Califonia Bountiful

Dining from head to tail

An age-old practice finds new proponents among restaurant chefs and home cooks.

An age-old practice finds new proponents among restaurant chefs and home cooks. Dining on organ meats is coming back in restaurants across the country, and it's crossing many cooking styles and price points along the way.

Sonia Chaidez prepares and serves a lot of menudo at her Sacramento restaurant, Tres Hermanas. This time-honored meal, made of beef tripe or cow's stomach, is a big seller south of the border.

"You're going to find it in every single Mexican restaurant and in houses on Sundays after church. American people are accepting menudo now. When they taste it, they will like it," Sonia said.

This trend has also reached "white tablecloth" restaurants in San Francisco. Incanto Restaurant takes unusual cuts of meat and makes them culinary classics. Chef Chris Cosentino was the driving force behind the second annual Head to Tail Dinner at Incanto, which included several meals featuring organ meats and drew a full house of diners.

But these meals are more than dinner; they offer the message that using more of the animal is a vital part of sustainable eating.

What inspired this special dinner? It actually started with where Incanto gets all of its meat--Prather Ranch.

Prather Ranch is an organic cattle and hay operation located in the shadows of Mount Shasta. Owners Jim and Mary Rickert are committed to producing the highest quality, certified organic beef. They are one of the key meat suppliers to Incanto.

"This is a true, viable way of eating," Cosentino said. "This is sustainable eating. It's not about trying to set a trend or trying to be ahead of the curve. It's about bringing back history. It's about utilizing and bringing justice to a whole animal."

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