In The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat master butcher Cole Ward aims to revive the traditional culinary art of butchery – an often overlooked but vitally important aspect of the farm-to-table movement. The most comprehensive guide available to the whole process of meat production, it will be invaluable to small-scale butchers, to chefs who want to broaden their skills, to the many who attend butchery courses, and to anyone who cares about how their meat is sourced.
The book features two master British butchers: Balson Bros, Bridport, Dorset – Britain’s oldest family butcher, and MacDonald Bros, Pitlochry, Scotland, owned and run by the MacDonald family since 1928.
“A good butcher is an ethical professional who knows the provenance of his or her meats,” Ward writes. “I want to give everyone an understanding and appreciation of my craft and its culinary artists, and I want to celebrate and support struggling small farmers and quality-meat producers. So my mission is nothing less than to bring back culinary butchery—a craft that we must never lose.”
The ultimate guide to traditional butchery, the book demystifies the complete process of getting meat from pasture to the table. It includes information on:
• The real definition, work, and role of a culinary butcher
• The roots of butchery from prehistory to modern times
• What goes on behind the scenes at meat markets large and small
• The truth behind meat-marketing claims of “organic,” “natural,” “free-range,” “grass-fed,” and “pasture-raised”; and,
• Processing your own meat, including what you’ll need in terms of tools, safety training, and preparation.
The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat also teaches readers how they can butcher an entire animal—a useful skill for many smallholders, farmers, and those who like to buy meat direct from the producer. His book includes an 800-slide CD that provides step-by-step images illustrating how to cut up a side of beef or pork, and a whole lamb or chicken.
The book will be welcome if you not only wish to learn the basic skills of butchery, but also want to understand how meat animals are raised, slaughtered, and marketed in a holistic system that respects both animals and consumers. After reading it you’ll be able to ask your local butcher key questions to determine the provenance of what’s going on your plate, know what to look for in a cut of meat, and learn how to start cutting up meat at home for your family.
Please note: National Butchers’ Week UK: Mon 24th-Sun 30th March 2014
The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat: How to Source it Ethically, Cut it Professionally, and Prepare it Properly (with DVD) is published by Chelsea Green on 27th March 2014, RRP £35.99, including CD with 800 images.