Tag Archives: meat

Seasonal Thoughts

22 Dec

wintertrees

There was a time in my youth when it was common to hear my parents, aunts, and uncles talk of how hard things were during the Great Depression. If anyone would know, they would: My mother was one of seventeen children, and my father one of thirteen. 

My mother and father divorced when I was eight years old. Things were pretty tough for a single mother of 10 with 7 children still at home. The food budget was very limited and waste of any kind was not even thinkable. We used every scrap of food. Dessert was a luxury reserved for holidays. Often for days at a time a meal consisted of bread and gravy. Mealtime was a time for family and a time to give thanks for what we did have to eat.

The labor my mother went through to make a dozen loaves of bread on a wood cook stove did not go unappreciated. Today my family honors her memory for all of the effort, hard work, and love that she put into providing for her children. 

Food is the bedrock of our lives, and those who produce it deserve to be honored. In my early days, respect was bestowed on the art of butchery. That seemed to vanish during the 1970s, and my aim – as by now you all know – is to bring it back.  

I have a bumper sticker on my truck that says No Farmers, No Food. I believe that seeking out and supporting local agriculture has terrific benefits. Consumers become more knowledgeable about the food they eat and develop links with the land—a spiritual as well as practical benefit. Farmers benefit through exposure to larger markets and often better prices for their animals. Small local shops that carry local meats develop stronger ties with customers and have a wider range of exciting products to advertise and sell. 

I’m tired of seeing “Oh, that’s good enough” owners who take no pride in what they offer their customers. This is the sort of thing that disgusts a butcher of my generation. If I put time, energy, and expense into raising an animal for meat, I want the best that animal has to offer. I want to honor it by masterfully cutting it to maximize every ounce and use every edible part. I want my cuts to be beautiful and uniform as possible—laying the meat out as though I were painting the Mona Lisa.

So my conclusion? It’s time for a change.

How about this? Let’s not accept second or third best. Let’s not condone cruel and unethical practices. Let’s learn about where our food comes from and teach our kids. Let’s support the farmers who feed us and stop pretending that what happens outside cities doesn’t matter. Let’s try sitting down as a family around the dinner table to give thanks for the food and its producers. And let’s thank the animal it came from, too.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

 

PS: And a special add-on for the person who emailed me about lamb butchery courses. Of course I offer them – occasionally. Just call me at 802 372 – 0681. See what a pushover I am?

Meat makes you calmer – really!

13 Nov

OK – I’ve always said that meat makes you happy, but now there’s SCIENTIFIC PROOF!!!

Results from a just-released McGill University study suggest that people (particularly men, but why does that not surprise me) -become less aggressive at the sight of meat.  Don’t believe me?

Read about it for yourself!

Feeling calmer?

About

10 Nov

The Gourmet Butcher himself!

I LOVE MEAT.

I’ve been working with meat since I was fourteen.
I started in my godfather’s meat market for 24 cents an hour, stuffing sausage.
I loved it.

Since then, I’ve done just about everything meat related… running meat departments in tiny country stores and huge supermarkets, learning how to prepare and present meat, developing recipes, becoming a master sausage maker, inventing new marinades and ultimately, becoming a gourmet butcher.

I’ve worked everywhere.  In Los Angeles I did all the meat props for CBS Studios and displays for national TV commercials.  My customers included Billy Crystal, Raymond Burr, Glenn Ford… all the big actors of the time.  They wanted quality.

People buy meat with their eyes, but they need to be more cautious.  Where did that meat come from?  You think it’s healthy because the label says “natural”, but the fact is that the government has lowered standards on product terminologies so that corporate America can cash in.  I believe in knowing your food’s provenance… keeping it local, knowing who raised that animal and making sure it was treated well.  You can always taste the difference.

I have customers who follow me from store to store, because they trust me.You have to believe in your product and never settle for second-best.

I love what I do, and I love teaching others about good meat.  That’s what this blog is all about.  I want to share my passion with all those other meat lovers out there.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a boogie-woogie accordion player, I’m your man!