Out of all the animal parts that can be sampled for delicious meals, tripe is not the most popular part. In Kenya it’s called Matumbo while in Morocco its TQallia, Eritrea and Ethiopia Dulot, Brenda in Uganda, Guru in Zimbabwe, Mala Mogodu in South Africa , Shaking in Yoruba Nigeria while it is Calooley in Somali and Djibouti. This is the lining of the stomach of a cow, sheep or ox which provides immense important nutrients such as minerals, proteins and vitamins our bodies rely on for good health. However it should not be consumed frequently due to its high cholesterol content.
Beef tripe is usually made from the muscle wall (the interior mucosal lining is removed) of only the first three chambers of a cow’s stomach: the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe), and the omasum(book/bible/leaf tripe). Abomasum (reed) tripe is seen much less frequently, owing to its glandular tissue content.
Organ meat such as tripe were a basic part of our forefathers diets and provided immense nutritional benefits to groups of people who had little access to alternative foods with a lot of nutrients. This is not the situation currently with little emphasis on such organ meats as tripe and they are mostly avoided. During feasts and famine, our ancestors experienced made the most out of each calorie source they had access to. When they killed an animal they would consume every part of the animal.
While tripe is high in fibre and rich in calcium, it’s also an excellent source of selenium which is an essential mineral that acts as an antioxidant to limit cell damage from harmful compounds called free radicals. It also helps with immune function, thyroid function and the creation of DNA.
Rich in zinc needed for immune function, wound healing, blood clotting, reproduction, thyroid and insulin function, healthy vision and a proper sense of smell and taste. Zinc may also lower risk for heart disease and cancer by acting as an antioxidant and protecting your cells from free radical damage.
It’s a good source of proteins that are low in fat. Eaten in proper proportions it’s heart friendly. Despite having low fat concentrations, the meat is high in cholesterol and should not be consumed with other foods high in cholesterol.
It’s also full of vitamin B-12 which keeps skin, hair, eyes and liver healthy, and supports the immune system. In addition, it helps the body deal better with stress, besides assisting with producing DNA and preventing anemia.
While tripe might make some stomachs turn as experienced by two people interviewed, “I’ve tried with tripe. Really, I have. I want to embrace it, but it’s so very hard to love. I persevered, trying it a couple of different ways last year before finally giving up.”Another negative comment is “There was just no pleasure there. Apart from that god awful texture, where’s the flavor? I can’t remember any discernible taste to the stuff itself.”
However, tripe has not fallen out of ‘flavor’ with others, “If made right, it can taste really great.” Another supporter says “It’s delicious and absorbs the flavor of the sauce it’s being cooked into.”
In many parts of the world tripe is regarded as pet food. Perhaps its time it’s accorded it’s fair treatment alongside other common staples such as chicken, rather than being the unusual choice due to its nutritional values and ability to help cut waste.