Re: "The Charcuterie Underground," by Mike Sula, November 26
It would be interesting to hear how excited they still are after taking the courses, submitting certified plans, getting all of the legal paperwork out of the way, getting through the HACCP guidelines, getting the OK locally, etc. I wish them well.
Remember, if you build it, they will (local, state, federal, competing businesses, food companies) come, but not in a good way.
Another great story, thanks.
I love the comment by the Health Department spokesman, comparing those of us who are working outside their jurisdiction, to the monstrous Chicago meat packers at the turn of the century, who were shoveling rats, rotting meat, and the occasional employee into their sausages and fighting regulation in the name of profit.
Yes, foodborne illness is a HUGE problem in this country, because huge commercial operations raise and process animals in ways that all but guarantee the contamination of the meat. I'm talking about the new, deadly form of E. coli, O157:H7, whose growth in cow's stomachs is promoted by a diet of grain, whose spread is ensured by the conditions in feedlots (cows standing up to their knees in excrement), and that contaminates beef carcasses (upwards of 40%) when the processing is driven by speed not care (allowing stomach contents to come in contact with the meat). I'm talking about a Consumer Reports study that found 71% of chicken purchased from the supermarket was contaminated with Salmonella, or Campylobacter—or both!
It's precisely because the meat commercially available is so shitty (literally), that more and more people are looking for alternatives, where the emphasis is on care and quality, not speed and profit.
When, instead of addressing all these problems that allow pathogens into our food supply in the first place, regulatory agencies criticize or go after small-scale, local producers who are working hard to offer an alternative—safe, nutritious, and delicious meats—you can see just how screwed up our food policy has become in this country.
I support the idea of small, local producers—but for a small producer to say "Local markets are self-regulating. If there's anything wrong with your products and someone gets sick from it, then you're out of business"—wow, what an extremely callous-sounding, "sh~t happens" rationalization. What if someone not only "gets sick from it" but dies from it? Is that acceptable, too? Really, we gotta come up with better reasons than that. If a Jewel or Dominick's executive made that same comment on the record, people would cry foul—and rightly so.
Posted by gtgith
Quick question: what on earth made you think that photo was in any way appropriate to have on the cover of your 11/26 issue? I'll leave the whole debate of eating animals aside as I'm all "protested out" after trying to open up logical discourse with hordes of mouth-breathers the last few days calling this holiday "turkey day," but brushing the killing of animals issue aside for once, I still have to say you cross any sort of indelible line of decency when you have a huge photo of two decapitated pigs who lived their whole misreable lines in tiny confined stalls standing in their own feces and filth, scared, frustrated, unloved, and eventually slaughtered brutally, and for what, to end up on your cover with two apathetic a-holes making them "kiss"? This isn't so much disgusting as it is ridiculously sad and cruel. Was this the point of these two animals' lives? To be nothing more than the eventual end of being someone's bacon on their plate, but also as some lame stab at shock and/or humor?
I expect more out of you, Reader. If these were two decapitated dogs "kissing" on the cover, there would be massive outrage, but because you deem pigs as "dinner" instead of pets, nobody bats an eye. Why on earth would you think this is OK? Where is there any justification for this? If these were dogs or cats, you would be considered a sociopath, so why then do we not give the same consideration for the miserable lives of "food animals"? No more garbage like this, please. Review all the dead animal flesh you want in your restaraunt reviews, Sula, but keep the mutilated, decapitated animal pics to yourself, OK?
Matthew Winfield McEwen
The November 26 cover photo of decapitated pigs' heads was vile and appalling. Mike Sula's article about "outlaw" bacon curers and sausage grinders demonstrated just how far the human race has atrociously plunged into malevolence and monstrous irreverence. People who profit from pork are inhumane animal abusers and environmental criminals. The pork industry is gruesomely cruel and responsible for massive pollution and other ecological crises. Pigs are intelligent, sociable and sensitive creatures akin to dogs and cats. The terrifying people who slaughter them and sell their flesh for food are heinous reprobates utterly bereft of any conscience development.
Re: "Jeff Felshman, RIP," posted by Alison True, November 25
Jeff Felshman: A loving and devoted husband and father. I can't believe he is gone. Truly an irreplacable, one of a kind original. Will always be missed. My thoughts and heart are so with his wife and kids.
Susan Campagna Chait
Wow. I just heard. I haven't seen Jeff in ten years, but I worked with him at Ann Sather's in the 80s and 90s. We used to talk in pirate lingo at the bar, practice singing doo-wop, and share snide stories. He had me believing his first son was named Mookie for nearly a year. What a great guy. Rest in peace, my friend.
I'm shocked and deeply saddened to hear Jeff is gone. I worked with Jeff at Powell's Bookstore for a few years in the late 80s. He always had a great smile and a wonderful off-handed story for any moment. His laugh was always distinctive and infectious. He was there when I was shot and then wrote a major Reader feature on it and stayed friends for years. After Powell's we would run into each other every six months or so and catch up—Grace's passing, marrying Tracy, his new baby, watching the boys grow up so fast. The world has suffered a great loss with Jeff's passing, a true bon vivant.