The Myth of Everyday Cooking
April 19, 2017 10:32 AM   Subscribe

" I care a lot about quality ingredients but there is literally zero way I am making food as rich, complex, and expensive as what constitutes Prueitt’s notion of “all day.”"
posted by Lycaste (39 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Food professionals who have all day to work on food and think the rest of us somehow also have all day to work on food infuriate me. Thank you Maria Bustillos and Lycaste for putting it back into perspective.

(I'll be stewing in my corner, perusing back issues of Martha Stewart Good Food magazine, and the Great Food Fast cookbook that came out of it.)
posted by JawnBigboote at 10:56 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


I know it's been said before, but it's so viscerally satisfying (especially as someone living in the SF Bay Area) to see a reviewer call out the, “it's just local ingredients, simply cooked,” horseshit these people peddle.

It's not. It's not not not not not! And that's okay. It's okay to have a cookbook full of big expensive complicated recipes that take a long time and are a pain in the ass and turn out something special and magical.

Just don't pretend it's not that, and we'll be fine.
posted by Myca at 11:01 AM on April 19 [26 favorites]


I'll be stewing in my corner

I see what you did there.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:02 AM on April 19 [10 favorites]


While back in SF a few months ago we stopped off (twice) at the newly opened Tartine Manufactory, a bizarre hybrid of a café/counter service lunch spot/afternoon milk and cookies(?) and ice creamshop inside the Heath Ceramics building in Potrero Hill (a place my dad once opened a restaurant inside a warehouse that had been a biscotti bakery - the whole block was torn down and replaced by "lofts" in the first dot-com boom).

There is no denying that the break they make (and that chocolate pudding) is amazing, but god these people are insufferable. There was a long line out front and a completely opaque policy on what, exactly, the line was for. You could skip the line for a take out loaf and coffee (which is the only reason we went back a second time) but needed to wait in the line even to get a take-away pastry or prepared food (or, to sit down).

I don't mind rules or lines, but having a set up so clearly divorced from logic and so poorly explained to customers (the hostess/line minder waivered between outright rude and totally silent as her only two modes).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:03 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


I think the first rule of understanding cookbooks is that they exist on a continuum, where one end is "mostly for cooking" (like Bittman) and the other is "more for looking than cooking" and so many books — no matter what the title or stated intent — fall somewhere between those two ends.

And Bustillos understands this: "There are many ways of understanding the 'everyday.'"

In the end, could there be a cookbook that was really "everyday"? Do people really cook from books every day? It's almost an unresolvable contradiction.
posted by veggieboy at 11:05 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


I love to cook, and I do it as a hobby, but I'm also irritated at how this lifestyle has been marketed. One thing that stands out to me particularly is how it peddles the idea that we're returning to a more "authentic" past, when we ate "real" ingredients, and that, if we just cooked this way more often, we could "repair" our relationship with food and have a more spiritually fulfilling "everyday" experience.

And yet if you actually live in a place where people follow these principles, where everything is grown locally and made from scratch, you quickly learn just how tedious it can be. You eat from a small repertoire, limited by available ingredients, and preparing meals is a daily job. And no one is taking these carefully crafted pictures of immaculate kitchen workspaces, because workspaces that are constantly used are rarely so neat.

These books are aspirational in a way that's both really unachievable for most people, and rather culturally and historically short-sighted.

Now, if you have no pretensions of trying to sell me "everyday" recipes I'm fine with it...
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:25 AM on April 19 [44 favorites]


>Do people really cook from books every day?

This is the nub of it, isn't it -- if you really have no idea how to make a thing, and need detailed instructions, then you're not doing this every day. Mark Bittman, who gets name-checked in the piece, tackles this in his "How to Cook Everything..." books by giving you a master recipe and then lots of variations -- rice in a pot, bean burgers, poaching an egg -- the first couple of times you might need the cookbook open or at least available, but then you don't. The entire point is not to do it exactly the same way twice (which is also exactly antithetical to professional restaurant cooking).

Was thinking about this earlier this year -- when my phone was out for a week or so I realized how much I relied on Bittman et al. 's on-line recipes for "what are we having for dinner" cues -- what basic ingredients, method, end results -- for everyday cooking. Not directions, but nudges.
posted by PandaMomentum at 11:42 AM on April 19 [10 favorites]


I don't mind rules or lines, but having a set up so clearly divorced from logic and so poorly explained to customers (the hostess/line minder waivered between outright rude and totally silent as her only two modes).

Living as I do on the fringes of a city known for making normally simple food impossibly precious, I developed a strategy for places like that.

If I couldn’t take in your ordering process at a glance1 or acquiring the thing you are known for took jumping through endless hoops and/or social media2, I would rarely bother.

Nowadays, though, my process is a lot simpler - "There's a line? Fuck it".

1 One line for protein, except if it's vegan protein, in which case you need to order from the other counter, unless you are getting a to-go, that's the walk-up window outside.
2 Yes, our obscure charcuterie is ethereal, but it is only served at 3:17 Wednesdays, unless the butcher drank too much kombucha, in which case we'll post a picture of a fork on instagram, which will the only way to know we're open.
posted by madajb at 11:42 AM on April 19 [13 favorites]


if you actually live in a place where people follow these principles, where everything is grown locally and made from scratch, you quickly learn just how tedious it can be. You eat from a small repertoire, limited by available ingredients, and preparing meals is a daily job.

My roommates got a CSA subscription one year, and it took about 3 boxes before the number of radishes in our house was easily more than the total number the all of us together had eaten in our entire lives up to that point. Seeing the frustration build up in my roommate as he unpacked yet another box with, like, 10 radishes, a pound of kale, 3 jalepenos and some carrots drove home how difficult it would have been to structure your meal planning around a world without supermarkets or much other choice of ingredients.
posted by Copronymus at 11:46 AM on April 19 [27 favorites]


This is an excellent article. Thank you so much for posting.

As my partner and I have embarked on living and cooking together, it's become very clear which of the ideas I've picked up about food are practical, and which are romantic.

Growing and drying herbs? Practical.
Making stock from ends and scraps? Practical.
Baking regular homemade bread the Tartine way? Highly romantic, unless you want to schedule your life around it.

We've developed a sustainable cooking routine that involves making 4 big meals a week, with leftovers for lunches and filler meals. Weekends allow time to experiment and bit and get fancy. We cook a mixture of Nigel Slater-style quickies, family classics, and big hearty slow-cooker meals, with plenty of fridge-cleaning stirfrys and stews like the author.

I'm rambling a bit, and I apologize. But my point is this: we've found a way to feed ourselves that is interesting, nutritious, relatively seasonal/local and satisfying to two foodies. And it still looks so far from what the 'Simple-Local-Everyday-Anyone-Can Do-It' crowd puts on display that I'm utterly convinced it's an outrageous lie for most people on Earth.
posted by AAALASTAIR at 11:47 AM on April 19 [9 favorites]


about 3 boxes before the number of radishes in our house was easily more than the total number the all of us together had eaten in our entire lives

If 10 radishes are too many then a CSA is really not for you. And there should be no shame in that. My son and I eat at least 10 each at a sitting when they are in season. With butter and salt. We never have enough radishes... Can't wait for radish season to start.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:53 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


The 1951 Joy of Cooking! It was the pride and joy of my mother's collection. I'm sure she didn't use it everyday, but the pages were splattered with enough ingredients but I knew it wasn't just for show.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:00 PM on April 19 [7 favorites]


I don't mind rules or lines, but having a set up so clearly divorced from logic and so poorly explained to customers (the hostess/line minder waivered between outright rude and totally silent as her only two modes).

If I couldn’t take in your ordering process at a glance1 or acquiring the thing you are known for took jumping through endless hoops and/or social media2, I would rarely bother.

There is a line at Manufactory, yes, as there is with any popular bakery in SF. It is one single line. You get in line, and then you get your food: for there or to go. That's it. What needs to be explained about this? Where are the hoops?

I see tourists get angry at this because it is not their expectation of how business should work, I guess? They feel they should be able to saunter into any restaurant and be served immediately... despite the giant fucking line that everyone else is waiting patiently in?
posted by danny the boy at 12:12 PM on April 19


Because it says right in the comment that you can skip the line if you want takeout bread, but not if you want a takeout pastry? That sounds pretty obscure to me, and yes I know how restaurants work.
posted by quaking fajita at 12:19 PM on April 19 [9 favorites]


I hate waiting in line. I wouldn't wait in line for a suitcase full of cash.

But yes I wait in line for a croissant every week (not at Tartine, but at my favorite bakery) because I've never had anything remotely that good, even in Paris, much less bake like that at home. The cookbooks popular places like that put out aren't about teaching you to cook, it's about marketing their brand. Like if merely having the recipes is the only thing preventing me from having a Noma dinner every night... why would the restaurant ever share it?
posted by danny the boy at 12:22 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Whenever I shelve in the cooking section of my store, I'm always torn between looking at pictures of the food and drooling, and wondering if anybody actually cooks these recipies at home. (We get a lot of pro chefs in the store too, I assume they're just sharpening their chops. so to speak)
posted by jonmc at 12:30 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


danny the boy - I wont hold it against you for not being able to tell it from my comment but I am both an SF-native and have experience running restaurants. Manufactory does not fit any traditional restaurant model, and it doesn't need to, but to pretend (as you and they seem to want to) that the "system" should be self evident is ridiculous. In total I would guess I spent about 20-30 mins in that line and witnessed at least a dozen people or groups attempt to skip it, under the very logical assumption that no one would be waiting in a 20+ person line (outside) for a take out cup of coffee at a place with seating. A line for seating makes sense. A line for ordering makes sense. A single line for either would be a major deterrent (and it seems they acknowledge this by offering line-free take away coffee and bread, but unless you read up on the rules or caught the host in a brief moment of usefulness that isn't really clear at all).

I like their bread a lot, and certainly respect their substantial business success. Manufactory is an attempt to do something very different from existing bakery/restaurant businesses and I just didn't think they had done enough work to make the experience as smooth as it might have been.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:39 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Seeing the frustration build up in my roommate as he unpacked yet another box ... drove home how difficult it would have been to structure your meal planning around a world without supermarkets or much other choice of ingredients.

I think it goes a long way to explain, as well, why so many traditional cuisines tend to have a bunch of variations on some signature component. Like, I've been watching Maangchi on YouTube to learn more about Korean cooking, and you could retitle her channel "a thousand things to make from kim chi" with very little hyperbole.

Because, you know, if you're a subsistence farmer in Korea, then cabbage is what you have to eat, so you're damned well going to find a way to preserve it and then find a bunch of ways to prepare it so you don't go insane from the monotony. But it's literally a full-time job at that point, both the actual farming and the effort of preserving your produce.

(And even subsistence farmers would be trading their produce for other staples. The whole idea of people living exclusively off their own labour on a small plot of land is complete fantasy.)
posted by tobascodagama at 1:01 PM on April 19 [15 favorites]


I love cookbooks full stop. I am a sucker for them. I do use a few reliable vegan ones in my weekly cooking, but I only have to do that once or twice a week because it's just Shepherd and I, so leftovers is the name of the game.

I absolutely adore Nigel Slater so I thought at the beginning of 2017, I'd do an entire year of cooking daily as he did in the Kitchen Diaries. I quickly discovered that either Nigel and his partner eat giant portions of food or he entertains more than he says he does. I couldn't keep up and the idea was abandoned in early March!

I understand why people gravitate to the idea of everyday "easy" meal prep, I do. You want to have the delicious home-cooked meal on the table that tastes like you slaved all damn day over it but obv you didn't, so whee. The only problem is unless you're someone who cooks on the regular and can make the prepwork easy, it ends up being a much longer process than you bargained for. By the time all is said and done and you have ton of dishes in the sink and a bunch of leftover bits of semi-expensive ingredients that you have no idea how to use up, the everyday cookbook becomes a millstone instead of a life preserver.
posted by Kitteh at 1:13 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


The article is surprisingly nuanced and thought-through, so its not like there's a lot to add.

But I'm wondering wether this instagrammification of meals is one reason a lot of people give up on cooking everyday food. I'm traveling right now, and as always when I am away from home more than five days, I miss just going into the kitchen and getting some food. Like a cheese sandwich on rye with a slice of tomato on it, and maybe a bit of mustard.
Everyone can make themselves a cheese sandwich, or a bowl of pasta with store-bought pesto, or a hamburger. But suddenly food has become a status thing, requiring recipes every day, and pictures.

And yet if you actually live in a place where people follow these principles, where everything is grown locally and made from scratch, you quickly learn just how tedious it can be. You eat from a small repertoire, limited by available ingredients, and preparing meals is a daily job. And no one is taking these carefully crafted pictures of immaculate kitchen workspaces, because workspaces that are constantly used are rarely so neat.

That's a thing too, but I'm not certain how it works. I'm in Rome for work and the food you get in restaurants here is in its own glorious way quite tedious. But I swear to God that 25 years ago when I actually lived here, the food in the restaurants was more varied and interesting. If you grow everything and prepare it from scratch and eat nose to tail, specially in a temperate climate, there should be a huge variety of foods. But today it seems even food is media-driven. I am suggested to eat cacio e pepe at restaurants that never even knew what that was a decade ago. Fettuccine Alfredo is on menus everywhere. You can eat Carbonara at "Jewish" restaurants in the Ghetto. At the same time, dozens, if not hundreds of classical Roman dishes are almost extinct, at least from restaurant fare. One of my kids (they were here for a while), asked for rabbit at a restaurant where it was on the menu, and was suggested to have lamb-chops instead. I asked for lamb's liver at another restaurant and was persuaded to have sea bass, a farmed fish.

In the markets, I look for what is on sale, so I can ask for it in restaurants, but I see the same tendency. Apart from a few much beloved Roman specialities (puntarelle, aah) and some slightly different cuts of meat, it might as well be the farmers market at home.

Romans are not isolated from the world, and it is very clear that young Romans prefer food that resembles that of the global food network, which is fair enough. But I hope they get to a point where they miss the rich variety of their tradition.

(This could be about any place within the global tourist track, including my home town of Copenhagen. Every tourist attraction seems to have become a caricature of itself).
posted by mumimor at 1:28 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Ahhh, the globalization of food.... it's just so freaking awesome. It makes you wonder why people can't make the parallel with, well, the globalization of everything else?
posted by valkane at 1:47 PM on April 19


If you grow everything and prepare it from scratch and eat nose to tail, specially in a temperate climate, there should be a huge variety of foods.

I'm not sure just how true that is. I would be interested to see descriptions of the typical daily meals of people in different areas before globalization.

Certainly, where I'm living right now in West Africa, where there are many subsistence farmers, there isn't a huge variety of food - even if you include new world crops. If you go to the market, there is one kind of lettuce, one kind of tomato, one kind of hot pepper, one kind of rice. There may be one or two kinds of beer. There is variety, but it's nothing like you find in these cookbooks. And, while there are complex dishes, actual day-to-day fare is pretty simple and repetitive, because the women who have to make all of this food have other stuff to do.

There are places where during the dry season your meals are basically some configuration of millet, beans and onions.

One issue is cost. It's not just the physical ability to grow a crop. A lot of the variety in these kinds of cookbooks comes from fairly specialty items, things that people just don't use all that much of. So, if you're selling locally, I have to wonder if it makes economic sense to invest in growing these kinds of specialty crops instead of the things that you know people will use a lot of.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:20 PM on April 19 [15 favorites]


But I'm wondering wether this instagrammification of meals is one reason a lot of people give up on cooking everyday food. I'm traveling right now, and as always when I am away from home more than five days, I miss just going into the kitchen and getting some food. Like a cheese sandwich on rye with a slice of tomato on it, and maybe a bit of mustard.
Everyone can make themselves a cheese sandwich, or a bowl of pasta with store-bought pesto, or a hamburger. But suddenly food has become a status thing, requiring recipes every day, and pictures.


Tyler Cowen has a couple of posts recently relating to the status of food as a kind of cultural signifier, taking the place that music used to have. I think it holds a lot of water, and the driving force isn't anything like globalism directly, but rather people exactly like all of us here on MF.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:22 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


If you grow everything and prepare it from scratch and eat nose to tail, specially in a temperate climate, there should be a huge variety of foods.

I'm not sure just how true that is. I would be interested to see descriptions of the typical daily meals of people in different areas before globalization.


This would be interesting. I think a wide variety doesn't necessarily arise spontaneously even in favorable climates. There has to be demand for a wide variety. And there has to be a market system robust enough to encourage growers to provide for the demand and distribute the product. I think of supermarkets in my youth here in the US. It was pretty common for the average household spice cabinet to contain salt and pepper. Sugar for sweetness. Maybe the adventurous would have some onion or garlic powder. It's not because growers couldn't provide more. But rather, lots of folks never considered using much more. Globalization has opened up not only markets, but appetites for a wider variety of foods via media and migration.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:41 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


I would totally enjoy this cookbook but I'd probably approach it like a work of fiction. I mean, nobody really believes that a Mr. Darcy really exists that wants to bend heaven and earth to get the chance to share his 10,000 a year with Elizabeth because she's got a dynamo personality. However, I reread that book often and still enjoy the shit out of it. Same with these highfalutin cookbooks. And you never know what might stick. I've had some pretty complicated food preps enter my heavy rotation because they were worth it.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:49 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


If you are a subsistence farmer, and you grow some cereal, some vegetables and a pig, a cow or some sheep or just some fowl, you need to use everything you get from those products. You probably wouldn't get steak every day, but you would have to eat intestines right after slaughtering, and you would have all sorts of cured meat for ages. Available greens, including foraged greens, would change over the seasons.

My knowledge of tropical and sub-tropical conditions is limited, but the places I have spent time seem to have a similar pattern. There is a limited choice of animal protein, but whatever you have you eat nose to tail. Most of the variety comes from the greens and fruits.

A lot of people today don't even have the land for growing vegetables, let alone raising an animal. They are dependent on cereals they get from NGO's or that are subsidized by local governments. That this is real is offensive and needs to change, but it is not an expression of food culture in any country.

Western food is a whole other ballgame, and in a strange way gives us both more and less choices.
posted by mumimor at 3:04 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


It was pretty common for the average household spice cabinet to contain salt and pepper. Sugar for sweetness. Maybe the adventurous would have some onion or garlic powder.

That's a good point, 2N2222, and it got me thinking of my mom's "chicken cacciatore" when I was a kid.

She was decidedly not a cook; she had a very limited repertoire of meals and a meal this fancy was a very rare thing. The thing is, her version was some overcooked broiled chicken breasts - bone-on - drowned in basically plain tomato sauce and onion (non-sauteed/browned), and I really didn't like it much even though I was not at all a fussy eater.

When I look up the recipe now, even Betty Crocker's version has breaded and fried (instead of broiled) chicken, bell pepper, mushrooms, oregano, fresh basil, garlic, and some recipes include white wine and other veggies. That dish sounds fantastic and I'll even probably try making it soon. But that sort of complexity and unavailable (fresh basil) or "controversial" ingredients (mom thought the teensiest bit of old stale garlic powder was plenty strong enough, my sister wouldn't touch any food made in the same room as a piece of bell pepper) just wasn't a reality when I was a kid.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:11 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


It was in a little Victorian cottage, and the brick oven was in a fifteen-foot-square kitchen in the back of the house...

I keep trying to picture this 15 sq ft kitchen with a brick oven. Because that's 5x3, or possibly 4x4 if you're being generous--smaller than the footprint of a twin mattress--and kitchen footage includes the space occupied by the cabinets, stove, sink and so on.
posted by drlith at 3:47 PM on April 19


"Fifteen-foot-square" (225 square feet), not "fifteen square feet".
posted by Lexica at 3:50 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


2N2222, there's some reason to believe that food variety in the US hit a minimum between WWII and (more or less) Julia Child. Although even then it depended on who you were -- I remember my mother's friends in the 1970s being scandalized!! that she cooked with fresh garlic and "strange vegetables". But she got those things by asking the vegetable-truck man what was good that he wouldn't have told her about, and maybe how to cook them. He was an Italian from a truck-farm family of some generations (near St Louis) but he also had vegetables unfamiliar to him grown by war refugees -- Vietnamese, maybe?

Alpha, beta, and gamma diversity, if you're a biologist. Laura Schenone's books, among others, if not.

workspaces that are constantly used are rarely so neat.

That depends partly on temperament. My workspace is usually very tidy because that's how I work best. I have discovered (a) not everyone is like this and (b) don't try to share workbenches across the difference. but stuck projects turn into dreadful scurf-piles and there's one two feet to my left. brb
posted by clew at 4:28 PM on April 19 [7 favorites]


I just want to point out: there are two mentions of beans in this thread about food, and neither of them involve plates. Metafilter, you're slipping.

Anyway, as regards the bland American palate, I think we had an FPP recently about how the Depression shaped American cooking styles. There seems to have been a potent combination of genuine shortages, austerity-as-aesthetic, and a straight-up racist rejection of non-Anglo foods that took hold at the time.

People who grew up in the Depression learned a certain very bland, restricted style of cooking, which they passed on to their children (mostly daughters, of course), who became the parents of the 60s and 70s. And I think it's telling that this generational handoff is when you see things like Tiki culture with its embrace of Americanised Chinese cuisine as well as the rediscovery of French cuisine and the de-ethnicisation of Italian cuisine.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:52 PM on April 19 [7 favorites]


in wealthy places like SF, this manner of cooking is just one small aspect of the fact that ostentatiously flaunting that you are on the right side of the american wealth gap (albeit with a thin veneer of "authenticity," whatever that means) is highly trendy.
posted by wibari at 5:18 PM on April 19


Anyway, as regards the bland American palate, I think we had an FPP recently about how the Depression shaped American cooking styles. There seems to have been a potent combination of genuine shortages, austerity-as-aesthetic, and a straight-up racist rejection of non-Anglo foods that took hold at the time.

This one?
posted by brennen at 5:36 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


And better transport meant big farms could profitably ship a few sturdy crops, and boxed/canned/frozen foods were developed for WWII and then sold as Modernity and Convenience.
posted by clew at 5:56 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


clew, that's sort of been my pet theory about this in the US: the 1950s hit and convenience / "modern" foods pretty well overwhelmed the already-suffering food culture of people who grew up through the austerity of the Depression and the subsequent war years.

Maybe that's not really very historical, but something like it has to factor into how much of the local food culture in the plains states varies between "kinda limited in range" and "oppressively terrible" despite good local ingredients and a not-that-distant immigrant heritage.
posted by brennen at 6:08 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


I would be interested to see descriptions of the typical daily meals of people in different areas before globalization.

That wouldn't fully reveal what was possible. For instance, in the United States, among many European-Americans, there was a wide variety of fresh food available in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, but they rejected a lot of it for cultural reasons, and prepared what they did accept in very narrow ways, also for cultural reasons. Seeing what people ate during a typical day in households like doesn't always reveal what there was to eat, just what they chose to eat. Even among the relatively poor.

I think a wide variety doesn't necessarily arise spontaneously even in favorable climates.

The history of agricultural biodiversity argues against that. What we find available today represents a dramatic narrowing of genetic stock:
about three-quarters of the genetic diversity found in agricultural crops has been lost over the last century, and this genetic erosion continues. For example, today, 90% of our food energy and protein comes from only 15 plant and 8 animal species
Even what is available in a remote developing-world marketplace doesn't truly reflect the state of agriculture even a century ago, since the Green Revolution, concentration of markets, and domination of seed stock by international companies has driven many foods out of production in favor of long-shipping hybrid produce. Globalization hasn't really expanded food availability overall - it has arguably contracted the number of varieties and species available. What it has done is favor certain characteristics (durability, long growing season, pest and pesticide resistance) over others, such as taste or local hardiness.

There is a limited choice of animal protein, but whatever you have you eat nose to tail. Most of the variety comes from the greens and fruits.

I've had the opportunity to participate in consuming an entire animal, and it's not monotonous. When you're facing 200 pounds of meat that all has to be/can be treated in many different ways, you do have options. Chops and steaks, ribs, hams, cured and/or salted shoulders and rumps, head cheese and plenty of other charcuterie, sausage, pate, potted meat, organ meats, ground meat. You eat it in stages and you handle each primal cut and organ in a different way. So you do get variety - plenty of it - just not all at once (especially before refrigeration, when some preparations lasted much longer than others). But if you order a half or quarter animal today, your problem in the order is not usually how to deal with monotony, but how to choose from the many options of how you want it broken down so you can get all the different good stuff you want.
posted by Miko at 7:30 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


This one?

In my head, it was more recent than that, but that's probably it, yeah.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:11 PM on April 19


I think you're thinking of this article, tobascodegama. There was an FPP about it, I remember.
posted by apricot at 9:33 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Which now I realize is about the same thing! Heh.
posted by apricot at 9:35 PM on April 19


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