EAT YOUR MEMORIES: Criterion Hotel chef Sarah Collins said old-fashioned food, like lamb brains and oxtail stew, bring back childhood memories for a lot of her customers.
EAT YOUR MEMORIES: Criterion Hotel chef Sarah Collins said old-fashioned food, like lamb brains and oxtail stew, bring back childhood memories for a lot of her customers. Michael Nolan

Offal-ly good eatin' at the Cri during Heritage Week

THE thought of chowing down on lamb brains or a piece of oxtail might not sound like the most appetising dinner for younger generations.

But for older Southern Downs residents these old-fashioned foods invoke their childhood memories.

This appeal to nostalgia is behind the long-running tradition of featuring food from yesteryear at the Criterion Hotel during the Southern Downs Heritage Festival.

Pub chef Sarah Collins said country folk grew up eating food like oxtail stew, lamb's liver and onions, brains and smoked eel.

"Back in the Depression everyone had their own animals, and nothing went to waste,” she said.

"It is not like they would take the top cuts off an animal and throw the rest away.”

Old-time food has experienced a comeback and Mrs Collins said the unusual cuts can taste good if prepared right.

"The oxtail has a really strong beef flavour,” she said.

"It is slow cooked, so the meat is really tender, and it falls apart easily.”

The lamb's liver is soaked in milk for a few hours and fried in onion to remove the metallic taste common to offal cuts.

For her lamb brains, Mrs Collins said they are best served crumbed and fried, to give them a real crunch.

Like all good chefs, Mrs Collins is adventurous when dining out. She has eaten crocodile, camel and has a fondness for pigeon.

"Try everything twice,” she said.

"I never say no.”

The top of her list of weird food was jellyfish eaten at a Japanese restaurant.

"It was rubbery,” she said.

"The trick is to chew and swallow fast because the longer you chew the rubberier it gets.”

The Criterion Hotel old-fashion specials menu runs until the end of the Heritage Festival on Sunday. Dishes change daily so phone 46611042 for more details.



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