The Wasted cooking demo was hosted by Chef Chris Cosentino who wrote the book Offal Good*. He wrote the book 10 years ago, but a publisher wouldn't touch it for years.
Offal Good is all about cooking with the often overlooked pieces of meat in America.
While I firmly believe a plant based diet is the best way to eat for the planet, if you're going to eat meat. You need to be eating the whole animal.
Chris' journey started when he went to a farm to get a lamb for Easter dinner. After they had slaughtered it, the farmers were going to throw away 45% of the animal right there!
My heart was breaking hearing that story. Chris set out to use every part of the animal, and use it to it's fullest. His restaurant menu is all about using these "undesirable" parts and making them first and foremost delicious, but also breaking down the barrier and "gross factor".
So many countries eat these odd parts like balls, stomachs, guts, and brains... why don't we?
psychology behind it:
I really liked that Chris spoke about the psychology surrounding the stigma of these "undesirable" cuts.
He links this back to poverty. In poverty, there's so much creativity. When you have less, you're forced to be creative. He spoke about his grandmother who made Dandelion wine from picking flowers or that they would harvest chestnuts together. They were forced to be creative and to waste nothing.
Similarly in America, in WWII everyone had ration cards. You couldn't buy a lot of sugar, meat, chocolate, etc. After WWII, we had an abundance of these items. People began associating doing without as deprivation.
No one, wants to feel deprived so we gravitated towards our traditional cuts of meat instead of the weird one's we HAD to eat during WWII.
Now, the trick is figuring out how to reopen the conversation. We're wasting SO much food. It isn't right. We need to change the conversation, but how?
Chris offers some great tips for serving up some funky parts. Make it into an appetizer because people are much more likely to be brave ordering an app than a full meal. Use a play on words/use humor to break down the scary barrier, and don't try and hide it. Don't try and trick people into eating it. Just be honest.
the gateway bug:
Thank's to Chris, I felt pretty brave going into the tasting for the gateway bug. I was ready to try some crickets.