Monday, 21 March 2011

'and good swill to all men'

Very few people can see the link with theology (what I'm technically qualified in) - and butchery. But I think the links are transparent. When we buy our food we put trust and faith in our sources.
I mean, absolutely anything could have happened in those murky stages from farm to fork.

We have no idea, and for the most part, we like it this way. The importance of trust is enormous - but we very rarely think of it that way. This is particularly the case with butchery. Trusting super market meat apparently looks so easy. It is sat in refrigerated shelving, in shiny wrapping paper, marked at a 'reasonable' price, looking very bright and the same as the others on the shelf. Almost as if it didn't come out of the animal at all, well that's a tad bizarre don't you think?
What I do find odd is that the majority of people will trust this more than their local butchery. People appear to purchase and favour meat that doesn't look like it is from an animal - over meat where in some cases you can even tell the customer the post code of the farm the animal existed on!

But this is also about our issues with killing a living being and then eating it. Sacrifice. See? Theology everywhere. We must recognise, value and respect the animal, and honour it as best we can. What we do need is education and an ability to communicate with customers who have more questions - don't be afraid to ask. Butchers don't bite...well most of us don't...

It isn't just down to the butcher though, we expect you the customer to be loyal and return - but only if the meat is up to your standards, and if it isn't please say something. Chances are there are reasons but if not, changes can be made.

The butcher-customer relationship should ultimately be about friendship as it's about give and take. I'm not saying your local butchery is a charity and you should make ridiculous demands and request a drop in prices (i'm definitely not).

But 'good will', kindness and caring is where a butcher's heart should be.


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