Offal-y tasty?

Doing research on paleolithic/hunter-gatherer diets, I’ve stumbled across several allusions to your typical pre-agriculturalist’s preference for vitamin-rich offal over lean muscle meat. Some hunters will eat eyes, brain and bone marrow over, say, the meaty loin of an animal.

So naturally I bought some kidneys the other day. Mark’s Daily Apple, a primal living site belonging to author Mark Sisson, says:

We recommend that you ease into eating kidneys by first purchasing beef kidneys, which have a milder flavor and are also the easiest – and least expensive – variety.

Well, considered that one ignored. My kidneys were pork, but not exactly bank-breakers at $1.02 for a pair of nice pink ones (I’m told you’re supposed to seek out the lighter-coloured kidneys as they’re from younger animals and thus more pleasant).

The challenging thing about kidneys is, well, they used to have pee in them. I don’t know if cavemen soaked their kidneys in lemon water to leach the ammonia smell out, but I sure as hell did.

Once I’d cut the useful parts of the kidneys into small pieces, I sauteed them with lard, green onion (scallions to you Americans), diced apple and black pepper. Based on my limited previous kidney experience, I’d say I did a decent job of cooking them.

The kidneys were smelly and unattractive, but edible. The texture — firm yet yielding — seems the best thing about kidneys. I won’t be filling the shopping basket with kidneys on a regular basis nor seeking them out in Chinatown, but I wouldn’t refuse to eat them either.

I tried to keep the fact that I was cooking kidneys away from the delicate ears of my meat-squeamish fiancée. She did eventually recoil in horror when I left the receipt on the counter and she read it.

Perhaps we were hard-wired to react so differently to kidneys. Among the hunting-and-gathering Hadza of Tanzania, the men reserve certain coveted organ meats for themselves, including kidneys (and also genitals and hearts). Someone’s lucky they don’t sell balls down at the Price Chopper.

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One Response to “Offal-y tasty?”

  1. Kudos to you on trying the liver! I don’t think I’m ready to take that step in my Primal challenge. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I really enjoyed reading your post about it though. Had to do a real LOL at the Price Chopper comment at the end. I LOVE that you are Canadian and I get your references. 🙂

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