Boned and rolled calves heads on special at the supermarket.
There are several traditional French dishes which are very much an acquired taste. Escargots (snails) of course, but also andouillette (sausage made from pork intestines), gésiers (chicken gizzards) and tête de veau (calf's head). There are probably others, but you don't see them so frequently (for example, you virtually never see frogs legs).
Snails ready to heat up.
Snails are edible but on my 'why would you bother' list (sorry Greg). I have eaten them several times, and not just with the garlic butter that they are so famously served with. I've also had them as a sort of paté spread on toasted baguette, as well as served 'chasseur' style, with mushrooms and red wine. Frankly, I couldn't tell the difference between the snails and the mushrooms in the rich sauce.
Then there is andouillette. The all pervasive pong will put most people off before they take a mouthful. I'm not a fan but have eaten it occasionally. Even about half of French people don't like andouillette.
A packet of gésiers from my freezer.
Gésiers I love and always have some in the freezer for adding to salad lunches. I first encountered them in a restaurant in Saint Junien, in Haute Vienne, on holiday, didn't know what they were, so ordered the salad with them in just to find out. I've been a fan ever since.
On the left, sliced cooked tête de veau in sauce gribiche, ready to heat up;
on the right, andouillettes.
And tête de veau. It is as unappetizing as it looks in the top photo, even cut into slices or bite sized morsels and served with vegetables and a sharp flavoured sauce as shown immediately above. The texture is gluey jelly as there is so much slow cooked connective tissue to chew through.
I applaud the French nose to tail approach to eating and their determined championing of these old and frugal dishes, but tête de veau is to be avoided if possible. To make up for it I am more than happy to eat kidneys, tongue, liver and brains, all of which I can buy from a specialist butcher who does nothing but offal at Loches market.
My local specialist offal butcher, who tells me that November is 'Offal Month' in France.