Monday, 3 January 2011

Nose to Tail Eating - A kind of British Cooking

Nose to Tail Eating
A Kind of British Cooking
Fergus Henderson
Fergus Henderson calls a trotter a trotter.  If you like your food primped beyond all recognition, and there are plenty of chefs who will oblige, he is not for you.  Henderson has a reputation for serving up the less appealing parts of animals at his London restaurants St John and St John Bread & Wine.  This is not done to shock but out of respect for the animal.  His philosophy being that if an animal has been killed for food then we owe it to the beast to use all of it - from its nose to its tail - and waste nothing. 

Yes, in his book "Nose to Tail Eating" you will find Stuffed Lamb's Hearts, Rolled Pig's Spleen and Giblet Stew.  There are also recipes for Pot Roast Brisket, Roast Quail, and Smoked Haddock, Mustard and Saffron.  For me, a non-carnivorous summation of Henderson's thinking is in the entry for "How to eat radishes at their peak".  It makes me smile, and think twice before discarding anything.  I urge you to look it up.  Henderson is a hugely influential chef in the restaurant world, but he wrote this book with the home cook in mind for " .... cooking and eating at home with friends and relations, not replicating restaurant plates of food".  His follow-up book is "Beyond Nose to Tail" and is just as good as the first but with a greater focus on baking, having more input from St John's terrific baker, Justin Piers Gellatly.