Butchers – are they the new rock stars?

The New York Times reports that butchery is on the rise. Many young people are begging their way into an apprenticeship with a boutique butcher shop to learn the art of killing and processing meat. And the appeal?

“With their swinging scabbards, muscled forearms and constant proximity to flesh, butchers have the raw, emotional appeal of an indie band. They turn death into life, in the form of a really good skirt steak.”

Perhaps the New York Times waxes a little too lyrical on the analogy. But there is also no doubt that meat is on the rise, especially meat that has been grown and killed ethically.

And the local butcher shop deserves to make a comeback. The art of being a butcher is a lost one. Supermarkets tend to have machines to process the meat whereas your local butcher will dive in knife, saw and all and deliver to your shopping basket the particular cut that you request. All it requires is for you to be patient while you wait.

Waiting in the queue at the Superior Meat Market in Ponsonby was an opportunity to see a master at work, and to catch up on local gossip and news. I never regretted watching a rack of lamb turn into french cutlets. And I always knew that the off-cuts from that process would go into the best sausages that side of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Shoppers now demand quality meat from specialty producers and farmers and retailers (read boutique butchers) are meeting the demand. Long may it continue.


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