Bing Bang Bung

Is your calamari really calamari? That was the question on public radio show This American Life recently, when they investigated whether meat producers were packaging pork bung as “imitation calamari.”

The highlight of the story was a side-by-side taste test of real fried squid with pork bung prepared in the same manner. The conclusion? People couldn’t tell if they were eating delicious crispy calamari or delicious crispy pig ass.

Naturally, this got me hungry for some calamari.

There are a million calamari recipes on the internet, so you don’t need another one from me — especially if all I’m going to do what so many food bloggers do, copy a recipe and call it my own. Just use this procedure from Emeril Lagasse — and you can skip the “Emeril’s Essence,” which to me sounds as creepy as the phrase pork bung. BAM!

Not perfect rings, but delicious.
I prefer draining fried foods on a rack, rather than on paper towels.

This is easy to do this at home if you don’t mind dealing with a big vat of hot oil. A cast iron pot will work better for deep frying because it holds the heat. Also, if you like your calamari with marinara sauce that’s fine, but you can really get creative with dipping sauces like homemade mayo with garlic, Thai peanut sauce, or even just some sriracha.

Buy extra. I’ve never had any left over.

Anyway, back to the original point: pork bung. Are hog entrails really that much grosser than eating a squid. You ever look at a squid?

There were several mildly disturbing food stories in recent weeks. In Ireland, they discovered hamburgers that contained 30 percent horse meat, and in China — in a story that reinforced every terrible stereotype — the liberation of a truck full of cats headed for the meat market.

Our feelings about food, especially protein, are ruled by our culture and emotions. One man’s delicacy is another’s revolting nightmare. But dipped in a little garlic mayo, is anything really that bad?

5 thoughts on “Bing Bang Bung

  1. I’d have no problem eating pig bung (provided the pigs were raised humanely – haha). I’m sure it’s got that same great rubbery chew that makes calamari so special…and let’s face it, in the deep fryer most foods taste alike.

    I listened to the story and really didn’t find it too out there. Many people in this country eat animal feet, rocky mountain oysters, cheeks, brains, etc. It’s just one more part of the animal and as long as it’s properly cleaned, what does it really matter? I’ve never thought twice about liver and onions and that’s an organ that filters toxins – that sounds way more dangerous to eat than butthole.

    1. Living beings are basically just devices that process food — but some parts are more directly involved in the procedure than others.

      If you think of it, most people have already eaten something from that neighborhood of the animal if they’ve had a sausage made with natural casing, right?

  2. Also, chittlings.

    Probably the most unusual delicacies I heard of was a customer who told us that he savored pigs ears and tails whe he was a lad on the farm.

    As to me, as a kid we ate tripe, brain, pigs feet, oxtail, lamb and beef tongue, heart, liver, kidneys, and a few other delicacies, along with the more common cuts of beef/veal, pork, lamb/sheep, venison, and fowl.

    I never ate sweet breads, mountain oysters or calf fries, although one of my boys was conned into trying calf fries when he was in New Mexico. Although people raved about it, I never tried my Dad’s homemade headcheese, either.

    Access to the goddies we had was rather easy, because my dad and uncles ran a packing plant in Albany.

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