Even James, the guy who handed me a bag of 20 pig ears, gave me a funny look.  “What do you do with ‘em?” It’s not obvious, even to farmers, not in America. It wasn’t obvious to me till I had my first one several years ago at Michael Symon’s Lola, fried crispy on the outside, gelatinous and chewy on the inside, their richness offset by the sweet-sour heat of pickled chillis. Michael said he’d had a similar reaction when he’d first had one from Mario Batali. Where did Mario first have them? “The ears were a prized part of eating whole suckling pigs on weekend lunches in Segovia, Spain, near where we lived in Madrid throughout high school,” he said in an email yesterday. “I’ve  lived for ears and cheeks ever since!” How Read On »

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Pork belly futures market is over in the Chicago Exchange. Why?  Bacon consumption has risen, forgotten local sources, seasonality lost? Soluions needed, via Food Tech Connect.

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Chefs Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp, among the growing legions who are making our food better and helping us to appreciate it more, call their moveable feast Sunday Dinner Club because it evoked a time when their families shared a long meal together.  Sharing meals with the people you love is far more important than I’d ever realized, a fact that deepens the more I cook, read, and listen to other cooks, both home cooks and professionals.  I love that spirit. Sunday Dinner Club is an unusual Chicago-based business created in 2004.  What the chefs do is host dinner parties in their home and invite people on their mailing list to attend. The mailing list has been cultivated over the last six years by referral only which means that everyone that comes to the dinner club Read On »

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Video: watch the Kocurek Family discuss the history of charcuterie and their business, via Huffington Post.

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Many have asked when our book, Salumi, a follow up or really continuation of our Charcuterie, will be out.  I finished the rewrite earlier this summer, and Brian, chef-owner of Forest Grill, my co-author whom I first wrote about in Soul of a Chef, finished up recipe testing, so the book is now slated for a summer 2012 publication. The book is devoted solely to the Italian craft of dry-curing meat.  Salumi is the general term for these meats.  Above were some trials I dried in the wine cellar of my dear friend, JD SULLIVAN!!!  It proved to be ideal, and a nice patina of beneficial mold grew naturally on the salame above. In the foreground is guanciale, dry-cured jowl.  I’m slicing some coppa; also on the board, tied, is lonza (dry-cured loin) and a small Read On »

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