Monday, July 03, 2006

Where's the beef?

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, the official holiday for Barbecuing. We generally have a nice sized menu including ribs, steaks, chicken, seafood, veggies and a slew of other BBQ goodies. It's been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. Even the family I never saw during the year would make an appearance. It was literally a day of family, food and fun (the 3 F's). Though it has grown much smaller over the years due to passings and distance. Anyway, as a kid I remember going to the butcher's shop to pick out the meats for the feast. They were always so fresh looking. So red, so clean and they were cut to order. Butchery was an art form and the ones in my neighborhood were certainly masters of it. So now I wonder, where have they gone?

Everything these days is about mass production, pre-packaging and chemical and steroid enhancements. Local butchers have been made nearly extinct by the large supermarket corporations. High volume, mass-production and a lower-quality make for a less expensive product and with today's economy, cheap is king. But is it really that much cheaper? The product you buy in supermarkets are less meat and more fat and the higher-grades of meats are given a much-higher price tag. Butchers on the other hand would always "trim the fat" with a surgeon's precision and only give you the best in quality. Sure, you may have paid a bit more, but you could see and taste the difference. Personally, I would much rather pay the few cents more per pound for the overwhelming difference in quality.

So remember, if you are lucky enough to have a good, traditional butcher in your neighborhood, be sure to support them as much as you can.


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