75. “Sir, I’ll have you know that chitterlings kept my family alive during the war.”

The episode:Riding with Death,” ep. 814

The riff: Said in a stuffy, offended tone by Tom as the hero descends from the stage in a honky tonk, ready to fight the man who said “that ain’t more than a bowl of chitlins” about his music. Note: At least I think that’s what the guy said, it’s hard to be sure.

The explanation:Chitterlings” and “chitlins” both mean the same thing as far as cuisine is concerned: pig intestines. A traditional low-cost meat of the poor and working classes in Europe, chitterlings are also a historical component of southern soul food in America. They’re typically stewed for a long time to make them palatable–after being well-washed, of course. It makes sense that a family struggling to make ends meet during wartime would subsist on something like “chitlins.”

Novelty factor: You don’t watch as many episodes of “Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmern as I have without learning what chitterlings are, although in the American south it’s typically pronounced “chit-lins.” They’re even referenced during this soul food sketch by Key and Peele.

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2 thoughts on “75. “Sir, I’ll have you know that chitterlings kept my family alive during the war.”

  1. The line this riff was in response to was “now, if that ain’t corn-pone chitlins.” Corn-pone is a style of cornbread, but the term often used as an expression to mean “hick” or “hillbilly.” I think Buffalo Bill took it a little harder than he should have, considering that the person saying it was also a bit of a hillbilly. My experience tells me rural southerners consider that family of terms complimentary.

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