This is a story about the time I (willingly and purposefully) decided to eat a sandwich made from the fourth stomach of a cow.
This is apparently a thing in Florence, with specialty food trucks serving up hot lampredotto sandwiches to the masses. Once upon a time, this was a cheap working class meal (for people who couldn’t afford fancier parts of the cow), but for some reason, the tradition survived the ages, and now Florentines of all ages and backgrounds eat it.
It seemed weird to put something else’s stomach into my stomach, but I always make a point to try the local foods, and this is pretty one-of-a-kind to Florence. So off we went, in search of a Trippaio (tripe food stand).
Here it is! This food stand is not called “Cold Drink,” like the awning might suggest, but rather L’Antico Trippaio. (They may need some help in the marketing department.)
Here’s a picture of the menu, mostly to prove that I totally could have backed out at the last minute. It would have been really easy to order a hot dog or a cheeseburger, but I stuck to my guns and ordered the lampredotto!
Here’s a picture of it being prepared. As noted earlier, the lampredotto sandwich is made of boiled meat that comes from the fourth stomach of a cow. There’s a thin (purple-ish) part and a fatty (white-ish) part. It’s cooked in a broth with herbs and tomatoes and is typically served on a bun that’s been dipped in the broth. You can see the top part of my bun soaking up that sweet, sweet, juice.
And here’s a picture of the final product!
You may be wondering why Michael’s lampredotto sandwich looks a little bit different. Like, what’s with the darker color and less disgusting looking meat? Ah yes. That’s because he’s holding a roasted pork sandwich. Which is not a cow stomach sandwich at all. (Though to be fair, he did try some of mine.)
Taste test time. This is where it got real.
If I were being polite, I would describe the meat as… chewy.
I don’t even know how to fully communicate what it’s like to have this meat rolling around in your mouth. It’s like a thick gelatinous texture, but is also really tough and ropy. It was pretty much impossible to chew, and I ended up swallowing humongous chunks of the stuff.
The bread and broth, however, were both delicious. I ate the whole sandwich (and only gagged once), determined to finish this authentic Florentine “treat.” Though, I have to admit, it had me questioning my motives (and my sanity) throughout the process.
So while it might be good enough for Michelangelo’s newly-clothed David sculpture, I’m not sure I’ll be buying a tshirt like this any time soon.
And I will definitely never eat another lampredotto sandwich.