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Harumi Díaz
Ingl 3032-002
September 28, 2010

Mondongo: From Slave Food to Delicacy

“What is food to one man may be fierce poison to another”. Lucretious, a Roman poet andphilosopher said this quote. During colonial times the preferred cuts of meat were reserved for the master's use. In order to maximize profits, the remains of the pig were given to the slaves forconsumption. Mondongo was one of the many dishes that were prepared by African American slaves with the pig’s offal. Through out history, Mondongo has stayed as part of our culinary traditions from our AfricanAmerican ancestors. Today in many parts of the Caribbean, Mondongo is prepared in various forms but it is derived from the same pig body organ: the tripe.
Mondongo is a dish prepared from thepig’s stomach and large intestine. The tripe is first washed and soaked with vinegar and lemons. It is then slowly boiled over medium heat. The water has to be changed two to three times since the tripe hasa very pungent feces odor that has to be eliminated. After the tripe is cooked, it is cut into one inch square pieces, which have a sponge like texture. It is prepared with spices, tomato sauce,vegetables and water. It is left to cook slowly so that the tripe can absorb most of the flavor. The process usually takes around two to three hours. Even after the long cooking process, Mondongo cantaste gummy if it is not cooked thoroughly. Otherwise, if it is boiled for hours, it becomes very tender and easy to chew.
Unlike other foods that are usually eaten during a special occasion, Mondongocan be eaten all year round. Workers especially like to eat Mondongo early in the morning because it gives them energy for the whole day. Aside from people whose religions do not permit them to eatpork, anyone, no matter what age, can eat Mondongo. I remember one of my African American friends saying, “can’t wait to get home. Mom is cooking chi’tlins”. Chitterling is pig tripe. It is boiled...
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