I used to use a butcher in mid Wales years ago, a cheeky stocky chap with the biggest forearms I’ve ever seen. He could talk the hind leg off a donkey and a visit to his shop was always colourful and informative (I was a bit more gullible back then) and I always came away with my ears ringing and although only discussed in principal my next meat order would arrive with various additions.
He was a true sales man and had a real swagger and gift of the gab whilst dealing with the public, he worked on the premise that if he kept you stacked up with meat no one else had a look in.
Although his motives were obvious I learnt a lot about butchery from him and even spent some time next to him at the block. He was very old school with his preparation and was the only butcher I’ve ever seen who used to stich & truss shoulders of lamb and salt his own meats. He used the old fashion term pickle for his brine marinades and it was him who introduced me to salt beef brisket, delicious.
I have a very vivid recollection of walking through the coldroom with whole lamb and pig carcasses and sides and quarters of beef hung up, crisp white creamy fat drying and ageing, cuts at various stages. There wasn’t any packed meat to be seen anywhere. I loved the aroma of meat kept this way especially lamb it has a sweetness that made you feel hungary whilst cutting it as already my mind was one step ahead thinking of what dish I would make and the sauce what sauce shall I make?, I would be eyeing up the bones and thinking of the stock…
Here’s the thing, these guys are a dying breed encased in a tomb that surrounding supermarkets have built up. Cutting off that very life blood that is the familiar face, the personal attention you get as a consumer when your recognised as you walk through the door and even that cheesey banter.
“Good morning Mrs Jones, I’m pleased to meet you and have the meat to please you”.
Support your local butcher and enjoy the benefits of meat treated with respect, I do.