We Knew You Before You Were Famous


You don’t need to be a rock star, neighborhood butcher. Really. We loved you just as you were before you were a celebrity.

Meow meow meow meow.


14 thoughts on “We Knew You Before You Were Famous

  1. Unfortunately, some of these “rock star” butchers are no better than Food Network chefs—great on flash, low on talent.

    If you’re ever in Toronto, you should check out the butchers, like Dave Meli and Paul Bradshaw, at The Healthy Butcher [http://xrl.us/be2eii]. They’re also young but very serious about both their craft and the animals they butcher. And great craftsmen, too.

  2. I’ll do that, if I ever make it to Toronto, Peter. 🙂

    A few years ago, foodies only wanted to bite into and devour chefs – but the hunger seems to be spreading. I wonder – if a chef tastes like a holy wafer does a butcher taste like a dog biscuit?

    Maria, purrrrrrr. Purrrrrr.

  3. Well, it seems we’re moving ‘down’ the food chain – from classy chefs to classy butchers. Will we ever get ‘down’ to classy veggie cutters?

  4. You’ve reminded me that in the kitchens of one very famous and well-respected chef it has been reported that (at least at one point in time, I’m not sure if it is still a policy in place) every single employee in the hierarchy is directed by other staff members to be addressed as ‘chef’. A kitchen full of chefs!

  5. Ha ha ha! Actually, the the term ‘chef’ is used here in Burundi, quite often, as a kind of honorific for anyone working in a kitchen/restaurant, from dishwashers on ‘up’ – being used by people outside of the kitchen or restaurant as a way of indicating that the person does work in a kitchen / restaurant. Kind of nice.

  6. Yes, I can imagine. 🙂 The tone of the word is probably more like the term ‘chief’ which is used here in environments where people work with their hands – a friendly and bantering term!

  7. I was going to write pages and pages about butchers….. But what I really want to know is what those gorgeous cats are sitting on? Is it a shelf, or a step?

    Actually, maybe I will bang on about butchers.

    I have a great butcher round the corner in Cambridge, and he sells us the red poll cattle that graze on the meadows in the city centre. They have quite different characters and I have come to recognise some of them. They are butchered locally and sold to me by a man who has not wastage. I have a friend who is a government vet whose job it is to inspect supermarket meat disposal. Contrary to expectations the huge supermarkets are profligate with their meat and throw away tons of it. Helen is in despair over the animals bred in horrible situations, dying appallingly and then not even being eaten. My butcher knows about how much meat he is going to need a week, butchers accordingly and then, *if* he has something left over, tells local restaurants so they can take it off his hands to sell as specials. The local Chinese community take a lot of cuts that might not be so attractive to his dyed-in-the-wool Cambridge customers, and he makes excellent sausages. He says he gets rid of about half a bucket of fat each week. Way to go…..

  8. My experience with supermarkets, most of which buy portioned meat, is that they only throw out meat that has spoiled or is well beyond its pull date. It is not in their interest to buy more product than they can sell—they are not selling on consignment. There are various reasons why meat spoils in the big markets, the number one being customer-damaged packaging. Once someone, often a child, pokes a hole in a package, the meat is contaminated and can’t be sold.

    If the the market is buying primals and doing their own portioning, the butchers will try to not cut more product than can be sold the same day. If sold pre-wrapped, the meat will look good longer, but if sold from a traditional butcher counter, some will be have a gray appearance by the next day. People won’t buy gray meat so the age is usually trimmed off and discarded. If the primals are coming on the bone, then there may be non-salable bones, fat, and skin that ha to be discarded. Other trim will wind up in ground meat products. All efforts possible will be made to keep waste to a minimum.

    Traditional butchers buy meat on the carcass have a problem in that not all cuts are popular all year round. There are winter cuts and summer cuts. What doesn’t sell in the counter become trim, and if the shop specializes in free-range, organic meat, will be sold below cost as burger or other ground meat products. Once again, there is a lot of weight on a carcass that cannot be turned into sellable product.

  9. Suzy, the cats are on a shelf. 🙂

    Yes, butchers – real butchers with an appreciation for what they do . . . sadly, they do not exist where I live. There are fake butchers – meat-cutters employed by the supermarkets – who half the time if I bother to ask them a question do not understand what I am asking for or how to do it and if I tell them they are dubious unwilling or unable.

    It’s seriously grim. Why should it be that only in cosmopolitan cities or elegant little outposts of Society that things which should be basic in life seem to still exist?

    These small cities, large-ish towns and suburbs are so unhealthy in ways unspoken.

    I can not imagine what your friend Helen has to go through, Suzy. I am deeply sorry to think of it. 😦

  10. Gosh. Meat ONLY wrapped in plastic. I just about forgot about that horrid feature of modern food. Hopefully this aspect of modern life will never reach central Africa, where cutting off the hung carcase is the normal routine.

  11. Often rather flavorless meats wrapped in plastic, too, Diana.
    But you know what the trade-offs are . . . Burundi will be very interesting to watch grow in hopefully good ways if luck be with it. 🙂

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