Nose to tail – best to start early

Not long ago, a friend of mine had a had a baby. It’s a strange time to give birth, in the middle of the pandemic with all the restrictions, so I wanted to do everything I can to support my friend.

Of course I was excited for her and her family, and all the wonders that life holds – but I was also excited to cook geung cho again!

In China and Hong Kong, where I’ve spent time working, new mothers traditionally spend a month in ‘confinement’ with their baby after giving birth. Mothers stay indoors, with a special diet of food and drinks known for their strengthening and warming qualities.

The most important of those foods is geung cho – a stew of pigs feet, ginger and vinegars. It’s packed with the nutrients and energy that you need as a new mum.

Eating it feels like a warm, sticky, sweet and sour cuddle. Anyone with a newborn will see how the two came to be associated.

Cooking gueng cho again and introducing it to my friend made me feel warm inside too. It combines two things I’m passionate about.

The first is sharing with friends and family – the starting point for any one talking about food. The second is nose to tail eating. The best way to respect an animal reared for food is to use and to celebrate every last piece of the animal, from the nose to the tail – including the feet!

In the UK there is a great tradition of nose to tail eating, but some people are still squeamish about the more unusual cuts. Well I say you’re never too young to try – it might be best to wait until the newborn starts teething though!