Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Lungs often called lights, are the pair of organs used to draw air into the body and bring it into contact with the blood in man and most vertebrates. They often form part of the pluck (an expression which covers heart, liver, lungs, and windpipe) and are cooked as part of this item in various dishes, mostly stews. It is rare for them to be prepared on their own for human consumption, although some cuisines have specialized dishes of this nature. Schwabe (1979) has a fine collection of lung dishes including fried calf lung from Provence, served in a paprika sauce from Hungary, a couple of stews from Germany as well as one for pig’s lung from the Philippines, and many others. Helou (2004) adds a very tasty dish from Hong Kong where pig’s lung is stewed with almond milk. It is more usual, however, for lungs to be eaten as an invisible ingredient of meat products such as sausages or pâtés, although they were always an important part of haggis (sheep’s) and faggots (pigs’). In the USA lungs are not permitted to be sold for human consumption.