I am finally going to attempt some of the recipes in the Meats section of the 1898 New Galt Cook Book that use organ meats. I was able to buy some tripe and so I’m starting with Miss Wardlaw‘s recipe simply called Tripe. It is the basis for other recipes. I’m going out tonight so I’m starting this earlier in the day.
I have never cooked tripe and I’ve never eaten it so this will be an adventure. The first step was to open the package I bought from a local grocery store called Central Fresh Market. It used to be called Central Meat Market and they still often have cuts of meat that other places don’t carry regularly. The label says honeycomb tripe and that’s basically what it resembles. I washed it off and put it in a pot of salted water. I turned the heat up and left it to boil, replenishing the water every so often. After an hour the smell became more obvious and I kept trying to determine why it made me think of farms. It’s not a horrible smell but a bit like standing next to a nice clean cow. Probably not surprising since tripe is the lining of one of the four stomachs of cattle. Apparently it can come from other animals too.
I knew tripe was the stomach – one of the reasons I’d been procrastinating in trying this recipe — but in confirming this I discovered that there is more to know about tripe. First is the cleaning of the tripe. This wikihow site provided lots of information. Mine was very white so I’m going to assume it had been cleaned and bleached. I’m hoping I washed it sufficiently. I think it is well washed since the aroma is cow not chlorine. I also don’t think I’ll need to cook it for five or six hours as it might have already been parboiled. I’m going to keep checking it for tenderness. It does seem that I’ve had a much easier time preparing my tripe than a homemaker in 1898. It was finally tender after two hours. Tripe is meant to be used for other things so I took just a tiny taste.
Miss Wardlaw is familiar to me from the number of sick room recipes she contributed to the cook book. She was Margaret (Maggie) Janet Wardlaw daughter of John Wardlaw and Mary Ann Davidson. Her parents were from Scotland but she was born in 1862 possibly in Oxford County where the family was listed in the 1861 census. By the time she was nine they lived in Galt Ontario where her father was a woollen manufacturer. He was a bronze medal winner for his woollen yarns at the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876. In 1891 Maggie was living at home with her parents and several of her brothers. One is a dentist and she’s a nurse at the hospital in Galt. Although her parents were still living in 1901 the census shows Maggie is living with her brother who is a doctor. It is just the two of them plus a servant. I assume that Maggie is acting as the nurse for her brother’s medical practice. I think by 1911 she’s living in Toronto but I’m not sure and I don’t know how she ended up there. She died of a heart condition in Newmarket in 1931. Her brother Thomas was the person providing details for her death certificate. He’s a commercial agent and living on Scott Street in Toronto so I suspect that’s why Maggie ended up there. Her obituary appears in the Newmarket Era newspaper on October 30, 1931 but doesn’t provide any information.
The taste and texture of tripe is . . . well . . . unique. I thought it would be rubbery and taste “offal” but the texture was soft, tasting more of salt than anything else. Perhaps my water was too salty. I put it aside to cool and will make something with it in the next day or two. I don’t think I’d want to keep it for more than a few days. You’ll find tripe in some Vietnamese, Italian, French and even some British recipes. I’ve seen it on the menu of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants especially in the classic soup base called Pho. Please share your experience with tripe! Have you eaten it? Have you cooked with it?
UPDATE: Just fixed the numbering.
Wash it thoroughly, boil for five or six hours (in salted water), or until quite tender; it will keep for days and is now ready to be prepared in different ways.