Coriander with those chitlins?
On the fourth Thursday of every November is the American celebration of Thanksgiving. This is a holiday to express gratitude to God, family, and friends for all the blessings of this life. Inexplicably, this is often celebrated by the consumption of chitterlings, sometimes known as â€œchitlinsâ€. No name however, can conceal the fact that what is being consumed is pig intestines.
The word chitterling dates back to the middle ages and chitlins have been consumed around the world for hundreds of years. Usually the pig intestine is boiled or stewed and on some occasions it is deep fried and then served with cider vinegar and sauces; presumably lots of sauces.
Even if your soul is at peace with the concept of chitlins as a food there is a drawback to the preparation: stewinâ€™ up some chitlins can release a stench reminiscent of their original contents.
Onions are sometimes used in the stewing process to ameliorate this but they are not, apparently, entirely effective. Researchers however, may have come up with an answer to this particular challenge to chitlin consumption.
The researchers reasoned that since coriander is used in other cuisines to reduce unpleasant smells as well as add flavour, perhaps it might lend its aromatic powers to the chitlin-cookinâ€™ dilemma. They treated samples of pig large intestine with various extracts of coriander and asked a lucky panel of human sniffers to rate how badly the intestines smelled.
Several substances in coriander were able to reduce the foul odour of chitlins but one substance, (E,E)-2-4-Undecadienal had a flowery fragrance that could suppress the smell at concentrations as low as ten parts per billion (that is, ten drops in an Olympic size swimming pool).
If you are not a chitlin lover then none of this will persuade you to serve it up to unsuspecting guests at your next dinner party. If however, you do want, for whatever reasons, to venture down the chitlin path then it might be best to take a sprig or five of coriander with you.