Tuesday, 25 December 2012

'I've never cooked a turkey before..'

Now being only 24 and still spending a lot of Christmases either with my parents or my in laws I have never actually had to cook the Christmas turkey. But this year my mother informed me that since I was bringing the fabulous woodland fed Kelly Bronze - I'd be cooking it. Cheers Mam. However, I am super excited. As this is one mother of a turkey. At 7.5 KG I'm going to cook it mainly upside down and for about three hours. This is because the structure of this poultry is as such that there are pockets of fat in the back of the bird that baste the breast meat which means that we avoid the issue of a dry turkey. Turkey reminiscent of Gandhi's flip flop is very bad indeed. I know I'm a butcher and I'm supposed to have this whole philosophy of meat on the bone being fabulous, however my favourite is shredding the meat off the legs and thighs, not munching on the drumstick as such - but enjoying the tenderness of the meat as it has much more depth in the way of taste.

However I hope everyone has a smashing day - check out this bonny turkey.
Happy Christmas.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

'chief execs..'

Fellow butchers come to our shop on a regular basis. And more often than not, they introduce themselves and we chat about business. However, it is more about presentation of counter, suppliers, quality of meat and new ideas - that fuel our conversation. Most butchers, if on holiday, will drag their poor friends or spouses just to 'have a look' in various meat emporiums. We tend to be a bit obsessive, looking at the way chops are cut or roasting joints are rolled..

However, it occurred to me the other day, that this is not tedious (really). It isn't even odd or eccentric..it's actually good. It's because we care. Now, I can't really see the chief execs of Tesco or Asda getting together to discuss how they present their steaks? Whether fattier cuts are selling? Or how exactly they flatten their cod fat?

Can you?


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

'I don't believe in female butchers..'

I am, by no means a Suffragette. Never been a Feminist. I don't even believe in female butchers, as such. I just believe in, well informed butchers. Those that know their way around a carcass. Gender is neither here nor there to me. Someone in the meat industry that knows what to cook and how too cook it.

A customer was rather disgruntled at my gender very recently, My apologies. If you tell me what you want - I can assure you you'll get what you need. Give it a go. If you're not happy I'll refer you to another butcher - if it comes to it.

I'm not sorry I'm not a boy. But I promise you - you won't be disappointed. But you'll never know until you try it.


Friday, 26 October 2012

'wise old cattle..'

So the sagely cattle nod their heads wisely - knowing exactly how to pack a flavoursome punch; possessing a deep, dark secret that will allow their meat to be rich and tender and a sensation on the taste buds. This would be a rather romantic and far more interesting way of explaining the ageing process for cattle - but sadly it is slightly more technical than that..

'Aged meat' is not the clever cattle, the ones 'in the know'. It is a process that commences after slaughter. It mainly involves placing meat in a specialised fridge and leaving it for a few weeks.  This can be an exercise in patience. These fridges extract all moisture out of the air insuring no bacteria gets into the meat and it preserves it rather than allowing the decaying process to set in. However, don't try this at home as domestic fridges can't cope with the drying. Also you would be lucky to fit a body of beef in your fridge!
It is always better to cook meat in as big a piece possible, as it is far more likely to be tender - the same is true of ageing. This is why you we don't age each steak piece by piece. For a start, we'd be there forever but also it is impractical. This is because, when we dry age meat it shrinks. Aged meat often costs more money due to the butcher having paid for an original weight and then having to incur those costs once the meat has shrunk.

There is of course a difference between ageing meat and 'old' meat. Old meat is the stuff your butcher is desperately trying to flog you in the hope of not having to put a nice piece of fillet steak into the mince. The best aged meat is claret in colour and the fat is a perfect white. However, and this is important, there is nothing wrong with beef that is slightly discoloured. Essentially when oxygen hits red meat, it turns it brown - this will not affect the taste in any way. I promise. But sadly we have a tendency to buy raw meat with our eyes and not our imaginations.

How long should you age meat for? The best amount of time is between 21 and 28 days. So we're talking a minimum of 3 weeks after the cattle have been slaughtered. This just allows the meat to mature and for the flavour to develop. If you prefer your beef to taste gamey, why not ask your butcher to age it for longer? I have tried 60 day aged beef and whilst I was in awe, the flavour was rather over powering and very rich. In contrast to this, totally fresh meat is likely to be far more chewy and lacking a quality that will truly satisfy proper steak hunger. This is when we crave iron, when we really fancy red meat.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

'think outside the box..' campaign post #2

The second of a few rants about boxed meat. This one is about choice. Now, I'm not necessarily referring to the 'choice' in beef as in the cut of meat, or prime rib, fore rib, sirloin or anything from the choice as such. I'm talking about our right to choose. Now as it stands most butchers, do not get full bodies of beef in. Gone are the days of seeing fore quarters and hind quarters being delivered into a shop. There are still a few of course that do, but I can guarantee you that they will have to supplement it with boxed meat. Whether this is boxed chuck for mincing or dicing or extra fillet as each loin only has the one and it is the sort of thing which can fly out for that Friday night steak night.

Now I know not all butchers are cooks, but sometimes it is worth quizzing them. If you go into a shop and they don't have what you are looking for, why not ask them for an alternative. Instead of chuck steak, why not try clod or neck? There are so many fantastic beef cuts, like salmon, bowler or feather. Now feather steaks, once the gristle has been taken out, are sublime. Just quickly fried. We need to start exploring our options when it comes to cooking, there are so many choices, why not choose something else?


Sunday, 30 September 2012

'my busman's holiday..'

So when living in London, the obvious place to go to on holiday is the tropical and balmy Manchester. Barmy is the word. However I wanted to spend my summer break learning the ways of a different butchery. Now, being a Northern girl myself I didn't find it too difficult to adapt but I was astounded to see the difference in what people were buying and talking about what they were cooking. Food is so veryb regional. So I went to WH Frost which is a long-serving Chorlton based family business. This was after @frostybutcher was willing to take me on for a week.

The week was a real insight into the workings of a different business, specialising in retail and catering. I spent most of my week working in the shop, prepping meat, and I removed a lot of marrow from bones for burgers - which was more fun than it sounds. However, I was also treated to a visit to the abattoir - which was a fascinating experience, and one I wish to repeat and learn more about. Learning how to buy meat when still a full carcass is a skill not many master, but Jack Frost has it nailed.

A big thank you to the team at Frost's for making me feel so welcome and making me feel at home. Even if @frostybutcher ended up with a cup of tea thrown over him. What a fabulous week, such a privilege. Ah well back to work tomorrow in beautiful Holland Park but perhaps I'll partake in a Northern Sunday lunch first..


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

'game I've been cheating..'

So the Glorious Twelfth came and went. Now, the reason I hadn't mentioned it too much was because to my shame I am not a big game fan at all. I do actually eat it but when given the choice I find it a big hassle and too strong a flavour. But I'm Northern and a lot of my friends shoot. So due to pressure from friends and the fact that we sell it! How can I sell something I haven't tried?

I thought I'd actually give grouse a go, it being the first bird and all.. Now grouse are, I have to say an anorexic creature. There is no fat on these birds at all. You can imagine why I was dubious. So when I cooked it off I whacked on some smoked streaky bacon. I had initially hoped this would remove the game flavour and replace it with crispy bacon. This turned out, shockingly, not to be the case.

But it did infuse the breast of the bird with moisture. I found the meat to be juicy with a pleasant flavour. No one was more surprised than me. The texture of the meat was gentle and smooth, and the meat was almost sweet. I am without doubt a convert. The skin was too strong but the flesh itself was very soft and tender indeed. Perfect September starter material. And yes, starter as there is still nothing on these tiny birds, but blimey what a taste.


Sunday, 19 August 2012

'the feast fest to end even the worst hangover..'

So there I was, at work, when a lovely lady wanted to buy some chickens. This is not an unusual occurrence. However we got chatting and it turns out these chickens were for her supper club. Not just any supper club. So I had to try it. The story behind it is this, one Sunday some friends decided they were so hungover the only thing that could cure such discomfort would be a top notch Sunday lunch. With all the works. But sadly, they couldn't find exactly what they were looking for, no pub (gastro or otherwise), brasserie, cafe or eatery could satisfy their need. So Emily started this feast fest and it evolved and became what it is today. The Secret Sunday Lunch Club I don't want to give much of the experience away. But it's in Notting Hill and it is amazing. You won't need to eat again for a week, so for thirty-five quid you can't complain. Emily always serves amazing and quirky side dishes and the dessert. Oh my God. Amazing. She also ensures her meat is of the finest quality and usually uses different cuts of meat, or instance using pork belly over loin. She cooks them to perfection too. I had a fantastic afternoon, very sociable and stuffing! If you fancy a supper club I absolutely recommend this one.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

'wives can make exceptional husbands..'

Honesty time. I love promoting specific breeds of animal. I think it is essential if we are to continue the traditional standards and reputation of British meat, particularly beef. Angus, I can take or leave. This is not because it is Scottish - I love Scottish meat too. However it has become a commodity. Everyone has gone mental over it. And why? And this is a shocking thing to admit but good meat has nothing to do with good breeding. Quality is not breed specific. I've said it - it's out there I know. I have worked with Long Horn, Dexter, Belted Galloway, Angus..to name but a few. But I have to say, what it boils down to is love and affection. This is from the farmer; no one loves animals as much as a good farmer. I know I've banged on about this before, but it is a message worth reiterating. Farmers devote their lives and cherish their livestock. The ancient habits of husbandry is essential to good farming. Husbandry is the care, attention and nurturing of domestic animals. On amazing farmer who I know of is Judith Freane from Brown Cow Organics. I've had the privilege of working closely with this beef and it is stunning. The flesh is a deep red, it ages to perfection, it is consistent and the flavour is beefy yet malleable. And the fat on it is a wonderful creamy shade. Although this beef has Angus in it, it is not a pure-bred. However, due to the Freane philosophy, this beef is beautiful. This is living proof that good husbandry from a decent farmer can produce fantastic meat on a non pure-bred basis. We all need to get off our high horses, there's no need to be snobbish about breeds. Good meat is not breed specific, yes it can help, but there's more to it than that. Surely if it is grass-fed, British and cared for. Because, I'll tell you this, if it fits these criteria it will be tasty as hell..


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

'promoting junk food..'

So how can I possibly avoid the Olympics? Answer, I can't.
So a word on sponsorship. So the only 2 official partners/sponsors of the 2012 Games with regard to food are Cadbury and McDonald's. any people have criticized this as 'promoting' junk food. Now, okay, I do see their arguments however surely we can look beyond these standard stereotypes. I can't really comment on Cadbury although I hope that their dairy sourcing is as ethical as it can be, but that's a different blog for a different day.
However out of all of the fast food chains out there, McDonald's are probably the best of a bad bunch. They were one of the first places to get their food ingredients and nutrition information out to the public.They are the first to admit when something isn't going right and also they try and change to appease their diners. Whether this is switching to Fair Trade coffee, opening 24 hours a day, or treating their staff very well indeed. Their website is good and easy to understand and it also has facts about the importance of a balanced diet. They even have a 'nutrition' calculator on their website?! Yes okay they do whack a hell of a lot of sugar into their products, but they are honest about it. We have to respect that. Oh and their an enormous international giant - so they must be doing something right.
Honesty is the best policy - as always.

(team) gb

Sunday, 1 July 2012

'think outside the box..' campaign post #1

More and more meat purveyors are relying on boxed meat. Now why is this? It's because every carcass only has a certain amount of rib eye, a certain amount of fillet and sirloin? So for instance if you want a 3 bone rib of beef you can't use the same piece for rib eye steaks. So most butchers top up their carcass meat with boxed beef (shock horror - some don't even get beef in). Boxed beef is cut by giant meat plants that then distribute the loin and rib, or packed fillets, or whole rumps...like a butcher's butcher. 
Okay, so why not get in extra carcasses? Because the amount of trim/excess fat/gristle/bone would be enormous. The bain of the butcher - waste. However I want to suggest that it is do-able. It has to be. So how do we get around this problem? Right, as the consumer we have to start eating other parts of the beef, is has to be cost effective. And if you know how to cook it - I can assure you - you won't want  fillet ever again.


Sunday, 17 June 2012

'a terrible scenario..'

So I returned home from work after my half day. Just in time to catch the tail end of 'Loose Women'. And no, this is not the terrible scenario I am referring to, (I happen to love the Loose ladies). But they said that a third of 16-23 year olds don't know that bacon comes from pigs. Obviously this is a huge number. I'm not sure where they acquired the stat and I don't know how they gathered the group for the research. Either way it represents something tragic.

Everyone I have spoke to said they weren't surprised & 'so whose to blame? Parents? The Government? Schools?'. I partially blame butchers. Why aren't we working harder to promote or evangelise about meat sourcing and what our products are? Why do customers & the general public feel they can't ask their butchers questions without it being a deep inconvenience? Well I'm telling you now - I want questions. Hassle the hell out of me - it's no trouble, I'm asking you to! And please don't feel ignorant - I'm a to-the-point Northerner and would never accuse you of stupidity. Shy bairns get nowt.

The main thing that concerned me was that these young people (even though I'm a shocking 1 year older..) did not think to question what they were eating and where it came from. I don't think we should consume without questioning. Otherwise we're going down a slippery slope of E numbers, additives & stabilisers.

It's not about knowing it's about asking.


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

'young british foodie..'

Last night was the Awards evening for the Young British Foodie Award. Aspiring chefs, food experimentalists, baristas, mixologists, charcutiers and people with a passion for food generally took part in this new and exciting competition. I thought I would take a punt in the meat category.

I have been experimenting with a black pudding recipe since my journey into butchery began really and I thought this might be a fun way of show casing my idea, and also to receive some harsh and realistic criticism. Rather than giving it to mates who would tell me it tasted awesome even if it was rubbish. (I refer back to the Black Pudding prototype of the early days...). However after several nightmare attempts I sorted the recipe for Girl Butcher's Pepper Pudding. And it went down well. Thank God.

The judging took place in the quirky venue of Meat Liquor I was the second of three finalists. I got to meet the lovely Mark who runs Monty's Deli and he did this incredible pastrami, which he does with brisket - superb. The other was Matt who is a very fine charcutier - this man knows his stuff. After we had been judged we all stayed around for a beer (..or two) and we chatted for a long time about the meat industry and various cooking methods. It felt fantastic to be a meat geek and be surrounded by people with equal geek-i-ness.

This was then well and truly re-endorsed last night, so many people just so passionate about food. It was incredible. It was also a pleasure to meet many people from Twitter, who have supported and helped me so far too. I feel like a very lucky girl indeed.

Buzzing, still.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

'a pig's head can cause a spectacle..'

Should meat look like a dead animal or should it be lined up neatly fully trimmed? Yesterday I was standing on Holland Park Avenue wearing a straw boater and a boat tie - had I not been wearing chain mail too I think people would have thought I was about to crack out a tap dance - I was also holding a large cleaver and a Gloucester Old Spot's head. Yes. A pig's head. This was not, I might add, for general amusement this was actually for an article for a newspaper. However I found myself to appear a bit of a spectacle. People stopped to make comments and ask questions, tourists were even taking photos! I also tried to hide said head whenever children went by, mainly because it can make for unpleasant question asking to parents. 'Mummy who killed Peppa?' etc. etc. But do we try and conceal the fact that meat is dead animals? They were once a cute spring time lamb, majestic cattle, or curious snuffling piglet. I think, even for me, when I see it on the block at work I still see meat, substantially bigger of course - I don't see it as a dead animal. Due to health and hygiene we only get it in after it has been skinned and beheaded (apart from the pigs clearly). I think we probably should face facts. We are eating dead animals, we have to be honest with ourselves. But we also have to remember that no one loves animals more than farmers - because it is their livelihood. And these animals would most likely be extinct if we did not eat them, because that is what they are bred for. 
Maybe if we'd eaten it, the dodo might have stood a chance..


Monday, 7 May 2012

'even I love my local butcher..'

If I were to buy meat from a supermarket it would be definitive hypocrisy. Like worthy of dictionary, or at the very least Wikipedia definition. I do like to utilise my local shops and businesses, so that they remain in business. Whilst the High Street in general is struggling to survive, it is essential we use the products and services around us. Now as a butcher it has taken a lot for me not to buy from where I work, since I know just how fantastic the quality is. And believe me the meat I have the privilege of working with is phenomenal.

But just to prove a point I have started buying my meat from my local butcher. I am very lucky indeed to have a quality butcher just around the corner, and of course not everyone is this lucky. The butcher is another Q Guild butcher. As you know I work for Lidgate's which is also part of the Guild and I've worked for George Payne in Newcastle which (you've guessed it) is also Q Guild. I have also worked in other butcheries which are not Q, and that is certainly not to say that they haven't been fantastic businesses, offering me some valid teaching and experience. What the Q does offer however is the certainty that if you visit a Q shop you will undoubtedly receive quality meat and the very best service. Definitely check out the website http://www.qguild.co.uk

I currently buy from HG Walter by Baron's Court tube station - they have no idea that I'm a butcher.
Maybe it's time I 'fessed up..


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

'why I would never ski..'

A friend recently once asked me why I would never go skiing. And I said it had never appealed to me for several reasons: 1. most people come back with a broken something, 2. it is cold, and 3. I can't get my head around attaching yourself to some sticks and hurling yourself down a mountain. She then responded with 'yes, but don't you want the adrenaline?' No. I bloody don't need adrenaline darling. A butchery is a dangerous environment. Band saws, hand saws, mincers, grinders, cleavers, knives, knives and more knives. Ironically enough I tend to insure myself on wet floors and bones and lugging ribs and loins around more than anything else. 

And of course there is the thrill of talking to customers and making a sale. As I am still so new to this game I still get a rush of adrenaline when I do something right. When I cut a chop accurately or a steak to exactly 200g. When I get every scrap of meat off the bone. Ridiculous. But it's the little things that make this job worth while. 

And of course there is the natural nerves and excitement that come with starting a new job. Loved every butcher I have worked with so far - and very happy to start working with the talented high class butchers at Lidgate's in Holland Park. 

But I think when I do holiday it will be sun, sea and sand for me.


Sunday, 1 April 2012

'a tedious steak post..'

Been thinking a lot lately about raw meat. Why you can have beef practically still alive but chicken has to be cooked to death and people are still very fussy about pork. One reason why beef is less likely to carry bacteria is because lots of bacteria spreads near the bones, so if the meat is closer to the bone it is incredibly handy if not convenient for the bacteria to spread throughout the whole carcass. According to some sources our stomach 'can handle' the bacteria found in beef, whereas the salmonella in chicken is obviously incompatible to our constitutions, and naturally, if one is pregnant one avoids all fun like booze, blue cheese and rare steak. Many people think that leaving a steak rare gives it more flavour. I'm not sure, I would have thought it added to the texture. And as for this argument about which steak is the best. Well, firstly there is no best. It's all on what you like. Don't be fooled by a TV chef or even your local butcher (OMG?!). For me I love onglet - skirt steak, quick and easy and the flavour is phenomenal. The taste and satisfaction of steak is in the chew. Chewing is what draws out anything from the sense. But I will say this, which of the steaks has the least amount of chew...what's that? oh, yeah - the most expensive...fillet.


Monday, 12 March 2012

'judging the London Farmers' Markets sausages..'

I'm pretty sure that the peasants that created the 'sausage' never imagined they would be the subject of a competition. Especially not one being judged by food critic Charles Campion, chef Alan Stewart (Manson) & Fergus Henderson (St John's). And like those peasants I felt I was such a lucky girl to be among them.

400 votes in total for the #loveyourlocalsausage extravaganza. This was made up entirely of people who have stalls and make the community of London markets. The competition itself was more of a celebration of all those creative foodies that set up their stalls through sunshine and the worst of English weather. True dedication to their produce. Which I have to say is admirable. 

So as a judge we got to taste the top 5. It was a tough decision. The level of skill and quality of entrants was astounding. As a butcher, I spotted craftsmanship, carefully chosen ingredients, fresh herbs and organic/free range pork. I also clocked the products lacking in these too, but they all had something that made them stand out as an enjoyable product. 

Talking to Cheryl who runs London Farmers' Markets (@queenofmarkets), I got a strong impression of one overall feeling: passion. this is something that London Farmers have in abundance. I have valued farmers and agriculture my entire life. And I was overjoyed when I heard of their presence in a city so busy as London. 

It was a pleasure to be asked to judge the competition. I am in awe of you guys. Keep up the great work. And - incidentally you're all winners.


Monday, 5 March 2012

'it runs in my family! I had no idea..'

A week. I lasted a week. Right. So Lent was a huge fail. I just found I was eating too much junk. This is how we know I am most definitely a butcher. Not a chef. I mean, I did lots of research and found loads of appealing vegetarian recipes. But I lacked the patience to carry them through. So I'm a let down basically. And the customers enjoyed a good giggle at my lack of success.

However, something exciting did happen last week; my Grandmother sent me a cutting from a Northumberland newspaper and lo and behold this included a photograph of a butcher's shop from the late 18th Century. This shop belonged to my great, great grandfather. So as it transpires it runs in my family! I had no idea! Really geeky but I was quite intrigued. As we can see in the photo he clearly enjoys his work. But how awesome does the shop look?! All the meat hanging in the window, displaying different cuts. Even now though,  in all of the shops I have worked in most have been involved in the local community. They know what is happening in the lives of the people that shop there. We value ourselves highly in taking the time to talk to whoever comes through the door. Yes, obviously we are there to flog the produce. But we genuinely do want to meet your needs and ensure friendliness so that the customer will return. And more often than not: they do.


Friday, 24 February 2012

'a not so splendid idea..'

I have decided to give up meat for Lent. What the actual hell. We are on day 2 and I'm already deeply regretting it. I have given up meat at work and at home at any rate. I have given myself 2 loop holes. Number 1 is I plan on going to J Baker's (a restaurant in York which I could never afford when I was a student - and I had already booked the table before coming up with this mental idea) and the other is a Sausage competition for London Farmers Market #loveyourlocalsausage - but that's it! For 6 weeks. And obviously I'm around meat all day so actually this is a bit bloody tough (no pun intended..)

So why? Why would I put myself through this? Well It's a few things really but I always give something up for Lent, since I am a theology graduate (last year it was booze but my friends refused to talk to me for 6 weeks...). But lately, I have been aware that I have taken for granted just how readily available meat is for me. Often in a day I will have sampled (I emphasise sample) beef, pork, lamb, poultry, game...or at least 3 of the 5.. it shouldn't be this easy right? At the end of the day if you have decent, fresh ingredients - that's all right? Well we'll see, not sure how interesting posts on a butcher blog will be with another 5 posts meat free still to come...

We'll see...maybe I shall be inebriated for the duration instead..


Thursday, 16 February 2012

'a ducking good birthday..'

On Sunday we ventured to Manson on the Fulham Road to celebrate my birthday. We chose this restaurant after being told fantastic things about Alan Stewart, the head chef. I had beef tar tar which was superb and massive - but I could eat that tar tar all day.. Then I chose to have the hake which was cooked beautifully with green leaves and citrus to accompany it.. Mr H had celeriac soup and pork which was cooked to perfection.

Alan also treated us to a melody of duck too which included the heart, a terrine, a duck breast, a duck egg and toast fried in duck fat - this was rich but delicate and the flavours worked really well. I also loved how he was displaying how much variety you could get off one carcass. Afterwards he came over to say hello but he was also able to tell me exactly where his meat was coming from, that his vegetables were being grown in the 'Manson Allotment' - this I loved. He was, however unable to tell me the breed of pork he was using - but I appreciated that he didn't make it up, he admitted he had no idea. This honesty is uncommon for a chef in a kitchen. It is even less common in a butchery. So I say, many thanks to Manson and Alan for making my birthday memorable but also good, honest, English food.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

'FT used to stand for the Financial Times..'

I have now celebrated 1 year of butchery. It has gone so fast but also, can not believe it's just a year. A day in the life of a  butcher speeds past because your day is sectioned. Open up, deliveries, set up, orders, deliver, shop keep, tidy up, clean up, cash up. You barely have time to turn around. It is bonkers. And manic.

It's like a different way of living. I remember before I started FT (French trimmed) stood for The Financial Times. Let me tell you -  I knew more about the pink newspaper... These days I even have an opinion about French trimmed. Naturally it looks most appealing when bits of the bone are exposed and dainty to pick up, but what about the meat that we recklessly abandon when we trim and discard? Oh, and what's that? It actually works out cheaper if you don't get it trimmed - sometimes looks aren't everything..

Speaking of looks...PPE once upon a time stood for Politics, Philosophy & Economics - not Personal Protective Equipment. People think women are put off by the meat, blood and the dead animal stuff (technical term). Nope. The thing that has put women off butchery in the past is without a doubt..the shoes. You have to protect your feet - but why do the shoes have to be too damn practical? I have learnt as with most things in life: you have to work with what you've got.

Here's to another year of butchery...think I might treat myself to some new boots..

Friday, 20 January 2012

'darling it's cattle..'

Beef. Beef comes from cows. Cows are four legged creatures usually with a black and white patchy thing going on. This is what we eat, right? Wrong. So, so very wrong and until about 6 months ago...I had no idea just how complicated this whole situation was. So I'm talking to my mother (ace agricultural consultant) and I find myself saying 'so beef doesn't come from cow?!' my mother in true style quips, 'darling it's cattle'. I sit there for about 30 seconds dumbfounded. And I then fire questions at her like I'm some sort of machine gun. She answers them, diligently and I thought I'd tell you what it boiled down to.

Cows are actually for dairy, you wouldn't want to eat it...well you might, but it is not the done thing and it is stringy and tough. Likewise you wouldn't want milk from a heifer. The best meat we consume is heifer meat. Girly cattle. More meat on the bones and less weight in bone structure (AND less work for the butcher). Now I know we all like to know more about super market meat, and why it is cheaper. Well it is also because supermarkets will use steer or bullock meat i.e the male counterparts to the more favourable heifer: girly beef. Well I feel much better now, don't you?