Often my best ideas come in the early morning. Every day I get up and search the internet for food stories and it's usually during this time that my mind starts churning. That's when I first thought about creating the Sacramento Food Film Festival two years ago. It's also when I thought about creating Have an Offal Day back in March.
I think I was watching some cooking show, probably something with Andrew Zimmern or Anthony Bourdain since they seem to eat the most offal. I suddenly wondered if there was such a thing as a good tasting haggis. I had haggis back when I was in Edinburgh when I was a teenager. I tried it and didn't care for it (I found it bland) and it wasn't until later that I was told it was sheep's stomach filled with intestines and other stuff. So here I am one morning wondering if it was possible to make a tasty haggis. Taking the thought a little further, why not have some event with a bunch of offal dishes?
Many people aren't familiar with the term offal. Offal, pronounced similarly to the word "awful" but with more of an "oh" than an "aw", is all the "other" parts of an animal. The stuff that wouldn't be considered normal cuts of meat. Things like organs, tongues, ears, tails, feet, and skin. Cultures throughout the world eat these other parts and have for centuries. Once upon a time, we didn't waste a single bit of an animal. Think about the Eskimo who uses the whale oil for lamps, the blubber for food, etc. Or the Navajo using buffalo hide for their teepees, the sinews for thread. The organs were considered the best parts because they held the most nutrients.
But America has become a disposable society. We buy our meat cut up and wrapped in cellophane with a sticker on it. People turn up their noses if it's not a "normal" cut they are familiar with. A great example is my BFF. Say "pork belly" and she's disgusted. I have to keep reminding her she's eating pork belly every time she eats bacon.
With the locavore, nose to tail, farm to fork movement of the last few years, finding offal on a menu is becoming more and more common. Chris Cosentino, latest winner of Top Chef Masters, specializes in offal dishes. Some offal is becoming more mainstream, like pork belly and oxtails.
Please join us for Have an Offal Day #3 on Sunday, August 16th from 2 to 5 p.m. at Mulvaney's Next Door.
What can you expect? Well, I don't want to scare you away. I want you to be adventurous. Frankly, I'm not a fan of offal myself, but I'm always willing to at least taste most things. I'm not thrilled with some of the ingredient requests I'm getting from the chefs, but I'll still try everything that's going to be made that day. Let's just say I've had requests for animal organs, some blood, and some heads from lambs, ducks, chickens, beef, and pigs.
Our lineup of chefs:
Carina Lampkin (Blackbird Kitchen & Beer Gallery)
Danny Origel (Roxy)
Tyler Bond (Dirty Feet Dining, Kru)
Keith Breedlove (Culinerdy Cruzer)
Patrick Mulvaney (Mulvaney's B&L)
Brian Mizner (Hook & Ladder)
Brenda Ruiz (Biba's)
Brock MacDonald (Block Butcher Bar)
Wes Nilssen (de Vere's Pubs)
Don Dickonson (Yang's Noodles and instructor at IOT Culinary School)
Andrea Reiter (Capital Dime, soon The Patriot)
Hank Shaw (James Beard winning author)
TICKETS are $60
Wondering about the price? Since offal is such a specialized cuisine, there are unfortunately no $$ sponsors. So your ticket price is covering venue and other event expenses with leftovers going to Food Literacy Center. We are lucky to have chefs that jump at the chance to play with offal for a day and have an audience willing to eat it!
Soooo.... I DARE you to come. With this lineup of chefs, do you really think things are going to taste awful? NO! They're just gonna taste offal!