19 1 / 2012
“Make room at the trough, for the noble pig knows that the more you share, the less likely you are to be eaten.” - Seen at Salumi
For most, the idea of handling meat straight from the slaughter house is one we would rather leave up to our local butcher, or in most cases to whomever gets the bloody thing into its Styrofoam/cling-wrapped packaging.
Lately however, my need to know where my future Porchetta (a butterflied & boned pig shoulder or loin rolled up in fresh herbs and roasted for hours till the skin is a’crack’a’lin & meat juicy & tender) was something that had been on my mind even more persistently then ever. This in large has been due to my recent move to London, UK and travels through Berlin, where the meat is usually packaged in cling-wrap with a sticker slapped on locating it to some ambiguous county (Germany doesn’t even seem to tell you what the cut of meat is, let alone where) that really doesn’t tell me all that much besides the fact that it grazed, died, and its carcass was somehow transported to a gigantic supermarket that always seems clinical and more than mildly depressing.
Thankfully, through the gift that is Twitter, I came across “The Butchery”, a venture founded by Nathan Mill and Ruth Siwinki, whose relatively new butchery not only offers “tasty, rare-breed, free-range meat sourced from small farmers”, but also provides in-depth and hands-on classes teaching the art, joy, and love of all things meaty. After much deliberation (a whole 2 minutes), I enrolled for what was going to be an epic and entertaining journey of jointing, boning, hacking, knotting, rubbing, and all-around meat-loving experience that lasted just over 4 hours with a beautifully prepared meal at the end.
Although my night of “Butchery to Pimp Your Home Cooking” was the first time Nathan and Ruth had ever taught a class, both instinctively knew how to make a group of strangers feel right at home (not always an easy thing to do in a large domed warehouse with the biggest meat fridge I’ve ever seen chilling - hah - impressively in the forefront). With class sizes being small (currently only offering up to 5 people per class, ours only having 3 students including yours truly), the lesson was extremely detailed and very productive with one-to-one instructions, which especially came in handy when learning the tricky butcher’s knots and boning a pork shoulder.
With a lot of patience, knowledge, and open friendliness, The Butchery was an opportunity and experience that not only left me with a massive bag filled with a quartered chicken, a pork shoulder prepped for porchetta, and a seasoned leg of lamb and lamb shank (which more than justified the cost at 180 pounds), but in large, also made me more aware of what questions to be asking when figuring out what kind of life my meat once had prior to becoming my dinner for myself and future friends.
“Butchery to Pimp Your Home Cooking” will provide you with a good amount laughs (due to inappropriate but at the same time appropriate butcher jokes/antidotes), new friends, and a mountain of skills that has made this food fanatic more confident in her day to day home cooking and experimentation with quality sourced meat. If you want a course that will not only leave you with an insane amount of freshly cut quality meat (conveniently vacuum-sealed for freezing) and a fountain of knowledge to do your own jointing, boning, and marinating, don’t hesitate in signing up for what will undoubtedly be sold-out classes at The Butchery.
From Saturday 12th November 2011, The Butchery will be selling meat on Saturdays as part of Maltby St Market in SE1, find us @ 98 Druid St, entrance on 1 Ropemaker Walk, just off Millstream Rd, with The Kernel Brewery and The Ham & Cheese Co.
Production, classes and Christmas order pick up, will be Arch 2B, Dockley Rd Industrial Estate, SE16 3SF entrance on Rouel rd between Spa and Dockley Rd