French Butchers - Amanda does French
The girls had baguettes for lunch.
Entrée: Ash mould goats cheese with endive, mache salad and toasted walnut bread.
Main: Duck breast with orange, rosemary and red rice.
To day we went Christmas shopping all trying to sneak off and stay together at the same time, to get each other presents for what we thought was Christmas eve. Funnily enough when I called my confused friend in Canada to say merry you know what, he said I had the wrong day. My computer is on Australian time, my watch French and my phone confused with the right time, wrong day! … Oh well extra long Christmas for us. Actually working in hospitality; this is the first time I remember having such a long holiday over what usually is the busiest time of year.
Back to the butchers where I cheered up our surly butcher with my bad, reasonably confident French and ordered 2 Duck breast and 2 whole Pigeon. “Prepare?” he said, so I said “oui”…of course. Not knowing exactly what I was in for, except hopefully a little gizzard removal. Standing out of the way of all the shoppers we waited patiently watching the butchers burn feathers off ordered birds with flame touches, mince selected cuts of steak for tartare. A mince machine turned out very neat portions of tartare. We stared into the room with sawdust and feathers on the floor, as the back room butcher readied new birds….
Intending to bone the pigeon, I changed my mind when the they where presented with they're drooping sleepy eyed heads cut off, pinions nipped and tucked under their neck, skin and all stitched together with string. “In trust I love” Now it was looking like a pot roast bird for Christmas lunch.
The butchers prepared cuts of meat for patrons, cleaning of excess fat, taking off excess bone, shaping meat so it would fit in a domestic pan. They do this for each patron, as they watch. It educates the consumer as to the preparation; they really are starting the cooking process for them. The consumer is involved, as the butcher asks how they want to cook their meat. So much better than blobs of protein in cryovac.
We are a connected part of the food chain, empowered by choice. A conversation between butcher and customer over what is for dinner humanises the connection. We ask where our meat comes from?
Then there were the mushrooms, I got to pick out my own morels, chanterelles and porcini for our risotto … Belles request for Christmas Day was Mushroom risotto. … Good for me, as I am a risotto nazi … cooking for Italians will do that to you!
A fromage experience, selecting a pyramid of mouldy goats cheese and a camembert a real one …
We squeezed into a door jar of a shop, with the four attendants and way to many customers. All the walls lined with mouldy skin shrivelled, wrinkled white in many shades cheesey wallpaper
Our Cheese was bruised by our attendant who gave it a firm dig with his thumb to see if it was ripe enough for little old us. Being ok we could have it. What a relief. Again the provedore is educating the consumer, telling us which cheese is best, where it is from and when it should be eaten. I saw one gentleman select a cheese, the attendant shook his head, put it back and gave him another… fabulous!