lunedì 1 dicembre 2008

Wife Rule #88: Skip the Tripe

Riporto qui di seguito l'interessante articolo Wife Rule #88: Skip the Tripe di LuckyMatt che cita, tra l'altro, TroppaTrippa.com ma fa di tutta l'erba un fascio, deprecando la trippa sia come alimento commestibile sia per quello che rappresenta nella sua accezione di termine denigratorio (in inglese "tripe" significa "robaccia" riferito specialmente a discorsi politici, critiche letterarie, generi musicali):

The holiday season is upon us, which means that it's time to break out the tripe.

At least that's what much of the world does this time of year.

Let me explain. As thoughts for this Wife Rule were stewing around in my mind, I turned to Wikipedia, the source of much of the useless knowledge in my head, to refresh my memory of exactly what tripe is.

Wikipedia seldom disappoints, and with uncanny conciseness, my knowledge was expanded with the following statement:

"Tripe is a type of edible offal from the stomachs of various domestic animals."

And I didn't even know you could eat offals! I read further:

"Beef tripe is usually made from only the first three chambers of a cow's stomach: the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe), and the omasum (book/bible/leaf tripe)."

Next to this nearly-poetic description, there is a lovely, full-color picture of what looks like giant, folded slices of baloney sitting on a clean, white shelf. The caption reads, "Tripe in an Italian market."

In your mind's eye, can't you just see little Luigi skipping into his grandma's Italian kitchen? With a flash of pearly-white, smiling teeth he calls, "Pronto, Nonna!" Grandma wipes her hands on her apron and ambles over to bestow a kiss on his ruddy cheek, which he has positioned as high as he can, tip-toes raising it the last inch. Then his youthful anticipation is fulfilled, as with a shrewd yet gentle smile, she turns and presents him with a tray of what looks like ten-inch-long segments of giant flayed earth worms. Tripe! Yum.

No, of course you can't see it. Because if Nonna did that, little Luigi would run screaming from the kitchen and Mom and Dad would put grandma in the mental ward. Yet, tripe is fed to dogs all the time, and even some people knowingly eat it.

It is obvious to most of us that tripe was clearly not meant for human consumption, yet it appears in the ingredient lists of popular foods and in many recipes. Wikipedia even contains a link to TroppaTrippa.com, "an Italian site entirely dedicated to tripe around the world."

Where am I going with this? I simply want to put the question out there: with all the food options there are in this world, why would anyone choose to eat tripe? This question matters because there's an analogy here to the myriad choices of information and entertainment available in today's world.

I often find myself listening to the radio on my way to work when I encounter "radio tripe," stuff that exists but was clearly not meant for human consumption.

* The 25 minutes of "news radio" between the actual five-minute news casts: Tripe!
* Almost everything on NPR: Tripe!
* Commercials by most Mortgage Brokers and Car Dealerships: Sleazy Tripe!
* Rap music: Tripe!
* Every song by Neil Diamond: Tripe! (except "We're Comin' to America," which must have been beamed directly into his mind by space aliens, because otherwise I can't explain how he ever came up with one of the best songs ever written)

One of my small joys in life is exclaiming "Tripe!" as I change the radio station away from some horrible drivel.

So as I mentioned, the holiday season is upon us again, which is an opportunity so many take to break out the tripe - Christmas music tripe, that is. You know exactly what I'm talking about. You hear it on the radio, over the speakers at the mall, and some people even knowingly buy CDs of it:
* Neil Diamond's Christmas Album
* Any Christmas song by Britney Spears, N'Sync, Boyz-2-Men, or other tweenie-bopper or boy's band
* Any song that sounds like a prayer to Santa Claus
* Any song that has little or nothing to do with Christmas, except that jingle bells are ringing throughout its duration; this goes for commercial jingles, too
* Almost any version of the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas"

You get the idea. There are thousands examples of Christmas music tripe out there in the world. Don't consume them! For a season that contains so much to celebrate, take a chance on some real music! Try something such as:

* Yuletide carols being sung by a choir, especially if it is a children's choir
* The local performance of selections from Handel's Messiah
* Almost anything recorded in the 50's or earlier, especially jazz
* Something that will inspire and uplift you
* In short, something that actually reflects what this season is about!

Give yourself a little gift this year, and skip the tripe. My wife and I do, and since I've finally mentioned my better half, this Wife Rule is finally over.

Qui, di seguito, la mia risposta:

Dear LuckyMatt,

Tripe is indeed is one of the dishes I would encourage you to try. As you mentioned, it comes in hundreds of different recipes and I would like to add that it can be found in every cuisine at every latitude. Such global popularity is not a coincidence. We are not talking here about those unique ingredients listed in books like "The Art and Science of Eating Insects" discovered in far away places by adventurous gourmands.

Tripe is a simple, very humble and accomodating food. It goes well with almost everything and it can be cooked in a wide variety of ways and in combination with vegetables, other meat, seafood, fish.

It is a great remedy for hangovers.

It is one of the most cherished dishes in the French cuisine (tripes à la mode de Caen).

It is also inexpensive. And, unfortunately, sometimes this word is seen as a synonim of "poor". The stigma that tripe still carries today as food for dogs (in Italy was once fed to cats) is misconception hard to defy. And the world will be always divided among those who adore tripe and those who cannot understand why would anyone choose to eat it.

Yes, the look of the raw tripe may be disconcerning to some - the same may happen when looking at a lovely, full-color raw turkey at your local supermarket, or if you look at the rib eye steak for what it is, a bloody red slice of the bundle of muscles and tendons located nearest to the spine of the same cow the tripe comes from.

I agree that there is a lot of tripe out there that it is clearly not meant for human consumption. Mostly when surfing the channels of my television, I often find myself exclaiming "Bologna!" (or "Baloney!" when I feel the tube is feeding me too much americana) I want to say with the same joy you are describing when you use the T word. But let's keep tripe and "media tripe" very well separated.

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