FUTURA SCIENCE ARTICLE A traditional dish and irrefutable star of …
FUTURA SCIENCE ARTICLE
A traditional dish and irrefutable hero of Normandy cuisine, Tripes à la mode de Caen, (Caen-style tripe), dates back to the Middle Ages.
Legend has it that this particular dish traces all the way back to the 11th century and the time of William the Conquerer. The monarchy was particularly fond of this extremely rich dish, which they enjoyed marinated in local Neustrie apple juice. The dish is credited to chef and Benedictine monk, Sidoine Benoit, who came up with the recipe in the kitchens of the Abbaye aux Hommes in Calvados. Cooked in a tripière, a special earthenware pot, the original dish wasn’t quite as we know today, but already contained beef and veal. Very filling and tasty, the dish soon grew in popularity. In the 13th century, a tripe association or brotherhood was formed, and the ‘golden legend’ of this dish soon spread, going so far as to feature in the works of literary legend Rabelais, and his novel Gargantua.
TRIPES A LA MODE DE CAEN, THEN AND NOW
But it wasn’t until the 19th century that this traditional tripe recipe was restored to its former glory by a certain Madame Bernard. Largely as a result of France’s great love of agriculture and regional folklore, the dish has established itself as a kind of romanticised cliché of Normandy cuisine, and has spread extensively across France through local fairs and markets.
Surprisingly, in the early 20th century, its popularity waned, and it wasn’t until after the Second World War that the Normandy speciality would be back in favour once again. Today, the traditional dish has lost none of its flavour. Mistakenly considered as a fatty dish, it is actually gelatinous and literally melts in the mouth. True devotees insist on slow-cooking the dish for a mammoth twelve hours.
GOOD TO KNOW
In 1952, Jean le Hir founded La Tripière d’Or, (golden tripe dish!), an association dedicated to tasting and promoting Tripes à la mode de Caen. Over the years, many famous names and politicians have been inducted into the brotherhood, which every year holds an international competition with tripe firmly in the spotlight, attracting hundreds of artisans to take part in this friendly event.