I want to talk about our heritage in the kitchen. The food from the past that we have kept alive, lost, and then found. The food your great-grandmother cooked. A lot has changed since your great-grandmother cooked a meal at the beginning of the last century. She probably didn’t have a food processor, or a strawberry corer, or a fancy spatula with sparkles. She didn’t have blueberries in January or lettuce in July. She was probably using local ingredients because there wasn’t much else.
And she was probably using the whole animal. Using the whole animal, nose-to-tail eating, whatever name you want to give it, has been a long forgotten tradition until recently, because somewhere along the way it became gross and unsavory. This is a lost tradition in America, though it’s being revived as we speak. In other places and other times, however, offal has been just another piece of meat that you cook, because it’s good. Good to eat, good for you, good for the animal, and good for the earth. And it’s having its renaissance right now, somewhere in a kitchen near you.
I think we should all be a part of that renaissance.
Heart is gateway offal. I don’t really even think of it as offal because unlike its offal counterparts it is a muscle, just like all the other cuts of meat you’re used to eating. It’s just a muscle that did a different job in a different place. And that’s what is so great about heart, it’s not an organ as much as it is a muscle. Its flavor is rich and round and full. It makes a burger seem decadent, a simple chili seem gourmet, and on its own it exudes a fine dining richness. It’s distinct, but not altogether unfamiliar. It’s still a muscle, still tender, still the same meat you know and love. I think you should get familiar with it.