This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Reply to a Reader--Good sources for meat

Seafood Hound,

My best sources for good quality beef are all local sources--small farmers who raise a few head of cattle specifically for sale on a small scale. I buy a 1/4 or 1/2 a cow and they arrange to have it packaged according to my needs. I have a close enough relationship with my supplier that he is also willing to let my beef age significantly longer than is generally done in grocery stores (usually 5-7 days). Mine is aged for 3 weeks. The difference in taste is unbelieveable! I also have local sources for lamb and pork. Check your local newspaper or the internet for someone offering meat privately in your local area. If you don't want to buy a whole side of beef, ask a friend to go in with you on it--or two or three. Sadly, the days of the local butcher shop, the kind that were in every town when I was growing up, with sawdust floors and men behind a meat counter who will cut the meat to your specific needs, are about gone. If you are lucky enough to still have one where you live, and it sounds as if you don't, these can still be great places to buy your meat. Develop a relationship with them, bring them a gift at the holidays (a fifth of their favorite libation works well) and spend a little time schmoozing when in their shop. Ask for suggestions, give them a chance to offer advice. They love this and listen carefully so they know you are interested in learning. They really love that! Best of luck to you and happy holidays, Chef Michael

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chef Michael Will Be Away!

I am away just now. First, a new wireless system is being installed and so access to this site is difficult for the moment. Second, I will be visiting Bristol, England for two weeks to visit family. I will return in January if not sooner with more entries. I hope to be able to send greetings from England and Wales, where I will spend the new year. Perhaps a photo or two and some more foodie type news. I am anxious to find out about how great the food has become in England since my visit in 1972 (Okay, okay, I was there in 2002, but I did not eat at any of the posh new English eateries). I'll report to you and be back to more regular entries after the new year.

Have a safe and joyful holiday season.

Chef Michael