Bringing Home The Bacon

We must honor those who pioneer our path.

There are amazing female butchers out now making a name for themselves like Kari Underly, Sara Bigelow and Lindy & Grundy as well as women in other countries.  It is amazing the similarity in our stories.  It makes me crave a little place of my own, like the character Harriet Michaels in So I Married An Axe Murder (A MUST SEE!).

But, for a truly inspirational story, I look to Cheralyn Darcey.  She speaks my heart!

As A Former Vegetarian

Yep.  It’s true.  For over 3 years, I was a vegetarian and now I am a butcher.  The irony is not lost.

And yes, it was a political decision.  While the thought of eating another living thing used to turn my stomach (thanks to the aid of some militant friends who constantly called meat “flesh”), it was the inhumane practices used by factory farming that got to me.  I urge you to take some time and research how these animals live. Here are a few links to get you started:

1) Webisodes – The Meatrix

2) Documentary – Ingredients

3) Dan Barber’s Foie Gras Parable

4) Mark Bittman on What’s Wrong With What We Eat

5) an at the VERY LEAST, please watch this commercial for Chipotle.

For my own emotional sanity, I won’t inundate you with much more but the key is, know where your food is coming from!  A happy cow makes a better burger.

To that, I am also butcher because I want to honor the animals.  If we are going to take a life for food, give it purpose and let it nourish.  Don’t fill it with chemicals and mistreat it which brings on our own demise.  Also, use up every part.  Wastefulness is cruel.

The Meat Glass Ceiling

Why don’t more women pursue meat cutting as a profession?  Of the notable females in the field, many come from butcher shop families.  In fact, the traditional butcher shop was a family business where all the children were raised to see the beauty and dignity in this honest trade.

So why do many women, even culinarians, leave the butchering to the boys?

Admittedly, before going to culinary school, I hated dealing with raw meat.  I would use paper towels and tongs to avoid touching it.  “Ewe, ewe, ewe” was a common phrase in my kitchen.  I would even pay a shit-ton more money per pound just to have someone else chop it up so that I would not dirty my counter or cutting board.  I could literally kick myself now for the money I wasted!

Within the first few weeks of school, I was given a whole bird, shown a demonstration on the most effective way to break it down and told to go at it.  I almost threw up.  But, whether it was the supremely sharp knife or the way I was able to maneuver through joints and cartilage without any sawing or hacking, I was surprised to find how incredibly easy and rewarding it was.  And thus the passion began.

There is, however, a bit of a glass ceiling in the butcher shop.  For some, it’s okay for a female to cut up fish and chicken, maybe even handle some sausage, but breaking down 4-legged animals seems to be a butcher shop boys club.  Maybe it’s because the knives are bigger and there is some sort of prehistoric need to protect the female.  I think that is the same rational as to why men are the “grill masters” and women are the “home cooks”.  Danger!  Must not let the woman play with fire!

But I digress, it is a challenging and rewarding vocation that I am proud to be part of and highly recommend to any gender.

The Meatheads

The other day, one of the guys told me he felt “emasculated” because I asked him to hold a large container steady while I emptied a 50 pound bag of brown sugar.

When he saw me struggling from across the room, he valiantly came to my aid.

“Let me help you with that.”

“Thanks Man.  Can you hold that steady so I don’t dump this on the ground?”

“Here.  Let me do it”

“No.  I don’t need you to do it for me.  I just need a spotter.”

To that, he dropped to one knee and hung his head while I hoisted the sugar into the container.

“This is really emasculating.” he said.  While I probably should have tempered my response, the first thing that came out of my mouth was “Sack Up”.  Again, I am not intentionally antagonistic.  I just have little patience when it comes to assigning gender roles.

And why should I feel the need to feed into this idea that men are big and powerful while women are frail and weak.  If you read my post Lift The Heavy Sh*t, you will see that I have strong opinions about being treated as an equal and how that means doing equal work.  Yeah, I may have hurt someones feelings but hey, Man Up.

 

How I Scare The Other Mommies

I had an interesting (although not uncommon) encounter the other day while taking my kid to the park.

Now, there are 3 types of playground parents:

1) The weary.  These Moms and Dads are just looking for a place that their wound-up spawn can run out a little excess energy.

2) The desperate to spend quality time.  These are the ones that dash from slide to swing, never more than 2 feet from their kid.  Being a working Mom, I typically fall into this category.

3) The ridiculously bored.  These parents are more concerned with finding another adult to speak to than keeping an eye on their child(ren).

Type 3 is usually not a problem, provided there are more than one of them around to distract each other.  If not, they will hunt down an unwilling party and trap them in ridiculous banter.  Luckily, I have a pretty quick out.

The conversations start with “How old?”.  Then, there are a few back and forths about child development followed up with the obvious “Do you work?”.  Ahhhhhh, yes.

I turn, look them straight in the eyes and say “I’m a butcher.”  This is normally met with an involuntary lemon puckering expression, a few stuttered follow-up questions and then a polite excuse as to why they need to run off.

What Did You Call Me !?!?!

Many of my fellow females shutter at words like Bitch, Vixen, Feminist and Girl . . . all of which I regularly (and proudly) use when referencing myself.  While I know that certain words set people off, I don’t set out to be intentionally antagonistic.  Words only have the power that you give them.  It’s all about the intent.  I know that I MIGHT upset you but whether you choose to be offended is just that; your choice.

Example:

Bitch

  • (n.) The female of the canine kind, as of the dog, wolf, and fox.  (Now who wouldn’t want to be called a female fox?)
  • (n.) An opprobrious name for a woman, especially a lewd woman.

Admittedly, I had to then look up “opprobrious” (definition = bad), but you get the point.

When I call myself a Bitch, it’s most likely “THE Bitch” or “Queen Bitch”.  There is no defeat or shame in it.  For me, it means a powerful woman with a take-shit-from-no-one attitude that requires a lot of confidence to pull off.  Need someone to kill a rat; erect a house; open the pickle jar . . . that BITCH will get it done.

Pink Panty Meltdown

A male co-worker was having a full on hissy fit.  I am still not sure what set him off, but the tangent was epic.  It included whining, a foot stomp and a two octave elevation in his voice.  From across the room, another co-worker yells, “When you’re all done with your little pink panty meltdown, let me know”.

CLASSIC!  What a great visual.  I was in awe of the phrase and gave this particular butcher credit for his alliteration.  That was, until I realized that it was just one of the MANY, MANY, MANY movie quotes I would be subjected to.

Movie quotes are the new sports talk.  It used to be that girls had little to no interest or were sheltered from sports and therefor, felt out of the circle when guys would ramble on about the draft, scores, college vs. pro, etc.   Sorry guys, we caught on.  Now, it’s random movie quotes.  This particular gem was from Broken Lizard’s Club Dread.  I’m not trying to be a hater, but I did not get the appeal of this film.  I can appreciate cult-y and slapstick films as much as the next gal but . . . save me, PLEASE.

Gone are the days where it was just The Godfather quotes and the occasional “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH”.  Now, the game seems to be all about obscurity.

So, in an attempt to help the other girls catch up in the conversations, here is a quick list of films commonly referenced by the testosterone crowd.  Try to enjoy . . .

1) Dumb and Dumber

2) Friday

3) The Sandlot

4) Super Troopers

5) Zoolander

6) Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalow

7) Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness

NOTE:  Accuracy is key!  A missed pronoun can take you from funny to pathetic.  If ever in doubt, excuse yourself and bust out the smart phone.

If you ever find yourself bored and wanting to get a leg up, visit UselessMovieQuotes.com.