I get a fair number of review copies in the mail and I have to say that Primal Cuts: Cooking with America's Best Butchers is one of the more exciting ones. One reason I got a review copy is because of the 50 US butchers that Marissa Guggiana interviews in what her publisher Welcome Books calls "a modern meat bible" three are from Portland:
I wish I had a scale here at my studio because I'd weigh this meat tome. Oh wait, there's the online oracle -- ok so it's an impressive three-plus pounds. This is a hefty book that costs a pretty penny and although I know you can get three-pounds of pork butt for significantly less -- and then you can make Ben Dyer's Little Smokies pickled in a hot vinegary brine on page 125 -- the book is worth every penny.
Each butcher profiled introduces him or herself and then there are great, big photos of them with their meat (excuse me but it's true) as well as recipes for everything from cinnamon oxtail stew (Gabriel Claycamp, formerly from The Swinery, WA) and pork belly confit (Olivia Sargeant, Farm 255, GA) to boudin (Donald Link, Cochon Butcher, LA) and venison jerky (Scott Leysath, The Sporting Chef, CA). In addition to recipes the books includes DIY for homemade sausage, bacon and dry cured meats as well as advice for kick-ass burgers, deboning a chicken and making stock.
It's a fantastic book and I'm really looking forward to learning and cooking from it. Even though it's a little over the top when pulled out of context I really like what Dario Cecchini says in the book's introduction:
Here is the essence of our craft as butchers: a task crude and compassionate, strong yet delicate, always respectful toward the killed animal, with the ethical imperative of always using the meat in the best manner possible, knowing that, since the beginning of time, these animals were were given to mankind as a gift from God.
Saving the best for last, Primal Cuts is coming to Portland:
Friday, November 12, 7:30pm Dinner with Marissa Guggiana, Jason Barwikowski, & Ben Dyer Simpatica Catering & Dining Hall 828 Southeast Ash Street Portland, OR 97214
The menu from Simpatica's site:
Sliced Corned Veal Tongue and Fried Oxtail Roulade with Broken Sauce Gribiche, Grilled Toasts and Bitter Herb Salad
Turnip and Turnip Top Soup
Wood-Roasted Whole Cattail Creek Lamb with Chickpea and Viridian Farms Grilled Pepper Stew and Skordalia
Blood Orange Curd Crepes with Chantilly Cream
Price is $40 per person plus wine and gratuity. Dinner begins at 7:30pm. Please email Simpatica or call the kitchen at 503.235.1600 to make reservations.
And Thursday, November 18th:
Info. from the press release:
$20 PRESALE. $30 DOOR. Buy your ticket today at email@example.com Thursday, November 18th 7-11pm The Cleaners at Ace Hotel 403 SW 10th Avenue
***AFTER PARTY*** After you fill up on all that local meaty goodness and get dancing to the beats at The Cleaners you’ll want to keep going. Head down the street to Beauty Bar for Homo Deluxe/Primal Cuts After Party. Beauty Bar 111 Southwest Ash Street, Portland