Let’s Talk About Pork
Recently I decided to take my aforementioned butchery ambitions to the next level and went on a one day course at London’s Ginger Pig butchery. The shop provides customers with expert knowledge on how to prepare and cook the meat with the care it demands. And boy, does it demand. This was some of the best pork I have ever tasted. So tender and full of flavour. Something terrifying supermarket excuses for meat rarely achieve. It was also, without a doubt, some of the most fun I have ever had. Ever.
Unfortunately, it transpires that the majority of people who undertake a one day butchery course are somewhat lecherous, lonely middle-aged men. Luckily for me however – the youngest in the room by at least 20 years and the only female there not with her husband – I happened to be the best one in the room with a knife. I have never been happier to be told that I was “top of the class”. The first to master the butcher’s bow (my new favourite party trick, butcher’s bow bracelet anyone?) the neatest knife skills, and the quickest to finish.
I was most astonished, and most proud of myself when it became apparent I was the only person in the room, barring the professionals, who was willing to hold the pig’s head. Granted it did look a bit Hammer House as one of the cheeks had been removed and the teeth were visible, but I was flabbergasted. You will eat it, you will cook it, you will come on a course teaching you how to carving it up, but you are afraid to touch it? Scaredy cats.
While my experience at the Moxon Street Ginger Pig shop in Marylebone was preposterously positive, the same can not be said for every butcher’s shop I go into. While having a conversation with one (very male) butcher, extolling the virtues of duck over other game birds, I told him about my course. “What made you do it?” he asked politely. “I am really keen to learn, I want to be a butcher,” I replied. My response was met with an unsettlingly long burst of hysterical laughter followed by the assertion: “Yeah baby, and I am going to be an astronaut!” Well sir, I am Morgana Edwards, challenge duly accepted. If you are wondering what I did with the beautiful boned joint pictured above, it was lovingly roasted. And yes, the crackling was perfect thank you very much. The ribs are hiding away in the freezer ready for my 2013 BBQ debut.
Some of the best tips and advice I picked up during my day out at the butchers were how to spot good pork and bad pork:
If a pig is stressed just before slaughter, it’s muscles will tense up, making the meat tough and tasteless.
If you see pork that is either a very pale pink/white colour, or that has little red dots on the flesh it is not good. Do not buy it.
This is a sure sign that the poor piggy was not happy and unhappy meat leaves a distinctly unsavoury taste in the mouth.
Butchery updates to follow, over and out…