Here in Aruba there is little locally grown food — most everything has to be shipped in. However in the market, I was gratified to see so much traditional foods and lots of offal. Do you know what offal is? It is the parts of the animal that is not skeletal muscle, but rather the internal organs like the liver, kidneys, heart, as well as the extremities such as the tails, feet, and tongue. These parts of the animal are highly valued in traditional cooking all over the world as they are dense with nutrients.
Sadly, in the western world they are used less and less as they are considered cheap parts of the animal. Additionally, the diet dictocrats have shunned organ meats as being too rich with fat and cholesterol and many people have become squeamish about eating it. That is unfortunate because these parts of the animal are full of collagen and gelatin, dense with vitamins A and D and full of minerals. One can be very healthy eating offal several times a week or once a week at the very least.
Traveling and eating real food can be a challenge. I discovered that the easiest way to do it is to stay in a timeshare where there will be a kitchen. So when we travel to Aruba that is where we stay. I usually bring a cooler full of frozen food that survives the plane trip very nicely and is still frozen solid when I arrive. I plan carefully so that I have several ready made dinners and one or two nights I can cook something that I purchase here at the market.
While we are here we will go to our favorite Argentinian steak house for dinner once or twice. Breakfast and lunch can also be made in your room. Most things are available to purchase at the grocery store, but since it is an island and is dependent on what comes in on the ships, sometimes you cannot get certain things. While you won’t get grassfed beef and raw milk here, you can get plenty of conventional foods like milk, eggs, chicken, beef and bread. It certainly beats having to eat out every night. Sadly, there is also plenty of packaged junk, same as you can get at home.
Here at our favorite grocery store, Ling and Sons, there is a freezer case full of that awful offal! There is plenty of cow liver, cow heart (it is huge!), tongue (also huge!) as well as chicken feet by the hundreds and plenty of bones. These bones and feet make fantastic stock full of collagen and gelatin that is so nourishing for your bones, skin and intestinal tract.
While I love chicken liver pate, my family prefers liverwurst (from our grassfed meat supplier). I try to plan meals with organ meats 3 -4 times a month. My mother used to make liver and onions all the time. She made it partly because it was so cheap but also because her mother made it for her. It fell out of favor for a while because we could not get clean animals, but now we can so there is no excuse! Eat liver, it’s good for you!