Hungry for Words

Saturday, June 27, 2009 41 comments

Offal-ly good: Spicy Gizzard & Bell Pepper Stir-fry

A picture is worth a thousand words - or so we've been told.

Indeed, a picture is chock full of information, with each brushstroke, pencil mark or pixel communicating different details that together form a complete story, all absorbed with just one glance. Compact, concise and convenient - what need do we have for interminable words? But consider, for a moment, a tangled point of view: that a single word is worth a thousand pictures.

From Drawing to Writing

It's not such a farfetched idea. After all, when it comes to human communication, visual images and written language are as interwined as the vines from a single root. The earliest forms of writing, known as cuneiform, developed approximately 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia (now southern Iraq) and were based on pictograms, or simple drawings of objects. Over time, these facile symbols evolved into more abstract forms and were replaced by progressively complex writing systems, like Chinese characters and the Roman alphabet, of other civilizations.

(Graphic from Penn Museum)

Quite simply, both pictures and words are symbolic representations of the material and intangible elements of our world. It has even been suggested that letters are mini-pictures themselves, reflecting the shapes and contours found in nature, such as the divergence of a tree's branches mimicked in the letter 'Y' (Changizi, as cited in Chabris, W6). Words and illustrations allow us to exchange ideas, proclaim opinions, share facts, express creativity, and so much more, without having to carry the physical forms of these selfsame concepts. Furthermore, they continue to be refined into increasingly intricate modes. We can trace over millenia the metamorphoses of visual images from the crude yet hauntingly beautiful Paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux into the incredibly vivid, virtual reality of today's computer generated imagery (CGI), just as we can follow the development of writing from marks on clay tokens used in ancient record-keeping into the digitized compositions of the blogosphere.

Perhaps nowhere else is their communicative power as enthusiastically utilized today than in our discourses on food, with gastro-photography and writing constantly tempting, tantalizing and titillating us with more incredible edibles than we could possibly eat! It may well have found its zenith in the perfect convergence of pictures and words found in enormously popular cookbooks (early '09 sales are up 4% while all non-fiction sales are down 9% [Keeler]), and in food blogs, whose creators deftly pair digital photos and alimentary writing to feed our hunger for all things culinary. In these two forums, the photograph and the paragraph convey identical information and evoke similar responses for a single dish . . . or do they?

What It Means and What It Really Means

Deep Fried Turkey: Looks good but...
(Photo credit: Richard Elzey/Flickr)**
Show me an image of a delectable dish and I'll show you a classic Pavlovian response: the stomach rumbles and the saliva flows. But a funny thing sometimes happens on the way to the kitchen; after reading the accompanying recipe, I decide it's not for me after all. Why the change of appetite? A photo is a complete composition of a dish as it exists at that particular moment, but you can't break it down to its pixels to see how the food was made. On the other hand, we can isolate the basic components - words - of a written description to reveal the details of ingredients, techniques, amounts, etc. In many cases, it takes only a single word (in my case, 'fried') to elicit an entirely different response from that of the photo.

The power of a solitary word lies in its ability to provide two things at once: denotation (explicit meaning) and connotation (implicit meaning). For instance, the word 'chocolate' denotes, or stands for, a range of edibles derived from the seed of the cacao tree. But it also connotes, or implies, a whole host of attributes (emotional, political, economic, cultural, etc.) that we attach based on our knowledge and experiences of the world around us. Hence, 'chocolate' can suggest luxury, pleasure, guilt, diets, etc. If words serve as symbols, then those meanings are often very personal:
"It is a fundamental characteristic of symbols that their meaning cannot be perceived either by the senses or by logic but can only be learned from those who use them."
(Schmandt-Besserat, 90)
For me, the word 'fried' isn't simply a cooking technique; it also conjures visions of fat-clogged arteries, of super-heated oil splattering on tender, exposed skin and of the pervasiveness of fast food in modern society. That's enough to put me off making the Two-Alarm Deep Fried Turkey pictured above. And herein lies the crux of my thesis about single words and multiple pictures: when it comes to food and eating, certain words help to determine appeal or distaste by evoking images unrelated to the usual determinants of good food, such as flavor, texture and aroma, but rather emanating from personal and social perspectives.

Can a single word really influence our perception of food and sway our choices? Well, let's try a little exercise. Suppose I were to show you the following photograph:

What comes to mind? Can you discern ingredients or cooking methods? Does it tell you anything about who might dine on such a dish or what kind of restaurant might serve it? Is this something you'd like to taste?

Now, what if I were to offer you a dish sight unseen and simply described with just one word . . . tongue*?

What is your first reaction? Would your answers to the questions above be the same? Does the word evoke mental images related to food and cooking, or to things completely non-culinary? More importantly, would you eat this dish?

(*For the record, the pictured dish was of succulent Braised Ox Tongue with Sauce Chivry and new potatoes, which I enjoyed last December at Antonio's, a lovely Spanish Colonial-style restaurant located in Tagaytay City, Philippines and voted one of the Miele Guide's Top 10 restaurants in Asia for 2008/09.)

How Offal!

A recent post on Food Blog Alliance, "Better Food Writing: Adjectives", discusses how just one word can capture attention and convey the right tone of a piece. The idea is to choose descriptives that increase the positive appeal of the comestible being discussed. In the gastronomic world, however, there is one group of foodstuff (to which 'tongue' belongs) that defies most attempts at such sugar-coating.

From tongue to tripe, from liver to lungs, and all parts in between, they are collectively and politely called sweetbreads or variety meats. Impolitely, they are known as offal, the definition of which includes such unpalatable words as 'waste' and 'rubbish'. In short, offal sounds awful. Unfortunately, its connotations match its denotation - these animal parts carry certain symbolism that prevent them from being a common presence on the dinner table. As Jeremy Strong, in his article "The Modern Offal Eaters" explains,
"In her essay 'The Sins of the Flesh,' Margaret Visser concurs that it is the inescapable part-ness of certain meat products that renders them more challenging than comparatively nonattributable cuts: 'But whereas "meat" is reasonably imprecise and unconnected in our minds with specific body parts, the same cannot be said for eyes, testicles, ears or offal."
(Strong, 30)
The equivalence of these body parts to our own, and thus the revulsion at the prospect of eating them, is one reason that such meats are rejected as foodstuff by some, but economics and perceptions of status are also influential variables. Michael Owen Jones, Professor Emeritus of History and Folklore at UCLA notes, "In social interaction involving food, individuals often make decisions about who they want to appear to be, who they do not want to appear to be, and what the best way to behave is in order to be perceived as they wish" (135).

The consumption of offal is often linked with poverty either due to the concepts that meat has such a high cost in both labor or monetary input that no part should go to waste, or that "the susceptibility of organ meat to rapid deterioration . . . served as a guarantee for the rural poor . . . that [these parts were] available to them, living as they did in close proximity to the places of slaughter" (Strong, 38). Adding to the image is the cheap price in the marketplace of organ meats relative to that of muscle meat; in this case, 'cheap' denotes 'inexpensive' but may connote 'low quality'. And yet, as Strong observes, eating offal nowadays has become for some gourmands a marker of heightened cultural awareness, a prestigious signifier of one's closeness to one's food source, and therefore, of higher status (38).

In fact, eating offal is traditional and well-regarded in many parts of the world so that the words denoting them do not carry the same stigma that exists in other areas. Luckily, this means that there is more than one word, often in another language, that is used to stand for these 'nasty bits' and whose connotations are more positive.

Gizzards, Gésiers and Guts - Oh, My!
"[It is] proposed that the categories and distinctions of each language enshrine a way of perceiving, analyzing, and acting in the world . . . [and that] their speakers too should differ in how they perceive and act in objectively similar situations."
(Boroditsky, 917)
(photo from

Take for example gizzard - a thickly-muscled, secondary stomach found in all birds, which allows them to grind their food. It seems that the differences in perception of this edible by different cultures is reflected in its preparation. Although inexpensive and relatively easy to find in most American grocery stores, chicken gizzards are commonly prepared in just one manner: the dreaded, aforementioned 'fried'. After being battered and submerged in hot oil, they are served with no more than a side of mustard or barbecue sauce.

(Photo by Vincent Ma on

In contrast, this paltry poultry organ enjoys a prized position in French cuisine. Gésiers are commonly preserved in a confit and are used prominently in salad dishes, such as Salade Périgourdine (albeit of duck, not chicken), accompanied by fresh greens and a vinaigrette of walnut oil.

Although both gizzard and gésier refer to the same thing, the latter carries with it the high cultural regard that many of us hold for all things French, especially haute cuisine. Perhaps the key to rehabilitating the culinary reputation of gizzards - and any offal, for that matter - in American kitchens is to season it liberally with some Gallic flavor. As novelist Anthony Burgess once wrote, "The French . . . are addicted to exact definition that shall also be elegant, while the Anglo-Saxon food nomenclature avoids elegance if it can, since pleasure in food is probably sinful."

When next you contemplate eating, consider the words that compose a mental image of your meal and how they may affect your choice. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a single word can change the course of your dinner.

Works Cited

Boroditsky, Lera. "Linguistic Relativity." Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science.
Ed. Lynn Nadel. London: MacMillan, 2005. 917-21.
New York Times 2 June 1982: n. pag.
Chabris, Christopher F. "Why the Eyes Have It." Wall Street Journal 19 June 2009: W6.
Jones, Michael Owen. "Food Choice, Symbolism, and Identity: Bread-and-Butter Issues for Folkloristics and Nutrition Studies." Journal of American Folklore 120 (2007): 129-77.
St. Petersburg Times 12 May 2009, n. pag.
Schmandt-Besserat, Denise. How Writing Came About. Austin: U of Texas P, 1996.
Strong, Jeremy. "The Modern Offal Eaters." Gastronomica Spring 2006: 30-9.

Other sources used:,

**Updated 3/15/2012: In the original post published on 6/27/09, I used a photograph which I credited to the source but did not actually have permission from the photographer to use. The new photo that replaces it above is used under a Creative Commons license.

Spicy Gizzard and Bell Pepper Stir-fry
(Sauté de gésier et poivron épicé)
Which sounds more appetizing? If you've enjoyed gizzards/gésiers before, the name may not matter. For those who have yet to try it, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Being primarily muscle tissue, this ingredient can become rubbery and tough when cooked, but with proper (yet easy) preparation, it can be rendered as tender and flavorful as the 'dark meat' (thigh, drumstick) of the chicken. I put this dish together after Mr. Noodle expressed a craving for gizzards; I've promised him that next time, I will fry them.


1 lb chicken gizzards
Water to cover

1 Tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemongrass, minced
1 small onion, chopped coarsely (about 1/2 cup)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup reserved gizzard water or chicken broth
1 - 2 tsps sambal oelek or your favorite chili paste
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Arrowroot starch, for thickening (optional)

For garnish: Thai basil, cilantro, scallions

To Make:

Rinse gizzards well and place in a pot; add water until just covering the meat. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a slow boil/simmer. Cook, partially covered, for about 1 hour - water will be reduced. When done, reserve 1/2 cup of the gizzard water (or discard and use chicken broth later). Set gizzards aside.

1. Heat canola oil in a wok or large sauté pan; add garlic, lemongrass and onions and cook until soft but not browned;
2. Add bell peppers and stir-fry/sauté until they are just beginning to soften;
3. Add gizzards and cook for 1-2 minutes; add black bean garlic sauce, sambal oelek, and soy sauce and stir to mix meat, peppers and seasonings well;
4. Add reserved gizzard water or chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for about 10 minutes;
5. If a thicker sauce is preferred, sprinkle a tablespoon of arrowroot flour over the stir-fry, mixing well; add a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached;
6. Garnish with Thai basil, cilantro and scallions, and serve with fresh steamed rice.

Curious to try some more offal recipes? If you'd like to stick to chicken, try Chicken Liver Bruschetta from Greg at SippitySup. If the ox tongue piqued your interest, then check out Lengua à la Veracruzana from Heather at Girlichef.


  • Jenn said...

    Great post! I've had gizzard a couple of times. Not my favorite, but it's enjoyable. To me it all depends on how it's prepared. Then again I like tripe too.

  • Juliana said...

    Gizzard...I haven't had those for a it the way that my mom used to make...but due to high levels of cholesterol content, we "drop" it from our diet. The one that you feature looks delicious...nice pictures as well. By the way, like the information on your post.

  • Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

    Oh awesome explanation about the drawing to writing. Several civilizations are still to be discovered their writings or not totally understood like all the Mayas complex scripts.

    Here is very common to use offals in bbq, come to a parrillada and I’ll see allllll of them, are “brothers” of the beef :)

    I’ve read the article about to improve the writing with better words but this applicable to native English speakers or living in countries with English as principal language, not for the rest, that struggle to do it correctly...

    The spicy gizzard looks fantastically yummy!! :)



  • OysterCulture said...

    When I think of gizzards I think of a visit I took to Austria to visit my brother, not Mr. Noodle, the other one. and he fixed me curried gizzards. His German friend, Matzie came up to me as I was eating, and told me, that my brother "ate food for the dogs."

    Now I've had gizzards plenty of times growing up and kind of liked the way Mom fixed them so I was not about to complain, but if that was the consensus, it makes me wonder how he left Austria with his now English wife. =)

  • Anonymous said...

    A brilliantly written article - seriously you should submit it somewhere to be published! I like some kinds of offal and not sure about the others as I never tried them yet. I used to eat tongue a lot when I was younger - in Russia/Ukraine it was quite a delicacy. My mom always used to eat the gizzards, she loved them. Your dish looks excellent, I would definitely love the spicy flavors!

  • Susan @ SGCC said...

    Excellent article! I find your proposal that a single word can change our whole perception of a particular food to be so true. Take anchovies, for instance. I can't tell you how many times I've served a dish including them and had professed anchovy haters rave about it. Yet, as soon as I mention that anchovies are in the dish, their eyes widen and the forks go down.

    My husband and I adore liver and gizzards, but my daughter, and even my mother, won't even taste them, because of the connotation of the words.

    Your stir-fried gizzards look delicious to me. My Italian grandmother used to make a wonderful dish for my father and me with gizzards cooked in a tomato-wine sauce with mushrooms and onions. It was heavenly! I only wish I had gotten the recipe before she died.

  • Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

    Great post! I've had grilled gizzards before! I'm still a little ambivalent about offal and innards to be honest. I surprised myself recently when I found myself enjoying some pig's ears and tongues at a Chinese restaurant. I never thought I would like 'non-meaty' animal parts...

  • Dewi said...

    Gosh, it's been such a long time since I have chicken gizzard. I love this delicacy, although my husband and my son will definitely not eat this. I would invite my sisters, because we grew up in Asia. So, we used to it. My husband and my son really don't know what they miss out. oh, btw .... I love to cook this with spicy sambal too. Well done dear.

  • Heather S-G said...

    Awesome, awesome, awesome post! I do usually eat gizzards fried, but your method (and your dish) have gotten me thinking...I know hubby would adore this! I do think that you should compile all of your amazing posts into one beautiful book...I know I would reference it and share it. Often! Thank you for the mention and all of the great and interesting information :D

  • lisaiscooking said...

    How true that it's all in the description. I've never cooked gizzards, and I've noticed that whole chickens no longer come with liver and gizzards packaged inside them. My Mom and grandma always used gizzards for making chicken gravy. Your spicy stir fry sounds great!

  • Maria Verivaki said...

    great discussion of offal - in Greece, offal is eaten as a delicacy, and we have our special ways of enjoying all parts of an animal. i like chicken gizzards (boiled) myself, but they aren't for everyone.

  • Admin said...

    Great article. I love offal, so words like gizzard, tongue, brain, kidney, etc., create the Pavolovian effect on me in the same fashion words like chocolate, cheese fondue, etc. I used to get annoyed by people who refuse to eat offal, but I've come to realize food choice is a very personal thing and you can't judge others based on what they like or don't like. I don't any more. I now reserve judgment only for those who make fun or look down upon offal lovers.

  • Sippity Sup said...

    Gizzard is delicious and perfectly acceptable eating! In fact, just like chicken tail it is typically reserved for the chef. Who may be the only one with the palate to appreciate it! GREG

  • The Food Addicts said...

    I love gizzard! I know it's one of those rare ingredients that not many people are aware of, but there's just something about it that I like! Great recipe... the dish looks yummy!

  • Caitlin said...

    Very interesting and well written post! I am definitely squeamish about eating offal...but this comes from a girl who from 5-10 are basically plain pasta, hot dogs, fruit and mozzarella sticks (my poor parents) and look at me now! ; )

  • Yarntangler said...

    You are so right about the value of a word. Three generations, (My mom, myself and siblings and my kids) of my family would not eat Corn Meal Mush because it sounded...well... mushy.

    Faced with 20 lbs of corn meal, I fixed it for my kids for the first time. They wouldn't touch it. The next morning I served them Corn pudding. 40 years later they still fix it themselves!

    We hate lots of tongue and kidneys and gizzards in our time. No more because they are not heart healthy but I miss liver and onions!

  • Cris said...

    Not my favorite... but my sister always makes it for her family and to please her I tried once or twice. They say you need to try 10 times a food you say you don't like to start enjoying it, so... I need to make more attempts. But your posts are always encouraging and are like a thesis on the subject that you get us interested. Beijos

  • Phyllis said...

    I had a couple of bad experiences with chicken gizzards growing up, so it's been awhile since I've had them. The flavors in your recipe are very tempting though! And when I found out that photo was tongue, my first reaction was "Tongue! I've always wanted to try that!" which I guess is not exactly normal. Great post, TN!

  • The Diva on a Diet said...

    This post is absolutely brilliant, Noodle. I agree with 5 Star ... it should be published and widely read. I'm simply stunned by your way with words and your ability to tackle complex concepts in such beautiful prose. Kudos, my friend!

    Sheepishly, I must admit ... I don't eat offal or gizzards or any of the like. Not even in French. I've barely worked my way up to eat any red meat at all and this is a leap too great for my limited palate. I'm swayed by your words ... but at heart, I'm a scardy-cat.

  • Forager said...

    I've grown up with offal dishes as part of our normal diet but my boyfriend feels quite the opposite. My mother makes a lovely gizzard stir fry dish with celery and young lotus root. Yum!

  • Anonymous said...

    I LOVED this post. What an interesting topic, and I totally agree that a word can really influence our perception of food and sway our choices. You expressed this so eloquently.
    I've actually tried some offal before. They have a...distinctive taste, but with the right sauce and preparation you could have fooled me it was meat if you didn't say anything.

  • nora@ffr said...

    TN loved this post and enjoyed reading it. ive never tried this before but this sound delicious. looking forward to try thid out soon :)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Happy Monday, everyone (even though it's coming to a close as I finally reply)!

    Jenn - Thank you! I love most kinds of offal, except for liver which is the most common. I love tripe, too! My fave dish: callos!

    Juliana - Thanks! Yes, the drawback is that it's not the healthiest part of the chicken. I think next time, I might chop it up even more and add other veggies; this way, it will still add flavor but not the cholesterol.

    Doggybloggy - I think you'd enjoy these! I'm still trying to work up the nerve to consider that alligator claw!

    Gera - Yes! The Mayan civilization was, I believe, the only ancient culture in Mesoamerican whose writing has been deciphered but even then, there's still so much to learn.

    The FBA article was quite interesting but I'm so glad that you mentioned the fact that it's geared toward English-speakers. English dominates blogs so that we don't stop to consider how it is for those whose primary is NOT English!

    OysterCulture - I have heard that story and I think it's terrible that his friend said that! But your 'other' bro is such a laidback and cool personality, and I know he didnt' take offense. As for your mom's preparation of gizzards, it was Mr. Noodle's memories of them that precipitated his request! I think he was hoping that I'd make them the same way but I just had to experiment . . . !

    Joelen - I do, too! Most of the gizzards I've had in the past has been fried or adobo so I wanted to try something different.

    5 Star - Thank you so much! One of these days . . .

    Although I say that I love offal, there are some that I haven't tried yet, such as lungs. Tripe is the most common but tongue is my absolute favorite, usually in lengua tacos.

    Susan - Thank you! I can completely relate to your anchovy story; isn't it funny that as long as people don't 'hear' the name, they're perfectly alright with the flavor? Unfortunately, connotations are so deeply embedded - it's hard to shift them. But we have to keep trying: we don't want our loved ones to miss out on great food! 8-D

    If you ever find a recipe that comes close to your grandmother's gizzard dish, please, please let me know! But you've already given us some clues - maybe we'll have to experiment more!

    Helen - Ooooh! Grilled - I didn't think about that; maybe I can put off frying the next batch to try that out. I'm so glad you tried the ears and tongues - and for sharing the photos!

    Elra - I'm lucky that my husband was used to having it when he was growing up so that we can enjoy it together. Well, when you and your sisters get together, you can have it all to yourselves! I have totally become addicted to sambal oelek although I'd like to try different brands; I'm not sure if the one I use is 'authentic'. But for now, I love cooking with it!

    Girlichef - Thank you so much! I hope you'll try this - boiling the gizzards first makes such a huge difference in texture. But I did promise Mr. Noodle that I will fry the next batch. 8-)

    I'm not sure if my posts are book-worthy but I really appreciate your compliment! And the mention was natural - I am in awe that you made tongue! I am going to use your post as my guide and inspiration. 8-)

    Confession Nook - Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. That reminds me - I should have mentioned your 'papaitan' recipe! Now, that's a dish I want to try to make! 8-)

    Lisa - Thank you! I also remember the packets that used to come with whole chicken. My mom would cook them up and we'd fight over the pieces (I always wanted the heart - is that TMI?)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Replies, continued . . .

    Mediterranean Kiwi - Thank you! I'm hoping that the interest in 'nose to tail' cuisine will bring these parts more popularity. But in general, I hope that we can get away from identifying certain foods as markers of status, 'low' or 'high' - ideally, we should all be able to access good, healthy food.

    Leela - Thanks! I wholeheartedly agree that food is so personal that we shouldn't judge what others eat. I do catch myself crinkling my nose at someone eating something that I wouldn't personally choose but then recall that somewhere out there, someone is crinkling their nose at me!

    Offal-lovers, unite!

    Greg - Pygostyle! I love it! I didn't know that it was reserved for the chef - although I can't lay claim to the title, I'll happily accept the privileges. 8-D

    Food Addicts - This was the first time in a long while that I made it and I can't believe I waited so long! The boiling really helps the texture and I'm so happy the dish turned out well.

    Caitlin - Thank you! Our eating habits and preferences are set at such a young age but the great thing is that we can develop new tastes as adults, too. Honestly, gizzards are a great intro to offal if you ever get the urge to try a first step!

    Pigpigscorner - Gizzards grilled with chili sounds fantastic! I'm going to try that next time! Thanks for the comment. 8-)

    Yarntangler - [LOL] I have to admit that when my in-laws told me about cornmeal mush being my husband's favorite, I wasn't enthusiastic. The name didn't conjure up any thought of deliciousness! Brilliant move to call it corn pudding. 8-D

    Duo Dishes - They really can be great! Boiling them first was a revelation for me - as much as I liked them as a kid, I remember they were usually so chewy!

    Cris - Obrigada! So now, you only have to eat about 8 or 9 more times and maybe it will become a favorite! 8-D As much as I like eating and cooking, I love to think about food!

    Phyllis - Ooooh, I'm sorry to hear about the bad experiences! If gizzards don't do it for you, then definitely try tongue - check out your favorite taqueria for lengua tacos as a great intro! And your reaction is totally normal! 8-D Thanks!

    Diva - Thank you so much! I sometimes worry that I just go off on some weird, meandering tangent in my posts! 8-) As for offal-eating, I'm not a total aficionado myself: I draw that line at certain parts. Let's agree to just enjoy your cocktail creations and leave the offal aside! 8-)

    Forager - Oh, that sounds good! Growing up, we usually had it stewed in vinegar and soy sauce but your mother's stir fry dish sounds like a wonderful combination of crunchy texture from the root and celery with the meatiness of the gizzards. I'll have to try it . . . !

    Burpandslurp - And that's exactly it: most people I think would really like this dish, as long as they don't know the what it is! It's amazing how much meaning is held in just one word, that it can influence us so. But I'm happy when some, even if they are very unsure about it, will at least give it a try. Thank you so much for your comment!

    Nora - Thank you! I'm so happy you enjoyed it and I do hope you'll give it a try. It's much tastier than it sounds! 8-D

  • Carolyn Jung said...

    You are so right about the power of words when it comes to describing foods. That's why restaurants labor so much over the wording on menus. Chefs know that using just the perfect adjective may mean the difference between a best-selling signature dish and one that never makes it out of the kitchen.

  • Miranda said...

    Hey you,

    I wanted to stop by and thank you for all of your wonderful comments.

    What is funny is that I wanted to make potato salad with greek yogurt.

    How did it turn out?

  • Lori said...

    Words are so powerful and I definitely associated certain food words with specific responses, often with health. I will admit "fried" is a common one for me and "drenched" can be both positive or negative. Ha, ha!

    My Dad has always loved chicken gizzards. I had them as a kid, but not as an adult. I'll have to try making this dish for him sometime.

  • Midge said...

    Our family has never been squeamish about offal. In fact, we serve Spanish-style tripe at Christmas and tongue braised with mushrooms for birthdays!

    Your snapshots are just plain delectable, by the way. :D

  • Reeni said...

    You made me think of one of my posts that I titled Poison Apples. It was in reference to Snow White. But who wants to eat poison apples or see that kind of reference on a food blog? Surprisingly, a lot of people e-mailed me that they made the apple muffins in the post. When I see the title now, I cringe - what was I thinking? I suppose I was trying to grab people's attention.

    I've never tried gizzards or offal, except in my Mom's gravy. What a bright and gorgeous dish this is - certainly not what I think of when I hear chicken gizzards. Great job!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Apologies for the late replies, my friends!

    Carolyn - I can attest to the persuasiveness of the right menu descriptors; I often have that 'Oooo - that sounds good!' moment after reading just the right adjective! I'm so easily manipulated . . .!

    MrsLavendula - The texture is definitely appealing but I've had some that were a bit TOO chewy! Still, I won't give it up. 8-)

    Andrea - Thank you! I also grew up with offal dishes that I wasn't always excited to eat but as an adult, I did develop more of an appreciation.

    Miranda - Thanks! The potato salad turned out well - I sent you a link to it by e-mail. Hope you saw it!

    Lori - Words conjure up so many thoughts and images that can be so influential on our actions and choices. When it comes to food, adjectives like 'fried' can be appealing or not depending on how I'm feeling. If I feel bloated, it's definitely a turn-off! 8-D

    Let me know if you ever make it for your dad (or if he has a dish that he enjoys!)

    Midge - The tripe and tongue braised w/mushrooms sounds sooo good! Tongue is the next offal dish I want to make. Thanks for your kind comments!

    Reeni - Thank you! I was actually going to use a title with the word 'offal' in it but stopped when I read it back to myself. It just doesn't help that it sounds like 'awful'!

    Whenever you're feeling adventurous, try out gizzards and let me know what you think! 8-)

  • Sari Tjio said...

    HI Paola
    Nice post! Very clever observation.
    I tried to contemplate what culinary words would turn on (or off) my appetite. Here what I came with:
    Crispy fried (Oh yes i love fried stuffs, Charcoal grilled, battered, homemade and braised.
    Deep fried (though theoretically it is the same like crispy fried!)Steamed, poached, boiled ( sounds sooo bland), canned and air-dried.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Sari - Thank you! Your list is intriguing - the difference between the two 'fried' seems to be about 'light' and 'heavy' (at least that's what crispy and deep say to me!) But for the most part, I pretty much agree with it all!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Ravenous Couple - This was the first time with this preparation. I've fried it before but it always turns out tough and too chewy. The parboiling helped out tremendously! Thanks so much for stopping in. 8-)


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