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December 02, 2011

The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat

Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat is not a conventional book. It starts with the back story of how Joshua and Jessica Applestone started Fleisher’s, the famous old school butcher in Kingston, New York (a new store recently opened in Park Slope, Brooklyn) with a mission of only selling grass-fed and organic meat. I was first introduced to the Applestones and Fleisher’s at a special brunch at Blue Hill a couple years ago, and the couple left a lasting impression. Formerly vegan and vegetarian, they now hand carve whole animals and promote eating healthy meats. The book is fascinating because it teaches you the art of butchery in layman’s terms, from how to render fat to the best ways to cook offal. They explain each tool and technique, introduce the different cuts of lamb, beef and chicken, and include instructions on how to make charcuterie, how to do a driveway pig roast, and recipes for Japanese fried chicken, Texas-style beef and chile stew and more. Useful tips on how to source, including “What to look for in eggs,” left me feeling more empowered as an educated consumer.