A Case for Bringing Blood, Bones, and Offal Into the Kitchen
Jennifer McLagan’s award-winning cookbooks celebrate ingredients that many Western cultures reject or ignore. They include Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore (2005), Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal (2011), and Blood (2019). Far from a marketing stunt, each compendium reflects a topic that McLagan, who grew up in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, and now lives in Toronto, genuinely reveres. She has worked in the culinary industry for more than three decades as a writer, caterer, food stylist, and chef, the latter of which took her to kitchens in London, Paris, and New York. As she traveled, she noticed a distinctly American trait: a detachment from the origins of their food—meat, in particular—as well as how it’s processed, and what’s left behind. By writing about these ingredients, McLagan thought, she could reframe them as perfectly usable (and often, nutritious and delicious) assets for food, and show readers how to incorporate items such as animal testicles, gizzards, hearts, and kidneys into everyday meals.