Nose-to-tail eating sounds like a trend, but it's really just good practice. Indeed, 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. They make more money selling a 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 episode explores the pleasure of using the whole animal in the home kitchen. The tender "center cuts" (breast, tenderloin, etc.) are not the only parts worth eating; in fact they are often not even the best. In the case of duck, it's a great gateway cooking experience to full on nose-to-tail: 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 and check out the Ruhlman/Henderson/Keller influenced recipes.
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