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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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tails of mammals are generally thin and bony and seem unpromising material, but have their uses. In European cookery, the most highly considered is the meaty, well-flavoured oxtail.

Pigs’ tails, which are mostly gristle, are less popular. One use for them, at an old-fashioned pig-killing (see pig), was to bake the tail in the oven and give it to the children as a crunchy snack. The tails can also be used to enrich gelatinous stews or stocks; or, if available in quantity, used as a main ingredient. As with other pig offal, dishes have polarized into the fine and the robust. An elaborate example is stuffed pigs’ tails, in which the skin is carefully removed to form a long bag, providing a container for fine pork forcemeat; conversely, an example of subsistence food is the Caribbean stew of pigs’ tails and salt cod known as Megatee.