My mother was born in England. Her family emigrated to Canada in 1919, with my grandfather and his family receiving free passage because of his service in the British Army in World War I. My father's ancestor also came from England, as a Sergeant in the British Army, but more than a century earlier, in 1799. He was posted on the Niagara Frontier and as a result of his service, including holding back the invading Americans in the War of 1812, received a land grant in Eastern Ontario, where I live. And I do not have any relatives whose surname ends in a vowel. In other words, I am about as far removed from any family connections to Italy as possible. I am absolutely positive that I am the first, last and only member of my extended family to have prepared and consumed tripe.
But this was not my first time eating tripe. I had it on our last night in Rome in Trastevere in September 2007. I wasn't really sure what it was when I ordered it - I tend to try unfamiliar menu items in a different setting (cf. cuttlefish in an earlier post). I ate all of it, but wasn't impressed - tasted like raw calimari in a tomato sauce, and that's being generous.
One clue that this is a "variety" meat is the number of ingredients. In addition to the tripe, the recipe calls for butter, vegetable oil, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, parsley, rosemary leaves, white wine, plum tomatoes, hot red chili peppers, salt, pepper, beef broth, parmigiano-reggiano cheese - See below.
What exactly is honeycomb tripe, you may ask - as I did. Well, it is made from the reticulum, the second of a cow's three stomachs - lovely image, eh?. The source of the appellation "honeycomb" is obvious:
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the most difficult ingredient for me to source was not the tripe - The Butchery in Bells Corners came through again - but the "hot red chili pepper" - not in season at this time of the year. Instead of opting for a hot green pepper, I chose to go with dried red pepper flakes. Marcella's directions calls for the chili pepper "to taste", so I would have been justified in omitting it entirely - but I always try to assuage Marcella, as readers of this blog can attest - so the dried version it was.
Preparation time was longer than usual - upwards of 3 hours from start to finish. And even at that, I lengthened it for a day. Well, Marcella said it tastes even better the second day - and besides we met with some friends at the Brigadoon in Oxford Mills last night. So I had to take it out of the 'fridge, reheat it and add some butter and the Parmesan cheese. Here's what it looked like:
And I ate all of what you see in the pic. - but I was alone. BW had some soup & nobody else was around.
One week I get an all-time favourite, the next week I get to eat a cow's stomach. And so it goes.
What I liked about this recipe:
1. BW said, "Well, it smells OK."
2. Aside from the tripe, very common ingredients.
3. It was better than the tripe I had in Rome in September 2007.
What I didn't I like about this recipe:
Well, first of all, it's a cow's stomach .... Actually, that's enough, don't you think?
Would I make it again?