FRESH attempts are being made to put healthy servings of tripe back on the dinner tables of East Lancashire.

Once Blackburn, Burnley and Accrington would have been awash with tripe sellers and dressers – and in Victorian times there were even parlours devoted to the delicacy.

But since the Second World War, when it served as a cheap and cheerful ingredient in a variety of dishes, the popularity of tripe has waned. Only one stall, Simpson’s, sells varieties on Burnley Market and just a couple at Blackburn Market, including The Tripe Stall. There is also Bob’s Tripe stall in Accrington.

Now the Preston-based Tripe Marketing Board is redoubling its effort to make tripe tantalising for the 21st century.

And an East Lancashire firm, which specialises in the ox variety, has revealed its tripe lines have never been more in demand.

Andrew Holt, of the Haslingden-based Real Lancashire Black Pudding Company, said that the firm has contracts across the UK with Morrisons and Booths supermarkets and independent butchers.

“You would think it was just a Lancashire thing but the sales are pretty solid all round the country,” he said.

“We tried to find out the demographics of people who were buying tripe and it turned out that it appealed to people across the board.”

Mr Holt said the trend reflected an increasing interest in ‘fifth quarter’ products in the trade – an effort to use as much of an animal as possible which has seen offerings like cowheels, pig’s trotters and oxtail make a comeback.

Leanne, Oakshott, from The Tripe Stall, said: “Tripe used to be more popular. You get regular customers, usually older people. Young people don’t really buy it. We sell more tripe than anything else on the stall, but it is a tripe stall after all.”

Five years ago, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay visited Accrington in a bid to renew interest in tripe.

He also added it to his regular menus and demonstrated how cooking it with Thai spices, or lemon and parsley, could make it more palatable.

Sir Norman Wrassle, the Tripe Marketing Board chairman, said tripe suffered from a poor reputation but the industry was fighting back.

“We have invested heavily in our communications strategy, using social media like Facebook and Youtube to get our message across,” he said.

Talking Tripe

  • Tripe is commonly made from the stomach linings of cows but sheep, ox and pigs serve just as well.
  • Three main kinds of tripe are usually offered – smooth, honeycomb and leaf – nicknamed according to the section of stomach they are obtained.
  • Green tripe, often still affected by stomach contents, is generally considered to only be suitable as dog food.
  • Several contintental delicacies are based around tripe such as andouille (poached, boiled and smoked), Dobrada (Portuguese dish with butterbeans and chorizo) and Mexican machitos, served with onion and salsa.