Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Charcuterie

So, I was thinking about pork the other day. It might have had something to do with the large pit slowly rotating on a spit ten feet behind me, but that seems somewhat unlikely, I think it's a coincidence. and I'm sure it has nothing to do with the Bloody Marys that Tonic serves, garnished with, you guessed it Bacon. mmm. bacon.

ok, back to meat. I happened to be reminded of this when I saw a story on Slate today about the only typical American Chartucerie. The Italians get proscuitto, the Spaniards jambon d'Iberico, the French get dried horsemeat, and what do we, the "Greatest Country in the World" (TM) get? Jerky.

You gots your beef jerky, your venison jerky, your mystery meat Slim-Jim jerky, it all seems so straightforward, doesn't it? You slice the meat, you dry the meat. And it's really, as Sarah Dickerman points out, the quintessential American food. It's very independant, you don't need anything else (save a nice cold beer) to accompany it, jerky is, well, lonely. You're out there on the range, riding shotgun on your herd, and you need a nice, portable, tasty snack. Eating it requires no skill or really attention, you just kinda chew. Preparing it doesn't require the skill level, or time, that proscuitto does. It's just kinda there, doing it's thing, waiting for you to do your thing. No advance planning is really required, one way or the other, got some unexptected surplus meat? make you some jerky for a rainy day. And then you start eating it. Jerky requires moderation, but invites excess. Another perfect metaphor. We like to think it's endless, and that we can handle everything, but eventually, when you try to process it, you pay. The American Experience: no planning, no long term though, pure indulgence, wicked hangover in the morning.

But it's not so simple, out of the controlled environs of the kitchen (Christopher McCandless sadly failed, for instance) (PETE, this is a warning: that link is provided so you don't have to wikipedia him, but don't let your boss walk by this time, huh?) Like so much else, it seems so simple, and yet the slightest mistake can be costly. How hard can it be? we aren't cutting up Fugu here, the slip of a knife shouldn't be fatal.- So I should practice, less I need it for survival after the coming rapture. Anyone know where I can find a fattened calf?

3 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Pepe said...

um, excuse me, i read a whole book about chris mccandless...

1:56 PM  
Blogger Phillippe said...

right, shoulda figured, he knows Chris McCandless, but not Ryan Leaf. And you call yourself and American? What are you, some sorta Earth Firster? huh?

2:26 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Surely the Wikipedia story merits it's own blog entry. Besides, I'm still awaiting the Dr. Pepe follow up to the canoe story told so well.

4:17 PM  

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