Symposiast Aglaia Kremezi on the most sought after Greek Easter delicacy
The mass slaughtering of Easter lamb reaches its peak the week before Greek Easter and not just vegetarians but even meat-loving Americans, and Europeans express shock at the site of whole, head-on carcasses of young animals spit-roasted over charcoal fire. They are even more appalled seeing the animal’s entrails – the liver, lung, and sweetbreads – meticulously threaded and enclosed in the caul fat, wrapped tightly with the intestines in order to make kokoretsi, the most sought after Greek Easter delicacy.
Peter Hertzmann introduces his offal overview video ‘It’s All Edible: Four Views of Offal’ from his short but rich plenary at the Symposium in July
On the Sunday morning of the 2016 Symposium, I had the pleasure of presenting information about offal from the classic meat-based point of view. As I began to put together the presentation, I quickly realized that there wouldn’t be sufficient time to cover the topic in a presentation. My solution was to write a paper about the subject. Once I had the paper written, I realized that even it was quite incomplete, but I was too lazy to write a book! When I started converting the paper into a presentation, it was still too long so I decided to make it into a video. (In my experience, I can present the same information much faster as a video than a live presentation.)
Image credit: Sejal Sukhadwala
Sejal Sukhadwala introduces us to vegetable offal, Indian style
It’s because I’d enjoyed last year’s Symposium so much that I was disappointed to hear that the 2016 theme was ‘offal’. I won’t be able to come then, I said, I’m vegetarian so it’ll be of no use to me. But there’s vegetable offal: discarded bits of fruit and veg such as the peel, seeds and stems, said Bee Wilson, Diana Henry and about half a dozen others. Vegetable offal, I laughed. They’re just being polite, or it’s just a ruse to get more people to attend, I thought. Whoever heard of vegetable offal?
We are delighted to congratulate our former Director, Elisabeth Luard, on two counts:
– On her Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guild of Food writers
– On the upcoming publication of her new book, Squirrel Pie (and other Stories): Adventures in Food Across the Globe
We are delighted to introduce María José Sevilla of Food and Wines from Spain, a loyal sponsor of the Oxford Symposium over many years.
Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background in food, and your current role at Food and Wines from Spain?
In the Spain where I grew up in the 1950s food was regional and very tasty. The years of hunger brought by the Civil War had been left behind and food production and distribution had reached some form of normality. My father was a demanding eater and my mother a good cook. She knew how to please him at the table as much as she knew how to please my brother and me. It was easy for her as she had learned to cook from her own mother, a professional cook and so I learned from both. I cook now as they did: rice and pasta, pulses, more fish than meat, plenty of fresh vegetables and a few puddings such as apple, brioche with caramel tart and cream caramel. In November we had pomegranate with sugar and strawberries and wine in the spring. We often cooked with fruit or served it fresh especially in the summer when the whole house used to smell as my house in Spain smells now in June and July with peaches, apricots, cherries, light and dark green figs.
The Symposium’s President, Claudia Roden, shares a recipe for brain fritters and considers the place of offal in Sephardic communities.
Fritas di Meyoyo / Brain Fritters
These delicate fritters, crisp outside and deliciously soft and creamy inside are popular throughout the Sephardi world.
We are delighted to introduce Borough Market who are co-sponsoring the Saturday lunch at the Symposium with the Oxford Food Bank.
In this post David Matchett, the Market Development Manager, explores the role of offal at Borough Market.
Here at Borough Market, we love a bit of offal. Browse our butchery stalls and you’ll find them packed with livers and lights, hearts and heads. Partly, this is because our shoppers tend to be pretty serious about cooking and eating, and there’s nothing they enjoy more than the earthy joys of good offal. But the presence here of lots of undervalued cuts of meat is more than a matter of taste — it is an essential part of our philosophy.
We are delighted to introduce the Oxford Food Bank who are co-sponsoring the Saturday lunch at the Symposium with Borough Market.
Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background in food, and your current role at the Oxford Food Bank
Hi, my name is Liz Buckle and I work as a volunteer at the Oxford Food Bank, I’ve been doing this for about a year since I ‘retired’ from a job with the Environment Agency – England’s environmental regulator. I don’t have a background in food but I do like to eat fresh, good quality food and feel that this is a basic necessity for everyone. My environmental background and experience means that I’m passionate about the need to reduce waste and that includes food waste. I’m also a really keen gardener and allotment holder so love being able to pick and eat fresh fruit and veg and eat it within hours.
I’m one of around 100 volunteers at the Food Bank and I drive or go out in vans to either collect fresh food from suppliers or to give food to charities.
David Sutton, the Symposium’s Treasurer, investigates the increase in the consumption of horsemeat in 1890s France
The nineteenth-century campaigners who advocated increased consumption of horse-meat, especially in France, give a good illustration of the exaggerated belief in the importance of protein. Until 1815 eating horsemeat, like eating cats and dogs, was primarily associated with sieges, periods of shortage or famine, and (most of all) difficult military campaigns.