Well I guess you might want to know where this is going, and some of you know where I am going. I mean what is up with butchers, where have they gone???? How many of you can think of where one is besides the horrible counters at Jewel or Dominic’s? Too many times, my family or myself have gotten bad meat product from these establishments, so you know how I feel. Now I am not knocking, the wonderful counter at whole foods but it is so overpriced, who shops there for meat?
I can think of one in Chicago, Gepperth’s Meat Market on Halsted. Unfortunately when I was doing a dinner the other day I was in need of ground lamb and I knew this was the place to go, unfortunately I found out the hard way that they were closed. So the quest begins…. Dominic’s……I should have known better. A little Latin market, which has a great meat counter, but Latins don’t eat lamb….I forgot! So I ended up at Jewel….of all places! Not the perfect quality I was looking for but, to end the quest it was all good and my Lebanese dinner was made.
So where have all the butchers gone?
I remember when I was in Europe, Italy to be exact, I was overwhelmed by the street markets.
These places had everything from vegetables, fruits, fish and of course meat. Butchers caring on their backs freshly killed pigs right into their shops and selling amazingly fresh product.
Where did we go wrong here, what are we doing?
Have we forgotten our past and what food use to be. Did you know at an average grocery store a package of ground meat carries around thousands of different DNA in just one pack! I like to get my meat ground fresh right in front of me, and when I get lamb I like it ground double and very lean.
I might want to make kibbeh nayyeh, which is a lamb tartare with bulgur and spices. Amazing!
Butchery is an art and not everyone can do it. A chef is not a butcher, they are something different. Butchers stand uniquely alone in the culinary arts and deserve great respect. Great patience and skills of anatomy are required to become one. I like to call it respect for the animal that I am butchering and that is how I teach butchery.
So if you like fresh meat go out and find a nice butcher in your community, support them and contribute to a dying art that could possibly be lost forever!