Saturday, July 31, 2010


The best lard is made like this, from pure kidney fat (leaf lard ) .

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guanciale (jowl bacon)

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cut the Bull Wolfgang

A few weeks ago my wife returned from a trip to Los Angeles with a menu from Cut, a steakhouse owned and operated by Wolfgang Puck and an amusing, if questionable, anecdote about how the restaurant procures it's supply of Japanese Waygu Wagyu beef. In response to a question about the provenance of the Japanese Waygu beef a server told my wife that ever since the Japanese stopped importing beef from the USA following the report of the occurrence of Mad Cow Disease (BSE) in a Washington State dairy cow in 2003, it has been illegal to import Waygu beef from Japan. However, Puck's restaurant (s) are able to serve Japanese Waygu because they buy it from a distributor in Australia where the import and export of beef from Japan is entirely legal.

I don't want to make too much of Puck's tap dance around a law that is clearly designed to be a bargaining chip in negotiations with Japan. I'd probably do the same if I were in his place. But I would like to point out that by serving Japanese Waygu beef, Chef Puck is breaking a promise that he made to his customers and his allies at HUSUS (The Humane Society of the United States ), The Farm Sanctuary and PETA when he banned foie gras from all of his restaurants and adopted a nine point program to relieve animal suffering. Specifically, item 4 of the nine point program "created in conjunction with The HSUS and Farm Sanctuary"

Wolfgang Puck will not serve veal from producers that confine their calves in individual veal crates. This inhumane intensive confinement practice prevents calves from even turning around or walking for months on end.
Everyone who knows how Wagyu cattle are raised in Japan recognizes that most of them (probably all of them) are confined in stalls for as long as 3 years while they are fattened on grain, beer and sake. By comparison, American formula fed veal calves spend no more than 20 weeks in confinement before slaughter while American foie gras producers raise their ducks in large barns and finish them in pens with 4-5 ducks per pen. 

So how is it that Cut won't sell confined veal, caged chickens and foie gras, but it will sell beef that comes from cattle that have not been allowed to walk at will for three years? I suppose only Chef Puck and those who  convinced  him to adopt and implement his nine point program can answer that one. 

8 Week old ducks at Hudson Valley Foie Gras

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hospitals buy antibiotic-free meat, citing drug resistance concerns -

If the medical community is worried about antibiotic resistant bacteria in meat, then we better be worried too.

Hospitals buy antibiotic-free meat, citing drug resistance concerns -

Wooly Pigs for Sale and Increase

Heath Putnam, who has spent a fortune in capital and labor to bring the Mangalitsa hog genome to North America has turned a corner.  From its inception his company "Wooly Pigs" has been selling castrated barrow hogs to farmers who want to raise these super premium lard hogs. Well, for reasons that are beyond my ken, Heath has decided to sell fertile hogs into the market at $340 for a 50 pound pig. So if you love Mangalitsa pork and want to raise pigs that can pork with progenerative effect, give Heath a shout. I'm a frenzied fan of Mangalitsa pork and would love to see more of it in the market.

Dinner a making: Chicken barded with Mangalitsa lardo

Friday, July 16, 2010


Care to venture a guess about the identity and puropse of this construction? (Hint: I took this photo during a recent visit to the University of Kentucky at Lexington.)
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Friday, July 9, 2010

"Temple Grandin" on HBO

As much as I dislike the idea that I'm providing free advertising to HBO, this film about the remarkable Temple Grandin looks good enough that I'll give them a pass. Of course, I'm not going to get to see it because I don't subscribe to HBO. I'll have to wait to see it on DVD or elsewhere. No way is HBO worth $15 a month for 2 or 3 great shows like this and endless reruns of B movies.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


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Sevruga caviar on Creme Bulgare
A perfect snack after an afternoon of driving in the blistering heat of a trip from NY.

Thursday, July 1, 2010