Monday, March 20, 2023


 ‘I’m an offal man’ declared Bear Grylls in a headline in the Times on Saturday.  Personally I find this about as interesting and newsworthy as learning what Bear Grylls does in the woods, but that's just me.

I was far more interested, and amused, a couple of years back, to see the picture of him above, eating a frog he killed and cooked in a Bulgarian National Park. Apparently this was illegal and he ‘faced a fine’ though I can’t find any information on whether or not he actually paid one.


Having grown up with at least weekly dollops of liver and tripe, massively overcooked my mother who really didn’t care about food, it took me a while to develop the taste for offal when I left home and became a bit of a foodie.


Of course I’d read my Ulysses and I was all in favour of eating the inner organs of beasts and fowl, either with relish or preferably with a splash of wine and a squeeze of lemon.


But the first time I ate devilled kidneys was in a restaurant in Perth, Western Australia, and I knew I was in a good place because Maggie Fitzgibbon, best remembered (if she’s still remembered at all) as the star of the soap opera The Newcomers, was eating there too.


Those Australian devilled kidneys were great - and of course I didn't take a picture because you just didn't in them days, and I’ve tried with varying degrees of success to cook my own, and although I don’t cook a bad devilled kidney I don’t really cook a great one.  Recipes vary, but there’s no great mystery about it – you coat your lamb kidneys in seasoned flour (paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, that kind of thing), then fry them up with Worcestershire sauce, sherry, maybe vinegar, and most often they’re served on a slice of bread or toast.


Mine usually taste pretty good but the problem I find is that I think raw lamb kidneys are a thing of exquisite beauty 


whereas when they’ve been cooked they can look a bit nothingy.


Of course that’s no reason not to eat them, but I do wish I could retain there basic beauty.  Still I can live with it.  Food can be very good without being photogenic.  There is a life outside of Instagram.

    And here are some I made much earlier, in California since you ask.  Devilled kidneys - consistent in at least three continents.

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