If you remember, we wrote last week about ways to make serving organic food cost-effective, and briefly mentioned nose-to-tail cuisine as one option to reduce food waste and get the most bang for your meat-buying dollar.

If you’re not sure what nose-to-tail actually is, you’re not alone. Still a bit of a fringe element among restaurants, it’s a practice of using as much of an animal as possible after it’s been butchered—so cooking conventional steaks and chops, but also using the organs and less-used parts to make things like sausage, savory puddings and stews.

Well, it turns out that nose-to-tail is catching on across the country. We first encountered this idea when we went to eat at Cowbell, Toronto’s first green-certified restaurant, and it’s been on the radar at different Toronto restaurants for a couple of years. Now it seems that offal is getting popular in Vancouver as well, as this blog post from the Vancouver Sun points out.

Why is nose-to-tail so popular? A few reasons:

  • As we’ve pointed out, using all—or most—parts of the animal reduces waste, freeing up money to invest in locally sourced, high-quality meat.
  • Nose-to-tail appeals to savvy diners and patrons familiar with cuisines from Asia and Europe—and those diners may be more willing to pay a premium for unique dishes.
  • This kind of cooking can appeal to diners looking for comfort food—which has been a big trend among restaurants for the past couple of years. After all, what’s more comforting than a stick-to-your-ribs stew?

Regardless of the reason, the nose-to-tail trend doesn’t seem to be abating any time soon.

Pass the spleen, please.

Have you experimented with cooking offal? What was the response? Share your stories in the comments.

Image credit: goosmurf