Nose-to-tail eating has become a trend, but it's really just good practice. Even before British chef Fergus Henderson made "whole beast" cooking popular, the whole animal was getting used.
Slaughterhouses big and small make sure to use every bit of every animal—that's how they make their money. Livers go into dog food, bones get made into gelatin, etc. The real treat of nose-to-tail is more about getting the whole animal onto your plate. And that comes down to a matter of supporting your farmer.
Farmers make more money selling half a pig or a few ducks directly to consumers and chefs than they do selling their animals to processing plants, which cuts it all up and sends the different pieces off to supermarkets, pet food processors, and who knows where else.
This week's Perennial Plate episode explores the pleasure of using the whole animal in the home kitchen. The tender "center cuts" (tenderloin, etc.) are not the only parts worth eating. In fact, they're often not even the best.
Cooking duck is a great gateway experience to the full-on nose-to-tail eating. All of the parts are delicious and easy to prepare, it just takes a little time. Watch this video to see ducks turned into sausage, pate, rillette, stock, prosciutto, and confit.
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