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Thinking About Chit’lin’s

Making chitlins after hog-killing near Maxton, North Carolina circa 1940s (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

Guest Blogger John Thorton:

For some reason, completely unknown to me, I woke up this morning thinking about chit’lin’s (this is my spelling, I guess formally, it’s chitterlings) [pig intestines].  I remember smelling them (who doesn’t) when I lived in the Park Hill district of Denver in the 70s, usually on weekends.  The neighborhood had been Jewish until the man I bought my house from moved in, in 1969, the first black family there, and by 72 it was an all-black neighborhood. People in the neighborhood had mixed feelings about chit'lins.  Some folks regarded them as a special sort of sign of black pride, and in those days and in that neighborhood there was a lot of black pride.  But the more realistic declared them slave food, and more than a few decried their general flavor. I found them pretty tasteless once you got past the smell, and was therefore, like manioc, a vehicle for sauces, mostly of the hot variety.I don’t hear much about them anymore, and haven’t for years.  Is this just because I no longer live in a black neighborhood, or has this item of cuisine “fallen off” as they say? 

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John Thorton’s Faculty Bio: http://www.bu.edu/afam/faculty/john-thornton/

Chitlin Stories and Recipes http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=chitlin

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