"It smells like dirt."
Whether you know them as chitlins or chitterlings – most Southerners have a strong opinion about this regional dish. Made from the small intestines of a pig, chitlins are usually boiled or fried, depending on what your grandmother grew up on. One distinct characteristic of this interesting dish is the smell. When you cook chitlins, everyone within a five mile radius knows what's going on. With a simmering scent reminiscent of old trash cans, it usually takes a strong nostalgic pull to get you to put a helping of these cooked pig intestines on your plate.
Before showing them what was inside the bowl, we asked our favorite Southern kids to try to guess what was in front of them. While the majority agreed that they did not like the way it smelled, the kids came up with pretty inventive guesses as to what it was. A pair of siblings guessed dog or cat food, and one little boy exclaimed, "It smells like octopus and jellyfish!"
As they taste-tested, most of our Southern kids didn't like what was in front of them – although they still weren't quite sure what it was. One brother told his sister that she'd get "the heebie-jeebies" if she tried it, but another boy said, "It's good!" and took a second bite. Mostly, though, we received a chorus of 'Ewws' and gags. When we told them it was chitlins (and, explained what chitlins were!), even the kids that liked the dish said they weren't planning on eating it again. But, there was one little guy who may keep the memory of chitlins alive:
"I still like chitlins a little bit."