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by Diane Leach

2 Jul 2012

Cow on grassland, put one's tongue out close-up on camera, sun summer day. Image from

“Lucky indeed is the cook with the gift of tongues!”
—Irma S. Rombaur and Marion Rombaur Becker, The Joy of Cooking, 1975 Edition

Recently I bought a beef tongue. Actually, I bought the tongue, the only one in the butcher case. The butcher did not flinch. He removed it and took a formidably curved knife to it, trimming some especially fatty-looking, gristly bits from the throat end before wrapping it up and handing it over.

My tongue cost $16.00, or almost €13: not cheap. Offal, or what Americans refer to as “variety cuts” like tongue, liver, tripe, heart and gizzards, are supposed to be cheap due to their unpopularity. Not my tongue.

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