A new instalment in The English Kitchen series. People think of tripe as just another dreary post-war substitute for real food, one of the worst aspects of food rationing. But it has a long and glorious history as a staple of working-class diet in the industrial towns of Lancashire and northern England. It was never a new invention of the Industrial Revolution, but its cheapness and nutritional value gave it a new significance among cotton workers and other factory hands. All through Lancashire there arose large numbers of tripe dressers (often back-room businesses) and tripe restaurants (often of surprising ornateness and magnificence). All this disappeared with our growing affluence in the sixties and seventies and tripe is (almost) now restricted to chefs exploring the byways of butchery and to people with long memories. Of course, it was never specifically English: lots of other cultures embraced tripe cookery and made classics of the dish – not least the French (Tripes à la mode de Caen) and the Turkish market workers who still rejoice in tripe soup of a morning.
About Marjorie Houlihan
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Published October 9, 2011
by Prospect Books.
History, Travel, Cooking.