Thursday, November 23, 2006

Cure Me - New York Times

Cure Me - New York Times

Here's a little something for you food-nerds out there. Yes, I'm looking at you, Mom. But really this time of year, I think most of us become a little bit more food nerdy. Parties and family gatherings, both potlucks and catered, we are exposed to so much food this time year, so many variations on so many themes, like a Frat-boy at a wine tasting, pretty soon you develop a palate without even meaning to.
This article from the New York times touches on something that has always fascinated me, MEAT! Well and meat preservation.

If I really am dedicated to cooking by the seasons and supporting local agriculture, I thought, now would be the obvious time to buy a whole pig. Ideally, I would break it down into primal cuts, put the hams in salt for the next month, and then hang them at room temperature for two years, allowing them to slowly dry into prosciutto. And why not grind up the dark, fatty shoulders with salt, pepper and juniper, stuff the mixture into casings, and then leave the sausages in a cool room for six weeks to naturally ferment, developing delicious, tangy porcine flavors?
I can’t, because the United States Department of Agriculture and the local health departments do not allow commercial processing of meat without refrigeration.
This is astonishing, because since Neolithic times, people have safely cured and preserved meats without refrigeration. Europeans have turned curing into an art, and the best processors are revered craftsmen who earn national medals of honor. Salt, time and a good dose of fresh air are the only additions needed to produce salsicce, culatello and 24-month-old prosciutto or serrano — foods that Americans smuggle home from Europe in their luggage.

I do hope I haven't offended any vegetarians or vegans out there. I totally respect your dietary desicions, and have no desire to convert you to carnivorism. All I ask is you do the same. Besides, who ever heard of a vegetarian Dragon?

No comments: