Guess what? The smoky, brined pork chops are here this week! The above image is from a while back, but nearly the same product. I wanted to let ya’ll know cause I was lucky enough to work a day at the Fatted Calf stall in Berkeley a few weeks ago. There were 2 people that came up to see if we had any chops this week? Nope, and they left! While I was pretty taken aback considering what that day’s menu had to offer. I thought it was pretty cool that they wanted that specific one thing and nothing else. A Meat Shark.
Fatted Calf’s customers are generally a nice lot. I’ve seen them each week making their way up and back through the market with their sacks bulging with swag. They’re interested in what’s what and always willing to buy one new thing they haven’t tried. There was a woman and her husband or boyfriend that were clearly newbies. They asked questions about this and that. I laid it down best I could. I don’t make the stuff, so individual spices and procedures elude me from time to time. They felt bad for holding up the line, but I urged them on with juicy descriptions of the completed food stuff. I didn’t mind taking time with them because they liked hearing about the meat as much as I enjoyed talking about the meat. I know they’ll return for something new each week. I could see the twinkle of pate and sausage in her eyes.
There were a few who wanted a lean product. One poor woman wanted “lean” bacon. I presented her with 4 packages and she noted quickly, “These are NOT lean.” I deal with the public from time to time, so I smiled and dug a little deeper. It was at that moment I turned and mentioned to her, “You know this is ‘bacon’, right?” There was nothing lean enough and she left. A few hours past and while there were probably 7 customers poking about, a young woman with her “doctor” (read: Grampa) asked for something made without so much fat. Everyone within ear shot chortled. I turned around and looked at the Charcuterie sign just to make sure I was at the right stall. She left with beef jerky. See! Something for everyone!
And that’s just about where we are going to be for this coming Saturday morning. A place where you can find something for everyone, the Berkeley Farmer’s Market. Please come out and enjoy the changing seasons and fill your grocery sack with fresh goodies. Let me take you out with a pretty picture of Fatted Calf’s lamb brochettes grilled while covered with their smoky bacon.
Don’t eeeven ask me if they were any good. Cause they were, nyah. Please read on to the newsletter not written by me.
Upholding Tradition and Eating It, Too
Our dinner last night in a small Ligurian town began with Testaroli. a sort of thick and delightfully chewy proto-pasta made from grains, simply dressed with pecorino and olive oil. Prepared in this way for many hundreds of years, it speaks of a history of isolation and poverty. It is a dish on the verge of extinction, a treat and lesson prepared for us by our new chum, Augostino, who brims with regional pride and has devoted his days to preserving its culinary traditions.
It makes me think that we residents of the greater Bay Area have it pretty good. In a time when many traditional foods seem to be disappearing from their place of origin there are those near at hand working hard to pick up where others have left off. Perhaps we can’t walk to our corner grocer to buy delicate sheets of excellent mortadella and glass mosaics of locally salted anchovies (at least not yet) but with a little effort we have some promising options.
And, as compensation for our efforts, we also have diversity and the freedom to appreciate regional foods and traditions while being bound only to our own gustatory rationale. You can slurp down a bowl of chorizo and clams at lunch and dig into a plate of smoked pork chops and sauerkraut at dinner. You can have your mortadella and your rabbit crepinettes, too.
See you at the market!
Saturday, November 4
Heritage Red Wattle Smoked Pork Chops
Rabbit Crepinettes with Roasted Shallots
Mexican Style Chorizo
Pâtés, Confits & Terrines
Rabbit Pâté with chives
Duck Terrine with brandied currants
Petit Sec Aux Herbes
Other Meaty Goods
*It’s True! We’re taking back the empty rillettes ramekins and glass
jars that are clogging your kitchen cabinets. There is a refund of
fifty cents for each container returned.