I was signed up to volunteer the other day at the Grape Juice Wine Auction with Big Sister's at the Ferrari-Maserati dealership on Burrard. I've been a Study Buddy with Big Sister's for five years and do whatever I can to help this organization raise money. Arriving early for set-up I was told that they had enough volunteers so I had an hour to entertain myself before the event started. What does a food lover do with a free hour when they are at 3rd and Burrard? Anyone who lives in Vancouver knows that they visit Books to Cooks.
This was no idle visit, however; I knew what I was looking for - a book about offal.
My experiments with organ meats so far have not gone well. The internet is useful but not thorough and cobbling together random recipes has resulted in some questionable results (stinky beef kidney, overcooked goat heart, disgusting liver soup, rubber tire pork liver). Because I'm trying to develop a taste for organ meats, eating bad organ meat is very counter-productive. I needed a passionate expert to hold my hand and I found her in Jennifer Mclagan.
As soon as I stepped into Books to Cooks I was greeted warmly and within moments was ensconced at the book bar, piles of offal-centred books grew around me. Being a student I'm very careful about spending my limited budget and after chuckling through a few pages I knew that Odd Bits fit my bill. Within a few days I had almost finished reading it, bringing it with me on my weekend trip to Vancouver Island. Who brings a cook book with them to read on vacation? Guilty as charged and I unabashedly admit to relishing every page.
This book will be an incredibly valuable reference book and source of inspiration (see a future post on turkey neck soup, a delectable and meaty odd bit). For anyone who is serious about expanding their palate and celebrating every part of the animal, Odd Bits is an essential addition to their food library.