Tag Archives: the good old days

Seasonal Thoughts

22 Dec


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?

Bring back the good old days.

2 Dec

Customers 40, 50 years ago learned to cook from their butcher.  Newly-weds would go to their butcher, buy a chicken… “How do I cook it?”

The butcher would tell them.  Butchers educated people on how to cook meats.
What you didn’t learn from your mother or your grandmother you learned from the butcher.  And usually your mother and grandmother had learned from their butcher.

There was a butcher on every corner.  Not so many anymore, but they’re starting to crop up again.  I think this would come back if store owners didn’t minimize the importance of the meat department.  I think there’s a mentality today that’s like, “butchers are a dime a dozen”.

They’re not… meat cutters are a dime a dozen.

OK – change of pace…

This guy has a grandfather’s clock, and it breaks.  So he takes it to a clock shop to have it repaired.  When it’s ready, the store owner calls him up and says “Your clock is ready – you can come and pick it up.”

So the guy goes down and picks up the clock and he’s walking up the street with this six foot tall grandfather’s clock in his arms.  And a drunk comes out of the American Legion and bumps into him and knocks him down and smashes his clock.  And the guy is really upset and he gets up and looks at the drunk and says “Why the hell don’t you watch where you’re going?”

And the drunk says “why the hell don’t you wear a wrist-watch
like everybody else?”