Wednesday 28 February 2024

Another Load of Old Tripe

In between role playing The Lady with the Lamp, and Mrs Mopp I have been out in the woodland working hard.  Recently, the weather has been so wet that the annual tidy has been much delayed, brambles have run rampant in parts, branches have fallen and need to be gathered, sawn into logettes, or turned into woodchip for the pathways.  Some jobs are still outstanding because we need to replace the wonderful machine which does all that munching and crunching.

Jobs done, as far as possible,  I was at a loose end and somehow found myself sorting through my collection of old recipe books, trying to decide whether I could move any of them on to a new home.  I tried, truly I tried.

This was taken from my old blog and is
from quite a number of years ago.

As I flicked through I was surprised by the sheer number of bookmarks I had placed in a number of them and I found myself going back down a rabbit hole which I  had abandoned a few years ago.  

They marked pages of recipes for mock dishes, also known as camouflage cooking.  The art of cooking something to either look like, or taste similar to, another dish.  

I totally understand doing that during times of rationing, or through lack of funds, when resourceful cooks did their best to use what little was available and try to make it appealing/palatable.  Yes, if I was that way inclined I would also enjoy doing it simply for the challenge, unfortunately I have to scrub the kitchen floor with a toothbrush instead...

I must admit that I am more perplexed by why anyone would want to disguise a good thick steak by soaking it in wine and vinegar for a couple of days before cooking and presenting it as venison.  More cachet to being able to serve venison to your guests, perhaps? 

Why would anyone make mock brains, tripe, or brawn?  I suppose a hundred or so years ago these were eaten more broadly.  I have never knowingly tried brains but I do remember trying tripe (disgusting) and also brawn (meaty bits in jelly and equally disgusting).  When I was young I was quite unable to bring myself to eat mussels or cockles and wouldn't entertain the idea of those awful chewy whelks.  These days I love both the cockles and mussels but still can't bring myself to try whelks. I have digressed.  Sorry.

Mock Brawn

Boil a pair of neats feet very tender, take the meat off and have ready a piece of belly pork, salted.  Boil, take out the bones and roll the feet and pork together.  Roll very tight and tie, boil until very tender.  Keep in a sousing liquid for half an hour.  Strain and let it get cold.

Mock Caviare

Bone a few anchovies, chop them and pound them in a mortar with some dried parsley, a clove of garlic, a little cayenne, salt, lemon juice and a very little salad oil.  Serve on toasted bread or biscuits.

or you may prefer it this way:

Cook one cod's roe in boiling salted water for three-quarters of an hour, drain well and when cold put in a bowl with lemon juice and olive oil.  Beat to a creamy consistency. Add mustard and a dash of cayenne or a little paprika.

Mock Olives  

Plan ahead and pick green plums, before the stone has formed, brine them for three days, drain.  Boil vinegar seasoned with allspice, mace, mustard seed, bay leaves, an onion, grated horse-radish and salt, for a few minutes.  Strain, and when cold pour over the plums packed in jars.  Cover well and keep in a dark, dry place for three months before using.

Search long enough and you can find a 'mock' recipe for almost anything: Scallops, Whitebait, Lobster, Rabbit, Sweetbreads, or Turkey.  Mock Chop Suey, anyone?  Mock Almonds, made from stale bread, Mock Mince Pies, even Mock Apple Pies.  

Wash that lot down with Mock Port, Mock Champagne Punch or even a Mock Whisky.

The mind boggles.  

Was anyone fooled by them?  If the dishes were really delicious, surely it would be better to celebrate that and give them a name of their own?  Ah, but then I wouldn't have had all this fun looking for recipes easily identifiable by the word 'Mock'.

Now, excuse me while I go and find some Mock Devonshire Cream to have with my Mock Lemon Pie.


  1. Why any one would want to make a mock dish is beyond me onless they were tring to impress into thinking they could afford the real thing. Yep trip is discusting and I have never enatend Brawn of Tongue the tought of it makes me sick. Funny enought sweetbreads always facinated me, the name sounded it was something nice to eat so when I was wait for a plane in Brussels airport years ago I though I would have somthing to eat in the dinner while I was waiting (not much to eat that day). I saw sweetbreads and though I would try them, well try was the word when I saw them I looked at the suspiciously and biting into them confirmed what I thought they were. Quickly spat out and left. I went hungry till I got home. I used to eat shellfish but not now and anythong in a shell, no way.

    1. Perhaps I should find you a recipe for Mock Sweetbreads, Billy, there is bound to be one!
      I think the taste for these things was rather greater a century ago. My mother used to tell tales of the deliciousness of tripe, cow heels, chitterlings and most kinds of offal. She soon realised that her three offspring would not be fed in the same way - and neither would her husband!

  2. The mock brawn is weird and the only question is why? as I'm sure half a pigs head and a couple of trotters would have made a real brawn and easier!
    I made it lots of times with our own pigs - but haven't had one since - hardly any butchers shops left

    1. Louth used to have plenty of butchers shops, there are still one or two, but they are an endangered species these days. Some of the recipes do smack of desperation rather than inspiration. Having said that, I have read that the Mock Apple Pie is said to be extremely good, so I may write about that one after I find the enthusiasm to bake one.

  3. I remember a few mock recipes from an old NZ book. Mock Spanish cream comes to mind and mock goose made from mutton. There were a few more too. The mock caviar is something similar to sardine pate. Quite tasty. But some of those really do boggle. Mock olives. Mock brawn from neats feet. What on earth are neats feet?

    1. I could be completely wrong, but I have a feeling that neats feet are sheep feet, Linda. That is what is lodged in my brain, so it could be rubbish! There are hundreds of these recipes, some will be terrible and others will be so good that they deserve a name of their own. As I told Sue, I may well try out the one for Mock Apple Pie because that truly intrigues me - no fruit, other than a squeeze of lemon is involved...

    2. I have always thought that 'Neat's Feet' were from cattle, Cow Heel etc, I could be wrong of course!
      As a child I loved thick seam tripe, but not that awful, soggy honeycomb rubbish, now I don't eat tripe at all.
      My mum used to make Mock Apple Pie and Mock Cream, she'd eaten and enjoyed both during the war, so carried on making them for years afterwards.

    3. Thank you for the information, Col. The recipes I have seen for Mock Apple Pie use crushed crackers, which sounds peculiar but, the verdict has always been really positive. It intrigues me so much that on my next trip to town crackers will be on my shopping list. Mock Apple Pie, here we come.

    4. My mum used Ritz crackers in hers!

    5. Thank you, Col. I bought a box today, once I can find the time I will bake a pie and post the results.

  4. Ewww...yuck and double yuck! Can't say I fancy any of the mock recipes one little bit. Unless of course I serve up a rasher of bacon and call it a mock sirloin steak?!

    1. Most of them do sound pretty dreadful! One of the several recipes for Mock Tripe actually used pancakes and a white sauce, I can't imagine that one fooled anyone, but I bet some people preferred it to the real thing!


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