Cook Like Grandma: Nothing Goes to Waste

You’ve raised your livestock with care, fed them well, and thoughtfully attended to their needs.  Eventually, they have one bad day when they are dispatched quickly and humanely.  As you set about to the butchering, you may be wondering what to do with all the parts that aren’t muscle meat.

Many Americans have become unaccustomed to eating offal and other parts of animals that aren’t normally found in your average grocery store.  But this wasn’t always the case, and many fine recipes can be found in American vintage cookbooks and amongst the traditional recipes of other countries.

Pig’s Feet

 Smoked ham hocks, the part of the pig between the foot and the leg bone can still be found in most grocery stores.  They’re often used to make bean dishes, but did you know pig’s feet are just as delicious?  To properly clean them and prepare them for cooking, do the following:

Scald, scrape, and clean the feet very thoroughly, then sprinkle lightly with salt and let feet soak for four to eight hours.  Wash the feet well in clean water.

When carefully cleaned, they can be prepared several ways.

Broiled: Split feet, dredge with salt, pepper, flour, and broil for ten minutes. Season with butter, salt, and pepper.

Fried: Split feet and season salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Dip into beaten egg, then into bread crumbs, and fry in hot deep fat (350 degrees F) 5 minutes.

Pickled Pig’s Feet (Souse)

  • 4 good-sized boiled pig’s feet with uppers
  • 1 qt strong vinegar
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 T whole cloves
  • 1 T broken cinnamon
  • ¼ C salt
  • 2 t pepper
  • ½ onion, cut into eighths
  • 1 blade mace


  1. Clean feet carefully and cover with hot water.  Simmer until meat will separate from bones, then remove carefully with a skimmer.
  2. Place in stone jar, taking out the largest bones.  Save water for later use.
  3. Heat vinegar with bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, salt, pepper, onion, and mace.  Simmer slowly for 45 minutes, but do not boil at any time.
  4. Remove cake of fat from top of cooking water from feet.
  5. Add about 1 quart of the water to the vinegar; if vinegar is not very strong, use less water.  Strain liquid through a sieve and pour over meat in jar.
  6. Chill 2 days.


 The tongue of a cow is most commonly used for these dishes, though the tongue of any animal can be eaten.

Braised Tongue

  • 1 cow tongue
  • 2 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 parsley sprig


  1. Add tongue to a kettle, cover with boiling water, and cook slowly for two hours.
  2. Take tongue from water and remove skin and roots.
  3. Place in deep pan and surround with 1/3 cup each carrot, onion, and celery, cut in dice, and one sprig of parsley; then pour over four cups sauce (see recipe below).
  4. Cover closely, bake two hours, turning after the first hour.  Serve on platter and serve around the sauce.

* Sauce for Tongue

  1. Brown one-fourth cup butter, add one-fourth cup flour and stir together until well browned.
  2. Add gradually four cups of water in which tongue was cooked.  Season with salt and pepper and add one teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.
  3. One and one-half cups stewed and strained tomatoes may be used in place of some of the water.

Recipe Source: The Original Fannie Farmer Cook Book 1896.

The Lost Ways is a guide, based on three old lessons, which will help you to go through possible dark times. It will help you with making your own food, which is based on some ancient recipes. These recipes were made by our ancestors, and this food was made to be durable, and rich with vitamins and proteins. Literally, this food can last for months and even for years.Read more:



 Tripe is the culinary term for the stomach of ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, and deer.  The United States Department of Agriculture only recognizes (and therefore approves of) two types of tripe, both of which must be prepared under strict guidelines.  However, other countries have a much broader definition of acceptable preparation and uses.  To learn more about tripe and how different countries address it, go here.

Lyonnaise Tripe

Cut honeycomb tripe in pieces two inches long by one-half inch wide, having three cupfuls.  Put on a pan and place in oven that water may be drawn out.  Cook one tablespoon finely chopped onion in two tablespoons butter until slightly browned, add tripe drained from water, and cook five minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and finely chopped parsley.

Recipe Source: The Original Fannie Farmer Cook Book 1896.

Menudo Soup

Makes 6-8 generous servings

For the broth:

  • 3 pounds of clean tripe cut into small bite size pieces
  • 1 cow’s feet (It’s usually sold already cut up in pieces)
  • 1 pound narrow bones
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion cut into thick slices
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano

For the sauce:

  • 6 guajillo peppers cleaned, seeded, open flat, and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cumin (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves

For the garnishing:

  • 1 Tbsp. Piquin peppers crushed to add when serving if you like hot food.
  • Lemons cut into wedges
  • Dry Mexican oregano
  • ¾ cup white onion, chopped
  • Serve with warm corn tortillas


  1. Simmer the cow feet and marrow bones in a large pot with 6 quarts of water, 5 garlic cloves and an onion for about 15 minutes at medium heat without covering. During this time, skim off the foam that forms.
  2. Add the tripe and oregano and cook for about 2 – 2 ½ hours approximately until tripe is tender but firm (make sure you do not overcook). You could also use a crock pot and set it in low for 6 hrs.
  3. Remove the cow feet and marrow bones from the pot. Skim the fat that forms on top of the broth. Once the cow foot cools a little, remove the bones and chop the meaty parts of to be returned to the pot.
  4. While the meat is cooking, prepare the guajillo sauce. Toast the Guajillo peppers in a griddle over medium heat. Press them down with a spatula slightly toasting them without burning them.
  5. Place the toasted peppers in a bowl and cover with water. Let them soak for about 25 minutes until soft. After that, drain the peppers and place them in your blender with the rest of the garlic, ½ cup of the broth, and cumin if using. Blend until very smooth. Strain the sauce using a sieve and pour into the pot. Simmer the broth for another 30 minutes, partially covered. Taste to season with more salt if needed. Note: Some people add Hominy to the soup. If you can buy Hominy in a can, drain it and add it to the soup in the final simmering.
  6. Serve the soup in large bowls and place the garnishes in a dish in order for everyone to add to their liking. Do not forget warm corn tortillas to soak in the broth.

Recipe Source


 Kidneys can be found in all vertebrates and serve an essential function of filtering waste from the body.  They filter the blood and produce urine.  Sounds appetizing, right?  Properly prepared, kidneys are a favorite dish around the world.

Lamb’s Kidney I

Pare and cut in slices six kidneys, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Melt two tablespoons butter in hot frying pan, put in kidneys, and cook five minutes; dredge thoroughly with flour, and add two-thirds cup boiling water or hot Brown Stock.  Cook five minutes, add more salt and pepper if needed.  Lemon juice, onion juice, or Madeira wine may be used for additional flavor.  Kidneys must be cooked a short time, or for several hours; they are tender after a few minutes cooking, but soon toughen, and need hours of cooking again to make them tender.

Recipe Source: The Original Fannie Farmer Cook Book 1896.


 According to the US Department of Agriculture regulation 310.16 a: “Livestock lungs shall not be saved for use as human food.”  However, they remain a popular dish in other countries and are regularly consumed.  In vintage cookbooks they’re often referred to as “lights” because they’re so light in weight that they’re the only organ that will float in water.


Serves 4

  • 600 g (about 1 1/2 lbs) veal lungs
  • 1 veal heart
  • 1 root vegetables (parsley, carrots, celery stalk)
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 3 allspice corns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 spring thyme (small)
  • 1 onion (small)
  • Salt

Final stage:

  • 40 g (1/8 cup) butter
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) flour
  • 1 cooking spoon capers 
  • 1 onion (small), halved
  • 1 anchovy fillet (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • Lemon rind (grated)
  • 1 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
  • Dash of vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Pinch of ground marjoram
  • Smidgen of mustard
  • 2 T sour cream
  • 2 T cream
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 4 T goulash sauce (for serving)


  1. Separate the veal lung from the windpipe and gullet. Soak well, piercing several holes in the lung so that water can get into the cavity.
  2. Fry the onion, cut surfaces down, in a pan until golden brown. Fill a large pot with cold water, add lungs and heart and bring to boil. Add root vegetables to the pot, as well as, peppercorns, allspice corns, bay leaf, thyme, salt and onion. Simmer until meat is tender.
  3. Remove the lung after about 1 hour and rinse with cold water to cool. Leave the heart in the stock for at least another 30 minutes, until very tender, then remove. Heat some of the stock in another saucepan and bring to boil. Meanwhile, cut the lung and heart finely, removing any cartilage.

For the final stage:

  1. Heat some butter in a casserole dish. Sprinkle in the flour and sauté until light brown.
  2. Add the finely chopped ‘innards seasoning’: capers, onion, anchovy fillet, garlic, lemon rind, and parsley. Let draw on low heat for a few minutes.
  3. Add the reduced stock, stir well and cook for 15-20 minutes until thick. Add the innards and season with salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar, marjoram and mustard.
  4. As soon as the ragout is thick, stir in the sour cream and cream. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Add lemon juice to taste and serve with a few drops of hot goulash juice and serve with bread dumplings (Semmelknödel).

Recipe Source

Semmelknödel is another delicious recipe to consider when cooking lungs. The recipe can be found here.


by Ruby Burks

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