The latest movement to bridge the gulf between farm and table and gaining traction among the local, sustainable and food-forward communities appears to be DIY butchering.
In a world where much of the food we eat is completely unrecognizable from its natural form – frozen in 20-packs, cellophane wrapped or sporting a laundry list of multi-syllable ingredients – it’s not difficult to understand why we feel detached from what shows up on our plate. Add in myriad of health and environmental issues associated with what and how we eat, and it’s no surprise that a movement to bridge this gulf between farm and table is underway. Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed the steady rise of farmer’s markets, urban gardens, artisanal cuisine and home canning. Add to these, the current trend gaining traction among the local, sustainable and food-forward communities – DIY butchering.
Within New York City, the eagerness to get hands on with a side of meat has taken off thanks to the introduction of classes like those hosted by Brooklyn Retailer and Kitchen Classroom The Meat Hook – whose pig butchering demos are a consistent sellout – along with the emergence of grizzled celebrity butchers – the latest in a line of food stars that has seen noteworthy chefs, sommeliers and even farmers become household names. Not to mention the obvious economic benefits of buying in groups or in bulk.
Beyond the desire to simply figure out where food comes from before we put it in our mouths or save a few bucks, the phenomenon seems to point to a general tendency among people who want reconnect with their physical world in a meaningful way. You simply can’t replace the feel of cleaver on chopping block with a touchscreen interface.