Christoph Wiesner, the Austrian butcher who raises Mangalitsa, is always tense before the kill. Last year, he told me, yes, he was nervous because it wasn’t his pig, the pig didn’t know him, he couldn’t know what the pig would do. Under normal circumstances the pigs have spent their lives with him and the week before they are done in, he brings the captive bolt, the stunning device, into pens so the pigs are used to even that. The pigs are calm throughout. This year, at Pigstock in Traverse City, MI, Christoph was not only unfamiliar to the pig, he was miked so that his every word echoed through speakers. Furthermore our crowd gathered around to witness the kill. Our Mangalitsa was clearly thinking “This can’t be good.” But it was over quickly (the full video is at the end Read On »

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The Madison based company has a Kickstarter campaign to share their Hazards Analysis and Critical Control POints (HACCP) plans with everyone, via Food Tech Connect.      

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I am loving being in NYC in this glorious fall weather, but work (and the city’s nefarious distractions) keep me from posting. After three wonderful, indeed humbling, events in Chicago and Milwaukee to promote the new book, The Book of Schmaltz, and the new and updated version of Charcuterie, I’m no longer dreading the many events scheduled for fall. I’ll be back next week with a proper post on NYC (and a fab new restaurant I lucked into), but in the meantime, here’s a list of where and when I’ll be this fall, often with that charcuterie maestro, chef Brian Polcyn. Full Events List on Facebook (or scroll down to see more detailed info). Hope to see as many of you as possible. Happy cooking! In Cleveland, yay! Appearing at Le Creuset Signature Store, Legacy Read On »

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Mint is still in full flourish here and, having just had two splendid events in Chicago (and one in Milwaukee) I’m reposting this most excellent cocktail occasioned by a visit to the windy city by Brian Polcyn and me on behalf of the newly published Salumi. This time it was to promote Charcuterie, the updated version (and The Book of Schmaltz). After a really fun conversation with Chandra Ram at Balena to a house packed with cooks young and old, a young man approached me with a new Charcuterie to sign, explaining, “This is the first Charcuterie I’ve bought because every kitchen I’ve ever worked in already had it.” Todd Moore, chef de cuisine at Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro in Milwaukee, told a filled room the impact the book has had on chefs, and I wanted to Read On »

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We’re back again with another valuable technique, the water bath, essential for gentle cooking. The water bath uses the miracle tool, water. Water makes life as we know it possible. It’s one of the only substances that expands when it freezes rather than contracts (if it didn’t, ice would sink, not simply ruining your gin and tonic, but rendering the gin and tonic moot, as most of habitable earth would be flooded). Water cannot go above 212°F in normal circumstances (it can if you heat it under pressure or, with less pressure, specifically at high altitudes, it turns to gas at lower temperatures). And importantly, it cools as it evaporates (which is why sweating cools our body). In this video we use it to gently cook emulsified shrimp and cream, mixed with whole chunks of Read On »

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