More Than Just a Cheap Cut

Panfried Calves Liver, Beetroot Mousse and Braised Lentils - €4 for four people
Panfried Calves Liver, Beetroot Mousse and Braised Lentils

Along with almost every other journo in Grub Street, I have been asked to write about ‘cheap eating’ and have just written an article (published in today’s Irish Examiner) about saving money on food shopping for the family, specifically, how to buy meat for less.

Following Jamie Oliver’s recent and, unfortunately, rather clumsy and crass efforts to publicise his latest book and TV series, it is very much in the zeitgeist but, in my defence, it is something I have been practicing for many years, particularly since 2006 when I instigated my own personal recession long before it became the fashion.

By the time the real thing rolled around in 2008, I was already fully in the swing of things and have been putting together material on the subject ever since (including an extensive 2010 feature which was shelved, to make way for some celebrity birth/marriage/death, and which never subsequently saw the light of day.) Over the coming months, I’ll be posting more on the subject.

The initial commission and eventual headline both mention ‘Cheap Cuts’ but that would not have been my personal choice of phrase. I don’t like the word ‘cheap’, it implies a sacrifice of quality (taste, nutritional value, provenance) in return for a fiscal saving. I prefer the word ‘inexpensive’ and my philosophy is to always try and get the very best possible produce while paying the very least for it—to me, the supermarket is the place of last resort. You’ll certainly be hearing more on that!

BTW the above pic is of a course I served at a recent dinner for six people, most who hadn’t eaten liver in decades but were immediately reconverted. The total cost of that course was €3.

2 thoughts on “More Than Just a Cheap Cut

  1. Some of the very best cooking comes from the less popular parts of the various animals we consume. I have posted about beef short ribs, lamb rump, lamb shanks, shoulder of lamb, and various other less expensive parts of the beasts. I love going long on cooking time and big on flavour as a result. I love good liver. My problem is with finding it. There is nothing worse than getting liver home to find that the evil butcher has been wiping it with vinegar to keep it looking good while it has the consistency of wet sand. That can put one off for a time.
    I might try an old family favourite of liver, streak bacon, onion gravy and mash. Delicious.

    1. Hi Conor, good to hear from you, always enjoy those recipes and your commitment to the ‘less expensive, not cheap’ (;) cuts has been duly noted some time back! The liver is a very good example of how important it is to seek out and build a relationship with a good butcher, Eoin O’Mahoney (and his mother, Catherine), quoted in the Examiner article, is the butcher I go to most often because I really trust him to always try and supply me with the very best meat possible. j

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