upon a pound of tripe has been found to be, in the boiling, seven eighths of a fifth more than the loss upon a pound of any other animal substance whatever. Tripe is more expensive, properly understood, than the hot-house pineapple. Taking into account the number of animals slaughtered yearly within the bills of mortality alone; and forming a low estimate of the quantity of tripe which the carcasses of those animals, reasonably well butchered, would yield; I find that the waste on that amount of tripe, if boiled, would victual a garrison of five hundred men for five months of thirty one days and a February over. The Waste, the Waste!

The Chimes First Quarter.


Interview with Warren Jones about his family's history in the tripe business.
25th March 01

Before the Great Depression settled over Australia, Fred Jones worked in the tripe shed at the Homebush abattoirs. Many of the men living in adjoining suburbs were employed at the meat works or in allied industries. Early in the 30's Warren's father along with many others lost their jobs.
Tripe was what he knew most about; and still having contacts at the abattoirs he decided to sell tripe himself. So daily he bought small quantities of prepared tripe from the abattoirs and sold it door to door from the carrier basket of his bicycle. This kept the family going and his customers, no doubt affected themselves by the Depression, depended on cheap food such as tripe and other offal as well as the wares of rabbitos, who also sold door to door
When he heard that Americans were using sodium peroxide as a bleaching agent to make tripe look more appealing. Fred adopted the same process Until then the tripe sold was an unattractive grey-green.
At first, bleaching was done in a bathtub. Then Fred built cement vats in the backyard of the rented house the family lived in and took on more of the preparation. The use of a horse and cart and then a Chevvy panel van reflected the growth of the business. Two of his three sons joined Fred in the business as it expanded. At its busiest, it provided work for eight men, including Warren, who handled the paperwork. A team of delivery men did weekly rounds of all the butcher shops as far afield as Canberra..
But trouble lay ahead in the 80's. The bleaching process raised the pH level from a natural 6-7 to nearer 10. While this did not affect the nutritional value of the tripe it did result in the retention of more water and the Health Department and its food inspectors claimed this defrauded the buyers. The Jones were told to reduce the pH level or be fined.

And fined they were, since it was impossible to conform. In their worst year they paid fines amounting to $20,000. Others in the same business gave up the fight with bureaucracy but the Jones held the fort. Eventually Warren and his brothers managed to get all the officials involved to meet and talk over their differences; and the Jones' case won the day.
Since the closure of the Homebush abattoirs, the Jones, who today are Sydney's chief suppliers of tripe to retail outlets, have had to look to country and interstate abattoirs for their stock.
At the end of the 80's the firm of F.M.Jones were processing 8,000 kilos of tripe a week. Today the demand has fallen off, probably because in these times- at least on the domestic level- the emphasis is on simpler, more easily prepared foods. Current production is more like 4000 kilos weekly which is delivered throughout the Sydney Metropolitan area, Wollongong and Newcastle and as far as Canberra
The vast amount of tripe produced today is exported (Check to find out quantity and who are the buyers).
Apart from bovine tripe the Jones also handle sheep tripe- a sac about the size of a large grapefruit. The demand comes from Scots, of course, who need it for haggis in December, but this is a very small amount. The Greek community buy as much lamb paunch as they can get for their Easter feast days. At this time of the year, the Jones deliver as much as 5000 kilos to Greek butchers alone, each lamb paunch weighing about 4-500 grms. To meet the demand for fresh unfrozen tripe, supplies have to be brought in from interstate, particularly Victoria. But it is the Lebanese communities who generate a year-round demand for sheep tripe, which is eaten stuffed with a variety of fillings. (see recipes)..
Today the third generation runs the firm of F.M Jones, the state's major supplier of offal meats. Marrick (Rick)Jones, one of the principals, asked what his favourite tripe dish was, replied: "We don't eat tripe".
Not if you live with it all your life.

The Sydney Greek community, particularly followers of the Greek Orthodox Church, consume large quantities of sheep tripe at Easter. The month preceeding Easter is customarily one of fasting, during which no meat, dairy foods or even fish are eaten. The daily diet during the month of fasting consists mainly of salads, potatoes, aubergines, beans and okra.

The fast is broken at midnight on Easter Saturday and after mass families go home to a traditional meal of soup made from tripe, and other offal meats including liver, lungs and heart, finely chopped. After a month of fasting, the assumption is that stomachs are weak and tripe is most easily digestible. Tripe dishes are also served on Easter Sunday, with avgolimono sauce (egg and lemon) or a sauce using onions, tomatoes and the more usual Mediterranean ingredients.

Stephanie Alexander in her book "The Cook's Companion" has some interesting observations - and some fine recipes- concerning tripe.
"Only eyeballs seem to strike more terror into the hearts and minds than does tripe! Tripe also has an image problem as the word has come to mean "rubbish" or "nonsense" and as it is associated with northern-English nostalgia- flat caps, poverty and grime….Tripe haters speak disparagingly of its slippery texture, which is just the thing tripe lovers enjoy, along with its mild flavour and ability to meld with sticky meats and other flavours to result in delicious saucy dishes."
"Italians cook beautiful tripe dishes with rich tomato flavours and parmesan cheese. The Chinese, who love textured food, are good with tripe, too. One of the most delicious and lip-sticking specialities at yum cha is tripe with ginger in a golden sticky sauce."

Most people regard animal innards with revulsion, some to the point of refusing to eat offal in any shape or form. This prejudice is despite the fact that a multitude of delicious dishes featuring offal are prepared and served by the world's best chefs and consumed by battalions of appreciative gourmets. Clubs are formed solely for the appreciation and consumption of offal. Sydney's Tripe Club is just one.
The very name "offal" would deter most eaters other than the connoisseurs, but let's look at some of the other names used to describe animal entrails.

SLUMGULLION was a word invented in the 19th century to describe the innards of a gutted fish and gleefully taken up by whalers who then passed it on to American gold rush cooks who used it to describe a kind of hash or stew. In other words, a nasty mess.

GUTS- still in favour, usually in a pejorative sense.

MUNDUNGUS derives from mondongo, the Spanish word for tripe and is used in Mexican cuisine to describe a stew of maize and tripe.

TRILLIBUB and TROLLIBAGS of unknown origin, but an intriguing name for tripe with appealing onomatopaeic qualities.

GARBAGE-not so obvious a word to today's English -speaking housewife other than as a name for kitchen refuse, but six centuries ago, she would have used it to describe a dish containing offal which her family was expected to attack with relish in the commonly held belief that organ meat was fortifying...By the beginning of the 16th century, offal and its descriptive word "garbage" had fallen out of favour and the word garbage took on another meaning. Offal was then relegated to an inferior status in British cuisine.

UMBLES. Once a popular dish, especially among hunters, umble pie contained the intestine meat of deer, known as "umbles". As time went by, this food also fell into disfavour with the elite and by the early 19th century, the term "to eat humble pie" was reserved for those suffering humiliation.
(Ref Cupboard Love- a Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities. By Mark Morton. pub. Bain & Cox, Winnipeg.)

GODEBILLIOS: Rabellais found it necessary to invent his own word for tripe. He describes the birth of Gargantua as having been accelerated after his mother, Garganella had consumed a huge dish of "godebillios" - the tripes of stall-fattened oxen.

Even today, the word "tripe", apart from its culinary meaning still carries the taint of abuse. "That's a load of tripe!" or "He talks tripe." casts a shadow on the word, for all our good intentions.. However, to facts…


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