Thursday, August 19, 2010

The American Way of Breaking Down a Child

Michael Ruhlman:

An artisan butcher is one who makes the best possible use of each animal he puts hand and knife to, and, importantly, one who wastes as little of that animal as possible. How an animal is to be used should determine the way it is broken down. The American way of breaking down a pig is very American, in my opinion, a kind of brutal sectioning off into rectangles, without regard to the noble beast itself (pretty much what we did to the country itself). It’s not without reason—the method is to maximize the middle of the pig which are it’s most lucrative parts. In Italy—as we learned recently from Kentucky chef Jay Denham, whom I wouldn’t hesitate to call an artisan butcher and who staged for many weeks under various butchers in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna—when the pig will be turned into salumi, the butchery is designed to maximize that salumi. In the photo that leads this post, the butcher is cutting straight through the coppa, the neck-shoulder muscle that is one of the best for dry-curing. You wouldn’t see a shoulder handled this way in Italy, but in America, it’s perfect for Carolina barbecue.

Seriously, though, I'm pleased to see this:

Chef Champe Speidel of Persimmon in RI is set to open in the fall Persimmon Provisions, an artisan butcher shop in Barrington.

Also, a not directly related quote I read last night that reminded me of Doyle:

In 1724 seven hundred thousand bass were taken from a single pond in New Jersey, loading fifty carts, a thousand horses, and several boats.

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