3 weeks ago
Save the date! Side Dish #4 with @corridor_project_space Friday, October 4th, 19.00 (for tickets, follow link in bio)
Ruminants, and especially cows digestive system, is a wonderful machine: it allows those animals to get energy from a massive undisputed ressource: grasslands — 1/4 of Earth’s land area. This unique evolutionary trait that had never been achieved before, allowed herds of ruminants to thrive across the Old World, even before mankind domesticated them.
Grazing consists on wrapping the tongue around plants and pulling to tear the forage. Saliva then aids in chewing and swallowing, as it contains enzymes to break fat and starch. Once the tongue swallowed the grass, it ends up in the rumen, the first stomach compartiment, field with the precious microbial fauna allowing recalcitrant plants fibres to be proceed through fermentation. While the liquid portion of food moves from the reticulum to the other compartiments, the solid portion stays in the rumen. It may then be propelled up by the oesophagus to be chewed again, before to be swallowed again: this is ‘rumination’. This odd stomach accounts for 75% of abdominal cavity, rumen being the largest with as much as 150L capacity. After grass as been radically transformed through the 4 compartiments, all nutrients obtained are absorbed in the 50m long intestines.
Called “offal”, digestive organs are rarely seen in Western cuisine, except in Eastern tripe soups, and occasionally in Italian and French traditional dishes. For cooks, rumen would be called blanket/flat/smooth tripe; reticulum is named honeycomb/pocket tripe; and omasum book/bible/leaf tripe.
Video: big thanks to Hof Weipo of Jonas and Aurelia, with their biodynamic cowgirls!
#ruminant #digestion #system #cow #cattle #livestock #grassland #rumen #fermentation #microbes #farm #resilience #food