The knowledge on display at Salon

Vegetables can ragù, too
MAGGIE HENNESSY
Who says meat has to be the main ingredient in ragù, anyway?

Well, the word “ragu” means “meat sauce”. So, it’s sorta definitional really.

27 thoughts on “The knowledge on display at Salon”

  1. It *is* culinary appropriation, including some typical US-american juggling of semantics over several centuries and culinary practice and calling it Gospel Truth.

    Mind.. I’d very much like to see them try and voice this in Italy itself… Or even the more..Traditional.. parts of USian italian descent. Where were the nearest large construction projects again?

  2. I just looked at that recipe. 30g Porcini mushrooms? That’s about 6 quid alone. They’re £8 a 40g. jar. 400g can of black beans. I’ve never seen canned black beans. We use the dried for making feijoada but where would you buy canned? Sounds like half a day trawling supermarkets & paying £2 if you find them. Brown rice miso is about £5. Rest of the ingredients would set you back another 15 if you didn’t already have them. And you’d need an aircraft hanger sized larder to carry the sort of stocks these recipe writers presume on. Be easier & cheaper to stick a pig through a mincer. HTF does anyone afford to be a vegan?

  3. Just to revisit that recipe, again. Meatballs are the shit end of cheap peasant food. They’re what you eat when you can’t afford anything else. A very expensive imitation of that? These people are barking mad.

  4. Chicken livers are cheap and make wonderful pâté. They’re not cheap because they’re rubbish, they’re cheap because of the strange food taboos of much of the population. I dare say similar taboos will be applied to insect food.

    I read today that in medieval Iceland eating horsemeat was taboo, courtesy of the Roman Catholic church. What did they do with their dead ponies then? Feed them to the pigs and dogs? I suppose the pigs would enjoy a change from fish waste.

    Anyway, the taboo doesn’t seem to have had a long-term effect on France or Belgium.

  5. It’s equally definitional that mincemeat contains meat, but nowadays the term is used for the stuff you put in mince pies, which is definitely not meat. Meanings of words change.

  6. Chicken livers are cheap and make wonderful pâté. They’re not cheap because they’re rubbish, they’re cheap because of the strange food taboos of much of the population. I dare say similar taboos will be applied to insect food.

    Ditto lambs liver, £1 worth of which (from M&S, so probably 50p in the butcher) will make a substantial and tasty meal for two in ten minutes.

    O/T why is calves liver 10x more expensive? It’s equally rescued from the butchers bin, and there are thousands of male milk calves slaughtered every year that go into dogfood.

  7. Steak and kidney pie was a family favourite. Never remember finding much steak in there mind but the kidney was always delicious

  8. It’s equally definitional that mincemeat contains meat, but nowadays the term is used for the stuff you put in mince pies, which is definitely not meat. Meanings of words change.

    The meaning didn’t change, just the filling. Mince pies originally contained minced meat along with the dried fruit, and still do when I make them.

  9. I believe use of the word meat changed. Once to refer to food in general. And BiW is correctly archaic. Traditional english (dunno about the sheep shaggers) cuisine freely mixed fruit & meat in the main courses & desserts. There’s an excellent medieval recipe combines ground boiled chicken breast, honey, cream & spices to make a form of custard. And having made it, I can tell you it tastes superb. Serve hot or cold.
    Definite thumbs up to offal. Chicken & goose livers. Lambs liver & calf. Pig’s is just about bearable but never cow’s. I like lambs livers stuffed with bread & dried fruit. Sultanas suffice but apricot’s the best. Or you can use chopped apple at a pinch. But I draw the line & tripe. Black pudding anyone? Really need France for blood sausages though. English lost their way on that one.

  10. Sorry. That should have been lamb’s hearts to be stuffed, not the liver and I thought of another one.
    Bone out a chicken, from the inside though the neck. Stuff with chunks of pork, chicken livers & soaked dried apricots seasoned to taste. Skewer it through to resemble normal chicken & roast. 20 mins + 20 mins/lb at around 175. Slice straight through at the table & serve to puzzle your guests.

  11. @BiS Cow liver is a matter of taste. I’ve always found lamb/calf liver extremely bland.. I prefer the adult version when I use it.
    Most of that wasn’t eaten as-is anyway in northwestern Eur’p, but used as a base for liver sausages, originally pickled in vinegar to preserve them.

    Horse liver….hmmmm…. By the time a horse is useful for kitchen use, it’s so old the liver will be too strong of a taste for humans. Man’s Best Friend, however, would easily murderise your neighbour and several random cat ladies for a piece though..

  12. “I’ve always found lamb/calf liver extremely bland..”

    Suits the wine for the sauce. White dry. I believe there’s a French dish uses beef in a stew with red. Never had it. I quite enjoy horse. In France, of course.

    Some of the cookery comes as a response to middle class women meticulously following cookery book recipes for continental peasant dishes. All bollocks, of course, because poor people can’t be that picky. It’s the principal one needs to follow using whatever you have that works. So a lot of research finding ancient dishes & working out out to put them together. And most of it’s high end cuisine because that’s what got written about. What to do whole boar, basically.

  13. “So a lot of research finding ancient dishes & working out out to put them together. And most of it’s high end cuisine because that’s what got written about. What to do whole boar, basically.”

    And Cockentryce, and..
    Actually most ancient food research nowadays is done from medieval medical treatises, at least in the re-enactment circles I hang around.
    And whole boar is easy.. You first “scalde” it before roasting. Which of course assumes a tub large enough to hold said boar, and a sufficient supply of personnel to keep adding boiling water… 😛

    There’s no way I’m going to try minced suckling piglet intestines (not strained… the recipe is specific about that..) boiled in full-fat milk as Power Food though.. Got to draw the line somewhere, and that is it for me..

  14. Oh.. And I forget the complaint letters… People hardly write about normal nosh, but they sure as hell complain, in writing, at length, about what isn’t there when it’s expected..

    Same principle as how we know “minor”/”off the book” meetings took place. Any minutes or notes may have been lost to time. The rows about “who has to pay for all of this” are preserved for eternity..

  15. @ Chris Miller
    Ox liver is tasty but tough, sheep/lamb’s liver not tough but less tasty, Calf’s liver is both tender and tasty – hence premium price. But it wasn’t ten times as expensive last time I looked [some time ago because (i) my wife doesn’t eat liver and (ii) my local butcher doesn’t sell veal] – I think that if male milk calves go into dogfood then calves’ livers will never reach the butcher and it may have been turned into a specialty product. About forty years ago, before I moved out of London, my then butcher explained how the Dutch produced white veal and I’ve never eaten veal since – the collapse in UK consumption of veal since then may be for similar reasons even though British pink veal did not involve similar animal cruelty

  16. Really need France for blood sausages though. English lost their way on that one.

    Ignore the poor imitations to be found in Scotland and dahn sarf, BiS, you need to visit the black pudding triangle, anywhere between Bolton, Bury and Blackburn – food of the gods (and regular winner of international contests, trouncing boudin noir, blutwurst and morcilla.

    @John77

    M&S have started selling rose veal – juicy, tender steaks for half the price of beef.

  17. 400g can of black beans. I’ve never seen canned black beans.

    They are found in most American grocery stores, probably in equal quantity with the dried variety, and usually in the “hispanic” food section, although I have seen them in with the other canned beans. It’s probably an American thing, canned beans. I’m lazy, so I use them all the time – black beans and rice, canned chickpeas for hummus, etc.

  18. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    You can get calf’s liver here, price is not weird.

    Veal is often cheaper than beef, it’s regarded as a waste product essentially. Order veal in the UK (if you can) and you get a delicately presented eyeful for an enormous amount of money. In Vienna it’s the (battered) “fish” with your chips.

  19. @bis – canned black beans are 55p a tin at sainsburys , not that it something i’d buy. they also sell dried porcini mushrooms .

  20. @BiNK

    Veal (when you can get it) in the UK is almost entirely rose veal, not the white veal used in schnitzels. I’m not sure if it’s actually banned in the UK, or just placed under so many constraints that it’s uneconomic to produce. My favourite Italian in London (Anacapri in Dorset St) often serves a veal chop, which is ace.

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