She didn’t exactly say “Ewww” but I knew that was what she was thinking.
The ‘she’ was a young checkout clerk in a local grocery store and what prompted her grimace is that I was checking out a pack of beef kidney. The ultimate destination of the kidney was one of my killer steak-and-kidney pies.
She went on to say that the thought of kidney was not appealing, much as liver wasn’t inviting. I sang the virtues of liver, bacon and onion all grilled together, but she wasn’t buying that palaver. Dumb kid.
“That’s OK,” she said. “I think it may be a generational thing. My parents don’t get my love of sushi.”
I told her that I also loved sushi.
That confused the bejabbers out of her and I decided to let the matter drop rather than pompously telling her she should broaden her culinary horizons.
I know a lot of people are uneasy with the consumption of offal, but I say more fool them. My mainstays in that regard are both kidney and liver. Not much into brains or heart and tripe is just really tripey and beckons me not. Like chewing inner-tubes, it is.
I think for me it is my UK background. The Brits eat a lot of that stuff, and when I spent my year abroad living in England I developed a taste for bits of exotica like kidneys on toast for breakfast. My wife, despite the fact she loves my S&K pie, refuses to go that far. I grew up with ‘Kate and Sidney’, as my mother called it and to me a good pie thereof is as much a treat as a fine steak.
I think the problem some people have with kidneys is their function. They are there to handle the matter of pee and that seems like a repellant thing to the squeamish. That’s silly. It’s a bit like Archie Bunker being repulsed the time Edith was cooking beef tongue and said he wasn’t going to eat something that was in a cow’s mouth, so he asked instead for hard-boiled eggs, not considering the eggs’ place of origin or expulsion.
Anyway, kidneys do what they do and they bother me not at all in that regard. Some people boil them before they put them in a stew or pie — “boil the piss out of them”, as my dear late mother-in-law used to say. I tend to fry them briefly, just until they change color, and that works fine. Oh, and cut the white shit out of them, too. It looks questionable.
All in all people are entitled to their tastes and aversions, however. I have very few food aversions, though I draw the line at insects, and I don’t much fancy snails. I don’t dislike the idea, I just don’t care for their rather gritty texture. And what’s with raw oysters? You don’t eat them, you just swallow them. It’s a sensation like having a bad cold. But, breaded and fried up; heavenly.
And so is my steak and kidney pie. I can hardly wait to make it.