The Wall Street Journal's Bruce Palling wrote an amusing piece on offal today, as an introduction to the expanded edition of Anissa Helou's book, The Fifth Quarter: An Offal Cookbook.

We all know that offal isn't everyone's cup of Lapsang Souchong, Palling wrote. It means nonskeletal meat, such as organs and glands, as well as extremities like feet and tails or heads from anything edible.

Palling goes on to remind us that shifted mindset among gourmands towards offal is largely due to the work of two pioneers of innard consumption: British chef Fergus Henderson, author of Nose to Tail Eating and owner of St. John restaurant; as well as Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco and www.offalgood.com.  

Although eating the whole animal has become something of a haute cuisine trend in recent years, the tradition has origins that are far from glamourous - in poor farming communities and parts of the world that have limited resources to food, throwing out any part of the animal is a luxury many cannot afford.