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25 Feb

Sounds rather dramatic, doesn’t it? Like launching a boat only without the bottle of champagne smashed across the bow. Or hurling books randomly out a window.

We did have some drinks though.

I'm happy

I’m happy

The launch – organized by publisher Chelsea Green – took place this past Friday evening at the wonderful culinary store of Chef Courtney Contos. Some of you will know her from my first DVD set “The Gourmet Butcher”… Courtney co-presented the course, showing how to turn some of my table-ready cuts into delectable gourmet dishes. Here she is with my co-author Karen Coshof.

Karen's on the left; Courtney's on the right.

Karen’s on the left; Courtney’s on the right.

Despite the totally horrible weather (teeming rain on icy roads), about forty people showed up to party.  We ate some delicious thingies from Sugarsnap Catering (the Gorgonzola-stuffed dates were voted “favorite”), and caught up on the news from each other.

Yummy yummy

Yummy yummy

All in all, a delightful event. With speeches!

The wonderful Jenn Colby of UVM's pasture program, with Royal Larocque in the background.

I’m happy


The wonderful Jenn Colby of UVM's pasture program. That's Royal Larocque in the background; he owns and runs one of Vermont's best small slaughter facilities.

The wonderful Jenn Colby of UVM’s pasture program. That’s Royal Larocque in the background; he owns and runs one of Vermont’s best small slaughter facilities.



Sam Fuller of NOFA Vermont

Sam Fuller of NOFA Vermont


My son Chris

My son Chris


Rim Shot

7 Oct

In this business you’ve got to find your amusement where you can. Here are some of the answers we used to give customers when they:

  • ordered bologna: “Would you like that sliced lengthways or crossways?”
  • asked for chicken legs: “Would you prefer the front legs or the back?”
  • asked whether we had any dog bones:  “Sorry, we didn’t cut up any dogs today.”
  • asked whether a piece of meat would feed six:  “Certainly, if three of them don’t eat.”
  • requested chicken breast:  “Would you prefer the left or the right?”
  • asked if the store stocked any Capons: “No, we took all the capes off.”
  • and when a customer exclaimed … “Wow! $ 8.99 a pound for veal cutlets. The shop down the street sells them for $ 5.99, but they’re out of them right now.” … We’d reply “Well, when we’re out of them we only charge $ 3.99 a pound.”



Teeny mutton quiz:

A) What’s a gummer?

B)  What’s a wether?

C)  What’s a solid-mouth?

A) a ewe sheep that’s lost all her teeth  B) a castrated male sheep  C) a sheep with two central incisors, two middle incisors, two lateral incisors, and two corner incisors (eg: an adult sheep more than four years old)

Why Don’t They Make Cars Like They Used To?

25 Aug

Went to the Stowe antique car show with my two grandsons and a friend.  This makes the 27th year (!!) that I’ve attended this fantastic show and the second year with my grandsons.  We had a blast.  Found a great parking spot beside the antique car parade route and ate our lunch as the cars rolled slowly by. 

Those classic beauties brought back many fond memories of cars past.  I made out in the back seat of many of those old models.  Funny how the old cars have held up.  Most are in much better shape than I am, even though we’re the same age. 

My favorite car ever was my first car – well, it figures.  It was a 1959 Oldsmobile Holiday 88.  Another one I loved (and drove for the longest time), was a 1968 Cadillac Convertible.  So cool. Fourteen of my cars were used Lincoln Town Cars, and it’s a shame they stopped production in 2011. These were terrific vehicles. 

Me and my Olds Regency many years ago

Me and my Olds Regency many years ago

I think they make cars better now than they did then – as far as safety and reliabity goes – but they’ll never make ‘em as beautiful.  Today’s cars all look the same (yuk, that silver).  Ah, the days of two and three-tone paint jobs and colorful interiors in turquoise and pink and yellow. Oh, yeah, and rear-wheel drive. Of the 80 cars I’ve had in my life, only one wasn’t rear-wheel drive. 

These days I rarely get to the back seat anymore; spend my time fishing around for that cold-cut sandwich in the front. Ah well… 

If you’ve got any cool photos of great classic cars, send them in and we’ll publish them. Especially if it’s a candy-flake paint job.

I thought tattoos were s’posed to say “Mother”

15 Nov

Won’t this look nice at 75?



14 Feb






And completing the topic… for your visual pleasure… CHICKENS!

24 Jan

Fashion is my creative outlet.

The new trend for spring 2012 – black and white, my dears.

Cap-sleeves will also be in.

… or not.

Fashion victim.

No, I’m not anorexic – I’m a model.

Some of us, of course, just have it.

Just had a blow-dry at the salon.

People keep telling me I’m self-involved.

A touch of red makes the outfit.

But feathers never go out of style.

… or family values.


Chicken Lore (maintaining a theme here)…

23 Jan

How are “industrial” chickens raised?  What are they fed?

If anyone knew how industrial chickens were raised no one would ever eat chicken again. Broilers are packed together – so overcrowded that the ammonia from their accumillated waste results in painful burns to their skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Industrial broilers are raised in about a third of the time it takes to raise them naturally. 

Some of this is due to breeding, but I also believe hormones are part of the reason. This rapid growth often causes deformities to bone structure. And they’re also fed industrial feed, which usually involves GMOs. Don’t buy these birds. You really ought to seek out the very best quality chicken you can – not only because of what I’ve written above, but also because of the huge difference in taste. 

Here’s a wonderful recipe I found on-line and tested. Do not – repeat, NOT – try it with an industrial bird. But with an organic, free-range chicken it is absolutely fabulous.  When you read it, you’ll think, “What?  That’s it?  Can’t possibly taste good.”  Well, try it.  But ONLY with the very very best chicken you can find.


  • one 5-6 lb. organic, free-range, non-hormone-fed, high-quality chicken
  • regular potatoes (not baking potatoes)

1) Peel the potatoes and slice into ½” or slightly thicker slices. 

2) Lightly butter a rectangular glass or ceramic baking dish (approx. 2-3” deep, no more)

3) Dry the chicken with paper towels inside and out, as well as you can.  Get into every crack and cranny – the dryer the bird, the more successful the recipe.

4) Sprinkle the cavity liberally with freshly-ground salt.

5) Truss the bird and sprinkle all over (back and front) liberally with freshly-ground salt.

6) Place into a 450 degree F. oven and bake till done – about 50 minutes. (Check with a meat thermometer for doneness.)

Some people keep chickens as pets.  Are they smarter than they look?

Well that depends. I had three chickens after my divorce. One looked a lot like my ex wife. Definitely not a very smart chicken. On the other hand I had one that looked an awful lot like Groucho Marx. This was a very smart chicken! But looks can be deceiving. One looked exactly like Albert Einstein, but was as dumb as my first-grade teacher.

The Great Chicken Slaughter

19 Jan

My older brother (whom we lost in a farming accident in 1984) was  seven years my senior. He and I were quite close. 

He called me one day at work. I was 18 years old and managing a small meat department in the town I was born in – Sheldon Springs, VT. He had 60 old hens that hadn’t layed an egg since World War One. He kind of kept them for pets.  He asked if I would come over the next Sunday and help him butcher his hens.  I of course agreed.

You had to know Ralphy, as we called him. He loved to farm, but hated to kill his animals. He was very gentle in nature, with a great send of humor, and very sqeamish at the sight of blood. Well, I arrived at his farm about 8 am Sunday morning. We had breakfast, and went outside to get started. I put the first old hen on the chopping block and took off her head. The old girl flopped around, spattering blood everywhere. 

Old Ralphy looked a bit pale and said, “We need some beer for this job, don’t you think?” I said “Sure, sounds good to me.”  Ralphy said “I’ll go to the store – be right back”.  My sister-in-law and I continued to work on the chickens.  I killed, she plucked. 

After an hour or so, we realized Ralphy wasn’t back yet. We continued until all 60 hens were done. We were freezer wrapping by the time Ralphy got back at 4:30 in the afternoon. We could tell by the way he was grinning that he’d had a few beers.

He apologized and said, “If I had stuck around I would have thrown up. But here’s the beer.” Next Sunday we will have you over for some nice chicken and biscuits. 

So the next Sunday I went over for dinner. The chicken gave a whole new meaning to Rubber Chicken. Even the gravy was tough. We laughed over this many times before he passed away. I still cannot eat chicken and biscuits without thinking about Ralphy.

Another Year…

31 Dec

We’re dancing.


And we’re dancing.


I’m dancing too.


We’re dancing.

But why?

I’m dancing too.

Tell me why.

If you can dance, I can smile.


And we can smile.


Because it’s NEW YEAR’S!!!


Always another sucker.

22 Oct

Remember my story a few days ago, about the butcher and his hot dog con?
It wasn’t only the hot dogs…

The same guy kept stacks of scrap paper next to his meat scales.  He never wrote a price on your meat package; instead, he’d  write it on a piece of scrap paper. If you bought several items, he’d use several scraps of paper. Then he’d total up the figures on the scrap paper, but not before adding $1.00 to each item.  So if you had ten items he cheated you out of ten bucks. 

I don’t think this guy could lay straight in bed.

On the bus

This lady gets on the bus with her baby, and the bus driver says, “Boy, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.”
This really upset her, but she didn’t say anything.  She just walked quietly to the back of the bus and sat down next to an old guy.

He said, “You look upset.  What’s the matter?”
She said, “The bus driver insulted me.”

The old guy said, “Well, you can report him, you know.  He’s a public servant.  He can’t do that.  Just go up and get his badge number.  In fact, just go up and get his badge number right now.  I’ll hold the monkey for you.”

you talking to me?