Wrapping up three great days of Pigstock in Traverse City, MI, and I’ll write more about it, but had to quickly share the astonishing differences in breeds of hogs, and most important, the difference between a factory-farmed pig and a properly raised pig. Above Brian Polcyn shows four different breeds. On the left is the belly of a factory-farmed pig, breed not known. Notice how diminutive it is, how little fat is on that loin, which I guarantee tastes like cardboard when cooked. Compare it to the one he’s holding up, a farm-raised Berkshire-Duroc mix. When you buy the one on the left, not only will it not be a pleasure to cook and eat, you have cast a vote for more just like it. When you buy a belly from a farm-raised Berkshire, you Read On »

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Looking at how kids eat during their meals at school and discovered three different experiences, via NYT.

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Emilia Juocys has been my assistant for several years, first from Chicago now from her home town in Michigan. She has recently, at the age of 35, made a major transition in her life. Major transitions require reflection, reevaluation; curiosity and fear about the future are also inevitable consequences. When you are a cook you turn to food for some of the understanding and grace you need. – R By Emilia Juocys @jaldona Summer is nearly over, and the fall is closing in, and the bounty of the summer is entering our kitchen in droves. I devour the sweet summer corn and beautiful heirloom tomatoes, but for me summer would not be summer unless I had a specific summer treat. I’m also stuck in a great period of reflection, wondering where I will end up Read On »

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To help us enjoy our 50th and 51st birthdays, our friend Ingrid sent us some exquisite oysters from Maine. After we’d eaten them, perhaps still delighting in the pleasure, Donna became enthralled with the shells. Me too, and I just wanted to put this photo up. Because. In October, Brian Polcyn and I will be traveling to Ingrid’s territory for demos and cooking of the noble pig, not only to promote the new and revised edition of Charcuterie, but also to benefit Ingrid’s Island Culinary & Ecological Center. Can’t wait! If you have access to pristine oysters but have never shucked before, you will need a shucking knife (about the cost of an oyster and widely available), and this good video shows how to do it. If you liked this post, read: My past post on Read On »

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Toward the end of Forrest Pritchard‘s memoir Gaining Ground, about his becoming a livestock farmer, he writes a chapter that I want to call attention to, and expand on, as we are now at the height of farmers’ markets, and this is in fact national farmers market week. I requested a Q&A to address continual questions he gets from friends and customers. Forrest, why is food at the farmers’ market so expensive?! On our farm, the food we raise reflects our true cost of organic production. When we set our prices, we do exactly what every other business in America does: we factor in our expenses, and establish a modest profit margin. That way, we’ll always be around to farm the following year. It’s Economics 101. Everywhere we go, there’s a price-quality association in our Read On »

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