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.
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.
Mais les Français, ils mangent tout!
Or, as I heard in class today, “Tout est bon dans le cochon!” (All parts of the pig are good!)
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.
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