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No. 114: Things I Never Thought I Would Eat but Have, or Might…

Some days I go to the outdoor marchés and marvel at all the weird and wonderful things on offer. Today was one of those days, as my friend and cooking teacher Marie-Françoise introduced me to a new French word: le tripier.

Le tripier is a very special kind of butcher, not the kind you go to to get your everyday ordinary cuts of meat. I’m not even sure there is a comparable word or profession in the U.S. The best definition I can come up with is the “tripe butcher”. For those of you who aren’t quite sure what tripe is, it’s the first or second stomach of a cow, oxen, sheep, goats or other ruminant that is used as food.

source: le blog de boulogne billancourt

source: le blog de boulogne billancourt

Mais le tripier doesn’t just specialize in stomach number 1 and stomach number 2, no, no, he has several refrigerated cases full of all sorts of animal parts you’ve probably never, ever considered eating.

rognon blanc…white kidneys

rognon blanc…white kidney

Mais les Français, ils mangent tout!

langue...tongue

langue…tongue

Or, as I heard in class today, “Tout est bon dans le cochon!” (All parts of the pig are good!)

pieds de porc...pigs' feet

pieds de porc…pigs’ feet

les oreilles de porc…pigs' ears

les oreilles de porc…pigs’ ears

museau de porc...pig snout

museau de porc…pig snout…usually served chopped in a vinaigrette

Le tripier not only supplies the home chef with ears, snouts, feet and stomachs, he also has a real “know-how”, a second sense if you will, and can provide his clients with detailed culinary advice on exactly how to cook these curious cuts, and how to eat it. If you get in good with the man, he’ll even save the crème de la crème of the bits and bops you never even knew you wanted.

Here is a small sample of what else you might find at a good tripier stall. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

Vocabulaire

crème de la crème: cream of the crop

le tripier: tripe butcher

Mais les Français, ils mangent tout! But the French, they eat it all!

marchés: outdoor markets; farmer’s market

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Unfortunately I cannot bring myself “mange tout”!
    One bit of French lifestyle that I won’t be taking on……

    January 17, 2014
  2. Iconically French and cultural, but still, haven’t tried any of these “delicacies” (yet?).

    January 17, 2014
  3. Reblogged this on Le Fabuleux Destin d'Adrien and commented:
    Très drôle!

    January 17, 2014
  4. oh-la-la. Cochon is yummy if prepared the right way. 🙂

    January 17, 2014
    • Do tell me some good ways to prepare all those parts. I’d love to know what sort of dish one makes with the ears, par exemple. Could you tell me please? Merci bien.

      January 17, 2014
  5. Debra #

    Just like my Appalachian Granddaddy. He ate everything. We raised hogs and he would boil the entire hog’s head. He also ate any kind of animal he could shoot: raccoons, possums, squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, etc…. He called the lungs of any animal “the lights”.

    January 19, 2014
    • I always loved your Granddaddy Appalachian stories, Deb. What a rich history for your creative soul. A beautiful image of the lungs as the lights. Seems like you might have got some of your sparkling language from him?

      January 22, 2014

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