Elizabeth David on Tripes à la mode de Caen

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Here is a fine excerpt about tripes à la mode de Caen from food writer Elizabeth David’s Fench Provincial Cooking. She does not include a recipe for the dish in the book (I don’t think she cares much for our beloved tripes), but she gives a good description of the dish and puts it within the context of a traditional Norman meal.

   As for the renowned tripes à la mode de Caen, cooked for about twelve hours with ox feet, cider, Calvados, carrots, onions and herbs, I must confess that nowadays I quail from eating it, let alone from undertaking the cooking of such a dish. It is only at its best when prepared in copious quantities and preferably in a special earthenware pot rather the shape of a flattened-out tea pot, the small opening of which ensures the minimum of evaporation. Formerly, the pot of tripe was carried to the bakery to be cooked in the oven after the bread had been taken out, and nowadays it is more often ordered in a restaurant or bought ready cooked from the butcher or charcutier and heated up at home. Anyone intrepid enough to wish to attempt it at home will find a recipe in Escoffier’s Guide to Modern Cookery. His ingredients include 4 lb. of onions, 3 lb. of carrots, 2 lb. of leeks, 2 quarts of cider and pint of Calvados or brandy besides the four feet and practically the whole stomach of the ox. And it is highly advisable, having eaten your tripes à la mode, to follow the Norman custom of drinking a trou Normand, or glass of Calvados, as a digestive before going on to the next course. One might think there wouldn’t be a next course, but one would be mistaken. An important meal in this region, says Curnonsky in a guide to eating in Normandy, is always arranged thus: ‘bouillon and pot-au-feu, after which a glass of wine is taken; then tripe; then leg of mutton. Here a halt is called for the trou Normand. We fall to again with roast veal, then fowl, then the desserts, coffee, and again Calvados.’ This was pre-1939, and a mere snack compared with the lunch described by George Musgrave seventy years earlier in a travel book about Normandy….

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About Guy Docetoni

is a contributor for Heavy.com and Ahoramismo.com. Follow on twitter at @GuyDocetoni.

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