Charcutepalooza: Dropout

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A bit like a Beauty School Drop Out

but far less demeaning. Seriously? That clip is harsh! Poor Frenchy.

Charcutepalooza is a year-long meat curing adventure involving a new meat challenge monthly. I did January-(Duck Prosciutto), February-Salt Curing (Bacon) and March-Brining (Corned Beef). I missed April-Hot Smoking and now May-Grinding.

grow and resist charcutepalooza brining corned beefGreatest hash I’ve had. Yes. I said it. It was awesome!

And I have no intention of doing June-Stuffing. I guess now is where I have to realize I am dropping out of Charcutepalooza. There are a lot of reasons. Not that you need them. But I have a big need to defend myself. I am totally working on this in therapy because I gotta tell you, it isn’t a characteristic that is beneficial to a relationship. But since you don’t have to live with me I’m going to defend myself.

  1. Life. Due to a lot of things I haven’t prioritized meat curing. Or cooking for that matter. Things like a pretty ill father. A sick partner. An exuberant 3-year-old. Twelve chickens. One hairy dog. A bum back. A preoccupied and highly scattered mind.
  2. Expensive. Buying expensive cuts of meat for experimenting on a schedule isn’t working with our budget. I just can not afford to buy meat to ‘play with’ that isn’t necessarily what anyone in our family is craving.
  3. Chicken Grossness Factor. Ever since my ill/injured chickens I am grossed out by eating chicken. Raising chickens for eggs had me well on my way, but the sick Calypso sealed the deal. I just can’t stomach chicken.
  4. Meat-is-Iffy. That chicken-eating ooginess has transferred to other meats in a somewhat random way. Chicken is a no. Ground poultry is a no. I grilled lamb chops and couldn’t stomach them. Lunch meat – hell no. But other things don’t skeeve me out.  Flank steak (well, steak in general), cheeseburgers and bacon don’t bother me at all.  And weirdly, store-bought salami is totally fine with me. I know!?
  5. Non-success. Not to be a quitter but meat curing isn’t a kind of habit I need to keep beating my head against the wall for. The duck prosciutto is still in the freezer. Because a) I don’t like duck and b) it totally grossed me out to make it. The bacon was totally salty – which was my error, but still. Didn’t add to the successful feelings. Lastly, the corned beef was… well corned beef. It was fine corned beef. But how much corned beef can one eat? In my case it is once a year and I’ve now done twice and still have a slab in the freezer.
  6. Local availability. I also realized that I am lucky and grateful to live in an area where I can source local, sustainable and organic meat and meat products should I choose to eat it. And I can buy it from vendors that I trust in regards to both ethics and ingredients. I can choose to support local farmers. Buying it already cured/processed is cheaper when I add in my time, my sanity and my interest and consumption levels.

grow and resist charcutepalooza duck prosciutto

Check it out! Nice huh? If only I could eat it.

I have enormous appreciation for the folks that are participating and learning to prepare and cure their own meats. People have come to Charcutepalooza for a myriad of reasons.  For sustainability. For knowledge. For community. For me the most interesting part is the investment people have shown in where their meat is sourced. The ethics, politics and general consciousness involved.

Everything we do is political – including what we eat. We all make difficult choices in our lives and in our days and it isn’t always clear or easy. I guess if I was being totally honest with myself (and with you), I’d admit that I was getting unsettled and a bit unhinged with the (self-induced) pressure to prepare something that I was also becoming increasingly uncomfortable eating. I didn’t want my meat-eating to feel like a game I was participating in.

I don’t know why I feel so uncomfortable admitting that. Is it that I don’t like to do things half ass? I don’t want to be vegetarian. Because the meat that doesn’t gross me out I happen to love. I don’t eat it often but when I want it, I want it.

And I think it is annoying when people say things like “I’m vegetarian. You know. Except for the Bacon.” In my mind it is a little “Sure, I’m straight. You know. Except for when I go out to the bars and start playing rugby.” Oh wait, that last bit was me. Yeah, I was super annoying. Thank goodness that only lasted about a month. The thinking I was straight. Not the rugby. Or the Queerness.

charcuterie, charcutepalooza, pork, bacon, grow and resistMmm, bacon!

Or is it that the Ladyfriend enjoys meat more than I do and I’m the cook? It makes cooking more difficult for sure.

I don’t know why I have such a hard time with saying that. Maybe after I figure out my need to defend I’ll work on that!

But for now I’m dropping out. See ya’ Charcutepalooza.

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