Chef Chris Cosentino’s educational and inspirational tool for those who are interested in learning about and cooking with offal.

Required Offal Reading

People often ask me; “where did you learn to cook with offal, what restaurant did you work at that served these types of meats?”. And my answer is that I was fed a lot of these meats as a child and mostly didn’t like them. But after I became a cook I wanted to know more about those “strange” things that great-grandma used to make. So I started looking for recipes and info about offal and over the years have acquired lots of cool books. There are also a few very familar cokbooks out there that have some offal sections or recipes in them. Here’s my list of recommended reading for those curious about offal. I will include as many as I can remember.
Here is a list of books dedicated to offal, including offal, or just plain good reading:

The Curosities of Food, original print 1859, Peter Lund Simmonds, UK/ reprint 2001, USA

Meat Dishes Without Joints 1940, Ambrose Heath, UK

Innards and other Variety Meats, 1974, Jane Allen & Margaret Gin, USA

The Good Cook: Variety Meats, 1982, Time Life, USA/UK

Unmentionable Cuisine,1979, Calvin Schwabe, USA

The Fifth Quarter: an Offal Cookbook,2004, Anisa Helou, UK

Nose To Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking, 1999, Fergus Henderson, UK reprint USA 2004

Extreme Cuisine, 2004, Jerry Hopkins, USA

For Variety, Home Economist handout from Swift & Company

The Jungle, 1906, Upton Sinclair, USA

Cook Books With some Offal in them:

The River Cottage Meat Book, UK, Hugh Fearnley – Whittingstall
The River Cottage Cookbook, UK, Hugh Fearnley – Whittingstall

The Rivver Cottage Year, Uk, Hugh Fearnley – Whittingstall

On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee, Pg 166

Babbo Cookbook, Mario Batali

Feild Guide to Meat, Aliza Green

Joy of Cooking

How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman

A Cooks Tour, Anthony Bourdain

Le Halles Cook Book, Anthony Bourdain

The Silver Spoon, Phaidon

These are just a few from my collection. Each book has its own merits, and yes, I have my favorites. There are lots of other books and pamphlets out there and I am sure you will all tell me what I have missed.

There is also this great show from the History Channel called The Butcher. It is a must watch about how the meat industry has changed over the past 60 years.
Well I gave you your list now go read.

Leave a Comment (5)

  1. There’s a whole book on Scrapple as well (Country Scrapple), though I don’t remember if that counts as offal. The book was reviewed in issue 68 of The Art of Eating.

    Derrick Schneider | | Reply
  2. I am a huge fan of your web site and thought this entry was extremely useful. It made me realize how inadequate my offal collection was (Nose to Tail, Fifth Quarter, River Cottage [a great book beyond offal]). I found used copies of Innards and other Variety Meats and The Good Cook: Variety Meats on Amazon and ordered them. I just received Innards and while I have not cooked anything out of it yet, the book looks great and has fantastic information. Thanks for your book list and continue the great work on the site.

    Ephie | | Reply
  3. For a slightly different perspective on the world of offal, Claudia Roden’s “The New Book of Middle Eastern Food” is very comprehensive. Includes recipes and histories of the use of all sorts of lovely organs in the middle east.
    This is a very cool site.

    Micha | | Reply