Not to put too fine a point on it: but do any of these people realize just how wasteful it is to do the kind of butchering that they are touting? Don't get me wrong. I'm all about "field-to-fork" cooking. But I suffer from no illusions about how wasteful it is to do whole animal butchering on the scale being promoted by The Times article and- let's face it- A LOT of my friends and colleagues.
To get a sense of what I'm whining about, take a look at this photo from the lead page The Times article. Clearly it was set up to advocate the use of an entire pig for meals. Trouble is that what is on the table represents approximately 60% of the edible weight of a hog. Missing is the blood, lungs, liver, heart, stomach, intestines and sex organs -all edible and all MIA.
Assuming that what has been left out of the photo in not in a bucket in the kitchen being made into desert by a nose-to-tail cooking pastry chef, where did it all go?
Well, given that the pig whose parts adorn the table in this photo was most likely killed in a small abbatoir that was not equipped to process all of the parts into food (or any of the other useful products derived from pig parts), the best answer is that with the possible exception of the liver, most of it was shipped to a rendering plant where is was turned into pet food and fertilizer.
|Where's the good parts Mommy?|
And never mind about so-and-so chef or whoever who raises his own hogs and kills and butchers them on his own farm. I've seen enough on-farm slaughter to know that no one utilizes all of the parts of a pig -or any other animal- better than the big, vertically integrated slaughter house factories.
You want true nose-to-tail cooking? Have lunch at a Smithfield Pork factory. Otherwise, the next time one side of someone's mouth tells you that they are all about nose-to-tail cooking while out the other side they say they practice whole animal butchering, ask them what they did with the parts that are not on the menu.
Just be prepared for a nose-to-tail dose of shucking and jiving.
The bottom line(s) is that in it's current form, the nose-to-tail cooking movement is at worst, yet another feel-good inducing campaign by chefs et al out to exploit a market for artisanal food or, at best, an aesthetic movement peopled with folks who derive pleasure and a sense of empowerment from taking charge of a part of the food web that has, for better part of a century, been under the aegis of specialists.
But until nose-to-tail becomes nose-to-tail-to-guts and blood, it would be nice if the foodie media and the public would stop pretending that slaughtering an animal to make head cheese and fracking artisanal salame and dumping its guts into 55 gallon barrel so it can be trucked to a factory and turned into cat food is somehow an act of virtue.
|Off (al) to the render!|