I can’t believe it’s been an entire year.
Many thanks to Mrs. Wheelbarrow and Kim Foster, The Yummy Mummy, for organizing this whole beautiful madness and Food 52 for hosting it. And to Jason over at The Messy Epicure for dragging me into this. I’ve made some great new friends: Dave over at Dave Being Dave and Mardi at Eat Live Travel Write along with a number of the other crazies who did this challenge with us.
I don’t want to get into a long philosophical essay about what this year of charcuterie has taught me, but I will say this has been a life changer. As in, I’ve sent out feelers for opportunities to be an apprentice butcher at a few places in New York. This might become my life. Not charcuterie alone per se, but the food industry. Specifically, local, sustainable food and finding a way to make it accessible for lower income families. I’d love to lead workshops to help low income families learn how to cook healthfully on a tight budget. Or teach at a place like The Ballymaloe School (after studying there of course…) What started off as a hobby and a love of feeding others has kind of grown into an opportunity for a different future than I’d envisioned for myself. Potentially abandoning my Master’s degree is scary, especially since I’ve spent 10 years working to be an Archaeologist, but there’s something about what I’ve discovered about my life and what I love to do this year that can’t be ignored.
I knew I’d talk too much if I got started. Anyhow, our final challenge was to prepare at least 3 or 4 items from the list and share them with friends at our own personal Meat Party.
I was so excited to pull out a few favorites to show off. Clearly this would require bacon. Clearly. But the trick was feeding lots of people with what would likely not be tons of food considering budget restraints. I decided to do an afternoon snack deal and some of my lovely friends contributed wine, conversation and epic tunes.
Yes, that is the Spiderman Rockomic you see.
For the comestibles:
- Saucsisson Sec with assorted cheese
- Chicken Liver and Shallot Terrine
- Duck Liver and Bourbon Terrine
- Bacon Wrapped, Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates
- Duck Confit on Petit Pain Grille with Stone Ground Dijon
We ate well. Dinner almost didn’t happen that evening and we still have pate left! It’s been fun feeding my friends this past year. My roommates have reaped the bulk of the benefits, but I’ve fed others as well. My cats are miffed (I’m sure) that they didn’t get to eat any of what I made (except for the piece of smoked salmon they managed to snag). While I’m not eligible for the grand prize of this whole thing as I didn’t find out about this process until February, I’m proud of what I’ve done.
In order they were:
January: Duck Proscuitto (posted in February)
February: Salt Cure Bacon (Done in April)
April: Smoking Bacon, Canadian Bacon, Hot Smoked Salmon
May: Grinding Breakfast Sausage and Chorizo
June: Stuffing Italian Sausage- never posted for unknown reason
July: Blending Hot Dogs- never posted due to epic failure of project. The blend broke halfway through the stuffing. The ones that turned out were delicious, however!
August: Binding Chicken Liver and Shallot Terrine
September: Packing English Pork Pie
October: Stretching Duck Confit
November: Dry Curing Saucisson Sec and Lardo
December: This mad party
My favorites being the way the Duck Confit, Corned Beef and Terrine challenges turned out.
This isn’t the end of the road for this project or this blog. There is just too much good food to make and eat. Feeding people and making them feel at home is kind of what I do- it’s an important aspect to who I am and how my family and friends interact. We’re just as likely to all be packed into the kitchen, up to our elbows in the meal, cooking together as we are to be outside by the fire pit with beer. My family (blood and chosen) is loud, passionate, nosy, opinionated and humorous- everything I could ever want. We eat, we drink, we fight, we love. Yep.
And my roommates and I are picking up a quarter of a pig this weekend from a Meat Share. So very, very excited.