Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vegetarians, Avert Your Eyes

I have a bit of an obsession with Michael Ruhlman. He's sort of an undercover food celebrity (is that an oxymoron?) who also happens to be a fantastic writer. He's co-written all of the Thomas Keller cookbooks (French Laundry, Bouchon, Under Pressure), a few of his own food themed books (The Making of a Chef, The Elements of Cooking, among others), and a few non food books (I particularly enjoyed House: A Memoir). He also happens to be Anthony Bourdain's occasional partner in crime.

In fact, I think the first time I saw him in action was on an episode of Bourdain's No Reservations that featured the cuisine of Cleveland (Ruhlman's hometown). The two of them bought an entire pig and proceeded to butcher it quite expertly in Ruhlman's kitchen, producing, among other things, a beautiful cassoulet. I found it totally fascinating. There are so many parts to a pig! And so much to be done with each part, as Ruhlman details so well in his book Charcuterie.

But based on my reaction to whole chickens, I'm not sure how great a job I'd do of disassembling a whole pig. Plus which I don't think my two feet of drainboard space (non-contiguous) would really be sufficient for the task.

However, I continue to dream about at least trying. And with Ruhlman's most recent blog post, I can dream in just a little bit more detail. Just think...pork belly, pork chops, bacon, sausages...all forged with one's own hands from a gorgeous healthy pig from Flying Pigs Farm! I don't know if there's been an uptick in news stories about horrible slaughter houses or industrial agriculture lately, but something about knowing with absolute certainty where my food is coming from is very appealing to me these days.

And how great is this photograph that his wife (a fantastic photographer by the looks of the images on his website) took?

The pig almost looks content...maybe beautific? I believe he must have had a happy life with a face like that.

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