The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Trying chitlins not on the menu



Local columnist

There was a customer in the bicycle shop the other day. We got to talking about food.

The talk turned to chitterlings, known to most as “chitlins,” pig or bovine small intestines. Some folks like to cook ’em and eat ’em.

I’ve only eaten chitlins one time in my entire life. I don’t need to eat them again.

link“I cook mine with garlic and Tabasco,” said my customer, “And once they’re done, that’s really all you taste. They smell awful when you cook ’em.”

This is something folks agree on: When cooking chitlins they smell bad; remember what they are.

Suddenly I was whisked back in time to my grandmother’s living room back in the old home town. Grandma was telling me about the time her daddy wanted some chitlins.

My great-grandfather was superintendent of an iron mine back in the mountains. His name was Mr. Hill. He and his wife had a housekeeper to help around the home.

One day there was a conversation about chitlins.

Grandma went on, “He says to her, ‘I’d like for you to fix up a mess of chitlins for me and Mrs. Hill.”

“Are you SURE, Mr. Hill?” said the housekeeper.

“Yes ma’am,” he said.

“Walking home the next day he smelled the awfulest smell coming down the street,” said my grandmother. “It was coming from his house.”

“He walked in the front door and yelled, ‘Lord have MERCY, WHAT is that SMELL?’”

“Those are your chitlins cookin’, Mr. Hill,” said the housekeeper.

He went to the stove, grabbed the chitlin skillet, opened the back door and flung it in the backyard.

“That skillet was still there years later when they moved away,” said my grandmother.

“What did it smell like?” I asked.

"Boy, use your ‘haid,’” she said. “What do you THINK it smelled like?”

That’s what I know about chitlins; folks may like to eat ’em but the smell from cooking them makes you wonder why.

Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life.

Contact him at his blog:


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