7

votes

When did we stop eating organs and why?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 07, 2011 at 3:12 AM

What was the reasons organs became unpopular? Liver makes sense. What about the others?

Especially in the US, when and why did we switch exclusively to consuming only muscle meats?

17aa9de32c2fbd80603d1bfadc5303dc

(180)

on December 07, 2011
at 09:57 AM

I grew up in the UK. Liver and onions was a staple in my childhood as well as minced meat and potatoes. Nobody seems to do it anymore. But i have re-introduced it into my diet and i really like it. Plus it is really cheap.

252ed9194eb033228513ddea9ddab012

(75)

on December 07, 2011
at 05:19 AM

In pre-WW-II Hungary, people sometimes ate raw liver when they were sick.

8a3fdcbbec724506de15c14bb6271264

(435)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:51 AM

That is absolutely sickening. It may have stopped cutting corners initially, but consolidation, I think, went too far and now food corps have enough power to cut corners and get away with it by swaying legislation, public opinion, etc..

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 07, 2011
at 04:11 AM

Well, bad small scale distributors were out there and they really harmed people. For example, swill milk from cows fed sewage and made white with plaster and other poisonous additives, and it killed a lot of people. Consolidation and regulation eliminated these, but a lot of good things too.

8a3fdcbbec724506de15c14bb6271264

(435)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:03 AM

What a pity... Did the centralization of food distribution even have any benefit to the people? Or was it always about maximizing profits through monopolizing?

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 07, 2011
at 03:31 AM

The ick factor is a good point. People who lived on farms ate everything.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 07, 2011
at 03:15 AM

My 2 cents says it had to do with making more money for someone. :-))

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6 Answers

best answer

7
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 07, 2011
at 03:41 AM

I own hundreds of cookbooks from different eras and I think offal sort of hits the back-burner in the 1920s or 1930s when the cattle industry consolidates, making relatively cheap pre-packaged easy-to-cook muscle meats available and leading eventually to regulations and economic factors that reduced the availability of locally/home butchered meats and charcuterie. Also, Ancel Keys & co managed to stamp out the idea that liver was healthy. Then women entered the workforce without men entering the kitchen to make up for it, meaning there was no one home to make homemade sausage anyway. Things like liver require some real time and skill to master cooking in my experience. I don't think I've mastered offal myself even after a few years.

IMHO this was also the death knell for America's nascent homegrown food culture. It's why you can go to rural France or Hungary and have AMAZING pates and fresh cheese, but not rural West Virginia or Kansas. America's homegrown culinary spirit went corporate before it had a chance to really make something of itself except in a few oases like Cajun Louisiana or in isolated dishes surrounded by corporate pap (see Southern cooking a la Paula Deen).

My 20s and 30s cookbooks are full of liver pates, broths, and aspics. Swedish traditional fancy dinner balls I used to attend when I lived in Uppsala had eerily similar cuisine. So it was historically part of upper-class cuisine too.

8a3fdcbbec724506de15c14bb6271264

(435)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:03 AM

What a pity... Did the centralization of food distribution even have any benefit to the people? Or was it always about maximizing profits through monopolizing?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 07, 2011
at 04:11 AM

Well, bad small scale distributors were out there and they really harmed people. For example, swill milk from cows fed sewage and made white with plaster and other poisonous additives, and it killed a lot of people. Consolidation and regulation eliminated these, but a lot of good things too.

252ed9194eb033228513ddea9ddab012

(75)

on December 07, 2011
at 05:19 AM

In pre-WW-II Hungary, people sometimes ate raw liver when they were sick.

8a3fdcbbec724506de15c14bb6271264

(435)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:51 AM

That is absolutely sickening. It may have stopped cutting corners initially, but consolidation, I think, went too far and now food corps have enough power to cut corners and get away with it by swaying legislation, public opinion, etc..

4
94a4a87e3d2e1e9160b6ed77678b4bea

(1311)

on December 07, 2011
at 03:27 AM

Here is an interesting article:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/a-blog-around-the-clock/2011/08/10/offal-is-good/

Offal is very popular in my family - it seems to be a very western thing to shy away from it.

3
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on December 07, 2011
at 03:59 AM

When I was growing up, my London-born mom cooked liver & onions once a week after moving to the States in the early 60s. Still does occasionally, as far as I know...

I suspect that offal eating is associated with frugality/poverty. As the immigrants started thriving financially, they left some of the "trappings" of the Old World behind--especially those that reminded them of being poor..

17aa9de32c2fbd80603d1bfadc5303dc

(180)

on December 07, 2011
at 09:57 AM

I grew up in the UK. Liver and onions was a staple in my childhood as well as minced meat and potatoes. Nobody seems to do it anymore. But i have re-introduced it into my diet and i really like it. Plus it is really cheap.

3
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on December 07, 2011
at 03:23 AM

There is probably someone here who can give a more comprehensive answer, but from my limited knowledge of food anthropology I believe organ meats were considered peasant food in Europe long before the Europeans set their sights on America. However, as recently as my childhood (which wasn't that long ago) liver was still considered a nutritious--if disgusting--food that was important to include in the diets of growing children. It may have been the cholesterol alarmism that did it in for good.

ETA: I also think the further we (as a society) moved away from agricultural centers in favor of industrial centers the more significant the "ick" factor became because we were so disconnected from the means of food production.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 07, 2011
at 03:31 AM

The ick factor is a good point. People who lived on farms ate everything.

2
B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on December 07, 2011
at 03:22 AM

Organ meats are typically high in fat and cholesterol - yum! :)

Those things give you heart disease and other health ills.

So without knowing for sure, I'm tipping it was around the same time as the lipid hypothesis became health policy.

1
Medium avatar

on December 07, 2011
at 04:28 AM

I live in a community where organs are hugely popular. How did muscle meats get popular where you live? Find out. Report back. Organs rule. Persecute muscle-meat proponents.

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