Posts from the “Uncategorized” Category

Looking Back at the Best Butcher Contest

Posted on September 13th, 2012

  There’s a lot that I will remember about Meatopia, presented by Whole Foods Market, on a stormy Saturday in 2012. There was the sun, followed by a tornado threat, followed by a glancing rainstorm that barely dampened the spirits of the assembled crowd; a brief sunburst afterward, and a second wind for sated appetites; and then, darkness and rain.   But some of my most vivid memories were of MCing the Best Butcher Contest. The three Whole Foods butcher up there on the stage were working so hard, with such intent concentration, that it was as if they didn’t even feel the looming clouds and accelerating winds. Their forearms flexed and knotted and sweat rolled down their faces as they first attempted to…

Mike Toscano of Perla and His Amazing Glazed Quail

Posted on September 5th, 2012

Mike Toscano is, in my professional opinion, the best meat chef of his generation. Of course, he’s so young that his generation is mostly still in cooking school. Still, the guy is an enormous talent, and I will go on record as saying that he will be one of the great American cooks, if he’s not brought down by a woman! In any case, I would urge you to watch this video, of Mike cooking his Meatopia dish, quail alla diavola. It’s a little dim at times. But that’s just because I feel so romantic about game birds. OzerskyTV-Perla 720pHD-Final from Ozersky.TV on Vimeo.

Consider the Chicken

Posted on August 27th, 2012

  Consider the chicken. Unlike the lobster, a wild animal whom we all like to kill in person, the chicken arrives to use ready to cook. We all know what a chicken looks like, if only from TV; it walks around and says “buck buck buck.” And we all know what it looks like, featherless and decapitated, in the meat aisle. We are even intimate with its deconstructed form, having eaten all its constituent parts a thousand times, breaded and spiced and fried up, or slathered in hot sauce and butter, or cooked in a delicious tomato sauce as chicken cacciatore.   It’s the connection that is the problem. Chickens are treated about as badly as any animal we eat – at least the…

Mind the GAP: Lessons From the Stun Line

Posted on August 20th, 2012

  OzerskyTV @ Creekstone Farms from Ozersky.TV on Vimeo.   I’ve written about my visit to Kansas a lot, both here and on Rachael I probably will write more about it. The reason is that I was moved by meeting the steers I have enjoyed eating for so long, and seeing them slaughtered and “processed,” i.e. cut up into pieces, at the Creekstone plant. Maybe it was the fact that, immediately concluding the tour, I was taken to the boardroom and fed all the steak I can eat. And all the steak I can eat is a lot.   Below, you can see the video I made of the experience. It’s long, and NSFV (not safe for vegetarians.) This is a video for…

Nobody Dast Blame This Man

Posted on August 8th, 2012

      I am an ill-starred man. I always thought so; but occasionally small blessings like a wonderful marriage, success as an A-list food writer, and a healthy cholesterol count after a lifetime of wading in gravy kept me from seeing it. Here is a perfect example. I came up with a whole parody campaign for stopping vegetable abuse, and even produced the first of what were to be several posters for it. We also had plans for a video. “It will start with sad music and pictures of beat-up looking vegetables,” I said. “Then I’ll come on and say that we must stop vegetable abuse by all going to Meatopia. At the end will be a PETA parody logo. We’ll call it…

The Secret Life of Knives

Posted on August 2nd, 2012

The best part about having a lot of meat around is that you get to cut it. Which means you have an excuse to buy, and use, very sharp knives. But sharp isn’t good enough. Any plastic-handled fish knife, of the kind they sell in bait stores, can be sharp if you sharpen it enough. The obsidian hand tools chipped off by proto-humans at the Olduvai gorge two million years ago are plenty sharp, if it comes to that. But of course, once you become enraptured by knives – their curves and cutting edges, the tempering lines running daintily up their steel, their damascus patters and lethal points – sharpness just isn’t enough any more. I found myself thinking about this when in Korin…

The Butcher Mystique

Posted on July 23rd, 2012

  Butchering a large animal, or even a part of a large animal, is an arduous and intimidating task. That is one reason I never do it. Another is that I don’t know how. A third reason, stronger still than the first two, is that learning to butcher involves hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of meat that will be ripped and ruined while you try to learn. A dedicated meathead with a broad wood table and access to a farm can try to find his way with the aid of a book, or a four-hour lesson from some tattooed he-man nearby; but he’ll never be a real butcher.   This was my takeaway from judging the Central Region semi-final of Whole Foods Market’s…

Short Ribs For Breakfast, and Hold the Broth

Posted on July 18th, 2012

I woke up this morning thinking about short ribs. That’s not unusual for me; consciousness typically breaks with some blurry object of desire floating about six inches in front of my filmy eyes. And unlike yesterday, when it was Christina Hendricks, I had an object today that was actually within my grasp. I shot some video for Morgan Spurlock’s Mansome video series at the Whole Foods Bowery store, and the boneless short ribs looked so appealing that I grabbed them as a kind of impulse purchase. They were sitting in the refrigerator this morning, awaiting their fate. I just ate them. They were fabulous.   Short ribs have an undeserved reputation as being tough. Everyone assumes you have to cook them in winey broths…

Why I Went to Birmingham to Chase Pigs and Talk to Nick Pihakis

Posted on July 9th, 2012

Birmingham-based barbecue chain Jim N’ Nick’s is a sponsor of Meatopia, a fact I’m especially proud of, given how high-minded they are — and not just for a barbecue chain. Barbecue, it will be remembered, was invented to make the best of crappy meat, and to this day you can generally expect to get the worst commodity meat available on the market when you eat in one.  Owner Nick Pihakis didn’t want to serve it, though, any more than I want to, so he and his partners are trying to develop their own pork farming operation. It’s a somewhat quixotic pursuit, because they serve a lot of barbecue, and right now they have only a few Mangalitsa hogs. But you have to start somewhere.…

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