Those who think offal awful also believe that tripe is offensive tripe. But the muscular lining of a cow's stomach is so delectable, it's been praised by both Homer (no, not Simpson) and Rabelais. Common throughout the cooking of Latin America and the Caribbean, this gelatinous honeycomb-textured membrane also appears in the cuisines of Ireland, Turkey and France. Tripe should be soaked in water overnight to remove any impurities, then cooked slowly to maximize its tenderness.
Still finding tripe hard to digest? Here's a tasty Italian recipe for Tripe Stew Milanese. Cut 2 pounds soaked tripe into 2-by-1/2 inch strips. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, brown 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, 3 chopped celery stalks and 2 ounces diced pancetta in 2 ounces butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil until soft. Add the tripe, stirring until all moisture evaporates. Add an undrained 28-ounce can chopped plum tomatoes, 3 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon each of sage and oregano, a dash of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 hours. Check the pot regularly and, if the stew becomes too dry, add some beef stock. Add a drained 19-ounce can of white cannellini beans. Cook for another 30 minutes, adding more stock if needed so that the stew's neither soupy nor dry. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese and sided with lots of crusty bread.