‘Nose to tail’ shouldn’t be a food philosophy. It shouldn’t be a big deal. But it is.
For thousands of years we’ve been raising or hunting animals for meat and then using as much of them as possible for sustenance.
Only in the last 50 years, when we have witnessed the industrialisation of meat production, have consumers been able to dispense with the cuts that needed nurturing or slow cooking.
We’ve gradually been weaned onto meat that is effortless: Easy to cook, easy to eat. Any fool with a frying pan can cook a chicken breast or a fillet of beef or a loin of pork.
Offal and the ‘awkward’ cuts have been relegated to the back seats and in most cases, the bin where they lie ignored and forgotten in favour of the pieces that are easier, more convenient.
This is wrong. It makes no sense, neither economically nor philosophically.
Even the most financially illiterate individual can see the stupidity in raising an animal for the prime cuts only. But this is how things have turned out, especially in Britain and America where convenience has become the high priestess to which we must pray.
Time to re-dress the balance.
Of course, I’m not proclaiming to be some sort of pioneer in this field. Chefs like Fergus Henderson, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anthony Bourdain blazed this same trail quite some time ago. Many other professional chefs have followed their lead or ploughed similar furrows.
But I’m not a professional chef. I’m just a home cook who loves good food, and I think you are too. Let's do this.
Let's fasten our seatbelts and drive full speed down our own 'nose to tail' road. Tasty treats, delicious recipes and sumptuous surprises are certain to follow in our wake.
This isn’t extreme eating of any sort. For that go and see Andrew Zimmern. This is about recapturing the true spirit of being an omnivore, about respecting the animals we slaughter and creating delicious meals out of the cuts that have, over the last few decades, become unusual.
They aren’t inherently strange or nasty or disgusting. Very few things are. But we’ve lost something vital recently. Hopefully the shifting economic climate, and the relative cost of these cuts, might make one or two more people embrace this holistic approach.
Please feel free to contact me with ideas. I’m open to many things.
As a little amuse bouche tomorrow’s inaugural dish will be something delicious done with pig’s cheeks.
In the mean time, consider this a call to arms for like-minded individuals to get on board and, in the words of Fergus Henderson, ‘go beyond the fillet.’
Fancy joining me? Pledge your support below or submit a suggestion (see where it says ‘leave a comment’? Click that) and you could win a copy of ‘Nose to Tail Eating’, the cookbook of restaurant St. John.
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