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What Did I Eat? Kidney!

Garth Brown |

As a child of about seven I became so fixated on steak and kidney pie that my mom convinced one of her friends to make it with me. On a trip to England I subsequently took with my family I ordered it every time we ate out. But after this there was a long drought in my consumption of organ meats, and not just because I was largely vegetarian for several years. Even when I resumed eating meat I never felt very tempted to go out and rustle up some tripe. (Actually, I still don’t, particularly now that I’ve been up close with the insides of a cow.) Since coming to the farm, however, liver and kidneys and everything else have become an aspirational food for me, due to me growing belief that they are particularly healthy foods to eat, and also because once I became my own butcher I was even more loath than previously to throw anything away.

A harrowing encounter with the liver and kidney of our departed bull, both of which tasted so emphatically like what they were - the liver tasted like every liver you’ve ever had multiplied by a thousand, while the kidney tasted like piss - was enough to nearly put me off of them entirely.

Ed brought back the kidneys of the deer he killed one hunting season, and I’ve eaten them ever since, but it is only in the past year that I’ve come around to beef liver. Subsequent experimentation has revealed that the age and condition of the animal have a huge impact on the palatability of its liver. I haven’t yet gotten up the nerve to revisit beef kidney, but perhaps that’s next.

It is in this spirit that I tried a pig kidney for the first time. I was cautiously optimistic, since smaller, younger animals usually have milder tasting organs than older, larger ones, but as with all new things, there’s no way to be absolutely certain ahead of time. I cored it, cooked it with onions and kale, and topped it with a fried egg.

What? Pig kidney? Meaning, we now have pork? I guess I buried the lead a little there, since I know nothing gets my readership quite as excited as hearing that I’ve added a new food to my diet. Ed is going to go into more detail about our first venture into hog butchering and the wonderful additions to our diet it has yielded, so for the moment I’ll simply say that so far it’s been everything I dreamed it would, even if bacon is still a week out.


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