Winner of the James Beard/ KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year 2000 and Winner of the Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food 2000.
August 8, 2022
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Mangia Bene

A famous ditty from Barcelona casts light on tripe in callos in a slightly different manner than one found on a restaurant menu description, for they have their own version of Sweeney Todd, the fiendish Fleet Street innkeeper who notoriously ran a cannibal’s delicatessen. In Catalan it goes:

Dels que hi venien, alli bevien
alguns mataven; com capolaven
feien pastells e dels budells
feien salsisses o longanisses
del mon pus fines

From those who came to drink there
they killed some then they cut them up
they made pies and tripe
they made sausages and salami
the best in the world

The taste for this kind of guignol* was so widespread in the Middle Ages that courtesy books warned against it, such as in 1384 when the Geronan priest Francesc Eiximenis advised the nouveau riche merchants of Barcelona in his opus Lo Cresti how to act at the table so that one does not provoke another person to horror or vomit.


* Guignol means a Punch and Judy show, or metaphorically, a spectacle. The name Guignol was that of a marionettier of Lyons in the eighteenth century.