When my rabbit story aired on This American Life in December, I received an amazing amount of emails from people all over the world who wanted to know if there was a Meat Collective where they lived. Or, if not, how they could start one. It’s always been my goal to be able to create a model for butchery education and alternative meat economies that could be applied virtually anywhere.
How Our Notion of “Creepy” is All Screwed Up: Or, Why I Butcher and Cure and Cook Pig Heads and Feel Just Fine About It.
Recently, Chris Onstad, a lovely writer for the Portland Mercury, took my Pig Head Butchery & Charcuterie class and wrote a very good piece about it. I especially thought it interesting that Chris used the article to explore notions of decadence. And I found myself pondering why it is that a recipe like Porchetta di Testa that has undeniable peasant roots has come to be seen as something decadent. If the very definition of decadence is, as Chris says, something that makes your mouth water and your hair stand on end, I’m quite interested in the “hair standing on its end part” especially within the context of eating animals–or rather, every part of an animal. When did using parts of the animal like the head or the feet make our hair stand on end? This most certainly wasn’t always so. What psychological shift occurred to make these parts of the animal creep us out?
This Spring I took part in an ad campaign for Wusthof knives. Part of the deal is that each month I post something on their website having to do with meat. I’ve already posted a couple, including a meditation on Guys, Girls, and Grills, and a walk through of how to use a whole duck inspired by the duck classes I’ve been teaching with Sarah Wong. Check them out! Click on this link and then click on “The Poet.” That’s me…..
Jessica Applestone, co-owner of Fleisher’s Grass-Fed and Organic Meats in New York, recently sent me a copy of the new book her and her husband, Joshua Applestone, came out with. It’s called The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat and you all should run out and get a copy. It’s one of the most sincere, un-showy, very smart butchery books I’ve seen.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook may have noticed that I’m talking a lot about currywurst. Currywurst is to Hamburg and Berlin what pizza and bagels are to New York, what hot dogs are to Chicago, and what tempeh sandwiches are to Eugene, Oregon. It’s a hotly contended topic of food conversation here in Hamburg: who has the best currywurst. What is currywurst?
I just walked 40 minutes in heeled boots to eat what several chefs have told me is the best “new guard “of smorrebrod cuisine in Copenhagen. New guard, or old guard, I am in love with smorrebrod, the Danish open-face sandwich that comes with hundreds of different toppings, from a simple creamed shrimp and dill topping to pickled herring, beets, and eggs. Pictured here is a beef tartare smorrebrod that I can’t get out of my mind.
In almost every sausage class that the Portland Meat Collective has offered, one student eventually asks us whether it’s possible to make a fish sausage. We’re never entirely sure how to answer. “I suppose you could try, but I wouldn’t recommend it,” one of us will say.