Let’s face it, choosing a gift for a tripe lover is often tricky at the best of times, but with Christmas just around the corner, there’s never a better time to seek advice. We asked the TMB’s Senior Sommelier, Steph Lunn, to offer up her own suggestions – which might surprise you!
In my career as a wine writer, I am often asked for my advice on gifts to buy wine enthusiasts. Should you buy them some sort of expensive coaster to place their wine bottle on, or a little novelty jacket for the wine to wear so they can bore their dinner party guests by making them guess what it is instead of just drinking it, or would they prefer a book about the 1855 classification of Bordeaux?
No, of course not. You should buy them wine. Or give them some money, so they can buy wine.
However, when it comes to tripe enthusiasts, they are quite a discerning bunch, and the answer is rarely as simple as ‘just buy them tripe’. For one thing, they probably have quite a lot of tripe at home already, that will be taking up valuable fridge and freezer space during the festive period.
Also, tripe isn’t known to travel well, and you can’t just leave it under the Christmas tree for a prolonged period. It doesn’t smell particularly pleasant to begin with, and the aroma of decaying tripe has the potential to ruin Christmas even more than that stupid wine bottle dinner jacket did.
With this in mind, here are our top 10 gift suggestions for the tripe lover.
1. A Tripe Marketing Board 2021 diary. This is actually the perfect gift – it’s under a tenner, beautifully presented, hilarious, full of tripe-related facts, and in these dark times it is also a gift of hope, in that it demonstrates that you believe they will have things to write in it in 2021.
2. A Tripe Marketing Board pen. Often sold alongside the diary, as they naturally complement one another, the TMB pen is the only pen you’ll need in 2021. (It does, however, eventually run out, so it’s worth buying more than one.) Note: If the receiver of the gift is left-handed, they will need to be in possession of a very sharp knife and some strong glue, and be reasonably competent at performing light DIY tasks. Full instructions for converting the pen for left-handed use are available from the TMB. Smart purchasers tend to go for the diary/pen combo, which is available at the remarkable price of just £9.99. Pen lovers prefer the set of five pens, apparently.
3. A Membership to Tripe Club. For just £9.99, a *lifetime* membership includes a limited-edition fridge magnet, a sample TMB recipe card, a handy Travel Phrase card (Spain only) and a signed photograph of charismatic TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle. (Not to mention a handy 20% off future purchases from the TMB shop.)
Of course, we don’t want to limit your gift buying options to products that are available on our website, so here are some alternative, and creative, suggestions.
4. A festive tripe wreath making kit. Many people like to make their own Christmas wreaths, using pieces of spruce, moss, dried fruits and pine cones. As you can imagine, tripe enthusiasts tend to prefer a slightly meatier wreath, so essentially it’s the same thing but with tripe added to it instead of pine cones. It is unclear whether such a product actually exists – a basic Google search would indicate that it does not. Nonetheless, this can easily be improvised by purchasing an ordinary wreath making kit, and replacing the pine cones with tripe.
5. A ‘Be a tripe dresser for a day’ experience. Many of us prefer to purchase gifts that have no carbon footprint, and where the receiver can step outside their mundane lives and live out a fantasy. It is not clear that such an experience actually exists in any formal way, but if you know any tripe dressers you could approach them and see if they would be up for being shadowed for a day. You might be pleasantly surprised by their reaction – tripe dressing is hard work and they rarely employ assistants. An alternative for the squeamish would be a day of work experience in your local abattoir.
6. A tripe recipe book. Tripe lovers inevitably love spending time in the kitchen, usually with the doors and windows flung open wide to eliminate the pungent aroma. However, good tripe recipe books are few and far between, particularly if the receiver isn’t fluent in at least one eastern European language. With this in mind, we recommend buying them a notebook and pen, so they can write their own. (The TMB diary and pen combo above is actually a good option). However, the TMB has sourced some of the best available ones here.
7. Sustainable products made from reconditioned tripe. Environmentally friendly gifts are increasingly popular, and offal enthusiasts are known for their commitment to green issues. It does not appear that such a product currently exists (apart from the tripe handbag) – bovine stomach linings have thus far proved to be a tricky medium for those that apply themselves to making bags out of lentils and shoes out of parsnips. With this in mind, a possible alternative would be to just buy them a cow, and advise them to use it wisely and sustainably. (Remember though, cows are for life, not just for Christmas. It’s probably worth checking that they actually want a cow, as it’s quite a big commitment.)
8. A fine wine to accompany their Christmas day tripe. I have previously provided full advice for selecting a wine to pair with tripe and this can be found on the TMB’s website, but the key message is ‘try to confront the tripe, rather than trying to seduce it.’
9. Some tripe art. Tripe enthusiasts are known to be highly cultured, with an appreciation of fine art and sculpture. It does not appear that any credible artists are currently working in the medium of tripe, so it is probably best to consider producing something yourself. If you’re a wordsmith you could write them a tripe poem, but if not, how about performing an original interpretive dance for your friend, wherein you portray the different kinds of tripe? An interpretive tripe dance is a personal gift from the heart that they will never forget. Gift combo suggestion: it might be worth presenting them with the fine wine before you begin, particularly if you are not classically trained in interpretive dance.
10. A compilation album of songs about tripe. Apart from a collection of Christmas numbers that has now been deleted but which occasionally pops up on Ebay, it does not appear that such a product currently exists, so again, this is a chance to be creative. Think about songs that they would like to listen to while preparing or eating tripe, and present them in the form of a mixed tape or compilation CD. Anything from Motorhead to Kenny G might be appropriate, research in this field is unsurprisingly limited. This is an ideal option if you have forgotten to buy them a gift, since it can be assembled quickly. Gift Combo suggestion – Imagine their surprise and delight when they press play on the cassette, and you spontaneously start performing an original tripe dance! Bonus Gift Combo suggestion: If you decide to go with the compilation/dance gift combo option, it might be worth presenting them with quite a lot of wine before you begin.
If none of these sound appealing, why not sponsor a Tripe Dog? You can even ask them to be fed a tripe-rich diet, so it’s a win for the TMB, too!