Monday, April 20, 2009

Fat: A complete fiasco

I ran in to the Hing Ling market this afternoon, bought pork liver and belly, rushed back home, chopped them up and threw the chunks into my new grinder along with some onions and garlic to make tonight's -- ta da -- faggots with onion gravy out of Jennifer McLagan's Fat. You may smirk for a minute, children, but then we need to move on. As McLagan explains, "faggot" is an old English word for "bundle." These particular bundles were to be held together by caul fat, which I went to some trouble to obtain a few weeks ago. Here is the caul fat: 

The photo is ugly, but not the actual caul fat, which is kind of lacy and wonderful when you're holding it in your hands, like a giant, tattered, crocheted shawl. While we're at it, here is the handsome pork liver:
McLagan describes her faggot recipe as: "a delicious change from meatballs." I was quite looking forward to it.

Was not to be. As I tried to grind the meats, mingled juices of onion and liver erupted from the top of the machine and spattered my t-shirt. Then the pork belly got caught in the blade despite my best efforts to remove all sinew. But if you must remove every last strip of sinew, what is the point of a GRINDER? Meanwhile, sluggishly squirting from the bottom of the grinder at the rate of a teaspoon per minute, came this sad dun-colored sludge. I kept struggling, forcing meat and vegetable into the machine, cleaning and recleaning the chopper; I tried pre-grinding everything in a food processor to break it down a bit. And then some internal toggle switch clicked. All the meat went into the trash, the machine into the sink. Done. I don't blame Jennifer McLagan, I blame the machine, and maybe myself, though mostly the wretched machine.

Hardly matters. We're having a freak heat wave so no one is hungry and even if they were they wouldn't have been too enthusiastic about my bundles. Just a hunch.


  1. It is better to have ground and lost than to have never ground at all.

  2. It's as if the machine stepped in and said, "Pork liver faggots in caul fat? I don't think so."

  3. Bad Yogi -- it's an attachment to the Kitchen Aid. I don't know if it's because I'm not mechanical, or if it's just a weak grinder, but the thing doesn't work.

  4. That's what I was afraid of: my wife was going to buy one for my b'day this week, but the consensus is that it isn't worth it.

    Yogi (I'm the Bad yogi because I'm not the Good yogi!, but I am just Yogi by name.)

  5. I have the same grinder attachment on my Kitchen Aid and I had the same fiasco of a malfunction when I first tried it. But just before I went ballistic and threw the whole thing out of the window, I realized that I had accidentally left BOTH grinding plates in the grinder, therefore restricting the flow so much that virtually nothing could come out. I took it apart, placed the ONE grinding plate I needed in place and finished up in record time with beautifully ground chicken livers for the batch of Louisiana Style Dirty Rice that I was working on.

  6. i have this grinder...and love it. I'm thinking maybe you didn't assemble it correctly..
    otherwise don't see why your having such a problem with it. I can't live without mine. I'm always on the lookout for sirloin steaks or roasts on sale and pork to grind up into ground round. I can't even remember the last time I actually purchased hamburger. Or ground pork even from a chinese market is suspect to me without seeing the thing that was ground up ...before it was ground up.

    Did you not put the cutting blade in before the grinding plate? I don't know...i'm at a loss cause it's the one appliance I have that I truly looooove. The only time it went a little crazy and threw a fit was that one time I added hard as rock bagel croutons into the hooper after the meat was done. I usually throw in a piece of bread ends to clean everything out but for some reason threw in some croutons. And I thought I broke it. Until everything was cleaned out. Then it started working again. phewwwww