I’ve had my sophistication questioned (as well it should be. Strike one: ice hockey player, and a not-so-hot one at that. Strike 2: eats pizza rolls. strike 3: hates innards) because I’ve openly admitted that I do not care for pate (and let me amend that. I do not care for pate that has liver in it). I’ve been accused of being a food philistine because I admit not caring for pate. But the thing is, most people have a food dislike that they just can’t get over. Often, more than one. Adventurous eaters have them, too (really. At least, I think they do. I want to think they do.). Right. Anyway. The upshot is that I am not an innards eater, and the quinto quarto is just not my thing.
Except for a part that gets categorized as innards, but is really… out-ards. The oxtail. I love oxtail. I have never had it prepared in a way that I did not like (although I’m sure there are several ways to prepare it that do not make for a happy result). Coda alla vaccinara is a wonderful, scrumptious dish. We only ate out a few times in Rome (we rented an apartment), and I was sorely tempted by the oxtail, but it got pushed to the side in my greediness for other dishes that I had missed more, and was less able to cook at home.
And so, before my husband and son embarked on the second most ill-advised camping trip they’ve ever attempted (the first, thankfully, was cancelled due to avalanches closing every single mountain pass), on an April weekend in which snow, hail and rain were all in the forecast (and we got to enjoy those three types of precipitation, plus freezing rain and sleet, while it was 80 in Pennsylvania and my sister— who will for her birthday now be receiving a used tube of Preparation H that I bought from a stranger— chortled delightedly about their grilling plans), I decided, the night before they left, to make something that would be warming, and I decided on oxtail. And it was, indeed, cozily warming. I photographed the oxtail before I cooked it, because once it was done it was a brown stew-y, delicious blob, but that’s harder to get a good picture of (plus, by then, no more natural light).
So, if you're balefully surveying the late April sky from a place that the weather is still more late February or early March, my advice would be, give oxtail a go.