May 29, 2012

butchery

I think all of this started on a whim. A series of small, imperceptible choices that led me 3000 miles away from home, in an unfamiliar town, in a butcher shop. It was never something that I had set out to do. I did not dream as a little girl of cutting up animals. It didn’t happen that way.

It was just a series of choices. And not big ones, like picking up your life and moving it across the country. It wasn’t even really the ones about eating, like where my meat was coming from or how I was cooking it. It was a series of those little choices that didn’t even feel like choices. Reading Food & Wine magazine cover to cover. Reading a small insert of recommended reads at the back of the magazine. Ordering a book on Amazon.

Those are the choices in life that make a difference. It’s not when you make the big decision, it’s all the miniscule and totally unimportant decisions you make before that. And so it was that  with one simple e-mail I had set in motion 48 hours wherein I had to decide if I wanted to be a butcher or not.

And I decided sure, why not?

So here I am in Kingston, New York apprenticing in a butcher shop called Fleisher’s. Maybe you’ve heard of it and maybe you haven’t.  They’re doing something exciting and something that’s both old and new at the same time. They’re about the same stuff I’m about, getting back to roots, and maybe re-imagining them at the same time.

This experience entails learning how to be a butcher the way our grandfathers were butchers. A whole, or halved, or quartered animal full of unfamiliar terrain comes into a shop and then it goes into a case familiar and ready to eat. And there are a thousand and one steps in between, and that’s what I’m learning. How to take something whole and make it into parts we all know and love.

I want to share some of this experience with you. There will be a lot of meat recipes coming up and maybe even some tutorials. I want you to get to know your meat, too. I’m certainly acquainting myself with it in a whole new way.

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