In it's simplest form tripe is the stomach (or stomachs) of a domesticated animal. Usually the first 3 stomachs of a cow are used and sometimes a pig or sheep stomach is used. The first of the cows stomach is the "blanket" tripe, the second and most preferred is the "honeycomb" tripe and third usable stomach is the "bible" or "book" tripe.The last stomach of a cow is rarely used because of its glandular texture.
How is Tripe Prepared?
In order for tripe to be edible, it must be thoroughly cleaned. A butcher will also remove extra bits of fat and bleach it so it looks more appetizing. The stomach is boiled breifly so that the lining can be peeled off. The lining of the stomach is the actual part that is used. Fresh tripe is a brownish/greenish khaki color. Even though it doesn't look quite as tasty, an unbleached and uncooked tripe will have more flavor. When you get the tripe home it is important to rinse the tripe thoroughly until the water runs clear and there is no residual grittiness. Tripe needs to be cooked for a long time in order to become tender. Simmering it for 2-3 hours is usually sufficient.
Usage in Mexican Cuisine
Tripe is used in Mexico for many idshes but the most popular one is Menudo which is a soup made with hominy and honeycomb tripe.
Other Culinary Usage
Tripe has been used in almost every country around the world in all kinds of dishes from main dishes to cold salads. In Italy you can enjoy "Trippa alla Fiorentina" in tomato sauce and in Belgium "Tripes a Djotte" a tripe sausage encased in large intestines. Even the well known "Andoille" sausage from France is tripe. In the Southern US it is deep fried in a buttermilk batter.