Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Farmstead Meatsmith: Butchery Precepts

The Wednesday Review:
Reviewing books, products and more

This is a post about meat.  
You will see one dead chicken, and if you play the videos, 
you will see images from butchery.  

Dear carnivores, 

If you like fresh, local meat, you may be interested in learning how to butcher one day.  Even if you never butcher for yourself, it is useful to understand the process, the various cuts of meat, and how to use the more miscellaneous scraps you may acquire (backfat, pig's feet, et cetera).

I believe that when an animal is respectfully sacrificed for human consumption, every possible shred of the creature should be used, and nothing wasted.  To waste anything is to disrespect the sacredness of the creature we are consuming, in my opinion.

This beautiful bird, part of a larger flock, was eating her eggs and had to be
removed from the flock.  Rather than kill and bury her, I wanted to make sure
her body was used to the best possible advantage.  She made gallons of rich,nutritious
 which resides in my freezer and pantry now.  

While this sow and her piglets are still rooting in the mud somewhere near
North Carolina, the other hogs from this pen (not pictured) are in our freezer
now.  As are their bones, feet, and other scraps that are often thrown away.  

Many great words have been written on meat, and if you are curious about why we eat meat I can point you to Thank Your Body's great post about meat.  Our meat is always local, always fresh, and always from people we know.  I will not buy meat in the grocery store any more.  I believe in looking my meal square in the eye before consuming it so I can fully appreciate the cost of the delicious dinner I consume.  We haven't had ground beef in a long time, because nobody has been butchering cows right now - yes, we are hungry for hamburgers, but I refuse to buy factory beef at the grocery store - even if it's "free range" or "grass fed".  Those names are meaningless now in a time where word-play and false imagery are the name of the game for marketing departments.  

Farmstead Meatsmith is a group back near our Seattle, Washington home, headed up by couple Brandon and Lauren Sheard, that travels to different family farms and teaches butchery.  They are releasing a series of butchery instructional videos - nothing dramatically gross is here, if you are concerned about seeing animals being killed or excessive gore.  The animals are already butchered and cleaned before they appear in the video.  However, if you do not want to see pictures of slabs of meat and sides of pork being split up, avoid clicking "play"!  In a world where topics like birth and death and butchery have become taboo and relegated only to experts in secret rooms and closed facilities, the videos aptly warn, "Please Note: Some may find disagreeable select images contained herein that pertain to the process of alchemy by which animal is turned into food."

With their plaid-shirted and bearded main characters, wholesome children running around and tantalizingly rustic wooden cutting boards and cast-iron pots, the videos are attractive and enjoyable and well-produced.  The images evoke a feeling of pioneering spirit and a pseudo-Amish, rustic throwback to simpler times.  And most cricitally, they deliver wildly useful and seriously needed information for families today.  As the popularity of buying hog on the hoof and whole beef is rising, the need to understand how to handle the various cuts of meat and scraps will also rise! 

The Butcher's Salt: Precepts for Meat Cookery

On the Anatomy of Thrift: Side Butchery

On the Anatomy of Thrift: Harvest Day

On the Anatomy of Thrift: Fat & Salt

Curing our society,

Mrs H
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