Is nose-to-tail a time-honored tradition -- or a faddish trend?

Categories: Cafe Society

Smoked polish sausage at Old Major.
Nose-to-tail dining is nothing new. People have eaten every possible part of an animal for millennia, as a way to stretch their food supply. But in the last decade it's become a trend, thanks in part to the 2004 release of The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating, by British restaurateur Fergus Henderson. At a time when industrial food was being re-examined through the lens of the locavore and slow-food movements, it wasn't that big a leap for diners to expand their repertoire beyond chicken breasts and steak.

See also:
- Review: People have gone hog-wild over Justin Brunson's Old Major
- Photos: Behind the scenes at Old Major

- How do you learn to butcher a pig? Justin Bronson used YouTube

Given the rate at which restaurants hawking pig's feet and fried ears have popped up across the country, it's hard not to think of Old Major, which I review this week, as trendy. But chef-owner Justin Brunson disagrees, saying his approach is not new but old.

"I really think these old-world techniques like charcuterie or sausage-making is where food is going back to," he says.

In other words, not faddish but timeless. Do you agree with Brunson, or will nose-to-tail spots like Old Major be the neon of the '80s, forever associated with a particular moment in time?

Location Info

Old Major

3316 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Harusami Is
Harusami Is

The icky parts of animals are the reasons we have pets... so THEY will eat the offal things.

Cap_Hill_Cowboy 2 Like

I don't think you can say that Nose-to-Tail dining—or using the whole animal—is a fad akin to molecular gastronomy, TV Dinners or flavored martinis. It would be like saying good journalism is a fad of the Cronkite era. Brunsen is right. By places such as Old Major, Il Mondo Vecchio, the new Western Daughter, the Truffle Cheese Shop, Oliver's...etc. embracing a more traditional approach to how we look at dining out, or how we eat at home, they are setting the stage for what should be a long lasting attempt to end our dependence on factory farming. In order to educate the public, we have to better our establishments and expose America to cooking done right. With every Old Major-type success, another Applebee's-type chain loses revenue, and that is certainly a very, very good thing. The whole beast movement is not a flash in the pan, it is a step away from the corporate era of feeding the American public.

Now Trending

From the Vault