Chitterlings is their government name, but Black folks know them as chitlins. Anyone who has experienced the smell of chitlins being cleaned or cooked know how badly they stink.
Chitterlings are cow or pig intestines that were common peasant food in medieval England and made their way to America as a slave’s delicacy. I am proud to say that my generation may be the first in the slave lineage that has stopped eating chitlins.
Many of our parents and grandparents included chitlins with the holiday meals. I hated when my mom would stink up the house cleaning and cooking chitlins. Just the smell alone made me never want to eat that stuff. I watched the older folks devour chitlins at Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in disbelief.
I’m ashamed to admit while at my favorite aunt’s house with all my cousins sitting around the large table, she slipped chitlins on our dinner plates. I wasn’t tipped off because they were prepared when I wasn’t there and the smell goes away after they’re cooked. My dumb ass thought they were noodles. I ate them and actually liked them. All of a sudden it hit me – ‘These is some damn chitlins. I been got!’
I never ate them again and never will, but I hear there’s a Chinese restaurant in Wilmington that serves a huge helping of chitlins for take-out for those of you jonesing to get your slave taste buds reacclimated.
The reason I mention chitlins is a report by Axios that says the loss of smell could be an early detection sign of COVID-19. They quote an AP article which says…
There’s evidence from South Korea, China and Italy for loss or impairment of smell in infected people.
In South Korea, some 30% of people who tested positive for the virus have cited loss of smell as their major complaint in otherwise mild cases.
That might serve as a useful screening tool — a way to spot infected people without other symptoms like fever, coughing and shortness of breath.
If you’ve got a tub of chitlins in the icebox, this might be the time to pop the lid, get a little vinegar, clean a small portion, and see if someone in the house doesn’t complain. That would be the one in need of a COVID-19 test.