Sunday, February 3, 2008

the craft so long to lerne

You may have noticed the line from Chaucer that is the new subtitle of my blog. I put it up there after I realized that I had been silently repeating it on and off for months. I've always been a dyed-in-the-wool Platonic type who believes that even though we might be proceeding towards perfection we never arrive because it is utopia (nowhere). And I suppose Chaucer was trying to point out something similar in Canterbury Tales when he wrote

The lyfe so short, the craft so long to lerne
-The Assembly of Fowles. Line 1.

So, even though I will probably not live long enough to get there I am more determined than ever to master the craft of making salumi, less so charcuterie. Recall that I'm an Italo-American and not Franco-American and since ontogeny recapitulates genealogy [:-)] my preference for salciccia over saucisse makes great good sense. No?

I suppose I have a very long road a head of me. The stuff I'm making now is mostly very good and some of it is even terrific. But I feel like I'm still pretty far away from even my short term goal of art which, since I've never stated it here, is as follows.

I'll consider my efforts worthwhile when I have more than two products that contain nothing more than meat, salt, and perhaps sugar and pepper. In other words, the quality of the meat and my technique will be the only elements that carry the salumi.

I've come pretty close to hitting this goal with some of the bresaola and cured and minimally dried venison loin. But not close enough.


Tags said...

Wow! I've never seen pork in the pupa stage before.

Kepe on lerning!

fiat lux said...

That's a great goal, Bob.

Maura said...

Bob, you're too modest. I've learned much from you. Never underestimate your knowledge.

ntsc said...

That is inspiring.

I unhung my first pancetta this AM, and the chef has already stuffed a boned leg of lamb with it for dinner. I only have 4 pounds left.

The Foodist said...

From what I saw on my visit Id say its an obtainable goal.

Goals can be our best friends and worst enemies lol

Anonymous said...

Group Hug.

ntsc said...

Can you recomend books on this art?

I've both the CIA Garde Manger and Ruhlman-Polcyn. I've other's on sausage, but they don't include dry cure.

By the way the pepperone, where you recomended I save money and use the instructions on the Bactoferm and not use the amount Ruhlman recomended, came out fine.

I'm planing on getting to your farm at some point this spring.

redman said...

I love the Chaucer reference

Bertolli's cooking by hand has a lot on sausage making

Bob del Grosso said...

I don't have much for you although I think Pardus has a very comprehensive book that might be of interest to you. I forgot the title so I emailed him. I'll send it along to you when he responds.

I'm pretty sure it is translated from the French and covers all commercially produced charcuterie products (including German and Italian) sold in France.

Please shoot me an email and I'll reply with the title. (I don't see your address in my contacts folder.)

For what it's worth. I get a lot of information off the web from meat science papers (usually pdf files) and other free technical material. And there's a lot of recipes floating around out there too. Of course you cannot take any of them at face value, and must analyze them to make sure they make sense but then a lot of books are like that too.

Tell you what though. I think I'm going to have to go to Italy soon. I'd like to specialize in the salumi of my ancestral region (Emilia Romagna) and I think I need a refresher course on what's there (I have not been back there since 1980!)
Too bad I did not start on this road 30 years ago when many in my family who were from the old country were still alive. All of my uncles used to make that stuff -and there were a lot of them!