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A food, in the soul food family. Name comes from "chitterlings", IIRC; "chitlins" is the Southern derivative. It comes from the pig - which part of the pig, I don't know. I'm afraid to ask. Lingering childhood memory: I saw a bucket of chitlins defrosting in a kitchen sink - it was something out of a horror movie, Doc Frankenstein's repository of surplus brain tissue or something. See also: chitlin circuit.

fried pig intestines, according to the Southerner's Book of Lists. I've also seen definitions that say boiled instead of fried.

Either way, nothing on Earth that can be cooked by man stinks any worse than chiltins. The smell will literally work its way into the floors and walls and cannot be eliminated sans burning the house down.

I'll never forget walking into a house out in the country where a black family lived, and there was an entire hog cut up in pieces on the kitchen floor. The head was on the countertop, staring in vacant wonder at the rest of what used to be him. The wife was preparing a bucket of what disturbed Pingouin so much in the above writeup.

If you think they look bad defrosting, Pingouin, you should see them fresh.

Perhaps you should see them being cleaned. My cousin used to clean them when I was little. She had this big, "double, double, toil and trouble" style black pot and I still distinctly remember her reaching into the oh-so-recently-removed-from-the-pig chitlins. The guts, wrapped around her hand and forearm looked like the gloves worn by a proctologist before he . . . you know. Anyway, I saw her reach in, and grip a dark mass, which she gradually pulled from within the recesses of the intestines towards the light. I don't remember actually seeing the crap after it had been removed. I ate them anyway.

Chitlins were almost always served boiled in my family, with hot sauce, a side of collard greens and hot water cornbread. Smelled absolutely awful. You will find chitlins much more common among black people in the South or one generation removed from it, as blacks were too poor to afford choice cuts of meat, but would be given the guts for free or dirt cheap, and it is good source of protein when you have limited access to better ones. My granddaddy probably could not get a good supply of tofu in the Mississippi Delta in 1935.

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