4 reasons why offal is not so awful

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Love Food
Hate Waste
It All Adds Up
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Inspired by recent requests we’ve received for recipes and the activity of our Love Food Hate Waste counterparts down-under we’ve put together a selection of recipes and food for thought on Nose to Tail eating.

And what is Nose to Tail eating we hear you ask?

Nose to Tail is about eating all edible parts of the animal, from the head to the tail, including the organs, otherwise known as offal. It has become more and more popular in recent years with activists campaigning that getting over our Western aversion to certain animal parts is an easy way to reduce what we waste in our society.

Check out our list below for reasons why you shouldn’t instantly turn your nose up at eating Nose to Tail.

1. You're already eating it

Haggis anyone? We’re famous for it, and famous for avoiding thinking about what’s in it… But the reality is that eating unusual cuts of meat is not a new idea. In other cultures, animal parts which we scorn are highly prized – chicken feet can be found in Chinese restaurants in Edinburgh, Glasgow and beyond and a trip to Italy will testify that Italians are passionate about tripe! What do you think sausage skin is made from?

In our grandparents’ generation all parts of an animal were valued and eating liver was as normal as eating mince. Our top tip for trying offal is just to give it ago. You may hate it, or you may find that you in fact you love it. Just as individual cuts of meat taste different, each type of offal is different. Be prepared to experiment to work out what you like. Twenty years ago you never saw pork belly or beef cheek on a mainstream menu, yet these days they are hugely popular. You never know what will be next!

Feeling inspired? Have a go at our Haggis Pakora recipe from Chef Tony Singh.

2. It's nutritious

For many of us, the thought of eating offal makes us queasy. Yet offal is not only edible, it is also delicious and nutritious. Offal is good for you, with each organ packing a powerful nutrient punch. Liver is the true superfood, containing more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. Different types of offal provide different nutrients, but they all contain protein, B-Vitamins, Vitamin E and potassium.

Our friends at the Love Food Hate Waste HQ in New Zealand have sourced this recipe for Brain Popcorn with chilli mayo as part of their own Nose to Tail campaign. You can watch a wee video here of their taste tests on the streets. If the Kiwis are up for it then surely us Scots are not too squeamish? If the idea of brains is just too much for you though there is also this Pork Popcorn recipe that might convert you.

3. It's easier than you think to cook

To get things started smoothly why not have a go at making pâté? Although it is made from livers, it looks like a spread and could be a great way to get the family on board – if you don’t tell them it’s offal they will never know. You can purchase an inexpensive pâté from the supermarket, or if you are game, make your own. If you’re a fish eater, start by eating different parts of the fish that you might usually chuck away, like the heads or the skeletons. Whilst often discarded, these parts of the fish are flavourful and still packed with meat. Poach them to separate out the good bits and use in fish cakes or dips.

If you really want to go the whole hog then why not try this amazing recipe from top Chef Neil Forbes of Café St Honore in Edinburgh: Bath Chaps with Kale & Mustard Mash .

4. Reduce what's wasted and your environmental impact

Fundamentally there is no real difference between one cut of meat and another; it is all about our own perceptions and pre-conceived ideas about what’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’. It is no secret that raising animals takes a large toll on the environment. They require more resources such as water, fuel, and land to grow than plant-based diets. In theory, if we eat meat then eat should try to eat as much of the animal as possible. This would ensure that all the effort that goes into creating this food for us is not for nothing.

Chris Trotter, a Chef and Food Ambassador based in Fife, has written a number of books on Nose to Tail eating with titles including The Whole Hog and The Whole Cow . Chris states Using all parts of the animal in cooking is something that we’ve traditionally done in Scotland for centuries. By reconnecting with this approach to food, not only are we giving meat the full and proper celebration it deserves but we’re ensuring that we reduce what will end up going to waste in the first place .

By embracing a Nose to Tail approach to food we can help to reduce what ends up being wasted before it even gets to our plate.