I'm in the middle of reading a few different books right now. Among them: The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain, Bistro Cooking at Home by Gordon Hamersley, Chef on Fire by Joseph Carey, and the utterly compelling The Whole Beast - Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson.
Although I am continually re-examining the pages of The Whole Beast, I must admit that I am just not as adventurous as I'd like to think I am when it comes to exotic cooking. Or, more appropriately, what we as Americans consider to be exotic.
I've always been fascinated by classic French cooking and I'm constantly trying to create foods that reflect the ethic of "using it all". That is, all the fancy crap we as Americans never really see. I find it ironic that most of the exotic and rare items we never eat were (and are) derived from a simple ethos: "Use it all or starve. Your Choice."
Items of interest that comes to mind; Tripe, Trotters, Hearts, Brains, and to quote Chef Elzar - "The Garbage parts of the animal..."
What's sad is that I have never had any of the items I just listed, nor do I really have the desire to. Well, maybe if it was prepared for me I'd try them. I can't honestly say. Growing up in a good 'ole German Lutheran family (We like coffee and Pot Lucks) I found there to be no time tested traditions other than boiling the shit out of cabbage. (Which I will no longer eat.)
This isn't to say that I don't like many of the foods you don't see on menus at restaurants across this great nations of ours. Country Pate for example. Yummy! Or a plate of freshly roasted Bone Marrow to spread on baguettes. All the excellence and wisdom of the ages, but still... really pretty safe.
A few years back, my New Years resolution was to re-discover my love of food. I felt I did that. Until recently, I suppose. The honest-to-God truth is that there is ALWAYS something else to be experienced; something else to be learned...
What then? Where do I go next? Well, my goal is this: I want to cook a Pigs Head. Oh yeah! Cheeks, ears, snout... I can actually see Kerrie cringing in disgust, and I haven't even told her about this yet.
C'est la vie. Mangez la chose foutue!
AC/DC - It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock'n'roll
The Wiseguys - Cowboy '78
KMFDM - More 'n' Faster
Andrew WK - We Want Fun